Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Dancing with the Stars Update: Chaz Bono Voted Off

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Folks, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me any that Chaz Bono was voted off earlier tonight during the “results” portion of “Dancing with the Stars,” but it does sadden me.

As I said last night in this post, I believed Bono wasn’t given enough credit for what he actually did during his tango.

Now, was Bono’s tango with professional dance partner Lacey Schwimmer a flawless dance?  Of course not.  But it was interesting, entertaining, and I think Bono performed it to the best of his ability.

There were plenty of performances last night that didn’t entertain me half so much as Bono’s, including that of soccer star Hope Solo and her professional partner, Maksim Chmerikovskiy.  Chmerikovsky had a well-publicized rant that I won’t reproduce here that went to the effect that Solo is being asked to do more than “other contestants, who are only judged on effort” (Chmerikovskiy said this tonight during DWTS, which is why I was able to reproduce it nearly word-for-word) — more or less calling out Chaz Bono and possibly Nancy Grace, as Grace has to be the worst dancer left now that Bono is gone (Grace also has half the charm and less than half the personality of Bono; what she does have is a cute partner, Tristan MacManus, though Schwimmer is a beautiful woman and has a following of her own due to several seasons on DWTS and a season on “So You Think You Can Dance” years ago).

I chose to focus on Bono rather than Chmerikovskiy’s rant because to me, as a performer, what Bono was going through was obvious.  He had just done his best; it wasn’t perfect, but he did something way outside his comfort zone, and aside from his partner Schwimmer (and maybe the rest of the cast, who all seemed to love Bono like he was a long-lost brother), Bono got no appreciation for it.  That judge Bruno Tonioli called Bono a “cute little penguin” didn’t sit well with Bono, as we saw during tonight’s results episode, where some of the “behind the scenes” stuff from last evening was played — Bono said that he was tired of being called “some fat troll who’s dancing with the beautiful girl” (referring to his partner, Schwimmer, who really is a beautiful woman) and that Tonioli, in particular, kept saying this about Bono.

I know that hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet were worried that Bono would lose it on stage due to how angry he was due to last night’s comments from head judge Len Goodman and Tonioli, but Bono was gracious.  He thanked the cast of DWTS; he thanked them for the opportunity, and said that his whole mission was to give others the idea that there could be a “different kind of man,” at which point Schwimmer hooted and hollered in obvious support.  (Good for her!)

I think Bono acquitted himself well on DWTS and I really enjoyed watching him dance.  I also believe Schwimmer should be commended on three fronts: she helped Bono learn to dance, she helped Bono withstand the criticism of being DWTS’s first ever transsexual contestant, and she was honest with him about his ability and his strengths from the first.

I hope Bono realizes what Schwimmer has done here, as it goes well beyond a teacher who’s proud of her pupil.  Schwimmer actively supported Bono and treated him just like any other guy; she saw him as male (which, of course, he is), she saw him as worthy of praise and criticism just like anyone else, and she did what she could to help him withstand the unnecessary criticism she knew he was likely to get from some of the judges.

Now, Bono also made one other point in those revealing “after-the-Monday-dance comments” — he said that the bigger women (referring to Nancy Grace and Ricki Lake) were praised for losing weight, but that his weight loss had gone unobserved and/or uncommented on.   Schwimmer definitely seemed to understand this; she’s had large, male partners before (Kyle Massey immediately comes to mind) and she knows from her own father, Buddy Schwimmer, that bigger men can indeed learn to dance and dance very well.

I hope that Bono will take away three things from his DWTS experience:

1) He has made a true friend, Lacey Schwimmer — and her friendship is worth having.

2) He learned how to dance several dances (cha cha, rhumba, tango, samba, quickstep, and one more).

3) He has a winning personality and the ability to persevere amidst a huge amount of psychological and physical strain.

If he keeps all of that in mind and dwells on what he did right rather than the DWTS judges commentary, the world could indeed be his oyster.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm

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