Except for Helio Castroneves' surprising debut, the men's first performances on ''Dancing With the Stars'' had their share of painful moments

By Annie Barrett
Updated September 26, 2007 at 04:00 PM EDT
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”Dancing With the Stars”: Just for men

I got three things out of the men’s debut on Dancing With the Stars. All the guys seem incredibly psyched and happy to be there (yay!), I’m pretty sure we’re in for a whole season of Mark Cuban-holding-his-rod jokes (nay!), and the producers really, really want to drive home the point that supermodel Josie Maran, last night‘s lowest scorer, is about to get kicked off the show. Seriously, that final zoom-in on her when Tom mentioned yet again that someone would have to leave the competition? Totally cruel.

Oh look, I’m over it!

By the way, thanks to commenter ”J Cool” for calling me out on my pledge last season to refer to Len Goodman only by his vanity license plate: DANCMSTR. I didn’t think anyone would remember that. I give you a 10! And now, the men….

Helio Castroneves: 25 out of 30 points Once again, Julianne Hough gets to partner an adorable and charismatic champion of zooming around in a circle. The two-time Indy 500 winner had me at ”I’m dancing! Woooo!” just a few seconds into his rehearsal footage. He made funny and somehow not annoying faces during the pair’s fox-trot and made that twirly neck-wrangling move Julianne loves so much look easy. (Which it probably is, compared to all the other steps.) DANCMSTR veered into Bruno’s cheesy-wordplay territory and said Helio looked like he was on ”cruise control,” and Carrie Ann called him ”a natural.” But for me, Helio’s most charming moment came as he matter-of-factly told Drew Lachey, ”I guess I have more fun than you.”

Albert Reed: 21/30 The self-proclaimed least-famous celebrity of the bunch is ready to strive all season to “attain dancing,” which should be pretty fun to watch. He willingly wore an open-chested Elvis getup on week 1, and the boy clearly has no problem Embracing the Spangle, which is one of the key elective courses (though not a requirement) of the series. Add in Bruno’s favorite type of action — ”crrrrrotch,” with the rolling r — and Russian sassmaster Anna Tre-BUN-skaya, and the male model could last quite a while. After his particularly thrusty cha-cha, I loved Drew’s reference to Albert’s potential male fan base in addition to the more obvious female one. And I can rest easy at night now that I finally know DANCMSTR’s approach to watching strippers: ”Don’t worry what they’re doing — just sit back and enjoy it!” Hi, kids!

Mark Cuban: 21/30 There are times in a woman’s life when she wishes she could reverse the earth’s rotation, thus going back in time. Seeing Mark Cuban’s nasty ass scar (NASCAR?) in HD was one of those times. I can’t even begin to understand why one would enter an insanely physically demanding competition seven weeks after a hip replacement. Maybe it’s some sort of fun bet Mark made with himself: Winner gets a lifetime of lingering pain; loser pays for another surgery! I’m positive he’s just banking on the latter, and why wouldn’t he? He has a young daughter to impress, and we all know money can’t buy the approval of a child raised on reality TV. He and Kym performed a fairly competent cha-cha. Mark needs to reel in the tongue and never lip-synch again. He’s annoying, but his genuine sense of excitement and the way he took notes on an actual piece of paper instead of some gadget really spoke to me. I’m serious.

NEXT: Can Just for Men survive a September Storm?

Forrest Gump: 21/30 All My Children star Cameron Mathison had to wear leg braces as a child, which is pretty much the only thing I remember about his segment. I’m sorry! Blame the order! Or his lackluster personality and performance. Cameron and Edyta the Human Panther danced a fox-trot that METAPHORMSTR likened to a faucet: ”It flowed, splattered a bit, a gush, couple of drips.” Cameron and Edyta do get major points for humorous yet inconsequential mess-ups: He stumbled down the stairs during the intros on Monday night, and Edyta trotted out in style with her first wardrobe malfunction of the season on Tuesday night: a bright white thong peeking out of that heinous dress with the black dust ruffle at the bottom. Yay!

Wayne Newton: 19/30 I feel like if for some reason you had to mop up Wayne Newton’s sweat-drenched dance floor with Wayne Newton’s sweat-drenched head, his hair would leave black tar streaks in its wake. It’s amazing. Even his peach-fuzzy sideburns have been spray-painted. Very impressive. Unlike Wayne’s dancing. The best parts of his cha-cha with Cheryl involved some demonstrative gun/finger-pointing and playful ”Aren’t I amusing?” grins. The judges couldn’t tell him that, though, so they scored Wayne higher than the guy less than half his age who did about 5000 more moves. Obviously.

Floyd Mayweather: 18/30 Floyd and Karina’s cha-cha was well choreographed and had so much energy that I was shocked to realize they actually finished in last place. Maybe I was too busy watching Karina. Floyd seems like the perfect candidate to be this season’s most improved player. Right now, the champion boxer is too stompy and aggressive and, as Carrie Ann pointed out, needs to realize Karina’s not fighting against him. But the judges have faith: DANCMSTR told Floyd, ”You’ll be fantastic,” and Bruno told his new contestant crush, whom he renamed ”September Storm,” to ”channel the force!”

What do you think? Which ”star” deserves to go home first? How did Drew do his second night out? And who else wishes Kenny Mayne would reprise DanceCenter tonight instead of (gasp) tap-dancing? Post your comments on the message board below, then go to our TV Poll and vote for the Dancing With the Stars contestant you’re rooting for.

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Dancing With the Stars

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