I want to talk about Justin Bieber for a second.
If you are not familiar with this man/child yet, you will be soon. He's on the cover of People magazine and was the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend. And he's, for lack of a better word… bizarre. I don't know quite how to explain it, but it's as if an alien being invaded the body of what seems like a 12-year-old boy (he's actually about 16) and crafted a perfectly haphazard hairdo, as if a coastal breeze had hit his head from the back and framed his angelic face for a Lifetime movie promo. He dances, sings catchy songs and does the cool handshake with his much-older back-up musicians (you know that handshake - with the full palm grab, followed by a shoulder bump and a casual "Hey man – what up?" – like Justin Timberlake and Jamie Foxx would do if they ran into each other at the Grammys). This all makes the girls go wild. What's bizarre is how effortless and yet contrived it all is – like celebrity culture generally. But how does a 16-year-old learn to do it so well – especially a 16-year-old who came from nowhere? I'm truly baffled, but more importantly, I need him to make a beeline for the "Dancing with the Stars" set, because our dancers need to take a page from this magical elf's book and put a little more effort into making their celebrity efforts seem more effortless. You know what I mean?
On with the recap!
Erin and Maks danced a tango to the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams." In practice she was nearly paralyzed with fear, worrying about what Len was going to say about her footwork – fear that might have been more appropriately directed at, oh I don't know, the multiple people who seem to want her dead. I haven't been keeping track of the number of death threats she's received since the show began, but it is apparently enough for the FBI to open an investigation. So, I'm going to take it easy on her this week – unlike the judges, who gave her sixes for technical and sevens for performance as part of their new scoring system, designed, I imagine, to give the less naturally talented dancers a fighting chance.
A system designed with Evan in mind, no doubt. He's a technically accomplished athlete but has the personality of a boiled turnip. Although it apparently didn't matter in this performance, which looked to me like an epileptic seizure set to a very strange hip-hop song sung by Perry Como's background singers. But the judges loved it, giving him high scores for both technical merit and performance. Gotta hand it to the guy – he makes everything look easy, even with two broken toes. And when you have a bitch like Johnny Weir poking your voodoo doll behind the scenes, appearing relaxed can't be easy.
The funniest ones always have the most heartbreaking stories, it seems. And Niecy is no exception. Her partner Louis is smart to motivate her with story, and he motivated her this week by dedicating their rumba to her brother Michael who died 17 years ago. Or was this a smart move after all? The judges didn't like it, saying she was too internal in her emotion, which didn't translate to the dance floor. And then Len said something about hips and slides, but when he is glowering at my Niecy I have no interest in listening to what he's saying.
I'm guessing it's not the best sign for Aiden, by far the hottest man in the competition, when the gay guy recapping his dance can't keep his eyes off of the girl. I don't know whether it was because I was waiting for Edyta's barely there dress to fall off or Aiden just blended into the background as he clumsily reached for his lost mojo with every awkward and clichéd arm gesture. Judges weren't so pleased either, giving him the lowest scores of the week so far.
I don't know how straight guys, jam-packed into their polyester pants, feel up women like Nicole without getting a chubby. So, I'm assuming Derek's playing for my team or taking medication to address the situation – especially as they tackle the "dance of love." Then again, the way Derek and Nicole tackled the challenge in practice, it looked more like the dance of slapstick humor - until they got onstage, anyway. Smokin' hot – although the judges gave her a hard time for things that nobody else seemed to notice, as her ridiculously long legs tickled the in-studio chandeliers with every sex-drenched back bend. Me-OW, Pussycat.
Here comes Jake with his can-do, darn-tootin' attitude, wearing a simple black T-shirt expressing his commitment to fame – I mean, his partner. Oh Lord, the desperation took a toll on him this week, almost sparking my Kate Gosselin pity instinct. He slipped and stumbled and dragged the long-suffering Chelsie around like a bag of dashed dreams while his 14th minute slowly passed by. Tick tock, Jake.
Kate's performance began with a behind-the-scenes look at her practice sessions with Tony, in which she talked about the hell that her life has become while defending herself against her ex-husband, the media, the paparazzi, the KGB, Al Gore, bluebirds and children recently diagnosed with leukemia. They are all out to make her life miserable. I'm not a big karma person, but if I were, I'm sure I'd be saying shit about blocked chakras, dark energy and chi gone off the deep end. It's not even that fun to comment on it anymore, because I really think she's soul sick in ways that Western medicine can't do anything about. She danced. It sucked. Tony wants to kill himself. The judges have decided to talk about the fact that she is better than she was before because there are no words left to describe the suffering.
Maybe it's just because he came on right after Kate, but I have decided that I love Mr. Eight Five, no matter how transparent his act. He's light, he's fun, he's saucy and his chi is as clear as a mountain stream in spring. I'm not even going to think about the fact that his adorable romance with partner Cheryl is eventually going to crash and burn in a tell-all People magazine cover story three months from now, after he's caught with an exotic dancer from some L.A. champagne room -- because I'm living in the moment of their rumba love. Judges loved it. I loved it. There is no suffering here.
I'm already liking the softer side of Pamela. Funny how just taking the hair down a notch from "fuck me" to "let's go out to dinner first" can really suit a girl. Her rumba was slow and sensual – and if any straight men actually watched this show, she might have a chance of winning. Judges loved it. I loved it. There is no suffering here either.
So, there you have it. Jake was in the bottom two last week and might be in danger again this week. And I'm guessing Kate's reign of terror has to be over soon. But I thought Buzz was going to stick around until his face started to melt under the hot lights, so what do I know?
All I know for sure this week is that Justin Bieber's reign is just beginning, so gird your loins -- especially if you have tween girls. There will be screaming, rampant texting, delirious Facebooking and posters popping up of a windswept lad who looks like your paper boy. But don't be fooled -- this kid is armed, dangerous and will be haunting your house until his voice changes and he sprouts facial hair – which, from the looks of things, might not happen until he's 30.