The women looked a lot more happy to be doing their group thing to start off the show. And quite frankly, I enjoy watching them more than the men. I mean, how much Maksim can one person take? Apparently Karina has an answer about that.
Ok, that was mean.
Mrs. Angrybell believes that tonight Samantha Harris has gone old Hollywood. AngryBabybell is snoozing, so she probably won't have much to say.
In the lead-off slot was Debi Mazar and Maksim. If the fluff in the begining is any indication, they must be fun to watch in practice. Sort of like a train wreck over and over. As for the dancing, the salsa, Mrs Angrybell is stunned by the lack of Mazar's hip action. I think she is good at recovering from mistakes that she makes. But she really needs to look up a bit. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that Maksim is the cutest guy out there, but he keeps forgetting that he is not supposed to be center of attention (he's supposed to be the frame, not the picture -- hasn't he seen Dirty Dancing during the Patrick Swayze retrospective weekend?-Mrs Angrybell). It was a 16, probably the right score.
Up second is the Teenage Witch and the Mark. Melissa Joan Hart looks pretty good for having two kids (trimmed down since those mean tabloid shots of her at the beach-Mrs Angrybell). I'm a little afraid that Mark says he was such a "Big Fan" of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. MJH and Mark drew the Viennese Waltz. Mrs. Angrybell is pulling for her. The song, however, blew. Slow and schmaltzy. Her feet are going about where she is supposed to be, but is missing a little something on the rise and fall. Probably because she is too much on her toes all the time and not doing heel leads. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she needs to stop thinking so much when she is about to do something (i.e. change of the step). G-d love Len for the sickly comments! For all that, she gets the sign of the beast with an 18. Mrs. Angrybell and I agree, it should have been 7s.
Dancing in the third position, Mya and Dmitri. Dancing the Viennese Waltz. And they got another sappy song. Mrs. Angrybell says she looks better than MJH. Have to agree, she does seem to flow better. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she can't go to far, saying she can't have that many fans watching. I'm not so sure. She looks good in this one, especially for a first week dance. Len has a good point regarding the technical nuances of the dance, again, but people don't like it. And we have our first Len-Bruno fight of the season. Surprised the peace lasted so long. Dmitri looks like he's been dealt a good hand, he better follow the example of Cheryl and not of Lacey. Ok, the 21 was low, but it was also a message to Dmitri. Probably should have been straight 8's.
The second of the cougars takes the dance floor: Kathy Ireland with Tony. Hopefully she can not look as nervous as she did when she walked down the stairs when she gets on the floor. And then there is Tony, whom Mrs. Angrybell thinks looks like a gigolo (and not in a good way). I think Tony has his work cut out for him. No hip action, this could be uglier than I thought. On the plus side, she is keeping time, mostly. And then she misses it entirely. Mrs Angrybell thinks she has lead feet. Starting point, she needs to take smaller steps. Apparently, they were dancing a Salsa. Oh boy, Tony got dealt a bad hand this season. As Tom Bergeron says, "Let's not over share". The 16 was fair. Maybe a little too merciful, but then how do they justify that score when compared to what they did with Melissa Joan Hart. Hart clearly did a better routine and got almost the same score. Oy gevalt!
Natalie Coughlin and Alec step on the floor next. Maybe this will break Alec's current streak of going out early. Dancing the salsa, a club dance. Ok, she may be flexible enough to challenge Edyta. Let's see. Mrs. Angrybell says "Wow! Hip action!" To me, it looks a little sedate, not sexy enough for a salsa. And the song is not helping them either. Really, the men got great songs. The women are getting hosed so far. Natalie's problem is that if she gets off on her timing, she shows it right away, and then looks a little lost. This is not good for the showmanship. Not as good as I hoped, but she looks to be teachable. I agree with Len on this. A 19. Probably right.
Now for my least favorite "star", Macy Grey. Is it just me, or does she look stoned when she is practicing with Jonothan? At least they got a decent song for their Viennese Waltz. Surprisingly, its not as bad as I would expect it o me. Mrs. Angrybell wonders if she keeps her mouth open to catch flies, since its always open when she dances. She... oh lets not share too much. Let's just say it could have been worse. The 15 was generous in my opinion. I like Jonothan, but please America don't vote for her.
Then comes Joanna Krupa and Julianne's brother (alright, not fair, his name is Derek). As a side note, are all the members of the Jackson family fans of the show? (LaToya in da house.-Mrs Angrybell) Back to Joanna and Derek doing the salsa. Hip action check. Mrs Angrybell thinks that Joanna looks a like a stripper Big Bird in that outfit. I think Len will be happier with the sex in this dance. She keeps up pretty well, but she gets a little lost in middle with the hand thingy that they did. My suspicion, however, is that she is not good with her footwork, because Derek kept her in place most of the dance. And why is Tom DeLay so interested in this? Hmmm? Yup, Len liked it. Bruno gushing, check. Carrie Ann... saying something Abdul-esque. A 24 is pretty high, I would have thrown in a 7 I think. Mrs. Angrybell thought it was way too high, even though she thought it was very good.
Louis gets to dance with someone shorter than himself! Kelly Osbourne is trying to be lady. Ok, lets see how this works out. This Viennese waltz actually starts out kind of nice. She looks a little lost in the open, but when she links up with him, she gets right back into it. Nice little tempo change. Mrs Angrybell thinks she got hosed on the outfit (who thought hot pink wings was a good idea, seriously?). Oops, lift!!!! Carrie Ann will have a fit. I liked it. Can Louis make something out of this wild child? A 23, good score. Probably where I would have had it. Mrs. Angrybell still likes Mya's dance better.
Up next, the relays. Let's see how this one shakes out since there was much more parity in this group than with the men. First up, the foxtrot relay with Debi, Kathy, Joanna, and Natalie. Gotta love Kathy's comments ("13 times in SI but I never had a sport").
Natalie and Alex lead off and look fairly elegant. The whole evil look works for this dance, or at least this song. But some smiles would be better. I think that Natalie is better suited to smooth. How odd. Then Kay and Tony take the floor and show a lot of improvement, at least for Kathy. She still looks nervous, lost, and and a little off time, but it was better, even with the stumble at the end. Joana and Derek glide on after that. Joanna looks more nervous on this, and not as sure, but once again Derek choreographs it so that she looks good. Finally there is Maksim and Debbie. Looks better, even if she is moving her head too much in hold. And with a lift, is Maksim already throwing it in with Debbie? Mrs Angrybell and I both pick Natalie for the win on this round, but I think that Joanna is showing as a bit of a surprise. I am surprised that they picked Joanna for the top spot.
The next group, Mya, Macy, MJH, and Kelly, step up with their partners to do the cha cha cha relay. G-d help us is all I can think for some of them. Kelly is showing some spunk.
Macy leads off and looks as lost as she did in her first dance. Mrs Angrybell thinks she needs to cut down on the drugs. I think she just walked through it and did a couple of hip bumps. Poor Jonothan. Next up MJH with Mark. MJH needs to forget being a mom and act like she's something else. Not much hip action, but at least there was some recognizable cha cha cha steps. Then there is Mya and Ditiri. Too much acting, not enough dance for Len, I'm sure. However, when they are dancing, her feet are going in the right places. Not a good end to that routine. Finally there is Kelly and Louis. Footwork is nice, but the hip work needs, well, work. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it not there. Mrs Angrybell thinks that Kelly is doing a much better job than she ever thought she would do. Too bad about that misstep at the end. Mrs. Angrybell ranks (from 1st to 4th) Mya, Kelly, MJH, and Macy. I pick Kelly, Mya, MJH, and Macy. I enjoy how Carrie Ann couldn't think of something nice to say so just went with "find the essence of the dance". The officials (4th to 1st) Macy, MJH, Kelly, and Mya mean that Mrs. Angrybell called it.
Mrs. Angrybell's pick for the night: Mya. Kelly Osbourne is the dark horse who came out of nowhere. Natalie looks like she has something, just as Joanna does. Macy Gray has to go first.
My pick for the night: Kelly Osbourne. Yes, she surprised me, big time. I think I probably wrote something unflattering about her before.
Now we've seen them all. So here is my early handicapping of it all. And I have to say, if the early results are anything like the final results will be, then this season will be one full of surprises.
Why, you may ask? Well, the smart money, based on past seasons, is to bet the athletes over the actors and the rest sort of just act as filler till it gets to the final four. This time, the athletes came out and looked, well, flat. The Dancing Hobbit is cute and all, but I don't think he is really committed to this. Chuck Liddell is committed, but I'm not sure his learning curve is going to be fast enough to hang in this for too long. Natalie looks good, but she really, really needs to work on the showmanship angle, or its just going obscure her abilities. Right now, Michael Irvin looks lost.
The singers and actors, on the other hand, are looking strong this year. Mya looks good on the dance floor. Kelly and Joanna, quite frankly, amazed me at times. Especially given how well reality stars and models tend to show in this. Part of it has to do with their partners. Derek's biggest gift in the seasons he's been on this show have been his ability to recognize the weaknesses of his partner, and then work around it with their strengths. Louis Van Amstel, to me, always seems like an old school guy. The sort you expect to be running a football squad like Mike Singletary wants to run the 49ers this season (as in we're gonna run the ball up the middle even when they know we're going to run the ball up the middle). Louis just takes his partners and somehow pounds the basics into them. Then he turns around and uses those basics to make the flashier, gimick filled routines look bad. With Kelly, the question to me is how committed she can remain to this after success in the first week. With Joanna, my question is whether she can do this when she has less time to prepare.
As far as the men go, usually the old guys are the weaker members of the herd. This time, at 51, Donny Osmond is the oldest of XY crowd. And he's making the rest look bad. Part of it has to do with almost five decades of performing. He may not have done ballroom before, but he's done a dance routine or two I'm sure. And he takes direction. Add in the fact that he has Kym Johnson (self-proclaimed 'Wonder from Down Under'), and you have a potent combination. She tends to go more towards Derek's style than Maksim's, and in this competition, I think that's what you want.
On the men's side, the surprise for me was Aaron Carter. Now, I cannot stand him. He annoyed me when he was in the news all the time. He has an attitude. He thinks he's all that and a bag of chips. However, he drew the right partner for that in Karina. Karina knows more than a little about handling someone like Maksim... er I mean Aaron.
My original favorite on the men's side has not dissappointed me. Mark Dascassos did well last night. However, he has the problem of probably not being as well known as some of the others (Iron Chef America notwithstanding). Also, he has the problem of partnered with Lacey Schwimmer.
Lacey Schwimmer and Dimitri Chaplin both have good partners this year. Both have "stars" who are in shape, somewhat coordinated, and able to do the routines that they are given by their professionals. However, both Schwimmer and Chaplin have demonstrated repeatedly that they are more interested in the fans than the judges. Now, while you do need to play to the fans, ignoring the judges, and the dance syllabus, is something you do at your peril. Smart professionals have broken the rules in the past, but they did it in the right way. Schwimmer and Chaplin all too often abandon the ballroom element in favor of doing something more flashy, and off syllabus. And neither of them have profitted from it over the past couple of seasons. If they don't get with the program, or at least go back and look and see how, for example, Karina and Derek have broken the rules in the past, then there going to go out sooner than they should.
So here is how it looks from my point of view now:
Should make the finals: Natalie, Mya, Donny, Mark.
Dark Horses: Joanna, Kelly, and Aaron
Who needs to go right now: Macy Gray and Louie Vito. And yes, it pains me to say that Tom DeLay shouldn't go yet.