I have to be honest, (actually, as I always am!) When Mr. X and I saw this season’s Dancing With The Stars cast list, we decided to finally stop watching the show. We had seen every episode of the previous twenty-nine seasons, and had suffered through the creepy and nauseating former co-host, Erin Andrews, and now inane, full-of-herself current (and last year’s) host, Tyra Banks.

Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the one at the top of this article.

Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the one at the top of this article.

It’s hard to watch Tyra. I’m not the only one who says so—I’ve seen thousands of complaints about her on social media, but the producers, (one of which she is,) don’t seem to get it. It’s like she’s holding their families hostage!

On top of her annoying speech patterns, and trying to make every single second of the show about herself, how was that woman ever a model? She has pretty eyes, but she is uncomfortably gigantic, and I’m not talking about tall. And she thinks that when she changes from one hideous Volkswagen-size wrinkled gown to the next, there’s even one person out there who cares. Let me assure her—there is not.

Tyra Banks and one of her many awful fashions. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Tyra Banks and one of her many awful fashions. Photo by Karen Salkin.

But, because Mr. X and I absolutely love all forms of dance soooo much, (and, I’m not going to lie—also because we’re still basically staying in because of the dangers of Covid from unvaccinated idiots,) we decided to give the new season a try.

And we’re glad we did! Many of the contestants, (none of whom come even close to being “stars,”) really surprised us! Not just with their dances, but that they seemed so much nicer than we would have thought, (even though we honestly had never heard of half of them!) It’s weird that the number of couples has been raised to fifteen, though; I don’t think they’ve ever had more than a dozen before.

So, after seeing the premiere episode, here are my thoughts, which, in a rarity, are all actually shared by Mr. X:

The Judges—As many of you already know, I’ve always adored Derek Hough. His insights and critiques are, for the most part, spot-on, and his charm always comes through. But this time, several of his scores were questionable. And, as much as I’m glad to see Head Judge Len Goodman back, (after he had to sit out last season because of Covid flying restrictions,) some of his critiques were way off, as well. The other two judges are just a waste, as usual, having absolutely no ballroom dance credentials.

The 2021 judging panel. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The 2021 judging panel. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Last note on judging—marks for dances on a show like this should take into consideration the performance and entertainment values, not just be judged on the technical aspects. Just sayin’.

Now to the new competing duos:

The stiffest of the stiff! Martin Kove with his poor pro partner, Britt Stewart.  This is basically all he did in the supposed dance!

The stiffest of the stiff! Martin Kove with his poor pro partner, Britt Stewart. This is basically all he did in the supposed dance!

Martin Kove and Britt Stewart—This man was the absolute worst, hands down! Actually, over the course of the entire thirty-season series, he comes in second only to Master P, who refused to even try. For his dance, Martin, (whom, even though he’s apparently a very working actor, I had never seen nor heard of before,) just walked a few steps, and…that was it! And then he seemed offended by his low judges’ marks, (which should have been even lower, by the way.) His poor partner—it’s only her second season, and they really need to be the first to go. If he gets even one more week, it’s sooo not fair.

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach—Surprisingly, former NBA Champion, Iman, was the absolute best one on there! By far. And the judges totally screwed him! No one even came close to what he and his partner did, even though they were saddled with one of the hardest dances, the Jive, in Week 1! Mr. X and I loved their dance so much that we had to watch it a second time. It was totally entertaining and…performed very well! Yes, perhaps his flicks and kicks weren’t as crisp as they would be at the end of the season, but they were still pretty good and did not at all distract from how great the performance was. They should win the show, not have received the second lowest scores in a sea of otherwise pretty much bland performances. I’ve been upset all week!

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Kenya Moore and Brandon Armstrong—This was a hard one for me because, believe it or not, I did a movie with Kenya! She was also one of the producers of it and was sort-of mean to me at the beginning of the shoot, and then just basically ignored me for the duration. The make-up artist on the film (and I use that term loosely) was not good at all, and he painted crazy red circles on my cheeks, which even the hard-nosed, crusty old owner of the ranch we shot on, (it was a Western—don’t ask,) mentioned to me. He said something like, “You’ve got to tone it down, darlin’!” And when Kenya noticed that I had fixed it a bit, she yelled at me! She didn’t even let me explain before she stormed off. So, needless to say, I was not in her corner on DWTS, (even though I had rooted for her to win Miss USA way back in the day!) But…she did okay! And I appreciate that she said her young partner, Brandon, is a child to her; I had expected to see some very inappropriate flirting on her part.

Christine Chiu and Pasha Pashkov—Strangely, this is another woman I’ve had personal interactions with. Not because she now has some obscure reality show, but because she…runs her husband’s skin care business in Beverly Hills! When I first met Christine many years ago, (when I was still doing my TV show,) she gave me a year of free facials at their salon, and she was often there to greet me. When I didn’t return after those twelve months, (mainly because that’s exactly when I broke my back and was out of commission for several months, and since then, I’ve tried-out other facialists,) she’s written to me a few times to ask how she can get me back as a client. So I was shocked to see her on DWTS; I had no idea that she had recently begun a reality show. As far as her dancing goes, though, she was okay, but seemed a tad awkward. (And, because her husband’s a plastic surgeon, she seemed to indicate that no one can look good naturally. Ugh.)

Melanie C and Gleb Savchenko—I actually have never seen the Spice Girls, so this was my first time hearing from, (or even seeing other than in print pix,) Mel C. And my verdict is…she seems darling! What a lovely, enthusiastic woman. And…she can dance! This team should have received the second highest marks of the opener, (after Iman and Daniella,) but, alas, it also wasn’t meant to be. They went first, which is never a good thing. Maybe the producers feel she has a strong enough fan base to overcome the middling marks, but it still wasn’t fair—neither the performance order nor the judges’ unfair marks for them.

Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten—I could not have felt worse for Amanda last year, when she went through the horror of losing her husband to Covid, especially after having to make the gut-wrenching decision to amputate his leg in an attempt to save his life. And right after having a baby, to boot. But Mr. X and I didn’t love that she parlayed the fame she received from that devastation into a talk show career. So, we were sort-of against her going in. But, when we saw the genuine pain she’s still in, and that she seems like a nice woman who really has to try hard to move past her tragedy, we rooted for her, both on DWTS and in life! Still, she did not quite deserve the inflated scores she received; obviously the “pity factor” was being used here.

Sharna Burgess' old face, (which was beautiful,) and...

Sharna Burgess’ old face, (which was beautiful,) and…

Brian Austin Green and Sharna Burgess—I was happy for this real-life recent couple when I noticed that Brian would be on the show because, even though I’ve never seen him on anything ever, and had no clue to even one of his acting credits, I am aware that his gorgeous-but-not-so-nice wife, Megan Fox, publicly humiliated him this year by leaving him (again) for a creepy singer. On top of that, she keeps posting things like that she’s in love for the first time, and her new guy is so sexy, etc. Ewww. So, just as a man who’s gone through all that pain recently, I was happy he found love again, (even though I’m pretty sure he’s still pining for his wife.) And I’ve always liked uber-cheerful Sharna, so I’m happy she finally found love. But the big question is—what did she do to her beautiful face??????????????? She’s unrecognizable! She had a totally unnecessary nose job, but something else seems to be amiss, as well; I just can’t put my finger on it. I still cheer for these two, in life as well as on the show.

...her new (and NOT improved)  one!  Photo by Karen Salkin.

…her new (and NOT improved) one! Photo by Karen Salkin.

Matt James and Lindsay Arnold—Mr. X and I know who The Bachelor Matt is only because of the pandemic—if we had not been stuck in the house for so long, we would have never ever watched crappy shows like that!!! I think he’s kind-of a goon, but a sweet one, and even without much technique, his dance was kind-of charming. Not to mention, Lindsay is Mr. X’s favorite pro on the show! By far. He gets such a kick out of her. So, for his sake only, I wish this pair a semi-long run on the series.

Jimmie Allen and Emma Slater—We had never heard of this guy, either, (he’s a country singer, in case you are in the dark, as well,) but he seems nice. And cute. And he’s another one the judges screwed on marks.

The Miz and Witney Carson—We’d never heard of this guy before, either. But we’ve always loved Witney. Their dance was okay, especially for a wrestler, but nothing special.

Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke—Here’s another one we never ever heard of. And we were appalled that a sports instructor became a contestant on this show! He’s one of the furthest people from being a star ever! But he seems surprisingly nice and not at all obnoxious.

Melora Hardin and Artem Chigvintsev—Now here’s an older woman we never heard of! But she said she’s a former dancer, so that should help her. Still, her dance, even with last year’s Pro Champion, was pretty boring. And older contestants don’t usually fare well on the show. So I don’t expect this duo to last too long on there.

Suni Lee and Sasha Farber—Finally, one person I’m very familiar with!!! And that’s only because, as you know, I watch every second of the Olympics! I like this recent gymnastics All-Around Champion, and she seemed more likable in her pre-dance package on this show, but they gave her waaay too high marks, which I’m sure were based on her reputation. The good news is that the make-up department toned down her Tammy Faye Baker-esque false eyelashes and like-they-just-came-out-of-the-box fake nails!!!

Olivia Jade Giannulli and Val Chmerkovskiy—I think I’m not speaking for just Mr. X and myself when I say that we would have thought that college admissions cheat Olivia would be too embarrassed to show her face on such public a show. So we were shocked that she seemed kind-of sweet. But again, she received way too high marks for the little she did. And it’s sort-of not fair that they paired her with Val because having him as a partner just about guarantees a long run on the show. (Just whom did her jailbird parents pay off this time to get Val for her???) By the way, like so many young girls these days, who don’t want to be ethnically-identified, Olivia also drops her last name and uses her middle name as her last. Sad. (But the show’s official release gave her full name, so that’s what I used for her.)

 JoJo Siwa, on the left, pulling-up her pro partner, Jenna Johnson, when she tripped and went down. Photo by Karen Salkin.

JoJo Siwa, on the left, pulling-up her pro partner, Jenna Johnson, when she tripped and went down. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Jenna Johnson and JoJo Siwa—This was just sort-of uncomfortable to watch, even though chicks have been dancing together forever! Has no one ever been to a high school dance?! Or a club??? Come on, people. It’s not unusual. So the fuss that is being made about it is just creepy. And no matter who was dancing together here, their first dance was awful!!! The pro partner, Jenna, even fell! But, in an attempt to not look like they have a bias against gay people, the judges gave this team the highest mark of the night! It was downright ridiculous. Trust me, many of my best friends are gay, and my TV show would not have lasted as long as it did if I had not had the support of the gay community. My criticism here is not that, at all! But one of my gay guy friends has always maintained that some things just look better with a man and a woman, and ballroom dancing is one of those activities. And by the way, I’ve seen two men do ballroom on other shows, and it at least had some charm. This dance was just a mess. But I have a feeling the show will do everything to make this duo win, just to “make history.” Shame. And sooo unfair! (But at least the hair people made her not wear her sorry godforsaken side ponytail for once!!!) [Note: It turns-out that JoJo got her start as a young dancer on TV, which you could not at all tell from her first dance on this show! I’m just sayin’.]

Okay, that’s it. Now let’s see what happens on Night 2 of DWTS this Monday night. If Iman or Mel wind-up being eliminated, Mr. X and I might just break the TV!


Leave A Reply