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DWTS: Under the Rainbow

October 6, 2010

Let’s cut right to the quick:  the two on the elimination podium last night were Bristol Palin and Margaret Cho (in a rainbow tassle dress), and it wasn’t the “teen activist” who went home.  Luckily, ABC didn’t milk the awkward stand-off that could be looked at as representative of current culture wars, and Cho had a nice goodbye speech and even qualified for a montage before going home.  I understand that some people will be disheartened by this outcome (I still remember the pain I felt when the higher scoring Lil Kim was sent home over the aw-shucks blond rodeo cowboy got more votes two seasons ago), but I can’t say I was surprised.  Margaret showed moments of being a dancer, but that Copacabana routine couldn’t shoot enough rainbow streams out onto the ballroom floor to cover her shakey footwork and, more importantly, the completely lack of story.  It’s Story Week, people, and when someone asks for your dance’s story, don’t say “it’s about having pride in who you are even when others criticize.”  That’s what the story is about, that is not what the story is.  A story needs specific characters and action and your explanation had neither.  See for yourself.

I love Copacabana!  I love dancers with rainbow tassels!  If they had simply said, “it’s the story of a nervous show queen performing for the first time at a gay discotheque”, they could have easily gotten a 7 out of Bruno, maybe Carrie Ann too.    This is not Margaret’s fault, this is her partner Louis van Amstel’s responsibility — I love the man, I love how he is a dance therapist to his partners each season, he looks great dancing and even pulled off the Jack LaLane jumpsuit with a rainbow belt, but he’s not so good at paying attention to what the judges are looking for and how to plan accordingly.    They wanted a story, no matter how trashy or bad, as evidenced by Cheryl and Rick who basically told the story of a sad athlete picking up a dancer at a strip club.  (Those two were, however, still placed the bottom three with those shenanigans, despite getting much better scores from the judges.)

I was underwhelmed in general this week.  Perhaps the judges were too, as I’m a little stunned as to why The Situation and Karina were asked to repeat the fox trot from a time machine routine.  First, he lacks fluidity, ease, and musicality.  Secondly, Karina stole the styling, outfit, and concept from Derek’s futuristic paso doble two seasons ago.  Audrina from The Hills stepped up to first place on the leaderboard this week, so I took the time to learn her name.  As it stands now, she, Jennifer Grey, and Kyle Massey seem poised to go the distance, possibly Brandy too, if Maks can keep it together (and stop hitting her on the ass, please, that’s not cool).  Florence Henderson looked lovely dancing to Edelweiss, but I’m not sure how many more weeks she has in her.  The quarterback guy hasn’t danced well enough so I’m not compelled to learn his name.  The best part of this week was when judge Carrie Ann Inaba was trying to be encouraging of Margaret Cho’s dance and said, “Dancing with the Stars has gone gay!!!” and off to the side you heard fellow judge (and very out) Bruno say, “really?”  Carrie Ann, you should know – Dancing with the Stars has been gay.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. amygee permalink
    October 6, 2010 9:29 am

    “Florence Henderson looked lovely dancing to Edelweiss…”
    This sentence probably sums up everything that I have been missing in first-hand American pop-culture consumption in the last 11 years, doesn’t it?

  2. October 6, 2010 9:45 am

    I guess it was a good week for me to miss it, with all the unpacking.

  3. October 6, 2010 9:53 am

    Sad that M Cho is gone, but it’s bittersweet because this means I don’t have to watch anymore! Ok, let me confess. It just means I don’t have to feel guilty about not watching anymore. I’ve only actually seen about 10 minutes total this season. So, here’s to abandoning my guilt!

  4. October 6, 2010 10:14 am

    @krista: absolutely! the middle weeks do tend to drag a little – it can be tedious business, the weeding out.

    @amygee: is it wrong I thought of you during edelweiss??

    @Amy miller: maybe if you had voted, she wouldn’t have been cast off!! just kidding, there should be no guilt around watching – or not watching – dwts.

  5. October 6, 2010 10:20 am

    The funny part is that I DID vote, because I follow her on Twitter and she gave the 800#. I have been following her progress via blogs, etc, and I blindly voted for her because I’m a fan of her comedy. There’s a good democratic process for ya 🙂

  6. October 6, 2010 10:29 am

    Ok, so I don’t watch DWTS, but when I clicked over here this morning, my first thought at the picture of Margaret Cho was “Whoa, did she dance to a Cher song?” I was thinking either “Half-Breed” or “Gyspies, Tramps, and Theives” would be fantastic with that outfit.

  7. Jyldo permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:36 am

    watching Bristol Palin give young girls advice about abstinence makes me feel uncomfortable. as does her dancing.

  8. October 6, 2010 12:08 pm

    @amymiller: I’m glad you did you’re civic duty. I must confess, I have been slacking in voting this season because I haven’t been able to watch Monday night’s show live every week!

    @eieioj: are you sharing my excitement for this?

    it looks terrible. i can’t wait!

  9. October 6, 2010 12:22 pm

    I hate to always be the voice of cynicism in the ballroom, but I still think that when you’re left with two dancers, one who would bring a lot more attention/headlines to the program and one that kinda wouldn’t, the person who goes is that second one. I mean, yes, Bristol Palin, the week that she leaves, will create some news, but then it’s over. Margaret Cho, as interesting a personality and as fun a performer really was the more expendable person as far as PR goes. And really, Palin would likely trump any of the other dancers for that so if you go against her, you’re probably saying goodbye, no matter what!

  10. October 6, 2010 12:30 pm

    @jyldo: i wonder if she got pregnant in the Bristol Inn, her namesake.

  11. October 6, 2010 12:41 pm

    @nycpenpusher: there have been plenty of bland/unknown people who’ve made it through for much longer (I see you, Joanna Krupa), so i’m not sure the headlines-making rule is totally universal. or maybe i’m not getting your theory — how would recent first week losers Shannon Doherty or David Hasselhoff fit into it?

  12. evmaroon permalink
    October 6, 2010 12:46 pm

    I love how you make me want to watch this show, but for me, it’s somewhere between Bloopers and Practical Jokes, America’s Next Top Model (which okay, I love that show), and Big Brother. But I did watch the first episode, all for you, Raymond!
    I’m blue that Cho is gone. Little miss thang from Alaska won’t be on much longer, but she may outlast The Situation.

  13. October 6, 2010 12:57 pm

    @raymondj What I’m saying is that there are people who will bring attention to the program via their “newsworthiness” for lack of a better way to put it, and Bristol being the daughter that she is, and being the part of the GOP family that she is is one of those persons. In other words, if she leaves the show, far less attention will be paid to it, and far fewer headlines could be made from it. Doherty and Hasselhoff were just actors… they don’t bring an entire political party to the dance floor! If, for example, Rick Fox went against Margaret Cho, then it’s likely going to be the best dancer that wins. But when you skew things toward the person that’s going to help keep the program in the news, nobody is going to beat Bristol.

  14. October 6, 2010 1:36 pm

    @nycpenpusher: I see what you’re saying, but I guess I wonder if GOPers are really watching the show (and voting) solely because of Bristol. I would concede that because the existing DWTS audience skews heavily mainstream, chances are there’s more support for Bristol than Margaret, and therefore more votes. I’m also choosing to believe the producers have no influence on the outcome of the elimination, directly speaking, and I’m sure in twenty years there will be a Quiz Show movie revealing otherwise when it comes to public voting competitions! They’ll have to start hiring outside accountants, like the Oscars.

    @evmaroon: I’m honored you watched a whole episode for me! You’d probably enjoy it more if I was there. 🙂 Which reminds me: next time I’m watching it live, alone with the laptop, I’ll utilize the fry butter live blog!

  15. October 6, 2010 1:48 pm

    @Ray: YES! I have no idea how I feel about it, other than it looks like a fabulous hot mess, which makes me all the more excited. Seriously, Cher and Xtina? And Stanley Tucci?

  16. October 6, 2010 2:09 pm

    You make me want to watch … or at least follow recaps!

  17. October 6, 2010 2:10 pm

    @raymondj don’t get too caught up in the GOP… what I’m really saying is that when it comes to Bristol, the fact that she’s still on the program will factor in to potential future headlines, no matter your political affiliation. She’s the bigger draw for people who love or hate what her family stands for…

    And yeah, I’m not saying that there’s a “Quiz Show” type scandal brewing, but I think if there’s a really close vote, the sway of it will likely go this way rather than that one!

  18. evmaroon permalink
    October 6, 2010 4:30 pm

    YES! I would love to watch a steam of Raymondconsciousness as the dancing transpired. But I’d have to be content to follow along with your already uploaded thoughts since we’re in different time zones.

  19. jenn permalink
    October 6, 2010 4:44 pm

    I thought this week was kind of a snooze fest too. Even though I thought I’d be all excited for this season because I finally knew who *most* of the contestants were, I’m just a little meh. Also, this made my non-fat chai latte almost come out of my nose: “…and [he] even pulled off the Jack LaLane jumpsuit with a rainbow belt…”

  20. October 6, 2010 5:18 pm

    @jenn: that was actually a reference to Tom Bergeron’s joke! he told Louis “good job on bringing back Jack LaLane’s jumpsuit” and I burst out laughing, then took a moment to absorb that Tom Bergeron actually made me LOL. although Bergeron meant it more derisively, I personally think it looked pretty slamming!

  21. October 6, 2010 9:52 pm

    JACK LA LANE! I see you, 1970. I’m sad about Cho going home, but I’m not sad about never seeing that dress again. It has enough design elements for like five dresses. Five bad dresses. As always, stellar recap, Raymond!!

  22. October 6, 2010 10:49 pm

    ” Audrina from The Hills stepped up to first place on the leaderboard this week, so I took the time to learn her name.”

    … I’ve just been calling her Joanna Krupa. Of course these people who are marginally stars (doesn’t that make them “space objects” instead?) do well every season: they have time to practice. It’s easier to fit in five days of 8-hour dance practice when you’re not working.

    Yay DWTS recap/bloggin’!

  23. October 6, 2010 11:01 pm

    space objects!!!! or even mere satellites? Dancing with the Satellites is some sort of cover band name.

  24. October 7, 2010 2:52 am

    This may be slightly off topic but am I the only one who feels like Margaret Cho has kind of jumped the shark?

  25. October 7, 2010 8:28 am

    @Chriso: HA!! I think that’s a prerequisite for being on DWTS, to be honest. everyone is looking for a second (or third or fourth) chance to hit another peak.

  26. October 7, 2010 9:28 am

    I agree, Chriso. I couldn’t believe she would actually do the show.

  27. Jillamina permalink
    October 7, 2010 9:31 am

    @jyldo watching Bristol Palin dance makes me uncomfortable, because she looks uncomfortable. She looks completely disconnected from her own body. It’s almost like people have been telling her that feeling physical pleasure is sinful…

  28. Sandra C. Muñoz permalink
    October 8, 2010 1:00 pm

    Raymond, I know you don’t want me to whine anymore but I have to tell you that, after many seasons of loyal-watching, I’m done with DWTS. I can’t do it anymore. Adios!

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