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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Could Warren Sapp actually win Dancing With the Stars?

18

November

Sapp_warren_dancing1 This is the thought that needled me, like an itchy sweater, about halfway through the 90-minute deluge of salsa dancing and jitterbugging that filled Monday's episode of Dancing With the Stars:

Could a 300-pound former professional football star wind up winning this thing?

Not because ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp is the best dancer left among the four celebrities still in competition. That honor belongs to actress/model Brooke Burke, who has consistently stunned the crowd -- and critics who remember her leaden performances as an actor -- throughout the show. Indeed, her only misstep came Monday, in an awesomely awkward jive dance that was so unexpectedly awful, I wondered if she didn't screw up on purpose just to make the show more interesting.

No, Sapp could win because he has that something -- an easy charm that almost makes you overlook the way he tiptoes through dance steps so gingerly, you can almost hear him counting the moves in his head. Or the comfortable shoes he's begun wearing that look like half-price pleather sneakers stolen from the back rack at Payless.Sappdanceing

But he has got serious competition.  N'Sync-er Lance Bass, corking the quirky touches that P.O.ed the judges in previous weeks, notched a personal best Monday, whipping out a jitterbug that earned top scores -- even as one of his shoes flew off during the number. Hannah Montana star Cody Linley was less consistent, starting the evening with a dance that inexplicably played into his worst quality -- a tendency to look stiff onstage.

My prediction: Linley's next to go tonight after the public's vote is revealed, just because his dancing hasn't been strong enough to overcome his fame deficit. Likewise, Sapp is fun to watch, but nowhere in the same league dance-wise as leaders Burke and Bass. Factor out the fame stuff, and he's gone next week.

But one thing a lot of NFL teams learned the hard way: You never count Sapp out. I wonder how many football fans are watching Dancing With the Stars these days?

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:53pm]

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