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Dancing with the Stars Celebrities: “What Do You Mean, I’m A Ringer??” Part 1

This is the one issue that comes up over and over again when discussing DWTS. We see it in our comments; you see it tossed about on message boards like an accusation or castigation. Almost always it’s in reference to ALL of Derek’s partners, which is just ridiculous. Most of the male pros and a few of the female pros have had a ringer of one kind at one time or another – that’s just the way it goes. NO ONE has a ringer, or “dancer” every single time – that’s abundantly clear to anyone who engages their brain.  Frankly, if we didn’t have the occasional ringer and had a season of mediocre dancing, I think people would tune out very, very fast.  I don’t mind an amusing or talented ringer – what I DO mind is the revisionist history that follows a DWTS season where the accusations start to fly.  Even the mainstream media and certain pro dancers (cough-Louis-cough) – never very clever at the best of times – chimes in on this hue and cry.  It’s quite narrow minded. And it’s just not that simple – as I will show.  :-)

How do I define “ringer” – well, for me, it’s not so black and white. ALL kinds of people have advantages over other people going into the show that have NOTHING to do with dancing.  To isolate ONE positive attribute (dance experience) and ignore the others is too simplistic and narrow minded. There are also degrees of dance experience from someone who taught dance (Mya) to someone who was in a music group which performed a lot of choreography (Nicole, Lance, Sabrina, Mel B, etc.). Even college or professional cheerleaders fall into the ringer camp, albeit a bit lower on the sliding scale than your average boy bander. There is no denying that training to be a cheerleader and learning the choreo gives you a leg up (cough) on someone like Shannon Doherty or Tom Delay. But if you took dance when you were a little girl, prior to even being a teen ager? Give me a break.  We can certainly debate if there is a real difference between cheerleading and the Pussycat Dolls – but spare me the sermons on how Joanna took ballet until she was 11. If anyone is silly enough to point to that as an advantage – well then nearly ALL the female celebrities have that advantage. Not so.

But those are your ringers with dance experience – what about someone who comes on the show and you know instantly that they are going to win?? Wouldn’t they also be a ringer? I say absolutely. If you come on the show and you’re so beloved or popular (with the DWTS Demo) that everyone knows you’re going to win, then I say that’s a form of ringer all its own. Kristi, Shawn and Donny – all extremely popular athletes and entertainers and all nearly guaranteed a win. I say “nearly” because Shawn was nearly unseated by a hot, gorgeous, very talented dancer in Gilles Marini. On paper, however, Shawn was a shoe-in.  Evan Lysacek almost falls into this camp and I thought he would win his season – but he apparently burned a few bridges in his time with a potentially huge voting block of skating fans.  I would ordinarily put someone like Jennifer Grey in this category, but not this time, simply because her liabilities really did outweigh her popularity. Being age 50 is no small thing when it comes to the task of dancing on DWTS; add in the screws in her neck and the problems with her foot and you’ve got someone unlikely to actually win. That she did win is likely a testament to Derek’s ability to choreograph entertaining routines around a fairly limited amount of motion, compared to her competitors, most of which were at least 20 years her junior.  All that said, I did give her a low level ringer status due to the age and physical ailments offsets.  I also put KirstieAlley in this group at a lower level – she’s another older, beloved, iconic actress, although possibly not at the level of Jennifer Grey. Hard to say where to draw the line on that one, as she was older than Jennifer, but didn’t have the same physical ailments.

This is what I mean when I say all kinds of people have advantages (and in some cases huge disadvantages) coming into the show.  You don’t get to just point and scream “RINGER!!!” unless you’re a child who doesn’t know any better.  We’re going to use this blog to actually THINK about this. We’re going to discuss how the *disadvantages* a celebrity has have just as much impact on their chances of winning as their advantages do – no one is just a ringer in a vacuum. And we’re going to list all the pros and their partners, and where they fall on the sliding scale of “ringerdom”. :-)  We’re also going to discuss the difference between dance “experience” and dance “ability” because a lot of people seem to think the two things are interchangeable.  If you need Websters, this would be a good time to pull it out. :-) I’ll also talk about the difference between hindsight (all of Derek’s partners are dancers!!!), and who were actually likely to be good on paper going in. And who weren’t.

We’re going to start with the female pros, mainly because they are easier – and there are fewer true ringers. That will be in Part II – first, some notes on how I got to where I did on categorizing the dancers over the seasons.

Notes: Read more..

September 3, 2011 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS13 Search Engine Round-Up – Week of 9-2-11

 Yes kids, the SERU is back after about a 2 month absence :-D Why, you ask? Because there simply wasn’t enough traffic to the site prior to now to generate enough truly interesting search terms…but now I’ve got search terms aplenty to entertain you with ;-) ONWARD!!!

Melissa Gilbert divorce

She may not have actually been cast on DWTS this season, but you guys are still curious about her :-) Anywho! Melissa officially filed for divorce from her husband Bruce Boxleitner (the guy who played Tron in the original Tron), on August 22, after 16 years of marriage.  They had been separated since March of this year.  What’s funny to me is the story of how they met – apparently they were introduced by Bruce’s ex-wife, only weeks after Melissa’s divorce from her first husband was finalized.  Allegedly Melissa had met Bruce when she was a teenager and confessed to having a picture of him in her locker, but he ignored her at the time, since she was much younger than he was; after being reintroduced, they started dating on and off, got engaged twice (but he broke it off both times – red flag, maybe?) before finally marrying in 1995.  Their son, Michael Garrett Boxleitner, is named after Michael Landon, who played Melissa’s father on Little House on the Prairie.

How tall is Chaz Bono?/Peta Murgatroyd height

Chaz is not only the shortest male celeb this season, but the shortest of all the celebs & pros this season – he’s 5’1″.  As for Peta, someone tweeted her and asked how tall she was, and Peta responded with 5’7″.  Straight from the horse’s mouth, kids :-) And if you want to know any of the other celebs’ or pros’ heights, check out Heidi’s “Who’s Dancing with Whom?” post.

Lacey Schwimmer boob job/plastic surgery

So apparently Lacey got her boobs done, and possibly her lips too.  Big whoop.  As I’ve said in the past, I’m not the type to hate on anyone for wanting to improve their physical appearance and/or self-confidence – in moderation. :-) I know plenty of ladies in the dance world that have gotten some help in the bosom department, either to make their costumes fit a bit better or to combat some fat loss in that area from being such an athlete.  If it puts a bit more spring in Lacey’s step to have some bigger tatas – good for her, IMO :-) And although I thought she had some pretty full lips to begin with, if she got those done too – fine by me, as long as it makes her happy.  I’m probably more apt to bitch about that OTT blonde hair of hers than any sort of surgical enhancements she’s had done – I just thought she was stunning as a brunette! Only one word of caution to her, though – take it easy on the push-up bras.  I find that when one has both implants and one of those puppies on, the effect can be a bit…alien.  And torture chamber-ish. 

Derek Hough girlfriend

Ugh…this is one can of worms I do not feel like opening up.  Go over to PureDerekHough and discuss this one with the regulars.  Long story short: he may or may not have rekindled things with Cheryl Cole (“She of the Nasty Weave” for those who follow me on Twitter ;-)). 

Why isn’t Chelsie Hightower on DWTS?

Well, since I am not privy to the complex inner workings of the minds of TPTB, I can’t give you an official answer on this one – but my best guess is that they simply didn’t have a suitable partner for her this season.  No underhanded dealings, no discrimination or conspiracy to get rid of her permanently – they just ended up with a crop of male celebs this season that were either too tall (pretty much all of the men, with the exception of Chaz) or were better matched with other pros (Chaz – I can’t imagine a more perfect partner for him than Lacey).  C’est la vie – same thing has happened to Anna, Louis, & Dmitry in past seasons, and they’ve all come back after sitting out a season or 2.  In the meantime, it seems like Chelsie is keeping busy with other projects, so she’s certainly not sitting around weeping and sulking about not being on the show this season – and who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and catch a glimpse of her in one of the pro dances this season.  Still suffering from Chelsie withdrawal? Check out our ode to her in the most recent edition of Who Wore it Better? :-)

Dirty picture

Of what? This is a rather broad term :-P Or, are you looking for the Taio Cruz song featuring Ke$ha?

“Behind Derek’s Car”

This one made me LOL a bit,  because the searched term was actually in quotes as if it were the title of a scary movie or something.  Sounds so ominous :-P Now while the logical side of my brain says that the people searching this were likely trying to figure out which celeb parked behind Derek’s car at the rehearsal studio (because the couples tend to do that), the smartass side of my brain says “Behind Derek’s car…there is likely exhaust.” :-D

Nicole Volynets rumors

I’m assuming this refers to the fact that Nicole will not be returning to the troupe this season – and just like the rumors about Chelsie’s absence this season, there’s been all sorts of speculation as to why.  Again, I cannot give you an official answer, but I have 2 theories.  One, they’re looking to keep the troupe “younger” – which makes sense to me, if they’re planning on pulling future pros from it.  Ted is only 21, Oksana is 22, and Kiki is only 19 or 20 – they still have a few years to cultivate their talent before possibly being promoted to a full-time pro.  Peta & Tristan are both a bit older – I think they’re both in their mid-to-late 20′s, and I believe Nicole is 23 or 24.  I guess if I were TPTB and I wasn’t planning on promoting someone to full-time pro anytime soon, I think it would be kinder to cut them loose now than to keep them hanging on in vain for a few more seasons in the troupe.  It may seem cruel, but it’s just the nature of the business.  Another theory that seems to be getting kicked around on Twitter is that Nicole & Ted didn’t like having to do romantic dances together since they’re siblings – which I can understand, it’s definitely awkward.  But at the same time, sometimes you just have to be willing to bite the bullet and do things you don’t necessarily want to in order to please your employer – Derek always mentions that he’s had to rumba with Julianne in the past *squirm*.  I guess if Ted & Nicole gave the higher-ups the ultimatum that they would only come back if they didn’t have to dance together, I can’t blame TPTB for saying “Well, we can’t guarantee that you won’t have to…unless one of you doesn’t come back.” Regardless of the reason why, I am not worried about Nicole’s future – she seems like she’s already got some great opportunities in the works. 

максим чмерковский

Erm…I can’t read Cyrillic, and right now I can’t be bothered to try and feed this one through Google Translate.  But I’m guessing it reads “Maksim Chmerkovskiy”…and, uh, yep…he’s on the show this season.  That’s all I got. :-P

I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!