Thursday, February 19, 2009

Premeditating Dancing with the Stars(?) Season 8

Here we are again – a new season of Dancing with Stars. What kind of shenanigans have the casting people been up to since picking Cloris Leachman?

Here’s the short list:

Belinda Carlisle – former Go-Go
David Alan Grier – comedian specializing in racial (and mostly not funny) humor
Jewel – Prolific singer-songwriter and terrible poet
Shawn Johnson – extremely flexible pixie
Lil Kim – Ex-con and rap star, enjoys showing up in public wearing bedazzled pasties (once fondled by Diana Ross)
Gilles Marini – his penis starred in the Sex and the City movie
Ty Murray – married to Jewel and works in something called Rodeo
Steve-O – Jackass famous for playing a Jackass on a show called Jackass
Nancy O’Dell – holds a microphone for a living
Denise Richardson – used to be married to Charlie Sheen, now stars in a reality tv show about how she used to be married to Charlie Sheen
Lawrence Taylor – this year’s guy who used to play football and was apparently very good at it
Chuck Wicks – sings country and dates Julianne Hough
Steve Wozniak – rich, smart, and besties with Kathy Griffin

The twist this year seems to be pre-established relationships between contestants and partners, which might make it more excited, but will more likely piss me off because of the havoc it will wreak upon the voting. Jewel is married to Ty. Maksim is engaged to Karina (gag!), and Julianne is practically engaged to her partner Chuck. I swear to God, if he proposes to her at any point during a live telecast I will stop watching this show forever.

Anyway – let’s go through them one by one, paying special attention to their chances in the competition, their professional partners, and whether or not they qualify as a star (answer: nope).

Ah Belinda Carlisle… it’s OK that she looks a little stretched out in the face. We lived through Pricilla Presley, so this is nothing. I’m excited to see how she does; I mean, we know she’s got the beat (yuck, yuck) so I think she’ll be proficient at least. And unless she’s found religion or something, I know she has spunk and sass and sexy, so the Latin dances won’t intimidate her like they have so many of the other women on this show. She is paired with Jonathan Roberts, whose best partner so far has been Marie Osmond. That is, until he let her totally trump his authority by forcing him to choreograph some sort of puppetmaster/toyland danse macabre in the finals, from which I may never recover.

I don’t think David Alan Grier has been funny since In Living Color, which isn’t any indication of his dancing abilities, but it might be an indication of how unexcited I am to see him on my television screen. The bright side, I suppose, is he is paired with Kym Johnson, who remains one of my favorite professionals. Kym has come sooo close to winning a trophy, not once but twice, so I find myself in the awkward position of pulling for David Alan Grier. And I don’t think I like it.

The only Jewel album I own is that pop album she released back in ’03 (I think), which was a critical and commercial bomb. I, however, loved it, especially the first single and razorblade commercial, Intuition. But back to the topic at hand, I’ve always liked her, despite her tendency to speak in dizzy metaphors and disconnected parallelisms. Her partner is Dmitry Chaplin, the first of three So You Think You Can Dance alums. I didn’t watch his season of SYTYCD, but I’ve seen the videos, and ya’ll… he is HOT. This could get awkward, because this boy is capable of some seriously fiery chemistry with his partners and psssttt… her husband is standing right there.

Ty Murray, who is famous because he’s married to Jewel, which is as good a reason to be called a star as any, especially when we’re talking about this show, competes in the rodeo. I suppose I should probably steel myself for waltzes and tangos set to songs about boots and tractors and dead children. How many performances will it take before he takes off his Stetson? Well… we’ll probably never know -- $10 he’s the first to go. Oh wait, I take that back. Show won’t let that happen, not after all the trouble they went to casting a real married couple. He’ll be dancing with Chelsie Hightower, our Mormon vixen from the last season of SYTYCD. I love her and everything, but seeing her dance without Mark will make me emotional, and not in the good way.

Awwww… it’s Shawn Johnson! Despite being two years younger than Cody Linley (the youngest contestant ever, until now), I predict she’ll show more poise and grace than most of the women with whom she is competing. And maybe we’ll get to hear Bela Karoly yell at her during rehearsals (how awesome would that be!?). She is paired with Mark Ballas, which makes me ECSTATIC because I’m pretty sure Shawn will do well, which means weeks and weeks of Mark Ballas on my screen. The only thing that disappoints me: Mark won’t be able to sex up the dances as much as he (and I) would like, because that would be kind of statutory.

Apparently this show doesn’t do a background check because here is Li’l Kim. Perhaps Show isn’t concerned about her rap-sheet because she wasn’t incarcerated for a violent crime (perjury and conspiracy ain’t no big thang). Personally, I love her. She’s outrageous and unpredictable, or at least that’s what her wardrobe choices would indicate. In the most bizarre and incongruous pairing since peanut butter and cheese, Li’l Kim will dance with Derek Hough, who is as whitebread as they come. I’m thinking they’ll get along just fine, but wow… I didn’t see that one coming at all.

Gilles Marini, better known as Dante in the Sex and the City movie, is this year’s completely unknown/kind-of-famous-but-only-for-one-thing (and we all know what that thing is…) Latin hunk, following in a long line of gorgeous and successful studs like Christian de la Fuente, Helio Castoneves, and of course, Mario Lopez. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him speak, other than his two lines in the movie, so I don’t know what to expect from him at all. Not that it matters – have you seen him? His partner is Cheryl Burke, and I think I like her less and less every year. Not really sure why.

Steve-O? Really? The thing is: this show is an amazing form of career rehabilitation. So many of the contestants have used this show as a platform from which to make a comeback, and it pisses me off that someone out there thinks Steve-O deserves such an opportunity. I mean, he is absolutely insane. Why would this show invest in a guy who likes to staple his balls together? It isn’t like he’ll be allowed to do any of that stuff on live TV, and frankly, I don’t think he has anything else to offer. You see, people like Steve-O do outrageous things, like pissing on reporters on the red carpet, or showing up for a talkshow completely blitzed and breaking furniture, because they didn’t get enough love and attention as a child, or something. They MUST be the center of attention. People like Steve-O, who are devoid of intelligence and personality, find that the only way to attract the amount of attention they crave is to commit gross acts of self-destruction and humiliation, which they claim they enjoy doing because it makes people laugh. Yeah, we’re laughing, but not because it’s funny. We’re laughing because it’s so pathetic, we’re not really sure what else to do. When Jackass was on the air, I remember asking myself why any sane person would do stunts like the ones they did. Some of them, I think, were after fame. Some were just stupid. And still others were just weak and found themselves being pressured into doing things because it would make them cool in the eyes of their bros. A few of the guys were even kind of endearing because they seemed to realize how amazingly stupid it all was, even as they let the camera film them eating feces. Steve-O, however… seemed different. There was something about him that was out of control… kind of unhinged. I understand that he has a high pain threshold, and that’s great, but a lot of the things he did weren’t even funny, so all he was really doing was tearing up his body for no reason. I’m saying: the boy ain’t right. And poor Lacey Schwimmer is going to have to deal with him. Oh, Girl… from a high-class Gay to a probably high masochist. My condolences.

I don’t watch those pre-primetime entertainment shows, so the only thing I know about Nancy O’Dell is that she helped Wendy Pepper make it to the finals of Project Runway, thus putting her on my shit list for life. She’s pretty, though. She is paired with Tony Dovalani, who hasn’t gotten close to winning this show in a really long time. I’m starting to think he’s bad luck. And why do they always stick him with the older ladies (not that Nancy O’Dell is all that old, but compared to everyone else…)? Is he some sort of expert in old lady dancing or something? What, was Mark Ballas’s dad not available?

I don’t like Denise Richardson. I don’t think you like Denise Richardson. But apparently, some strange sub-set of some demographic does… how else do you explain her reality show getting renewed for a second season? I saw Wild Things (didn’t care for it) and that’s about as far as my knowledge of her goes, other than her bitter divorce and custody battle with Charlie Sheen, for which I couldn’t care less. So here again, I find myself forced to pull for someone I don’t really like. Why? MAXSIM! The good news is I think she’s perfectly capable of making it far. She’s got an athletic build and they look great together. The people online seem concerned about her ability to focus and keep up with everything, but Maxsim has a way of bringing out the best in his partners, usually by making them cry. God, I love him. (Damn you, Karina Smirnoff!!)

Lawrence Taylor is the new former football player who will most likely make it to the finals unless he is just completely uncoordinated and/or mentally slow. As usual, I have no idea who he is. He’ll be dancing with Edyta – and girlfriend, if this isn’t your year I think you should probably just give up.

Chuck Wicks is some sort of country artist, although I certainly haven’t heard of him. Of course, that’s not even the point. He is dating Julianne Hough, who also happens to be his partner. Geez, Show: talk about stacking the deck. What the hell? For that, I will NOT be pulling for this couple, even though I just adore Julianne. I’m sorry – I cannot support outright favoritism from the producers.

And finally, that big teddy bear of a man, Steve Wozniak, who is probably the cutest, most adorable, most socially awkward man in the entire world. I’m still not over his break-up with Kathy Griffin (Ok, it wasn’t so much a break-up as much as a never-happened, but still…). He won’t last long in this competition, I don’t think. I can’t imagine that he has any kind of grace or panache, even if he has a spitfire like Karina helping him out. A part of me think these two will clash – Karina can be very impatient and Steve is going to need a lot of TLC. But then again, he is so sweet, perhaps Karina will warm to him and be less of a bitch. We’ll see.

Ok, so. Obviously I have to pull for Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas. That’s the easy choice and I’m all about convenience. But I’m looking out hard for Max/Denise and Jewel/Dmitry. And of course, Steve (but not Karina).


Karen said...

You are right on about this. The Julianne/Chuck Wicks pairing is so unfair and borders on cheating. It goes against everything this show is about including the fact that Chuck Wicks is NOT a star. But you should be prepared for some major stunt from these two and an on-air engagement would not surprise me in the least. These two don't love each other, they love publicity. If ABC allows Julianne & Chuck to turn this show into their own personal reality show than I am done with it forever also!!

Anonymous said...

Don't think you have to worry about a proposal from Chuck Wicks. Rumors around Nashville hint that he bats for the OTHER team and Julianne is not his type.