‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 13: Chaz Bono gives strong debut performance

September 20, 2011

Season 13 of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ began on Monday night, and among the most hyped celebrities to take the floor were Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace, Hope Solo and Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace). Emily Yahr broke down all the performances.. Here are some highlights:

Ron Artest and Peta Murgatroyd

Dance: cha cha to Pitbull’s “Krazy”

LA Lakers player Ron Artest was in the news last week because he legally changed his name to Metta World Peace (first name Metta, last name World Peace). Thankfully, he’ll be known as Ron Artest on the show. That’s a relief, because we definitely weren’t planning to call him by his new name.

Anyway, Ron says he signed up for the show because his daughter (a cancer survivor) wanted him to. He feels very comfortable dancing, and is convinced he’s quite good at it. Unfortunately, he is not. He thinks people will laugh at him because he’s supposed to be a tough guy, but really, if they laugh, it will because he looks wildly out of place on the dance floor. Even if he is rocking a sparkly burgundy vest and a fedora.

After the performance, Ron fixes Bergeron’s suit jacket. “I can’t believe I’m getting grooming tips from Ron,” Bergeron cracks. We love him.

Nancy Grace and Tristan Macmanus

Dance: cha cha to Cee Lo Green’s “Cry Baby”

Calling herself cable network HLN’s most fearless prosecutor, we see some footage of Nancy mocking an accused criminal film. She tones it down and says she just wants to show her three-year-old twins that “Mommy can dance.”

Tristan grills Nancy on what she knows about the cha cha. She shows off some moves, and he concludes she knows nothing about cha cha. Nancy says she knows she’s not the youngest, prettiest, or skinniest contestant, but she has the most heart. Then she makes fun of Tristan’s accent.

Nancy whirls around in a super shiny dress, but seems too concentrated on remembering the steps to show off at all. Bruno says Nancy’s got the moves, but she doesn’t seem to believe it. “You’re so cute! I think you might be the happiest contestant I’ve ever seen,” Carrie Ann says, a little condescendingly we think. She points out Nancy forgot her choreography, but saved herself with a big smile. Len calls it underwhelming, and all the judges start arguing, so Tom Bergeron cuts them off.

Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Dance: Viennese Waltz to Dave Matthews Band’s “Satellite”

Hope Solo, known for being the goalie on the U.S. women’s soccer team, makes some soccer puns about blocking the competition. She and Maks warm up with some soccer, and then Maks worries that the Viennese Waltz is too dainty and girly a dance for a hardcore athlete like Hope.

Hope tries to dispel this by wearing a pink, flowy dress with lots of jewels, and does a decent job keeping up with Maks. Bruno likes it, and thinks Hope has a bright future ahead of her, even though at times it looked like she was about to hit Maks in the face. Carrie Ann says the body contact was impressive, and that the couple was connected like glue. Len loved the moment, but wants to see Hope get a little more feminine and softer. And hopefully not injure Maks.

Chaz Bono, arguably the most anticipated selection in the season 13 ‘DWTS’ lineup, had a strong debut with his cha cha cha performance.As Celebritology’s Jen Chaney explained:

Chaz Bono — perhaps the most controversial contestant on the new season of “Dancing With the Stars” among a field that includes professional shouter Nancy Grace — proved during last night’s episode that he has the foot-moving skills to stay in the competition.

After weathering some nasty online comments from “DWTS” fans who felt that someone who had undergone a sex change operation had no place on their beloved ballroom dancing show, Bono strutted onstage with partner Lacey Schwimmer looking confident, then followed-up with a strong cha-cha to the tune of “Dancing in the Streets.”

As Emily Yahr reports in the TV Column’s “Dancing With the Stars” recap, the judges rewarded Bono with good but not exceptional scores: a 5, a 6 and a 5. (Based on the scores from Carrie Ann Inaba and co., the front-runners right now are Chynna Phillips, Hope Solo and J.R. Martinez.)

Chaz, the first transgender contestant on the show, received some vitriolic criticisms after being selected but seemed to shake off the pressure to deliver a strong showing. As BlogPost’s Elizabeth Flock reported:

Some said Bono couldn’t dance, or asked which gender his dance partner would be. Others said they would boycott watching ABC. Fox News even ran a story that pled to parents: “Don’t let your kids watch Chaz Bono.”

But when Bono made his debut on the show last night, the contestant looked confident and unruffled by the controversy, and the media said his performance “shined.” As for the outcry against his participation, it seemed muffled by other news about Bono, namely actor David Arquette’s support for him.

A look at Google News from Sept. 1, when Bono was first announced as contestant, and from today, the morning after Bono’s debut, shows that even the language surrounding Bono on DWTS has changed.

First, take a look at the words that were being used in the news on Sept. 1about Bono. While Chaz, Bono and Dancing with the Stars are words most used, some of the other words include: “vicious,” “controversy,” “mocked,” “punk’d” and “polarizing.”

Now, take a look at the words being used in the news about Bono today. Again, Bono and Dancing with the Stars are the words most used, but David Arquette’s name is being used almost as much. And the new words that have sprung up in the Bono coverage — “great,” “good,” “understands” and “relate” — are all positive.

While it seems the tide of public opinion has shifted in Bono’s favor, another recurring word in news about Bono today is “security,” referring to the extra security the contestant was given during filming.

More from The Washington Post

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