Comedian Mpho Popps bows out gracefully


Comedian Mpho Popps has been dancing “for his life” for four weeks in a row in dance competition Strictly Come Dancing. Two weeks ago the judges saved him and his dance partner, Nombulelo Hlathi, because they felt he had more to offer in the competition.

But last night two of the three judges decided to keep TV presenter Graeme Richards and his partner, Lindsey Muckle ? the couple Mpho and Nombulelo were in a dance-off with ? in the competition because of Graeme’s enthusiasm. It wasn’t Mpho or Graeme’s first time in a dance-off.

“I think the main challenge with us was the votes. We could’ve had more votes from the public,” says Nombulelo. “But I also think [Mpho had] been in the bottom too many times and that was too much.” However Nombulelo still feels the couple deserved to be in next week’s show.

According to her the public will miss out on an exciting paso doble dance routine the pair were already conceptualising for next week’s show. “Our routine was going to be a Lady Gaga Bad Romance-inspired routine,” says Nombulelo. Unfortunately the routine will now remain just a concept.

Last night the top 5 couples danced two dance styles, the samba and quickstep. Apparently Mpho is the “class clown” behind the scenes, making funny facial expressions and moves, but when he walks onto the dance floor he puts on his game face. Their samba was a house/jazz-inspired routine. “And our quickstep was about two children having fun,” says Nombulelo who stepped out in a hot-pink ball gown for the routine.

Even though Mpho arrived late for rehearsals and was the joker of the group, Nombulelo still regards him as the best dance partner. “When he arrived late, he would make up for it in rehearsals by dancing until late. He also lightened up our rehearsals by telling a joke or two. I am sad to leave but I am glad we made it this far in the competition.”

The couple would’ve loved to face the “two giants”, TV presenter Lala Hiriyama and Grant Esterhuizen and actress Zakeeya Patel and Ryan Hammond, in the semifinals. But it wasn’t meant to be.

There are now four couples remaining in the competition and fatigue, according to them, is the only thing plaguing them now.

Watch Strictly Come Dancing on SABC3 on Wednesdays at 8 pm to see which couple is the last one standing.

-Katlego Mkhwanazi

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