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Review: "Dancing With the Stars" Week 8 Proves Bristol Right: "Doggonit! You Might As Well Dance!"

Strap in folks, this one’s gonna be good. Because this week’s voting results on DWTS were SO “out of right field” shall we say, let’s go backwards and start … at the end. Are you ready? (and if you’re one of those idiots who yells at people for giving “spoilers” online when the show aired 3 days ago – stop reading now. This is a review. It’s going to be filled with what happened on the show. So deal with it.)

Here it is: in Week 9 of the Semi-final Round of DWTS, Brandy got the ax, and your top three dancers are Kyle Lacey, Jennifer Grey, and Bristol Palin. I feel the need to re-type that so I know that it actually happened: Bristol Palin is in the Top 3. Bristol Palin – who has the expression of a wall, the personality of a paper plate, and the dance skills of Bristol Palin, is in your Top 3, and I’m starting to really think she will win this show.

On the short end of that stick we have Brandy. Those of you who have been reading my reviews know by now that I do not like this girl at all. I find her abrasive, conceited, and a complete overacting, over-emotional, often phony drama-queen. However, THE GIRL CAN DANCE! If anyone deserves to be in the Finals, it is her. I mean, she is actually pretty incredible. Plus, to add more salt to the wound, Brandy received her first perfect 10 scores this week, and danced her strongest performance. And if you think I’m the only one who is angered by Bristol still being on the show, think again. Watch last night’s results show, and take a look at the expression on the other dancer’s faces when it is announced that Brandy is going home. The look on pro-dancer Derek Hough’s face is especially priceless. But every single person on that stage, except Bristol, who is expressionless, has a look of “What the F*&$#% just happened?” Brandy looked the most shocked of all as she cried through her mini-interview with Tom Bergeron, and the “you got the boot” montage of her memorable moments on the show.

Viewers at home were just as shocked and upset at the outcome of the voting. As one extreme example, take a look at this guy, who actually shot his TV in protest of Bristol Palin’s dancing. Sure, he is bipolar … but that is still pretty hilarious. I just hope it wasn’t a flat screen HD.

In the end, this all goes back to what I’ve said from the very beginning: Dancing With the Stars is a master at manipulation television, all tied up in a pretty package of harmless, cute dance numbers, mirror-ball trophies, and sparkly costumes. Don’t let them fool you with their “who, US?” routine. Trust me. From who they chose to cast on the show, to what music they give them, to all those rehearsal montages of each star made to make us feel a certain way about them, this show knows EXACTLY what it’s doing. Controversy creates ratings. Getting people angry creates ratings. Showing Sarah Palin in the audience and in several montages over and over again … creates a reaction, which creates ratings. Dancing With the Stars is smart and cunning. On the outside, it looks like a harmless, fun, silly dance competition. And it is! But it’s also so much more than that. They are smart because they know exactly how to balance the dancing and the manipulation tactics. They are smart because they know that all it takes for America to fall in love with someone is to see them “shine” and “get their wings” on that dance floor. And they are smart because they also know America loves an underdog.

The Palins are just as smart and cunning for agreeing to be part of the show. This entire thing has been a way to get Sarah Palin’s name and agenda back on the map for her 2012 Presidential Run. Think of it as a free TV political campaign. Step 1. Get your own reality show called Sarah Palin’s ALASKA. Use it to subtley promote your agenda while hiding behind beautiful Alaskan wilderness. Step 2. Have your daughter Bristol go on Dancing With the Stars, the most loved and harmless show in America. Use it to get the message out that Bristol is “just like everyone else”, a regular ole family gal who is still a teen and just happens to have a baby. Get America to fall in love with her, have your Tea Party peeps and your supporters all vote for her, and get her to win this show. Make sure Americans’ thoughts of Bristol go from: “the daughter of that politician who got knocked up” to “the winner of Dancing With the Stars!” Step 3. Run for and win President of the United States.

So, naysayers … tell me again how none of this is political?

I could spend another five paragraphs pointing out how the show treats Bristol Palin compared to how the other stars get treated. How she gets standing ovations after almost every performance and they make sure to show it, how they score her way too high and talk to her like she is made of glass each week and are very careful not to overly-criticize her, how they make sure to get her “Teen Activist Pregnancy …Prevention” Message out there over and over again. But I will spare you the 5 paragraphs, for now. I have to get to the dancing! Not that it matters, of course. Bristol Palin will most likely win this show.

1. Brandy/Maksim:

Round One: The pasa doble was dramatic, sharp, intense. I loved the colorful pants-costume on Brandy this week, and all the reds they had her wearing. This was a great dance, although during the Brooke Burke post-interview, Brandy said the dance was supposed to represent someone being bullied. I did not get that at all. Scores: 9/9/9

Round Two: This dance was simply gorgeous. It looked like an old classic Hollywood movie, and was so very elegant. Brandy glided across the floor, got perfect ten’s, and then got sent packing. Scores: 10/10/10

NOTE: During round two, we were shown videos of each of the stars, sort of a mini-biography of their life and adversities they have faced, etc. Brandy’s video talked about the incident in which she caused a 4-car pileup which resulted in a fatality of one driver. The car accident was just that - an accident, but this video made it seem like Brandy was the poor victim here. I’m sorry, but this was a hit-and-run, technically, since Brandy left the scene of the crime and later apoligized through her publicists for the accident. This video went on and on about how “strong” Brandy was for getting through this, etc. This is exactly why I don’t like her. This is not about YOU. What about the person who died? What about the family that lost their kid? Yet, somehow, you make it about you and how YOU got through this. I’m sorry, but that is so lame. If she had said something in this video about how this still haunts her today because this person’s life was taken, or ANYTHING about the actual victims in the accident, then I could respect her. But no. Instead, she used the time to talk more about herself and her own stupid journey. She just puts a bad taste in my mouth.

2. Jen/Derek:

Round One: Their cha-cha-cha was fun, playful, and I couldn’t take my eyes of Jennifer and her movement. In my eyes, she should be the ultimate winner on this show. She is really, really good, and so darn likeable. Plus, she has that magnetic personality and aura about her that just makes you want to keep watching her dance. If not, why would Jamie Lee Curtis show up week after week to watch her friend dance? She is either really good, or DWTS has the best restrooms in L.A. so Jamie can take her  frequent yogurt poops. Judges Scores: (on the dance, not the poops) 10/10/10

Round Two: Jen looked gorg
eous in this beautiful flowing dress, and this waltz was just as lovely. It had elegance, sparkle, and passion. Like Len Goodman said “Sometimes less is more, and that was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.” Scores: 10/10/10 Two perfect 10′s in a row for Jen! Brooke Burke actually asked them TWICE “How do you feel?” in her dopey post-interview. I think I counted her asking the question a record 11 times in this episode, since she had a lot of double “How do you feel’s” with the same couple. It’s okay Brooke. We can’t all be smart.

3. Bristol / Mark:

Round One: Oh for the Love of Bristol, does it really matter how she danced? That it was the same crap we have been watching for weeks now, yet slightly improved and contained approximately 16% expression instead of the usual 0%, or that the judges totally overscored her once again with 9/9/9? Or that the audience stood up and cheered once again, as if what she just did was mind-blowing, instead of just slightly above mediocre? No, not really, since we all know she is now in the Top 3. So there ya go. Did you notice, though, how they used her rehearsal footage to have this “spontaneous” (which, of course, means totally planned for cameras) conversation:

Mark: I know people are saying that you’re only here because of who your mom is or the Tea Party or whatever, but I really think it’s because you are so genuine and people like you.

Bristol: Yeah. No offense to anyone else, but I’m not fake.

Um, okay. So what are you saying? That Jen IS fake? That Kyle is fake? That Brandy is fake? (Okay, well Brandy IS fake, so Ill give you that one.) I don’t know what she meant by that comment exactly, but it sounded very much like a dig to me.

Round Two:  Welcome back Bristol!!! THIS is the expressionless, lifeless drone I know and love! This waltz should have been titled “Dance With a Dead Person,” because it literally looked like Mark was dragging a dead body around the dance floor. Look into her eyes people! They are a soul-less dead zone of void nothingness. A blank canvas of “HUH?” It is quite humorous actually. Until she wins. Scores: 8/9/9

Bristol’s Biography Video featured more of the same stuff they have been feeding us since day one: lots of clips of Bristol’s Teen Activist speeches, a hilarious comment of Bristol saying “I just want to teach teens that abstinence is a realistic choice” (Is it? Really? Do you REALLY not see the humor in that statement?), and of course, lots of clips of mom Sarah talkin’ up her Bristol the Pistol. The video ended with Sarah telling us why Bristol decided to do the show. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was something like: “She came to me one day and said Mom, they can try and bring me down and they may say mean things … so Doggone it! I might as well dance!” Yes Bristol, you do that. And Doggone it, I might as well throw up.

4. Kyle / Lacey:

Round One: Their samba was very fun, silly, and extremely entertaining. Buno called Kyle a “bouncing bundle of joy” which was hilarious, and horny Carrie Anne liked the “bounce and pelvic action.” Down girl! This was a great dance, but once again, they have given these two the WORST costumes imaginable. I swear the costume department has something against them, as this week, Kyle seemed to be wearing the famous “Puffy Shirt” that Jerry wore on The Today Show in that classic Seinfeld episode. Scores: 10/9/10

Round Two: This argentine tango was awesome. Kyle has really improved a lot since he first got on the show. His personality and fun-factor has always been strong, but now his technical dancing and footwork is a lot stronger as well. All the leg and foot movements required in this dance showed off his ability to move around as if his legs are made of jelly. Scores: 10/9/10 – Brooke Burke also asked these guys TWICE “how do you feel?”, once before the scores and again after.

As for Kyle’s Bio Video, it wasn’t anything dramatic, I’m just happy they showed it so that I can finally have some idea who the hell he IS.

I am expecting the Top 3 Show to be great next week, although it would have been better had Bristol gone home last night, followed by Kyle, with the top 2 Finalists being Jen vs. Brandy. That is what should have happened. Instead, we are going to have to see whether America chooses the goofy, fun, cuddly, Disney boy Kyle Macey; the Dirty Dancing, talented, girl next door comfy Jennifer Grey; or the Teen-Activist, daughter of a politician, “everyday receptionist” Bristol Palin.

As Dancing With the Stars is well aware, the country will be watching, and anything can happen. Doggone it – I can hardly wait!

For another opinion on this week’s episodes, read Sdrawkcab Edosipe by Liz Cooper.

Season 11, Week 9: Round  Performances and Results Show (originally aired November 15 and 16, 2010)

For more on Dancing with the Stars, click here.

Mondays at 8/7c, Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.

Photographs courtesy of ABC, Adam Larkey

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