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DWTS 13, Week 1: The results

BURBANK, Los Angeles County, CA–Los Angeles is Lakers hometown, but Lakers don’t have any luck here, at least on the show “Dancing with the Stars.” Tonight during the first week of season 13, the only professional (non-dancer) male athlete on the show was off. Sure the man formerly known as Ron Artest and his partner Peta Murgatroyd had the lowest score, but couples with lower scores have made it past week one.

Remember Master P?  That seems to say that more DWTS fans like rap music than basketball or the Lakers. At times, one might have wondered if fans were divided between football and basketball stars, but that’s not the case this season.

Football players have done well on DWTS, but not basketball players. Remember Michael Irvin? Dancing with Anna Demidova, he lasted nine weeks from a field of 16 celebrities during season 9.

Of course, football players have won DWTS. Before Hines Warner and Kym Johnson won last season, there was Emmitt Smith (and Cheryl Burke) who won season 3.

Ron Artest wasn’t Rick Fox because Fox could dance. The Canadian-born Fox was a retired basketball player, last playing for the Los Angeles Lakers (2004) when he was a celebrity contestant on season 11 of “Dancing with the Stars” in the fall of 2010 when Fox was matched up with two-time winner Cheryl Burke.

Fox had already gone beyond basketball by then. He had been on “Dirt” with a recurring role. He was a lead in “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” as Angela’s Basset’s love interest. He played the bodyguard and lover of the villainess Wilhelmina Slater (played by his ex Vanessa L. Williams) on the hit series “Ugly Betty.”

Yet even dance ability and an expert partner didn’t get Fox into the semi-finals. Fox scored well his last week on DWTS with a 10 (guest judge) and three nines for his quickstep to “Hey Pachuco” during the week when all teams were performing past iconic dances plus a team dance, there was that Bristol Palin effect. Fox and Burke might have nailed Hélio Castroneves’ iconic dance, but it was the political power of Palin–Bristol or Sarah, that resulted in many upsets throughout season 11.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas had 33. Fox and Burke had 37.

During season 11, football star Kurt Warner and his partner Anna Trebunskaya performed a tango that received a 34 (10, 8, 8, 8). Then there was the fun couple: Disney star Kyle Massey and his partner Lacey Schwimmer. They only had 35 for their paso doble (10, 9, 8, 8).

Fox and Burke with 37 were tied with Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and the eventual winners, Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough. The team dances gave Brandy and Chmerkovskiy, Grey and Hough and Warner and Trebunskaya 27. Massey and Schwimmer, Palin and Ballas and Fox and Burke only received a 24 for the team dance.

At the end of the night the teams had a culmulative score of:

  • Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: 64
  • Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 64
  • Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya: 61
  • Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke: 61
  • Kyle Warner and Lacey Schwimmer: 59
  • Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: 57

Palin and Ballas survived to finish third despite low scores.

This season, the politically-charged figure who might skew the results is likely Chaz Bono. Bono proved that he can move, but he doesn’t really project a personality as yet. He is also out of shape. Still Chaz Bono is a hot search trend online and that could mean trouble for the other teams.

Next week, with the quickstep and the jive, the teams will need stamina and crisp action. As the only athlete celebrity left, we think soccer goalie Hope Solo will do well with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, but we’re also looking forward to more fun with Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya.

Here’s the leader board:

 

LEADER BOARD

  1. Chynna Phillips & Tony Dovolani/J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff : 22
  2. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy : 21
  3. Ricki Lake & Derek Hough : 20
  4. Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas : 19
  5. David Arquette  & Kym Johnson : 18
  6. Carson Kressley & Anna Trebunskaya/Chaz Bono  & Lacey Schwimmer  : 17
  7. Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus/Robert Kardashian & Cheryl Burke : 16
  8. Elisabetta Canalis & Val Chmerkovskiy : 15

ELIMINATED–Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)  & Peta Murgatroyd : 14 

 

Chaz Bono, Renee Richards and transsexual rights

When I first learned that Chaz Bono was one of the celebrities competing on this season’s “Dancing with the Stars” I was disappointed. Where is a Renee Richards when you need her?

Renee Richards, is, I learned from Wikipedia, still alive and well. The 6-foot-2 left-handed former professional tennis player is now 77. She retired from playing tennis in 1981. Her highest ranking was number 20 in February 1979.

Richards was born Richard Raskind in New York City and as Richard, he played tennis, making the top 10 Eastern and the National juniors. He was captain of the Horace Mann School tennis team during high school and when he was 15, he won the Eastern Private Schools interscholastic  singles. From there, he went on to Yale where he competed on the singles tennis team and, in 1954, he was captain.

Richards attended medical school and served in the U.S. Navy as an officer (lieutenant commander) and became an opthamologist. He did marry and have a son, but in 1975, he transitioned with the help of surgery, into a new life as Renee Richards, a woman.

Richards sued the U.S. Tennis Associatin after being barred from playing as a woman at the U.S. Open in 1976 and won the right to play in 1977. She coached Martina Navratilova. Richards wrote two autobiographies, the 1986 “Second Serve” (in the 1986 TV movie Vanessa Redgrave played Richards) and the 2007 “No Way Renee: The Second Half of My Notorious Life.” Like Chaz Bono, Richards has a documentary about her life, simply called “Renée” that premiered in April.

Chaz Bono was born Chastity Sun Bono to Sonny Bono and Cher. Bono legally completed his transition to male in May of last year to be renamed Chaz Salvatore Bono and his documentary “Becoming Chaz” premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Oprah Winfrey’s Network owns the rights to the Emmy-nominated documentary which aired this year in May. Bono’s latest book “Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man” also came out in May.

Bono is 42 and not in particularly good shape. Having written two books, the 1998 “Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians and their Families” and the 2003 “The End of Innocence,” Bono is a prominent member of the LGBT community,and has served as the Entertainment Media Director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, but much of his fame or Q score is reflected glory from his parents.

Since DWTS decided to go international (think Gilles Marini or Heather Mills or this season’s Elisabetta Canalis), why not Dana International (Sharon Cohen), an Israeli pop singer who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998 with the song “Diva”? She’s one of Israel’s most successful musical acts and represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. At 39, International has a successful career and looks to be in better shape than Chaz Bono.

And what about Nong Tum, a male-to-female transgendered person, who is also a former Thai boxing champion, model and actor. In 2003, Nong Tum’s story was made into a movie “Beautiful Boxer.” Her story was included in the book, “Ladyboys: The Secret of Thailand’s Third Gender” and the 2003 National Geographic documentary “Hidden Genders.”  She was in the 2006 “Mercury Man.”

DWTS had Mark Dacascos on during season 9 (paired with Lacey Schwimmer). The current trend in street dancing includes a heavy martial arts influence and Dacascos brought a lot of martial arts flair and fun to his dancing.

As the first amputee, Heather Mills (McCartney) was physically fit although because of her dubious personal life Mills was not a fan favorite. Her claim to celebrity was officially charity campaigner and not Paul McCartney’s soon-to-be ex or reviled gold digger.

Sure Elisabetta Canalis is good-looking, but as an actress and model, the 32-year-old has the 2005 “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” as her biggest U.S. audience credit. She’s also a recurring character in the TNT drama series “Leverage” but perhaps her relationship with George Clooney which officially ended in June of this year is what gives her a Q-score.

For the first transgender/transsexual DWTS contestant, I have preferred Nong Tum or Dana International to Chaz Bono because I think they are famous in their own right and because they would have been physically better contenders for the mirrorball. At 77,  Renée Richards might be considered a little old to take to the dance floor although during season 7, Cloris Leachman was 82 (paired with Corky Ballas).  A 77-year-old Richards would have been a phenomenal choice given her athletic ability and career and athletic achievements.

The American Family Association has initiated a boycott against DWTS. GMA took an exclusive interview, but the interviewer was under-prepared. (Really, he asked what Chaz Bono’s best dance was at this stage?!). They note that the skimpy costumes and provocative dance routines had already turned away viewers, but not the inclusion of former Playboy Playmates and Hugh Hefner and even his former girlfriends?

They found the inclusion of Carson Kressley and Chaz Bono as “completely unacceptable and Christians should not watch the show, no excuses!”

Chaz Bono might be an excuse for the whole cast to break out into Rocky Horror-esque routines because fellow cast member David Arquette has experience playing Dr. Frank-n-Furter for the on-stage musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  Wouldn’t that be a Halloween scream?

This season, I think Carson Kressley will add entertainment value and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does. But I don’t consider Chaz Bono the best choice for the show’s first transsexual celebrity contestant because I’d rather have a person who looked like he or she had more dancing potential, but perhaps Bono will surprise us all.

DWTS 13: New cast

When the cast for season 13 was revealed last night, there were a few surprises. The biggest was no football heroes. Then there was the Hugh Hefner presence. None of his former girlfriends was part of the cast. Even more surprising: no Disney stars. There is an Olympic gold medal winner: Hope Solo.

David Arquette is an actor and movie producer who is mostly known for Hollywood movies from the 1990s and being married to former “Friends” star and current “Cougar Town” headliner Courteney Cox. The couple is currently separated but friendly.

Arquette was in such movies as the 1996-2011 4-movie”Scream” series, “Wild Bill” and the original 1992 movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He might be considered an athlete since he won the one-time WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000.  If I remember correctly, he was also in a stage version of “Rocky Horror” in Hollywood in the 1990s.

Born 8 September 1971 in Winchester, Virginia, Arquette is 39. His siblings (Rosanna, Alexis, Richmond and Patricia) are also actors. Arquette appeared on Patricia Arquette’s series “Medium” as her brother Michael.

Ron Artest was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is known for his outspoken behavior, but nothing as bad as Dennis Rodman so far. He was part of the Pacers-Pistons Brawl in 2004 during the 1 November 2004 game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. A drink was thrown from the stands  at Artest, then a Pacers team member. Artest was suspended for the remainder of the season (86 games).  Four other Pacers received suspensions (30-1 games) and four Pistons were also suspended (6-1 games).

Artest was with the Chicago Bulls (1999-2002), then the Indiana Pacers (2002-2006), the Sacramento Kings (2006-2008), the Houston Rockets (2008-2009) and finally with the Lakers (2009 to present). He was part of the NBA championship team in 2010.

Born in Queens, New York on 13 November 1979, Artest is 31.

Chaz Bono has brought up in the spotlight as the only child of Sonny Bono and Cher. Born a girl (Chastity Bono) on 4 March 1969, Bono is a transgender man. Bono came out to her parents as a lesbian when she was 18 and she was not initially accepted by her parents according to her 1998 book, “Family Outing.” Bono came out as a lesbian in 1995 with an interview published in “The Advocate.” A year later, her mother Cher agreed to appear on the cover of the same magazine as the proud parent of a lesbian. When her father Sonny Bono died from a skiing accident in January 1998, Chaz and her father had not spoken for about a year.

Bono’s physical transition from female to male began in 2008. The legal transition was completed last year (2010) and the documentary “Becoming Chaz” on his sex change debuted at the Sunday Film Festival this year.

At 42, the transgender activist and spokesman will have to get in shape to keep up with some of the younger contestants.

Elisabetta Canalis is listed as a model, but the Italian-born beauty has had small acting roles in movies such as the 2005 “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” and in Italian movies. In 2010, she had a recurring role on the TNT series “Leverage.”

To American audience members, she might be best known as George Clooney’s former girlfriend (June 2009-June 2011).

Born in Sassari, Italy on 12 September 1978, she is 32.

Kristin Elizabeth Cavallari is a reality TV star, from MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” and “The Hills.” You might recall that her castmate, Audrina Patridge (seasons 1-6) was also on “Dancing with the Stars” during season 11. Patridge was paired with Tony Dovolani and did moderately well with the judges, but were eliminated during week 6 and finished seventh due to lack of fan support. Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough won that season. Yet the big surprise that season was the support base for Bristol Palin.

Cavallari was only on “The Hills” season 5-6. Does she have the fan base to win DWTS? Her UPN reality series “Get This Party Started” was canceled after two episodes due to low ratings in 2006.

The Denver, Colorado born Cavallari is 24 (5 January 1987).

Nancy Grace is perhaps the most educated contestant. She received her B.A. and J.D. from  Mercer University and Master of Laws from New York University. Originally, she had intended to be an English teacher because of her love for Shakespeare, but when her fiance was murdered, she enrolled in law school to become a felony prosecutor and to fight for victims’ rights.

Grace was a special prosecutor for the Atlanta-Fulton County District Attorney in Georgia where she worked on serial murder, serial rape, serial child molestation and arson cases. There were accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in 1994, 1997 and 2002.

Since leaving the the district attorney’s office, she has become a legal commentator on a variety of programs including “Closing Arguments” from 1996-2007 and “Nancy Grace” from 2005-present.

Grace was born in Macon, Georgia on 23 October 1959. She is married to David Linch (since 2007) and has two children. At 51, she is one of the older contestants.

Rob Kardashian Jr. is a reality star from “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and “Khloe & Lamar.”  Kardashian graduated from USC in 2009 with a B.A. in business. He is a manager for a music group, BG5. He has worked as a model. None of these things suggest that he will do well on DWTS.

His sister Kim appeared on DWTS on season 7 with the popular Mark Ballas as her partner, but they were the third couple eliminated. And that was in 2008, after her sex tape with Ray J. surfaced in February 2007.

Rob was born in Los Angeles on 17 March 1987, and at 24 he should have the stamina and as a model the looks, but does he have a fan base? If Kim didn’t, then it’s really doubtful he will.

Carson Kressley may be an unfamiliar name to most but he was the fashion expert for the TV program “Queer Eye” as one of the Fab Five on the Bravo series which ran from 2003-2007. The series won an Emmy in 2004. He is also the host for the Lifetime TV show, “How to Look Good Naked” the U. S. version of a successful British show.  Then there’s “Carson-Nation” a new reality show where Carson travels to small towns in the U.S. and transforms one person.

Kressley was born in Pennsylvania (11 November 1979) and currently lives in New York City. He worked for Ralph Lauren from 1994-2002. Besides being a stylist and fashion savant, he is a respected horse show exhibitor of Saddlebred show horses.

Ricki Lake starred in the original John Waters’ 1988 film “Hairspray” and  Divine played her mother.  Sonny Bono and Debbie Harry played the pushy parents of her enemy Amber Von Tussle (Coleen Fitzpatrick). She appeared in other Waters films such as the 2000 “Cecil B. Demented” which starred Melanie Griffith and Maggie Gyllenhaal (with a cameo by Patricia Hearst), the 1990 musical “Cry-Baby” which starred Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop and Traci Lords (and Patty Hearst), and the 1994 “Serial Mom”  which starred Kathleen Turner (Lake played her daughter). Lake recently had a cameo appearance in the 2007 musical movie version of “Hairspray.”

Lake joined the cast of the Vietnam War TV series “China Beach” during season 3. The series ran for four seasons (1988-1991).  Lake had a daytime talk show from 1993-2004. Lake is developing a new talk show set to begin in  September 2012.

Lake is a divorced mother of two boys. They recently escaped a fire that destroyed their Malibu home in 2010. Lake is 42 (21 September 1968).

J.R. Martinez is a former U.S. Army soldier who in 2003 received severe burns over 40 percent of his body while in Iraq. The Humvee he was driving hit a landmine. He underwent over 30 surgeries. He travels around the country as a motivational speaker. He currently plays Brot Monroe on ABC’s soap opera “All My Children” (since 7 November 2008).

Martinez may have a fan base from the soap opera crowd as well as former and current soldiers. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Martinez has family ties to El Salvador and is 28 (14 June 1983).

Chynna Phillips (43) was born in Los Angeles, on 12 February 1968 to John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Paspas band. She is the half-sister of Mackenzie Phillips, Bijou Phillips, Jeffrey Phillips, Tamerlane Phillips and Austin Hines.

Phillips appeared in the 1987 “Some Kind of Wonderful,” in the 1988 “Moving Target” and in the 1989 “Say Anything.” She starred as the title character in the 1989 biographical movie “Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer.”

With Carnie and Wendy Wilson, she formed the Wilson Phillips and released an self-titled debut album in 1990. Their second album, “Shadows and Light,” was considered a commercial failure when released in 1992. Her own debut solo album “Naked and Sacred” was also unsuccessful in 1995. Wilson Phillips reunited in 2004 to record covers of popular songs from West Coast  singers during the 1960s-1970s.

More recently, she teamed with singer Vaughan Penn as “Chynna and Penn” and released “One Reason” in 2009.

Phillips is married to William Baldwin (1995) and they have two daughters and one son.

Hope Solo was born in Richland, Washington on 30 July 1981. She is the current goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s national soccer team. As part of the Olympics team that went to Beijing in 2008, she won a gold medal. The team defeated Brazil.

Her father was a Vietnam vet who divorced when Solo was six. It was her father Jeffrey, who taught her how to play soccer.

Solo has played for the Washington Huskies (1999-2002), the Philadelphia Charge (2003), Kopparbergs/Goteborg in Sweden (2004), Lyon in France (2005), Saint Louis Athletica (2009-2010), the Atlanta Beat (2010) and currently is with the magicJack.

Solo was part of the FIFA 2011 US team. The U.S. team lost to Japan 3-1 in the finals, but Solo won the “Gold Glove” award for best goalkeeper and the “Bronze Ball” award for overall performance during the tournament and was named to the all-star team.

Dancing with the Stars will begin on 19 September 2011 and end on 21 November 2011 on ABC. Returning professional dancers will be: Derek Hough, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Cheryl Burke, Tony Dovolani, Mark Ballas, Lacey Schwimmer, Karina Smirnoff, Anna Trebunskaya, and Kym Johnson. New professional dancers will be: Valentin Chmerkovski, Peta Murgatroyd and Tristan McManus. Valentin is Maksim’s brother. Murgatroyd and McManus were in the DWTS dance troupe last season.

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