DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Kelly Monaco Edition

Ok, so for a NORMAL season, this is the time where I’d usually cull videos from YouTube that show our new crop of celebrities doing dance-related things in their past that may or may not help their performance on DWTS, and then Heidi, Vogue, & I would point & laugh and generally have a grand ol’ time offering our commentary :-)  But obviously, this season is not following that pattern – there’s not much point in looking at videos of Kirstie dancing around in the kitchen scene of Look Who’s Talking or Drew Lachey gyrating onstage with 98 Degrees when we already have footage of them dancing on DWTS…so why not take a look at some of their best & worst performances from their original seasons, and see how they stack up? In addition, I’ll try to add videos of any dancing the celebs have done SINCE their season, that may or may not help them this time around.

Today we’ll start with the ladies, and we’ll start at the very beginning: season 1, which Kelly Monaco won.  For her best dance, I picked her freestyle:

And for her worst, I chose the waltz:

Ok, first thing that jumps out at me here: the bar has definitely been raised quite a bit since season 1 – the level of the dancing is much higher now than it was in Kelly’s season, which could pose some big problems for her.  I’m always a bit reluctant to pick someone’s freestyle as their “best dance” (because I think freestyles are usually pretty universally-pleasing, since the couples can do whatever they want), but in this case, I feel like it actually had quite a bit of ballroom content and thus was more on-par with what she was capable of in a regular dance.  With that being said – it’s still a pretty weak freestyle, when you look at the freestyles we’ve seen since season 1.  Kelly’s getting off-time, missing steps, and generally looking pretty wobbly on her feet – it may have gotten a 30 back in season 1, but I’d be surprised if it would have gotten anything more than a 23 in a more current season…and I think she’d be lucky to even break into the 20′s during the all-star season, if it’s going to be as competitive as I think it is.  As for her waltz – it was during the first week of the first season, so there was undoubtedly some major nerves at work and I think she just ended up very stiff & scared.  And did I just see some pretty blatant lifts in there??? I don’t necessarily think it was bad…it just wasn’t very interesting to watch.   But there isn’t going to be any room for nerves on this season, so Kelly’s going to have to overcome those pretty quickly if she wants to stick around.

So has Kelly been doing any dancing since season 1 wrapped that might help her this time around? Well…yes and no.  She did a brief stint in the burlesque revue Peepshow in Vegas back in ’09, along with Mel B (WARNING: It’s slightly racy…avert your eyes if you’re offended by pole dancing, lingerie, and gyrations):

Ok, so it looks like Kelly didn’t do a TON of real dancing in Peepshow…seems like just a lot of gyrating suggestively and being a sexpot.  So while it might not necessarily help her with her actual dancing, I do think it might help her stage presence in that it will help her evoke a more confident, sexy, smoldering character for dances like the rumba & Argentine tango.

Court’s verdict: All things considered, I think Kelly’s unfortunately one of the weaker contestants this season, and has got a lot of hard work ahead of her if she expects to stick around – the fact that there are several non-winners (Joey, Kirstie, Melissa, even Pam) on this season that are quite a bit better than Kelly in terms of dance skill tells me she’s got some tough competition.  However, she’s also still young and in good shape, which could give her an edge over some of the older contestants.

What do you guys think? Does Kelly have the juice to go all the way, or will she flame out early?