Hello, and welcome to season #167 of Dancing With The Stars! We have 12 fresh F-listers eager to prove their dancing mettle, 12 pros to keep them from falling on their faces, 3 tried-and-true judges and 2 hosts, one of whom is new but old, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, that last one, not really, but there might as well be one. Doesn't it seem as if every season there are more “stars”? I guess there's no shortage of third rate celebs who don't qualify for the first five pages of the Enquirer, willing to Cha Cha to bad 70's disco music.
For future reference, and because sometimes dancing is a relative term on this show, I'm including the definition of the word dance here. Around the 76th episode, when your eyes cross and you can no longer tell the difference between the Foxtrot, the Waltz and the Macarena, it may come in handy as a reminder of what things should be:
dance: verb, danced, danc·ing, noun
- 1.to move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, esp. to the accompaniment of music.
- 2.to leap, skip, etc., as from excitement or emotion; move nimbly or quickly
- 3.to bob up and down
But enough of that, it's time to get down to business. ABC decided to chop up the premiere into two 90 minute shows to air over two consecutive nights, plus a one hour results show, in order to maximize ad revenue and because nowhere in the Constitution is an individual viewer afforded the right to be free from unlawful detention by television. Maybe Congress should look into habeas corpus televisioni, or something. There's a bill in there somewhere that's just dying to get vetoed... But I digress. This is ladies' night, tomorrow the gents take the floor and on Wednesday somebody is sent packing, thus making sure that my next recap will only be 137 pages long. Thank you ABC!
Oh, how I missed Tom Bergeron! He is the funniest guy on television. He is talented, tall and can read a teleprompter like nobody's business. Sadly, this is probably the only time I'll mention him because talk of inanimate objects makes for dull recaps. While I usually ignore Tom Tom, his sidekick Samantha gets a few honorable mentions, mostly wardrobe related since most of the stuff she says could be safely ignored as well, however we find out that Sam has just given birth and won't be on the show for a while. They needed a new girl quickly to replace her so they went with Drew Lachey, winner of season... well, I can't remember which season and I'm not going to look it up either. Luckily, Drew is much shorter than Tommy and has more facial hair than Samantha, so I think I'll be able to tell them apart.
The night kicks off with a big flashy swing dance number featuring the 12 pros, set to Barry Manilow's “Dancin' Fool”. It's an energetic number and the best dancing we'll see till the next time the pros put on a number. Finally, it's time to announce the 12 couples, and without further ado:
I have no idea who some of these people are, but apparently they are some sort of stars somewhere, or they wouldn't be on this show. Would they? Helio? Floyd? Sabrina? I'm slightly tempted to google them but it's always more fun to listen to the cleverly worded introductions, besides, it's quite possible that one of them will get eliminated on Wednesday and therefore it would be a waste to do all that research for nothing. I'm hedging my bets here. The ladies are going to be dancing either the Foxtrot or the Cha Cha Cha tonight.
- Jenni Garth and Derek Hough
- Josie Maran and Alec Mazo
- Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas
- Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts
- Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
- Jane Seymour and Toni Dovolani
- Cameron Mathison and Edyta Sliwinska
- Floyd Mayweather and Karina Smirnoff
- Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough
- Albert Reed and Anna Trebunskaya
- Mark Cuban and Kym Johnson
- Wayne Newton and Cheryl Burke
”Keep your legs together”
Our first victim is Jennie Garth, otherwise known as Kelly Taylor from “Beverly Hills 90210”, a show I have never seen. I swear. I'm telling you, Kelly should have married Dylan in the finale, they were the best couple. Apparently, Kelly, I mean Jennie, a mother of three, is a great fan of the show and has been watching from Season 1, never quite imagining herself as being one of the dancers. Her partner is Derek Hough, Julianne's big brother, and a new recruit. From their rehearsal we find out that Jennie doesn't like being the center of attention and feels that she may look like she's passing out at any minute.
They open the season with the Cha Cha Cha, set appropriately enough to “Uptown Girl” and it looks like Jennie can shake it well enough. At times it seemed she was slipping, not quite able to control her footwork, making small mistakes and overdoing the facial expressions a bit, but all in all, not a bad way to kick off the season. The first to offer a critique is Len, not known for being sweet and cuddly with contestants, is very complimentary to Jennie, saying she had good hip action but needs to watch that “soft and floppy” free leg. They probably told him not to flay them alive right in the first episode. There'll be plenty of time for that later on. Bruno is back judging as well, although I secretly think they keep him around mostly because he can deliver sexually suggestive one liners and make it seem like he didn't rehearse them. That's a rare talent. He says she looks like a “yummy mommy” and knows that she must have been really nervous. She must be careful to carry her leg movements through, he says, and she should keep her legs together. See what I mean about the sexually suggestive one liners? Carrie feels she did really well but she's not quite there yet, she's not really steady on her feet but says that for her first time out, she did great.
Drew is backstage with the couple, and he conducts the customary time wasting interview which, I'm sad to say, I will not be detailing unless somebody confesses to a felony, an affair with Bruno (or Len, or both), starts swearing and slaps Drew, or they are Maks. So most of the time I'll just skip ahead to the scores, which tonight are: Carrie 7, Len 7, Bruno 7. Their total is 21 out of 30. They're in the lead!!
A beautiful shipwreck
What would a DWTS season be without either a Miss USA or a supermodel or two? This time around we have Josie Maran who has graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the cover of countless magazines and generally looks pretty in ads and commercials for a living. She claims she's also had parts in Hollywood movies. I'll take her word for it. She wanted to come to the show to fulfill her dream of being a rock star without the singing, because when rock stars don't sing they do the Foxtrot on stage to make sure people get their money's worth. Their rehearsal is wrought with trouble: Josie is not terribly coordinated, she keeps stepping on Alec's toes and her body is a big clump of Jello with zero muscle. After some vigorous running up and down stairs – Alec boot camp - Josie declares that she's ready to dance.
Their Foxtrot is unremarkable. I'm being kind. Alec seems to be dragging her along for most of the dance, keeping her from falling on her face. Len says she looked elegant but Alec had to have her in a hold the whole time because Josie probably doesn't have enough control to dance by herself at all. Her footwork was bad and it just didn't work for Len. Carrie, card carrying member of the Worthless Flattery Society, thinks it was quite good. She says Josie has a lot of work to do but she'll do well. Bruno says she “looked like a beautiful sailing ship stranded on a sand bank”. His hope is that she'll come back for a Latin number and she'll amaze everybody. Yeah, maybe she'll manage to stand upright without help. Their scores reflect Josie's ineptitude: Carrie 6, Len 5, Bruno 5, for a total of 16.
Cheetalishious dancing Ninjas
Next up is Sabrina Bryan. She claims she's a singer and an actress but I have my doubts about that until my almost 9 year old tells me that Sabrina is in the Cheetah Girls. That doesn't ring any bells? Can't blame you. Apparently the Cheetah Girls are huge with the under 11 set. So she's not even F-list. More like F-minor list. She says she wants to add a “Cheetalishioush flavor” to the competition. Would that be sort of like bubble gum flavor? She is partnered with Mark Ballas Jr., another Dancing newbie but one whose parents are dancing superstars, who says he's “got the stealth of a dancing Ninja”. I'd love me some dancing Ninjas if I knew what they were. Mark greets her with pink roses in the studio, and they get right down to the business of making sure Sabrina can tell Hip-Hop from Cha Cha. After some futile attempts, Mark finally suggests adding some Hip-Hop into their routine to give it some edge. I can tell Mark is fresh from the dance farm. Hip-Hop to Len, is like red scarf to bull. This should be fun.
Cheetah girl does her Hip-Hop Cha Cha to the Pussycat Dolls's “Don't Cha”. More like, don't Cha Cha. They hop and skip and shake their stuff, and the whole thing is only about 25% Cha Cha, if that. Even Carrie thinks there was too much hip in this hop, and that Sabrina should be sticking to learning Ballroom dance. Bruno calls her a “bewitching blond dynamo”. This is only the third couple but Bruno is starting to irritate me. If he keeps this up, I'll be cutting out his overwrought witticisms before long. He says her footwork had surgical precision and he couldn't believe his eyes. Len tells Bruno to take a chill pill; he thinks the number was fresh and fun and he loved it but - you knew there was a but - he doesn't want to see any more Hip-Hop. Poor Sabrina will either have to learn to dance or be sent back to her flock of cheetah homies. Their scores are: Carrie 9, Len 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 26.
I hear a different kind of shymphony
Every year Dancing takes some people out of deep storage, airs them out to get that nasty mothball smell out of them, and gives them a chance to be cannon fodder on the first five or six episodes of the show. Somebody needs to be eliminated, and ABC likes to go for the sure thing. This year we have Wayne Newton, who is remarkably well preserved despite the fact that he's been around since before the Civil War, and Jane Seymour who is the oldest woman ever to be on the show. Then we have Marie Osmond, who started her career when she was three years old, about 12 US Presidents ago.
Marie first meets Jonathan in a recording studio where supposedly she is recording something, and she exclaims that “Oh, my heck!” he makes females look good. That Marie has such a way with words. Their dance is the Foxtrot and it turns out that Marie has an itty-bitty problem focusing and being serious, which frustrates Jonathan. They dance the Foxtrot to the Supremes' “I hear a symphony”, which is funny because all I can hear in my head while they're dancing is Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata. They glide and slide haltingly, and were it not for that sonata in my head I'd have fallen asleep. Bruno says she “created beautiful storytelling” and her acting made up for a lot of the dancing. Len thinks their dancing was like a “lovely present”. Carrie says Marie was adorable, she had nice lines and the Foxtrot suited her. Their scores are: Carrie 7, Len 7, Bruno7 for a total of 21 points.
Here to spice up the competition is Maksim Chmerkovskij, who is a great dancer. Last season he got paired with a boxer, this season he
drew the short strawended up with Melanie Brown, also known as Scary Spice, of Spice Girls fame. Unfortunately Scary is a bit of a control freak and that turns out to be a problem in the studio where Maks is supposed to be the boss. Melanie recognizes Maks' overbearing attitude as passion, which she says is a trait she shares, that many misinterpret as being bossiness. They dance the Cha Cha to Aretha Franklin's “A deeper love”. Scary is wearing a leopard print dress, while Maks is covered head to toe in black. I guess the bare chested routine will be reserved for the more desperate times later on, should Maks' choreography need a little boost.
Carrie thought it was very nice, Melanie surprised her by being a better dancer than Carrie thought she'd be. She did feel they were slightly out of sync during turns. Len liked the hip action, thought they sold it. Bruno was worried that “the feisty kitten” would not be tamed, but he feels she came out in full force and delivered. Their scores are 8 across the board, for a total of 24 points.
Jane Seymour, one time Bond girl and former TV frontier healer, once dreamed of becoming a ballerina, but that is now passee. An injury at age 16 prevented her from gracing the stage as Giselle or Odette, so instead she became an actress. However, that youthful dream persisted and thanks to Dancing's producers she is being given a chance to fulfill that youthful dream of being a dancer. Minus the whole pointe thing.
At age 57, Jane is the oldest woman to ever be on the show and she wants to bring some class to her dancing. Toni says that Jane pushes herself very hard and doesn't need to be prodded at all. She has something to prove and she wants to dance. Wearing a hot pink ankle length dress, with Toni in tails, they dance to Cole Porter's classic “Let's do it, let's fall in love”. Their performance is very sedate, smooth and elegant. They glide beautifully around the dance floor with nary a hint of stiffness. Hey, Ian, are you taking notes? Bruno proclaims it the “essence of elegance”, he says she has elegant lines, but needs to watch her turns. Carrie felt it was full of life and elegance. Len thought they were elegance personified and he also advises Jane to watch her turns, keep them tight. The final dance of the evening scores 8 points from all judges, for a total of 24 points.
Sizing up the competition
The women are done for tonight, and tomorrow it's the men's turn. Thanks to Dancing's
senior citizen outreach programgreat casting this season brings us living mummyVegas legend Wayne Newton, soap actor Cameron Mathison, whom I had to google, and a couple of other people I've never heard of. The guys think Floyd, who is apparently a welterweight boxing champion, is a major threat. What? I have a George Foreman grill, and that's as close as I come to boxing. I've never heard of Floyd before. Mark Cuban says he is a “lean, mean dancing machine”. Allrighty then.
After tonight, at the top of the heap are Sabrina and Mark, followed by Mell and Maks, and Jane and Toni. Tied in fourth place are Jennie and Derek, and Marie and Jonathan. In last place are Josie and Alec.
My sister in crime, this season, MotherSister, is bringing you all the testosterone fueled action Tuesday night, and I'll be back with Wednesday's show when we throw somebody off the wagon.
Last season I asked for pictures of Maks. I'm still waiting! PM me.