Dancing with the Stars Recap: Is it Marie's 10,000-Watt Smile or Helio's Ability?
Is this show an actual dance competition, where contestants are expected to, you know, demonstrate ability in particular dance styles? Or is it a popularity contest augmented with spangles and tights?
That answer should come in tonight's two-hour finale, which likely pits Marie's Osmond's super-dazzling smile and legions of old school fans against the show's hidden, dark horse favorite, race car driver Helios Castroneves.
if you haven't been watching every episode -- even I haven't been doing that, and I get paid to watch TV -- my colleague Kate Brassfield did an excellent job of recapping all the dancers and one of the show's major themes: transformation. Last night's show was also an excellent summation, with Castroneves' energy and stunts -- only a pint-size guy could handle a carwheel turn holding his partner through the entire spin the way he did last night -- proving an able counter to Osmond's oddball, slightly corny freestyle and spice girl Mel B.'s sexy, super-efficient moves.
It's been one of the more bizarre DWTS in recent memory, with Osmond cast as the Sanjaya of the bunch -- using her energy and popularity to leapfrog ahead of better dancers, such as Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan. And there's the non-dancing drama: from Osmond's fainting spell and the recent death of her dad to the passing of competitor Jane Seymour's mother and her bout with food poisoning (not to mention allegations of romance between Bryan, Castroneves and the pro dancers who serve as their onstage partners).
Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough -- Even Money: Yeah, celebrity-wise, the Brazilian race car driver likely has the smallest fan base. But he nailed the coolest dance last night, which seems to count for a lot. And the obvious sparks of romance between Castroneves (who delayed a wedding to someone else to compete in the show) and pint-size fireball Hough are pretty cute.
Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts -- 2 to 1: People still love America's sweetheart, even though her increasingly strained smile seems to hide a surprisingly fragile ego (can we stop, stop, STOP all the you-go-girl references to her age?) and dysfunctional private life. I'm betting she's starting to get on America's nerves as much as she is my own.
Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- 5 to 1: Transformation-wise, Scary Spice's journey from celebrity wild child to sleek, sexy bombshell has been the biggest leap. But her poised, increasingly proficient displays often lack the gutsy sizzle which Dancing audiences seem to crave. And I'm betting the sales figures for the last Spice Girls record are close to the numbers of those who watch Castroneves' last race.