Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dancing With the Stars: I’m Just Not That Into It

I’m a pretty big fan of American Idol and I got hooked on So You Think You Can Dance last season, so it stands to reason that I would love me some Dancing With the Stars. (American Idol + So You Think You Can Dance = Dancing With the Stars, right?)
But I don’t. Hate it, in fact, and I’ve been trying to figure out why.
I guess a lot of it has to the do with the live band. It’s pretty much a glorified wedding band, if you ask me. When I watched So You Think You Can Dance last season, I actually got turned on to some really cool new music from Timbaland, One Republic, Eve, and Mario Spinetti. But all of the cover songs on DWTS sound like "Music To Shop to at the Mall of America" to me.
To see hepcat young Mario (a man with soul oozing from his very fingertips) dance to what, to my ears, sounded like Pat Boone doing a cover of the Black Eyed Peas “Request Line” was particularly painful—for me, and most likely for him, too.
Yes, American Idol covers songs, too (natch.) But Simon scolds contestants for being too pageant-like and lounge singerish. On DWTS, that seems to be the whole point.
And then there’s this: So You Think You Can Dance deals with many forms of dance—ballroom, hip-hop, contemporary, jazz, et al. DWTS is all about ballroom, a genre which I just need to accept that I don’t really like.
To me, ballroom dancing is all about sparkly pants and fake tans and eye molesting the camera. Of course, I can appreciate the grace of a beautifully executed waltz and the intricate footwork of a samba. I’m certainly not saying that these pros (and even some of the celebs) can’t dance, I’m just saying that the winking, air-gun firing, Cheese Whizzy culture of ballroom dancing is not for me.
What’s more, DWTS is constantly reminding us how wholesome it is. I do wonder how long Steve Guttenberg is going to coast on that aw-shucks, jiminy crickets, I’m just so darn happy to be here schtick (’cause lord knows his dancing ain’t going to take him far.) But that kind of fake sincerity does seem to be rewarded on this show. (Hell, if Jerry Springer can convince the world he’s a saint, anyone can.)
Finally, where I love Simon Cowell, find him endlessly fascinating and (alarmingly) sexy, there’s a judge on DWTS that I simply can’t stand—Count von Count, aka Bruno. He always looks like he’s about to eat the cameraman. And when he holds up his score and carniverously shouts, “Seven!” it’s like whatever number he scores is most spectacularly delicious word in the English language. Ugh.
Look, I guess not all shows are for everyone. I can’t will myself to like this show. I just hate missing on a good water cooler topic. So let me get my picks in early: Mario and Kristi Yamaguchi for the Final Two.

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