I've said it before and I'll say it again: Dancing With The Stars is the best feelgood reality show on TV. Just about all the contestants are reaching within themselves to try something that's outside their comfort zone, there's no sniping or bitterness among the players, and even the judges are fair-minded while still being suitably critical. That being said, let's look at this season's men...
- Cameron Mathison. I may not be a soap aficionado, but I know a fine male specimen when I see one (though I doubt we'll be seeing him shirtless here). Interesting factoid about his bone disease, which may have some impact on his flexibility; we'll have to wait and see. A good effort thus far, but I'm not sure he's got the staying power compared to some of the other players; I'm hoping soap fans don't keep him onboard longer than necessary out of loyalty to his show.
- Floyd Mayweather. So far, he appears to be the male counterpart to Sabrina Bryan--lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm, but in need of a bit of refinement. Very interesting to see his transformation from a "do it my way" bad boy to a team player as well.
- Helio Castroneves. I confess that, paired with last season's champion Julianne Hough, I had high hopes for Helio--and he didn't disappoint. Good gods, I got goosebumps during the foxtrot. Even granting that a Brazilian background might impart some sense of rhythm, he's got a lot of potential, and could emerge as the male frontrunner.
- Albert Reed. Ironically, the casual reference to Zoolander proved oddly prophetic, as all three judges focused more on Albert's hip movements than his actual dance moves. A nice guy, and, for a model, refreshingly grounded, but not sure he's total invested in this event yet--too much goofiness and not enough technique.
- Mark Cuban. I've read about him in Wired--among other places--and I'll confess I had rather low, Jerry-Springer-style expectations. However, he turns out to be far more committed to this than just "Let's have some fun", and, while his technique needs a little work, he's right up with the showbiz types in terms of being a true entertainer. But who on earth dressed him in what appears to be a patchwork hunter's tuxedo?
- Wayne Newton. Gotta confess--I'm not a fan. In fact, I'm a little bit freaked out by what appears to be Joan-Rivers-scale cosmetic enhancements. For a 65-year-old, he did pretty well, but, like last season's John Raztenberger, I think he's a short-termer.
So, bottom line? I'd love to see it boil down to Jane Seymour and Helio Castroneves; I suspect Sabrina Bryan, Mel B, and perhaps Floyd Mayweather may also make it pretty far. Check back with me in a couple of months...