DWTS Finale

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t happy with the outcome of DWTS this season. But it’s a symptom of what’s wrong with the program. It can’t decide if it wants to be a dance competition or a popularity contest. Strike that. It’s decided it wants to be a popularity contest masquerading as a dance competition. So why even bother with judges? Just let the viewers decide.

I don’t really blame the viewers for making such a boneheaded choice. I’ve embraced my misanthropy and realized that people are stupid. Given a choice, they usually make the wrong one. Then you get the Bobby Bones Anomaly. Some celebrity without any discernible dance talent wins the competition.

I do, however, blame the judges. The scores they gave Iman were not earned. Even Len refused to say anything complimentary about Iman’s dance, although he held up the 10 paddle. Maybe he was told that he had to. But the things Julianne and Carrie Ann said were way over the top and totally flew in the face of what was obvious. His dances were poor.

Amanda and Alan in VW/PD fusion

It was a seamless fusion. I loved it. I could have done without the flashing lights, however. It made parts of it hard to see. And that red dress. Wow!

Cody and Cheryl in CC/PD fusion

The boy knows how to throw down some paso. The cha cha was good, but not as engaging as the PD. He just looks odd or ungainly when he’s doing cha cha.

JoJo and Jenna in CC/T fusion

Flawless performance of tango but kicked into high gear for the cha cha. Damn, but they were working it. One of my favorite songs and a cute little switched-lead coffee-grinder at the end. I loved Bruno’s comment, “Freaking awesome!”

Iman and Daniella in CC/FT fusion

I noticed they stuck mostly to cha cha. The little foxtrot he did was a mix of mediocre and just plain awful. No body flight at all and again, he looks terrible in hold. I have no idea why the judges awarded him such high scores unless they had been ordered to. I’ve long thought the outcomes were fixed.

The Freestyles were fun, enjoyable, eye popping and WFT in turn.

Cody’s in your face mess. Uh, no. It lacked sharpness and was just a mishmash with no focus. Kinda fun though.

Amanda’s freestyle was so joyous; a celebration of the end of the season. I loved the elements of traditional ballroom.

JoJo knocked it out of the ballpark. That’s what I was looking for. Lots of sass and pizzazz. A glam-flash extravaganza for the ages. They even got the boy pros to dance in hold with each other. It was the dance of the night. My absolute fave.

Iman did some hip-hop. I saw nothing special. Maybe I’m just not woke enough.

DWTS Week 9 Semi-Finals

Another episode of Why the Hell Did They Do That?

What an awful choice the judges had. To pick between Suni and Amanda. I think they made the right decision, but it was still a terrible thing to have to do. How the hell has a talentless dance hack like Iman survived this far in the show? Just a byproduct of people voting without giving a thought to the person’s dance ability. Like David Ross and Bobby Bones.

But we soldier on.

I found a weird bit of synchronicity in the pairings of judges and dancers for the redemption round.

Cody & Bruno            gay dancer & gay judge

Melora & Len             oldest dancer & oldest judge

Suni & Carrie Ann      Asian dancer & Asian judge

JoJo & Len                  youngest dancer & oldest judge

Iman & Derek             blackest dancer & whitest judge

Amanda & Len           really couldn’t find anything for this pair

The Men

Cody started the show right with a blazing salsa. It was high energy, and he was really feeling it. He was working those hips for all he was worth, but the body roll he did in the package never made it to the floor. Too bad, it was sharp. I especially liked Cheryl’s head slide down his leg. Fun to watch. He looks kinda odd though. As a fitness trainer I expect him to be thinner, leaner. But in profile during the dances he looks thick, and it makes it seem like he’s lumbering around, almost as much as Iman. It really came out in his Argentine tango. It looked like they didn’t fit together. That made it lack fluidity and seem a bit klunky. The fast parts were hot, though.

Iman just needs to go. And I don’t mean into the finals. We are faced with another year of a person with little dance ability taking the prize. I complain about it nearly every year, and I probably will keep on. Len keeps calling it a dance competition and Carrie Ann pulls that stupid lift rule from dance competitions, so I expect it to be decided like a dance competition: whoever has the most political pull wins. No, I expect the winner to be able to go on the floor and give a good dance performance. Iman cannot. His tango was passable for a bronze recital, but unacceptable for this level of competition. He was less awkward than previous outings, but still hunched over and still stuck his butt out. The dance was again mostly Daniella. I could hardly take my eyes off her. Yowza. As for the Jazz, some nice acrobatics. That’s her strong suit. Most of their high scores came from the judges scoring her rather than him. There wasn’t much of what looked like dance to me in their routine. But then the music sucked, too. How do you dance to rap?

The Women

I loved the rolling hips in Melora and Artem’s rumba. Lovely figure eights with the promise of sensual delight. And Melora looked good, too. Just kidding. It was one of her best dances. But what was with that weird clomping flat-footed walk?

Suni hit that foxtrot out of the ballpark. OMG, but I loved it! She finally showed up for the dance. This was the Suni I wish we’d seen all season. It was imbued with joyful, in yo’ face, kiss my ass insouciance that just sparkled. I was worried at the start with the song choice because Derek’s performance of that a few seasons back was iconic. It seems like there might be room for two icons on that platform. Well done.

Amanda stepped up and really worked the tango. I loved her frame. There was plenty of sharp footwork. And those legs! At first, the music didn’t really set a tango feel to the stage, but then it kicked in much like Assassin’s Tango and just rocked. The lighting and camera angles made some parts of it hard to see, but I disagree with Carrie Ann about the foot coming off the floor. After Suni, it was my second favorite of the redemption dances.

JoJo’s Argentine tango was technical perfection. I loved the music and laughed out loud when they changed who was leading. Very cheeky. My only complaint comes from my traditionalism. The Argentine tango requires a certain masculine flavor for it to seem authentic to me. That’s why two men can do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6-6kN79oIA

JoJo had plenty of bravado, as Len said, but not enough to carry it off. I may be unfair in that assessment, but it’s how I feel. Otherwise, a flawless performance.

The other four dances were contemporary. I used to not like contemporary because it isn’t ballroom and this is supposed to be a ballroom competition. After many seasons of watching So You Think You Can Dance, I’ve come to a better understanding and appreciation of contemporary. It can be moving and appealing. It’s still not ballroom and shouldn’t be on DWTS. Much of contemporary, to me, just looks like people jumping around in their pajamas for no reason. Others tell emotionally wrenching stories that leave an effect long after they’re gone. Unfortunately, Melora’s contemporary was the former type. None of the moves wowed me and I felt no emotional connection.

The other three – Suni, JoJo, and Amanda moved me, but for different reasons. I hate when they get all weepy. Yeah, we’ve all lost people. Get on with it. But Suni’s contemporary was everything that Melora’s wasn’t. The opening flip to a stand was spectacular. All the moves were powerful and filled with emotion. Almost made me cry.

While Suni’s was about the power, JoJo’s was more about the movement. Her figures were out of this world. Such connection with her partner. And the words of the song made a teardrop fall. Not sure I agree with Derek that it was the best contemporary ever on the show, but it ranks up there.

Amanda took the prize among contemporaries for me. Not only were the moves wonderful, but they really conveyed a story, a heartbreaking one and the emotion came through loud and clear. I remember her husband’s battle and death. Aside from whether it was appropriate for it all to play out on social media, the fact is, it did. And it was devastating to watch. I was as moved by it as everyone else. I’m a romantic at heart, not that you’d ever guess. This one left me a weepy mess. It was a shot right through the heart. Maybe not the best DANCE of the night, but possibly the BEST dance. There is a difference.

So we have a very unlikely crew going into the finals. I’d expected JoJo and Amanda. I don’t think anyone expected Iman and Cody.

Discounting a Bobby Bones level anomaly, I don’t see either Iman or Cody being a challenger. I think it comes down to JoJo and Amanda. Not so much on how well they dance. I’m pretty sure that, barring some disaster, they both turn in two 40 point performances next week. The key is how well their fans turn out, and how the fans of the defunct performers throw their support. I feel Suni’s will go toward JoJo and Melora’s will go to Amanda. So again, maybe an even split. JoJo seems to have had the vibe since day one, so I’ll go out on a limb and predict her as the winner, but in my heart of hearts, I like Amanda.

A word about the Freestyle event. I pretty much hate it. Sometimes they come up with something that looks dancey and works (Like Drew Lachey’s country routine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbmqN_HUe90 It still gives me chills. And Amber and Derek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3aIaS7QlFQ ).

So many times it’s just a mess that doesn’t even resemble dancing like Apolo Ohno’s hip-hop mess. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhaQTYClcUA

I imagine Daniella will have lots and lots of lifts. She’s kind of a one trick pony in that regard.

Cheryl will try to do something that doesn’t make Cody look awkward. May be hard to find.

Alan has a history of wringing magic out of his partners at the end. He was in the same position last season with a similar partner. He’s also made the finals or semi-finals twice in addition. That’s a pretty good record for the five seasons he’s been on.

I don’t recall how Jenna has done other than she won once.

So, Jenna and Alan have won once, and Cheryl has two trophies. Daniella’s a newbie. It’s anybody’s guess.

DWTS Week 8 Janet Jackson

After two epic weeks of great music this was a letdown. I’m sure Janet Jackson is a great entertainer and has won more accolades than I have, but she’s not my generation’s music. I mostly know her as Michael’s sister who had her tits exposed at the Superbowl. I didn’t recognize a single song they used during the program. I have to give props to the music people that they only went with jazz once and the rest were ballroom oriented, even if the music wasn’t. I mean Feedback doesn’t resemble a salsa in any form.

We’re getting to the part of the season where my misanthropy comes out full force. I just get annoyed when good dancers are sent home and stumblebums are retained. If the bottom three had been lined up and the judges were told to save one couple, I feel sure it would have been unanimous for Olivia. I understand people might hate her mother, but it’s hard to believe that people wouldn’t vote for her because of that. And she has Val. People should vote for her for that alone. He’s the God of Dance. And she’s what the competition should be about. She and Melora are the only two of the top six with no dance experience. And they were going gangbusters. Minus the stupid public I was giving Olivia an even chance of winning the whole shebang.

And in what alternate, bizarro universe is Iman a better dancer than Olivia? Or Mel C or Kenya or even Jimmie? He’s not. He lumbers around stage like Herman Munster and bobble-headed idiots vote for him week after week. That’s my problem with DWTS. They let idiotic people vote. The public has shown time and again that they are incapable of making rational decisions when given an opportunity to vote.

Aside from the awful results, last night was mostly ho-hum. None of the dances wowed me, some were a snooze.

I don’t know if it’s serendipity or prophetic that the top four dancers from the first round (three 40s and a 39) were not pitted against each other in the dance off, and each won their second round.

 My thoughts on the dance offs.

Jimmie versus Suni in salsa

He started right in from the first note, working it in his Jimmie style. Suni stood around like she was wondering what happened. Throughout the first half of their song Jimmie was dancing his heart out, but every time it cut to Suni we would see Sasha doing something fancy and Suni standing there watching. He finally let her do some acrobatics (that’s not actually dancing). By the end she was dancing in that awkward way she has. I had to give it to Jimmie. The judges were blind and gave it to Suni.

JoJo versus Olivia in rumba

JoJo was dancing too hard, rather than graceful as rumba should be. And what was with all the weird faces? Olivia was grace personified but kept tucking her chin. I gave it to her as a slam dunk. Once again, the judges missed the obvious winner.

Melora versus Iman in foxtrot

She was divine and he was just plain awkward. Melora by a mile. It was almost embarrassing. Even the judges had to see this one right.

Amanda versus Cody in cha cha

At first, I figured Cody was in for a drubbing against someone like Amanda, but he came through. I was pleased to see he had no heel leads. Amanda didn’t seem to care much about technique. I called it a tie. Of course, the judges missed it by a wide margin.

Of the three “perfect routines”, I liked Amanda’s the best. Even though it was jazz. There was plenty of jazz hands going on, but she owned the floor. She brought it like nobody’s business, and I loved the lifts.

Suni, on the other hand, lacked fluidity and sexiness. It was so jerky, kind of like all her dances recently. There was a definite misfire on the rear leg lift that the judges either didn’t see or ignored. Actually I don’t know what they were watching. Maybe they were watching America’s Got Dance on their cell phones.

Melora was a little better. She’s got some spice for an old gal. I liked the wicked skirt work, but it devolved into flailing. Looked like she was running out of steam at the end. And what was with the Oscar speech?

JoJo in fourth place on the board was a new experience. I was impressed with her strength. Those tiny dancers are all muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. I saw almost no salsa content, but then the song wasn’t even close to being a salsa. What she did was fun, though.

The doomed Olivia had one of my favorite dances. Val is at his best in Argentine tango and foxtrot. I loved the sharp flicks and rondés. And that opening dip was outstanding. I knew Len wouldn’t like the table and Val knew he wouldn’t like the table. It didn’t add much, so why do they goad Len like that?

Cody’s come out of nowhere the past few weeks to make himself known. I credit Cheryl. She can make anyone look like a dancer. I loved his form. I kept thinking what a mess Iman made of his paso and how Cody embodied it. Len got it right when he said it was “dominant”. He had power, presence, and menace. His best dance so far.

I have no idea why Iman is still here. He is way out of his depth. There was very little cha cha going on in his take on Rhythm Nation. He did some hip-hop groove thing about as well as grandpa at the wedding, but in hold he’s just awful. Derek proved that Witney doesn’t have the brainless blond moniker cornered. His best line: You gotta be memorable ‘cause that’s what people remember.

Poor Jimmie just couldn’t make it any longer. He was definitely feeling the funky stuff in his cha cha, but the heel leads were awful. I liked the side by side, but he was stiffer in hold than I’ve ever seen. Sorry to see him go, but it was time.

So we’re down to six and next week is the “semi-finals”. Are they doing another double elimination or going into the finals with five couples? They’ve never done that before. It’s always been three or four couples. And I haven’t heard what next week’s gimmick is. All they’ve missed so far is the My Most Miserable Memory weeper. I desperately hope we don’t get that.

It looks like Suni, Melora, Amanda, and JoJo are squaring off for the mirror ball. Suni has the Olympic crowd, JoJo has the Disney kids, I have no idea who follows Amanda and Melora. Amanda is daytime TV, so I guess housebound people see her. Melora was (is?) on a weekly show so people saw (see?) her at night. I don’t know what show she was on or if it’s still on or available in reruns.

Personally, I like Amanda. Suni just looks awkward when she dances and has this weird jerky thing going on. Melora seems to edit her moves, perhaps saving energy. JoJo is just too hyper for me. Watching her is like eating a fried twinkie rolled in sugar.

In the best of all possible worlds, next week would be another double elimination and they’d send home Iman and Suni. I want my homeboy Cody to make the finals.

DWTS Week 5

Wow, I loved the Grease theme. I love all the songs from the movie, and I’ve seen it about a dozen times. Even the TV version with Julianne Hough a few years back. This definitely ranks as the best show of the season. Too bad they had to ruin it with an awful showdown. The obvious one to go was Iman. Even when he has a good week, he can’t break out of the 20s. As Derek said, “America, what have you done?”

We also got our first 40, four 10s for JoJo and Jenna’s foxtrot. They were flying when in hold. I love a fast foxtrot, and this was the fastest. They had shaping and all the things that make foxtrot look so good. I loved the sly change of lead at the very end. As Len said, “Superb.” Quite possibly the best dance of the night. But I won’t give them that accolade all alone. There was another couple who should have gotten 40.

Amanda and Alan. They had the best Viennese waltz on the show this season. So elegant and so in character, with such precision of motion. Beautiful flekerl and shadow right turns. And that leg extension – wow! I absolutely loved it. They even trotted out old Frankie Avalon. He had a birthday last month and looks pretty good for 81.

My other fave of the evening was The Miz and Witney in the jive. So, so good. Loved the kicks. Just wish there were more of them. The tandem turns were a little messy but who cares, he’s the Miz. I love The Miz. He’s so entertaining.

Val is my go-to guy for foxtrot, and he got to step out last night with Olivia. Great job. He shapes and moves like no one else. The man is foxtrot personified. And Olivia stepped up and was a great partner. Who are the idiots who put her in the bottom two?

Mel C. also put on a great show. Her Quickstep to You’re the One that I Want was super. That’s my favorite song of the movie. She stumbled a bit but it was so fun that the gaffe was forgivable. As Carrie Ann pointed out she started out nervous, but quickly found her stride. Through the past five weeks she has consistently been scoring lower than Olivia and that night they were tied. I think Len made the right decision. Anybody else note that after Derek voted for Olivia and Carrie Ann for Mel, Bruno’s vote became irrelevant? Derek and Carrie Ann were already divided, meaning the decision was up to Len. Bruno was obsessing over his choice that meant nothing. Some don’t like that Len has the final say, but them’s the rules.

I love Kenya’s grandma. When she said, “That’s MY baby,” I just smiled. She and Brandon had her best dance yet. She channeled Rizzo perfectly. She became the bad girl. She may have been led, but she made sure we knew she was in charge.

WTF was Charleston doing in the mix? That’s not a ballroom dance. I don’t know beans about Charleston but what Suni and Sasha did was straight from the movie. OMG so good. Loved the foot on the chest. So much fun, but Suni still seems reserved and only lets small glimpses of personality out.

Melora rounded out the five-way tie for third place. I actually got chills watching her dance. She’s so long and lithe and gives Artem something to work with. She’s doing pretty well for a 54-year-old gal.

I love Jimmie and Emma but didn’t love their foxtrot. It was slow and awkward to start, but he soon got into it. Like Iman, he is much better out of hold than in hold. And even with the giant Pompadour, he had on a do-rag.

Cody is light on his feet and moves well, but some of his closed moves looked awkward. It looked like he was trying to step outside her in what I call the cowboy in the cow pasture move. That made him stick his butt out. Lots of energy, though.

Iman was the disappointment of the night. His VW just failed to ignite. He’s got some dance chops, but still looks awkward in frame with his butt sticking out. His flekerl was so ungainly I groaned. Bruno called him on it. He so needs to go and should have been invited to leave last night. Who the hell is voting for him?

The girls are running away with it. JoJo definitely has the lead, but Amanda is hot on her heels. Olivia may challenge, but I don’t think Suni is going to ignite. Melora is a dark horse. She’s got the buzz, but I don’t know if she can sustain it all the way. Iman, The Miz, Cody, and Kenya probably in that order will go next. Kenya might outlast Jimmie. But as we saw last night, when you let a nation who will vote a mirror ball to Bobby Bones participate, anything can happen.

Next week (Oct 25) is the last one before Halloween. Will that be the famous costumed extravaganza? Here’s hoping.

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?