Dancing With the Stars: Walk off like a man (spoiler alert)
The inevitable has come to pass: Chaz Bono got the boot on Tuesday's Dancing With the Stars.
Overall, Chaz was the worst dancer left in the competition, so it's hard to argue against him being the next to go.
On the other hand, Hope Solo's plodding rumba really was awful on Monday, plus I'm getting tired of her pouting, so I would have gladly traded her for another week of Chaz, whom I find endearing despite his lack of dance-floor finesse.
She was heard to complain on Tuesday that, "People don't understand. I'm not a dancer. I'm starting behind many of these people." What people? Besides Ricki Lake's turn years ago in Hairspray, who among that cast has any dance experience? Did I miss the part where quickstep and samba were part of J.R. Martinez's manoeuvres in Iraq?
We'll never know whether Hope's whining and Maks's arrogance led voters to give them the cold shoulder, putting them in jeopardy on Tuesday, or whether they were just under the spotlights of doom at the whim of producers. That's because Brooke Burke used the infamous "not necessarily the bottom two" disclaimer as Hope and Maks, and Chaz and Lacey Schwimmer awaited their fates.
And speaking of Maks Chmerkovskiy, him sparring with Len Goodman is one thing, but for Maks to declare that "this is my show. I helped make it what it is" is just silly. It's not exactly news that Maks has a healthy ego, but that tipped the scale from amusing to annoying. At least he apologized for that part of his tirade on Tuesday, saying, "It's not my show." (Tom Bergeron quickly followed up on that with his best line of the night: "Damn and I was gonna ask him for a raise.")
If you missed it Monday (and I did until I got home from my trip Tuesday afternoon), Maks got mad when Len criticized Hope for leading with her heels instead of dancing on the balls of her feet. Maks snarked, "Maybe it's time to get out" when Len noted he'd been in the dance business almost 50 years (that had Carrie Ann Inaba chiding, "Oh no, don't be disrespectful like that").
Maks also took aim at "your guys' little judgmental comments" to the dancers, who he said were "killing themselves," and he complained that some celebs were judged solely on effort while Hope was picked on for heel leads.
Frankly, I'm on Len's side: that was Hope's worst dance of the season. In fact, it barely looked like a dance to me. And as an exasperated Len pointed out, "We're here to judge." So Maks, duh.
The other slight of Monday evening came from Bruno Tonioli to Chaz, when Bruno said Chaz's tango was "like watching a cute little penguin trying to be a big menacing bird of prey."
Chaz held his fire until he got into the "confessional" with Lacey where, as we saw on Tuesday, he complained that overweight men were treated differently on the show than overweight women.
"If you're an overweight guy trying to do this competition, getting in shape, they penalize you and call you a penguin. Bruno makes comments about me being cute and cuddly .... like I'm some fat troll dancing with this beautiful woman every week and I'm sick of it."
I can see Chaz's point. I'm sure Bruno didn't mean to offend, but his penguin comment and the ewok comparison of a couple of weeks ago were both patronizing.
None of that was belaboured when Chaz took his leave of the show. "I took so much away from this. This was an amazing journey that really pushed me and showed me I could do so much more than I ever thought I could," Chaz told Tom.
"I came on this show because I wanted to show America a different kind of man," said Chaz, who is the transgendered son, formerly daughter, of Cher and Sonny Bono. "If there was somebody like me on TV when I was growng up my life would have been different."
He also dedicated his season to "people like me, especially kids and teens that are struggling."
"You get all 10s for that, my friend," said Tom.
The other noteworthy part of Tuesday's show was a glimpse of Nancy Grace, elated over her scores and judges' comments on Monday, telling partner Tristan MacManus, "You're not Hitler; you're not the entire Third Reich; you're not Mussolini; you're the most talented choreographer who ever lived."
This is only slightly less bizarre than Monday's rehearsal tirade, in which Nancy accused Tristan of putting extra spins in their foxtrot so that she would "f--k it up." Tristan declared that "the stupidest thing I've ever heard" and I have to concur. Obviously, these two don't always get along, but why would a professional dancer jeopardize his partner's performance and thus his own longevity on the show?
Can someone please vote this woman off already?
Since I missed Monday's episode of Broadway Week I'm not doing a full recap, but here's how I would have ranked the dancers, with their actual scores out of 30 in brackets.
1. Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, quickstep to "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" from Guys and Dolls (29)
2. J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff, quickstep to "Nowadays" from Chicago (29)
3. David Arquette and Kym Johnson, quickstep to "We Go Together" from Grease (23)
4. Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke, cha cha to "Walk Like a Man" from Jersey Boys (22)
5. Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus, foxtrot to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Spamalot (24)
6. Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer, tango to the title song from Phantom of the Opera (19)
7. Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy, rumba to "Seasons of Love" from Rent (20)
A couple of other things of note from the Monday and Tuesday shows:
I loved the group Broadway number, performed to "Big Spender" from Sweet Charity and "Money, Money" from Cabaret. (I'm not sure that Carson Kressley actually did anything in his role as "creative director," but he got to hug Maks, which made him happy.) It was unbridled fun, especially the parts where everyone danced in unison.
My favourite Monday line from Tom: "Alright, it has been a night of hot dancing, great good humour, some heated words and a lot of texting from the Kardashians."
You probably didn't notice, but one of the kids dancing with Mark Ballas and Lacey in the Halloween preview routine was none other than Kendall Glover, who was runnerup on the first and only season of Paula Abdul's Live to Dance.
I also thought I might have spied So You Think You Can Dance alumna Kathryn McCormick in the Macy's Stars of Dance segment on Tuesday, a Broadway tribute choreographed by Kenny Ortega and led by Corbin Bleu, but I'm not certain.
That's it until next Monday's Halloween show, which airs at 8:30 p.m. on CTV.
(The photo of Chaz and Lacey is by Adam Taylor for ABC.)