On Monday, I was setting the DVR to tape “Dancing With The Stars.” I felt as though I’d been transported into the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” as the DVR questioned the move. “Are you sure?”
Don’t judge me. You already set me up with “Project Runway” every week. Tape the show. Forget that I haven’t seen a minute of this thing except for the clips on “Access Hollywood,” “Extra,” “Jimmy Kimmel LIVE” or “Good Day, L.A.” It’s a new world order, and I wanted to see it play out.
You’re going to have to convince me that I need to keep coming back.
The casts of past seasons were intriguing, without a doubt. Adam Carolla has spoken often in defense of his unicycle choice. And, of course, the success of NFL stars has certainly put things on my radar for interview and discussion purposes.
On this night, I just had to sit down and watch the latest NFL star participant, Chad Ochocinco, get his groove on. I shan’t lie. The thought of watching Pamela Anderson and Nicole Scherzinger dance, coupled with my curiosity about Kate Gosselin and Buzz Aldrin, helped seal the deal. So, I sat down for the competition, and then extended my viewing with the “Votes” show.
Now, for those that don’t know all about Chad, let me break it down quickly. He’s a jokester, shameless self-promoter, great interview and one hell of a football player. Some commentators deride him as “selfish” and question his antics (just do a YouTube search for “Ochocinco touchdown dance”), but give me a guy who still wants football to be fun while playing at a high level. Do yourselves a favor. Follow Chad on Twitter (@OGochocinco).
I preface my review of the show and its participants in this manner. I don’t know anything about dancing except that my shoulders are broad enough to serve as a pillow. And, if you rock back and forth long enough, you just might get a good-sized nap in (request the live “Freebird” or “Hotel California”). So, for my viewing purposes, I was trying to read facial expressions, watching footwork and just trying to get a gauge of whether the dancers were confident … and whether they entertained me.
The theme of the night was “Tell Me A Story.”
Let me tell you mine.
1st – Evan Lysacheck & Anna – Quickstep – “Chicago”
I liked the practice session, with Evan saying “I’m not going to do it unless you explain it in a thick Russian accent.” He looked stiff at times and I thought you could see the wheels spinning when it came to turn, but the cartwheel at the end provided a big finish and won over the crowd. Nice score.
PS – You should have talked about the broken toes before the dance. That Bruno guy would give you some sympathy or call you a warrior or something.
2nd – Buzz Aldrin & Ashley — “The Waltz’ — “It’s a Wonderful World”
I’m a big fan of playing “spot the product placement” on TV shows. There was definitely a spot for it in the pre-dance clip of Buzz recording Ashley on his phone. Take the cash where you can.
Oh, and he might have had the quote of the night from that one. “I don’t comprehend not thinking about something.”
You couldn’t help but get wrapped up into the story of a soldier returning. However, you could see Ashley tapping him to prompt moves and you could see him thinking on the floor. I wrote “statue” in my notes, a though echoed in Bruno’s critique.
You know what. I didn’t care. The man at 80 was out dancing and having fun, participating in this spectacle and genuinely enjoying this connection to another generation. I can only hope to be so full of life when I reach his age. I salute you.
His post-dance Q&A was classic and couldn’t help but stir you a bit: “A patriotic geezer like me …”
Geezer had gone out of the vernacular (at least I hadn’t heard it in awhile), but I love that he wore the term proudly. Godspeed, Mr. Aldrin.
I would have loved to see you stay, but the fan base didn’t rally this time.
PS – Why couldn’t they have given the singer of the house band a number off and let Louis Armstrong do his magic with the song?
3rd – Jake and Chelsea — “The Bachelor” — “Walk Like An Egyptian” — Quick-step
There was a nice dramatic clip before their dance, but I have to wonder how it affected America’s sentiments. Jake & Chelsea were shown arguing and talking about respect.
In the end, he looked like he was having fun with it and was loose on his feet. And, they recognized that IT WAS A SHOW and used props and such. Again, perhaps it didn’t flow to professional dance standards, but it worked for a slouch like me.
In the sake of full disclosure, I’d never seen “The Bachelor” before one episode of Jake’s season. I still want to hit the production people for the flyover opener with him leaning on the motorcycle.
4th – Niecy & Louis — “The Waltz” – “With You, I’m Born Again” – Billy Preston
The dance flowed nicely, but I agreed with Len on the summary statement. Wasn’t she supposed to be happy at the end of the storyline of love struggles?
The inter-racial and gay marriage storylines certainly put a charge into the show and could have changed the mood. Living in LA, it’s a debate that remains in the forefront of political talk. I stepped back and wondered how the commentary was viewed by the nationwide viewing audience.
5th — Ochocinco & Cheryl — “Paso Doble”
This was the dance I was waiting for. Seriously, I had to get the NFL spin on it and add to the list of topics to torment Chad about come training camp.
The pre-dance roll had Cheryl explaining the dance “You’re trying to seduce me, but I want nothing to do with you. “Sounds like real life.”
He talks to himself, berates himself and tries to pump himself up. What’s not to like?
During the dance, Ochocinco keeps an intense look, and though his movements were sometimes forced, he looked comfortable overall. He’s a man known for end zone dances, so I expected nothing less.
I particularly enjoyed the shots of Florence Henderson and George Lopez during his dance. I don’t know why, but I did. The end of the dance offered the potential for an Adrien Brody-Halle Berry moment that didn’t materialize.
Ochocinco lives to see another day. I’ll be back next week, right?
6th – Pamela & Damian — Paso Doble – “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
Charo! Seriously, they busted out (no pun intended) Charo!
Whatever she helped Pamela with, it worked. She struggled a bit early with her hands, but found the rhythm and put together a great performance. Oh, and the snarky sense of humor came out at the end.
Do we still like Pam? Is the target audience digging Pam? Is she growing on them after nearly getting eliminated last week?
7th – Aidan & Edyta —- Quick-step –
I hated the line about “giving 150%” in the pre-dance B-roll. That always gets the blood boiling, but so be it. Aidan was stiff early as he brought his painting to life and then started to bounce and skip and have fun with it. He felt middle of the pack and that’s where he ended up.
8th – Erin & Maksim – Waltz –
I don’t know Erin, but have many friends and colleagues who have met or worked with her in the past and speak highly of her. So, I was happy to see her joking and laughing, enjoying this moment despite all of the things swirling around in the background.
They won the award for creativity with the inclusion of the blindfold. It was an element that certainly sent minds racing, but probably served as a nice bond-building structure for the dancers.
Len whined about the “walking” and his desire for “more dancing.” I thought it was all dancing, even in the pauses. I really need to go buy a rulebook …
9th Kate & Tony – “Paparazzi” — Paso Doble
As much as I was interested in seeing Chad and Pamela … and Erin and Buzz, I was certainly interested in seeing Kate Gosselin’s dance. At one point, the “Plus 8” show was a regular part of the viewing cycle and the “spot the product” game was born.
I liked the tongue-in-cheek song selection and the setup. I didn’t quite recognize her in the Cruella de Vil outfit out of the gate, but liked the choreography and where they were headed. I felt for her. You want to let it go and live in the moment, but she was clearly in her head about the steps and probably one million other things.
But, she said she felt proud after getting through the dance. Face your fears and issues and plow forth. Who’s to argue with that?
10th – Nicole & Derek — Quick-step – slacking off sailors – Anything Goes
I’m just going to ask it plainly. Why does she get to be in this?
Now, I’m not complaining about the outfit and her appearance, and there were certainly enough teases with her to keep the boyfriends and husbands engaged for the two hours, but she at an inherent advantage?
This was another great example of me knowing absolutely nothing about dance rules and such. Good entertainment is good entertainment.
So, yell from the rooftop, Mr. Len (I liked her “we broke Len’s Commandments” line), but you can’t deny that they stole the show. It was a fitting end to the night.
As I alluded to above, I did come back for the elimination show. I enjoyed the Reba McEntire numbers, although I would have liked to see them work to an extended version of “Fancy” or another classic.
Chad Ochocinco gave the audience and Brooke Burke a moment of pause when he spoke of “making love on the dance floor” with next week’s Rhumba, and Tom Bergeron capped it with a good joke.
All in all, I was entertained. Will it keep me tuning in on a consistent basis?
You tell me. Convince me.