Breaking English News: Prince William Engaged While Widdy Breaks It Down On The Dance Floor

Here we are, near the end of our journey with Season 11 of Dancing with the Stars.  Our two pre-season favorites, Brandy and Jennifer, were, to no one’s surprise, in tonight’s semi-finals.  Also in the semi-finals were the previously unknown (to me) Kyle, doing surprisingly well, and one very long shot, Bristol, still hanging in there in spite of weeks of being at the bottom of the judges’ leader board.  The question on everyone’s minds:  Why is Bristol still here?

The question on my mind:  Why do we vote the way we do?  Apparently it isn’t just Americans who throw the judges’ numbers out when deciding how to vote. Last week an English acquaintance brought me up to speed on this season’s Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC, the show that, on our shores, became Dancing with the Stars.”  (We share two judges, Len and Bruno, who fly back and forth during the simultaneous parts of the seasons).  One contestant, Ann Widdecombe, a former Member of Parliament, has become quite the limey lightning rod.  A Rubenesque 60-something lady with a sweet smile, “Widdy” clearly has no talent, rhythm, or ability.  (See her photo here and tell me The Situation and Kate Gosselin aren’t looking better to you?)  She has been urged by some to quit the show.  The purists say she is de-valuing dance, but still the viewers keep voting her in.  Judges and dance aficionados are horrified.  Why?  People are voting for the person they like, the person they want to win.  That’s it.  Really, neither Strictly Come Dancing nor DWTS is a dance show.  That’s why there are soap stars, retired football players, and “teen activists,” on them.  If they wanted a serious dance competition, all the competitors would be professional dancers. What if the American television audience chose the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics?  You know what would happen: viewers would vote for the person they liked – the best looking or the one who had a couple of cute kids.  We viewers don’t know anything more about ballroom dancing than we know about physics.

Behold, the grace of Widdy.

On Monday night Bristol finally gave her supporters a reason to cheer, earning three 9s from the judges for her first dance, a paso doble.  Len called her “Bristol the Pistol” and told her this was her best dance.  The audience gave her a standing ovation.  Her second dance, a waltz, was not as well-received, but still earned her a 26.  Bruno probably echoed the sentiments of many in the audience when he told her, “You have really had a journey.”  Unfortunately for Bristol, her best night was overshadowed by the best nights of all three of her competitors, all of whom outscored her.  Her final total of 53 was her highest yet, but still left her in fourth place. Jennifer earned six perfect 10s and an outpouring of praise for both her cha cha and waltz.  Bruno described her as “vibrant and sexy, with flawless execution” and told her, “You are a great dancer and never forget it.” “You are one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen,” Len effused.  Interestingly, Brandy earned almost as much praise as Jennifer, but was outscored by one point by Kyle. The judges cheered Kyle’s “bionic bum” and “pelvic action” in his samba, and his tango made Carrie Ann compare him to (DWTS winner) Emmit Smith.  He ended the evening with four 10s and two 9s for a total of 58. Brandy’s paso doble, strangely dedicated to “anyone who’s ever been bullied,” earned her three 9s, and her tango was worth three 10s, leaving her at the end of the evening in third place with 57.

DWTS managed some interesting filler material this week, stretching eight dances of a minute and a half each to (only) 91 minutes this week from their usual 120.  Friends and family described why each contestant has the ever-popular drive to win.  With that, we got one of the stranger mixtures of people on the planet on one show: Whitney Houston, Lou Gossett, Sarah Palin, and Jamie Lee Curtis.  Brandy and Jennifer have both been involved in horrific automobile accidents with fatalities.  Because of this Jennifer has had to deal with multiple surgeries, which she underwent years after the accident in order to appear on Dancing with the Stars.  Brandy says she was called a “murderer” after her accident and couldn’t leave her house for months. Kyle and Brandy came from humble beginnings, have both been child stars and have endured the ups and downs associated with that path.  Bristol was humiliated when her normal life was interrupted with a teen pregnancy played out in front of millions of people during the 2008 election.

So which three will be in the finals?  I’ve got my fingers crossed that my girl Jennifer will be.  She’s the only one of the four who’s never been in the bottom and, after Monday’s performance, she shouldn’t be tonight.  Moving along this same path, since I don’t have any reason to think this week will be any different from the other eight, Bristol will survive. (Last night she said that people vote for her because she’s real and not “phony Hollywood.”  You mean like your three fellow competitors, who are all from Hollywood?  That ought to nab you the Most Popular award in the dressing room).  So will Brandy make it an all-girls’ final or will Kyle make it through?  The way things are going this year with eliminations, who knows?  I still miss Audrina.


  1. This is what I like about English news, you'll get to know what is happening around and you improve your English grammar.