Oct 9, 2020
Dancing with the Stars RECAP: Putting the LOL in Lolo (S19:E1)
“LET’S GO!” command the house singers! The opening number is underway! The has-beens are prepared to strut their stuff! The new season of Dancing With the Stars has arrived! What, you aren’t trembling with anticipation? What if we throw in an irrelevant shot of Queen Elizabeth… does that get your adrenaline pumping? Why the hell not? She’s the frickin’ queen. And the only genuine celebrity you’re going see in the next two hours.
The opening credits zip by, and at first I get a brief glimmer of hope the producers have decided to streamline this bloated mess. But I’m wrong. They’ve only shortened the competitors’ introductions because they’ve invited Julianne Hough to join the judging panel. (A while back, Julianne quit her day job as a pro dancer on this show to be a singer. That bombed, so where do failed celebrities end up? Dancing With the Stars, of course! It’s the circle of suck.)
This year, they’ve got thirteen alleged “stars” instead of twelve, so it’s going to take an act of God to pack all twenty-six minutes of actual competition into this two-hour show. Hell, the opening dance number is just now hitting its peak—with enough strobe lights to give everybody seizures and enough explosions to summon the bomb squad.
Once the entire audience is dizzy and nauseous, the music stops and everybody applauds in relief. Host Tom Bergeron and ESPN’s Erin Andrews (because ESPN = legitimate sports competition, right?) rub some Vasoline on their teeth and plaster on their fake smiles. The season is starting, they helpfully inform us. And up cues the music again as the thirteen couples jiggle and bounce their way through their introductions. Now, when we hold up the cue cards that say, “APPLAUD,” cheer like you mean it, studio audience. Let’s try to fool the folks at home.
The first contestant is Antonio Sabato, Jr., who hopes you will vote for him because they are flashing photos of him in his Calvin Klein underwear. His pro, Cheryl Burke, is quitting at the end of the season for greener pastures—she wants to be on The Bachelor, no joke—and she reminds us that Antonio is really, really sexy in his underwear. Oh, and he’s got a beautiful smile, too. But can he dance? Did we mention he looks really sexy in his underwear?
They are dancing the Cha Cha Cha. Well, she’s dancing. He’s kind of shuffling through it while attempting to look seductive, but three out of four judges surveyed aren’t fooled. This may be a good point to mention that Antonio was eliminated in the first round of a celebrity edition of Chopped after literally cutting a jelly donut in half and putting it on a plate for an appetizer. Trying is not necessarily his forte.
Len: You’ve got dancing in your blood, but it doesn’t reach your feet.
Julianne: Don’t pay attention to anything I am actually saying. I am just here to show off my boobs with a dress cut so low I’m about to get myself arrested for indecent exposure.
Bruno (drooling): Can I have your phone number, you sexy, sexy beast?
Carrie Ann: You’ve got some ho-o-o-ot chemistry! It’s a shame you can’t actually dance.
Total judges’ score: 25
Next up: Lea Thompson. She reminds us that she was in Back to the Future when half the audience was in diapers, so vote for her if you liked that movie. No, she hasn’t done anything you’ve heard of since. She was a ballerina once, but Mikael Barishnakov told her she was too stocky. Now she’ll finally get to show that pooh-pooh head! She’s good enough to be on Dancing With the Stars!
(Honey, Tommy Chong is good enough to be on Dancing With the Stars. And he’s not even the worst dancer here—by a larger margin than anybody expected.)
Lea continues: I’m a cougar! I’m a cougar! Everybody’s going to be so creeped out that I’m dancing with a younger man! Lady, you made your name playing a character who wanted to screw her time-traveling son, not to mention that time you made out with a giant alien duck, so this may be the least creepy thing on your IMDB résumé.
They dance the Foxtrot to a song that was a commercial jingle on Lifetime. Seriously. She’s not terrible, though—that’s rare enough tonight—and manages to get through the routine without embarrassing herself too badly.
Julliane: It was beautiful! Tuck in your butt. Are the camera crews getting enough shots of my cleavage?
Bruno: We’ve got a blockbuster on our hands! But work on your posture.
Carrie Ann: You guys are too picky! It’s not like that’s your job or anything!
Len: Your future’s rosy, because that was terrific. I am not going to harp on the posture because I don’t want the audience to get the idea that you should go home. There’s too many actual train wrecks out there.
Total judges’ score: 32
Tom reminds the viewers that if they watch the show while browsing the website, they can see exclusive, live video of behind-the-scenes action all over the studio. Breathtaking features include:
- Exclusive coverage of two talking heads droning endlessly about nothing.
- Exclusive coverage of the cast wandering around aimlessly in the Red Room.
- Exclusive coverage of the cast wandering around aimlessly in the Skybox, waiting for their turns.
- Exclusive coverage of people milling around on the Ballroom Stairs, probably getting in the way of the dancers trying to get into their places.
- Exclusive coverage of the Ballroom Floor, as seen by people in the really cheap seats—the kind you get from your mother-in-law, who knows somebody whose uncle is best friends with one of the janitors. The people on the floor are all the size of hair follicles and you can’t hear the music, but hey! Isn’t the excitment in the room electric?
- Exclusive coverage of the judge’s table, as Julliane attempts to have a wardrobe malfunction to shock the nation and rejuvenate her career.
Next up: Janelle Parish, the Pretty Little Liar. Janelle’s nervous! She’s going to have awesome chemistry with Val! You know how you can tell? She’s stroking his abs! Everybody, be terribly, terribly jealous! Wait, Val just told her she’s got the swag of her grandma. Okay, now she’s pummelling him in the stomach. Maybe we should not be so jealous, after all.
They’ve got the jive. (Sadly, Barbara Billingsley is no longer alive to translate.) Janelle’s wearing a sparkling silver swimsuit with some strange fringe hanging off her butt. She’s dancing pretty sexy for somebody with the swag of a grandma.
Bruno: Spicy hot chili of a girl! I’m hungry.
Carrie Ann: Your kicks and your flicks are out of control. So is your ass fringe. But great potential.
Len: It was sharp and clean and a little untidy. Say what? Clean and untidy. Oooookay.
Julliane: You were raw and sexy and fierce, but I’m sexier because my boobs are hanging out.
In the Skybox, Val attempts to answer Erin’s questions, and everybody tells him to shut the hell up and let Janelle talk. Just don’t say anything, Val. Like, ever.
Total judges’ score: 29
Next up: Lolo Jones. I’m 32 years old! I’m still a virgin! I am completely awkward about any kind of physical intimacy! And holy shit, it’s about to be really obvious! Here’s my partner, Keo. He’s (no lie) the very first black pro dancer ever to be cast on this show in nineteen seasons, and look what he’s gotten stuck with!
Keo: Help me! Oh, dear God, help me! This is hopeless! I have to dance the Cha Cha Cha with a grim, broken marionette!
They begin this disaster with a little text message bit, which will be blamed for everything bad that happens to her next. Keo’s character is attempting to woo her, but it’s a hard sell because she’s as fluid as iron girder and exudes the joy and passion of somebody who has to attend the funeral of a distant acquaintance.
Carrie Ann: I am going to pronounce Keo’s name wrong because I am a vacuous dimwit who doesn’t have the respect to learn somebody’s (pretty simple) name before blurting it out on national television! Also, Lolo? That dance was an oh-oh. You may now wear a really nasty bitchface for the remainder of the telecast.
Len: You lost your way and… uh… you had personality and sizzle… no, really, you just sucked, and you know it.
Julianne: Um… you… ah… you have great legs. Just like I have great boobs! See, everybody?
Bruno: Sings “Let It Go” from Frozen.
Lolo proceeds to complain all the way through the judges’ comments, all the way up the Ballroom Stairs, and all the way through her interview with Erin in the Skybox. The text message messed me up! We were way better in practice! I felt like a robot! I really can do the Cha Cha walk, see? If I make enough excuses, maybe I won’t get voted off! Oh, crap, I’m completely screwed, aren’t I?
Total Judges’ Score: 22
That’s too generous.
Next up: Betsey Johnson, who is dressed like Baby Jane doing a Christina Aguilera impersonation.
Tony thinks he can work with anybody, but he’s a little shocked when Geriatric Honey Boo Boo greets him in a gold lamé tutu and tries to do a cartwheel into the splits. Tony thinks there’s a circus going on inside Betsey’s 72-year-old head, and the old gal gamely admits, “I’m a mess!”
So is their routine, a Cha Cha Cha to Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Decades too old for the image she’s trying to project, Baby Betsey Boo Boo plods around energetically until she gets tangled in a heap of feather boas and ends up missing the last ten seconds of her routine completely. Then, to make up for lost time, after the music ends she… does another cartwheel into the splits.
SEE, Lolo? That’s how you make up for screwing up! Throw some surreal nonsense out there and see if it sticks! If you are going to make a complete fool of yourself on national television, do it with guts!
Len: It was so entertaining! And then… disaster. I’m so upset.
Julianne: You had some really wonderful moments in that. We all feel so badly for you that I’m not even going to mention my boobs. Oops.
Bruno: You went for it with gusto! But it went WRONG!
Carrie Ann: I thought—
Tom Bergeron: Sorry, Carrie Ann! We have to go to commercial now! Julianne and her boobs have thrown the whole schedule out of whack!
Total judges’ score: 20
Next up: Tavis Smiley. He thinks we all know him as a serious, sober newscaster who has interviewed Very Important People like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Will Smith… but now he wants to show us all his silly side! He’s about to turn fifty, and he can’t have any more fun, ever, after he hits the big five oh! Too bad nobody told Betsey Johnson that. To show how deeply and profoundly whacky he really can be, he sticks his tongue out at the camera and shakes his booty. This is some fucked-up middle aged crisis.
The Foxtrot starts out in black-and-white but goes to color as Tavis pretends his partner is a piano. That’s one way to get out of some of those tricky dance moves, huh? There’s very little content in this dance, but at least he doesn’t trip over props or look like he’d rather be at the dentist’s office, so it seems like a huge uptick after two bombs in a row.
Julianne: Can I call you T-Smiles? Can I give you a Z-snap? Hey, you are still laughing! Maybe you really are trying to stop being pompous and self-important!
Bruno: The joyful side burst out of you! And the exertion almost burst your pants!
Carrie Ann: You’ve been trying to get on this show to pimp out your projects for some time now, haven’t you?
Len: You are nifty for fifty. Wasn’t that clever of me? Made it up myself.
Total judges’ score: 29
Next up: Sadie Robertson. Wuh-ell, as ya’ll know, ah’m from Duck Dynasty and mah parents are real strict so I don’t got no dance ‘sperience or nuthin’ because mah school don’t allow it. But see, mah grandpa got in trouble for sayin’ some bad thangs about queers so now I gotta come out here and do us some PR work for th’ clan. Er, probably not the right word.
The Robertson family would like to assure us that Daddy Willie Robertson has officially approved every costume Sadie wears, and Mr. Ballas… we are watching you real close. Have her home by curfew and no funny business, now.
Mark: Gulp. Yessir.
They’ve got the Jive, and everything in Sadie’s performance screams, “YAAAAHOOO! Ah’m dancin’! Ah’m dancin’! An’ I get to wear sexy clothes an’ SCREW them school rules! I ain’t ever comin’ home! I been on a show people actually watch!” Almost everybody is cheering—except Lolo Bitchface. She knows she’s screwed.
Bruno: You are a Bird of Paradise!
Carrie Ann: You are a star!
Len: Quack! Quack! You’ll be back! I am really on a roll here!
Julianne: You are the entire package! Work on being more down and dirty… oops, sorry, Dad! Please, don’t kill Mark!
Total judges’ score: 34
Next up: Michael Waltrip. I’m a racecar driver! Emma managed to get Bill Engvall to the finals, so maybe she can figure out how to get this clumsy bastard across the dance floor! And her ass looks like a pair of cats wrassling to get out of a plastic bag! (Mike, you smoothtalker, you…)
They’ve got the Cha Cha Cha. Mike starts out behind the wheel with a big screen showing off a race track, because he’s a racecar driver! He’s wearing a fake NASCAR racing suit, because he’s a racecar driver! Emma’s waving a checkered flag, because he’s a racecar driver! And he’s stomping around like an embarrassed dad who has to chaperone the prom, because he’s a really shitty dancer!
Carrie Ann: That was great! That was fun! That had no real dance steps, because you don’t know what the hell you are doing, do you?
Len: The engine was running, but you never got out of first gear!
Julianne: Bill Engvall reminds me of my dad. So I want to dance with you. Did that make sense? Oh, never mind. Look at my boobs again.
Bruno: You looked like a golf cart trying to keep up with a Ferrari.
Michael: My onesie gave me a wedgie. I need to find a bathroom.
Well, that explains a lot.
Total judges’ score: 25
Next up: Jonathan Bennett. (Cue violins!) I’m not here to revive my dead career, oh, no. I’m here because my dad died. (Music swells) Dancing With the Stars was his favorite show. (Full orchestra) I’m here because I know, somewhere, my dad is watching, so vote for me. Do it for my dear, dead Dad. Or you are bad, bad people.
Fortunately, some people may vote for him and his energetic Jive, because he’s actually pretty good—good enough to survive a week or two without the sob story, anyway. He staggers off the floor, his eyes as wide as saucers, gasping, ‘That – was – so – much – FUN! Mourning has never been such a blast!”
Len: (Can’t be heard over the cheering. Everybody’s really enjoying this wake. Maybe they passed out the booze.)
Julianne: That was ghoul.
Carrie Ann: You are a polished performer—so adorkable! Grief becomes you!
Bruno: I… drat! Dammit, why don’t I have time to talk? Julianne, go away! Stupid commercials.
Total judges’ score: 30
Next up: Tommy Chong. They can’t show pot leaves on the show, but everything in his entrance package reeks of it—the smokey psychodelic bus, the fake CGI smoke that billows out of his mouth every time he speaks, the green outfits. Pro partner Peta looks like a marijuana bud, and that’s neither snark nor accidental. He made a bet with Cheech that he could get on Dancing With the Stars. Yes, Cheech, the standards really are that low. Here he is. And since you lost the bet, you have to be the designated driver. Your car is right on stage there. Smile real big and try not to look humiliated!
Actually, he ends up looking something that’s almost like… proud. At 76, Tommy’s the oldest person in the cast, but he’s actually trying—hard—which is more than anybody expected. Hey, a stoner with a work ethic? Who knew? He’s got some energy and fluidity, and he’s benefiting from the fact that there were absolutely zero expectations for him going in. Lolo looks like she’s ready to cut a bitch. She just got completely outclassed by TOMMY FREAKING CHONG. Oh, Lolo, take a hit and chill out.
Julianne: I thought I liked older men, but this is just a complete ‘nother level! See my boobs?
Bruno: I was expecting Bad Grandpa. I’m getting Cool Grandpa!
Carrie Ann: You killed it! You are funkier than Bruno! Of course, that’s not saying much!
Len: It was painless!
Total judges’ score: 27
Like I said before, he’s going to dance stoned and last forever. Mark my words, he’ll be the last bad dancer to go. If the audience gets stoned enough, he may actually win the thing. That mirror ball trophy lets off the prettiest lights, man…
Next up: Randy Coutoure. He has a command for pro partner Karina: “Hurt me!” Karina thinks she needs to soften his edges. Well, Randy, if the judges give you bad scores, you can always beat them up. Can you hear the music OK? Those cauliflower ears are a little bit scary.
He flounces through his Foxtrot, trying desperately to look like a dancer in a ballroom instead of a bouncer at a dive bar. You can see him counting in his head… one – two – three, step, one – two – three, smile, one – two – three, don’t drop the pretty lady. Phew! Made it! Now I gotta go find something safe to punch.
Bruno: Randy Coutoure! You’re more like HOT Coutoure! (He’s so exuberant, he almost falls into Julianne’s cleavage, and I wish I was making this up. Fortunately, Julianne knows that Bruno has no interest at all in her cleavage.)
Carrie Ann: Ahh.. hah… gah… marry me? Pant. Pant.
Julianne: Randy, you’re making me randy! (Bruno adds: “She’s practically lactating!” And Julianne really might want to rethink her costume choices.)
Len: It was dandy, Randy. And my wit just keeps on coming, just like all three of my fellow judges.
Total judges’ score: 31. He gets eights from every judge who wants to sleep with him.
Next up: Bethany Mota. Hey, everybody out in YouTube Land! Guess what! This chick who dabbles in homemade videos is going to be on Dancing With the Stars! #BottomoftheCelebrityBarrel! She’s dancing with Derek! #Automaticpasstothefinals! She’s cute and bubbly and she’s got millions of followers! #Tryingtogetteenstowatchthismess!
They’ve got the Jive… and the lighting director apparently got stoned with Tommy, ate an entire box of crayons, and vomited his design for this number all over the dance floor. #Newdefinitionofgarish! She’s actually a terrific dancer, with a lively, bubbly air about her. #TheygiveDerekalltheringers! Lolo begins hugging everybody goodbye. She’ll be packing during the next commercial break. #Thislittlenobodywasmylastrealchancetostay.
Carrie: I am pleasantly surprised. #Whoisthisgirlandwhoknewshecoulddance?
Len: Keep your diary clear, Bethany, because you are going to be hanging around here for a long time. #DontyoumeanhercalendarLen?
Julianne: It was bubbly, it was fun, it was beautiful. #Runningoutofboobjokes.
Bruno: Huge on the web, and pretty good on the dance floor, too. #Yourfollowerswilldoublenowandmaybeyoucangetarealshow.
Total judges’ score: 32
The last dancer of the evening: Alfonso Ribiero. He was Carlton a long time ago. Damn, he got old. His new strategy is to lose weight. His partner, Whitney, reminds him that he’s gotten old. Alfonso thinks he needs help to keep up with Whitney!
No, not really. Carlton aside, this guy is a trained dancer from the crib, and his Jive is in a whole different league from all the other painful hoofing around we’ve seen tonight. It’s almost not fair. The others are fish out of water, trying to learn something new. Dancing is the guy’s profession, and it shows. Even Lolo cracked a smile during this number, amid her tears. There’s little to make fun of here, other than the fact that he used to be Carlton, and damn, he got old. Well, so have we all, Alfonso. So have we all.
Len: That was, without question, the best dance of the night.
Julianne: Unbelievable! Musicality! Last chance to check out my boobs!
Bruno: What a number! What a show! You are king of the night!
Carrie Ann: You have the swagger of Season 19. My condolences.
Total judges’ score: 36
In the results show, to nobody’s surprise, Lolo Jones is eliminated. She flees the studio in brokenhearted tears and spends the entire next day in interviews weeping and whining and showing off her patented bitchface. Honey, you are an OLYMPIC ATHLETE! You, of all people, should know that it doesn’t matter how well you did it in practice. You’ve got to get it done on race day or not at all.
Want more Claire? Check out her Utopia Recaps here at HNTP…
Or check out her website – Recapper’s Delight!