Dancing with the Stars is back!

After crowning radio host Simon Barnett winner in 2015, the reality series is back after a two year hiatus with another big line-up of kiwi celebrities strutting their stuff on the dance floor.

This year’s contestants feature actors, a sports player, reality TV stars, a news presenter, and radio hosts. 7 Days star Dai Henwood and The Edge’s Sharyn Casey are back in the hot seat (or the hot spot even) for this season. The Twenty Eighteen season also features a brand new panel of judges: UK’s Strictly Come Dancing star Camilla Sacre-Dallerup joins as the head judge, alongside Wellington-born dancer/choreographer Julz Tocker, and two-time NZ Professional Latin Champion Rachel White.

I had the privilege of heading down to South Pacific Pictures Studios (home to Shortland Street) to take in the premiere night from the front row alongside a very excited live studio audience. I got to witness the full cast in their upbeat opening number, and I have to say that for a bunch of celebrities who don’t have dancing backgrounds they were pretty impressive on that dance floor!

Gilda Kirkpatrick throwing down. Photo credit- TV3

One of the best elements of Dancing with the Stars is that by voting for your favourite, you are donating money to their chosen charity at the same time. Suzy Cato’s chosen charity is the Mental Health Foundation, Naz Khanjani is supporting the Make a Wish Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Foundation is being backed by Shavaughn Ruakere. The Bachelor NZ‘s Zac Franich’s vote proceeds will go to Live More Awesome Foundation, Sam Hayes is supporting the NZ Riding for the Disabled, and The Rock’s Roger Farrelly is backing the Ronald McDonald House.

But wait, there’s more.

The 2018 cast continues with former cricketer Chris Harris supporting the NZ Foundation for Conductive Education, Marama Fox is bringing awareness to her Ka Pai Kaiti Trust, fellow politician David Seymour is backing Kidsline, The Realest Housewife on the show- Gilda Kirkpatrick- backs The Starship Foundation, The Breeze’s Robert Rakete (or the “brown wiggle” as we heard in his introduction) supports the KidsCan Charitable Trust, and Jess Quinn is trying to break the voting record in the name of Child Cancer Foundation.

Jess Quinn had the highest score of round one. Photo credit- TV3

My top three faves after Week 1 are definitely Suzy Cato (childhood legend!), Sam Hayes, and the top-scorer of the week, Jess Quinn. Overall, I thought that the celebrities (with help of their all-star partners and choreographers of course) showcased some serious moves, and I can’t wait to see what happens next as there is definitely- as the judges have mentioned- a couple of dark horses in this competition!

Watch Dancing with the Stars live on Three- Sundays at 7pm and Mondays at 7:30pm, or catch up on demand.


From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.