ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' High Kicks Into 2009 Season


It's beginning to seem like ABC is untouchable on Monday nights. After enjoying a season of record-high ratings for The Bachelor, the network transitioned seamlessly into a new season of Dancing with the Stars, without slowing down. It doesn't hurt that fan favorite bachelorette Melissa Rycroft has joined the Dancing cast at the last minute, and wowed everyone with a waltz that she learned in just two days.


I admit, I was skeptical about this season of Dancing with the Stars before it started. I was, like, Who are these people? I didn't think I would care about, say, Gilles Marini or Steve-O. I adore Julianne Hough, but I think she's getting a little bit over-exposed these days, and competing on the show with her boyfriend Chuck Wicks makes me suspicious of them, for some reason.


But man, everyone has been surprising me. Gilles is really good and is quite possibly a contender. Who would ever think that Steve-O could actually be OK at dancing? I can still live without Denise Richards (especially with the not terribly surprising revelation that she is an insecure diva), but even Steve Wozniak looks like he's having a great time, and I just have to applaud him.


I think the two contestants of season 8 of Dancing with the Stars that I care about the most are Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft, the two brave souls who agreed to join the competition at the very last minute. They may be coming to the table with some dance background already, but who cares? Plenty of previous contestants, notably the singers like Melanie Brown and Lance Bass, have spent a good portion of their professional lives learning choreography. Holly and Melissa didn't have the full four weeks of preseason rehearsals that everyone else got Melissa only had two days! and they still managed to learn their routines and perform confidently.


Personally, I'm so happy that Melissa is moving on and having a great time, after her unenviable experience she has had with Jason Mesnick these past few months. She's got a new boyfriend now, plus a sexy dance partner in Tony Dovolani. I hope that she will be able to parlay her Dancing with the Stars experience into a strong confidence in herself and the realization that she is great the way she is and doesn't need a man to validate her.


In next week's performance show, all 13 couples will return for their second performance. Everyone who waltzed this week will do the salsa next week, and everyone who had the cha cha will have the quickstep on Monday. The judges' scores and audience votes from the first two performances will be combined to determine the bottom two, who will dance for their lives on Tuesday night's results show.


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