Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Solid gold-plated

After ignoring it for several seasons, I've somehow become hooked to the current installment of Dancing with the Stars. It's not that I've suddenly developed a love for ballroom dancing, but rather I find the casting compelling. As both a tennis player and a member of the rhythmless nation, for instance, I wanted to see how athletic Monica Seles would do; as a fan of Jodi on The L Word and, okay, out of sheer curiosity (how would she pull it off?), I couldn't wait to see Marlee Matlin on the parquet floor.

Another incentive to watch yesterday was the prospect of live performances by the Alvin Ailey company and Kylie Minogue—not together, unfortunately. It was pretty great to see Ailey do an excerpt from Revelations, though in the New York area the number was maimed by the local news, which repeatedly barged in with a tornado warning. "If you have friends at Yankee Stadium, call to warn them." Who cares?!? If you're at Yankee Stadium, you shouldn't be afraid of a little water. In fact, I'd say you deserve it.

But the real tropical depression was Kylie. Now my love for the singing budgie, as she used to be called, is no secret (I once scheduled a vacation in London just so I could see her live at Wembley Arena). But I have to admit the returns have been diminishing in the past few years, and her latest album, X, shows her struggling to compete in the pop arena she once dominated so effortlessly. The DWTS gig was obviously prompted by the release of X in America, and just as obviously it ain't going to make any difference.

First of all, I may not even have recognized her if I didn't expect her: She barely looks like herself anymore—going down the Priscilla Presley/Steve Guttenberg road? Second, her outfits literally made me recoil on the couch, and I am not one to fear tacky pop fashion—not to mention that you need a strong stomach if you watch DWTS to begin with. She first did her latest single, "All I See," a song characterized by an utter lack of character; the perky Goldfrapp ripoff "2 Hearts" would have been a better choice. The performance felt listless and tepid. She fared better with "Can't Get You Out of My Head," in an arrangement that bumped up the synths, but still, where was the spirit? Combined with a eye-gouging fluo-clad dance by pros Mark and Julianne, it all felt like a vintage episode of Solid Gold.

At least the horribly perky Steve Guttenberg was voted off, which made me very happy. Now if the horribly perky Marissa Jaret Winokur could follow in his footsteps next week…

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