It had long legs, rippling abs, dazzling lights and catty judge comments. However you look at it, 10’s Live Dancing in the Stars sizzled last night.
Staged on a massive three storey set, with fetching costumes and a Live band, it’s clear 10 has not cut corners with a fresh makeover.
After a 4 year absence from television, the show was stamped as 10’s very own version last night. Even Helen Richey from the Seven series was there to give the premiere her blessing. “This is the best show on television ever, anywhere in the world!” -and that was before any dancers took to the floor.
At the centre of the action dual-hosts Amanda Keller and (a bearded) Grant Denyer bounced off one another with ease, matched in outfits and in personality.
Celebrities took to the floor with confidence and fear, throwing caution to the wind and kicks into the air. Amongst the stand-out performers of the night were birthday girl Courtney Act, blogger Constance Hall and actor Samuel Johnson.
There were Live TV one-liners that defied scripting. The Living Room‘s Miguel Maestre described himself as “A Vegemite sandwich on fire,” while dance partner Aric said of Michelle Bridges’ energy, “She can go for hours, mate.”
Jett Kenny was complimented on his rig, including by Grant Denyer, Olympia Valance was congratulated for crowd-pleasing lifts and Denise Scott was told, “It take guts to get out there and do what you did.”
It was ‘Jimmy Giggle’, renamed as ‘Jimmy Sizzle,’ who summed it up best, conceding the show was about feeling “as vulnerable as possible in front of all these people.”
Scoring poorly with the judges were cricketer Sir Curtly Ambrose and Cassandra Thorburn who drew a 1 from resident nasty judge Craig Revel Horwood.
That prompted Amanda Keller to say, “Other people would like to give you one I’m sure.”
Indeed the new judging panel were at pains to make their mark on the new-look show with Sharna Burgess and Tristan MacManus finding plenty to support and critique. Both are welcome additions.
But Craig Revel Horwood appeared to be trying too hard to stamp his persona all over the show, with “darling” injected into every sentence. “Stiff, stiff, stiff, and not darling in a good way,” amongst the pearlers we got. Somebody call Zsa Zsa Gabor.
But Dancing thrives on its talkability factor as much as its entertainment value, so Revel Horwood, or Horwood Revel, is doing what he was hired to do. If he keeps it up at this level across the season it will be a turn-off.
Introductions of the “sky lounge” (a nod to the So You Think You Can Dance set) and the dynamic lighting all added to the makeover.
If there is any criticism it is the audio sweetening of arena-style applause did not match the size of the crowd, and we could do with more leaderboard updates through the show. These are teething problems easily fixed. Overall Warner Bros. Australia, producing for BBC Studios Australia, has smashed the first episode. Now the test will be whether 10’s younger audience is into a show that has traditionally skewed older.
With around 7 more weeks of the show to run, Dancing is off to a flying start.
Dancing with the Stars airs Live 7:30pm Mondays on 10.