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"Dancing With the Stars"

By admin Published: April 27, 2009

Instead of spending a lot of time on individual performance recaps, I'm going to ran about one dancer.

It has at times seemed that "DWTS" was very interested in keeping Melissa Rycroft around as long as was humanly possible; she has a fan base; she's also an ABC-made star, thanks to "The Bachelor," and I have no doubt the network bigwigs are trying to think of another venue for her. Still....

The situation tonight seemed highly favorable to Rycroft, who did not perform on the show because of an injury. The show did something similar to what it did when Steve-O was hurt, using footage from her last rehearsal as the basis for judging. But, after acknowledging that the rehearsal was not much more than going through the motions, the judges still gave her 7s. With the glitches I saw, 5s would have been far more appropriate. But whether because they like Melissa or because they didn't want to score her so low as to encourage a fan backlash, the scoring was incredibly generous. And the fans are going to rally behind pooooooor Melissa anyway, since they still think she deserves some kind of karmic compensation for her "Bachelor" humiliation.

Only the free ride for Melissa did not end at her pairs performance. Tonight also included team dancing, which was scored by the judges. In Melissa's stead, her team got Lacey Schwimmer, one of the professional dancers, and Melissa's score would be the same as that assigned to the team as a whole, even though she was not part of it. There was a lot of hemming and hawing that the judges would base their scores only on the two "stars" in the group, meaning Chuck and Shawn, but in a team dance, how could Lacey not affect the overall quality of the performance, if only by avoiding mistakes a star might make? As good as Melissa has been at times, Lacey's a better dancer, pure and simple.

Now, you can argue that Melissa's score, even with all that help, was poor by her standards. But it was still a score with a whole lot of benefit of the doubt built in -- her rehearsal scores, as I said, were far higher than she deserved. That said, "DWTS" is hardly unique in playing favorites. "American Idol" has for years given some contestants better and more dramatic production values within a given telecast than other performers have received. But it's still annoying to see "DWTS" bend over so far for Melissa, and the network's interests.

Tuesday morning: I scribbled a note to myself last night and forgot to mention Bruno's reference to men shopping in the women's department -- alluding to the men's outfits during one of the team dances. Paula used the same phrase during last week's "American Idol." Imitation or just something in the air?

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