Dancing With The Stars

Dancing with the Stars: Snap Judgements (Sept 3)

It will be a season of surprises in what promises to be the biggest and most demanding season ever as thirteen celebrities take the ballroom floor on the hit series Dancing with the Stars, which returns with a three-night premiere event, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Jeff Ross – This one’s kind of out of left field. An old-school insult comic, Ross is best known for his appearances on the various Comedy Central Roasts. So, the Venn Diagram showing the intersection of “People who like Jeff Ross” and “People who like Dancing with the Stars” begins and ends with me. He’s in his 40’s, not especially fit, fairly obscure, and his whole persona is build around being unlikable. He’s not getting there on skill or on an ability to bring in votes. Still, he’ll be fun while he lasts. His partner is seven-time competitor Edyta Sliwinska. Hope she didn’t get too used to the Finals with Jason Taylor, because something tells me she’ll have some time on her hands this season. (Fun Fact: Edyta is six years younger than I am. Sometimes facts make me sad.)

Lance Bass – OK, we knew he was going to be on the show sooner or later after he’s been in the audience for just about every episode the last couple of seasons. Another former ‘N Sync-er, his former bandmate Joey Fatone set the bar pretty high by making it to second place in Season Four.

Boy banders and other singers with dance-intensive stage shows have traditionally run really well on this show, so he’s a contender right off the bat. Two things worthy of note: His ABC bio calls him an astronaut, which is wrong on two levels. First, never been to space. He’s as much of an astronaut as I am. Second, he actually trained in Russia as a cosmonaut. Russia? Perhaps we should call him ‘Ivan’. We’re at war, Bass. Pick a side! Anyway, the other thing worthy of note is that Bass is gay. I only mention it because it’s just a matter of who’s going to be the first to make a clumsily worded reference to his sexuality. I’m betting on Bruno, but don’t count Samantha Harris out yet! Lance is dancing with newcomer Lacey Schwimmer. She is adorable, and previously placed in the Top 4 on the 2007 season of So You Think You Can Dance. Still, new people make me uncomfortable. I’ve got my eye on you, Schwimmer.

Ted McGinley – I’ve got a soft spot for Ted “Showkiller” McGinley. He’s been called the Patron Saint of Jumping the Shark, and is known for showing up when a series is past its prime. Happy Days, The Love Boat, Dynasty – he shepherded them all to their demise. The notable exception is Married with Children, where he came in as a replacement character and made himself at home for seven seasons. He’s also made multiple appearance in both the Revenge of the Nerds and Major League franchises. (Admit it, you didn’t even know there was a Major League franchise.) Basically, McGinley embodies our post 1980-culture. To doubt McGinley is to doubt yourself. He seems to be a pretty funny guy, and he’s just old enough that he’ll get the benefit of doubt when the show starts. I’m putting him squarely in the middle of the pack. He’s partnered with another newcomer, Inna Brayer. She doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, so I’m at a loss.

Brooke Burke – Best known for hosting Wild On! and Rock Star, both of which required her to occasionally dress like a mental patient, Brooke is the designated hot girl for the season. Here’s a fact about Brooke Burke – it takes almost no effort to find naked pictures of her on the Internet. In fact, you have to actively try not to find naked pictures of her. Heck, I had to click though like nine screens of naked pictures of Brooke Burke just to file my taxes online. She seems pretty cool and much less spoiled and high-maintenance than oh, Shannon Elizabeth. Of course, my experience with her is basically limited to seeing her wear a bikini while she introduced me to the world’s sexiest vacation spots. And get this: “Brooke Burke stars as a playable character in the Burger King video games Pocket Racer and Big Bumpin’.” I literally have no idea what that sentence means. I know all those words individually, but in that order… She’s partnered with Derek Hough, which means she will be doing all of her practicing under the accusatory eye of the aforementioned Shannon Elizabeth.

Toni Braxton – You know, there’s a giant gap in my musical knowledge where R&B should be, but even I know “Un-break My Heart”. I don’t know that much about her, but a cursory examination of her biography unearths some weirdness. She declared bankruptcy shortly after selling 20 million records internationally, she publicly accused Jay-Z of “stealing from her children’s college fund” when he used the same sample that she did, battles with her record label, and an assortment of health problems. At the end of May, she cancelled her tour for health issues, but apparently she’s all better now. I don’t know. I can’t really get a read on her. I suspect the judges will have high hopes for her because she’s a singer. Singers and athletes tend to dominate this show. She’s partnered with Alec Mazo who won the first season with Kelly Monaco, and eliminated in the first round with both Paulina Porizkova and Josie Maran. I think I like him, but he hasn’t really appeared in many episodes since the first season.

Maurice Greene – OK, I’ve never heard of him, but I tend to miss a lot of athletic stuff. He won two gold medals in track at the 2000 Olympics and silver and bronze in 2004. Oh, wait, I do remember him! Back in 2000, everybody was calling him “The World’s Fastest Man”. He still holds the world record for the 60 meter sprint. His biggest problem will be the judges calling him out on his footwork because they will assume that running really fast allows him to dance really fast. He’s lucky enough to be paired with Cheryl Burke, though. Not only is she popular enough to get anybody to the middle of the pack on her own, but she’s really good at creating choreography that hides her partners’ weaknesses. That buys him time in the early weeks that most competitors don’t have. Between the athleticism and the magic of Cheryl, he’ll probably make it far.

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