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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Dancing with the Stars – Week 2

“Any connection that had with a jive was a coincidence.”

Ricki Lake and Derek dance the jive.

And, somehow, this wasn't the most repulsive thing to happen all week.

Here’s where I commend Dancing with the Stars: give the contestants three weeks to prepare for the first episode with some, more or less, basic steps (flourishes added by the dancers) to establish some confidence then hit them with a choices that basically demands these noobs spin their legs around like Snoopy at a holiday party to crush their spirits. And then they take those crushed spirits and make a montage of all the whining like American Idol has perfected with sobbing sobsters of middling talent. Beautiful.

No more limping in with a basic Viennese waltz or a stiff by-the-book cha-cha. It’s time to get serious. It’s time to get dangerous. It’s time — for hooker gloves.

Okay, really only two contestants wore hooker gloves but that’s two more than last week and, apparently, the jive and the two-step called for such a thing. Hooker gloves, pandering to the judges, and gimmicks (which I’m pretty sure Goodman told them was not his favorite thing). And lots of confused decade time warps. The whole thing was kind of a mess. Except for a couple of dances. And you already know who they are. Let’s break it down.

Hope Solo: I really wish they would just tell us a couple more times why Hope Solo is a celebrity. If the Week 1 bio on the pitch wasn’t enough, certainly the sequined half-jersey, sneaker heels, and soccer ball would send it home (score? There’s no proper soccer analogy here). Maybe she should’ve stuck to cleats because she was slipping all over the place. She had everything else down except the footwork. Kind of important. But maybe I’m just jealous because I feel my parasocial relationship is in jeopardy because I think she and Maks are boning. Wonk-wonk.

Kristin Cavallari: She is one of the better dancers but, despite her opening bio insisting that she “bring it” a couple hundred times, it wasn’t nearly knock me over as much as the first week did. Maybe I’m desensitized to Marilyn Monroe, maybe I don’t get the subtle nuance of what they did, maybe I don’t care enough. Maybe I’m just looking for girls in no clothing. Didn’t bowl me over. I’d also like to take a moment to boo the audience. Len Goodman has the same problem Simon Cowell always has: too smart for everyone in the room. When you judge your own nationally-televised ballroom dancing show, you can let whichever pretty doofus that drunkenly lumbers across the stage get whatever score you want. Until then, keep to whatever you know best. What would that be? Us magazine crossword puzzles?

David Arquette: A case of the copies and a case of not doing it as well. Don’t try to out-flair Carson and his cock-walk. It’s just not going to happen, especially with sloppy footwork and the outfits that make me angry. It makes everyone angry. You’re making babies cry, David. And boring Len to the point that he said he’d rather be watching Castle. And no one is watching Castle! Oh, some people are watching Castle? Oh. You get my point. The bed has been crapped this week.

Elisabetta Canalis: Better than last week but when are they going to stop letting her dance by herself? It’s always hard to watch. Like watching a foreign person dance to 80s music embarrassing. Because that’s what happened. At least they limited it to one kill-me-now solo and made sure she was attached at the hip for the rest of the time. It was fine, I guess.

Rob Kardashian: You tell me: is this his partner’s master plan to horribly embarrass him on a grander scale than basic cable would allow? The dance he lazed through included several moments of him dancing less like Frankie Avalon and more like Shirley Temple and the step-over/through-the-legs move was, like, the worst I’ve seen. If this really is her plan to get him beat up by his boys — it’s freaking BRILLIANT.

Carson Kressley: Here’s the problem with this dance and, hopefully, it can be corrected for next week. This really looked like a gay man dancing with a girl he has no interest in. The gay thing is not going to be corrected. Mr Show showed us that. But the chemistry thing is going to have to be. It was strong in the first week. I’m not sure what happened here. It was a little painful because, without demonstrations chemistry, heart, or showmanship (which this dance had very little of), Carson has the coordination of Lucille 2 during one of her spells. But they win for cutest outfits.

Ricki Lake: God bless her because she hit this as well as she could but this was a dance made for a different kind of woman, like Kristin Cavallari or someone slutty. Len Goodman even mentioned how grossed out he was. I wasn’t grossed out but certainly noticed that it’s been a long time since Hairspray. I’m going to say one of the better dances of the night.

Chaz Bono: All buttoned-up in every sense of the word. Stiff and boring, especially with such a high-energy song. The whine-fest that has followed Chaz around since the beginning infected every segment he was in, from pre-dance video to post-dance interview. It’s all set-up for an early exit, either by America or by his own surrender. I’m hoping for the latter. We need to thin out this herd. Best part: his performance allowed for Bruno to make an Ewok reference.

Chynna Phillips: Unfortunately, when you jump out with a great start like Chynna had last week, it’s hard to live up to, especially when you follow it up with a slower interpretation of someone else’s dance last week. It’s not to say that Chynna Phillips doesn’t have the body or the moves to pull off Kristin Cavallari’s “hairography” and shimmy but, if you’re going to have really knock it out of the park if you’re going to copy a style in Week 2. It wasn’t as poised or as artful as last week. Except for that between the legs thing. Is Chynna Phillips the sluttier girl Ricki’s partner was looking for?

Nancy Grace: She might as well just stayed in bed for this one. Nothing on this episode did her any favors. The pre-dance segment showed her throwing a baby tantrum, the dance was pretty basic (though better than last week), and the nipple-slip was the joke of the day all over Twitter. Rough day for the twins.

JR Martinez: What do you say about this guy? He’s got the moves, he has the backstory, he has the attitude to go the distance. Even if he wasn’t great at the dance, how are you going to vote against a good-natured guy that fought for your country with half a face? I wouldn’t mind the props so much if every dance was as kinetic and well-formed as this one. Also: come on, America. It’s Newsies set to Brian Setzer Orchestra. How does that not get your vote?

One thing I like: This is a reality competition show not about undermining each other, not about alliances, not about subterfuge or violence or clashing attitudes. It’s not about interpersonal drama. Yeah, it’s about dance and I couldn’t really care less about dance. But it’s also about going out there and winning based on merit and not about who is the most underhanded. That might be a bit schmaltzy but it makes the show easier to watch.

One thing I don’t like: I’m already over the gimmicks (green screens, camera tricks, sets) and I can only assume that they get bigger and more dramatic as the season wears on. Or wears on me. Get it? Ha! I kill me!

One thing I still don’t understand: Carrie Ann and Bruno are far too enthusiastic about these dances and scores are way too high. Shemp Kardashian scored within a point of JR Martinez which just shouldn’t be. I get that we have to grade on a relative scale to the experience of contestants but, if we’re teaching the country about dance, we’re giving them the wrong lesson. Some of these attempts shouldn’t be rewarded.

What I’ve learned: I don’t have to watch all four hours of this. This is a masterwork of reused content.

JR, Ricki, and Chynna don’t create drama anymore so putting the first two on stage together was a good idea. Probably better to just put them all on stage together next time just to get it out of the way. We’ll call it the safe stage. And then put Carson and Arquette on stage together and call it “why are they safe” stage.

But Elisabetta is the one to leave. It’s an interesting study in building a connection with the American audience. Their score was relatively high so it had to be all about the votes. She was beat out by one of the most reviled television personalities on cable, a Kardashian, and a person so controversial organizations threatened protest and boycott. The Italian model in low-cut and skimpy clothing couldn’t find an audience. Ouch.

Join us next week where we learn memorable years in the celebrities lives. I can’t wait to see Chaz Bono’s interpretive dance.

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