After a stunning 10-week run, one of the audience’s favourite celebrities - TV star Frank Opperman - and his dancing partner Jeanné Swart bid Dancing With The Stars SA goodbye tonight as judges Jason Gilkison, Tebogo Kgobokoe, Debbie Turner, and Bryan Watson voted to keep the sparkling Zola Nombona in the competition for next week’s semi-final.
Week 10 was the quarter finals of M-Net’s Dancing With The Stars SA Season 1, and the remaining five celebrity couples were given a double opportunity to prove their dancing ability, performing not one, but two dance styles for the judging panel.
After Zola reprised her fiery Samba in tonight’s Dance-Off and Frank repeated his theatrical Charleston routine, the judging panel voted unanimously to save television star Zola for another week. But “at this stage of the competition there cannot be any losers, there are only two winners standing there,” Bryan Watson noted. “Both couples have been absolutely inspiring and phenomenal – Frank, we love you,” said an emotional Jason Gilkison.
“What a relief! Now the real dancers can carry on,” Frank said graciously as he bowed out. “I’ve had the greatest fun imaginable on this planet,” he admitted, “but woah, the pressure was getting too much. I couldn’t keep with them, so well done to everyone,” he said. “I love them all!”
Throughout this competition, Frank Opperman’s performances improved week-on-week through a combination of hard work and sheer dogged determination, and time after time his irrepressible charm kept him in the competition. Jason Gilikson called Frank’s Week 3 Waltz “honest and endearing”, and in Week 4 Debbie Watson described Frank’s Jive as “absolutely delightful in its characterisation”. By Week 5’s Cha-Cha-Chá, Frank could do no wrong in the judges’ eyes, no matter how wrong his steps were! “You are our guilty pleasure every week!” Bryan exclaimed.
Frank’s Paso Doble in Week 8 left all the professional judges aghast. Bryan said he’d never seen as Paso Doble performed quite like that – “it’s the charm offensive against the technical offensive,” he laughed. And by Week 9 the 57-year-old Frank had gained a whole new lease on life, performing energetic Foxtrot to the classic “You Make Me Feel So Young”. “O, fokstrot!” he quipped during that week’s rehearsals, but the judges were satisfied. “For once you weren’t fooling around, I thought you were trying to really dance,” the notoriously tough judge Tebogo Kgobokoe complimented him.
The vote count and ranking of contestants is done according to the international format rules and was independently computed by Deloitte and Touche and confirmed against the vote results determined by M-Net.
These are the 4 couples remaining in the competition who will each perform two numbers in the competition semi-final next week, 15 April:
Television actress Zola Nombona and her partner, Tebogo Mashilo;
Actor and model Eden Classens and his partner, Ash-Leigh Hunter;
Protea netball goal shooter Vanes-Mari du Toit and her partner, Johannes Radebe;
Singer and songwriter Connell Cruise and his partner, Marcella Solimeo.
Viewers have to register at mnet.tv/dwtssavote to participate in the live Dancing With The Stars SA voting. Voting registration opened again at 20:30 tonight and will close at 16:30 on Sunday, 15 April, ahead of the next live episode. Viewers only need to register once to be able to vote in every episode of the season.
Dancing with the Stars SA airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Sundays at 17:00. Join the conversation on the Dancing with the Stars Facebook page, or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #DWTSSA.