June 08, 2005

Dancing with the Stars, pt 1

I didn't get a chance to watch it last week, but I taped it. Dancing with the Stars is ABC's summer reality show about ballroom dancing, pairing celebrities with professional dancers and dropping them into a stock reality competition format. Here are comments on the first round (last week).

The first guy was fun to watch because he looked like the newcomer that he is. Joey (formerly of NKOTB fame) had the sort of head-forward stance that so many newcomers take, and throws his arms out rather than bringing them up in a controlled fashion. The routine they've choreographed, like many open cha-cha routines, spends very little time actually chachaing, something I've never been a fan of but which doesn't seem to bother judges much. The first two judges gushed about his performance, but the third (Bruno) brought up his posture. He got a 20.

The second competitor, Rachel, danced a lovely routine to waltz music that looked more like something out of a theatre arts competition. Brit judge Len pointed out exactly that; she still got a 20.

Evander Holyfield was the third, and what he was dancing bore no perceptible relationship to the cha-cha. His partner had a few cha-cha moves, but he mostly just stood there; when he did move, it was just one or two steps on individual beats. I'm not sure I saw even one cha-cha-cha out of him. The judges seemed to pick up on this, but then awarded him an 18; the 7 and 6 he received were the same scores awarded to the previous two. Judges officially noted to be on crack.

The fourth dancer, Kelly, was loads of fun to watch, because she and her partner were the first to actually dance the dance. They did a waltz routine that circled the floor, including a mix of basic and advanced moves (several of which I've done myself---Kathleen and I could've done that routine much better, actually). The ending was a slight clunk, but that's what you get for dipping an inexperienced dancer. Even so, this was clearly and by far the best routine so far. Except... the judges, I now see, are not actually judging these dances as dance competitions, but as fun dances, where skill and style take a back seat to fancy and/or outrageous moves, regardless of execution. The entirety of their complaints seemed to have to do with her facial expression, except for Len, who went on about how the routine was all "flowers" and no "lawn", when in fact this was the first routine that had any basic moves at all, that showed any notion of the actual spirit of the dance. They socked her with a 13.

John, the fifth dancer, had a little sloppiness in the footwork, but excellent posture, and he really had the look and feel of the dance well in hand. There was some actual cha-cha-cha in the routine, and just the right amount of flash. (Also, nice shish-boom!) Easily the best of the three guys; but he's stuck with another damn 20.

Trista, who is by this point famous for being famous, was the last of the six competitors. Her dress was frustratingly too long, so I couldn't see her feet, but the motion was generally pretty good, especially for a newcomer. Overall, I rated her as a "meh"---it was recognisably a waltz that she was doing, basically, and had no particularly notable positive or negative characteristics. The judges gave her an 18, which, whatever. Their numbers clearly have very little attachment to reality.

Now off to watch this week's tape, and see who gets bumped off. Apparently "half" of the points are to come from viewer voting, but it's not clear what the algorithm will be, or how many votes Kelly will need to overcome her undeservedly low score of 13, when everyone else had basically the same scores. :P

"In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it: Social Darwinism, every man or woman for him or herself. It's a tempting idea, because it doesn't require much thought or ingenuity.... And it's especially tempting because each of us believes we will always be the winner in life's lottery." --Sen. Barack Obama

Posted by blahedo at 10:51pm on 8 Jun 2005
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