DWTS 14 Week 1: Donald Driver has impact (VIDEO)

BURBANK, CA (Los Angeles County)–Why does Los Angeles need a football team? Easy. We may have the Lakers, but for dancing, particularly “Dancing with the Stars” fans, it’s football over basketball. Last night on the premiere “Dancing with the Stars” season 14, ABC brought back the football player contestant we so missed last season. And we discovered that NFL Green Bay Packer Donald Driver had charisma and flair on the dance floor.

We’ve had basketball players who could dance such as Rick Fox, a former LA Laker. He was with the more experienced pro Cheryl Burke. Driver’s partner, Peta Murgatroyd debuted last season, after having been part of the DWTS dance troupe. The Australian only performed the cha cha cha because she and her partner LA Laker Ron Artest were also the first couple cut. Artest who might have confused fans by changing his name to Metta World Peace. Or maybe DWTS fans don’t like the Lakers.

The Australian dance pro will need to find a fan base, but historically, at least in the last 13 seasons football players have done well with DWTS fans–even when they can’t dance (remember Michael Irvin?) Dancing with Anna Trebunskaya during season 9, Irvin received a 13 for his cha cha cha. Yet he lasted until the ninth elimination. That season, Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson won. Osmond at 51 was and is the oldest winner of the mirrorball.  Compare that to Rick Fox who scored a 22 on his first week Viennese waltz. Fox was the 7th person eliminated, just before NFL quarterback Kurt Warner (with Trebunskaya).

Driver was dancing to “Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)” by Lloyd featuring Lil Wayne. The song suited him, but he performed for the crowd and not to the music. He had rhythm, but didn’t express the song. The fans didn’t care.

“Nothing but charisma and charm for days…you kicked that cha cha’s bootie,” proclaimed Carrie Ann Inaba.

Head judge Len Goodman was also smiling and commented that his “attitude was good,” and Goodman liked how Driver attacked for the dance, but noted that he started to loose time a little bit. Next week, Goodman warned Driver that he needed “far more control and lovely wide frame for quickstep.”

Bruno Tonioli compared Driver to a rooster. His dance had “full impact” and Driver was a “diamond in the rough” with energy, power and presence, but Tonioli cautioned, “You got to refine it because you got the talent.”

Without any really clueless dancers, Driver ended up near the bottom, tied with Maria Menounos and Derek Hough with 21 in the cha cha cha group. Overall, they were on the low end.

The man can move but can Peta Murgatroyd in her second season guide him to a win? She’ll need to perfect his posture and poise, highlight his abilities and downplay is weaknesses. It should be interesting.

As for the football team problem, maybe ABC and “Dancing with the Stars” should consider sponsoring a Los Angeles football team.

Cha cha cha

Leader board

  • Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas: 26
  • Jaleel White & Kym Johnson: 26
  • William Levy & Cheryl Burke: 24
  • Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya: 23
  • Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower: 23
  • Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy: 23
  • Gladys Knight &Tristan McManus: 23
  • Maria Menounos & Derek Hough: 21
  • Donald Driver &Peta Murgatroyd: 21
  • Gavin Degraw & Karina Smirnoff: 20
  • Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 20
  • Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani: 20

Vote online. 

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About Jana J. Monji

I've written for the Rafu Shimpo, LA Weekly, LA Times, Examiner.com and, more recently, the Pasadena Weekly and RogerEbert.com. I formerly worked for a dot-com more interested in yodeling than its customers.

Posted on March 20, 2012, in Dancing with the Stars Season 14, Donald Driver and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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