Tag Archives: dancing with the stars

Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Was My Dancing With The Stars

I was a pre-teen with a mission. I wanted to be a teenager so I could go to Philadelphia and be on Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand. My mom was pretty good about not bursting my bubble as we lived far away from Philly, I was years away from the age requirement of I think 13 or 14 to be on the dance show, and hundreds of kids lined up daily to be on the show and mostly the “regulars” from Philly the “dancing stars” I watched daily after school, were the only kids that actually danced on the show. But she would routinely say things like; “you’re a really good dancer and could do just as well as those kids.” Nothing like a mother to instill confidence and keep the dream alive.

When American Bandstand went national on ABC in 1957 with Dick Clark, it was on weekdays after school and the favorite part of my day. The couples on the show became stars by virtue of how well they danced, how cute they dressed, how cool they looked as a couple and how much we liked their hair styles. I got to know these dancers on a first name basis as Paula and Ritchie who won the Mashed Potato (dance) contest or Bunny who was the best at the Pony or Justine and Bob who everybody loved. I learned how to do the Stroll, the Hop, the Twist, the Locomotion and if I needed a partner my mom filled in. She taught me how to Jitterbug and once in a while when my dad came home from work and I would be showing him some of my new steps, he would grab my mom’s hand and “show me real dancing.”

Dick Clark gave so many singers a start on his show and it was always about the music. I watched Paul Anka, Fabian, James Brown, The Jackson 5, Connie Francis and even one hit wonders like Edd Byrnes, from the popular 77 Sunset Strip TV show. Hard to believe now but his popular song “Cookie, Cookie Lend Me Your Comb” which he sang with Connie Stevens, also from the TV show, was a hit. What I liked most about the music on Bandstand was the variety. When no one paid attention to what diversity was all about, Clark was busy practicing it. He brought us singers, acts and bands from all walks of life and acted like it was normal–because it was. He was way ahead of his time in realizing all music was to be enjoyed by everyone and never pidgeon holed certain music or musicians to certain segments of the population. As many teens have said over the years on Bandstand when rating a new song, “it has a good beat and you can dance to it.”  Those words were certainly my mantra as a kid. Thank you, Dick Clark.

Someone gave me this book on Dick Clark and American Bandstand a number of years ago. Whenever the nostalgia bug hits me I skim through it;  http://amzn.to/1n1NRtj  As an Amazon affiliate I make a tiny commission if you click through my site to buy it but I’m sure you could find it used somewhere on the internet as well. Great memories.

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Dancing With the Stars premier; Who’s hot and who’s not

I am a Dancing-With-The-Stars TV show addict. I don’t watch those Bachelor/Bachelorette shows, or the Jersey seedy Shore thing or The Housewives of what-ever-county-is-popular this week, but I like dancing. I consider watching “stars’ (for some contestants this term is stretching it) dance or in some cases kinda-dance, highly entertaining.

So I grabbed the popcorn bowl and sat down for some uninterrupted viewing tonight and of course observations;

Right of the bat comedian Margaret Cho, came bouncing down the stairs for the grand entrance at the beginning of the show with her partner and visibly tripped. Hmmm. Not even dancing yet just walking.

Audrina Patridge was the first star dancer and she was not half-bad. She seemed like she had the steps down pat, was on beat and her 19 score out of 30 was okay for the first time out. Her online Bodog sports book odds are 8-1.

Kurt Warner, the former Rams QB was very graceful and looks to have good potential. His sports book odds are 12-1. His judges score was 19.

Kyle Massey,the Disney Channel star was really good. He shot out on the floor like a cannon and his energy was great. The judges were impressed with his first dance. His score was 23. His sports book odds today were 25-1.

Rick Fox, a former NBA Laker champion looked like a giant with shorty Cheryl Burke, even with her 4 in. heels. But despite his size he didn’t appear clumsy and was reasonably graceful for his extreme height. He had great posture and elegance. The judges were equally impressed. His sports book odds today were 11-2. His judges score was 22.

Margaret Cho, an actress and comedian was really great at first but got a little caught up in her winged costume and also fell down at the end, It evidently was a deliberate fall due to her comedic nature, the judges thought the fall was goofy. Her sports book odds as of today were 20-1, her judges score was 15.

Brandy, a singer and performer showed grace and elegance and the judges thought so too. She looked comfortable on the dance floor and her score was 23. Her sports book odds are 3-1.

Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, started out dancing in a buttoned-up suit and peeled it away to a short red fringe dress. She had the moves memorized but didn’t quite have the beat down pat. She seemed nervous and mom wasn’t there to cheer her on. Her sports book odds are 22-1, her judges score was 18.

Florence Henderson, singer and actress and Brady Bunch mom, is 76 years young and looked fantastic and did a great job for a dancer of any age. The judges said she was great entertainment. Her sports book odds were 25-1 and the judges score was 18.

Singer Michael Bolton, was a little on the clumsy side and was sort of rushing to keep up with the dance. Not at all what I would call graceful but then it’s only the first week. Out of his element and it showed. His sports book odds were 10-1. His judges score was 16.

Mike Sorentino ‘The Situation” from the reality show Jersey Shore, wasn’t as confident on the dance floor as he is in a Jersey Shore bar. Rather clumsy, under-rehearsed, not at all the Mr. Cool he projects on his show. His 80’s style dancing wasn’t impressive to the judges, but they noted he hadn’t been able to rehearse much because of his TV show. His sports book odds are 7-1, way off in my book. His judges score was 15.

Jennifer Grey, “Baby” from the popular movie Dirty Dancing danced to a song from the movie album of Dirty Dancing. She was graceful, elegant, never missed a step or a beat and the dance was very emotional. You could not escape seeing her in the movie with Patrick Swayze as she glided across the floor. Her sports book odds are 7-2. Although I know it’s early, I think she will win the whole shebang. Her judges score was 24, the highest score of the night.

David Hasselhoff, actor in Baywatch among other programs. Looking cool in leather and sunglasses didn’t really help with the moves. Not what I would call agile, or smooth he tried to put a slapstick routine into the mix for humor. But that still doesn’t cover for the lack of dancing skills. His sports book odds are 10-1. I would say he is much more of a longshot than that. His score was 15.

All in all it was a good but not necessarily sit-on-the-edge-of-you-seat showstopper premier. Who will go home first? There are plenty lacking in dance skills on week one, that could go but it will end up a popularity contest as in, who’s hot and who’s not.  If it was truly up to the dancing I think the Hoff or the “Situation” should be among the frist to go.

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Dancing With The Stars not always just about the dancing

Now that the viewers have anointed Dancing With The Stars number one in its’ time slot for the past three weeks over American Idol, I notice a lot more PR tricks of the trade being used.  There is a lot of innuendo floating around and not just about Pamela Anderson’s physical attributes.  Pro dancer Cheryl Burke has been flashing around a large ring, and last week showed off a diamond pendant and she says both were given to her by her partner Chad Ochocinco. She coyly said it was for putting up with him and working so hard. When asked if the ring had any hidden meaning she was pretty much mute and just smiled. 

So now of course, rumors abound about the couple and every one is buzzing about a possible romantic connection. I would lay pretty hefty odds that this “buzz” is exactly what the DWTS producers want and promote regardless if there is a budding romance or not.  Kind of like a “give the people what they want”  blitz .  A gimmick? Sure, but it seems to be working.

Another romance rumor making its way to the  tabloids and beyond is between Erin Andrews (the ESPN reporter) and her pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.  I think his ego is bigger than the show itself but the couple is doing nothing to confirm or deny a romance. A good ploy for viewers to see if they can spot “true love” amidst the Tango and Two-Step.

I notice that the head judge Len  is getting a lot more air time and sprucing up his usual stodgy appearance with colorful shirts and ties and the whole judging team seems to be “putting on the dog” for the viewers more than they used to.  It is still a fun show even if you catch their obvious ratings boost attempts and overuse  of the double entandre’. 

While I (and many viewers I think) tune in for the dancing, this season I hope the technically best dancers don’t win.  I think Nicole Scherzinger (from the Pussy Cat Dolls) and her partner Derek Hough are probably the best dancers but with a pro-dancer and a pro-entertainer I don’t feel it started out as a level playing field.  A few weeks back when they got chastised by the judges for a bad performance Scherzinger was show in tears stating “But, I’m not like all these other people, I’m a performer.”  I thought to myself, how nice of her to separate herself from the crowd of “other people” (the dancers) .  It was then and there that I decided  that the couple with the best personality that tried the hardest and was the least offensive (arrogance wise) should win.   It’s not always just about the dancing.

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