Handicapping ‘Dancing With the Stars’
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First of all, you can tell that there must be a lot of NFL fans watching ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and voting, because otherwise Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor would already be gone. Tuesday night, when (very funny) comedian David Alan Grier was eliminated even though he and partner Kym Johnson (who danced with Warren Sapp into the final night last year) had higher judges scores than Taylor, there was an audible gasp from the studio audience. That doesn’t usually happen. Even Taylor looked surprised and maybe even a little unhappy he’s stuck doing this another week.
On the other hand, the other two athletes on the show, gymnast Shawn Johnson and rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, are continuing along because of either (A) their talent or (B) their earnest desire to make it work. (By the way, please come back soon ‘Project Runway’ and ‘Make it work’ guy Tim Gunn.)
Shawn, not unexpectedly, is an intrepid worker if the weekly rehearsal clips are any indication and her ability to dance ‘up’ as in transforming herself from a perky 17-year-old into a romantic and graceful dance character seems to be charming the judges. Surprisingly her weakest dance was one in which she, at the behest of her partner and choreographer Mark Ballas, incorporated a lot of gymnastics tumbles and wore shorts and a tankish-top. It wasn’t dancing, it was floor exercise and the judges weren’t pleased.
Shawn’s parents, Teri and Doug, seem to get the best seats every week too. You can see them standing and cheering for every contestant. Kind of cool how excited they seem and how much fun they’re having. Shawn’s got that gymnastics game-face on though. She looks like she did at the Olympics -- ready to win.
But now I’ve got a soft spot for Murray. Even though he was called ‘robotic’ this week, the cowboy is trying so hard. And that’s what Taylor doesn’t seem to be doing -- trying very hard.
-- Diane Pucin