As ABC's hit reality contest "Dancing with the Stars" enters its 13th season, I have finally joined the rest of the devoted millions who are entranced by the magic under the mirror ball. Better late than never! There is probably nothing I can say about the show that hasn't been said before by thousands of other bloggers. It has a familiar cast; an older crabby British Judge (Len Goodman) a pretty younger lady judge (Carrie Ann Inaba) and an exuberant hyper comic relief judge with a Euro-trash accent (Bruno Tonioli). They score the dancing contestants on Monday nights while viewers call or text their votes. On Tuesday night the low hanging fruit is eliminated. It's certainly a winning formula, as both DWTS and the singing competition American Idol remain two of the top rated TV shows on the air.
What sets DWTS apart from AI, is the seasonal parade of mostly B and C list celebrities who compete against each other for top prize. Occasionally they will feature someone who is truly a leader in their field...Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, for example. This year's set includes the following:
Carson Kressley: Emmy winning TV star (Queer Eye) and fashion expert who admits that he can't dance, Carson has provided the most humor and highest level of energy early in the season. I hope he sticks around, and I think he botoxed his lips. Let's see if they deflate as the weeks pass by.
Chaz Bono: LGBT activist and author, Chaz is more than just the son of famous acting duo Sonny and Cher. I'm hoping he will last long enough to prove that Mom's A+ performance genes might kick in, but so far he has brought a lot of drama with sore knees and low energy. I don't believe poor Chaz is used to this much exercise, so hopefully he will find the stamina somewhere.
Chynna Phillips: Singer and actress, she seems fit, pretty and graceful. The judges seem to love her so far, and I think she will be a front runner on the leader board.
David Arquette: I thought he was famous for being Rosanna's brother and Courtney Cox's ex husband, but apparently he is also an actor/producer. Does anyone else think that David is just a taco or two short of a combo plate? There's something just a little strange about this boy, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Even he defines himself as "silly". He can dance, however, and that's what this is all about.
Elisabetta Canalis: Italian supermodel, actually bores me to death. I don't see her lasting long, she does not seem very compelling.
Kristin Cavallari: Apparently Kristin is a former MTV reality show star. I wouldn't recognize her on the street if she came up and bit me on the nose. She is blond. And an OK dancer. Meh.
Hope Solo: Soccer Superstar is widely considered to be one of the best female goalies in the world. Athletes have performed extremely well on DWTS in the past, with Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno winning in 2007. So far she can hold her own on the dance floor.
J.R. Martinez: Just two episodes into the season, J.R. (pictured at the top of the post) is already being touted as the one to beat. He is an immensely appealing guy. An Iraq war veteran who overcame severe burns and injuries, he has become an ABC daytime soap star. He's witty, uplifting and best of all, a very coordinated and exciting dancer. I'm rooting for J.R. to go all the way.
Nancy Grace: Former attorney and (now) TV star, Ms. Grace is providing the most drama on the show next to Chaz. This week she had a wardrobe malfunction, unleashing what one judge called "the twins". She might consider a better constructed costume for next week. I suggest one made out of Kevlar.
Ricki Lake: The TV talk show host is a natural dancer who is taking this competition seriously. I like her a lot, and expect that she's going to be a finalist.
Rob Kardashian: Brother of the Kardashian sisters and reality TV celebrity, Rob spends life in the shadow of his insanely rich and widely despised sisters. Right off the bat, that underdog status makes me want to be in his corner. He is also charmingly honest and unaffected about his weight and other less than buff attributes. Rob did a fine job under the mirror ball last night.
Who will go home tonight? I think being boring is more fraught with peril than lack of talent at this stage of the show, so I'm going to make a long shot prediction for Ms. Elisabetta. Chaz is really struggling, although I believe most people (and ABC) would like to see how the human interest story plays out. Ice those knees, Chaz!
Depending on the response, the Nose will decide if we want to make DWTS a regular feature. Give us your comments folks. Here's J.R. jumping and jiving from Monday night to get you in the mood.