Since the cast announcement, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not some of this season’s cast members have an unfair advantage on the show due to having “previous dance experience”. So I took it upon myself to do a little digging around to see just who out of our 12 celebs is no stranger to the dance floor…and guess what? All of them have done a little dancing before…well, at least a very loose definition of dancing 😉 So why don’t we see how they all measure up, shall we? Let’s begin with the stars with the more obvious experience: Brandy, Florence, Jennifer, & the Hoff. Watch and discuss…
First up, we have Brandy, who starred in a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella back in 1997. Here’s her big “dance number” – the song “Ten Minutes Ago”, where she croons with Paolo Montalban while doing some Viennese waltzing:
As for any experience she may have garnered in her music video days, here’s the most “dance-heavy” video of hers I could find – “Afrodisiac”:
Courtney: Ok, the first video is some pretty basic Viennese waltzing – natural turn, reverse turn, underarm turn, repeat. And Brandy & Paolo suspiciously disappear when the extras begin the heavy duty spinning & lifting. I mean, as far as an advantage – it may save Maks 15 mintues of practice time explaining what the Viennese waltz is and what the basic movement is. But other than that…nah. As for her video (and I think this goes for all of her videos in general) – Brandy does a lot of grooving and a little bit of basic choreo, but she leaves the hard stuff to her backup dancers. She may be able to inject the “sexy factor” into her dances, but I don’t think she’s going to have an edge in terms of technical skill.
Marianya: I remember when I first saw Brandy and Paolo dance in Cinderella I promised myself that I would learn how to do that. And then when I went to do it, it was the most basic steps in the repertoire… talk about disappointment. Also in regards to music videos or shows, Brandy was big in the 90s, but the 90s weren’t all that dance heavy for the female soloists… at least not until Britney Spears and Co. from the Mickey Mouse club took over the music world for a spell (turn of the millennium). So really in regards to prior dance experience, none… can she pick up choreo? Definitely, but that’s something that most anyone could do… the mere fact that she’s done choreo before just edges here out slightly…
Heidi: Who choreographed that Cinderella thing? Will they own up to it? 🙂 Yeah, not a ringer, but I do think she has more of an advantage due to her relative youth and physical conditioning.
The verdict: Her basic knowledge of choreo may give her a SLIGHT advantage, but we think she’s going to have more of an edge from her young age & great body.
Now we’re onto Florence Henderson, who did some serious disco grooving back when she was on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (unless you want to sit through some serious cheese, I recommend starting at the 2:24 mark to see Flo shake her groove thing 😉 ):
Marianya: I was watching this at work and was shaking my head a few times… man everyone was all over the place, it’s amazing. The steps are very basic that most anyone could pick up the choreo, I don’t think this could transcend into ballroom dancing. Plus it’s been a few decades for her… and she’s not getting any younger.
Courtney: The hustle portion is hysterical – at some point, every single one of them messes up. Again, some pretty elementary “jazz hands” type dancing…which even Flo fouls up a few times. And this was quite a few years ago – I don’t know that Flo is gonna be as lithe & nimble now as she was then.
Heidi: Didn’t I also read that Florence was also a Broadway baby? Yup, I did. 🙂 I think, like Jennifer, that her age kind of equalizes any perceived benefit to having been in Oklahoma and South Pacific – but the advantage that doesn’t go away is the comfort in front of a live audience and doing a live performance. See, I think everyone has an advantage of some sort – it’s going to come down to who has the most.
The verdict: Her age will likely negate any edge she may have had from Broadway, but she may be more comfortable in front of a live audience than some of the other celebs…just don’t ask her to do the Hustle. 😉
Here we have the celeb who has been accused of having the greatest amount of dance experience this season – Jennifer Grey. Now, due to the fine folks at Lionsgate Entertainment and their vigilant policing of any uploaded clips from Dirty Dancing, an embeddable copy of the famous “final dance” from the movie does not exist on the interwebs – so you can go watch it here.
Courtney: Ok, now while this iconic scene may be forever embedded in some folks’ minds as “fantastic dancing”, I think Marianya (and anyone else that has seen REAL mambo) will agree that this is pretty mediocre by most ballroom standards. Very stiff, very obviously choreographed. And again – quite a few years ago, and Jennifer has had some health problems since then, so even if she could remember these moves, there’s no guarantee that she’d be able to execute them.
Heidi: Interesting note about this dance: I read or saw a show on Patrick Swayze and they said this was the first dance filmed and they could only do ONE take because Patrick was having…was it back issues?? There was not a lot of takes on this dance, if the thing I saw was correct. It’s possible they were talking about “the lift” too. It’s been a while. That said – I think that most people are blinded by the romance of the moment, and miss the amateurish dancing. It’s a sweet movie – but it’s not truly about dancing.
Marianya: It’s funny when you see iconic dances in movies or television and you think “I wanna be able to do that” and when you actually start learning, it’s a whole different ball of wax. Now, Jennifer has studied dance growing up, but that was how many decades ago? Sure, she could pick up choreography… decades ago, but again, so can most anyone else. I think Jennifer would be slightly ahead of the game in the ballroom dances due to her dance studies growing up, but in regards to the latin dances the most is probably the basics in mambo, but that’s it… An edge? Not enough to win, but enough to score above average I’d say.
Courtney: Heidi, I’m glad you notice the amateurish dancing as well. I think it becomes especially obvious when you compare Patrick & Jennifer’s version to Cheryl & Tony’s version that they performed during season 2 – notice how much more fluid it looks when people who know how to actually dance mambo do it:
The verdict: She may have a slight advantage from her Dirty Dancing days, but that alone not going to be enough to take her all the way.
Last but not least, we’ve got David Hasselhoff. Now as one of the videos that Heidi posted earlier mentioned, David has a little bit of musical theater under his belt – he’s been in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, was the lead in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway back in 2000, and played Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago for 3 months back in 2004. Now while I’d love to showcase him dancing in one of these productions, I cannot find any videos of him in The Producers or Chicago, and Jekyll & Hyde is not a very dance-heavy musical. However, I do have something even better – the Hoff getting funky in the 1976 film Revenge of the Cheerleaders:
Courtney: *hysterically laughing* Wow, those cheerleaders were loving them some Hoff! Ok, that aside, I’m sure the Hoff has some rhythm, and I think the musical theater background has helped – but then again, if my knowledge of musicals serves me, Billy Flynn & Roger DeBris (his role in The Producers) aren’t known for being particularly difficult roles, dance-wise. Mainly a lot of jazz hands 😛 What I’m more concerned about – and I’ve said this before – is that the Hoff’s mind may be a bit rusty. Seriously- sometimes I think he’s got more than a few screws loose. So in spite of all this experience, I think he might have trouble remembering choreography (or even being able to pay attention when Kym is teaching it). What good is previous experience if you can’t remember it to draw from?
Marianya: Oh heaven help me. If that is what the Hoff is capable of then I foresee another Jerry Springer in the works. I saw the Hoff in the Jekyll & Hyde musical and there was no dancing in there. In fact the other parts that he has done in musical theatre were minimal if any dancing. So I don’t know if he could pick up choreo, ok he could pick up choreo but I don’t believe that he could do anything with it like Donny Osmond. He’ll ham it up, that’s for sure… but I think the buck will stop there.
Heidi: Oh my lord. What more can I say about that? I think The Hoff is going to do well on the show, but I don’t think it will be because of any perceived advantage.
The verdict:If he does well on the show, it sure as hell won’t be due to his Broadway experience – or the sizzling moves we see here!
So there you go – some food for thought for those of you who think that some of these celebs have an unfair advantage. But what about the other celebs this season, you ask? Oh boy – just you wait for part II…because you guys are gonna be blown away by some of the hoofing the other celebs have done in the past 😉 Did you sense the sarcasm there?
Okay, so all this discussion of who’s going to go first, ringers, who’s going to win and everything else, I’ve decided to go out on a limb once again and make a prediction. I normally SUCK at this – mainly because I never believe that who I want to win, will actually win. 🙂 Ask Courtney – she will tell you that I never predicted that Nicole would actually win. I don’t think I even predicted it when she was several points up on Evan.
Now, granted, it’s really hard to make a prediction before we’ve even seen anyone dance – people you think are going to be good (and whose pro claims the ARE good) sometimes just aren’t. Plus, you can over estimate, or underestimate, someone’s fanbase. It’s hard – but I’m going to give it a try. Below I’ve listed the pairing and my rationale of why they’ll be eliminated, starting with the first to leave.
12th Place – Kyle Massey/Lacey Schwimmer
Sorry, Kyle. You’re a young guy with a fanbase that likely doesn’t vote AND you’re also the only person in this cast that had most people going “Who???”
11th Place – Mike Sorrentino/Karina Smirnoff
The Situation, as he is known in MTV circles, will have a much abbreviated rehearsal time compared to everyone else and, like Kyle, I wonder if the voting audience will know who he is. Unless he kills it and turns out to be totally charming as opposed to annoying, he’ll be an early exit. He does have a huge following though, so maybe they’ll turn out and vote.
10th Place – Bristol Palin/Mark Ballas
I think Bristol will stick as longer than the two lesser know people, but I don’t think she’s going to be a great dancer and the Alaska vote can only carry you so far. I’m really not sure, though – if she’s even a little bit good and a sympathetic character, she could stick around to the detriment of better dancers.
9th Place – Margaret Cho/Louis Van Amstel
Boy, this is tough. Margaret is only here because everyone left is either a pop culture icon or a sports hero AND pop culture icon.
The top 8 – I confess, I moved them around so many times – I have no clue what will happen.
8th Place – Florence Henderson/Corky Ballas
I switched Florence and Kurt’s places a few times – Hey, she’s Mrs.Brady!! Not to mention that I believe she’s a long time Broadway performer. Yeah, she’s older – but so is DWTS’ audience.
7th Place – Kurt Warner/Anna Trebunskaya
Yeah, he’s a football player, but he’s up against people likely to be better dancers AND people who are bigger names. I like Kurt – think he’s hot. But he’s not Peyton Manning. 😉
6th Place – Audrina Patridge/Tony Dovolani
It’s entirely possible that Audrina is either way too high or way too low. She’s an unknown quantity. That said, she is a model and she not in Brooke Burke’s season. If she had Derek, we’d be having a different discussion right now.
5th Place – Michael Bolton/Chelsie Hightower
It’s likely that you all think I’m crazy to put Michael this high. But let’s discuss his audience – and he is on tour right now. Yes, that will impact his rehearsal time – but this guy has an audience similar to Donny Osmond’s in age (and in DWTS likely viewers), but maybe a bit smaller. Hard to say. I think he’ll really have to suck to drop out of the top 6.
4th Place – Rick Fox/Cheryl Burke
I confess that I’m guessing Rick is in this spot largely due to Cheryl’s success on the show. I have no idea how he’ll really do – he could trade places with Kurt, or he could trade places with The Hoff. Who the heck knows? Athletes tend to do well on the show, but what happens when there are two from major sports going up against all these likely very popular people?
3rd Place – Jennifer Grey/Derek Hough
Another tough call. If she hadn’t just had her spine fused and she wasn’t 50 – and the competition was less fierce – I’d give her the win. At least partly because she has the strongest male pro of the bunch. 🙂 Yeah, I know, I have other people older than her (the Hoff among others) near the top – but Jennifer has health issues working against her. Of course, Derek goes a long way to balance this out, but will it be enough? Who knows. Too many factors at work here.
2nd Place – David Hasselhoff/Kym Johnson
This guy is in 2nd place in my rankings because he has NO FEAR. He’s not afraid to make an ass of himself, he’s as out there as Donny Osmond, and I think he probably has rhythm. The problem is, he could easily be tremendously annoying, where Donny was annoying but had a massive fanbase. I confess, I could be totally off base on this one. He could get edged out by any of the top 6.
The Winner – Brandy/Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Brandy’s win hinges entirely on living up to a precedent that she might not be capable of living up to – pop stars can dance whether they are ringers or not. It doesn’t appear that Brandy is a ringer – and neither is she a sure thing. ANYONE that I’ve put in the top 5 or 6 could cause her to be the next Sabrina Bryan. This is one pop star whose win will depend almost entirely on Maks choreographing some great stuff and the people in lower positions not dancing better than her. AND being likeable will count more than EVER. Why? I don’t think she has a voting fanbase at this moment in time. Mya, Lil’ Kim, Sabrina, and Mel B are all examples of pop stars who either got beat by lesser dancer or went home before their time. Their fans were either not regular viewers of the show or not inclined to vote, or both.
Wow. I like everyone they spoke to in this clip from the Insider – I particularly like Jennifer’s comments about Dirty Dancing. It seems she bears no ill will toward the movie, which was something I wondered about. This also shows Brandy and Bristol as likeable. via The Insider
Some paparazzi video with quite a few different people – warning, it’s long. Hasselhoff = HAM.Access Hollywood cracks me up, for obvious reasons. LOL
Brandy is quite a personality. She is hilarious! We get along really well and are having a lot of fun. She’s very free and very willing to experiment. She’s not afraid to experiment even though she appears to be a bit of scaredy-cat. She’s a perfectionist, but she’s a fun perfectionist. She’s not one who drills herself. She can laugh at herself and . definitely has natural potential and talent. I’ll be honest: When I found out I got Brandy, my immediate thought was, “Please let her have some dance experience!” Why? I felt like the off-season went by in a week! It’s crazy. I’ve just been flying around the whole summer with a lot of projects in the works — just super busy. For me, this summer, I spent it on a plane. I still feel the aches from last season. It’s crazy. To me, the show just finished. Now we’re back in it, so it’s kind of funny. It would help if Brandy if had been an amazing dancer. But she’s not — and obviously I don’t mean that in a bad way. Her strength, though, is definitely her personality. I think I just need to be able to package her and present her to the viewers and we’re going to be good. I’m still trying to get myself in the right mindset. Last season was very difficult because there were weeks where, toward the end, I did nothing but Dancing with the Stars. It was literally just rehearse, eat, sleep, eat, rehearse. It gets a little crazy after a while because you feel like you’re missing out on life. But then you realize this is what life is!
The cast this season is very eclectic. I think there a re a lot of people who have potential. I think Jennifer Grey is a dancer at heart. I haven’t seen anyone take a step, so I don’t know her level of experience, but I think she’s in great shape. I think Audrina is someone who can pull away. She has Tony, who’s very excited to work with her. I think there are a few from the men’s side who can be good. Kurt Warner and Rick Fox — they know what it’s like to do something over and over again being athletes. I think Michael Bolton will know how to put on a performance. Of course, I don’t know how limber he is. I think this cast is more even than in some seasons past.
One last thing I want to mention for the first and last time: romance rumors. There was a lot of stuff last season about Erin and me, and I already see stuff this season and the cast was just announced! I just want everyone to know that there’s absolutely no way that anybody will get me to talk about anything about my personal life. I think our fans are amazing. I’ve had incredible support in the tough times and I try to give back with what I do on the dance floor. I love our extended family, but there are certain things that one must keep to themselves. I put out a lot out there — I know that — but everyone has a right to a personal life. One thing I promise is that like last season, I’m very focused on dancing, getting Brandy into the final and getting the trophy. She’s very talented and very capable of winning. We’re going to give our best. I just want everyone to understand that they will never get an answer from me or her or anyone else now or even in the next three years, God-willing, if we’re still doing this. But I want you to know that I’m not blind and I do see the rumors, but I’m not going to address them. And I’m saying that with a smile on my face.
Time to take a look at a number of other ways to try and rank and evaluate the various stars chances on Dancing with the Stars season 11. Vogueristacommented with the following Las Vegas Odds for Dancing with the Stars (I’m not sure of the exact source):
Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke, 4 to 1
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, 5 to 1
David Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson, 6 to 1
Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 7 to 1
Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower, 9 to 1
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff, 11 to 1
Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas, 15 to 1
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya, 16 to 1
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani, 20 to 1
Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel, 25 to 1
Kyle Massey and Lacy Schwimmer, 30 to 1
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas, 35 to 1
mmc commented with these odds from Bodog.com that provide a different perspective on the odds for each star.
Audrina, Hoff, Michael 10/1
Bristol, Kurt 20/1
Of course, it’s really early to try and create odds when we haven’t even seen them dance yet. However, that’s what makes it so much fun and so interesting. I’m really surprised that they have Rick Fox so high in both cases. Although, his ex-wife has an audience that likely has a fair amount of overlap with the DWTS audience and so he could benefit from that if they don’t all hate him for breaking up. I also wouldn’t have ranked Kurt Warner that low either. Football fans likely won’t be surprised by him, but I think that many DWTS viewers are going to fall in love with Kurt.
Voguerista offered an interesting idea in the comments also about the person’s level of competitiveness being a factor in their success on Dancing with the Stars. Obviously, this plays some role. The fact that Lawrence Taylor was thinking more about his tee time than dancing is a problem. I’m not sure how you measure this, but this list of competitiveness by Voguerista is interesting to consider:
Brandy – 50% Competitive. But Max will be 100% Competitive. So, he may push that # up to 90%.
Audriana – 50% Competitive
Florence – 20% Competitive, she’ll be just having fun
Bristol – 100% Competitive, has something to prove personally and has a message for us about herself
Margaret Cho – 0% Competitive -just having fun too. Won’t care if she’s out that frst week.
Jennifer – 100% Competitive.
The Situation – 100% Competitive
Kyle – 20% Competitive
Rick Fox – 100% Competitive -it’s in the blood
David Hasselhoff – 100% Competitive -he will take this on just like Donny Osmond
Michael Bolton – 0% Competitive. I love this guy. But, I have a feeling he doesn’t really care and hopes to be out soon especially with concert dates falling on a Monday and Tuesday?
Kurt Warner – 100% Competitive -it’s in the blood
Heidi usually has been covering all the best press that comes out about Dancing with the Stars, but this video was just too funny (Thanks ck410 for pointing it out). I guess Ryan Seacrest sent Security Guard Roger & Radio Show Phone Operator Nelson to interview the new cast of Dancing with the Stars. It made me laugh so hard. I like this type of raw coverage. Enjoy!