Saturday, April 28, 2018

Singer-songwriter Connell Cruise crowned the winner of Dancing with the Stars on M-Net in the fantabulous glitter dance show's live finale.

Singer Connell Cruise was crowned the winner of Dancing with the Stars South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sunday night.

The live finale of the retitled 9th season of the BBC glitter floor format show was broadcast from the roof of the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre in Johannesburg, with the reality competition series that was produced by Rapid Blue.

Before the broadcast of the Dancing with the Stars SA live finale, invited guests who had to adhere to a "strictly ballroom" formal clothing dress code, snacked and sipped outside the Dance Dome (see photos at the end of the article), and got special Lindt bonbons handed out at their seats for the last episode.

The broadcast of the Dancing with the Stars SA live finale was followed by a press conference with Connell Cruise, the Rapid Blue executive producer and M-Net executives, followed by an over-the-top and lavish afterparty at the mezzanine pool deck and lounge of the Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel adjacent to the Hyde Park Corner.

ALSO READ: INTERVIEW. Connell Cruise on winning Dancing with the Stars SA: "It's the story of how hard work always pays off".

The singer-songwriter and his professional dance partner Marcella Solimeo took the glitter ball trophy, winning more public viewer votes in the finale than actress Zola Nombona and her dance partner Tebogo Mashilo, and Suidooster soap star Eden Classens and his dance partner Ash-Leigh Hunter.

Connell Cruise had been a contender and a crowd favourite right from the start of the competition.

"This is just a dream. I thank you all so much," said Connell Cruise. "From day one you filled me with such love for this beautiful art form that took over my life," at the end of the live finale.

Dancing with the Stars SA judge, Debbie Turner, at the end of the 2-hour broadcast, said "There is a famous quote that says, 'dance came from the people and should always be delivered back to the people,' and I believe that the contestants have done that".

The season finale included showstopper group dance performances, as well as special appearances by singers, including The Voice SA winner Craig Lucas, the veteran South African singer Claire Johnson and the multiple Sama-winning legends Mafikizolo.

For one group dance performance, Eden Classens (what he said about it), Zola Nombona (what she said about it) and Connell Cruise (what he said about it) were all strapped into snug-fitting harnesses and hoisted up into the rafters of the Dance dome, only to be dropped down with wire-work during a dance number.

Dancing with the Stars SA closed out with a new South African TV production record: The most glitter dropped on-screen as part of a massive glitter bomb dropped on the in-studio winners and audience, dwarfing what's ever been done before on shows like Idols, SA's Got Talent and The Voice SA.