Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Helio Castroneves Wins "Dancing with the Stars"

Alas, Season 5 of Dancing with the Stars is over. In a great season finale, Indianapolis 500 racing champion Helio Castroneves edged out "Scary Spice" Melanie Brown for the cheesy mirror ball trophy.

Okay, I know you don't really care about this (particularly if you don't live in the USA or aren't a dancer yourself), but bear with me for a minute. Since Agnes and I are ballroom dancers, we've been avid fans of this show for all five seasons, and followed this season especially closely because of the amazing level of dancing on the part of the "stars." As an amateur and coordinationally-challenged dancer, I really appreciate the level of effort that the participants are putting into their performances, and what it means to be able to reach the finals.

This is why I think it was appropriate for Helio Castroneves to win over Melanie Brown.

Melanie, although not a professional dancer, is an experienced entertainer and singer. Her individual dance performances were, in most cases, technically superior to Helio's, and she worked very hard to get to a well-deserved spot in the finals. Maksim Chmerkovskiy, her professional partner, enjoyed a good working relationship and chemistry with her that added sparkle to the routines he designed, which were often complex and demanding. They danced Mambo and Paso Doble routines that were literally jaw-dropping, and their dancing tended to be much more physical than their competitors.

Helio, on the other hand, is neither a dancer nor an entertainer. What he brought to the competition was a fierce competitive attitude and desire to win, along with a ten-thousand-watt smile and a cheerful personality that endeared him to home audiences and helped smooth over any technical imperfections in his dancing. His professional partner, Julianne Hough (who, incredibly, is only 19 years old!), did a fantastic job of coming up with choreography that was tremendously complex and demanding for a student with no prior dance training, but which was within Helio's capabilities. This is an important point, because (in my humble opinion) a problem on the show in the past has been that some of the professionals have tended toward choreography that showcased their own capabilities, rather than capitalizing on the strengths and capabilities of their students. The Quickstep routine they performed as their last dance was absolutely spectacular.

Both couples took risks with their choices of music, choreography, and style that paid off well for them.

All in all, the result was very satisfying. In a way, I wish both couples could have shared the trophy, because both couples earned it. I also wish that Sabrina Bryan could have made it to the finals - if she hadn't been unexpectedly (and undeservedly) eliminated earlier in the competition, it would have made for an unbearably exciting final.

But then, I wish I could dance with Edyta Sliwinska one time, but that's not likely to happen either.

No deep thoughts for today - just some observations on the end of a season of great dancing and entertainment on Dancing with the Stars. I can't wait for Season 6!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

I was really pulling for Marie, even though I don't watch...because I generally don't watch the telly much..

And a random...Yikes...Is there anything holding Edyta in that dress or whatever that is?

John said...

Who wouldn't want one dance with Edyta? Or Julianne Hough for that matter?

La Chanson de Phoenix said...

Is it against the rules to wear actually clothing when you dance?

I understand the watching a show because of the passion you have for the activity. I watch VH1's The Shot (about photographers) and it has helped me tremendously in learning technique and form.

Amanda said...

I wish they had this type of dancing show over here in Palembang. I do get satellite TV here from a Malaysian vendor but so far, no dance programs.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

We have a show in Britain like this called 'Simply Come Dancing'. It's not my sort of show, really.

The All Seeing Eye said...

This was the best season so far. Helio won the trophy; but lost his fiancee