Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dancing with the stars, or whoever

Last night was the finale of Dancing with the Stars, a show I (as I have explained before) started watching solely to have something to discuss with my mother (who loves shows like this), but of which I became a fan on my own. I didn't actually watch the whole finale - I felt a lot of ambivalence about it, though all along I've been voting for Jennifer Grey (and Margaret Cho, when she was still on). Instead I flipped back and forth between DWTS and a rerun of the first episode of the American version of "Top Gear" (loved it).

Dancing with the Stairs is total silliness, what with the wacky costumes, horrible music, even more horrible Brooke Burke, and completely ridiculous judging, but it's also, results shows aside, total fun. I kind of hate to admit it, but I do like it and I get a little bit invested in it, every season.

Anyway, so this season was full of so-called controversy - a couple of talented celebrities were voted off (Audrina Patridge, Brandy) seemingly too early, and Bristol Palin was kept on until the final. Bristol was repeatedly dinged for lacking in personality or not showing any emotion in her face during her dances, and when she finally showed some toward the end, unfortunately, it was an ugly, vindictive personality.

Hey, I'm not really surprised. Her comments about "haters" and "giving the middle finger" to those who wanted to see her fail - those comments go right along with her obvious lack of maturity. Grow up a little, Bristol, and yes, go home to your kid. Maybe get a real job and some actual life experience. See a Broadway show. Stay off of Facebook. Have a grown-up relationship. Have a life of your own that's not connected to your mom's career. Wouldn't that be something?

(I love that she can give the finger to the haters and at the same time feel "blessed" by an experience she really didn't deserve. And God loves ALL your fingers, Bristol. I guess.)

As a dancer, the thing is, yes, she showed improvement, but she was never really good enough, and this is not a hateful statement. Maybe she's one of those people who think just showing up entitles her to a trophy. Like my niece's first soccer team... when she was five. Newsflash, Bristol: you're not good enough. Yes, she tried. We all try - and we all sometimes fail. It's a fact of life, babe.

I will say that she looked great in her practice clothes - she's a pretty girl with gorgeous hair, and in a hooded sweatshirt and capri length leggings and fancy dance shoes, she looked prettier than she ever did in the strangely tailored sparkly dresses on the show.

The thing that's been bothering me is, I've heard/read a lot of comments about how Jennifer Grey shouldn't have won because she's a "trained dancer." She made "Dirty Dancing" in 1986 or '87, and as far as I can tell, the rest of her career includes no other dancing roles. You do the math - that's not exactly a lifetime of training. Yes, she could've had some private dance experience, but so can anybody. It's not "Dancing with the Normal People" (but if they make that show, can I be on it? and will you vote for me?) or "Dancing with the Bitter and Entitled," it's Dancing with the Stars. Those people are expected to be able to perform, and most of them work it out because they have the talent and the personality to pull it off. That's what being a celebrity is about. People like David Hasselhoff, Kurt Warner, and Florence Henderson are interesting because they've accomplished something in their field (come on, you know you loved Knight Rider).

In the end, it's a stupid dancing competition. The prize is useless. I loved getting to see Jennifer Grey again: she's a beautiful woman and a cancer survivor. I hope winning helps her career - I would love to see her in a movie again - but I also hope losing teaches Bristol something about humility, and working hard. Showing up doesn't mean you win, sweetheart, it just means you were there.


  1. I've seen two episodes in my whole life, and I watched the one last night. I was shocked she'd made it that far (Bristol I mean), but the guys explained to me about the voting thing and how the audience has a say, which I didn't know before. We cheered when she got third.

  2. The way she and her mother made comments about leftists or liberals not liking her solely because of Sarah's politics was pretty annoying, too.

    And putting her on the show was just a finely tuned, perfectly timed publicity stunt, for her mom's show and new book.