DWTS Episode 1 Recap

I hate to admit it, but after re-watching NeNe Leakes’ performance, she wasn’t half bad. Too many gyrating lady parts and puckering of lips for my taste. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’re supposed to shake your bon-bon when you cha-cha, but it should be proper Latin hip action not spastic pulsating and reckless flinging about. Cynical, you say? Well for your information I am a serious student of ballroom dance so my DWTS recaps won’t be the typical layperson fluffy pop culture editorials you’re used to. They’ll be entertaining alright, but they will include substantive dance critiques. So there.

Anyway, it’s no secret I want NeNe to go. I’m not a fan, never have been and don’t plan to become one. And let’s not forget she stole my spot in the celebrity line-up this season:

"Just Say No No to NeNe"published March 7, 2014 ©2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette Datoc

“Just Say No No to NeNe”
published March 7, 2014
©2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette Datoc

But… I sheepishly admit, NeNe’s genuine display of humility impressed me. Understand she is by no means going to win me over, but yes, I said her humility impressed me.

NeNe received sevens across the board along with lots of praise from the judges including Len’s depicting her performance as an “all-you-can-eat-buffet of fun.” When asked to comment on the judges feedback she replied, “I think it’s great! Thank you so much! I’m honored! Thank you!”

Another thing I find surprising is she actually practiced her routine. Diligently. And frequently. I cite as evidence both her performance last night and the predawn 4.4-magnitude earthquake that rolled across Los Angeles yesterday morning. It doesn’t take a seismologist to figure out it’s no coincidence that a quake hits L.A. precisely when a large, voluptuous woman (Carri Ann’s characterization, not mine) starts stomping around a nearby dance floor. All that flagellating is bound to result in a fair amount of tectonic plate disruption. Sure, Californians have been fearing the “Big One” for the last few centuries, but I’m afraid the threat level will be at an all time high as long as NeNe stays on the show.

So in the spirit of keeping the Golden State from splitting off the continent, here’s my advice:  DO NOT VOTE for NeNe. And to the folks on the left coast: create an earthquake emergency plan fast because, should she make it through to next week, NeNe is dancing the Jive.

In an interesting twist of fate, James Maslow and pro partner, Peta revealed they’d had a dinner date back on February 4 of this year, after which he never called. Awwwwkwwwward. Mostly for Peta, who clearly thought they’d hit it off. But James never called. And he didn’t even pretend to be contrite. Just made excuses about some world tour with his band and blah, blah, blah and… what, you can’t even send a text? Helluvha guy. Yeah. Anyway his foxtrot was forgettable at best, but somehow scored straight sevens. It’s unlikely he’ll capture the spurned female vote… or any female vote for that matter. I’ve never been fond of Peta, but this guy is a cad and I hope he goes home.

Danica McKellar’s foxtrot was praised by the judges, including Len, which surprised me given her incorporation of latin hip action into roughly the first 25 percent of her routine. Wiggling and such nonsense is not characteristic of foxtrot, which is a smooth dance. Perhaps she was attempting to dispel her reputation as a nerdy math geek. I’m not sure if it worked, but she earned three eights along the way.

Sean Avery proved hockey skills do not transcend contemporary dance. His performance made me even more uncomfortable than the James-Peta dating thing. Awkward got him 20 points.

Sadly, the force was not with 77 year-old Hollywood legend, Billy Dee Williams. His Star Wars themed cha cha garnered a paltry fifteen (yes, as in total points scored) and if you ask me, that was a gift. Even cranky Len tried to be nice, “Well you didn’t forget your routine.” Heck, I agree with Len. While the smile never left his face, Billy appeared so confused at one point, I’m not sure he knew where he was or why he was there. Let’s hope he still has enough of a fan base to keep him in the competition for another week because his dancing sure won’t. I sort of hope he goes.

Meryl Davis’ cha cha was good, but nothing to write home about. Maybe because she’s an Olympic gold medalist I expected her performance to be tantamount to Kristi Yamaguchi’s and Shawn Johnson’s breakout performances. It wasn’t. It was, however, clearly superior to Danica’s foxtrot which leaves me confused. Either Meryl got robbed or Danica’s scores were inflated because they are indeed tied at 24 points.

Cadace Cameron Buron was a pleasant surprise. Her contemporary dance routine was lauded by the judges, receiving the season’s first nine from Carrie Ann and a pair of eights from Len and Bruno, the second highest combined score at night’s end. She is very likable and I love when the camera pans her family in the audience. Her kids are exceedingly proud of her, something I feel certain will fuel her performances in the weeks to come.

Cody Simpson debuted with a routine that earned 22 points. The kid can move so he was able to fake his way through this week’s cha cha, but bad posture and poor dance fundamentals are going to catch up with him in the weeks to come. His cocky aire won’t endear him to anybody outside the Land Down Under either. He may even lose a few of those twitter followers for which he is so famous. He’s annoying and I hope he goes home.

Drew Carey, decked out in top hat and tails, gave me what I’d been waiting for all night: a classic foxtrot with the sort of cool style and glamour that characterizes the dance. My gut instinct tells me he’s going to be the fellow who quietly improves from week to week. He has a great attitude and brings joy to the dance floor. Three sevens from the judges seems fair to me. I think he’s only scratched the surface of what he’s capable of doing.

What Amy Purdy lacks in limbs, she makes up for in heart. Her story is one of remarkable triumph and her performance was unbelievable. Except for the fact that she is unable to wear shoes because of her prosthetic legs, you’d never guess she is a double amputee. She’ll be around for a long time because she is a beacon of true hope and one heck of a dancer. She earned three eights from the judges which puts her even with Meryl in overall standings and for highest cha cha score.

Diana Nyad was something of a fish out of water last night. Her foxtrot garnered three sixes to which she responded, “You know, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” I like this determined, witty lady and I predict the grace and poise she demonstrated in her post performance interview with Erin Anderson will soon find it’s way to the dance floor. Let’s hope she gets enough votes to stick around another week to prove I’m right

Charlie White’s contemporary dance performance lends credibility to the old adage you save the best for last. Three nines knocked Cameron Bure from her perch atop the leader board. At least for now, this is the guy to beat.

So whose my pick to be eliminated? I hope it’s James Maslow (cad), Cody Simpson (annoying) or NeNe (obviously because she stole my spot on the show), but thanks to Sean Avery, Billy Dee Williams and Diana Nyad, I doubt any one of these three is in serious jeopardy of going home this week. Billy Dee William’s performance was downright awful and Diana Nyad lacks the fan base needed to counteract her low score of 18. My prediction: it’s a toss up between Billy and Diana, but I hope I’m wrong. I really do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or reach out to me via the Get In Touch page.

© 2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette Datoc

2 thoughts on “DWTS Episode 1 Recap

  1. WHOA…you may need to rethink your role…I think you should be vying for a judge’s spot…you know the judges have the opportunity to “dance” every now and then….before you know it…BOOM …..you are getting your first spray tan!!!!

    • I wouldn’t make a very good judge. I’m afraid I am far too inclined to dispense unwelcome advice. Stuff like “Be nice to others – especially girls you date – you never know when you might bump into one. Plus it’s just the right thing to do,” to James. And to Cody “Pull up your pants and get your butt in school.”

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