The men have danced. I was a bit disappointed overall (the men have been great the past few seasons) but also pleasantly surprised in a couple of individual cases.
The men competing this season are:
- Helio Castroneves, the Brazilian Indy car driver who won the Indy 500 back to back. He is partnered Julianne Hough, last season professional winner. She is a terrific choreographer! They danced the Fox Trot. When they first came out, I thought perhaps the smile frozen on Helio’s face was a sign of terror, but after a bit he relaxed and did an outstanding job. If he could handle the Fox Trot this well, imagine what he’ll do with some of the Latin dances. Looks like a real contender. Judges score: 25
- Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks who has undergone hip replacement surgery. He is paired with veteran Kym Johnson. They also danced the Fox Trot. I must admit up front that I did not expect much from this guy – I’m not sure why – perhaps from some of the media attention he’s had. I was pleasantly surprised. Although his technique needs work, his showmanship in the face of millions of viewers was incredible. And the dancing was not bad at all. I see a dark horse here. Judges score: 21
- Cameron Mathison, a soap star currently playing Ryan Lavery on All My Children, also on ABC. He is paired with the long-legged veteran Edyta Sliwinska. They also danced the Fox Trot (yes, we have Cha Cha’s in the wings). I was slightly disappointed by his performance. I did learn that he had Legg-Perth’s Disease as a child and remains stiff because of it. My daughter had a wonderful young man in her class with the same problem when she was young – but I digress. Cameron dancing had sections of excellence interspersed with sections where he seemed to lose the music and simply be thinking about the steps. His posture was good but overall there is significant room for improvement. I suspect he will. Judges score: 21
- Floyd Mayweather, champion boxer will dance with the fiery Karina Smirnoff, a veteran of the show. They danced the Cha Cha. Their performance was interesting. It had incredible energy and showmanship. Everyone was entranced and smiling and clapping. But the technique was really sorely lacking. I think Floyd needs to get really serious about the training necessary to dance at the competitive level. Judges score: 18
- Wayne Newton – Mr Las Vegas – need I say more. He will dance with prior champion Cheryl Burke, whose luck in partners had seemingly come to an end. They danced the Cha Cha. I’d have thought that someone whose life has been music would have more of a feel for the music. Technique and posture need work. I’m afraid the best I can say is that he “did well for his age.” Judges score: 19
- Albert Reed is a surfer and model. The man is definitely buff. He is paired with Anna Trebunskya, who returns to the show after two seasons away. They also danced the Cha Cha. Albert is the youngest contestant in the competition and definitely more fit than fellow model Josie Maran. He came out with exceptional energy and displayed lots of hip/crotch gyrations. Whether or not they met the specific technical requirements for a Cha Cha is debatable, but they did entertain. Judges score: 21
This season will be interesting because there is no one who was so bad that it was obvious they should be the first one voted off. There is more balance in ability and potential than in previous seasons. There is also no one or two individuals that look like they will run away from the pack at this juncture. I can’t wait to see who is the first to rise above the rest and who will hit the proverbial wall.
My early predictions for the contenders at the end are: Mel B, Sabrina Bryan, Jayne Seymour, Helio Castroneves, Mark Cuban and Albert Reed. I guess we’ll see.
The results show is on tonight and I won’t be here to watch it. I’m going to an NHL pre-season game. My son will tape the show for me, however, so I can comment on it based on personal knowledge, not news reports. Can’t wait for that hockey game tonight!