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"Dancing With the Stars" Is Back

By admin Published: March 17, 2008

A few notes after the jump ...

I'm not too interested in the background stuff, but thought I'd post a few notes about the performances as they roll out. Tonight, the men perform; tomorrow, the women. First ouster isn't until next week.

First up: Penn Jillette, Kym Johnson. Cha cha. I like Penn. (I've met him. I've even talked, and listened to, Teller.) He's not a great dancer, and the judges were right to fault his footwork. But he brings joy to his performances, and had a good song in "A Fool in Love." Scores: 5 from Carrie Ann, 6 from Len, 5 from Bruno. Brutal, brutal scores considering some of what I've seen contestants get in the past. But the judges are leaving themselves lots of room for higher scores.

Jason Taylor. University of Akron's own. With Edyta Sliwinska. Fox trot. Song: "Pride and Joy." You can see him getting up on his toes, but his body language is stiff, too formal. Not a lot of grace in his movement. Len says JT is "a good-looking guy" with "great posture." But he needs to act the dance. Carrie Ann expected him to be rougher but found him coordinated, with good hands. Bruno loved the lines he hit but he needs more drive. He also considers JT "gorgeous." Scores: CA, 7; Len, 8; Bruno, 7.

Bergeron says next week will have a double elimination -- lowest scoring man and lowest scoring woman.

Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke. Cha cha. Song: "Bang Bang." He's playing to the crowd, which is probably paying more attention to her backless dress. He's graceful at times, very awkward at others. But she's still a stunning dancer. (When the pros did the show's opening number, it was a reminder of how good real dancers are, and how amateurish the celebs can be.) CA says "season six has got some sexy guys on it." Says they're well-suited to the cha cha but he has to watch how much he hunches his shoulders. Bruno says it looked as if he was riding a bike, then drops a bunch of double entendres. Len says something or other. Scores: CA, 7; Len, 7; Bruno, 7. It has just occurred to me that de la Fuente looks like the guy on "Futurama," especially in the hair.

Adam Carolla. With Julianne Hough. This indicates that the show does not want Hough to be part of the winning team again. What's with her goggles in rehearsal footage? And I am not a Carolla fan. Fox trot. Song: "Mellow Yellow." He's slow in spots, then rushes through some of the quick moves like a character in a Warner Bros. cartoon. Looks on the verge of falling over a couple of times. Worst so far tonight. If fox trot was an actor, Bruno says, this was Will Ferrell with some John Cleese. Len says Julianne has her work cut out. Praises AC's footwork but not much more. Carolla banters too much. CA thought it was uneven; "keep working." Scores: CA, 5; Len, 5; Bruno, 5. Carolla says "bitch" when CA's score comes up.

Mario and Karina Smirnoff. Cha cha. Song: "Hey DJ." They're very good. Best of the night so far. CA is all atwitter. "Dang, you can dance." Len calls it a great job, but with poor footwork. Bruno asks if Karina has a monopoly on "hot Marios." Scores: CA, 8; Len, 8; Bruno, 8.

Steve "The Gute" Guttenberg and Anna Trebunskaya. Fox trot. "Lazy River." Oh, dear. Awkward posture, iffy movement and Penn has already staked claim to the likable-goof vote. Not the worst of the night -- that's probably Carolloa -- but close. Bruno wants him to add more drive. CA says there's something very charming about him but he needs to watch his musicality. Len said he's the first one to look as if he is enjoying himself. That's rubbish. Scores: CA, 6; Len, 6; Bruno, 6. The Gute plays the "this is a dream" card -- and that he's doing it in honor of his parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

Teaser for tomorrow night. (Interesting that Marlee Matlin's clips have her signing with someone else's voiceover. She can talk, for goodness sake.) Extremely unflattering makeup on most of them. Bergeron chats with the women. Recap. And I'm out.

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