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"Dancing With the Stars": Un-Tying

By admin Published: May 11, 2009

"DWTS" was down to four couples onight, and three impressed ...

Aside from the democracy of reality competitions, Ty Murray had no business being in the final four instead of Lil' Kim. And I think the aim tonight was to build enough of a gap between Ty and the next-best dancer that not even his large voting base could overcome it.

That's a tricky proposition since the voting system is percentage based. And, if memory serves, the gap between Ty and third-place Melissa after two dances was seven points -- only one point more than that between Ty and Kim --even though Ty had some problems, especially in the second dance. But when Gilles, Melissa and Shawn all got 10's at various points and Ty did not, the message was being sent.

Now it's just a question of whether the audience will receive it. Ty's not joking when he says he represents "cowboy nation"; he's the last clear-cut representative not only of a Western but a rural/Southern audience in the field. And that baby picture probably got him a half-million votes.

None of which means he was anywhere near as good as the other dancers. Melissa had an impressive first dance, although the judges hit on a complaint I have made before about her -- that even if the steps are good, there's a lack of passion/charisma/emotion in the performance. And the second dance never seemed quite in time with the music, which the judges saw as inconsistency within the performance -- sometimes perfect, sometimes off. But Melissa is still a judges fave; even when criticized, she gets 9s -- her two scores were 28 and 27, for a total of 55.

Gilles ended up with two 30s for the night, and a perfect 60 total. I liked the first dance but was less impressed with the second, where he and Cheryl's playfulness felt forced. Still, he wears a suit well.

Shawn was solid enough, with 30 and 26, for a total of 56 and second place on the night. Once again, there's the problem that she's young and her dance routines can't be too mature; she can never give off the heat that Gilles and Cheryl do, and it also limits some of the things in the choreography. The first dance was nicely precise, but lacked fire. The second dance was cute, but she's done cute before and this felt like a rehash.

Still, if I am king, I put Gilles, Melissa and Shawn in the finals and bid Ty farewell. But Ty was the least of the dancers a week ago, and he didn't go home. This week, if he survives, I suspect it will be at Shawn's expense. But I'd like to think that the difference in quality is so obvious that Ty is through.

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