Did you watch the Dancing With The Stars premiere? I did. Did you like it? Surprisingly, I did. Now I’ve never been much of a fan – largely because I haven’t watched enough. I’ve seen the later episodes in seasons past, when it all comes down to the wire. Nor have I ever worried about anyone on the show’s ego or their subsequent career prospects – obviously this is one of the best shots in the arm anyone can have professionally these days. But I do have trouble with the part where contestants (both the Stars and the hot hoofers who hold the strings and animate them when they set foot on a dance floor) do all that amped-up posturing about winning beforehand. Before they’ve even taken a step in front of the eight-hundred-million viewers. I realize that if you’re a boxer you have to do the psyching-up thing (I’m not much for boxing either) but here’s what I don’t get: why all the proclamations first? They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We are literally watching these people dance. This is visual stuff like nothing else. We’re witnessing movement, which, if it’s done well, could silence anyone with its sheer grace/beauty/athleticism. Right? So why do we always have the preamble of “I’m the best!!” seconds before each performer goes out and either is or isn’t? Would it be so wrong – during the premiere – to just introduce the dancer on camera and maybe show the rehearsal in a funny way – but leave out the part where they go and claim the mirror ball? How about moving your feet before you do all that flapping of gums?
I may be alone in my opinion here, but when the stars proclaim their domination it’s off-putting. That said, is it any surprise that the evening’s two biggest delights (Ralph Macchio and Kirstie Alley) expressed nothing but self-deprecating good humor beforehand – and a clear self-awareness of their incapability? Maybe that’s just good television and obviously everyone here is coached, and they’re all given certain roles to play on the show. But honestly, I thought the most refreshing were those who acknowledged their age and lack of prowess – who then went on to demonstrate that yes, perhaps modesty, humor and a crackerjack partner can do wonders. There’s something undeniably sexy about modesty. Or at least the acknowledgement of nerves.
Petra the supermodel seemed pretty genuine, and Sugar Ray (who I think is adorable) looked like someone who had to be talked into this show to begin with… and is about to experience serious Dancer’s Remorse. The wrestler is, um, a wrestler. At least Romeo listened when they gave him “notes” – I suspect he will stick around. Plus, he’s not under too much pressure because he’s there on behalf of his dad and he’s already got the audiences’ sympathy. Kendra is utterly appalling to me but I guess she is the Kate Gosselin of the group who the producers know we’ll complain about and therefore tune in MORE so we can continue to complain. Or maybe she’s a beloved icon of something, and I just can’t see past the trashy trainwreck-y part. Who knows. I thought the whole show was definitely one of the more entertaining I’ve seen, and I will happily tune in next week – on Monday at least, because then I can watch the dances and still not worry about feeling particularly attached to any of them before someone gets unceremoniously axed the following day. Even though I hope it’s Kendra.
1) Kirstie Alley & Maks Chmerkovskiy
2) Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas
3) Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff
4) Hines Ward & Kym Johnson