First they came for the Persians. You may remember Gilda and Naz as the first contestants voted off by viewers of Dancing with the Stars. It was like that great line from a famous poem by Sylvia Plath: "The villagers never liked you." And then they came for Maori. Marama Fox got the boot, Robert Rakete got the boot. Who can wonder that the most visibly nervous survivor on last night's show was Shavaughn Ruakere?
The show might as well relocate to the Orewa Rotary Club. It's become one of the last refuges of white entitlement, a rallying point for that endangered majority, Te Pakeha. It's as vanilla as a scoop of Tip-Top. There are households on the West Coast which still have a portrait of Labour leader Michael Joseph Savage on the wall; the icon of Dancing with the Stars is Keith Holyoake.
There is something deep in the New Zealand psyche which yearns to return to an idea of life in the 1950s. Holyoake presided, boringly. Dad took the boat out in the weekend. Mum made wonderful pikelets - the secret was a tablespoon of hot water. Everyone was white, except tour guides in Rotorua. Good times! There was a lot of partying, a lot of dancing ... It's sometimes thought of as an age of innocence but actually it reduced New Zealand to a cultural desert.
Dancing with the Stars is a return to those simpler, monocultural times. Tonight, fascinatingly, it goes head to head at 7.30pm with the premiere of Heartbreak Island. It's war! Which mindless reality franchise will win the battle for ratings? Heartbreak Island, with its hook-ups and romps, or Dancing with the Stars, which keeps its clothes on, and remains steadfastly chaste, quaint and white?
Apart from Ruakere. Last night, good old Shav danced a Latin number and wore canary yellow, or was it yellow of everything turning to custard? She looked gorgeous, as per usual. Shav is one of the great beauties of the age. But there was an anxiety and an uncertainty to her performance and the judges were quick to pick up on it.
"This wasn't one of your best," said Judge Julz. "You don't look comfortable," said Judge Camilla. No kidding. The judges circled like vultures. Their shadow fell upon her, and turned the show's most exuberant and joyous dancer to stone.
Still, she scored 22, the second-equal highest score of the night, alongside Jess. Suzy got 23. Rog was down low on 19. David Seymour was down lowest on 15. He produced a rough simulation of the twerk. It was supposed to invoke Miley Cyrus but instead it reminded some viewers of heinous acts. Auckland journalist Toby Manhire wrote on Twitter, "Enjoyed the poo jogger tribute." And there was this hot take by Twitter savant Philip Matthews of Christchurch: "It looks like he's having sex with a dog."
But no matter. Text DAVID to 3333. He must stay on. He's the show's emblem, its adorable mascot. Text DAVID to 3333. The show ends in three weeks; we must do everything we can to keep him there, and to see him crowned. Text DAVID to 3333. He's exactly what the show deserves. He's got to win the 2018 season. He's the cultural desert from his head to his toes; his shoes are filled with sand. Text DAVID to 3333. Text DAVID to 3333. Text DAVID to 3333.