DWTS Week 4.2 Villains

It turned out as I called it. Yay. I don’t think it surprised anyone, least of all Brian, that he came in last place. Since Martin Kove got kicked off, it seems the mantle of grandpa at the wedding has fallen on Brian, even though he’s only 48. His paso was embarrassing, especially when he was doddering about like an old man.

I was crossing my fingers when the judges were deciding who to save. I really wanted them to save Kenya because she is a better dancer than Matt. He’s just a mess. I had thought for a double elimination they might just put the bottom three out there and ask the judges to save one. I don’t know why they did it the way they did, unless they wanted to make sure that Brian got the ax. He’s the only one they told, “you lose, go home, no chance of redemption by the judges.” Pretty cold. There’s been a lot of internet chatter that people are pissed because 2 judges wanting to save Matt and one wanting Kenya was not an even split. But it’s their game so they can make any rules they want. In the end, the better dancer was salvaged. Not that she’s anything special. Being the least bad of a group of bad is not much of a claim to make.

Matt’s paso doble was not his worst performance and may have been one of his best. The weird expression on his face freaked me out. It wasn’t passion or aggression or any of the emotions I equate with paso. It was more like mania. Scary. And Derek called him on stumbling while trying to drag Lindsay through her splits.

Cody and Cheryl keep flirting with the bottom of the chart. They scored just above the two who went home. If the bottom two next week are them and Kenya, they may be in trouble. I’m not sure if the Pelaton world votes more than Atlanta housewives. But to the judges, Kenya has been consistently acceptable whereas Cody has been hit and miss. They may have mercy and give him a break seeing as his time there has been a disaster. I like that he’s tall and in shape, so he looks the part of a leader. Cheryl will slap him into shape. However, that Viennese waltz was way too stiff. I did like that Len congratulated them on the flekerl. I love that move. It looks like this coming week will be the first time they’ve had the same amount of time as everyone else to prepare. I’m sure Cheryl is riding his ass.

Kenya’s Viennese waltz on the other hand was more polished, although she did stumble coming out of a turn, and she was frequently off balance. I don’t think Brandon’s ever taken anyone to the finals yet, and I don’t feel this will be his year. I’d like to see her leave next.

Iman and Daniella must be the most surprised couple of the season. After several weeks of being a wandering mess, he started shaping up into a dancer. He’s still not all that good, has a long way to go, but he’s actually doing some dancing. The real star of their routine, however, was Daniella. How in the world did she keep her body stiff for those lifts? They were amazing. The judges fawned all over Iman for it, but all he did was lift her like she was a bar at the gym. Is that the move they call the jerk – lifting from a dead stop? Aside from the lifts, though, he still suffers from awkward body movements. He looks ungainly, especially when matched up with Daniella. He loses all musicality and body flight. Maybe she’ll find the key, but I don’t expect him to be around very much longer.

I’m still in love with The Miz. That was a damn dark tango. An Argentine tango is a lot about performance and that’s his strong suit. He’s a natural showman. That came out in spades in a super scary dance that held me spellbound. Love how he works the cameras. And he even looked like the evil Scar.

I loved the music and feel Mel C. and Gleb created with their Viennese waltz. It was haunting and moving, but I kept waiting for the waltz part to happen. It was too much arms and not enough spins. I agree with Len on calling them for not enough waltz. And what was that on Gleb’s chest? Fire?

Jimmie and Emma got the dreaded (by me, at least) jazz. What’s with all the jazz, anyway? Len goes on and on about it being a ballroom dance and Carrie Ann is manic about calling out lifts like in ballroom comps. Then they throw in this non-ballroom crap. If I wanted to see jazz, I’d turn the channel to wherever jazz lives. If they want to make us watch non-ballroom, why not put in dances that people would like to see like West Coast Swing, Hustle, Country Two Step. Those are dances the public would recognize. Who knows what the hell “jazz” is?

Anyway, I didn’t understand Jimmie’s dance, but it looked fun. And he didn’t cry.

Amanda was simply mesmerizing in her paso doble. Even as the female, she dominated the floor. Scary how well she channeled the villain. As Len said, it had the menace factor. And Bruno mentioned the danger and aggression. It was the whole package. All the things that make paso great. I loved it. I give them a 10. But why was Alan in a blonde wig?

Finally, the real Suni showed up and danced. She not only danced, she threw down. Her best dance yet. Great Viennese.

Olivia and Val with jazz, again. I didn’t see the movie, so I didn’t get the references. In fact, other than Snow White when I was 7, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any Disney movie. So sue me. And I’m really getting tired of the jazz.

I don’t agree with the judges about JoJo’s paso doble. I think it was her best dance to date. She hit that dance like it was the bully she hated. Kinda like Mean Girls in a cat fight. Passion, aggression and anger. Good show.

Melora and Artem. <resigned sigh>  Jazz again. Len broke out the 10 paddle for this? Someone needs to check his meds.  

The scores show the story thus far. The top five are the 5 best ladies. Melora is a surprise in this group. Has she peaked too early or just in time? Now that Suni is back in how will this affect the dynamics? Olivia, Amanda, and JoJo are yet to square off. In the bottom tier I expect Cody and Kenya to bow out quickly, leaving Jimmie, Mel C, Iman and The Miz to fight for “also ran” status. In a perfect world, Jimmie and The Miz would survive in this grouping to duke it out head-to-head. Jimmie’s got the smooth and The Miz’s got the schmooze.

As to Halloween, will DWTS go all out on October 25, which seems too early or November 1? Even one day after Halloween it seems anticlimactic. I guess they have to go with the 25th. How many weeks is this supposed to go on anyway? After next week’s Grease there will be 10, after Halloween 9, and after November 1 we’ll have 8 contestants left. Barring double eliminations we’ll need four more weeks to get down to 4 for the finale. That takes us to November 29 with the showdown the first week in December. Just in time for my birthday.

Next up: Grease is the word.

DWTS Week 4.1 Heroes

I’m pleased to announce we made it through the first night of Disney without any awful dances. Some of them may be counted as a series of unfortunate events, but the only thing truly dreadful was Tyra and her wardrobe. That monstrosity she came out in made her hips look as big as my grandma’s wide-butt washing machine. I’m taking bets that tonight she comes out as Cruella de Ville.

The ladies have taken over the show this season. The bottom seven were all the men plus Kenya. Jimmie did get a bump over Mel C. when he got the 2 extra points for the bizarre Mickey challenge. The highest scoring male was The Miz. For some reason, I love The Miz.

The two unarguably worst dances of the night were Brian Green and Matt James.

Maybe Matt should have defrosted his Frozone before putting it on the floor because it was the stiffest Quickstep I’ve seen recently. The silly outfit did him no favors, just showed off his big booty, and the insertion of the Mickey moves was awkward at best. Yuck.

Brian’s waltz was not impressive. The waltz is supposed to be romantic and Brian and Sharna claim to be in love. I see no evidence of it in this dance. It was flat and flavorless. I’m with Bruno in thinking it should be more. Technically he had no rise and fall, and they both flubbed the Mickey move. He never clapped under his knee, and Sharna only swatted her hand at her knee. Much as I love Sharna, these two guys need to be the next to go. I imagine Bachelor Nation swings more clout than old 90210 fans so I expect it will be Brian getting the boot. He and Sharna can snuggle at home and watch the rest of the season.

I truly wanted to love Cody’s jive. I mean he’s our homeboy and has been battling Covid. Who doesn’t love an underdog? But alas, it was a disappointment. It lacked the energy of a jive and was short on content. Like the judges I wanted more kicks and flicks. If you have a few minutes here’s a look at what I expect from a jive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWarrvF4nSE

Kenya’s contemporary routine was utterly forgettable. Brandon showed off and outdanced her. The transitions were rough and the choreo was pedestrian. Twenty-nine points was too kind.

I really like Jimmie Allen and Emma as a pair. They seem to be fun together. It’s a shame he won’t make it very far. He’s got great dance instincts. From his earlier rumba I knew he was good at lines and had great shaping. I thought paso doble would be his dance. Emma just didn’t give him enough to do. I liked how they worked in the Mickey moves and made them actually look like paso, but in the end it lacked the passion and aggression, the subtle menace that paso requires. Jimmie just isn’t scary enough. And what’s with all the tears? He’s cried on three of the last four shows. Maybe that’s why he’s in country music – all the songs are sad. On a side note has anyone else noticed that he and the hip hop dancer Fikshun (got his start on SYTYCD) must have been separated at birth? They could be twins.

Iman surprised everybody, maybe even himself, with his performance of the foxtrot. He was so graceful and light on his feet. His body just sang with the music. Until he and Daniella came together. Then he hunched over to make up for the height difference and stuck his butt out. He began clomping and lost all semblance of body flight. That ruined the dance for me. But I did like his backstory. Dr. Shump delivered his own kids. I can understand the first time, but the second was more like a Britney Spears Oops I Did It Again.

I love The Miz. I so wish he could make the finals. He’s the best male contestant this go round. And he’s so personable. He comes across in the wrestling world as a villain, but it’s so cool when you find out the villain has a heart of gold. Kind of like a few years ago when Jerry Springer gained redemption on DWTS. So his Quickstep wasn’t the most graceful ever and there were weird little baby steps at the beginning, it was so much better than the other blue guy. What’s the deal with Quickstep and blue? The Miz is such a showman and really sold it. He makes me laugh. And he moves so well for a big guy. Love me some Miz.

Mel – Jazz. I don’t do jazz. It’s not ballroom. From what I could tell it was a frenetic mess and Gleb needed to wash his face.

Amanda had one of the best dances of the night in my opinion. She made the rumba romantic and sexy without it turning into vertical sex. They even made the weird Mickey moves look elegant. But that last little jump was way out of sync. Just a few seconds into the dance they did a series of synchronized turns that made me shout. It was so cool. Loved it. But why was Alan wearing his Pirates of the Caribbean pants and not a Ron Ely style loin cloth/mini-skirt?

Val looked great in his samba with Olivia. Great hip action. Now she needs to do the same thing. I loved the samba rolls and real samba moves. It made me smile, but it was all about him. She’s got the makings of a top-notch dancer but he needs to make her do it rather than grandstand and drag her through.

JoJo’s Viennese waltz was nice but it never reached escape velocity for me. It was clean and sharp but lacked something. Maybe it’s just that I’m old fashioned and think every dance couple needs a Y chromosome. A quick internet check reveals there is a whole culture of same gender couple dancing, even competitions. I remember a few years back a same gender couple (men) tried out for So You Think You Can Dance. They were not very good. Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy made fun of them and said some rather homophobic things. He actually apologized on air the next week for what he said, but it was perfunctory rather than heartfelt, just because of the producers. So I know JoJo has faced challenges since coming out, and I applaud her courage. Someone sent me a TED talk some time back that went over Liquid Lead. It was about a way of dancing that switched the lead back and forth between partners. Rewatching it has given me a better perspective on appreciating JoJo and Jenna’s performances. I recommend it. Maybe JoJo and Emma should try exchanging leads. I bet it would wow the judges and the audience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mq-HqRnngc

Melora was the surprise of the night. That was a Quickstep for the ages. It’s how the dance should be done. Kudos to her and Artem. But I’m not all that surprised at what Artem can do with a partner. He’s won a mirror ball already. I loved the Roaring Twenty’s flavor of the dance and how Melora kept up with Artem’s energy. I absolutely loved it and it was probably the best dance and my favorite of the night.

The season is still young and it’s any woman’s prize to take. Sorry guys, but y’all are out. Melora may be a flash in the pan. We’ll have to see. If she keeps it up, I see a four-way run at the title between JoJo, Amanda, Olivia, and Melora. Suni could step up her game and make it a contest. And Amanda or Olivia could fade in the back stretch. The only thing I feel certain about is that JoJo will be in the finals. Let’s see what happens tonight.

DWTS Week 3

Britney night. Why? I know she’s made a lot of music and is in the news now, but do we really want to celebrate a person who publicly self-destructed so completely they had to assign her a keeper? Too bad they didn’t do that for Justin Bieber while they were at it.

And what’s with all the tangos? Seven of them. Most of Britney’s music is club music so I was expecting hustles and swings. I was disappointed they didn’t play “Break the Ice”. It’s a great west coast swing. And the video is all about Girl Power.   

Anyway, I guess it was supposed to be a celebration of Girl Power and man, was it ever. The ladies threw down the gauntlet. The guys just stood around scratching their crotches, mumbling, “Did somebody drop something?” The highest scoring dude was The Miz at 22, two points higher than any other male. The lowest scoring ladies were 21. I agree with the numbers. Other than The Miz, the men were universally bad. A real mess. We had only one real stinker and two that smelled bad. Otherwise a good night of dancing. The stinker has to be laid at the feet of Iman and Daniella. His dance was simply awful. Who is voting for this guy? He stomped around waving his arms and called it a tango. He frequently looked like he wasn’t sure what came next, then yanked Daniella around. It’s time he was invited to leave.

Much as I love Sharna, I’d have to hold my nose to vote for Brian Austin Green’s tango. It was better than last week, though. He actually got in character and used his acting muscles. But the head whips were sloppy and he had this Terminator 2 “I’ll be back” look going on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZdVWKM1ILs

The other mess was Cody and Cheryl, but it wasn’t of their own making. I’m glad they didn’t get the boot because I don’t think he’s had a fair chance yet. And keeping a gay man from the dance floor on Britney Night is just plain cruel. I don’t understand why they can’t dance together from a remote location. They got the virus from each other, so their systems have adjusted to that version. I don’t think they can re-infect each other – or can they? I don’t know beans about jazz except jazz hands. It was a cool concept and well executed, but just not what it needed to be. And in the opening sequence, he WAS Britney – kinda creepy.

Matt and Lindsay were another unmentionable mess. Something about his legs bothered me. Looked like he was scrambling to keep up. And his vacant stare made it the Dance of the Zombie. Halloween is still a few weeks away, folks.

Jimmie Allen is one of my favorites and I so want him to do good. His salsa was a mixed bag. On the funky parts, he was working it. But on the salsa parts it looked like a beginner class. Nice lifts and tricks. Granted, the song sucked and the day-glo fuchsia burned my eyes, but we were promised a salsa. And I can’t believe Len thought the steps were too big. Where has he been the last two weeks with all the giant steps everyone has been doing in the salsa?

That kinda wraps up the bad for the night. Everything else was most enjoyable. The real standout among the men was The Miz. I loved his salsa and I love The Miz. He gave tango face and did some cool samba moves, but the salsa part actually looked like salsa. He even had those hips working. The aerials were spectacular.  A rotten tomato for Len. They can toss all the other men over the coming weeks but keep The Miz for a while. He’s fun to watch.

Of the three tied for last place among the women (all had 21), two were in the bottom and the judges had to pick. I agreed with Carrie Ann and Bruno to keep Kenya. Oddly, Len wanted Christine. There was nothing wrong with her execution, in fact it was pretty good. But she needed paso face. It’s hard to channel the fire and aggression when you’re grinning like a monkey. And her kid is no longer a baby, so why do they continue to call him Baby? Will someone tell her not to put him in a corner? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28A9Jgo92GQ

On the other hand, Kenya’s tango was one of the best fifty-year-old tango’s I’ve seen recently. Brandon left her behind a bit on the run down the floor, or maybe her foot snagged on her dress, but she caught up. She never extended her legs, though. And she has such nice legs.

It’s surprising to me that Suni remains an also ran. Her shot on DWTS is fast becoming a misfire. Her foxtrot lacked the grace and elegance I expect in the dance and Sasha’s suit was a disaster in search of a place to happen. Her lines were abbreviated, no shaping (it’s like she can’t bend), and no maturity in her dancing. It may just not be her year.

I had mixed feelings about Mel C and Gleb’s tango. Usually I like his smooth choreography and this one started off like gangbusters. But then she got ahead of him, overshooting the lead and then she flubbed or forgot the steps. And for some reason, I hated his blue shoes. They just looked unnatural.

Melora’s cha cha was her best dance so far. But already crying and it’s only week 3? She got the body rolls and hip work and there was wow factor, but it lost steam about halfway through. Then it picked up again for the big finish.

The other three, along with The Miz were my favorites of the night. Amanda started things off with a bang with that killer cha cha. It was perfect for her great legs. It was fun and flirty and had some great body rolls. Unfortunately, other than a New Yorker and splits there wasn’t much cha cha content. I wanted more.

JoJo’s Argentine tango was one for the ages. Damn, it was good and you could see her leading it. I agree with Len that it looked too ballroom and I’ll pass on the plaid.

That made Olivia my number one pick for the evening. It was absolutely flawless. Of course, Val is the king of tango, but she came through. It looks like Val’s looking for a spot in the finals. More performances like this will put them there. It was obviously one of the best performances of the night and Len said to them to “Listen to the crowd roar” or words to that effect. But there was no crowd. All the cheering was canned. Kind of disingenuous, wasn’t it?

I expect Amanda and JoJo to continue to top the leader board every week, but Olivia has shown that she’s also a contender. None of the guys can compete except The Miz, but he’s not in the same league as the three top ladies. Cody is still a bit of an unknown. If he’s got any talent, Cheryl will showcase it. I look forward to them being back in action. Next week is Disney. It may be un-American, but I hate Disney. I’ve never seen a Disney movie other than Snow White when I was five, so I don’t know the songs. And everybody gets all goofy (pardon the pun) like it’s great art. And we have to have TWO nights of it? Well, at least Halloween isn’t far away, and that is always my favorite week of the competition.

DWTS Week 2

The night went about as everyone expected: a few standouts, a few duds, and Martin Kove getting the boot. I didn’t think it possible, but his cha cha was even worse than his paso doble. It looked like grandpa at the wedding after getting into the champagne. The word that keeps popping up in my brain is ‘dreadful’. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but I’m glad we and he are out of misery.

Tyra opened the night in a sedate (by her standards) orange rubber minidress, but what the hell happened at halftime? That last outfit looked like a first grader’s drawing of the Thanksgiving turkey got smooshed by a steam roller. WTF? There is no universe where that monstrosity would be considered attractive. She just looked ridiculous lurking around the stage like a refugee from a parade.

Amanda Kloots and JoJo Siwa were the high scorers earning over 60 points for the two weeks.

The high point of the night for me was Amanda’s foxtrot. Fall is here, but that wasn’t the cause of my first chill bumps of the season. That was dancing at its finest, and only on week 2. She has the longest legs (as a former Rockette that makes sense) and uses them mercilessly. That triple developé made me shout. Just gorgeous and Bruno was right when he said it was evocative of Cyd Charisse.

JoJo’s cha cha just wasn’t a wow performance for me. Granted, I like the smooth dances more for the elegance, grace, and showmanship. If a cha cha isn’t a full-on showstopper I may not be impressed. I liked that she knew where to put her feet and how to use her legs. Plenty of sassy hip work going on. It felt kind of weird with two sets of skimpy dresses and fringe all over the place.

Mel C. and Gleb delivered with their foxtrot, also. It was dreamy and floaty and “clean” as Bruno said. I loved the standing spin and who can argue with props from Ringo?

I didn’t expect Suni to be this far back in the pack so early on. She’s yet to find her stride. Her gymnastic stoicism could torpedo her chances faster than Mark Ballas could (if you’ll remember he had a habit of pulling stupid out of his hat). She needs to learn there are more emotions than RBF and crying. But she’s still a child. We’ll hopefully give her time. Her cha cha had some great gymnastic moves like that flip early on. Unfortunately it lacked energy, as if she was just doing a compulsory heat before the big game. I loved Sasha’s sparkly pants. Where can I get me some of those?

Malora and Artem showed up for a nice, but unmemorable rumba. No heat; no passion. A 27 was grade inflation. I can’t believe they got the same score as:

Olivia Jade and Val with such a cool Viennese waltz. Val could make a potato sack look good, but she did her part. There were places where she looked heavy and there were huge gaps in the frame, but overall, nice for week 2. And the airplane into pivots made me cheer. I want to do that.

The judges found more to like in the Miz’s tango than I did. It looked like graceless wrestling. He was too rough and manhandled Witney. As Len said, it lacked finesse. I have to give him credit however for playing to the cameras. He’s photogenic (odd in a wrestler) and uses it. Hated his outfit. What was that – night camouflage?

Kenya had good leg action in her cha cha but seemed timid at first. It was lots of fun once she lightened up. Did pretty good for an old gal. Why, though, did Carrie Ann call Matt and Lindsay for a lift in the first dance but not call Kenya two dances later? Both feet were clearly off the floor in the last spin that Brandon put her through. If you call lift on one, you should call it on another.

Then there was the other half; the cellar dwellers who scored under 50 over both weeks.

Jimmie Allen and Emma got robbed. That was a wow rumba if ever there was one. Rumba as it was meant to be – heat, passion, but not actual sex on the floor. He had extensions, lines, fluidity, hips – the whole package. I loved it and the judges are idiots. Hated the do-rag, though.

When they started the music for Christine Chiu’s dance, I was momentarily excited. I love Despacito. But wait a minute. It’s a samba, not a salsa. I counted the beats and heard the samba rhythm. Maybe that’s why there was so little salsa content. That and the fact that the smoke hid her feet. They need to stop that. The side-by-side action was nice, however.

Poor Cody and Cheryl. She looked much healthier in the live clip, so I hope she’s up and running quickly. I liked their dance. It was the most recognizable of the salsas. With more time to polish it and add in costuming it would have been great.

Brian Austin Green and Sharna should be a highlight for me, but it wasn’t. He’s just a mess. No hip action at all, just a lot of walk and pose, walk and pose. Also kind of frenetic. Rumba should be calming, it’s a love story. Len wasn’t impressed and neither was I.

Matt James and Lindsay in the lone samba of the evening. What a disappointment. No hips, no bounce, no shaping, no flexibility. Raspberry.

Iman is my pick for who needs to be bounced next week. In his rumba with Daniella I liked his lines and the unexpected tenderness. Little rumba content, though. It looked mostly like slow cha cha and swing. I noticed when he was on his knees he was about the same height as Daniella. I liked how he was cheeky with Len.

That’s how I see it. The next three weeks we should see the exit of Iman, B.A. Green and Matt James, in that order. Then we can get down to who’s the dancer and who’s the poser. At this point I’m looking for an Amanda/JoJo showdown at the finals with Suni and Mel C. looking for the spoiler. None of the men have shown me they have what it takes. Cody could step up. I need to see him dance again. Miz is too unpredictable and wild, Jimmie may have some potential, but the rest are just chaff. Of course, none of this means anything when you factor in that the public is voting. Anything is possible. Even Bobby Bones.

DWTS Week 1

Well, the first night is over and we have an idea of what we’re working with. With one notable exception, there were no bad dances, which is unusual for the first go round. It appears the season holds promise. However, dance ability often doesn’t really play into the final result – Bobby Bones, for example. So, everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt. Whenever the American public is allowed to weigh in, you can be sure their stupidity will be on display. They are often more willing to blindly follow some talentless celebrity they’re obsessed with rather than vote for the ones who are actually creating art. Anyway, enough of the rant.

I expected to allow space for Tyra’s wardrobe, but she only had one outfit and it was sedate, for her. Although I haven’t seen shoulders that square since the 1980s or on Monday Night Football.

Martin Kove. Let’s start at the bottom. Possibly the worst paso doble ever (excepting Kate Gosselin). Paso should be a natural for the characters he portrays, but it could be that his characters don’t reflect who he really is. However, as an actor, he should have made us believe. I blame Britt for that. I have no idea what the story line of his dance was; maybe horror movie? He was reminiscent of Frankenstein’s monster stumbling about trying to catch the girl. And at one point he reminded me of Godzilla swatting at the buildings in his way. He’s had his last hurrah, now it’s time for the rocking chair.

Iman. Younger people probably don’t remember Mutt and Jeff, but this was them. As Bruno said, the jive is hard for taller people, and he was unlucky to draw that right off the bat. Although I’m left wondering how they allot the dances. Who decides who gets the dreaded quickstep and who gets an easy salsa? It was a nice workmanlike piece, but no pizzazz. Len called it informal and I guess that quantified it (although I think 4 was a bit harsh). I probably would have said “pedestrian”. He’s a bball player and will get a boost from that, but he needs to be the second one gone. Can we arrange a double elimination next week and then get on with the good dancers?

There were five tangos during the night. I saw four nice dances, and one good tango. Where do they come up with the awful music? Those songs weren’t tangos. Do the producers sit around and say, “Well, we got a fast song here. I know, let’s make ‘em tango.” And the others on the production team laugh and shout, “Yeah!”? I swear some of them looked like hustle.

Jimmie Allen was a victim. I liked him. He has personality and natural humor. He and Emma work well together. I hope he sticks around. Their tango was messy, but I like the guy.

Brian Austin Green. The foxtrot was okay, but nothing special. I really don’t know what he did because I was watching Sharna. The blonde hair will take some getting used to, but she so reminds me of Marvel’s Black Widow. She’s definitely my favorite dancer. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll keep Brian around for long. The 90210 crowd doesn’t pull all that much weight anymore.

Matt James and the Miz did two of the night’s three cha chas. Matt’s definitely got game. With no dance or athletic experience he went in and gave it a good shot. He’s got natural talent, but Lindsay needs to work him and fix his posture. I really liked the Miz. At times when Witney caught him off guard or when talking to the judges, his real character slipped out and he seemed like a nice guy. I liked his humor and he’s a natural showman, working the camera. Being an athlete he can use his body, but needs to remember dancing is not wrestling. He needs to loosen up. And I want that shirt he had.

Cody is my homey. He’s from North Carolina so I have to try to like him. He didn’t really help himself. First off, that fluorescent suit made my TV buzz (and my eyes). Maybe he’s naturally effervescent, but Cheryl needs to tone him down. There was way too much energy in his tango. It was one of the ones that looked like a hustle. I know he’s glad to be there, but now he needs to settle down and get to work.

Christine Chiu was also a victim of a non-tango tango. Maybe her age makes her stiff, but it looked like Pasha was moving a mannequin around the dance floor. I feel 25 was too generous a score for that mess.

Olivia Jade has the easiest dance, salsa. But why were the steps so big? Is that ballroom style salsa? Even Val was taking gigantic steps. That lost the Latin feel of the dance. Liked her mile long legs, but she’s so young I feel like a perv.

Kenya and Brandon’s foxtrot seemed shorter than everyone else’s routine. That was fine, because it didn’t look like foxtrot and they didn’t look comfortable with each other. She didn’t deserve  the 26.

Melora. Artem did what he could with an awful tango song. And he got her moving. Unfortunately it looked a lot like walk, pose, walk, pose.

Mel C. That was a great way to open the night. Definitely the best of the three cha chas. Good rhythm, not stiff and she worked the camera like a pro. She should be around for a while. Loved the color of Gleb’s shirt, although he needed some buttons.

Amanda Kloots had the best tango of the night. But then, she has Broadway dance experience. I wonder if they’ll throw a “Broadway” genre at her one night? I expected the legs since she was a Rockette. Early on it looked like Alan was toting her. No one called it, though.

Suni Lee. She is my favorite of the competition. She nailed the jive. How can someone so short have legs so long? But more than the great dance, I loved her personality. When she talked about her “performance smile” I cracked up. She’ll be here until the finals unless the public does something completely stupid.

JoJo. 29? No way. I think the judges were afraid to be tough with her for fear of being called out as homophobic. Let me do it, then. As a person who was called the F word more times than I care to remember growing up because I sucked at sports, I think I’m unlikely to be homophobic. That QS was a mess. It looked like there was no frame and they were flopping against each other. It was too frenetic and lacked any of the class associated with QS. I give them kudos for the nice recovery when Jenna stumbled. But no, not that good.

I was annoyed hearing Tyra go on and on about it being a historic first. Well, I’m annoyed hearing Tyra go on and on about anything, but what’s the big deal. They act like women don’t dance with each other. Have they been to clubs or ballroom venues? Women dance together all the time because the men are in short supply. Now a real historic moment would be if they put two men together. But that would give homophobic America a coronary. Although men dancing together is also a thing. There are male pair dancing events. I saw two men audition for So You Think You Can Dance who were dance partners. I heard that tango was originally men dancing together. Check this out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOJ0m9G5PqI

If JoJo wants to dance with a woman, fine. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s dancing, not sex. Although Baptists always said people shouldn’t dance because it makes them think about sex. And what’s wrong with that, I always answered.

Personally, I prefer to watch male/female partners because each gender brings something different to the dance. When I see two women or two men dance, it seems to lack something. But then, I’m an old guy. What do I know?

Right now, it’s hard to tell who has the most edge. Suni is cute, funny and an Olympian. That’s a trifecta. JoJo has ability and buzz. I think that will be the ultimate battle ground. Of course anyone else could slip in as a dark horse. It’ll be interesting to watch. My four favorites right now are Suni, the Miz, Jimmie and, yes, Cody (if he calms down a bit). Of those four, only Suni is a good dancer. The others are just fun.

Dancing With The Stars – Preview

It’s time again for them to trot out the multitude of misbegotten mid-level talented creatures that answer the call of DWTS. In its 30 seasons, over 100 so called stars have strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage and as Macbeth predicted, became a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Over the seasons I have detected a certain pattern in who shows up. There are Archetypes or tropes of the characters. Here’s what I’ve gleaned.

Archetypes

Final bow: Well-known personalities, now failing, who want one last hurrah before the old folks home. Examples were Valery Harper, Cloris Leachman, Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Seeking redemption: They have committed some social faux pas and are hoping to redeem themselves. Paula Deen (nope), Ryan Lochte (not really), Nancy Grace (nuh uh), Tonya Harding (Oh puhleeze), Sean Spicer (kinda), Jerry Springer (surprisingly, yes).

People we love just because: Jane Seymour, Florence Henderson, Dawn Wells, Tommy Chong, Danica McKellar (Winnie from the Wonder Years), Niecy Nash.

Jumpstart failing career:  Their career is going down the toilet and this is their last gasp effort to salvage it. Ralph Macchio, Vanilla Ice, the cast of  BH90210, and a boatload of others. Let’s face it. They all pretty much fall in this category. How many people with vibrant careers take a turn on DWTS?

Boy/Girl band refugee:  When they realize you can’t be a teenager forever. Pretty much all of the Backstreet Boys and In Sync.

Children of famous people with no discernible talent: They get by on name recognition. Chaz Bono, Rumer Willis (actually she won), Sailor Brinkley.

Olympian: Familiar with training, physicality and knowing where their body is in space, they always do well. It’s called Dance Sport for a reason. Apolo Ono, Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Dorothy Hamill, Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek ( I sense a theme).

Athlete: Same as Olympian, these are usually football, baseball and basketball players. Sometimes you have the odd athlete such as a bull rider, a jockey, a snowboarder, and a race car driver won one year. Usually football players do best. I guess the running in and out of the tires gives them nimble feet. Emmitt Smith, Warren Sapp, Jason Taylor.

Diva: Frequently real stars, larger than life and flamboyant. Always fun to watch. Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Charo. And who out there doesn’t want to see RuPaul on DWTS?

Bachelor/Bachlorette: There is some weird symbiosis between them and DWTS. They crop up like mushrooms after a rain.

This is your 15 minutes:  The national spotlight picked them up just as the producers realized they needed more dancers for the program. Alek Skarlatos (saved people on a train).

Social Media sensation with no real purpose: The so-called influencers who infest the internet. No one remembers them the next year. Alexis Ren, Hayes Grier.

Bonafide stars: Few and far between. Jane Seymour, Milo Manheim, Tommy Chong.

Heroes: Usually make a quick exit. Often the same as the Final Bow crowd. Buzz Aldrin.

Oddities: People with handicapping conditions such as sensory deprivation or missing limbs. Even the occasional dwarf. Nyle Dimarco, Lynda McCartney, Noah Galloway, Terra Jolé.

Surprisingly inept musicians: You’d think musicians would have a sense of timing and rhythm, but DWTS seems to find the ones who don’t. Brian Bolton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Master P.

WTF?: Sometimes you just look at the celebrity and say “WTF?” Bobby Bones, Macy Gray, Redfoo, Rick Perry, Gary Busey (actually a star, he also wins the Creepy as Hell prize).

There are many crossovers, but you get the idea.

So, how does this year’s crop measure up? Are they hitting all the tropes? Let’s see.

Martin Kove               Final Bow.  He’s a 75 year old whose career stalled in the 80s. He never got out of Karate Kid.

Olivia Jade                  Social media leech, Child of a famous person and Seeking redemption. She’s checking off a lot of boxes.

JoJo Siwa                    I’d put her under Seeking redemption because she’s already garnered so much bad press for being a professional dancer. She’s not exactly alone.

Mel C                          Girl band refugee

Brian Austin Green     A subcategory of Boyband refugees are past Teen TV show cast, such as this guy from Beverly Hills 90210.

Sunisa Lee                  Olympian, check.

Iman Shumpert           Athlete: NBA player

Mike Misanin              Athlete: wrestler. The last two wrestlers were women.

Matt James                  Bachelor, check.

Melora Hardin            Actress                       

Amanda Kloots           I think I’m going to have to create a special group for Talk show hosts. They seem to have one every year.

Kenya Moore              I guess I need a special category for “Reality” celebrities who think they are actors.

Christine Chiu             A crazy rich Asians knockoff. Another Reality show.

Melora Hardin, Christine Chiu, and Kenya Moore claim to be “actresses”. So do a lot of people waiting tables. Melora has seen steady work as a background character, but I wouldn’t actually classify her as a star. Kenya Moore apparently has more name recognition, but a show about Housewives? Really? When I found out she was on Housewives of Atlanta, I’m not sure if I was more astounded there is a show with that name or that people actually watch it.

Jimmie Allen               Musician. We have yet to see if he is surprisingly inept at dancing.

Cody Rigsby               WTF? A Peloton instructor? How did he end up here? And he’s a professional dancer. I’ll have to support him, though. He’s a homey from Greensboro, NC.       

For the first time ever, I don’t know a single “star” they have selected. Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of television. It’s just too abysmal. The slight exception is that I was aware there was a girl called Sporty Spice. I’d just heard the word, that’s all when Mel B. was on the show. I understand Sporty was Mel C.’s moniker when she was a Spice Girl. And I do remember hearing Suni Lee’s name on the news. I didn’t get around to watching the Olympics this year.

Four of the “stars” this year, if you look up their bio, one of the first words you see is “dancer”. JoJo, Amanda (she was a freaking Rockette), Cody, and Mel C. Doesn’t exactly make for a level playing field. But then, it’s not about the dancing. It’s about creating a spectacle that rivets our attention like a roadside accident and drums up votes. How else do you explain train wrecks like Bobby Bones?

Little Green Men

My short story, Little Green Men, just showed up on The Worlds Within online magazine. Here’s the link:  https://theworldswithin.net/little-green-men

I’m not 100% satisfied with the magazine. Some of the dialogue is hard to follow since they didn’t always start a new line when the speaker shifted. That takes some getting used to. They also dropped a few lines here and there so the transition is awkward. Still, I had fun writing the story and hope you enjoy it.

Update on publications and DWTS

“Little Green Men” is slated to show up on Worlds Within sometime this month. At least that’s what they tell me. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’ll post a link when it happens.

I managed to place “Welcome to Hell”. You’ll remember it was to be read on the podcast What the Writers Wrote, until the site went dead. I still don’t know what happened there. The least they could have done was send me notice like Sound of a Quiet House did. Anyway, I remembered that a friend I met on Scribophile told me he had placed a story on Tall Tales TV. (His name is Andy Houstoun and you should check his work.) I marketed my story to them, and they accepted it. No word yet on when it will be read. Again, I’ll post a link when it’s announced.

The countdown has begun for Dancing With the Stars 2021. It starts September 20. I’ll be posting my thoughts on the misfits, rogues, and actual stars they dig up for this garish annual sideshow. Keep an eye out for my thoughts.

Win Some, Lose Some

Or one step forward, two steps back. Two of my stories slated for publication are the two steps back. Welcome to Hell was supposed to be read on the website What the Writer’s Wrote on June 28. It looks like sometime in April or May the site went inactive. Old postings are there but nothing new since April. Emails have gone unanswered so I guess they’re kaput.


The other loss I’m truly mourning is the anthology Noise of a Quiet House has been cancelled. My story Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was to be included. The editor sent me a note saying the project had been cancelled. He further said my story was a good one and should find a home somewhere. So I’m marketing both stories again. Should they find homes, I’ll link them here.


On the positive side I have placed Little Green Men with Worlds Within, an online SF magazine. It will appear sometime in September. And of course, I’ll link it here. LGM is one of my longer stories, over 9,000 words. An editor I recently sent it to said it was too long for his site but that it was good enough to have a whole issue devoted to it. The story of our first manned flight to Mars went through many permutations before I had it just the way I wanted, but now I’m particularly proud of it. Cheers.