DWTS: Slightly Less Clueless Handicapping

Following last night’s premiere of Dancing With The Stars, it was painfully obvious that my predictions were as bad as Margaret Cho’s dancing (which was just about the only thing I got right). But the good news is that this might be the most interesting season yet, for the simple reason that the show has no trained dancers (think Nicole Scherzinger) or Olympic skaters. It’s a cast of pretty evenly-matched contestants.

So based on one performance, here’s my revised ranking:

  • Jennifer Grey – I nailed this one, even if I did misspell her name. She turned in a beautiful and emotional waltz that had Carrie Ann in tears (which, admittedly, isn’t all that unusual). Grey has enough grace and skill (and the right partner in Derek) to continue being the front-runner.
  • Kyle Massey – Big surprise (to me anyway). The kid can not only dance, but is eminently likable and has great showmanship. He’s now in my top three.
  • Brandy Norwood – Another surprise. She appears to have a strong competitive streak and the talent to back it up. Another top three competitor at this point.
  • Rick Fox – Much better than expected, with grace and fluidity that can be attributed to Cheryl’s expert coaching.
  • Audrina Patridge – At first glance (and second, and third…) she was the typical early-exit eye candy that has generally been reserved for the supermodel genre, but she defied expectations with a very good performance. She might be this year’s Pamela Anderson, although not as nasty.

Those are the front runners. Here’s the rest of the field, in descending order:

  • Kurt Warner – Warner has potential and he’s just a really, really nice guy. Perhaps the fan base will carry him until he sharpens his dancing skills.
  • Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino – I thought the judges hammered him a bit unfairly; with less than a week to prepare (vs. three weeks for everyone else), he did just fine. He’s more likable than I expected, too. That’s still a lame nickname you got going there, dude.
  • Bristol Palin – Palin was a pleasant surprise: not wonderful, but not sucky, either. Considering her complete absence of experience as a performer, she may have turned in the best routine. That said, she’s got a long way to go, and won’t be a real contender.
  • Florence Henderson – I predicted a surprise from her…and did she ever deliver! Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with her dancing, but, instead, her salty language and, um, friskiness. In fact, she flashed her “abs” (and other things) in a hilarious but vaguely disturbing challenge to The Situation. Her dancing was mediocre at best.
  • David Hasselhoff – The Hoff was significantly less charming and adept than I expected. He’s showing his age, or, rather, his mileage.
  • Michael Bolton – Dancing skills suspect; charm absent.
  • Margaret Cho – My only other accurate prediction. She was awful, although, surprisingly, a good part of that was due to the terrible routine cooked up by partner Louis van Amstel. Cho was probably cast as this year’s Kelly Osborne, plagued by self-esteem issues, but I don’t think she’s nearly as sympathetic a character.

So, there you have it. Feel free to keep this as a scorecard for next week, and judge for yourself the accuracy of my observations and predictions.


  1. Think you are right on–I may have Kurt Warner up higher, but probably just because I know his story. At least no one totally bombed as in the past. Remember Tucker Carlson and Kenny Maines??

  2. Jen, if I was ranking them according to who I *want* to do well, I’d have Kurt higher as well. He’s a great role model, in many ways. But, for now anyway, sort of a so-so dancer. Like I said, maybe he’ll get a lot better.
    You’re right, though. This is the most competitive cast yet.

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