Well, I’ve been out late three nights in a row*, so I have just finally caught up on this week’s performances from Dancing with the Stars. I’d already heard that local pro dancer Brian Fortuna and his partner, Shandi Finnessey had ended up sweating it out in the bottom two before Paulina and Alec were the first eliminatees for this season.
And although I haven’t yet watched the results show itself**, I’ve got a slew of theories about why Brian and Shandi might have had such a close call.
1. Choreography. I almost think Brian’s being too careful to come up with choreography that exactly fits the assigned dance—when my past experience watching DWTS suggests that the most successful pros are those that can capture essential features of a dance without going into a level of technicality or precision with the dance that would be demanded in a real competition.
2. Showmanship. Brian could dial it down in a couple different ways. Last week’s foxtrot showed someone used to exuding big performance and charisma for live audiences. Hell, he’s just been playing the arena tour, so of course he’s used to that. But the style that worked so well for the live tour looks overdone when captured by the more intimate medium of a television screen. Also, Shandi’s not the strongest dancer as of yet—especially in Monday’s attempt at a mambo–and Brian’s training is actually making him look out of sync with his partner. He had fabulous Latin hip action going, and Shandi? Looked like mambo hips through molasses.*** However skilled his motion, it didn’t look good in partnership with Shandi’s more limited range.
3. The Reality Show Edit. Week one, the TV Powers-That-Be were totally going for the “showmance” edit. This week, it was more about the “spoiled beauty queen” edit. And notice the word edit. Reality show is all about manipulating footage to tell stories and manipulate audience members. And I’m afraid the producer’s usual shenanigans might result in another early boot for the blond pageant-winner and her Philly-area pro.****
I’ve worried some about Brian’s longevity in the competition even since I heard he had been paired with the beauty queen. I halfway expect his road to end next week.
Or, Brian and Shandi could knock everyone’s socks off next Monday and I’ll cheerfully eat my words.
* Don’t get your hopes up—Monday and Tuesday nights were all about me staying at work till 9:30 PM. That’s pretty much the shape of my 2007.
** I’m pretty impressed for having caught up on 3 hours of TV in as little time as it took me.
*** And yet I freely admit she’s several dozen times better than I am, with my extra weight and my complete and utter lack of ballroom dancing experience.
**** See Moakler, Shanna.