Posted: 11:43 pm Monday, March 24th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
The two celebrities eliminated first tonight on “Dancing With the Stars” were hardly celebrities even in the world of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Personally, I had no idea who they were when their names were originally announced. So their departures will probably upset only a handful of people – family members, perhaps.
First up: Diana Nyad, the long-distance swimmer, was the first eliminated. At age 65, she said she’s wanted to be on the show for nine years. She took the elimination well. And she even got to dancer her cha cha cha anyway. She really seemed to enjoy dancing and for her age, she wasn’t half bad. But she had no sizable fan base to help keep her around. Maybe if she had appeared in “Star Wars…”
Later, former NHL player Sean Avery was cut. I’m befuddled they even put him on ths show. He’s a hockey player, for god’s sake. A vast majority of Americans couldn’t name a single hockey player after Wayne Gretzky and that dude retired 15 years ago. So who cares if he’s a better hoofer than Billy Dee Williams? He was doomed from the start.
Of the remaining 10, here’s how I predict they will finish:
1. Danica McKellar. This actress is cute, sexy and lithe. She will only improve as a dancer. And she will get plenty of votes, thanks to anyone who watched “The Wonder Years.” She’ll also draw that huge mathematician vote.
2. Amy Purdy. You don’t even need the qualifier “even with two prosthetic legs.” This snowboarder is a good dancer – period. She brings spirit and energy. She also has Derek Hough as her partner – at least for now. He brings in plenty of votes all by himself.
3. Charlie White. He’s the sweet ice dancer with the gold medal who tried to act tough tonight with the tango. It didn’t quite work since I don’t sense any chemistry between him and Sharna Burgess. Still, he is likable and could be the last man standing.
4. Meryl Davis. Like Charlie, she is a gold medal ice dancing champ so she naturally has dancing in her blood. Maks ramped up the difficulty level to the point she is doing routines many celebrities don’t do until near the end of the show – if ever. You have to wonder if voters will resent the fact she is already a professional in a sport that is only slightly different from ballroom dance. Surprisingly, she hasn’t
5.. James Maslow. Len Goodman called him eye candy. He is. But he’s the best non-athletic guy dancer here. He can move. He received a solid 25 week two, tied for best of the night.
6. NeNe Leakes. Her jive week two wasn’t quite as sharp as her cha cha cha. It’s a tough dance and she had a few problems with footwork. But she has plenty of sass and a serious work ethic. She is showing the sweet, humble NeNe, not the judgmental, jealous one who pops up on occasion on “Real Housewives.” I bet her fan base will keep her around a few weeks, even though winning would be a serious stretch given the competition.
7. Drew Carey. He’s a well-known comic (“The Price is Right,” “The Drew Carey Show”) who was once fat but is now skinny. He is hardly a natural hoofer and he’s 55, but he puts a lot of personality into his moves and has passable technical skills for a non dancer. He’ll need to improve though to last much longer than a month.
8. Candace Cameron Bure. This “Full House” star is competing with Danica for that late 1980s/early 1990s nostalgia vote and she knows it. (They even dated the same guy once.) She also has the advantage of Mark Ballas as her partner. He has a knack for creating interesting choreography (though sometimes he overdoes it) and she has done a passable job hitting her marks and acting out her part. She isn’t nearly as cute or sexy as Danica.
9. Cody Simpson. He has an astounding 6.48 million Twitter followers. Maybe they’ll keep him around longer than I expect but I bet a lot of his fans can’t vote for him anyway – because they’re in Australia. And while this has nothing to do with his dancing (which is generally good), his hair looks like a cross between Anthony Michael Hall circa 1984 and Max Headroom of the same era. It’s kind of distracting.
10. Billy Dee Williams. The sympathy factor got him through. At age 76, he was dismayed by his score and how old he looked. Indeed, if he did this show in 1977, he surely would have rocked it. But now he can barely move with hip and back problems. He makes Bill Nye look spry in comparison. “We need a lot more content,” Carrie Ann Inaba told her. He received 5’s across the board both weeks, which is truly a rock bottom score on this show as long as the celebrity shows some effort.
About the Author
I'm the media writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ajc.com. I've been following radio since 2001, TV since 2005. I cover everything from the local radio and TV news scene to shows shot in Atlanta ("The Walking Dead," "Real Housewives of Atlanta") to networks based here (CNN, TBS, Up, Weather Channel) to celebrities who visit town.