I don’t like to toot my own horn (much) but when I was little I was quite the dancer.
Hoofer, if you will.
For years I danced in front of packed houses of cheering audiences as part of the cast of Annie, Oklahoma, Sound of Music, and my favorite dance show, A Chorus Line.
The fact that the stage was the 2’x3′ space in front of my mirrored closet doors and the cheering audience members were sitting in seats in my head is a minor technicality.
In my mind, I was a star.
Although I never made it to the big show, it’s true that I did tap dance my way through much of my youth, and even dusted off the old tap shoes for a few years in my mid-30’s, which was fun until we were made to perform in the yearly recital — right after the adorable little pre-schoolers.
Nothing makes a recital come to a screeching halt quite like 20 middle-aged women in sequins dancing to “Footloose.”
But I digress.
The point is, I know a little about dance.
Both my girls danced from the time they were about four until middle school, even spending a good chunk of that time as part of competition dance lines.
Yes, I was a dance mom.
It’s a period of my life I look back on with a mixture of equal parts fondness and antipathy.
Thankfully, they weren’t fantastic dancers (and I wasn’t a fantastic dance mom) and they realized that theater was a better outlet for their passion for performing.
We made it out alive—me with only a scattering of rhinestones and sequins permanently stuck to my fingers with E6000, and my girls with only about a year of PTSD from the nasty behaviors of the overachieving dancers and teachers.
But I digress. Again.
The point of this post isn’t to talk about my experiences as a dance mom (don’t worry, I’ve made a note to write one in the near future), but to talk about SEASON 20 of Dancing With The Stars, which starts tonight!
I’ve been watching this show on and off for all 10 years, and definitely have my opinions … and favorites (Julianne and Apolo, Melissa and Tony, Derek and Shawn, and Donny Osmond (because obviously) top my list).
This season, Entertainment Weekly is going to let me join Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno, and Julianne, and take a seat at the judges table.
Well, so to speak.
Starting tonight, I’ll be recapping each episode for EW.com and sprinkling in a little bit of my own judgement and critique (which, as a former hoofer I’m completely qualified to do, obviously).
So before the ladies get spray tanned and the men get oiled up and everyone gets bedazzled, let’s see who’s dancing for the gold mirrorball over the next couple of months … and get to judging.
Because if there’s one thing I learned in my 10+ years as a dance mom, it’s how to be judgy.
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess
The other contestants better not even try to complain about how haaaard the dances are to learn or how frustrated they are with Noah Galloway in the game.
This dude is dancing totally lopsided.
I mean, c’mon, when you only have basically the right side of your body that is able to execute any of the moves in the way they are meant to be executed, you kind of win.
Although, in the same vein, when you only have basically the right side of your body that is able to execute any of the moves in the way they are meant to be executed, you’re probably not going to actually win.
And forget any other contestants’ sob-worthy stories of overcoming great odds or inspriation. As a vet who lost his arm and leg in Iraq, Galloway wins there, too.
I don’t care how easy the dances are that Burgess will have to choreograph, I’ll be rooting for this team to go far.
Even though they probably won’t win.
But he’s a winner just by being on the show, dammit. *wipes tear rolling down cheek*
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson
No one cares about you. YOU HAVE TWO ARMS AND TWO LEGS.
Plus, he’s only famous for being a bazillionaire.
(Which I predict he will by week 2.)
Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev
Gotta hand it to LaBelle, at age 70 it’s impressive she’s taking on this intense competition.
Having said that, I do not care.
Judging from her obvious refusal (or inability) to take this photograph in any sort of dance pose, neither does she.
Mark my words, she won’t make it to week 3.
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker
Is it just me, or does Lynch look like Dana Carvey in this photo?
This pose makes me either want to applaud him for his obvious enthusiasm (we get it, Riker, you’re fun lovin’) or punch him in the throat.
Being part of a band (R5 — what, you’ve never heard of it?)—as well as a cousin of Julianne and Derek Hough—doesn’t guarantee that he’s got moves, and until I see more than him jumping and pointing I’ll reserve judgement.
He’ll have the youngsters’ votes (my god, I’m practically as old as Patti LaBelle now) so I’m guessing that unless he’s horrible he’ll be around until week 7.
Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe
She’s a model and has giant boobs and obviously loves herself as much as I detest her.
Gurantee she won’t be able to dance. Is it because the weight of those melons will throw her off balance?
Well, yes, but more than that it’s because she’s obviously dumb.
Just callin’ it like I see it.
Redfoo and Emma Slater
Redfoo’s pose makes me almost as angry as his name does.
But really, from the rock and roll hand sign to the carefully selected outfit that he’s trying so hard to make us believe he just threw together because he’s all kinds of casual cool, I want to hurt something.
Plus, he’ll never be able to dance well in those shoes.
However, since he’s a singer and DJ he could surprise us with some rhythm and cool moves.
And he does look like he’s having way too much fun already, so I guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt.
Nah, I give him 5, maybe 6 weeks, tops.
I’m guessing he’ll annoy everyone else, too.
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd
He can’t dance.
You know how I know this?
His version of a dance pose looks like he’s taking a poo.
You know it does.
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas
Poor Mark Ballas.
Last season he was stuck with a 16 year old whose dad was paranoid about her wearing revealing costumes and doing suggestive moves, and now he’s got a 14 year old partner.
And dude likes to dance saaaxy.
She’s super cute and has got the whole Hunger Games fan base rooting for her, but my prediction is that she’ll last about halfway through the season with the tame choreography that will have to be made, unless the odds are ever in her favor.
(Oh, come on. You know I had to go there.)
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani
I can’t help it. I like her.
At 68, she’s a tiger. Plus, we all know her thighs could crush cans.
I think she’ll surprise us and stick around for longer than we think.
Lady’s got confidence and sass, even if she did refuse to pose in any sort of dance move.
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
My favorites already.
I mean, come on, she looks like she’s the pro. (Look at that thigh muscle! Look at that lunge! Look at that killer, I-will-mop-up-the-floor-with-you-Redfoo gaze!)
I think these two are gonna kill it on the dance floor.
And probably off the dance floor, too.
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough
No question, these two will be the best dancers right out of the gate, and as such already have (well-deserved) giant targets on their backs.
They might not have a hard time earning high scores from the judges, but they will have a hard time earning the respect of the voting audience who might be tired of seeing Derek win and of hearing gymnasts complain about how haaard and different dancing is from landing a triple twist on a three inch wide piece of wood.
Not buying it, sister.
These two will be flying back and forth to NYC each week, so maybe the jet lag will start to take its toll.
Nah, I think they’re both robots.
I mean, look at them.
Top two, easily.
Chris Soules and Witney Carson
I can’t decide what’s going to tickle me more—watching the farmer try to do a quick step or watching him confuse new, blond fiancee Whitney with new, blond dance partner Witney.
I mean, let’s be real, by now he’s probably spent as much time with the dancing Witney as he has with the fiancee one.
If he can get through a couple of weeks without bumbling his dance the way he usually does his words, he’ll stick around for at least 5 weeks, I bet.
Man, just when I thought I’d gotten rid of him.
So there you have it — a typical season of “D” listers, obvious front runners, and (I hope) some big surprises.
I hear there’s going to be a “Spring Break” theme night.
Fifty bucks says Redfoo will be party rockin‘ before that one.
I hope you’ll check EW.com/tv-recaps either late tonight (very, very late) or tomorrow to catch more of my highly qualified opinions. Since I’m fully expecting to get crucified in the comments by people who have differing opinions and tons of time to make them known, I could use all the friends (and nice comments) over there that I can get!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch some old episodes of Dance Moms to get ready.
*THIS JUST IN*
A few hours after I posted this I got word from the powers that be that due to forces beyond my control, the DWTS recaps will be covered by a People recapper (EW’s sister magazine).
So while I feel disappointed, not to mention more than a little bit embarrassed for the ENTIRE POST ABOVE, all can do is cry into my Diet Pepsi (which you bet your sweet ass will change to an Appletini at 7 p.m. when DWTS begins) and chalk it up to showbiz. These things happen, and I’m honored they thought I could do a good job … even if I didn’t get to.
I was really ready to unleash my inner Abby Lee Miller.
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