Cape Town – In Dancing with the Stars SA the sexy celebrity contestants and their dance partners will be shedding their clothes, someone will be flying through the air, and if there’s a wardrobe malfunction they need to keep on dancing.
M-Net held a press briefing over the weekend during which producers, judges and M-Net executives answered all kinds of questions about the show starting Sunday, 4 February on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:00 as a weekly live broadcast.
The briefing offered up some very revealing – and funny – answers ranging from the expensive costumes and what happens if there are injuries, to how long the contestants have been practising, the orchestra and how the contestants were chosen.
Is that shirt coming off?
Yes, the clothes are going to come off on Dancing with the Stars SA. Do you for example want to see Suidooster actor and model Eden Classens shirtless during the course of the show? He was specifically asked this question to which he simply replied…."yes".
Channel24 asked what happens if there's an injury during the show?
"If an injury occurs and we've seen about 30 to 40 seconds of a performance and our head judge feels that they've seen enough to judge the dance, then they will judge the dance. We will then establish how bad the injury is - whether they can perform the following week or whether they need to fall out of the competition," says Kee-Leen Irvine, executive producer of the show at Rapid Blue.
The costumes ... and Swarovski's
"The costumes cost more than a small penthouse," says Kee-Leen Irvine. "So, I have a phenomenal head of wardrobe, Lynn Driver, that all of the cast have worked with. She's worked with me for many years now on all of our big shows.
"There's 78 costumes for the first episode. I won't tell you how much the Swarovski crystals cost but it's a lot. So, Lynn oversees a team of about 4 designers, assistants and seamstresses and they turn around costumes in a phenomenally fast turn-around time.
"The costumes are such a high quality. We're so lucky also that the cast have all such phenomenal bodies. The costumes are going to dazzle."
Someone is ... flying?
Jan du Plessis, director of M-Net channels, reveals that he screamed when he saw someone flying through the air!
“I have seen amazing stuff. There was one moment where I actually think I distracted one of the dancers because I screamed when a certain person was flying through the air.”
ALSO READ: Meet the judges of Dancing with the Stars SA
If there's a wardrobe malfunction?
Channel24 asked if the show is going to be really live, live, or delayed live by a few seconds and what happens if there is a wardrobe malfunction like something popping open – or out – of those costumes?
"It really is live, live and if there is a wardrobe malfunction, they just suck it up and dance," says Kee-Leen Irvine.
Channel24 asked how long the contestants have been practising.
“You'd be surprised. The contestants have only been practising ... 3 weeks! They've been practising for what feels like 127 years, but they started 3 weeks ago," says Kee-Leen Irvine.
"What I do want to say is that after learning their dances, they've also had to do some group routines. Drill sergeant Jason Gilkison (choreographer and creative director and one of the judges) has been working them really, really hard. I do want to say as a producer I was in tears this morning because they've brought their AAA game. They were absolutely amazing to accomplish what they've have in 3 weeks – it’s phenomenal.”
Dancing the first episode
In the first episode of Dancing with the Stars SA on Sunday there will be 6 contestants performing but there will be a group dance including everybody. In the second episode it will be the next 6. From the 3rd week the show will have the live shows at 17:00 and then the live results show at 20:00.
There's an orchestra
Dancing with the Stars SA has a live orchestra and two vocalists.
How's it different from Strictly Come Dancing SA?
Strictly Come Dancing SA had 8 seasons on SABC2 and then SABC3. It's the same show and show format.
"It's a BBC format but we're bringing it M-Net's premium touch," says Kee-Leen Irvine. The name-change says Kaye-Ann Williams, M-Net's head of local content, is because "we just wanted to differentiate ourselves and using the alternate title allowed us to do that."
"It allows us to differentiate ourselves and give our subscribers a premium experience."
How the contestants were chosen
"Each of the celebrity contestants needed to be relatable, they needed to have some resonance and represent our audience," says Kaye-Ann Williams. "Our subscribers need to be able to identify with whoever they see on screen and that's why we chose every single celebrity who we chose - they fulfil a certain category."
"We really went through a long, arduous selection process, and we are so proud of every single celeb and dancer that ended up in our final group".
ALSO READ: Meet the hosts of Dancing with the Stars SA
Why Dancing with the Stars SA will only be on M-Net on DStv Premium
Dancing with the Stars SA is a premium entertainment experience. DStv subscribers on lower subscription tiers can upgrade if they want to see the show. "It's always a mission of M-Net to reach out to as many subscribers as possible, but Dancing with the Stars SA is definitely a premium offering," says Kaye-Ann Williams.
Who stays and who goes...
That will be in viewers' hands. Viewers need to register to be able to vote, says judge Jason Gilkison.
"One by one each week we'll lose one couple, eventually getting to our 3 finalists. But the power is in the viewer's hands. They're the ones who have to vote. We can give scoring but viewers' voting will ultimately decide the winner".
It's hard work
Jason Gilkison hilariously quips "Kee-Leen gave me 45 minutes off last week. It's really, really intense". "It's really going to be an incredible journey over three months. There's going to be incredible dancing on M-Net."
The dance floor ... tested
The dance floor is brand-new. "We had Jason Gilkison bouncing around the floor to see if he's happy with how it's sprung. We do replace the floor with every season of Dancing with the Stars SA," says Kee-Leen Irvine.
Jan du Plessis thanked Duncan and Kee-Leen Irvine from Rapid Blue for making Dancing with the Stars SA and called them "the prolific husband and wife that I'm as scared as hell of - the guys from Rapid Blue. Your work on this show is incredible".
About Jason Gilkison he says: "I'm so proud that through Kee-Leen's wheelings and dealings we've been able to convince him to come and stay with us and take us on this journey".