Watching Dancing with the Stars – September 19, 2010

Mike Sorrentino is being official billed as “The Situation.” Bristol Palin is being introduced as a “teen activist.” It took Margaret Cho exactly one parade down the spiral staircase to slip and nearly fall. Florence Henderson has legs that defy reason.

Season eleven of Dancing with the Stars is off and prancing, and the “Mama Grizzly Watch” has officially begun.


Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovolani

The first spot on the first show of the season is usually a forgetabble D-lister.  This year it’s Audrina Patridge. You make the call.

Last season, Tony was stuck dancing with the rusty pogo stick that was Kate Gosselin, and this time around he gets Audrina from The Hills. Does he specifically request the reality divas with no dance experience, or do the producers just dislike him greatly?

Tony reminds the audience in his tape piece that he’s never won the mirror ball trophy, as if he somehow thinks after all these years, Audrina’s the one who’s going to show him the path to the confetti shower.

The general consensus from what I’ve read and heard is that Audrina is going to be the first voted off because of her lack of a fan base over the age of fifteen. She certainly has the tan, taut body of a dancer, and a great smile, even though their cha cha was rather unremarkable. Hardly an embarrassment, but that plus an anemic home voter total probably won’t be enough to keep her spotlight from being extinguished tomorrow night.

TOTAL = 19

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya

Athletes generally do well on the show, but it seems that Kurt will not be able to carry on the tradition. He looks like he’s about to trip and fall when he’s standing still. He does possess the ability to spin in a circle and look content at the same time, but so does a labrador.  Bruno and Carrie Ann both politely said they saw “potential.” Thank God for Len, who called Kurt out on a total lack of grace and fluidity.

No “Mama Grizzly” sightings yet, but did anyone else notice Meredith Baxter sitting next to Kurt’s family when they cut away to the audience applauding? Every season there’s always some random celebrities you never expect to see plopped right there in the front row.

TOTAL = 19

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer

I have no idea who this person is. He’s got the Disney Channel family angle, which probably puts his fan base at a lower age median than Audrina’s. But clearly the guy’s got natural rhythm and natural charm, which distracted from his lack of ability to do much more than shake and make “fierce face” at his partner. Still, he’s the first performer of the night I’m actually looking forward to seeing again. He even managed to get a subdued “I liked it” from Len.

And another moment caught on camera… professionals Mark and Kym basically sharing an annoyed eye roll when Kyle finished his dance and took one of those hammy Rocky Balboa “runs of glory” around the floor to generate extra applause.

TOTAL = 23

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke

Pairing a three-time champion Laker with a two-time DWTS winner spells a good combination, but like last season with Ochocinco, Cheryl is once again saddled with a major height difference.  She barely comes up to Rick’s armpit.  And much like Kurt, Rick was able to get the moves down technically, but seemed overwhelmed by nerves to put any genuine emotion into it.

TOTAL = 22

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

The heavily-tattooed Margaret Cho & Louis Van Amstel

Who knew she had that much ink? Louis, for the second season in a row is saddled with the “funny gal” with the “jiggly parts.” It isn’t long before Margaret can work in that near-trademark impression of her mousy old-world mother, and remind us she doesn’t feel pretty.

Margaret had a look of bat-villain intensity in her over-the-top Asian-inspired black gown and golden butterfly wing cape which continually and intentionally plopped down over her head like a round of tossed-up pizza dough.

Bruno absolutely nailed it during the comments. The “comedy” towards the end of the dance didn’t work because she came out looking so strong off the top. Plus, it wasn’t really very funny. I’d hate to see Margaret go this early, but the combination of drama and slapstick was a non-success.

TOTAL = 15, but Margaret’s got the gays in her corner, and her upbeat response to the lousy score gives her a pure entertainment value we’ve yet to see this evening.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

I’ve been waiting on you, Brandy! I’m expecting you to be a real contender and set the floor on fire. You’ve got the “Bad Boy of Ballroom” on your side who scores thousands of votes every time he takes off his shirt (though he better up the crunches this season, going up against The Situation). They’ve both got the egos of divas, and it translated into electric precision throughout their Viennese waltz. Graceful for sure, but I’m waiting to see these two do a lot of shaking and grinding, and I got none of that tonight.

TOTAL = 23

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas

When Bristol humbly refers to herself as a “regular girl,” an argument could be made. But she’s only famous because of her mother, which in the DWTS realm, makes her about as regular as they come. Bristol started her dance in a conservative “post beauty pageant” Sarah Palin candidate suit, which she promptly ripped off revealing a short crimson number with enough fringe to make her undulating look more impressive that it probably really was.

Bristol looked nervous and uncomfortable, but at least she wasn’t counting out loud, which immediately places her light years ahead of Kate Gosselin. Len called the performance “acceptable for week one,” which means she got through it without knocking out her front teeth or spontaneously throwing up on her partner.

Spotted Bachelor Jake Pavelka in one of the audience cut-aways after Bristol’s performance. Do you think the producers reward home viewers for suffering through a bland performance with a rousing game of celebrity “Where’s Waldo?”

TOTAL = 18 – almost one point for every year of life Bristol managed to go without getting pregnant!

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas

Well, here’s a chick you probably won’t see throwing an ankle up over her partner’s neck. What can I say? Seventy-six year old Florence has certainly got the charm and the smile, as well as the loyalty of the audience.  But the dance had nothing going for it. Florence got praise for “enjoying herself on the floor,” and when that’s the best compliment you can give, there’s trouble ahead.

Len called her dance “great entertainment,” because even Len knows when he better not go against public sentiment and keep his real opinions to himself.

TOTAL = 18

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Michael Bolton & Chelsie Hightower

So far, there are about two too many clunky super-tall guys with no life in their moves on this show. You know The Hoff isn’t going to disappoint, so they should have slotted him in somewhere between Kurt, Rick and Mister Michael Bolton, who was as bland as fat-free mayo. “Good stuff… good stuff,” Tom Bergeron professed meekly before making sure he stepped clear of the camera to leave Michael and Chelsie alone for their drubbings from the judges. Carrie Anne criticized Michael on his “frames.” Len admonished him on his posture and called the performance “off-putting.” Bruno advised Michael to “take it eeeeeaaassssssssssy.” Overall, there is a tension issue going on with Mister Michael that I don’t see him overcoming before he’s eliminated.

TOTAL = 16

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

The Situation & Karina Smirnoff

The Situation had only five days to rehearse after wrapping the second season of Jersey Shore, and the potential for dance floor calamity probably helped sell him to the show. No use in trying to judge his terribly under-rehearsed performance, as Len pointed out.

As Len continued, The Situation interrupted him with, “Did I tell you you had a nice suit on?” which he apparently thought would be charming, but to which Len immediately shot back with, “Well thank you very much. Did I tell you you’ve got the guns but not the ammunition?”

Been-there Done-that Elder: 1
Smarmy Little Jersey Shit: 0

That exchange alone makes me hope The Situation remains for at least a few more weeks.

TOTAL = 15 – that would be the lowest score of the night.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough

There’s Jamie Lee Curits behind Tom as he introduces Jennifer Grey, in case you missed it.

Having to dance their first dance to “These Arms of Mine” from Dirty Dancing gave Jennifer, less than thirty seconds after being introduced in the tape package, the convenient “break down in tears and mention Patrick Swayze’s name as fast as possible” moment everyone probably needed.  As for the dance, Bruno referred to “someone” looking down and being proud.  Carrie Ann cried.  Len kept it real with, “I’m waiting for next week.”

I’ve never seen Dirty Dancing, so perhaps I can speak for the small tribe of people out there like me.  This whole segment came off a little forced.  Hopefully others enjoyed it more.

TOTAL = 24 – that would be the high score of the night.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

David Hasselhoff & Kym Johnson

You know what I love about David Hasselhoff? He has never turned his back on the cheesy television that made him a celebrity and a multi-millionaire. Tonight was a perfect example.  See David speak commands into his watch the way he did when he needed to summon KITT! See David proudly throw that red lifeguard floatie thing over his shoulder and rip off his sunglasses! See David proudly proclaim, “I’m still a big star in Germany!”

That doesn’t mean I’m a fan of David Hasselhoff, but watching his ridiculous ego take a beating here will make good television. And the fact that David knows that his being something of a joke is a hell of a business makes it somehow all guilt-free.

Yes, he danced badly to a song called “Sex Bomb.” Yes, he tried ripping off his leather jacket like a twenty-year old John Travolta in Grease. Yes, he is the Tom Jones of reality television. And yes, there was that hamburger thing that’s kind of hard to forget.  It’s a train wreck, but at least the train has been given the choice of track to take.

Carrie Ann called him a combination of Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer.
Bruno called it “all madness, no dancing,” then butchered the word potpourri.
Len’s line was great: “David… it’s never too early to panic.”

TOTAL = 15

HIGH SCORES OF THE NIGHT – Jennifer Grey & Derek

LOW SCORES OF THE NIGHT – Margaret & Louie, The Situation  & Karina and The Hoff & Kym

Who’s going home? I’m sticking with Audrina and hoping Tony gets a better pairing next year. Did I miss any celebrities in the audience? Let me know.

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4 thoughts on “Watching Dancing with the Stars – September 19, 2010

  • September 21, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Two things… “Bat-villain intensity” what a great line

    And never saw dirty Dancing… Children these days, go sit in the corner

    Loved the review (don’t watch the first night, they rerun it to death the second). But I voted blind for Bristol (who really wants her gone???), Flo (I always vote for the old folks), and the Situation is the goof factor that I hope stays to the final 4

    Entertainment TV indeed

  • September 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Oh, the Situation is going to grow very stale if he’s on for too long. I give him three eliminations, tops. Why does he point all the time? He points at the camera, at his partner, in the air, to the floor. It’s clear he is very awkward. So far, I’m not rooting for anyone to win, but Brandy seems to be the best amateur dancer of the group.

  • September 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    OK, It was so rehearsed with Jennifer Grey and the Patrick Swayze breakdown. This is part of the hoopla with the show. How else can you get ratings. They all do it. Hated Bristol and the Hoff. You still need to at least have the background of Dirty Dancing to judge what is going on with Jennifer.

  • September 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    @YOTG and Penny – I don’t know if I’m gonna like it, but I’ll record it next time it’s on cable. I remember all the hype about it and all the girls at my school going on endlessly about it turned me off completely.

    @DT – I noticed the pointing too. Yes, he is very uncomfortable and I’m uncomfortable watching him.

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