Hip-Hop Horrific Dancing With the Stars

state_dancing.jpgThis season’s group dance number—a hip-hop routine, for the first time ever!—takes the cake for total and complete wackiness.







Unless you’ve been living under a rock, surely by now you must’ve heard about the latest catastrophe to hit Dancing With the Stars. Forget the string of dancers with injuries—Jeff Ross’s scratched cornea, Misty May Treanor’s torn Achilles tendon, and Susan Lucci’s twisted ankle, to name a few. No, folks, what I’m talking about is the hip-hop horrific mayhem—better known as the group dance from hell—that occurred on Monday, October 27. It was a perfectly frightful treat just in time for Halloween!

As a faithful viewer of Dancing With the Stars, I look forward to each season’s group dance. It’s the first time viewers are able to see the celebrities and their professional partners all together, side by side, doing the same moves. In past seasons, the stars and the pros have heated up the floor with a spicy group salsa, a tantalizing disco, a lively swing, and even an elegant waltz. But this season’s number—a hip-hop routine, for the first time ever!—takes the cake for total and complete wackiness.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the effort was amazing…amazingly horrible, that is! In fact, the entire performance was so bad that it was side-splitting funny. Talk about three minutes of nonstop laughter. I can’t remember the last time I howled so hard for so long. I must’ve rewound my DVR at least a dozen times to watch the nonsense over and over again. I just couldn’t believe the hilarious horror that I was seeing. From beginning to end, the dance was so nutty and so wrong on so many levels that I couldn’t keep count. I still can’t believe the show’s producers green-lit the preposterous idea, but for the sake of posterity and classic television entertainment, I’m so glad they did.

I guess what perplexes me most (and also amuses me to no end) is that all of the celebrities looked so thoroughly lost. Did anyone pay attention in rehearsal? Better yet, did anyone even attend rehearsal? With the exception of ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass, it appeared that the celebrities simply showed up and made a half-hearted attempt to follow along with professionals. The stars, it seems, minus Bass, voted unanimously to check out of this phase of the competition before they even checked in.

Leading the pack with the most embarrassingly bad moves was Susan Lucci—better known as "La Lucci" and "Ms. Erica Kane." Hands down, Lucci wins the crown for being the worst Dancing With the Stars hip-hop dancer ever. And I say that with a loving smile, because beyond the world of hip-hop, I absolutely love Susan Lucci. I’m a huge daytime soap opera fan who sincerely appreciates her 38-year-history on All My Children. Lucci’s character, Erica Kane, is the quintessential heroine, and Lucci herself played a significant role in creating the blueprint for the classic diva who loyal fans continue to love and admire.

Unfortunately, however, there was nothing whatsoever to admire about Lucci’s hip-hop skills. Instead of a dancing D-I-V-A, she was a dancing D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R. Clearly stretched way beyond her element, Lucci was never on the right count at any point during the routine. With her focus forever fixed on her fellow dancers, she stood flatfooted and played clumsy catch up throughout the entire performance. Without a doubt, Lucci is proof positive that the old adage "Keep your day job" makes complete sense.

In contrast to Lucci’s flop, my favorite dancing star of all, Ms. Cloris Leachman, whom I’ve now affectionately dubbed "Mama Cloris," was a joy to watch. She brought "gangsta" to the ballroom as only she could, opening and closing the routine with her unique brand of dazzling, one-of-a-kind moves. Okay, not really "moves" in the true sense of the word, but her Flava Flav imitation was priceless. After all, the woman is 82 years old; what else could she really have done?

Unfortunately, the night after this debacle, Mama Cloris was finally booted from the ballroom. I’m just so glad that she lasted long enough to take part in the most memorable group chaos ever. The hip-hop fiasco wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining without her. I still can’t help but wonder, though, if Cloris had been crazy enough to attempt a windmill or two, maybe, just maybe, she would’ve been rewarded with enough votes to keep her safe for another week. I mean, who wouldn’t have voted for a windmill-spinning, beat-boxing great-grandma who shares a kindred spirit with Flava Flav?

Now that this season’s group dance is history, I’m already looking forward to the surprises in store for next year. But how in the world will future Dancing With the Stars contestants ever top this? Next season’s celebrities will undoubtedly have some tough (and funny!) shoes to fill. I sure hope that no matter the dance, they’re smart enough to take a cue from Mama Cloris and bring it. | Retannical D. Russell

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