The fourth season of Dancing with the Stars
is finally upon us! Who has grace, who doesn't? Will the favorite emerge, will the weak link show its face? Who will be the first to be eliminated? Does this Dancing with the Stars
lineup have the star power to make it?
This Monday is an exhibition round, nobody will be sent home until next week. We're still voting for some reason, maybe I'll figure this out by the time it is over.
Here are some quick thoughts:
- Starting a little late in the game. Paulina Porizvoka, supermodel. The confidence isn't there despite the fact that she has season one champ Alec Mazo for a partner. The lack of confidence shows when Paulina and Alec step out for the foxtrot. Lukewarm at best. Paulina looks like she is self conscious about how she touches Alec. The judges are harsh save for Bruno. The score is 6, 6, 7.
- Billy Ray and Karina have a weird time on the floor. It is supposed to be a cha cha cha, but you have to have two for that, right? Seems like Karina did most of the dancing here. The judges are not kind, particularly Len (surprise?) Score: 5, 4, 4.
- Leeza Gibbons and Tony Dovolani are next. Gibbons talks a lot about being in therapy. They do a foxtrot to 'Strangers in the night'. It is stiff. This is going to be the theme tonight. The judges like Leeza better than Billy Ray. The score, on the other hand, isn't much nicer. 5, 5, 5.
- Joey Fatone teams up with Kym Johnson. In the intro you get that Joey is basically a goof ball. Joey loses his mic half way through and is thrashing around through the whole dance. The charisma factor is running high here. The goofiness comes across as pure fun here. Unlike previous duos, you really get the feeling that these two are dancing together, rather than the pro dancing around their celebrity charge. The judges agree, the common theme is 'the competition has now begun'. The score is an amazing 8, 8, 8.
- Laila Ali and Maksim Chmerkovsky are next. This should be interesting since being conscious of body movement is critical to a boxer. They choose the foxtrot. Laila is all confidence. The dance is slow and smooth. No dead patches, lots of fluidity, but really tame as well. You can see that Laila is really going to bring it down the road, but not tonight. Bruno launches into hyperbole, he loved it, and the other judges agree. Score: 7, 8, 8.
- John Ratzenberger and Edyta Silwinska are next. They have had the least time to work together so this will be interesting. In the build up, you can see that Ratzenberger is all confidence. They come out for a cha cha cha, to chain of fools. Its surprisingly good. Critics who predicted Ratzenberger as this years Jerry Springer will rethink that. He is restrained through some parts of it, but surprisingly engaged and fast in others. The judges are courteous, the scores are not, 6, 5, 6.
- Shandi Finnessey and Brian Fortuna are up next. The glamor factor is through the roof. They do the foxtrot to some Huey Lewis. It's not bad, a bit forced at times. Nothing really made me say 'whoa', but the performance was definitely well-executed, even if it lacked a little nuance. The judges weren't blown away either, but seemed hopeful. There certainly wasn't much negativity. The score is 6, 6, 7. Looks like the competition is starting to cool off again.
- Clyde Drexler and Elena Grinenko are next. A real 'Mutt and Jeff' combination. From the get go, you can't see this looking graceful. The difference in proportion is going to be a visual distraction. On the floor it's the Cha Cha Cha. Clyde is nervous and it shows. His movements are tight and close to the body, and mechanical. The size difference is not the big distraction I thought it would be, but the dancing is forced and soulless. The judges are kind. The score is 6, 5, 5. The judges are too wishy washy, praising high but scoring low.
- Heather Mills is next, and this is one of the most anticipated competitor. The practice footage shows a lot of awkwardness with her artificial limb. We see her sway on the leg a few times during the practice and flat out fall once. This could be a triumph, or a disaster. EIther way it is a win for courage. They take to the floor for a foxtrot. This woman is disabled? There is little or no tentativeness to her performance and her moves have a lot of weight shifting. Knowing she has a prosthetic leg, it is a challenge to pinpoint any moment where it impacted her performance. The judges mention it, but maybe they feel obligated? The score is 6, 6, 6.
- Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough are next. I'm putting high expectations on Apolo, as I did Ali, because his athletic background again is rooted in paying very close attention to his movements. They do the Cha Cha Cha. If there is one team that is most likely to have a love connection going on, this is the one. They look in love out there and the performance is hot! Probably the best of the night in my opinion. The score is 7, 7, 7. I'm disagreeing.
Joey and Kym are the big winners tonight, and Billy Ray and Karina are at the bottom. Overall it is not that impressive of an evening, but first night rarely is.
- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
Image Courtesy ABC