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'Dancing with the Stars' season 8 a mixed bag

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Season 8 of "Dancing with the Stars" holds so much joy, laughter and promise, thanks in great measure to a very "level" playing field. Everyone seemed so new to the ballroom process and it wasn't until Gilles Marini's sexy Cha Cha and Shawn Johnsons' gorgeous waltz did the ballroom truly erupt into applause. Oh what fun it is to see everyone with their guard down, rhinestones flying and spandex stretching.

And then, the sky fell. There was "Bachelor" reject Melissa Rycroft who danced last and who proved that anyone with ballet and professional cheerleading in her background will leave the rest of the pack saying, HUH? Which leaves me asking, WHY? Is this ABC's way of making things right with the jilted bachelorette? This is the third reality show for the fetching brunette; seems you can make a career out of starring on reality shows.

Back to our story...
Until the end of hour two, it was night of goofs and gaffes and pretty much celebs being totally out of their comfort zones. And that's what made "DWTS" one of the most charming shows on television. Case in point, Steve-O, who proved even a Jackass can waltz, or at least attempt to waltz. Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson proved even an athlete trained to hide emotions in competition can emote beautifully while waltzing; she scored one of the night's biggest ovations with her gorgeous turn on the dance floor with partner Mark Ballas. The petite 17-year-old (the youngest competitor ever) might very well prove to be one of the season's biggest contenders.

Note to the judges, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli: Listen to what you're saying. All three were guilty of some ridiculous scorings tonight, starting with their way-too-low 14 for rodeo champ Ty Murray. Good god, the cowboy is COMPLETELY in another world here and he was as charming and competitive as any of them. Later, the trio of judges couldn't help but rip into practically every move made by Playboy playmate Holly Madison (who signed on when Jewel bowed out) just a week ago, only to turn around and reward her silly Cha Cha with an 18. A little while later, it was Denise Richard's awkward Cha Cha that earned her all sorts of criticism (and most of it was not nice) from the judges, who promptly rewarded her with an 18. (She and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy have just about no chemistry, at least after the first week). There is no way that Holly and Denise were better than Ty or even NFL great Lawrence Taylor who snagged a mere 16 for his Cha Cha (that incidentally featuerd a whole lot more Cha than either Holly's or Denise's).

Chuck WIcks and his main real-life squeeze Juilanne Hough were saccharine sweet during their romantic waltz, earning a well-deserved 20, but there was a lot of bickering during the rehearsal stages judging from the video that rolled. Let's see if their relationship can take it.

Which brings us to Gilles Marini (whose adorable son watched ringside). Yes, he was naked in the feature film "Sex and the City," but he oozed more sexiness tonight ---- fully clothed and shaking his hips to beat the band --- than he did in any gratuitous nude scene from the film. Somebody get Carrie Ann Inaba a cold shower, btw!

Credit Denise Richards with the first tears shed of the season. The little darling just couldn't take mean old Maks' criticism/instruction during rehearsals. Boo hoo hoo. Credit Karina Smirnoff with wearing even less clothing than Edyta Sliwinska. Credit Belinda Carlisle with looking eerily like a younger Priscilla Presley. Credit Lil Kim with putting on a good face in the wake of all those stupid prison jokes that are likely to continue to surface as the season goes on. Credit David Alan Grier with exhibiting the greatest number of expressions possible during one waltz

The leaders at the end of the night? Gilles and Cheryl (who's looking quite slimmed down this season). The bottom of the leaderboard? Alas, it's Apple computer geek Steve Wozniak (score for the night, 13) who proved geeks really can dance. Not.

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14 Comments

Miriam,

Thanks for pointing out that the cowboy deserved a lot more than the judges gave him credit for. We all saw how stiff and awkward he was. It's not necessary to painfully point it out again during judging.

Also I am definitely not a geek or nerd but I was totally won over by the Woz. Here is a guy with beaucoup bux who could sit home smoking fat cigars and laugh at the contestants but chooses to come on the show and put himself up for ridicule. I think it's great when they put someone in the lineup who EVERYONE can identify with, as far as dance skills.

Finally I don't think the boyfriend/girlfriend coupling thing is working for me. Julianne Hough is about the hottest woman on the planet but when I see her smooching on her boyfriend, kind of loses the appeal for me.

I don't care if Melissa was or wasn't on 3 reality shows (BTW I don't consider her trying out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders a stint on a reality show. She would have tried out regardless if it was on TV or not), I think she danced beautifully!

The other competitors are thinking "Huh?", mainly because she blew them away after less than 48 hours of practice. Her dance classes when she was younger and her time as a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader sure paid off. It was refreshing to watch someone who is sweet, beautiful and can dance.

I look forward to watching Melissa, Shawn and Gilles on this season's DWTS! :)

Im not quite sure what the criteria is, but I really thought Belinda Carlisle was FANTASTIC- She looked stunning and elegant, and her moves for an amateur were beautiful-

I tuned in because of The Woz. Most computer nerds that I know (and I know lots) are also musicians, so I was hoping for Steve to surprise everyone. He didn't. He participated with good grace, however. I'm happy to see that the producers even gave him a chance, because the nerd world is way under-represented. Then again, would anyone outside of the business be able to name five nerd 'stars'? Didn't think so. So I give him (and the producers) points for inviting him and leave it at that.

I like seeing so many pros from 'So you think you can dance'. Pros appearing for the first time are Dmitri and Chelsea, joining Lacey Schwimmer, also a SYTYCD contestant. I don't think Chelsea's *star* will be lasting all that long but I'll vote for her in the meantime. Ditto Dmitri.

As for the contestants, gotta say I love Gilles. 'Nuff said.
I still remember Shawn Johnson the next day, so she's gotten my attention. L'il Kim? Bye-bye (sorry, Derek). Belinda - toodle-loo.
Looking forward to next week.

Dancing with the Stars is back for an eighth season. Will eight be enough?

Personally, I'm not too thrilled with this season's lineup but there are a few contestants who left an impression. Of course, it is way too early to make any predictions but I do like:

Gilles ____ (whoever he is. . . never saw him before in my LIFE. . . LOL) He is smooth on the dance floor.

Steve Wozniak: poor Apple geek. . . clumsy as all hell but loveable . . . may be first to get the boot though.

Lil Kim: gotta root for the bad girl. . .

Shawn Johnson: I like her cutesy innocence. She glides across the floor.

Melissa ___ (The Bachelor dismissal): She has the sympathy vote this season but with only 48 hrs.' training I think she did really well. I'm rooting for her to go far although I never watched the stupid Bachelor show__ever. LOL

LT: He won't go far but I like his humility. Attitude is EVERYTHING.



Not liking:
Playboy playmate __Holly Madison

Spoiled brat __Denise Richards: her legs look all gangly like a marionette. . . at least on my TV . . .LOL



As for the rest, I don't remember who they are and I'm not trying too hard. I think I won't be too upset if I miss some episodes this season. Bruno needs to take a chill pill for a few weeks.

Where's Cloris when you need her?

Were you high? what show were you watching? Ty Murray couldn't dance his way out of a paper bag. He has two left feet and has been training longer than all of the other newest celebs together. He will have an early exit either next week or the next after that. As far as Melissa she's going for her 15 minutes of fame. Doesn't seem like she needed too much time to get over Jason who was engaged to her just a few short days ago. I think the whole thing was a setup by her to get her fame on the Bachelor and any other shows she can get on to get noticed and be a star, but she does have talent and will be around for a long time. I have actually taken Ball Room dancing lessons and the moves that she did were quite difficult. It is not easy to hold your leg in that position Ballet or not as we saw earlierwith one of the earlier celebs who did the same move. This also proves my point that Steve Wozniak danced better than Ty Murray and got a lower score than him. There are definitely some dancers to watch this season and no one danced as I expected for the first night of DWTS. There were a lot of suprises. So Miriam I think its time for you to get some dancing lessons before you critique the next show!

I think the first nite went very well, despite the two setbacks. Lil Kim did an amazing job being first on the dance floor, Belinda Carlise did a good job - yes - she did look like Priscilla Presley, Larry Taylor did a good job but needs to loosen up and shake it a bit more, Steve-O was a nice surprise - didn't know what to expect from him (love Lacey by the way, my kinda girl), Gilles Marini was amazing also - he seemed to really get into the dancing, Chuck Wicks did a good job but I knew Carrie Ann was gonna notice the foot coming off the floor - she's got me looking for that now also, Holly Madison did a teriffic job for has so little time to learn the dance - hopefully as she gets less nervous the "giggles" will go away - can we say "annoying?", Ty Murry did a teriffic job also for being WAY out of his comfort zone - can see him doing better in a slow dance, Shawn Johnson - almost didn't recognize her in regular clothes - lol - did a good job, Steve Wozniak unfortunately was the comedic high point of the show - I really think he did well, David A. Grier was smooth and elegant - wasn't watching his facial expressions as much as his leaning over Kym - needs to straighten up, Denise Richards - sorry - all I can say is "Ick" - didn't like her dancing at all, Melissa did a teriffic job for only have 2 days rehersal - ballet and cheerleading really come in handy - can't wait to see her in a samba/cha-cha dance. Bruno must have had too many cups of coffee before the show, he was WAY to physical (get up off his chair to show examples of arm movements, etc). Thought poor Len was gonna get wacked a couple of times...lol. All in all a very good first season. I only gave Denise Richards a score of 5, others got 6's or 7's with Gilles Marini getting and 8 from me.

I agree that the scoring was inconsistent - makes you wonder if there is a hidden agenda. But the show is always a mixed bag - which is part of its charm. People are more likely to remember Denise's tears than her performance (her hair was much too severe) and I know I'm going to remember Gilles and Cheryl a lot longer than Holly Madison!

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This page contains a single entry by Miriam Di Nunzio published on March 9, 2009 8:51 PM.

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