Monday, April 09, 2007

DWTS year 4, week 4

The fourth season of "Dancing with the Stars" is well underway with the biggest bunch of "stars" ever. Unfortunately more people doesn't mean more total talent. The best clue is that a woman with one leg (Heather Mills) is one of the more successful competitors.

The judges aren't happy, and before anyone had danced one of the judges, Len Goodman, reamed all the survivors for slacking. He claimed that the celebs had been putting in only 13 hours of practice on average between shows vs. 19 in past comps, and the scores on average seem to be lower. The feedback was what I'll call "frank"

The one who really got reamed was Clyde Drexler. He'll always have problems because of his 6' 7" height, but the judges actually suggested that he wasn't putting in enough effort. Clyde didn't take that lying down and offered to meet one of the judges outside. He was kidding, I hope. But the judges are right - he basically just followed his partner around the floor on flat feet, and but for the time of the music it was hard to tell he was doing a paso doble instead of a waltz.

Billy Ray Cyrus is coming along but has a long way to go. One clip showed his partner entering the ladies room and then we heard sobbing. The best thing he has going for him is his humility. IMO the judges have been generous to him and Heather Mills if only for their effort.

That's not to say that Heather Mills isn't doing as well as can be expected and more besides. You can't exactly fault her for, say, not pointing her prosthetic left foot when her entire lower leg is a prosthetic, and DWTS certainly isn't a formal dance competition, but at some point we deteriorate from supportiveness to political correctness. She should still be on the show, but not until the last month.

John Ratzenberger wasn't much better than Drexler. But that probably won't be enough to send him out the door with Paulina Porizkova and Shandi Finnessey, because the men either don't vote or, more likely, they don't even watch.

That's bad news for Leeza Gibbons and her partner, the best male pro out there, Tony Dovolani. You wouldn't guess that Ms. Gibbons is 50, but then at times you might not guess she's a dancer either. That's harsh, but she didn't have a good night. My bet is that she's gone after tomorrow.

The young guys are doing OK. So far it looks like Joey Fatone (with Kym Johnson), Apolo Anton Ohno (with Julianne Hough), and Ian Ziering (with two-time winner Cheryl Burke) will be the last to go. Of the women, Laila Ali (with Maksim Chmerkovskiy) will be around for a while too.

In all fairness, we were told from the beginning that this bunch started training later than their predecessors, so expectations had to be lower. Like with most beginners with no dance experience (myself included, in spades), they're very stiff, and that doesn't make for good routines.

But it still makes for a good show altogether. If you've never seen it, give it a try.

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