Dancing With The Stars: Incredible!

Last night’s semifinal of Dancing With The Starswas by far the greatest dancing I’ve seen on the show during the semifinals.  With Billy Ray gone, there’s nothing left but really, really good dancers.  It’s almost as if we are watching four professional couples.  The 10’s were flying off the shelves like Webkinz.

Apolo Ohno will win this thing, mark my words.  It’s hard to believe that his real profession is participating in an obscure extreme skating sport.  Except for the fact that Len though his cha-cha-cha was raunchy (it was, BTW – even I blushed), he did by far the bast dances of the night.

Ian Ziering gave the most memorable moment: he did the jive (I think that was the dance) in an Elvis wig.  It transformed him into another person.  He finally let go and had fun on the floor.  I’m afraid it may be too late for him – he might be the one who goes tonight.

Joey, big surprise, is the best entertainer of all.  You can’t take your eyes off of him while he’s on the floor.  People see his big frame and give him a lot of leeway; they forget that in order to be in a boy band he had to have natural talent as a dancer.  I love his partner Kim because of what a good sport she was last season being paired with Jerry Springer.  They’ll probably be in the top two, but…

Don’t write off Laila Ali.  What a surprise she’s been!  There’s one word to describe her: smooth.  I told Lintilla last night, inexplicably, “she’s like watching soft-serve ice cream move”.  And I mean that in an admiring way.  I’ll admit, when the season started, I wasn’t sure if she’d last long; she just seemed so masculine.  OMG, was I wrong!  She’s absolutely stunning: graceful and flowing.  And, she’s perfectly curvy. Watching her, I’ll admit, I have to chant “I’m a married man, I’m a married man” and remind myself that her fiance (and she) could kick my butt.  But man, what a beauty!

Anywy, it’ll be a shame that one of them has to go.  The judges commented that there has never before been a semifinal this strong; I agree.

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Charity Campaigner, My Butt

I did not know much about Heather Mills before she appeared on Dancing With the Stars.  Tabloid news just doesn’t interest me, and that was the forum for most of the information out there before DWTS.  I knew she was married to Paul McCartney, I knew there was a messy divorce.

Last night, as she was eliminated from the competition, she did something I’ve never seen before on DWTS.  The first thing out of her mouth was blame for the judges, specifically Carrie Ann Inaba .  I thought the British were known for showing grace in all circumstances.  It was ugly, and actually not true.  Heather Mills did not get eliminated because of the judges.  Her scores were always in the mid to top ranges (always better than, say, Billy Ray Cyrus).

Mills was eliminated because she could not connect with the ABC audience.  I’ll be blunt: judging from reading blogs, newspapers, and from personal conversations, I can safely say that most Americans just don’t like Heather Mills.

I tried to give her every benefit of every doubt.  She started well, but two things worked against her: there was too much contrived sympathy farming, and her personality.  Now, I suspect that her agent had negotiated several interesting clauses into her contract.

  • The show had to refer to her as a “Charity Campaigner”.  BTW, what the heck?   Does that mean she’s never had a real job?  Americans don’t go for that royalty stuff.
  • There were probably clauses about “the leg”: how many times it should be shown, mentioned, alluded to.
  • Under no circumstances could anyone on the show mention Sir Paul.

 I have no special knowledge, these are only guesses on my part.  They should have had a clause that prevented her from speaking in the live parts.  She gave us all a glimpse into the the world McCartney had stumbled into when he married her.

There’s only one good, descriptive word that is appropriate for Ms Mills and her conduct last night.  I will not say it here.  However, I can tell you that it’s not “Charity Campaigner”.

Update: Whist checking out British reaction to the news, I ran into this nugget:  apparently, Mills skipped her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel last night, something I’m pretty sure all the booted stars are required to do.  Sheesh.

Billy Ray Made My Day

On a lighter note, I was touched, truly touched, by the backstory and performance of Billy Ray Cyrus on Dancing With The Stars last night.  I don’t know if he will survive tonight’s elimination (the Hannah Montana fans will probably keep him in), but he was part of what might have been the most touching moment ever on DWTS.

My first instinct was to think the whole backstory was contrived, until I saw the reaction of Billy Ray’s partner, Karina Smirnoff after their performance.  You can’t fake the joy that was just bursting out of her.  It was genuine, or I’m no judge of human emotion at all.

Billy Ray, in the taped intro, was fumbling through another rehearsal.  He just could not do the steps Karina was teaching him.  Bless his heart, he’s no dancer.  She finally had to step out (I thought to have a cigarette).  The cameras stopped outside of the ladies’ room, and you could hear her sobs from inside.  they cut to Billy Ray, and he said something to the effect of “She’s a world champion; it’s not fair she’s paired up with an oaf like me”.  His humility seemed truly genuine – I’m still convinced he doesn’t want to be on the show.

Well, his performance brought the audience to its feet.  It wasn’t great, but much better than he’s done in the past.  He totally threw himself into the dance.  Len commented that Billy Ray had put in more practice hours than any other dancer, and he gave him a score to reflect it.

Karina Smirnoff truly seemed surprised by how well her partner did.  The audience was going wild.  For once,the underdog was cheered for working his butt off to make up for lack of talent.  Go Billy Ray.

Clyde Drexler, on the other hand, doesn’t even seem to be trying.  I hope he goes next, followed by Leeza.

But, I hope Billy Ray continues to improve.  He’s this year’s Jerry Springer.  And I mean that in a good way!

Dancing With The Stars – week 2

For the full recap of last night’s Dancing With The Stars, head over to Sharon Cobb’s place and read her recap.  We may not agree on politics very often, but we see eye to eye on dancing.  I’ll just add a few of my own quick impressions:

Billy Ray will go tonight.  He has made it quite clear he doesn’t want to be there.  He let it slip during his “profile” that he was doing the show because his kids wanted him to.  Then, after his (much better) performance, the first thing he said was “Can I go home now?”  Last year, Jerry Springer said the same thing many times, and it endeared him to the audience.  I doubt we’ll get the same effect toward Billy Ray Cyrus.  It’s a shame, too because Karina Smirnoff is obviously working very hard to keep on the show.

Laila Ali is my new favorite.    Surprisingly, she’s built like a real woman (not a waif, and not so muscular that her femininity is gone).  And she has such an easy grace; I believe she could win it all.

I really want to like Clyde Drexler, but he still looks very uncomfortable to me.  It should get very interesting when he does his first Latin dance.

The same goes for Paulina Porizkova.  Latin obviously isn’t her thing.  She’s so dang purty to look at, I wouldn’t mind if she stuck around, though.  But this IS a dancing show,though.

I really want to like Leeza Gibbons.  Her dance last night, though, was uninspired.  I’d like to see her stick around and see what she can do next week, though.

Shandi Finnessey will not last long.  The largely female audience is quite unkind to beauty queens, and although she has been better than others, one just gets the feeling that she’s not well liked by the greater audience. 

Apolo Anton Ohno and Ian Ziering are so good, it’s easy to take them for granted.  Kudos must be given to Ohno – he’s still actively competing in his sport, and has less overall time to rehearse for the show.

Joey Fatone.  Joey, Joey, Joey.  He can dance, no doubt about it.  But Sharon’s right, he’s quite full of himself.  I don’t think he’ll make it to the finals.  It’s a shame, too; I fell in love with his partner Kym Johnson last year when she partnered with Jerry Springer.  Her playful attitude helped carry him for many weeks.  But this year, she doesn’t have such a sympathetic partner.

I’ll say two things about Heather Mills: one, her dance might have been the best of the night, and two, the judges are treating her differently than they do the other contestants.  Normally, after a good Latin dance, Bruno will say something sexual, like “You were the Tramp of the Night” or some such silliness.  He did not do this with Mills.  To be honest, I don’t know if it’s because of her “British-ness”, the fact that she’s a “charity campaigner”, or the fact that she’s an amputee.  But it’s plain to see, they aren’t judging her by the same criteria.

That being said, I have to objectively say that she was spectacular last night.  She’s now officially a favorite.

John Ratzenberger will go far, just not to the finals.  He’s good, he’s not great.  But you have to cheer for the “old guy”, though.

Now, for a more in-depth analysis, y’all go over to Sharon’s place.

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Emmitt! Emmitt!

Last night, after a bad day, I turned on the television and saw an amazing sight. I saw an aging ex-football player achieve a state of grace.

Yes, I watch Dancing With The Stars. Can a man be a fan of the NFL, Nascar, AND DWTS? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mario Lopez can dance. He has always been the best pure dancer on the show (I’m sure he’s had extensive training). It’s almost not fair to NOT give him the top prize.

But to see the former Cowboy getting his old-school groove on, doing a better M. C. Hammer than Hammer does, and just plain having FUN, well, I smiled and laughed despite myself. The joy just bubbled up.

It’s funny that so few of these kind of moments come from modern television, it’s even funnier that one would come from THIS show.

Vote for Emmitt!