Alas poor Dancing with the Stars. Last night it got rid of the one contestant who made it truly interesting, who subverted and corrupted the whole enterprise, who brought comedy and a sense of the ridiculous to something otherwise pleasant, reasonable, sane. The 2018 season will be remembered for David Seymour. It will be remembered for his likeable demeanour and the way he made it plain he was in on the joke. It will be remembered for that wildly popular command: Text DAVID to 3333.
But the texts stopped coming. They fell short last night. Just as it seemed Seymour might sail into the final, and possibly even take the trophy, the public let him down. Or did they? Was the show playing to the rules? I smell a rat.
Week after week I've texted my vote for Seymour, and week after week I've received the automatic reply, "Thank you for your vote for David on Dancing with the Stars." A bit formal, no smiley face emoji, but the acknowledgement was always prompt. I texted last night, at the same time I always vote, and got the reply: "Voting is now temporarily closed and will reopen shortly."
What gives? How come? This was a good couple of minutes before co-host Dai Henwood said that voting had closed; it was while the show played film of the contestants' most recent performances; I swear I sent the text before deadline. Did this happen to other voters? Were we thwarted, denied, outlawed? Did the show pull a fast one, and slam the door on the hordes of Seymourians clamouring to elect their man to the highest office in danceland?
The show has always operated in secrecy and stealth. It doesn't practise open government. We've never known how many votes the contestants have received, never been privy to the arithmetic of adding the public ballot to the judge's scoring. It simply declares the result. No correspondence will be entered into. The truth is out there but we'll never know just how close Seymour came to dancing in next week's final.
Well, at least he went out on a high. He performed a ballroom dance last night and glided around the floor with grace and on light, happy feet. He has an X-factor the likes of which no one has ever seen before and it was there one final time.
There was a sadness about his last dance, a certain poignancy, but really not very much of it and it failed to touch the judges.
"Basic," they shrugged. They scored him 6, 6, 6. Verily, the mark of the beast. The public did the rest, and when the votes were tallied up - by fair means or foul - he was cast out of heaven and into the bottom two.
"Things are getting serious!", said Henwood, but they weren't. There was no hope for Seymour, no chance, no miracle. His goose was cooked the second he had to compete in a dance-off, because the scoring was in the judges' hands; the court of public opinion, which had brought him this far, was out of session. He went up against Shav. He was on a hiding to nothing and she duly handed him his ass.
"The show would not have been the same without you," said Judge Julz, looking like a massive burden had been taken off his shoulders.
"The show would have been nothing without you," said co-host Sharyn Casey, which was probably a fair assessment.
And then he was gone. We shall remember him. Wherever New Zealanders gather, and look back on 2018, they will smile, and raise a glass to their lips, and drink a toast to Seymour's silly twerking bum.