When I first saw the promos for the ABC show Dancing with the Stars, I thought that it was a joke. I think I may have been drunk at the time, but then ABC was airing commercials even when I was dry as a bone. With a second chance to contemplate the whole concept, I started to warm up to the whole idea just a little bit. They were going to teach some celebrities how to dance, and pair them up with actual competitive ballroom dancers. If you haven’t seen ballroom dancing live or on TV, it is actually much more interesting than it sounds and you get caught up in the whole thing. It’s sort of like when you are watching Olympic coverage and realize that it is 3AM and you have been watching them alternate between the trampoline and synchronized swimming for the last hour. How in hell was I going to resist the possibility of Evander Holyfield showing us his jazz hands?The name “Dancing with the Stars” should be used lightly because the “stars” portion of the show isn’t exactly littered with heavyweights – well, if you don’t include Evander Holyfield, that is. After Holyfield, there are a number of B, C, and D list celebrities rounding out the field:
- Trista Sutter was on The Bachelor and then became the first Bachelorette, and she has been hated ever since.
- Rachel Hunter was a supermodel, but is now known for being Rod Stewart’s ex, and for playing “Stacey’s Mom” in a video.
- Kelly Monaco(not Alec Mazo, thanks MH) is apparently a (Daytime) Emmy-nominated actress. Maybe you have heard of her.
- Joey McIntyre was a part of New Kids on the Block, but has gone on to stardom, now holding the record for number of appearances on TRL. I will also take this time to remind my friend C.R. about her Joey keychain that she loved so much in sixth grade.
- John O’Hurley is another famous soap star, but he will be forever known to us as J. Peterman from Seinfeld. I hope when he’s dancing, he doesn’t end up ruining the very pants he was going to return.
The format of the show is pretty simple. The stars practice with their professional dancing partners, and get a choice of two styles of dancing to perform in front of three judges. ABC is trying to make it like some sort of American Idol dynamic with two guys and a girl, choosing Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli, all of them supremely unspectacular except for Bruno. But he’s only mildly interesting because you wonder where he learned how to speak the English. Anyway, the judges will award scores up to 30 points, which comprises half of the final score. The other half of the score come courtesy of the viewers through online and phone voting. The following week, the loser will be eliminated and the rest live to dance again.
In terms of the show, it was sort of entertaining to watch, but there really wasn’t any buildup. We get a five minute segment of the celebrities learning how to dance before they start into their routines. Maybe it isn’t American Idol, but I think they could have populated at least part of one episode with the selection process, and I think there could have been much more to gain by showing more of the celebrities as they learned to dance, because there were great moments. Watching Evander Holyfield practicing his spins was great, as was hearing that Kelly had blown out both of her ear drums scuba diving and would have some equilibrium problems. Maybe they needed to save some of this filler for later episodes, and maybe it wouldn’t have been as compelling without the instant payoff of stars dancing the first night, but it comes off as a little rushed. The show is live, and the host Tom Bergeron is quite excruciating to listen to after the first fifteen minutes.
As for the dancing, it’s actually not that bad. Some people are much better than others. I am not sure why Joey McIntyre kept acting like he was an amateur, since he had to learn dance choreography while with NKOTB, and played much larger audiences as well. John O’Hurley seemed to have the perfect personality for the whole thing and was a perfect match for the style of his partner, Charlotte Jorgensen. My main purpose for tuning into the show was to see how well Evander Holyfield could move, even after all of those blows to the head. It turns out he was only asked to shuffle his feet a little bit, but you can see he enjoyed being there.
Here are some shots from each of the dances:
All the guys looked like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever in their outfits.
Don’t worry folks, he has a good chiropractor.
I’m pulling for Evander Holyfield, if only because I want to see what sort of victory speech he has prepared.
“I do this all without an actual brain”
Always bet on black.
And their score sucked as well
I apologize for not getting this up in time to let people catch the replay, but you still have your chance to vote. Visit the official site for details. Rachel, Joey, and John tied for the top score with 20 points, Evander and Trista scored 18, while Kelly was only able to pull off 13. I guess if anybody cares, you can still save some of them.
If there is enough interest, mabye I’ll do some photo recaps. The substance of this show could be boiled down to about 15 minutes. The celebrities are good, but if this show was made correctly, they could have pulled it off with people who are trying to be professionals, because all of the pro dancers had personality to spare. Still, the show had the best ratings of the night, so perhaps it’s another hit on the ABC juggernaut.
Later this year, we get another taste of this same format with Fox and So You think You Can Dance. Something tells me that may be more interesting (if not as well-rated).