A Reason to Watch DANCE WAR Next Week, and Other Dance Show Stuff…

In case you didn’t hear yet, on next week’s “Dance War,” the new season of “Dancing With the Stars” contestants will officially be announced. Also, next week will be that show’s finale?! It seemed to go so fast; I was kind of shocked when they announced that last night.

Anyway, this week was “Latin Week,” which I felt pretty eh about — nothing new for me with this show. At least dance-wise I felt eh. Tango hooks in the opening number were sloppy — Kelsey had to re-adjust her position with her partner to get her foot wrapped around his leg. If she was as close to him as she should have been that wouldn’t have happened. But who am I to criticize someone for not maintaining the proper Argentine Tango frame — I was NEVER able to feel comfortable that close to the guy 🙂 — at least not random guys in class I didn’t know…

And is Bruno the king of hysteria-drenched, goofy similes or what? “I’ve taken more punches than Rocky!!!” he wailed with wild gesticulations, over losing twice in a row. I hate to admit it, but at some points, his nuttiness actually kind of grows on me… I’m glad he finally praised Carrie Ann’s team. He needed to do that to show he was a sport. It just really bothers me how he practically equates dance with sex. Those guys’ open-shirts in his second number — oh please! Same thing with the way he had Kelsey last week vamping it up Jessica Simpson-like in “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” Dance can be sexy, but when it’s so overt like that it just becomes silly and crass.

I did feel like the singing was a bit better this time — particulary from Zack on the Bruno team and Chris on the Carrie Ann team. When Chris “sang for his life” I have to say I was actually quite blown away. He’s had so many microphone malfunctions, I don’t think I’ve really heard him sing, but he has a pretty nice voice.

I think what annoys me most about this show is its general air of unreality. It was sweet when Phillip’s mom showed up to watch her son, but do the show’s producers really expect us to believe she couldn’t afford to travel from Virginina to California but lo and behold thanks to her church she was finally able to see her son fulfill his dream? Thanks to the show’s producers is more like it, if the whole thing wasn’t phony to begin with. And it was nice that team Bruno did some outreach at the Community Center for people with Downs Syndrome, but if they really were invited because Zack’s brother has Downs, it would’ve been nice if they showed some footage of the two of them together. And even team Bruno’s ultimately winning this time around … if they didn’t win would anyone really tune in next week; what fun is a shoe-in finale? And when Carrie Ann started crying when she lost — and the tears were really there; her face was all wet– I wondered which acting method she studied. There was so much fakery, when that Orville Redenbocher commercial came on — the one about the guy and his wife whose marriage was in serious trouble because she liked natural snacks and he didn’t, and he collapsed on the kitchen floor and started throwing food about madly — did you guys see it? I seriously thought it was a trailer for a new reality show.

Which brings me to MTV’s new show, “America’s Best Dance Crew.” I wrote about it for Huffington and will link as soon as it’s posted, but for now I just want to say, I really kinda like it. It has more authenticity: the competitors seem like real people; they’re kids you like and want to root for, and the judges take them seriously, and seem more interested in imparting constructive criticism than hogging the spotlight and playing “characters” themselves. It’s pretty good. MTV Thursday nights at 10 p.m.

Finally, don’t forget to watch PBS tomorrow night, Wednesday, for “America’s Ballroom Challenge.” It’s Standard, where lovely ladies in beautiful, flowing, bejeweled ballgowns are swept around the floor by their dapper tux ‘n tailed gents. I initially fell in love with ballroom through this dance style, although I’m afraid it looks very different on TV than live and some of the magic is taken away. Anyway, I will be very excited to see US National champ and second in the world, Katusha Demidova, with her new partner, Arunas Bizokas. Also, in the exhibitions, watch for the pro/am couple Max Kozhevnikov and his student Yuk Chun (for people who follow ballroom, Max is the former partner of popular Latin dancer, Yulia Zagorouychenko), and in the junior division Austin Joson and Elizabeth Lakovitsky. These kids train at my old studio and I’ve written about them previously here and here. Austin in particular is a little cutie, and he ROCKS! Okay PBS at 8 pm EST!


  1. believe me, I hear you on the “unreality” factor of the show……but I do have to correct you on one point. Phillip’s family actually wasn’t planning on attending the show because of finances…..a relative of mine (and good friend of his family) actually did offer to pay for their trip….it was just airfare and the hotel…..the contestants do get tickets to the show for family and friends. Other than that though- truly don’t believe everything you see on tv!

  2. The “latin episode” made me think “2nd rate cruise ship floor show” – They were definitely trying to incorporate latin dance movements, but the pieces overall just struck me as silly and trying too hard (for example, when they passed the handkerchiefs through the chain link fence? Cheesy.)

    I think I just can’t warm up to the all-singing, all-dancing pop ensemble extravaganza concept.

  3. Thanks for commenting, Anne. Funny how sometimes certain things that seem phony are actually real!

    Natalia, I agree — I thought the handkerchief thing was goofy, and yeah, I admire the performers for trying so hard to do both, but I prefer either all singing or all dancing. When you mix them, one of them is going to suffer. I’m having trouble warming up to the overall concept too.

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