Monday, March 19, 2012

Dancing with the Stars - The City Diva's Picks for The Top 5 Performances of All Time

I've been a loyal fan of Dancing With the Stars (known as the “DWTS” to all the cool kids in the crowd) since it debuted in all its sequined and spray tanned glory in 2005. There’s something truly stunning about seeing “stars” plucked from obscurity (I’m looking at you Stacy Keibler and Kate Gosselin), paired with professional ballroom dancers and made to twirl around the dance floor until they collapse from the pressure or rise to glory to win the coveted mirror ball trophy.

A few years ago, in an effort to rival the March Madness euphoria that overtook our office every spring, I decided to create a DWTS Fantasy Bracket for that season of DWTS. If you think a Fantasy Bracket involving vaguely familiar actors and unheard of champion ballroom dancers can’t get competitive, think again! We watched the performer’s paso, tango, and waltz their way onto our TV screens every Monday and then eagerly awaited the announcement from host Tom Bergeron on Tuesday to see which of our teams had been eliminated. And much like the lucky winners of the TV show, the winner of our DWTS Fantasy Bracket won their very own mirror ball trophy. Even pesky judge Len Goodman would give that a “10!”

Without further ado, and sadly without an opening video montage al a DWTS, I present to you my Top 5 DWTS Performances of All Time:

1 – Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: Argentine Tango

First introduced to women everywhere as Dante, Samantha’s hot and steamy California neighbor in Sex and the City: The Movie, the French-born actor Gilles Marini danced onto TV screens during season 8 of DWTS. My pick for the best dance in DWTS history  belongs to Gilles and his professional dance partner, Cheryl Burke (a huge honor for Gilles and Cheryl, I’m sure). Their interpretation of this sensual dance had just the right amount of intensity and passion and their intricate footwork was flawlessly executed.   

2 – Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: Paso Doble

In their Week 5 performance of the Latin style of dance known as the Paso Doble, Gilles portrayed an artistic and agile matador and Cheryl, dressed in an eye-catching black and white ensemble, represented the matador’s swirling cape. And, Gilles performing shirtless?  Muy caliente!

3 – Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff: Paso Doble

Mario and Karina were a match made in DWTS heaven. They were a sizzling duo from their first Cha-Cha-Cha and viewers couldn't get enough of their onscreen and off-screen chemistry. Their precise Paso Doble to "Cancion Del Mariachi" by the Chicano rock bands Los Lobos and Tito & Tarantula was near perfection and inspired Carrie Ann Inaba to call them, "Too hot to handle."

4 – Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz

Just one year after her Dirty Dancing co-star Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer, Jennifer Grey and her partner Derek Hough performed a moving Viennese Waltz to the Otis Redding hit "These Arms of Mine". Reminiscent of her onscreen performance with Swayze, this tender dance brought the audience to their feet and judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.  

5 – Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya: Argentine Tango

Known for his elegant style and powerful jumps on the ice at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where he placed first in men's figure skating, Even Lysacek was a household name when he joined season 10 of DWTS. Paired with the feisty Russian professional dancer, Anna Trebunskaya, they didn't hit their stride until they performed this Argentine Tango in Week 10. 

Honorable Mention: My Favorite Non-Competitive Performances
These dances are pure fun and showcase the talent that the professional dancers bring to the ballroom each week. 

The brother and sister duo Julianne Hough and Derek Hough have been performing together since they were kids growing up in Sandy, Utah. This performance to "Shake Your Tail Feather" will get you shaking in your seat and tapping your toes.

Veteran DWTS professionals Julianne Hough and Tony Dovolani perform alongside country superstars Rascal Flatts in this 2009 piece to "Here Comes Goodbye." 

Do you watch DWTS? If so, who are your favorite performers and what are your favorite performances from the past 13 seasons? Tune in tonight for the premiere of Season 14 of Dancing With the Stars on ABC! 

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