Showstoppers Night on Dancing with the Stars included three perfect routines, but one may have left a sour taste in your mouth. Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy performed a blistering and killer Argentine Tango with fast and precise movements. It was technically flawless. But did Val’s insistence on trying to make his partner, a 16-year-old girl, “sexy” cross the line?
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It’s difficult to ignore the issue of sexiness when confronted with an Argentine Tango since it’s typically a vital part of the style. Heck, just go back to Jana and Gleb’s shower-soaked Argentine Tango earlier this season. But is it appropriate when the star is underage?
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The good news is that the routine itself wasn’t overtly sexy or passionate, it was just perfectly executed and that was the primary focus for the judges. Yet in the rehearsals, Val repeatedly talked about bringing out Laurie’s sexy side. Luckily, her sweet and innocent giggling at the mere thought of being sexy made it more cute and less awkward.
Still, this is one of the big issues Dancing with the Stars has ever since it started casting celebrities younger than 18. Laurie is the eighth underage star to compete on the show, a list that includes two winners (Shawn Johnson and Bindi Irwin) and two second place finishers (Zendaya and Sadie Robertson). Some of them have been incredible dancers, which makes it hard to argue that DWTS should institute a mandatory age limit for contestants.
For this instance, I think everything worked out well. Laurie’s innocence undercut any real attempt to sexualize her and the technical dancing itself was so remarkable that it overshadowed any potential controversy. But Dancing with the Stars is supposed to be a family show, and while a little risque titillation can be appropriate in small doses with consenting adults, I hope the show never uses the word “sexy” when referring to a 16-year-old girl again.
What did you think of Laurie and Val’s Argentine Tango? Was it simply a great performance or did it feel inappropriate?
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image and video courtesy of ABC)