Sometimes, Dancing With the Stars isn’t exactly what some would call shocking television. Viewers can almost always tell which celebridancers will be on that week’s chopping block thanks to the respective fan bases of the competitors – for the first few weeks of the competition, the judges’ scores don’t really matter all that often. Take, for instance, Kate Gosselin last season. She stayed around far longer than she should have, and it definitely wasn’t because she improved at all as the weeks passed. If anything else, she got worse. But because people wanted to see her stick around (and make a fool of herself), she was voted through week after week, even though her scores were low enough, as I recall, to consistently place her in the bottom two.
It is America’s desire to see tabloid magnets like Gosselin stumble and fumble their ways through dance routines that I personally believed we would be seeing a whole lot of The Hoff until the stages of the competition when it’s actually the dancing that matters. Having pegged Grammy-winning artist Michael Bolton as the one who would be the first to hang up his dancing shoes thanks to Hasselhoff’s “fan base” voting him through and keeping him safe for another week, I was shocked to see that the one-time Baywatch star not only landed in the bottom two even with viewers’ votes, but was the first one to exit the show. Not that I’m complaining – either the viewers have started voting to weed out the weaker competitors early so that the quality of the show will be higher for a longer period of time, or people are just tired of seeing The Hoff’s mug plastered all over their television. Either way, it was a good first results show.
On to the rest of the show.
The format of the results show, however, is still far from perfect, and could probably be cut to a half-hour thing. Getting to see the professionals dance is always spectacular, because it’s really fabulous to see just how good they are when they’re dancing with fellow professionals. When the cha-cha, choreographed by Maksim Chmerkovskiy and performed by Chmerkovskiy and Cheryl Burke, Mark Ballas and Anna Trebunskaya, and Tony Dovolani and Kym Johnson, is accompanied by Carlos Santana? It’s pretty much amazing. But when the results show is bogged down by more musical acts than actual results, that’s probably a sign that most of it is filler. Save the show-stopping numbers for later in the season, when the stars start looking more like professionals, and when there aren’t eleven eliminations to get through. One extra dance, with professionals from the show itself, is great. Having three musical performances – even when Santana and his guitar are involved – and three accompanying additional dances – some of which were performed by “guest professionals” who have no connection to the show – is superfluous.
Even Tom Bergeron said “Situation and Karina, David and Kym, you’ll find out your fate later. …because we have an hour to fill.”
Pace of show aside, the musical numbers were good, the additional dances were fun to watch, and the elimination – while still overly dramatic, but such is the price of live television, I suppose – was satisfying. Adam Carolla’s reappearance for the “Tour de Dance” segment was admittedly one of those things that was filler, Carolla’s continued involvement with the show in comedic little spots after his own stint as a celebridancer is enjoyable. But giving Brooke Burke continued moments to reveal her ineptitude as an interviewer – the backstage spot with Brandy, Kyle Massey, Rick Fox, and Jennifer Grey – is annoying.
But at least she was wearing a dress that could qualify as a dress tonight.
So, the first results show of the season gave us a goodbye to The Hoff, another unfortunate early elimination for professional Kym Johnson, Santana, Adam Carolla, India.Arie, Chris Daughtry, a few glances at the people who are actually dancing this season, and twenty minutes that might not have been necessary, but overall, it’s nice to have Dancing With the Stars back on television, if only because some things are shaping up to be surprising. And after a few seasons that distinctly lacked surprise, it’s exciting.