Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dancing With the Stars

I decided at the end of Dancing With the Stars last season, that an on-going introspective, regular Joe's anaylsis of the dancing would be something entertaining for me to put together. It keeps me involved in a running project and gives me a creative outlet. Since I didn't get to see all of last season, I'm going to break it down this season for as many of the episodes as I can keep up with.

So here it goes...

The first thing I have noticed about this season, and to a degree last season, is that the stars are becoming more and more famous. Originally, there were some people they had to pull from the depths of virtual obscurity. But as the seasons have progressed, more current stars seem to have taken an interest.

Last night the 6 male contestants took the floor for the season opener. World-renowned magician, Penn Jillette led of the night with his partner, Dancing With the Stars Veteran, Kym Johnson. I can appreciate the physical difficulty of making your body do something it doesn't normally do. And I support the effort to overcome the mental difficulties of putting yourself in a position that isn't somewhere you're used to being. That goes for all the contestants. And Penn has the added difficulty of being easily a foot taller than his deminutive partner. Still, he looked particularly awkward and uncomfortable. The judges gave him some grief for his posture, but come on...it's like Shaq out there.

Christian de la Fuente was paired with 2-time DWTS winner Cheryl Burke. Historically, the latin men have always seemed to have some manner of innate ability to pick up the dances and move seamlessly. Not so much for Christian. He was okay for his first night out, but looked like he was slouching all night...a common theme amongst the men. But while the other pros watered down their moves to accommodate the novice level of their partners, Cheryl just kept right on spinning like a top with sharp and complex motions which succeeded only in making him look worse.

Funny man Adam Carolla was partnered with the other 2-time winner, Julianne Huff. I guess the producers decided that 2 wins were enough for her.

Actor, Steve Guttenberg had a wonderful first show. His dancing left a bit to be desired, but he really embraced the wholesome and entertaining nature of the program. He was gracious about the critiques that were offered to him, and his enjoyent of the evening was apparent all night.

NFL superstar Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins really took a chance by being a part of the cast. Ofcourse, he's going to catch three kinds of hell from his teammates for ballroom dancing in the off season, but he was flat out good. Like Penn, he's a particularly big guy. Shocker...a football player is big. But he moved very well and was well received by the judges and audience alike.

But the night belonged to R&B signer, Mario. At 21, he is the youngest competitor on the show, and he has been paired with Karina Smirnoff. Karina, for those of you not keeping score at home, was the pro who managed to take another Mario, Mario Lopez, all the way to the finals a few seasons back. Mario was smooth, graceful, and personable, a true triple threat to all contestants. While the men generally were scoring in the mid to upper teens, Mario started his conquest with a solid 24. Last season, Sabrina Bryan started off in a similar manner only to be ousted in what most fans considered to be borderline unacceptable. Hopefully this won't happen here. His biggest issue, however, may be that he set the bar too high too fast for his future performances. But unless one of the woman does something spectacular, he should run away with it.

The women perform tonight at 9. Let's see what they have to offer.

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