Tonight I decided to watch “Dancing With the Stars” for the first time since Ms. Dirty Dancer herself, Jennifer Grey, fought her way through injuries to claim the top spot in season 11.
Now it’s season 27, but not much has changed. I can’t say every contestant fulfills my list of qualifications to be called a star — foremost being that I actually recognize their name. And “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile is not on my shopping list, considering he never made beyond May’s premiere episode of “The Bachelorette.” As for his skills on the dance floor, I had a plastic Ken doll once that was more flexible. Although he and his pro partner Jenna Johnson got the lowest score of the night (14), you wouldn’t know it from his adoring fans crowding the stage.
But during the season premiere I had to give “Dancing With the Stars” some props for allowing Danelle Umstead, a blind Paralympic bronze medalist in alpine skiing who also has multiple sclerosis, to attempt the foxtrot with partner Artem Chigvintsev to the inspirational “Rise Up” (watch above). There was a grace and fluidity to her movements that few others achieved during the show.
They racked up a so-so 18 out 30 points, putting them somewhere in the middle of the pack. But I was mad that the judges couldn’t see what I saw in her, and instead focused on how she carried her shoulders. Judge Carrie Anne Anaba made a good point that Danelle’s guide dog Aziza should have gotten more camera time — just like how grocery guy did with his admirers. I am hoping she and Artem blow them away Tuesday night when the two-night premiere event continues.
However, the contestant following Danelle made me cringe a bit. I was neutral when I first saw Bobby Bones and recognized him as an “American Idol” mentor from last season. He didn’t bother me nor interest me all that much. But apparently this hotshot on country music radio thinks dancing involves a whole lot of spastic movements and that it’s okay somehow to barely acknowledge you have a partner.
Bruno declared Bones’s jive to “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” by Travis Tritt to be “exquisitely demented.” I would have dropped the adverb. He and his partner Sharna got 20 points. Do you feel like I do that they just want this energizer bunny to stick around? Share your thoughts below.