Jesus tapdancing Christ. How is Ryan Seacrest suddenly plump, brunette, and bearded? Oh hai, Joey Fatone. I briefly thought this was an episode of N’SYNC’s greatest hits revisited (I’d call it “Behind the Bye Bye Bye”), but it’s all coming back to me. American Idol is over, but I still have a melisma hangover. So what do you get when you combine the producing talents and creative force behind Fear Factor and The Amazing Race? Celebrity Circus, of course — let the three ring spandex spectacle begin! By the way, this show does not involve any magic. That’s VH1.
All the world’s a stage…to crash and burn on.
Oh Gasmii, how I’ve missed you and our weekly therapeutic chats. I bought a bike with my stimulus check and since the season finale of AI I’ve ridden it no more than 5 miles. The bell is awesome and goes ding dong in a most pleasant way, but riding around town only tempts me to buy yummy things and lipgloss. Now I have an excuse to retreat to the confines of my comfy couch, solve difficult math equations, and reminisce about the long-gone Circus of the Stars. Something about this also reminds me of The Smothers Brothers and their crazy yo-yo tricks, but I have unusual mental associations. For example, I could’ve bought 1800 tacos with my tax rebate.
Sparkly spandex + requisite midget + Olympic athlete + Dionne from Clueless + publicity-desperate Peter Brady + Blu Cantrell + token supermodel/actress + Antonio Sabato Jr. + Joey Fatone as “The Ringmaster”/Perma-host of reality competitions + small children wired on cotton candy and Coke = ?!?!?!?!?!
Why not kick it up a notch and have child actors participate? And throw in some real live tigers and elephants and bring in Siegfried and Roy as mentors? Now that’s what I call entertainment!
Not homoerotic at all…why do you ask?
Our favorite ex-boy bander/reality tv competition host, whom I have dubbed Pudgy Fatone, kicks off the ceremonies with real, talented circus performers. These are trained professionals, mind you, who are paid to do this for a living. We’ve got bald muscle man rolling around in the world’s largest silver hoop earring, aerial acrobatics involving long silk drapes, a fire breather straight from Burning Man, and little Asian jugglers in aqua spandex unitards. The black-and-white striped circus tent drapes and floor remind me of awful bands and individuals who wear guyliner, like Good Charlotte and My Chemical Romance, Pete Wentz, and Beetlejuice. Well, Beetlejuice is pretty cool. But not as cool as these guys.
“Drop a ring and it’s back to the Jibber Jabber factory for us, Chan.”
The soundtrack to this truly ridonkulous display of dexterity, balance, stamina, and flexibility is, you guessed it, the CIRCUS SONG, only it’s been punched up with some creepy organs so it’s like you’re trapped in a sinister Circus Circus Las Vegas Pleasuredome. The song most commonly associated with circuses, also known as “that goddamn clown song,” is actually title “Entrance of the Gladiators” by Czech composer Julius FuÄÃk. Poor Julius.
…and that’s why it always sounds like bloodthirsty clowns are gonna kill you.
“Baby Elephant Walk” is much more pleasant.
There, there. Feel better?
Hey, Clown wearing upscale moon shoes and gallivanting around? It’s not a talent. You’re two steps away from being this guy:
Just as Sea Monkeys are not really a bunch of tiny pink people who wear crowns and create thriving civilizations, Moon shoes are not quite a personal trampoline in your backyard.
Pudgy Fatone declares that our celebrities have already been tested physically. One’s broken an arm and the other’s crushed their ribs. Stop exaggerating Pudgy, I bet it’s a fracture and maybe a bruise, crack at most. Let’s meet our celebrities and soon-to-be carnie victims!
Antonio “Shirts are for townies” Sabato, Jr.
Supermodel Rachel “Big Bird Molting” Hunter
Jackass star Wee “small hands, smell like cabbages” Man
TV and film star Stacey “Anything’s better than Deal or No Deal” Dash
Singer Blu “You like? It’s B’jork!” Cantrell
Peter Brady, a.k.a. Christopher “Hand me my cymbals, monkey!” Knight
The ringmaster with the skeezy moustache projected on the wall of the tent is creepy, no?
“Get into my circus wagon, little girl, I have cotton candy!”
Fatone is attempting to sound grand and showman-like, but the effect is more as enthusiastic used-car saleman / promoter of Brooklyn-style pizza who lapses into British-accents and French-accents interachangeably. Mais oui! Medieval Times has better dialogue. Mmm, jousting and eating greasy chicken with your hands. I predict NBC will next come up with a reality show series involving celebs trying out to be knights at ye olde dinner and tournament. Pudgy tells us all to bust out the peanuts and sugary goodness, but my cupboard is empty. NBC, please send me a hamper full of deliciousness for next Wednesday’s episode (I enjoy spicy hot links, funnel cake, and hush puppies).
First up, a contestant whose known for steamy love scenes and has been photographed in only his undies. Well, that rules out Wee man, whose peen has been on camera more than Lilo’s crotch. The audience and the judges are not immune to Antonio Sabato Jr’s (ASJ’s) charms. Or his glistening bod. Watch out, people, he’s got carnies in his blood.
Our strapping, virile 36-year-old is doing this for his two little kids, and his granddaddy and his mom were in the circus. Something tells me that ASJ can reverse menopause.
Obligatory flashback to our celebs’ first day of training. Let’s meet the man who is supposed to motivate crazies to train as well as make sure that none of them die.
“You veel make zee triangle of love, see? And I veel set eet on fire, fantastique!”
Philippe is actually French-Canadian, and is a former gymnast who’s now an artist/designer with Cirque du Soleil. He named his two kids after Cirque du Soleil characters (Merlin and Uriel). That was a huge mistake. Whatevs, I’m still calling him Frenchie.
Our celebs have five acts to master in just eight weeks. ASJ’s first act to master is:
Do not try this at home with satin sheets. You will fail.
So you have two incredibly long silk sheets (can’t find these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond) suspended from the ceiling. They can be raised and lowered, but you control a lot of the movement by manipulating the silks and wrapping them around your body/hands/arms/torso/feet. At least that’s how it works in theory. Flying silks require immense upper body strength and control.
ASJ’s partner/teacher Sebastian is eyeing ASJ like he’s a bacon western cheeseburger (2 for $4 at Carl’s Junior for a limited time only). This show keeps hammering down the point that there is no safety net, so if you let go of the silk, you fly. Right down into the ground. It also causes extreme facial contortion. Sebastian gleefully informs us that Antonio’s face is about to explode (while wishing Antonio’s pants would catch fire).
“Antonio enjoys long walks on the beach, just like I do!”
ASJ confides that this is the hardest thing he’s ever done. Until he gets to his next act, that is. Commence montage of ASJ grunting, thrusting, and slow-mo moaning as he attempts to conquer the silks. It is blatantly and unapologetically sexual.
“While you’re down there, luv…”
ASJ boasts that he’s given this competition 150% the whole time, and he wants to finish first. Yeah, well if someone busts out their 155% or decides they’re operating at 200% all the time, you’re screwed, buddy. What’s with completely arbitrary percentages over 100% anyway? I win, because I put infinity percent into this competition all the time, and from my couch. Ha ha!
( I also love when people boast that they’ve made a change of 360 degrees, failing to recognize that puts them at exactly where they started. Our educational system is not doing its job.)
Act 1: Antonio Sabato Junior, on the Flying Silks Accompanied by Shannon and Sebastian
He’s caught in a love triangle with Shannon and Sebastian and, ad Pudgy reiterates, THERE IS NO SAFETY NET. Plus, ASJ’s torso is topless and glistening, and he’s wearing Aladdin/MC Hammer pants and heavy sexyman eye makeup. I really hope Flipit gets a glimpse of this.
In my free time, I also enjoy saving endangered animals and tutoring kids.
My immediate thought is: How much of an insurance policy did NBC have to take out for this? And how big is the waiver these celebs have to sign? ASJ has the silks wrapped around his forearms and takes a couple of laps around the ring. It’s quite impressive because he looks the part and is pretty confident. Then, all the women and gays in the house hold their breath as ASJ all but mounts his gal partner Shannon to “The Adventure,” by Angels and Airwaves. I personally would’ve picked something a little less punk-poppy, like One Republic and Timbaland’s crowdpleaser “Apologize” but I’ll go with it.
“Fine, I’ll spoon with you!”
Shouldn’t you get disqualified if all four of your limbs are touching the ground? Suddenly, ASJ does a handstand while the silks rise in the air, pulling him with them. More fake-kissing.What a sensual seduction.
“I saw this in Cosmo.”
And then, the two guys fight over the girl. Seabastian casts Shannon aside and kicks her to the curb. That was cold. ASJ and Sebastian each grab one of the silk ends and wind the other around their wrists. Together, they rise and spin together around an invisible maypole. Fight!
Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but gayer.
NBC’s not even attempting to have a creative voting phone number like 1-866 CRCUS. It’s “1 866 I WANT” accompanied by a number. Hee. The crowd is getting into it, as ASJ gets rid of Sebastian and scoops up Shannon for a mid-air embrace and a lot of spinning around the ring. The poor girl tries to act out her fantasies by going in for a real kiss while ASJ is committed to the fake kiss. He ducks his head and she has to make out with his chin. Denied. ASJ’s mommy is in the audience, and she’s beaming with pride.
Let’s meet our circus judges!
International (emphasis: INTERNATIONAL! THE WORLD! PARIS!) trapeze artist and contortionist, Aurelia Cats.
A bitchier, bendier Alyssa Milano.
Olympic gold medalist and gymnast, Mitch Gaylord, whose last name is probably still a sore point for him. Why isn’t his riveting turn as a football player turned gymnast in American Anthem gone to DVD yet, when you can rent Gymkata from Blockbuster?
World renown choreographer, Louie Spence. He was in “Cats” and “Miss Saigon.” So he’s totes heterosexual, right. Until Louie spoke and gushed and word vomited everywhere, I didn’t realize you could layer a lisp on top of a lisp, rendering half of the words indecipherable. He and Aurelia are going to be the Simons of the show, while Mitch is there as the complimenting Paula. Not sure who will take turns playing Randy, dawg.
“I want Mitch’s last name!”
Aurelia literally purrs at ASJ and thanks his mom for making it such a pleasure to look at him (how Paula of her!) and Mitch states that the bar is high since Antonio’s got circus blood and has a hot, athletic bod. Blah blah blah body weight versus lifting weight, yada yada yada…fantastic performance. Louie effusively thanks ASJ’s mama in flamboyant Italian, proclaims that it was an amazing strong masculine performance full of virility, err fluidity, and that the intimate moments ASJ shouldn’t worry about – Louie is hot and ready to teach him the ropes; in fact, he has an entire week free!
ASJ is used to men gushing all over him, while Pudgy Fatone awkwardly shuffles his feet and suppresses his jealousy. Feel free to correct me, but I have a teeny tiny suspicion that Louie MAY BE UNAMBIGUOUSLY GAY. Maybe.
ASJ on Flying Silks – Scores (which count for 50% of the vote):
Louie: “OHHH, 8!” ASJ Average: 7.7
The real reason why I chose to recap this show:
Old people aren’t completely useless, they entertain me.
And yes, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m going to hell.
Previously on “To Catch a Predator”…
Pudgy Fatone chats it up with a little girl, and just as I’m about to call Chris Hansen, he reveals the girl is actually his daughter. Eww, Fatone spawn.
Act 2: Rachel Hunter
Unlike any LA spin class she’s ever taken.
Cerceau is a giant suspended hula hoop that you can swing and suspend yourself from, as well as stand and sit on while spinning. Upper body strength and a high tolerance of spinning are key, since there’s a shitload of spinning involved. Wheeeeeeee!
I fear that Rachel’s ability to spin will be slowed down by her boobs. Just saying. This could make things harder. She looks absolutely exhausted in the training montage, but hell, I get winded and dizzy just by watching them do stuff on tv. She unleashes a barrage of New Zealand accented cursing and we learn about her three herniated discs.
Rachel is suspended 50 feet above a red carpet runway, with nothing to break her fall except concrete. Thanks, Pudgy, we know. Fake paparazzi guys with cameras line up on the ground (spotters dressed up to match the theme, probably) so naturally the music editor chose “Gimme More” by the Queen of the Paps, Britney herself. This is like an aerial version of So You Think You Can Dance. Plus props!
Unfortunately, her outfit looks like it lost a fight with a paper shredder. She sails back and forth on the ring and comes down to the red carpet. If only that annoying Cover Girl commercial with Queen Latifah had a Cercau performer in it; that would make it 100 times less lame. There’s momentary technical difficulties or something ’cause we cut to a random in the crowd clapping with her child. Rachel pirouettes with one foot on the red carpet, and I am duly impressed by her pointed toes and lines. Damn, she may not be an athlete but she sure looks graceful doing it.
LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! SHE HAS ONE LEG!
The other two aerialists join her on their rings and then Rachel goes into an upside down split that is also impressive. The only thing is that her routine feels like disparate tricks and poses, and they don’t flow together super-smoothly. She also screws her eyes shut while she spins, but I don’t blame her for that. Inverted split!
She looks fantastic, but I doubt Louie will want to give her intimacy lessons. Time for three’s company, cerceau-style.
Of course this is a family attraction, it just looks like breast-feeding.
Rachel’s visibly dizzy as she dismounts, but I am still impressed by her lines and dedication to toe-pointing. And for not popping out of her top when hanging upside down. She looks vaguely similar to some other women on NBC.
Celebrity American Gladiator?
Aurelia, not one to mince words, likes Rachel’s costume and thanks her for pointing her toes. Maybe she’s half-Paula, half-Simon after all. “But you are missing some tricks, no? Spinning ees good, but you should do eet faster!” Um, okay. Mitch gracefully says that Rachel is a natural beauty but perhaps not a natural athlete, but that she performed as if she were in her element. Louie applauds Rachel for her versatility, lovely lines and beautiful feet, and says she’ll shine in the Spanish web. But he wants more content, more choreo! And jazz hands! Whatever, Louie can’t even end a sentence with a period, everything is an exclamation.
Wee Man is fearless and excited about what he calls a “huge adult amusement park.” But he’s also kind of graceless, as his Jackass-ian exploits have shown, so choreography and flair of movement will get him. At least here he’s attempting to be safe about his stunts.
Life. Is. So. Hard.
He also knows he can use his personality to get under the skin of his competitors, and awesomely taunts Rachel and Blu. They laugh with him though, ’cause it’s hard to be intimidated by someone who comes up only to your knees.
They lose their shirts, you lose your lunch.
Head guy Frenchie insults Wee Man by calling him Jason. “Because Jason THINKS he’s a dare devil, I gave him the hardest apparatus.” Someone has a chip on their shoulder from not making it to the Olympics…plus Wee Man makes way more than Frenchie does. I remember the Wheel of Death on the Barnum and Bailey Brothers Circus VHS tape my parents in the early ’90s. I could’ve sworn that in addition to two guys, there was a tiger!
Wee Man is going to look ridiculous in any circus get up they put him in, because well, it’s circus gear. It’s either spandex unitards or paisley or velvet vests and pants. Or, my favorite, the Puffy Shirt. He takes a minute to say,”Look. I know I’m a dwarf. But my body type does not mean that I’m challenged. Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Oh, another saying that I absolutely loathe. I DEFINITELY judge a book by its cover, and I was an English major in college. The crappy books always had awful fonts and stock photos on them, and rightfully so. Flimsy covers = sleep-aid, the kind of book you attempt to start reading in bed and then wake up to find its pages trying to smother you. Awesome book covers are not overrated.
The Wheel O’Death was banned from the circus for 20 years. No big deal. Wee Man isn’t scared at all. He doesn’t appear to have any safety strap or harness on while he’s inside the Wheel. Quiet Riot’s “Come on, Feel the Noise” is appropriately playing. Do you think this is any easier because of his lower center of gravity?
Or just a ploy to make us think of hamsters?
As the Wheel of Death rotates faster and faster, Wee Man does some forward jumps and lands on his feet. And then he clambers on the OUTSIDE of the Wheel for a few revolutions. Again, no big deal. He has a safety harness for this bit, but serious injury is only a misstep away.
In case you didn’t notice, the other wheel is on fire.
Even though the judges will probably chastise him for lack of “flair” and “choreography,” the audience is captivated. Let me sum up the crowd reaction:
…and that is where babies come from, Annie.
The judges weigh in, and try to act nonchalant about Wee Man’s death-defying. Aurelia’s excited to see him go outside the ring, and how dangerous eet was, eh? Mitch compares this to Wee Man’s Jackass stunts and is impressed by his restraint, discipline, focus, crowd engagement, and regard for safety. He points out that it got a bit out of control at the end, though. Louie, unsurprisingly, decides to make this all about dicks. “I didn’t feel the suspense or raw power, you didn’t make me gasp for breath. I know that big surprises come in small packages, but I want to see what’s COMING.”
Wee Man’s Wheel of Death scores
Aurelia: 8 (Impressive)
Louie: 5 (WTF?! Robbed!) Wee Man’s Average: 6.7
The 5 really makes no sense, as the Wheel of Death is usually a 2-person performance piece (they didn’t show the person in the other wheel) so Wee Man didn’t have as much to work with.
Act 4: Stacey Dash
For the trapeze artist with no friends.
The woman is now 42, but has somehow cryogenically froze herself in time. She looks exactly the way she did in Clueless (both the film and the later tv show!) and it’s mind-boggling. That’s a circus act in itself: The Never-Aging Woman. OMG, Dionne! I can’t stop calling her Dionne, so I won’t.
Dionne resignedly interviews say that she’s best known for her role in Clueless, and wonders why she doesn’t have a career beyond bit parts and music videos. It’s probably because of people like me, who can’t really imagine her being any other character. She’s absolutely gorgeous, and yeah, I have a girl-crush on her. She played a convincing high schooler when she was 28, people. I don’t even know if I could do that when I’m 28, and I’ve got the Asian Aging Complex working for me (you look under 30 till you hit 40 or so, and then you look 30 till you just look generically old).
Frenchie consoles her after she bursts into tears, and he goes so far as to tell her she can learn things faster than anyone else, and can win it. Deluding your pupils is a great motivational tool. Dionne cries out in pain from the waist harness. A few x-rays later, turns out her 10th rib is broken. Aw. Of course, she decides not to quit (contractual obligation?).
“The thing that drives me is the inability to quit. And bad eyeshadow.”
To the tune of Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive,” Dionne starts bouncing and flipping and swinging. Sure, you have a broken rib, and it’s probably universally acknowledged that you’re the most attractive of the bunch, but meh. However, she is grabbing attention in other ways.
Two reasons why this isn’t on ABC Family.
Now I know where it is!
Dionne does incorporate more “dancing” and “choreo” into this routine, and flips her hair quite a bit. She also keeps her eyes open more than Rachel does, but hell, she has a secure waist harness on. Grande finale – she flips herself off the trapeze bar and does an endless series of somersaults. Bravo. I bet she wants to puke, but she makes a pretty cool-looking Space Mermaid.
“When I was a leetle girl, ma petite chou, I did zee world festival in Paris – you know where Paris ees? I had zee broken rib. I know what eet takes to work on eet! I am zee world class trapeze artist, AURELIA!”
Mitch picks his jaw off the table and just says WOW WOW WOW WOW.
“So fab I am giving you TWO HANDS ON HIPS.”
Louie’s reaction cannot be paraphrased. “WELL MISS THANG, HERE WE GO AMERICA! You are dishing it up, not only serving it up Ms. Dash, you knocked it out every discipline you can do with a broken rib, and you’ve got a man of my persuasion staring at places I didn’t think were possible. I’m telling you, YOU ARE FIERCE GIRL.”
Stacey’s Trapeze Bungee scores
Mitch: 8 (“Eight-cha-cha!”
Louie: 8 (“OCHO!”) Dionne’s Average Score: 8
Broken rib = highest score? Yep. But it totally helps that she’s captivating to look at.
Act 5: Blu Cantrell
Before this, I thought Blu Cantrell was a distant relative of someone like Norah Jones. You know, bluesy/jazzy and soulful, like a Billie Holiday type. I was sorely mistaken. Instead, her hit single involves walking through a mall with lackeys wearing shirts with dollar signs. Blu says she totally would’ve joined the circus had she not been a singer. Right.
And I would’ve been a pro basketball player at 5″2.
My cat’s breath smells like cat food!
In which Blu Cantrell realizes exactly what a circus act involves, one eye at a time:
Her “extremely competitive” nature is at odds with her reaction and gets scared with the harnesses and the burning fire stick, which she’s reluctant about. Frenchie is disgusted by her lack of initiative and wonders why he ever left the booming acrobatics porn industry.
Two girls, one gymkata
The Spanish Web requires a tolerance for speed of spinning (also known as momentum) and upper body strength. It is expected that the performer scale the rope and climb upwards. Blu has no desire to do any of these things.
“It has nothing to do with my work ethic or the fact that I want to be here.”
Yeah, and I eat because I’m fat, which has nothing to do with my gross inactivity and torrid love affair with complex carbohydrates late at night.
THIS IS NOT BLU. DO NOT BE DUPED INTO VOTING FOR A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL.
The cherry on top is when the two accompanying aerialists get down and start spinning their Spanish webs to make it look like Blu is doing more than being spun around by Sacha. The end.
Aurelia speaks: “Blu, I’m sorry but I hope zees sneer of utter and blatant disdain can convey zee steaming pile of crap you just handed moi. You deedn’t climb up, didn’t do anything – eet was NOTHING. God ees dead!”
You Blu it.
She’s not finished. “Neither once zee rope and I understand there was not lots of time, but I expected you to go up zee rope and do something, no? And if you decide to do zee split, it has to be ZEE SPLIT; otherwise, don’t do eet!”
Human Potato Head is all fun and games until someone puts the leg in the wrong socket.
Aurelia is a bitch fueled by baguettes, and I love it. Blu’s face falls (wait for the diva tantrum to be unleashed, just wait for it) and she starts to protest. “HARD LIFE, THAT’S REALITY!” exclaims Aurelia.
“Tu peux manger deux hot dogs ? C’est rien ! Moi je peux en manger quatre d’un seul coup!”
Mitch summons his inner Paula Abdul and breathes out. “How do I put this…you were graceful/wonderful and relaxing to watch. Your inactivity was super-slow moving and tranquil and sleep-inducing for me. Like Lunesta but free.” He makes a good point about how athletes don’t expect to compete with what they haven’t practice, and you should perform what you have trained. Truf.
Louie brings out the double-decker lisp for this: “Okay, Miss Thang, I know you’re a diva, but I didn’t see it in this performance. You get one chance and you’re using it now, I know you’ve got it in you, but I want to see that fierceness.” Blu pulled the lazy diva card, all right.
She should just be kicked off now, but she’s a loaded drama gun ready to shoot her mouth off and it makes for excellent television. I spoke too soon, as Pudgy Fatone asks what Blu thinks of all this.
“I think it’s bullscrap actually, but actually, for I had 8 weeks to do this and I did a damn good job, and if I trained as much as you did, I’d probably beat you [Aurelia]. Secondly, the public has my back.” Ooooh, the pot has been stirred! The gauntlet has been thrown!
Aurelia: HOW LONG TO DO WHAT?!
Louie: LISTEN, NO…BLU…
Pudgy doesn’t know what to do. So he lets the circus people tie his leg to the Spanish Web (protesting all the while) and provides some comic relief to cut the awkward tension.
Count Chocula lives!
If Blu’s performance wasn’t filler enough, we get some deep thoughts from our celebs.
ASJ: Compete hard.
Wee Man: This competition is raging.
Rachel: It makes you competitive.
Dionne.: I think I have to up my game.
On what they bring to the competition
ASJ: I love the challenge.
Blu: I bring absolutely no talent.
Janet: I was trained to win.
Wee Man: I bring…a couple of screws loose.
Wee Man: You can’t just show up, you have to prove you can do it.
Janet: You have to make it look like you’ve been doing this your entire life.
Dionne: Showmanship. So important.
Peter Brady: The person who makes it look easy wins.
I’ve had more insightful fortune cookies.They fellate each other’s egos for a bit, and then we find out that Act 6, Peter Brady (Chris Knight), has a broken arm. You already know how he broke it; it was the reason why I am recapping this show. But could he possibly have been distracted by?
“I probably shouldn’t be joining the circus at my age. I’m 50. My crotch really, really loves it.” – Chris Knight
Re-enacting The Fall of Man.
Frenchie decides the giant Vetruvian Wheel is not the way to go after the guy’s broken his arm attempting it. So Chris is partnered with a gal who has never really done the high wire either. Excellent.His first efforts on the low wire remind me of someone with vertigo doing ballet. Let’s emphasize his elderly status a lot, okay, NBC?
“I think I’m pushing myself to the physical limit – with the body parts I have left. Do I hope I win?” asks Peter Brady rhetorically. “I just hope I LIVE.”
To further emphasize how old Peter Brady’s gotten, his high wire routine is set to “Ready, Steady, Go” by Paul Oakenfold. You know, the song you’ve heard on car commercials. There’s a safety harness involved, which is a relief to see. He makes it halfway across (huzzah) when he encounters a herald angel suspended by more wire. Only this angel hails from Victoria’s Secret Heaven. She blindfolds him.
“Christopher, my eyes are up here.”
Meanwhile, the WinAmp psychedelic visualizer plays in the background. The audience is worried Peter Brady is gonna die or have a heart attack up in the air. He makes it safely across, blindfolded. His partner clambers up on his shoulders and balances herself. Does her safety harness make it easier on the two of them?
What a second midlife crisis will do to you.
“People don’t realize it, but you’re 50 years old. And you got a broken arm,” says Pudgy Fatone, after Chris is safely on the ground. What an ass. Aurelia praises Chris for mastering a hard and dangerous category, and asks for more showmanship next time.
Mitch rambles for a bit and then yelps, “Old guys rule!” Louie doesn’t get excited about high wires or old guys, usually, but when they’re blindfolded and carrying a chick on their shoulders, he’s impressed. Also, he thinks Chris’ little walk is cute.
Act 7: Swimming champ Janet Evans
Commence punning about gold medals and going for gold and being a fish out of water (har har) because she’s a SWIMMER who now has to do something in AIR.
Janet, 36, won her first medal at the ’88 Olympics and then again in ’92. She’s doing this for her 18-month-old baby, whose birth appears to not have affected Janet’s chiseled abs or hips at all. She is going to give ASJ a run for his money, because you can do whatever you want, if you give 110%, says Janet. Again with the stupid arbitrary percentages! I’ll take your 110% percent and raise you imaginary number percent!
Janet’s been paired with Christine on the Duo Trapeze because they have similar body types. Duo trapeze requires lots of muscle resistance and a very good balance, evidently, and teamwork because two people have to share an oversized trapeze rung. Frenchie is excited because Janet’s work ethic is the shit.
“I have trouble with this whole sexy thing,” confides Janet, as we cut to a sequence of Janet’s less than graceful falls, naturally. Ooh, foreshadowing. I think she manages to yank her partner’s top off in this one:
And when leotards revolt, they usually look like this:
They’ve set her routine to the Pussycat Dolls’ cover of “Tainted Love.” Gag. Equally nauseating are the bubblegum Coke can/iTunes-infected background graphics of girls dancing. Did I mention there is a bubble-blower going buck wild, too?
There’s some horizontal balancing of Christine, her partner, on the soles of Janet’s feet (as she hangs upside down). There are inverted V splits. There are tandem somersaults (like two people doing cartwheels together, but with forward flips). I’d personally be pissed if there were bubbles floating everywhere during my performance and demand that they play “Under the Sea” instead and dress me up as a lobster. There are even annoying slutty backup dancers whose sole purpose is to draw attention away from Janet putting on a safety harness at the end for her dismount. Just watch it here.
The descent is one of the cooler parts, as Christine grabs Janet’s ankles and swings her downwards, releasing her into the arms of the spotters on the ground as Janet manages to land upright. Sure, it’s not as crisp of a dismount as Mitch Gaylord would want, but it’s still a badass routine overall, and better than Dionne’s, in my opinion. There were more elements and skills learned and executed cleanly. My fear is that guy viewers can’t get their minds out of the gutter.
4 out of 5 men agree: Better than chicks on trampolines.
Aurelia: “Eet takes a lot of body strength. I would know, I’ve been doing eet for twenty years! It takes a lot of psychologic to take zee life of someone in your hands. Bravo!”
Mitch doesn’t really offer much, restating that Janet already has a gold medal. Tighten up your core, please. More fluidity. Louie is displeased by her lack of flair and feathers, calling her clumsy and uncoordinated and that if she can go without a splat or splash, she could be the dark horse. Err, okay. I am pretty sure this is all because Janet doesn’t have breasts that slap her in the face as she flips around.
But seriously, all the toe-pointing in the world is not going to save you from going splat, or assist you in pulling off some serious moves.
By now, it’s obvious that Janet Evans was a gawky kid growing up and felt awkward about femininity. I can empathize, but I was totally unathletic and was a drummer in my high school marching band, mmkay? I kinda want to root for her, but then she smiles and ruins it. Pudgy Fatone covets her washboard abs and simulates scrubbing a towel on them.
This is both endearing and frightening.
Worried that your coulrophobia (an overwhelming fear of clowns) will act up with this show? Well, at least you’re not this lady.
After round 1, Dionne’s in the lead with an 8.0 and Blu’s in the caboose with a whopping 4.7. Pudgy Fatone is as graciously annoying as ever (paradox, yes), but he makes me laugh. Join me next week, as we watch Peter Brady light himself on fire. Seriously, that was an NBC e-mail subject line. And “Rachel Hunter will perform a new act that is somewhat like the hammock.” Well. I’ve totally mastered that act; just hand me a strawberry daiquiri and watch closely.