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Dancing with the Stars, Episode 1: A Waltz or a Death in the Family?by Jill Jones -- 06/03/2005
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Cue the music, it’s time for Dancing with the Stars, ABC’s new reality show that has been described as the ultimate ballroom showdown. Which of our celebrity contestants will shine this evening and who will have two left feet? Let’s watch!
Wow! The producers have spared no expense. In addition to a fun kaleidoscope opening, we also have a live orchestra and two co-hosts, Tom Bergeron, who has hosted Hollywood Squares and America’s Funniest Home Videos, and Lisa Canning, best know for her work as an on-air correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.
It’s apparent as the show begins that the celebrities, not the professional dancers, are truly the focus of the competition. One by one, each is introduced; however, their partners are never mentioned. Hopefully, we’ll get to know these individuals later on because I have a feeling they will be quite interesting.
Tonight, each couple will dance either the waltz or cha cha cha. First up are Ashly Delgrosso and Joey McIntyre. In a pre-recorded introduction, we finally get to meet the professional dancer and learn more about the celebrity. Ashly is extremely adorable and admits to having had a crush on Joey when he was in New Kids on the Block. Joey says that he doesn’t like the shirts Ashly has picked out for the competition. In fact, he would rather go shirtless than wear one of her selections! For the love of all that is good in this world, please spare us from seeing Joey dance shirtless!
The couple will be performing the cha cha cha to “Crazy in Love.” Call me old fashioned, but I assumed the dancers would use more traditional music. Ashly and Joey hit the floor and do a nice job. They have a lot of energy and the song fits them. It just doesn’t come across to me as being the cha cha cha, but I’m not a cha cha cha expert, so who am I to argue? One thing I do notice is that Joey looks a bit stiff and she has more to do than he does. I wonder if this will be a reoccurring theme tonight.
Tom introduces our judges, who are ready with their critiques. First is Len Goodman, a professional ballroom dance judge, who states that in the cha cha cha, he looks for a lot of wiggly bums! People, I’m not making this up for your amusement! He actually says, “wiggly bums.” He also explains that if he sees any lifts from the participants, they will have to answer to the judges. Len uses the words fabulous and terrific to describe Joey’s performance.
Next is Carrie Ann Inaba. She is a film, TV, and stage tour choreographer. Carrie states that Joey needs to avoid stomping his feet so much and be more sharp. I didn’t even pay attention to his feet – I was mesmerized by what Ashly was doing.
Our last judge is Bruno Tonioli, who is a film, music video, and TV choreographer. He explains that from time to time, Joey’s posture softens and that he should practice putting his nose in the air to maintain a more appropriate stance.
At this point, the dancers go backstage to chat with Lisa and receive the celebrity’s score from the judges. Each judge assigns a score from one to 10; therefore, the highest obtainable score is 30. Carrie and Len each give Joey a seven, while Bruno gives him a six, for a total score of 20. (Don’t worry; I’ll do the math for you.) Tom points out the fact that Joey is in first place. Oh, the humor never stops on this show! He also reminds viewers that they can call in their votes or vote online at www.dancingwiththestars.abc.com.
Dancing next are Rachel Hunter and Jonathan Roberts. While it appears that Ashly and Joey had fun during their practice sessions, I get the impression that Rachel and Jonathan were tense and stressed. He states that she doesn’t focus or concentrate on what he is teaching her. Even though she claims to want to prove she can do ballroom dancing, we see clips of her complaining about how hard it is and practically giving up on it. And to think, this is the couple I picked to win the competition and coveted trophy! Tonight, they will be waltzing to “Three Times a Lady.” During the performance, I notice that Rachel’s height helps her to achieve beautiful, long lines during some of her moves; however, I again don’t feel like I am watching a waltz. Perhaps I’m just being thrown off by the music. Overall, I feel that Rachel looks elegant and comfortable during her performance, but what do the judges think?
Len explains that during a waltz, he is looking specifically at how the dancers hold one another, their posture, and overall movements. With that, he says that he didn’t see enough actual waltzing in the dance. OK, so it’s not just me. Carrie, on the other hand, feels that Rachel did an amazing job. Bruno agrees and calls Rachel a turquoise dream, referring to the color of her gown.
Backstage, Rachel receives her official scores from the judges. Carrie gives her a seven, while Len gives her a six. Bruno also gives Rachel a seven for a score of 20. Despite having the stomach flu, Rachel is tied with Joey for first place.
Edyta Sliwinska and Evander Holyfield take the stage next. In her interview, Edyta describes her dancing with words such as sexual and dangerous! Now we’re talking! Despite his boxing background, Evander is having problems with his footwork. Cut to footage of him falling over Edyta while practicing. Back at the live show, the couple will be doing the cha cha cha to the song, “Respect.” While Edyta is doing her thing, Evander doesn’t seem to have much to add to the dance. Don’t get me wrong, the few moves that he does are executed well; however, most of the time, he just stands behind his partner. Many of his dance moves are the same, but he wiggles his bum a lot, so this should score points with the judges. There are also some grinding moves in their routine. Edyta warned us about this!
Bruno is up first. He says that he liked Evander’s dancing, but he should try to move more lightly. Len praises Evander’s dancing and says he was terrific. Carrie finishes by saying that Evander has potential; however, he tends to lick his lips a lot and should avoid doing so. Backstage, Evander receives his score. Carrie, Len, and Bruno give him a five, seven, and six respectively for a total of 18 points. Not bad! When asked what he thinks of his score, Evander says that he can always improve upon it. What a great attitude!
Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo are up next. Alec mentions during his interview that he is always the best-looking guy on the dance floor. Kelly says that he was so serious when they first met; her goal was to help him lighten up a bit. It takes some time, but eventually they begin to bond and have fun.
The couple is waltzing to “I Have Nothing.” Kelly has to spin quite often during their performance. The reason this is significant is that in her interview earlier, she mentions to Alec that she blew out both of her eardrums while scuba diving, so she’s having problems with her equilibrium. Alec offers to remove the spinning, but Kelly asks that he keep it in their dance. The couple looks beautiful during their performance and Kelly seems to dance somewhat effortlessly.1 2 Next-->
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