I really want to write something spiritual, inspiring and poignant.
It’s not gonna happen.
Dancing With the Stars season 24 began last night.
12 years ago when the show started I despised it, never mind that I voted during American Idol competitions. In my opinion it appealed to people with no sense of decency. They watched for the cheesy costumes and the fake spray tans. All of the sexy dancers (or as my husband says, “exhibitionist whores”) were ignored in favor of Tom Bergeron’s refusal to take the show too seriously and that really, really cute, Derek Hough. The B list of celebrities was underwhelming, first winner? A Playboy playmate and soap opera star. My revulsion, justified.
Coming from a Pentecostal church background, dancing was taboo. It led to sex and everyone knows, sex is sin. Okay, sex outside of marriage is sin, inside? Well we Pentecostals are a bit earthy so sex inside is…ehem, natural. But dancing, nope. As my husband says “I have Assembly of God Feet”. He has absolutely no rhythm–none–he makes no apologies. I also have none, years of ballet aside. I never went to clubs, never danced at school dances, never danced at weddings (you can’t call what I’ve done at weddings dancing) and when Zumba goes left I go right. My dancing incompetence knows no limits.
Back to the show. Prior to my viewing conversion I knew, vaguely, who won (it was everywhere) and occasionally I’d see a clip of who was competing. When Marie Osmond fainted I knew, when Emmett Smith, Nicole Scherzinger (love her), Apolo Anton Ohno and Kristi Yamaguchi won I knew, when Kelly Osmond competed, lost weight, and overcame image issues I knew, when Kate Gosselin tanked I knew, when Kelly Pickler won-I didn’t know, or care. The list of B celebrities was beginning to attract my attention, but my viewing was incidental.
Then came season 18, 9 years into the show. Did I watch my childhood idols Donny and Marie? Nope, but this season Drew Carey was on! I’d been a fan of his show, schtick eyewear and Ohio roots for years. It was also the season when Candace Cameron Bure competed and my girls grew up on Full House. Olympic ice skating medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis, both of whom I’d just watched and loved also appeared, Meryl winning the title. Now–I’m all in.
What a ride! I had no idea the elaborate themes, Disney Night, the sets, the performers, the music and the behind the scenes stories. My pop cultural education grew. I virtually met Andy Grammar and first heard Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance With Me”. I learned what a Youtube star was. It’s also my favorite way to view NFL players. As much as most of the dancing and costumes were both cheesy and embarrassing (salsa night is nothing but an excuse for shirtless men), I was impressed by the athleticism of the professionals. Drew didn’t go far but his story was touching and Candace came in 3rd while sharing openly about her faith. Amy Purdy, a Special Olympian who competed without her natural feet took 2nd. My visual and emotional hooks were well caught.
Through the following seasons I’ve cheered for Alfonso Ribiero, Sadie Robertson, Rumur Willis (Papa Bruce appeared), Calvin Johnson Jr (NFL) and Bindi Irwin. I’ve also booed a few and watched Tommy Chong far outlast his abilities. Any of you who watch know that there are always token competitors, Tommy was suppose to be one. NFL players do very well, Jimmy Kimmel is predicting Rashad Jennings recently from the NY Giants, now a free agent, to win this year. Did I know anything about him before this morning??? Noooo. James Hinchcliffe, a race car driver who made a miraculous recovery after a body crushing accident, is my all time favorite. He was my guy to win, but that stinky little gymnast Laurie Hernandez took it from him. She didn’t deserve it, she was far too talented for an amateur competition.
So why a post about DWTS? All I can say is that for as much as I go deep, I can also be really, really, really shallow.
And if I’m practicing total honesty, I needed you to know…