Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Good, Bad, and "Spiffy": Skating with the Stars, Week 2

So now that Jennifer Grey is finally out of Baby’s “corner” and into the limelight that is Dancing with the Stars’ mirror-ball trophy glare… and DWTS has, subsequently, faded for now into winter hiatusland… it’s time for its pesky new kid sister, Skating with the Stars, to start flying solo. How’d it do? Well, there’s good news and bad news…

The Good News: So far, the numbers on Skating with the Stars are actually better than the numbers earned on the last prime-time, non-Olympic skating event (March’s 2-day show Thin Ice, also on ABC). That show averaged about 4.2 million viewers; SWTS pulled in around 6 million Monday night (about the same amount reported to have stuck with the show through its second hour last week). Incidentally, those numbers also put ABC in second place during those hours… not bad, except…

The Bad News: DWTS traditionally pulls down at least 24 million viewers… or 4 times more than SWTS has done thus far. Also, it must be noted that both CBS and FOX had some reruns happening… we’ll have to wait and see if the show is able to keep (and build?) on the 6 million, or if that number erodes when more first-run series return in December.

While I’m ill-prepared to give you the full-blown review that I gave last week, here are some of the SWTS needs-to-know as I see it (for Episode #2):

+ It’s still not DWTS, but that’s not for lack of trying. From the hyper-elaborate hair, makeup and costumes, to the presentation of the scores, to the dramatic, can’t-go-on fluff pieces (did everyone get that Bethenny is s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g?), to Tanith now hanging backstage in the “Brooke” role (Vernon did this in week 1), the show is terrified of doing anything that might have the nonchalant viewer rubbing their eyes, saying “Wait a minute… when did Brooke become a blonde?”)

+ But one look at the judges as the camera panned the studio en route back to Vernon told the story: the three sat very poised, not speaking, staring straight ahead. Maybe Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno used to do the exact same thing… I didn’t watch DWTS in its first couple seasons… but I hope everyone gets a chance to loosen up as this series progresses. The chemistry between Tom Bergeron and the other DWTS talents feels very genuine, and (I think) has as much to do with that show’s success as the dancing.

+ Also like DWTS, the competitors were assigned one of two “dances”… this time they either had the jive (Jonny/Brooke, Bethenny/Ethan, and Sean/Denis), or the tango (Vince/Jennifer, Brandon Mychal/Keauna, and Rebecca/Fred).

+ The apparently all-important FALLS that they like to show so much in the promos? Finally started happening here. Vince Neil went down once; Sean Young went down twice.

+ Ben Agosto and John Baldwin were among the recognizable faces in the crowd this week. (Recognizable to skating fans, anyway.)

+ The Johnny Weir Gushfest continued this week… is he genuinely surprised at how well some of these folks are picking up the moves, or just selling it all like crazy because that’s his job? Hard to tell. What do you think?

+ I had to wince when Vernon made a ham-handed comment about one of Dick Button’s use of “spiffy” dating back to the original ice age. Good Lord. If viewers can’t allow Dick his “spiffy” comments now and then, who needs ‘em? (Don’t answer that, ABC.)

+ As for the performances, some were better than others of course. The leaderboard had Rebecca/Fred in 1st, and Vince/Jennifer in last—just like last week.

+ Nonetheless, Sean Young was the one with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and audience vote, so she was sent home. And was rather relieved, I think.

I’m including the Jonny/Brooke jive—which wasn’t terrible—as the
Clip of the Day.

A closer look at last week’s Trophee Eric Bompard coming soon…

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