It's back, it's bright and it's as big as ever.
Dancing With The Stars has returned to Three and last night's opening show was every bit as glitzy, glam and aglow with spray tan as we could have hoped for.
All the stars came out in support and among the Three faces were many from DWTS' 2018 cast. Reigning Dancing Queen Sam Hayes, who took home the coveted glitter ball last year with veteran dancer Aaron Gilmore, took a front row vantage point and added some cool glamour to the event.
Jess Quinn, who made last year's finals with dancer Jonny Williams, was there with a glittered mic of her own, conducting interviews from the sidelines with the new stars during the ad breaks.
Roger Farrelly took his place in the crowd, enjoying a great catch-up with his 2018 partner, Carol-Ann Hanna.
Also there were Shavaugne Ruakere, Naz Khanjani (cosied up with her boyfriend Nick Marriott), Zac Franich and our "sweetheart of the nation" Suzy Cato, who had us all in tears during her shock elimination from the show last season, and who looked absolutely radiant last night in her sparkly top.
We noted that in between live segments Suzy slipped out of her seat to share a few tips and tricks with Jude Dobson, who is this season dancing with Suzy's partner from last season, Matt Tatton-Brown. Whatever she said clearly hit the spot because Jude oozed confidence as she took the floor in a daring black leotard (which she kept well hidden under a pink fluffy dressing gown before the show started).
Our DWTS columnist Carol-Ann Hanna revealed in her first column last week that 2019's cast was given a lot more time than in previous years to prepare for the first live show, and it showed. What an opening night! Here are our highlights:
Harder to recognise when she's upside down but former What Now presenter Carolyn Taylor was sensational in her cha cha with Jonny Williams. The judges were clearly impressed, with Camilla Sucre-Dallerup saying it's not often you see a cha cha that fabulous on opening night.
What about Laura Daniel! We thought she looked like she could move on the ads before the show started and our observations proved right. She danced like a boss. She said in her behind-the-scenes video that she really hoped New Zealand would be able to see how good her dance partner Shae Mountain is this year, after an early elimination last season (Shae was first to leave the show with Gilda Kirkpatrick) - and we hope so too.
Nadia Lim was smokin' out of the kitchen. She mucked up her steps early on in the routine but recovered, and she's in experienced hands with Aaron Gilmore so we can't wait to see what they pull out of the bag next week.
The hongi at the end of former-All-Black-come-police-officer Glen Osborne's tango with Vanessa Cole was inspired. We loved that they chose Poi E for their first dance.
If there's one person you don't expect to come at you with a whip it's 5.30 With Jude's Jude Dobson. When she sashayed down the centre of the dance floor like a boss she looked every bit the model she started her career out as, and the crowd loved it. We're keen to see more of this side of Jude Dobson.
Last season dancer Amelia McGregor partnered the adorable but challenged-on-the d-floor David Seymour, and in her behind-the-scenes video last night she revealed she was hoping not to revisit the twerk that David made famous. Clearly the DWTS gods have answered her because this year she's got William Waiiroa and the boy can dance. Their jive was awesome and super-fun to watch.
Former Sticky TV host Walter Neilands was all arms and legs and the judges seemed dubious about whether he could get past being 'awkward'. But everybody loved him, and he was out there having a really good time, which made us have a really good time. We predict he'll stick around for a while. Last year we had David... this year we have Walter.
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