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Monday, 29 of May of 2017

Tag » Dancing with the Stars

Dancing with the Stars – Week 9

Bruno’s World sounds like a good mid-season show.”

Tom Bergeron listens to the judges comments with Hope Solo and her partner, Maks.

Is there a mirror ball for Worst Dressed?


Sorry about the delay, everyone. I was just crying so much over the result of Week 9 that I couldn’t bear to recount it for you. I had to take to my bed in mournful repose. O Dancing with the Stars, you awaken the Victorian heroine in me and inspire me to use the vocative!

That was all sarcasm. Really, the result of Week 9 is completely expected. Once Nancy Grace’s deal with the devil ran out, we knew who was going to be in the final three. Why? Let’s look at the contenders. This is JR’s tournament. He’s too good to fail, even when he does fail. Ricki is in the same boat if held up to a lesser standard. The only wild cards were Shemp Kardashian and Hope Solo and Shemp’s got the votes from the celebrity machine his mother and sisters have been working for years now in concert with Ryan Seacrest oiling the gears. Could one summer of media-darlingship and a small following of guys that looked up “hot girl athletes” on Google stand up to the Kardashian Kabal? Not to diminish Hope’s talent but, at the end of the day, there were a lot of forces working against her.

But let’s take a quick spin through last week’s dances anyway. They went three times. Read more »


Dancing with the Stars – Week 8

“It’s midnight and it’s time to go home.”

The five remaining couples from Week 8.

When did Mary Poppins join the cast?


Guys, we’re almost there. These are the last episodes before (I imagine) we’ll hear the word “finals” used so incessantly we won’t even know what it means anymore. The NBA will start calling their championship rounds “games for winners” and students will start calling the last week of the semester a time for “Bigtests.” That warehouse grocery store will start being called Smart&Something-Something. Finals. Finals. Finals. It’s lost all meaning.

Contestants will start to trade in their “It’s Week n” rhetoric and, much more emphatically, beat the “this is the semifinals/finals” rhetoric into the ground. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

Let’s face it: the lead up to the finals is a competition to see who’ll get that third spot in the last episode. Going into this results show this week (and probably next), we can already presume who’s certainly going to be in the final three despite Ricki’s sniveling about failure. Unless something cataclysmic happens, she’s not going anywhere. Then again, I was pretty certain about Kristin, too. And America seems to be really into watching Nancy Grace embarrass herself. It’s like when high school jocks and cheerleaders (the mean ones from the movies and TV, not actual people) vote for the special-ed kid to be prom king. You guys are just mean.

Furthermore, this week Double Dance Week, which means the performers do a dance and then pick a song at random to do another dance. So, basically, it’s a week that benefits people with natural ability and adaptability (JR) and punishes those that’ve just limped along on pity votes (Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy).

Now, Nancy seems to have lost all meaning. Let’s talk about how the remaining five couples did. Read more »


Dancing with the Stars – Week 7

“It’s going to be one of those nights. Fair warning.”

JR shoots a Ghostbuster gun at the end of his dance.

Don't cross the streams.


It’s Week 7 so there’s a noticeable uptick in contestants using that number to explain why they did what they did on the dance floor. A lot of “It’s Week 7 so I gotta bring it” rhetoric.

Adding to the obstacle of “Week 7-ness” was a song selection that was like someone went to their iPod and picked six songs that were vaguely about Halloween but not really because who has “Monster Mash” on their iPod all year long? No “Thriller.” No “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” Yes to “Abracadabra.” Yes to a tango set to “The Addams Family” theme. I would say this is a remark on how the DWTS cachet has crumbled (since they’re not getting top flight songs to play) but, then again, Justin Bieber did two songs during the results show. So I don’t know what to think. Maybe he just needs to make some dough to support that kid after all.

But back to that “Addams Family” number. I’ve been making fun of Shemp Kardashian from the beginning of the show. I didn’t think he’d last three weeks (Noel put him at one). I put him at the bottom every time, ranking him with Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono, but that’s probably not fair. I can objectively see that he’s improving in the dance from his limp shuffling about in the early stages of the competition. I’m told that he’s a very likable person though I’m not sure I see it myself. Not that he’s a bad guy. I don’t want to like him. Call it a Kardashian stigma.

But maybe I should cut the guy some slack. Though doing the tango to “The Addams Family” wasn’t as difficult as doing it to, say, “Ghostbusters” (that’s not just raising the handicap for JR — that’s setting him up for failure), it’s still a hard song to do anything to that’s not call-and-response snapping. He tries hard and improves week to week. Though I still think he’s fighting a losing battle, maybe it’s time to give Rob Kardashian his due, let him rise above what made his family internationally famous (big butts, a sex tape, and being quintessential doofuses), and attain the highest level of integrity a dance competition comprised of acutely famous people can afford.

But Shemp Kardashian is such a good name!

Let’s take a spin through the six couples. Read more »


Dancing with the Stars – Week 6

“She didn’t say he wasn’t Stalin.”

The judges and Maks clash over things said about the couple's dance.

You know it's bad when Tom Bergeron has to hold you back.


OMG TEH DRAMA!

So often Len reminds me of Simon Cowell’s reality game show persona that the animosity toward him is unsurprising. While Len is more prone to letting himself look a fool on camera (that was him doing the Twist a couple weeks ago), he holds an authority rooted in something more than experience or wisdom. His austerity lends to a moral authority. The reviews he plunks upon the dancers feels heavier and, as if his tacit sad or gleeful eyes weren’t enough reason for a dancer’s devastation or elation, then a turn of phrase in his matter-of-fact delivery is enough to either crush a person or send them soaring. I’m new to the show but I’m surprised an angry outburst from a celebrity or dancer hasn’t occurred sooner.

You may see my bias showing but, of the remaining couples, Hope Solo has certainly been the most put upon. Each week she may have a middling showing but is ripped apart by the judges (even if the scores are as middling as her dances). While Chaz and Nancy get pats on their shoulders while the judges say, “There, there — at least you’re trying!” to dry their tears, Hope has been called not sexy, not feminine, clumsy, too muscly, stiff (one week), willowy (another), all while each judge concludes that she’s a good dancer but isn’t putting in the effort or just isn’t showing on the floor. Last week, it broke the normally smarmy fa├žade of the world’s number one goalkeeper and this week it broke her partner.

Read more »


Dancing with the Stars – Week 5

“This is a crowning achievement in madness.”

Anna and Carson dancing as cheerleaders to Wham!

And somehow less flamboyant than the actual video for "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."


My fondness for ’80s dance and music is limited. I’ve been known to enjoy Huey Lewis, his News, and the works of Mr Phil Collins but there isn’t much I enjoy from the oversynthed, factory-made one-hit wonders that more often define the decade than the masters that rose from it, most of whom are either dead, scandalized, or have aged into crazy. I’ll let you decide which one Madonna is.

But, when I say factory-made, I don’t just mean that it has that sheen of being mechanically-reproduced. It’s also specifically-formulated to move anyone to dance that isn’t cynically-precluded to stone-face its charm. So while I wasn’t especially looking forward to ’80s Night on Dancing with the Stars, its arrival in a dance competition was inevitable and, therefore, acceptable.

What a relief it is, though, for the contestants to step up their game this week. The dances last week were so rough, so sloppy, so UGH, that people limped their way into their highest scores of the competition (I’m looking at you, Bono). But this week the people came to play and everyone showed some improvement. Mostly everyone. I’m pretty sure Carson’s not going to get any better. He’s running on adorable fumes.

Let’s go through the contestants. Showtime, Synergy! Read more »


Dancing with the Stars – Week 4

“It was all Temple of Doom.”

Hope Solo as Jessie from Toy Story.

Well, it's not any more embarrassing than the sequined soccer uniform with sneaker hooker heels, right?


It took me four weeks to realize it but this show is absurd.

Granted, I don’t have a trained eye but I do have SOME eyes (two of them) and I’m watching some of these dancers flop across the stage and all I can do is grit my teeth. I shake my head through most of these until JR or Ricki or Chynna come out. And even Chynna crapped the bed.

But the judges are willing to arbitrarily fling points at people they like. No one scores below a six. People that completely fail score above 20 (mind you Chaz was scoring mid-teens at the beginning of this competition) and the people that stumble their way through dance every week are patted on the back and told “It’s going to be okay because you try real hard.”

One of the things I noted that I liked last week was the lack of in-fighting and animosity between players. But Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono are being treated like they took bronze in a fourth-grade relay race. “You try so hard! Good job! Here’s the third highest score we’ve given all night! A for effort!” Maybe the judges could be a little more ruthless. Maybe we can stop the baby games. This isn’t Biggest Loser. Hurt some feelings.

What I’m saying is that the field for Movie Week was really soft. I mean, really soft. People limped to their highest scores of the competition. Points were tossed around so much that they had to give Ricki 10s because they had no where else to go (to be fair, she did have the best dance of the night).

With Kristin ducking out early, it seems like the judges are gaming the system by handing out points, padding the voting numbers. Shenanigans. Let it play out. Let Kristin be the cautionary tale for audience participation and do your jobs as judges: tear these people apart.

Let’s talk about these miserable performances: Read more »


Dancing with the Stars – Week 4, First Night

Judges be crazy.

I just don’t understand the scoring for the competition in general but especially for this evening. I’m not sure why they even have paddles 1-5 because nothing scores below a six no matter how egregiously a star has crapped the bed. And Chynna Phillips crapped the bed. She looked like she was loopy on ‘ludes the whole dance and somehow STILL came away with more points than Carson, whose dance really didn’t seem all that bad.

It’s Movie Night on Dancing with the Stars which means a host of everything Len hates (and, therefore, I hate) about this show which include gimmicky openings and flashy schtick for every dance. Some did it well (JR’s Pink Panther wasn’t bad, Ricki Lake’s Psycho was great) and some were train wrecks (Flash Gordon? Really, Nancy?). I hate to say that I’ve become a dance purist by watching this show but really it’s just that any opportunity I get to roll my eyes at Nancy Grace and Rob Kardashian is one I’m going to take. Also, Rob Kardashian did me wrong with his Superman paso doble. It looked more like an old man shuffle in some places. But I’m going to assume he’ll be saved in the results show because his video shows him “working hard” and “taking this seriously.”

After a month of watching this show, I’m starting to finally see the strategy employed by not only the dancers but also by the judges to save their favorites. Call me naive but I thought the pre-dance videos were just filler to show while the stars and their partners set up for whatever heinous gimmick they wanted to perform before the dance started. Now I see that they’re almost campaign videos designed to endear themselves to the audience. I suspected that’s what Nancy Grace has been using it for but I just assumed she’s a manipulator and exaggerating for the camera comes naturally to her. The videos this week for certain contestants at the bottom of the pile (*cough* Chaz *cough*) were particularly obvious about what it wanted to do. Sure, it was more fun to have Richard Simmons play the part of Chaz’s Mickey Goldmill than it was to see him whining about everything. But this is clearly propaganda.

On top of that, the judges were just wild with their choices. Full-on bananas. They had to give Ricki Lake 10s because they had nowhere else to go with their voting after rating total crap so high. Between them rating Chynna so high despite her completely failing on the dance floor (all 7s) and Carrie Ann arbitrarily deducting points, citing that she wanted to see something more dramatic from JR after his performance last week (how can you make Pink Panther dramatic?), their scores lost validity this week. Not that I really know how much their scores factor into the no-doubt intense algorithm used to determine Night 2 power rankings anyway.

I can’t even speculate about who’s going home tonight because the scores are so skewed that nothing makes sense to me on this show. Carson seems the most likely candidate since he’s at the bottom of the scoreboard but more deserving are Nancy, Rob, or Chaz. But the judges love Rob (probably for the family bubble butt) and Chaz had Cher-Power behind him. Nancy has her deal with the devil.


Dancing with the Stars – Week 3

“I rest my case, Nancy Grace.”

Carson ends his dance for Week 3 with flair.

SHOE!


It’s sob story week here on Dancing with the Stars and the celebrities don’t disappoint in trotting out the waterworks for everyone. From the misty eyes of the former soldier to whatever acid Nancy Grace leaks to the Kardashian family dead-behind-the-eyes stoicism, we danced all over the spectrum for an emotional evening. Well, except Kristin Cavallari who did a Beyonce impression. Oh, and Hope Solo but she had to deal with several people telling her she’s not sexy so that’s upsetting, too.

The contestants had to choose a year of their lives that was important to them and the choreographers had to create a routine for that. Unfortunately, everyone knew what year JR was going to choose so, really, whatever they planned on doing was like competing for second place. Why? Because (a) JR’s a good dancer, (b) he has a really good partner, (c) every other person there has more than half a face. Throw in some good old sad-sack country and Nancy Grace dancing to “Moon River” later is like watching kids dance at a high school social: basic dancing and the problems are for babies.

Really, if Dancing with the Stars was sports and I was at the stadium rooting for not-JR, I would be going home right now to beat traffic. This is his competition to win; everyone else is just biding their time to elimination.

Let’s break it down: Read more »


Dancing with the Stars Reviewlet – Week 3

Do you think the contestants wanted to come for “fun” before or after watching JR dance?

While I know many of the dancers have been saying all along that they came for different reasons (weight loss, post-booze redemption, because Ryan O’Neal was unavailable), winning not among them, you have to assume you join a competition to win. I know the show focuses more on contestants “surviving” to dance another week, but I can’t help but take notice that more people are making sure to convince Brooke Burke and the audience that they’re just glad to be here. Glad to be on a national stage wet with the tears and sweat of our most spotlight-addicted. Well, not this physical stage. BECAUSE IT’S BRAND NEW AND SPECIAL!

Even Hope Solo, a painfully competitive athlete who talked about wanting to win before the competition, who the show put in front of the media to sell the season (ostensibly selling her as the front-runner), conceded a little bit last night. By choosing this year as the year that is most important in her life, the one where her team came in second in the World Cup and, in her words, taught her the lesson that it really is about the journey, her path in this competition is paralleled with her athletic achievements this year. Competing may not be an issue anymore. It’s more about not getting knocked out early.

And, let’s be honest, despite all the contestants bringing their A-game (at least to the judges’ overenthusiastic praise), the competition so far and this week in particular, has the odds stacked against anyone that’s not Chynna and Ricki, but particularly JR. In a week where contestants dedicate their dances to their most memorable years, who is going to compete with “Hi, how about the year I got my face blown off fighting for your country?” No one. Especially if you pick your song to be the one Fletch sings during a rectal exam. Someone should vet these things before they go on the air.

Complicating matters is that JR is a really good dancer and his partner is a really good choreographer (and they put on a clinic last night). He is the mark of the elite class in this batch (with Chynna, Ricki, and maybe Kristin) who overshadows the middle class (Hope, Rob, and maybe Arquette). Then there’re those just waiting for their inevitable early exit: Chaz and Nancy.

Of everyone left, I can only imagine that Chaz is the next to exit. Not only is he a complainer (one of those people that whines about “doing the best [they] can” when missing steps) but there’s just no way he can keep up with these other young bucks. Don’t worry, buddy. It’s a mercy killing, euthanasia really. Everyone is else just waiting for JR to eliminate them. They just don’t know it yet.


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. Read more »