Haha! Okay, well after spending much of my evening at the melodramatic (but riveting) Tosca (it was the Metropolitan’s Opera’s opening night gala, with the premiere of a new production of Puccini’s Tosca, by Met newcomer Luc Bondy), it was nice to come home to this rather goofy corny fun – -which is what social dancing mainly is after all! I don’t want to speak too soon, but, to be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to this season since the last few have been rather blah, but I think with last night’s show, we’re back on track. Lots of characters, some riotously funny, some endearingly sweet, some good dancers, others not so good but serious and hard-working.
For me, the top two (last night was only the men; women compete tonight) were Donny Osmond and, unbelievably, Tom DeLay. I thought DeLay was a natural with the Cha Cha, UNBELIEVABLY! He really nailed it — that slide on the knees, all the faux guitar playing, those awesome New Yorkers, all that hip swaying! The only thing that wasn’t really there were the pelvic rolls. I also thought he was very elegant and polished with the Viennese Waltz and was surprised the judges were hard on him — particularly since none of the guys were that good with VW (except for Aaron). Partner Cheryl seemed annoyed with him in practice though. Well, just so she knows, a lot of people who don’t normally watch this show are watching because of him, so if I were her, I’d snap out of it. She’s been rather short-tempered with her partners lately…
Donny was a total natural – -he nailed both the Foxtrot and the Salsa, which is rare — doing well in both styles of dance I mean. Yeah, I know he has dance training (he “danced as an embryo” I think he said), but still. It’s gonna be a lot o fun watching him dance the season away. And whoa, how much better is he than his sister?!
I also liked Mark (pictured above, with Lacey), the Iron Chef, the martial arts guy. (Sorry, I don’t have all of their last names down yet; too much going on right now in my life; will know them by next week!) I thought his Cha Cha was very good — far from perfect (and he’s doing the dreaded pigeon toes) but he has a natural rhythm and sufficiently loose hips and he clearly knows how to have fun out there and put on a show. But what was he on about with the “man —“? Len accused him of being too martial artsy but having good hips and then he remarked that he’s hiding parts of his body right now, or parts of his dancing, and intends to bring on the “man –” I really thought he said “man moves,” but then Lacey had a rather bemused look on her face and then everyone who quoted him afterward seemed to be saying “man boobs.” Why did he say he was bringing out his “man boobs”? Anyway, quite the character, that one — obviously. I didn’t think his Viennese Waltz was as great — that flexed-footed ronde en l’air almost made me spit out my wine. No flexed feet in rondes en l’air Mark unless you’re trying to be the doll in the Nutcracker.
Okay, I know he’s not popular with the judges, but I totally liked Ashley Hamilton. I think I liked him so because, hello, he was actually a gentleman! I expected a skanky lascivious womanizing perve like his father but no! A total dapper, polished gent! How does a womanizing skank not raise another man to be a womanizing skank? Maybe it’s rebellion — rebellion against one’s parents can take different forms. Hmm. Anyway, I also thought he really looked like Sebastien Marcovici (who we know is not a womanizing skank because Janie would never have any such crap).
(photo of Sebasiten from NYCB website)
Anyway, yeah, Hamilton’s not a natural mover and he has his work cut out for him but I like his personality. I find him endearing and he has a good dance body and I think he can do it if he tries hard. I want him to stay on the show for a while.
Oh poor Chuck, the boxer. Can you say “stiff”? He was seriously nervous during both dances but especially during his first, the Foxtrot. I think he was concentrating very hard, but he needs to loosen up and kind of not think so much.
I thought Aaron (singer, actor) looked stiff as well during his Cha Cha. But he was much better in the Viennese Waltz. Much more polished and very surprisingly smooth. Only thing that wasn’t quite right was it looked like he was literally running at points — particularly during a continuous turn in close handhold. He needs to make it look more like he’s gliding not literally running around in a circle. He didn’t score any points with me when we first met him and he said he was happy Karina’s his teacher because she’s pretty and he wants that. Yeah, that’s definitely what’s important in an instructor.
I thought Louie was so cute! (“I’m small — I’m 5’5, 5’6 on a good day…”) I agree with Len that it’s clear he has no dance training but that he took it very seriously and respected the dance form, trying hard to do all the footwork properly (and nearly succeeding) and be a proper partner. He and Chelsie Hightower looked good together.
And, finally Michael, the footballer who used to be with the Dallas Cowboys, and is Jerry Rice’s former teammate. Cute how he’s all into play competing with Jerry, telling us he just wants to get better scores than Jerry in each of his dances. And he remembers exactly what Jerry got from his first Cha Cha. But it’s clearly all in fun. He’s another one with an endearing personality who I like and want to stay on for a while. He’s not a natural dancer — he’s lacking in grace and polish and form, but he’s got an innate sense of rhythm and he’s used to moving and I think he has the ability to do well. He had some good triple chas in that Cha Cha which I think shows when he really gets going, when he really gets into a groove, he can make it work.
Len annoyed me, for the first time ever I think, or one of the first times. He kept harping on everyone for not doing standard ballroom — Donny’s Foxtrot was too “razz-ma-tazz,” Mark’s was too kung-fu, etc. Well, we know, but it’s only the first week — let the dancers have a first dance that’s not totally out of their territory. And that was totally out of line for him to criticize Louie’s shaggy haircut as not being “ballroom enough.” One’s personal hair style has nothing to do with one’s dance ability and Len should know that. It seemed like he really wanted to put everyone into a box and make them conform to his own non-dance standards. Dance is about freedom of expression. I know he was sort of kidding, but he came across as an old fuddy duddy.
I think of the men Chuck, Ashley and Michael are going to be in the bottom. What do you guys think?