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'Dancing with the Stars' tops in cheese

Dancing with the Stars, which rumbas into its two-part finale Monday and Tuesday, is TV's finest cheesestravaganza. From the kaleidoscope opening credits to the red light put on the bottom two dancers, everything is deliriously, deliciously over the top, and that includes this season's three celebrity finalists. Actor Cristian de la Fuente competes with an injured arm and a shirt unbuttoned down to there. Pro football's Jason Taylor succeeds despite a lumbering gait that proves he is no Emmitt Smith. And Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi has at last melted her ice princess facade to become the favorite to win the coveted mirror ball trophy. In honor of Season 6, here are six cheesy reasons to love DWTS.

Holly Braford, Jennifer DeCamp, Joshua Engleman and Jessica Parker Gilbert, Times Staff Writers

Samantha Harris

We watch Harris' postdance interviews, peppered with nervous laughter and terrible banter, only to see what she'll mess up. This season she hit new lows every time she put a microphone in front of Marlee Matlin, who is deaf and uses American Sign Language, instead of her interpreter.

The gimmicks

There are gimmicks in the dances (Adam Carolla's unicycle, Yamaguchi's umbrella, Edyta Sliwinska's poses).

There are gimmicks in the taped introductions (Sliwinska and Taylor going to a Medieval Times dinner theater).

There are gimmicks between the gimmicks! (Chief judge Len Goodman's James Bond shtick, ESPN's Kenny Mayne and his dance play-by-play.)

Not the same old song

The Harold Wheeler Orchestra never fails to entertain. Who knew you could do a more or less classic paso doble to New Order's Blue Monday? What about a cha cha to Rihanna's Please Don't Stop the Music? Or most amazing, a Viennese waltz to Dave Matthews Band's Satellite? It's like the most incredible wedding band ever to play karaoke on a cruise ship!


Judge Bruno Tonioli has called Shannon Elizabeth a "sexy minx," urged the prim Yamaguchi to be a "dirty girl" and told Priscilla Presley, "You seemed sensual, but not trashy. Available, but reassuringly expensive." All of which puts a highlight of his dance career in perspective: He donned a swimsuit, a bedazzled belt and black leg warmers for Elton John's video for I'm Still Standing. Owww!

The spray tans

The women shine like disco balls, the men's shirts need no buttons, and all that orange skin has frenzied fans scooping up instant tanning lotion by the case. Beware: The Day-Glo stylings of a rotisserie chicken left on the spit too long is not the look you want.

Carmen Carter

Celine Dion sang for the Titanic, but DWTS singer Carmen Carter's headdresses could sink it. Besides the hideous costumes and scary musical remixes, this is the moment of the show we live for each week: seeing what Carmen has growing out of her forehead.

Dancing With the Stars airs at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on WFTS-Ch. 28.

'Dancing with the Stars' tops in cheese 05/19/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 8:03am]
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