I really hate exclamation points (sorry Meeshie), so the fact that I placed three in a row together in the title of this post should give you an indication of how much I enjoyed Dancing with the Stars. The show doesn’t wow you with its production values, but in the abyss that is summer programming, it just seems to work. Say what you will about the “celebrities” chosen, but they all have their own unique style. Luckily, the dances this week, the rumba and the quick step, focused much more on the skill of the celebrities, giving us a lot more to enjoy, and plenty of fodder for us to laugh about.I think I read somewhere that some people were trying to make ballroom dancing a Winter Olympics sport. God, would that ever add some excitement to the Winter Olympics. Seriously, how many people even know that there is a two-man luge? Why do they waste their time? They certainly don’t make an entrance like they do on Dancing with the Stars. Yes, I am still basically waiting in anticipation to see how awkward Evander Holyfield is going to look each time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to other things. Take, for instance, the set, which looks like they grabbed leftover pieces from the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and let the set designer from Lawrence Welk have at it.
They also don’t waste any time getting started. I thought they were going to do eliminations at the beginning of the show, but it looks like the scores from this week will be combined with last week’s, which will somehow be combined with the internet vote to come up with a final score at the end of the show. That score will determine who gets eliminated.
The first couple to go are Rachel Hunter and her partner Jonathan Roberts. The lady celebrities will be dancing the rumba, which is described as “a dance that tells the story of love and eroticism between a man and a woman.” For Rachel, this is going to be easy; she only needs to pretend that Jonathan is a giant chocolate bar, and she will have no problems making people think she’s in love. When they were practicing, they said that they had three dangerous moves, two of them involving getting in between Rachel and the craft services table.
All kidding aside, I thought Rachel was very good in this dance. She is the oldest of all of the ladies involved, but she showed she could still move it well. In a dance that required plenty of hip action, she got her plenty of hips to move very well, and didn’t mind putting on a skimpy gown and showing it off. In the surprise of the night, she did a standing split, and I am sure the people who get the show in High Definition could have told you whether she had a bikini wax or not. Despite all of the complaining we see from her during the practice clips, she looks like she is working hard, and may have a skill for this sort of thing after all. Bruno the judge said she could be a “Love Goddess of the Dance Floor,” and all of the judges were quite impressed.
Joey McIntyre and partner Ashly DelGrosso were next. The music they use for the dances on the show is another great feature. And while it was funny watching Rachel and Jonathan rumba to “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” the nauseating song Aerosmith created for Armageddon, I was strangely intrigued to see how Joey and Ashly were going to do the quickstep to “You’re the One That I Want,” the famous song from Grease. Little known fact, but J-Unit won a hand jive competition during what I think was the homecoming dance senior year. My date(I wish I could remember her name) and I were unstoppable. Well, as you could expect from the youngest male celebrity and the youngest female dancer, they had no problem with the quick step, the emphasis of the dance being pretty self-explanatory.
Next to take the stage are Trista Sutter and Louis van Amstel. We learned early on that there was drama with Trista as she was learning the rumba. The rumba is a sensual dance, like an erotic journey from Milan to Minsk. Oh sorry, that was Rochelle, Rochelle, but you get the point. Trista wasn’t comfortable with how close Louis was getting, perhaps preferring Hugh Jackman instead. It got to the point where she wouldn’t go on unless her husband came to practice and said he was cool with it. I am not sure what Trista wants to do with her life, but I presume it doesn’t involve acting, because she would surely have to do more than a barely-arousing dance to secure herself a part.
The lack of chemistry immediately showed on the dance floor. When you are trying to portray sensuality in your moves and dance as if you were trying to seduce your partner, it helps to at least try some body contact every now and then. Unfortunately, it looked like Trista wasn’t comfortable with much, and the judges called her out on it. Personally, I think she looks more and more like the crypt keeper every time I see her mug. Louis tried to pretend that there was heat on the dance floor, first by doing a little tongue lick motion during the dance, and saying afterward that he was excited. He even planted some kisses on Trista after the judging and a little bit backstage, which only made her cringe even more. She could barely even crack a smile when Bergeron said that some of the moves she made “violated her prenup.” She is clearly taking herself way too seriously and has to go.
John O’Hurley and Charlotte Jorgensen are next, and these two really are amazing. John just has the exaggerated mannerisms that make you love ballroom dancing, from his face right down to the precision flailing of his arms. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. They get a little playful at the beginning, and despite being the oldest celebrity and oldest professional, they really work the crowd. The judges were fully impressed, and said that they set the standard for the competition and that all the other teams were going to have to beat them to win.
I said before that the music in this show is funny, but there was nothing to prepare me for Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo doing the rumba to Enrique Eglesias’ “Hero.” See, it’s not just the musical choices, it’s the band that they have performing them. They don’t just play their Electric Light Orchestra version of the chosen pieces, but they add a karaoke-like accompaniment that makes it extra special. Kelly and Alec were completely raked last week by the judges, pulling off the lowest score of the competition.
If there was any dance that they could use to make a comeback, it had to be the rumba. Both of them are fairly young, so you know they would have no problem humping each other on the dance floor like a horny beagle and a throw pillow. These two didn’t disappoint, as Kelly threw on some rags that barely qualified as a dress, and they romped around for all that they were worth. They had nothing to lose, so why not have fun? When it came time for the judging, I thought they would do fairly well, but the judges told a different story. I don’t know if they don’t like Kelly, but they once again raked her for her performance. The sensuality was believable, but the dancing required a lot of work. Maybe I was too distracted waiting for a boob to pop out, and I am nowhere near to understanding what the evaluation criteria are in any of these dances, but I thought they did a better job than the score they were given. But still, it was much better than last week.
To end the night, we got the grand daddy of them all, Evander Holyfield. Poor Evander had to learn the quick step. He’s by far the largest person out there, and even though he was Heavyweight Champion of the World four times, he really has lost a step. Ali has Parkinson’s, but I think he could still move around better than Holyfield. His practices were such a disaster that his partner, Edyta Sliwinska, took him into the boxing ring to work on his movement. Given something that he knows, Evander was able to work wonders.
Man, I love this guy, and he is the reason why I watch this show, but he has a lot to learn when it comes to dancing. First, he has this strange habit of making these faces when he is dancing. I guess you can’t blame him, because if you are working hard in the ring, you can’t exactly flash a smile at all times, but it sure would help him look less awkward. I am no ballroom genius, but I could tell that he missed steps, and it was also easy to tell that he was slowing his partner down, as she labored to match his painfully slow steps. He was so sluggish, it looked like he took an entire bottle of Ambien to get that way. Predictably, the judges gave them the worst score, although it looked like they all hated to do it, knowing that Evander probably has to work twice as hard as many of these folks to be half as good. And seriously, all of those blows to the head, you would have slow footwork as well.
When it came down to the elimination, I knew that Evander was going to have a better than average chance of moving on. Although his combined score was second lowest overall, I knew he was going to rock in the internet vote. The elimination went much like American Idol, with all of the contestants on stage, and Bergeron (who is getting much better and had some decent lines today) named the top three in no particular order, which was Joey and Ashly, John and Charlotte, and Evander and Edyta. Edyta looked like she was about to cry after their performance on the stage, but she has no idea how much people want to see Evander do all of these different dances each week. They’ll have to really suck to be eliminated, at least until saving him means eliminating Joey or John.
Kelly and Alec were the fourth name off the block leaving Rachel and Jonathan and Trista and Louis as the final two. Considering how badly Rachel Hunter’s score fell compared to the judges’ standing, the internet vote must have hated her. However, she didn’t suck so much that she could make Trista and Louis look good. The awful chemistry between those two in one of the more sensual dances sealed their fate. When asked how it felt, Trista said “it sucks,” which is completely opposite the way that the rest of us in the country felt knowing that she was eliminated. They were given one last dance as the credits started to roll, but without anything to win, Trista mailed it in, not even trying to go out with a whimper, let a lone a bang. Luckily for us, Evander Holyfield was enjoying the last song so much, we didn’t even care.
You can vote for your favorite at ABC. For the love of God, people, please vote for Holyfield. There is a good chance that we will get to see him do the jive, samba, or tango, and perhaps all three. If there was ever a time where “Vote for the Worst” would be completely acceptable, it is this show.
Obviously, I’m hooked and will watch the rest of the season. How about you? What was your favorite dance? Dancing pair? Song?