Something is lacking from the 13th season of Dancing with the Stars but I can’t quite put my finger on what that something is. I started doing recaps this year but stopped after only one episode because I realized I can’t possibly write an interesting article about something I’m not interested in. Dancing with the Starsjust isn’t holding my attention like it did last season or the season before when I just started watching. Something about the show just doesn’t feel the same. With this in mind, I decided to write this article.
This year’s cast of Dancing with the Starscelebrities was pretty much what you’d expect from the show and to be honest, when I heard the cast announcement, I was pretty excited. It was shaping up to be a good season but honestly, it was really just a collection of the usual suspects. You had your reality stars, your out-of-the-limelight celebs looking for another fifteen minutes, your famous-for-being-famous ‘celebs’, your controversial contestants and your sports stars. David Arquette was a pretty big surprise as he’s, you know, an actual celebrity.
We’re only at the halfway point of the season and there have already been the standard shocking eliminations – two in fact; Kristin Cavallari and Chynna Phillips – but that’s nothing new for this show. This is only the third season that I’ve actually watched the show but shocking eliminations are already kind of old. It keeps the show interesting but it’s a little frustrating. When good dancers go home in place of bad ones, the show loses more than credibility. It loses a good chunk of its entertainment value.
I loved Chaz Bono this season. He has a great personality and he seems like a genuinely nice guy but when this is supposed to be a dance competition not a popularity contest. I’ve made peace with the fact that it’s far more of the latter than the former but I honestly had a hard time watching Chaz dance. It was awkward. There was no chemistry between Chaz and Lacey and I felt one of my favorite female dancers on the show was being wasted.
Nancy Grace pisses me off. There’s no other way to put it. As a media personality, I absolutely loathe her and her attitude toward her partner Tristan irks me in ways I can’t describe. With that said, she is working hard and she’s not the bad dancer I’d hoped she’d be. She carries herself well, learns the steps and seems to genuinely be trying. She’s also improving a little more each week. I like watching her dance and yeah, that bugs me. There’s a part of me that, hate as I do to admit it, is glad she’s still in the competition.
Carson Kressley needs to be on the show every week. That’s all there is to it. I don’t care if he’s a host or a consultant or whatever, he needs to play a role in the broadcasts from here on out. I love that man more than I love puppies. At the same time, I was happy when he was eliminated. He’s got tons of personality and I always loved watching him perform but that doesn’t change the fact that he just can’t dance. If I’m going to be hard on Chaz for his technique, I have to be fair and be hard on Carson as well.
David Arquette. The man has so much personality and so much charisma it’s hard to imagine the show without him. What David really has going for him, and why I say he has earned his place in the competition, is that he can actually dance. He’s not the best but he’s at least good enough to stick around for a few weeks and who knows? With hard work (which he’s clearly not afraid of), he might have real potential. David taking home the mirror ball would be a massive upset but I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility.
Chynna Phillips’ elimination upset me in ways I can’t describe. People defended the surprise ouster by saying she had a bad dance but bad dance or not, she had a ton of potential. Even Ricki – who I’m almost positive will make the finals – had a bad dance. It happens. There was no way she should’ve been sent home when Carson (whom I also love) and Chaz stayed in the competition. Things like that upset me, but I don’t think that’s why the show has lost it’s shine for me this season.
I miss Louis Van Amstel. Louis was never my favorite, at least I didn’t think he was, but I miss seeing him on the show. He’s an excellent choreographer and he knows how to work with his celeb partners. I’m also really missing Chelsie Hightower. With Anna Trebunskaya and Lacey Schwimmer gone, my favorite female dancers are no longer on the show. Kym is pretty high on my list as far as the female pros go, so at least there’s that.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy has always been one of my favorite male pros on Dancing with the Stars. His take no prisoners attitude and outspoken nature is off putting to some (or many, I suppose) but I find it appealing. I like that he’s tough on his partners because he gets results. This year though, I’m not feeling Maks and Hope. Hope may be too much like Maks for them to have any real chemistry. I miss Maks and Kirstie.
Mark Ballas should still be in this competition. Kristin Cavallari wasn’t a terrible dancer and was really making progress but I miss Mark far more than I miss her. His choreography is always so interesting and with him gone, I find myself not really looking forward to any of the performances. Mark wasn’t always able to coax the best performances out of his celebs but he at least took a different approach to the choreography so even when the routines weren’t technically perfect, they were entertaining to watch.
Karina and Cheryl are both incredible dancers but to be perfectly honest, their choreography has never really been all that exciting to watch. Karina has an incredible partner in J.R. and I’m enjoying her performances a lot more than I have in the last few seasons but I can’t help wondering how much of that has to do with her and how much of it has to do with J.R. As for Cheryl… she just doesn’t do it for me. I think Rob has a lot of potential – more than I expected for sure – but I can’t help wondering how he would do with someone like Lacey or Chelsie.
Somewhat surprisingly, newcomer Tristan McManus has been my favorite pro on the show so far this season. I feel bad that he got stuck with Nancy Grace. I’d love to see what he could do with someone that’s a little less resistant to take his directions. I truly hope he’ll be back next season but I don’t think there’s much risk he won’t be, especially considering he’s the only new dancer still in the competition.
Derek Hough bugs me. I know that’s going to make a lot of people angry but it’s just a simple truth. He bugs me in a big way and I have absolutely no idea what it is about him that makes me feel that way. He’s a phenomenal dancer and a phenomenal choreographer but at the same time, I can’t stand him. With that said, I’m pretty excited he has such a good partner in Ricki as their routines are always entertaining.
Earlier, I mentioned Maks and his outspoken nature and said I find that appealing. This is why. The judges aren’tfair, scoring some celebs (Chaz) on effort and others on technique (most of the other contestants). While Hope might not be putting in the hours some of the other contestants are, she is far from the worst dancer in the competition and her consistently mediocre scores reflect a troubling fact – this show isn’t just a popularity contest when it comes to voting but when it comes to judging as well.
If effort is going to be taken into consideration when deciding on a score (or entertainment value for that matter) it needs to be consistent for all of the dancers on the floor. The judges often say they see improvement in Hope but that’s not reflected in her scores. I can’t help calling unfair on that one. She might not be the most magnetic dancer on the floor but she is a solid dancer technically and I think she should be getting higher than eights. Kudos to Maks for standing up for her.
Okay, let’s talk about controversy prone Bruno. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that people get all bent out of shape over what he says. He’s there to keep judge the dancing and keep things lively. He does exactly that. He doesn’t always hand out scores I agree with, but I always look forward to what he has to say and how he’ll say it. He can be insulting but people need to calm down. He’s insulting to everyone and one has to think he never means to be offensive. I think this is a guy that speaks before he thinks and that’s bound to cause problems at one point or another.
What do you think about Dancing with the Stars this season? Has it lost it’s sparkle? Is it as good as ever? Sound off in the comments section below and come back at the end of the season for my wrap up and final thoughts on the outcome.