Dancing With the Stars Premiere: The Athlete Can't Dance While the War Hero Moves Fluidly

Dogs and cats dancing together.

By , Contributor

So far I see this season’s Dancing With the Stars revving up to be a season of smiles, snorts, snarks, slips, slides and sarcasm. Somewhere in all that alliteration there’ll be a little talent that’ll shine through.

Even so early as the first dancing session I can see those who can move limbs with a graceful and promising fluidity despite the awkwardness of the first dance try. I can also see those who clunk about without any promise of a delightful dance anywhere inside of them.

And who, asks yon reader, are you to judge? I would answer that I’ve been watching this series for all of its 12 prior seasons and one does gain some syncopatic rhythm with such viewing experience.

I’d also suggest, softly, that I can cut up a rug now and again despite my middle-age bulk or even, as is often the case, DESPITE the poundage that dances with me. While I’m hardly any Lord of the Dance, I’d bet with the kind of tutelage the contenders received from their expert partners and trainers I might make it to the top seven or so.

Of course I’m no celebrity of any sort save as a writer for the swanky on The Morton Report but who knows, maybe someday.

Dancing with the Stars 2011 cast.jpg

It’s like the dance of the cats and the dogs in the musical Cats. In one scene all of the alley cats in the musical launch into a dance. The feline-costumed actors dance about the stage in a graceful waltz, dipping and swaying and twirling and it isn’t too far-fetched to imagine that, indeed, if a cat could dance they’d likely be serious contenders for the DWS mirrored ball for their inborn talent of their moves.

In a scene following, it’s the dogs’ turn to come out and do the dance. The actors are costumed, as expected, in dog costumes. On their feet, for a smile, the actors are fitted with big soda boxes, the kind that hold 24 cans at one time. The dogs clop and clunk and make loud lumpy noises and the smile here is, doggone, the last thing a dog would be famed for would be as a dancer.

The feline clad actors laugh and giggle in mockery at the canines who could never fall from high to land on all fours, much less waltz with an natural move so aligned with the moves of a sinuous hunting feline.

Some of the contenders on Dancing With the Stars (DWS) are cats, some are dogs. From the very beginning it’s easy to ascertain just who is who. Let’s take a look see .

2011 dancing with the stars core grid.jpg

Above is a grid I created on which I will track the scores and the dances of the contenders with every weekly update.

Ron Artest, the basketball player, was sent home to no surprise for he was awful.

Dancing with the stars Ron Artest.jpg

DWS will always have a few athletes and often the athletes that lumber on the playing field can effectively channel their fleet-footedness to the dance. Not in the case of this Laker basketball player. Football players are, interestingly, very good dancers for their practice of artful foot movement to dodge the tackle. Basketball players run and dribble and aren’t often the dancers that win this competition. These are anecdotal observations, I know this, but as has been my experience for now into 13 seasons of this show.

The top three score-wise have a higher percentage chance of being the top three at the end of this thing although there is a dark horse, David Arquette, who has what it takes but didn’t bring it all out last night.

Iraqi war hero, J.R. Martinez, danced a dazzling waltz and God bless and thank him for his service.  For his face has been disfigured, but by the grace of the Lord he can move handily, prettily and fluidly.

Chynna Phillips tied Martinez for the lead and she is pretty and will definitely be a contender. She too danced a Viennese waltz and she is the total package for sure. She’s not missing an ear like Martinez but by me, that makes him all the more handsome. Look for this to be a duel between these two.

2011 dancing with the stars chynna phillips.jpg

Do not dismiss Ricki Lake or Chaz Bono for that matter. Chaz, come on, everyone tuned in to see “him” dance and, indeed, he did quite well. I noted that Chaz did no lifting or picking up of his partner, but perhaps it was because of the dance then upon. Thing is, it is the male of the dance team who holds the female partner for those sorts of swoop and sway moves and Chaz will be expected to do this.

He was very nimble of foot with a rigorous cha-cha and I think he could make the top five. Ricki Lake performed a nice waltz and earned a proud score of 20 so she’s in there.

2011 dancing with the stars chaz bono.jpg

You may dismiss Elisabetta Canalis right now. Canalis is a fashion model and frequent date of celebrities. I’d remarked, with my wisdom, that models, though thin enough, seldom do well in this competitive reality TV series in my very first post of DWS.

2011 dancing with the stars canalis.jpg

Canalis is thin enough, but as I noted, she didn’t perform her cha-cha very well. She was able to lift those tiny legs high and stretch them wide but still she only garnered a judge score of 15. Canalis is not a dancer and won’t last long as I predict.

Rob Kardashian and Nancy Grace landed in the bottom three along with the dismissed Artest. Rob, a young man, could definitely have danced as a costumed dog in my Cats description above. With the advantage of youth Rob should have danced a waltz with more ease but it’s hard to do with coke bottle cartons on your feet.

Nancy Grace is one of the oldest of the contenders, and I thought she danced a decent cha-cha for her age and heft. Judge Len considered her performance “underwhelming.”

2011 dancing with the stars nancy grace.jpg

Reality show star Kristin Cavallari danced what the judges called a lively cha-cha, and Hope Solo, women’s soccer team goalie and the only athlete-type left in the competition, did a pretty waltz. Solo showed her newness to the dance, but she’s got the talent with her limbs. Given time and practice, she'll be a serious contender for the mirrored ball.

Finally, one of my favorites, Carson Kressley, danced a cha-cha which was more about giggles and grins than the technique of that dance. Still, he had great fun and the audience knew it. Below a short video of Carson’s dance.

So there you have it, the first evening of dance competition. We’ll be doing a report every week so be sure to join us here on The Morton Report.

Dancing With the Stars performance show airs on Monday nights, on ABC, at 8p/7c. The elimination round is the following night, Tuesday, same time.

If you've got an insight to share, email me: pat.fish@themortonreport.com.

Check in every day for new columns and updates.

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Pat Fish has been a blogger for almost ten years. She has been published numerous times in the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort book series and wrote for Blogcritics. She has written a few books and vows to write till death does part her from the keyboard. Pat loves to write about current…

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