Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DWTS: The Men’s Turn

“It’s testosterone Tuesday,” Tom Bergeron declared at the opening of last night’s “Dancing With the Stars: Guys’ Edition.” I’m not sure how much manliness was actually on display, what with all the sequins and waxed chest hair (Albert, I’m talking to you).

Ostensibly the male celebrities were in the spotlight, although someone forgot to tell that to the female pros. Most spray-tanned: a draw between Edyta and Karina. Least clothed: Anna giving Karina (a perennial contender) a run for a wardrobe malfunction.

(A brief digression: I refuse to feel bad about watching this show when a famous person like contestant Jennie Garth, who should have far more fabulous things to do with her time, says she’s been DWTS fan since the first episode.)

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

The difference between the girls and the guys: Men don’t play the “Dad” card or the “I’m doing this for all the middle aged men with poor body image.” Because that would be wussy. But they will play the “I just had a hip replacement” or the “I had some unpronounceable childhood bone disease and had my legs in braces for three years” card. Because that makes them look tough. And totally gives them an excuse if they suck.

Which, by the way, most of them did not. While this year’s crop of competitors may be several hundred rungs lower on the celebrity scale than in seasons past—and that’s saying something—the talent level is uncommonly high. I kept waiting for a Kenny Mayne-like implosion, but one never came. Which begs the question, how much fun will this show be without the requisite train wreck?

Rating the teams:

Cameron & Edyta: Finally Edyta escapes the geezer curse and gets an age appropriate partner. These two make a good looking couple—and chemistry does count. Cameron seemed a little stiff, despite being lauded for his arm movement, so it will be interesting to see how he copes with a Latin dance.

Floyd & Karina: On Monday night, the rest of the men tagged Floyd as the guy to beat. Based on what? He certainly can shake his money maker—but not in a way remotely resembling ballroom dancing. And what was that look on his face? Constipation?

Helio & Julianne: Well hello Helio. Where you been hiding? This Indy race car driver looked like he was born in a tuxedo and proved an unexpectedly charming and elegant dancer. I literally said “awwww” at the end of their routine. Julianne continues to earn high marks for her clever choreography. If they can tackle the Latin dances with similar ease, this looks like the team to beat.

Albert & Anna: You know, it used to be the term “supermodel” meant something. As in you could pick the person out of a police lineup. I mean, I’m no Cindy Crawford, but neither is Albert, who admitted, “I am the least famous person in this competition.” Dude, how about not famous at all. But the guy can dance, in a hyper-frenetic attention-deficit kind of way. Quippeth Bruno: “The crotch action was like a warp drive.” I suspect all that gyrating and the bared chest was designed to keep us from noticing what wasn’t going on everywhere else in this routine—like an actual Cha Cha—and a blatant bid for the female vote. I don’t hate this team…yet.

Mark & Kym: I really wanted to like this couple—Kym’s a charmer and Mark should buy the Chicago Cubs and give me World Series tickets—but they made it awfully hard. Mark’s costume was hideous—if you’re going to follow the shirtless guy, do not dress like a hobo. The singing along with the song needs to stop. And the facial expressions—good lord, where to start. I predict a Week 2 visit to Ian Ziering, who teaches Mark how to paste on a smile. I’m looking for this team to improve, but with Mark lacking any discernible fan base, they could be the first couple eliminated. (Josie Maran, you can exhale now.)

Wayne & Cheryl: Ah how the mighty have fallen. Two-time champ Cheryl finally gets paired with the requisite grandpa. (Actually, Newton has a five-year-old daughter.) I’m looking into my magic disco ball and I do not see a third title for Miss Burke. Not that the couple’s routine was avert-your-eyes, turn-the-channel horrible—in fact, I couldn’t keep my eyes off Wayne—but there are far better dancers in the competition. Which is kind of too bad because Wayne—can I call him Wayne?—is surprisingly human. He actually sweats.

Next week the ladies and gents square off face to face, which should separate the Helios from the…I’m sorry, who were the women again?


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