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Dancing with DeLay: Tango Trip-Up

Though he and former model Kathy Ireland both the fewest points from the professional judges, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay survived another week on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" after nearly dropping his dance partner on her back. Because viewers -- who do the other half of the voting -- have absolutely no idea who Ireland is. Bye bye, Kathy Ireland.

DeLay was actually worse than the previous week, when he had turned The Troggs's "Wild Thing" into a national nightmare, lip synching and wiggling his ample rump for the camera dressed in a leopard vest and grandma pants.

"Last Monday, our conservative Republican cha cha to "Wild Thing" was all the rage of cable news," show host Tom Bergeron says during Monday's performance show.
Like that one? There was plenty more where that came from, including:
"Tom DeLay shocked America with his liberal moves on the dance floor."

Da dum dum!

"I felt great doing the cha cha to The "Wild Thing"," DeLay tells the "Dancing" camera at the top of Tuesday's results show. "I was breaking loose!"

For DeLay, performing the tango mostly involves trying to figure out how to coordinate his footwork with snapping his head -- to the left. "I can't coordinate my head and my feet," DeLay announces to dance partner Cheryl Burke. We don't doubt it. The strain proves too much for him, physically. "Excruciating on my toes," DeLay says at the end of a montage of Tom DeLay Rehearsal Grimaces.

"The weeks of pounding my feet on hardwood floors - I had trouble with my toes," DeLay explains to the camera, counting on most people's ignorance about dance floors - they're cushioned - and dancing - it's not about pounding your feet. Politicians feeding people a crock and counting on them not recognizing hooey when they hear it - that has never happened before.

"So we decided to go to the doctor," DeLay tells viewers.

And though we, like you, saw the press reports about DeLay suffering his pre-stress foot fracture long before this season of "Dancing" debuted last week, thanks to the miracle of modern "reality" TV technology, the producers create a storyline for this week's show in which Tom DeLay gets a pre-stress fracture while rehearsing the tango.

This, in turn, pumps up the drama on his next line: "I've worked too hard and even though my foot hurts, nothing's going to stop me from doing this dance tonight," while giving the camera the do-not-mess-with-me look that could cause House Republicans to shake in their wing tips and vote to "save" Terri Schiavo.

For his tango, DeLay is dressed like a high-school leprechaun on prom night: snug black not-quite-a-tux suit, black shirt, bright green tie. He and Cheryl do a stiff but kinda competent tango, at the end of which she goes into her final dip, he stumbles like a hippo hitting a tripwire, the crowd gasps, she wonders if there isn't an easier way to make a living, they recover, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

DeLay limping slightly, approaches the judges table while mumbling apologies to Cheryl. The judges' wisely take the high road. Bruno Tonioli calls their performance "distinguished." Guest judge Baz Luhrmann - yes, the "Moulin Rouge" director - uses the words "dignity and grace," and Carrie Ann Inaba weighs in with "I have to say there was something very alluring about watching the two of you dance,"

But - and this is why we so love Carrie Ann - she can't resist adding that if he wishes to avoid tossing his dance partner during dips in the future, "you've got to squeeze them together - sir," in re his Former House Majority Leader butt cheeks.

"I don't think historically that's been his problem," Bergeron snickers. And it's lines like this that make us realize how horribly we'd miss Tom DeLay should he ever be cut from the competition.

Backstage, show co-host Samantha "Brunettes Can Be Dumb Too' Harris informs DeLay, "Watching your face at the end there, you looked like you were in a lot of pain."
"The foot hurts, but we're gonna dance till it breaks," DeLay promises. So, it's his left foot. "He's a tough man -- even though it hurts, he's not going to say it hurts," dance partner Cheryl says -- right after DeLay finished saying it hurts. "You can tell," Samantha agrees with Cheryl, of DeLay being the kind of stolid guy who suffers in silence - out loud.

But enough of DeLay's pain. Time to cue the comedy. "Often times we like to ask celebrities which friends have called and what they have said. Any calls from Washington?" Samantha asks.

DeLay forgets his pain long enough to chortle: "Well, I've had the former Speaker of the House -- I had 24 members of Congress send me emails. They all think I'm crazy."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  September 30, 2009; 1:09 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  | Tags: ABC, Cheryl Burke, Dancing with the Stars,, Kathy Ireland, Samantha Harris, Tom Bergeron, elimination  
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Earlier this week my herniated spine (yet again) went KABLOOEY! Unable to walk, all the loving members of my family made sure I was made most comfortable on the sofa in our family room in front of the tube. Everything was going swimmingly, until my 13 year old precocious daughter gained control of the remote. AND then she turned it to the 'dancing ' show - all the while telling me nobody gave a crap about Ken Burns new documentary... quite literally, unable to move, I was, like a GITMO prisoner forced to watch the abomination that is 'Dancing With The Scars' ... seeing Delay prance as a wounded fairy was too much... and... I vomited! At which point my daughter gave me back the remote... thank Buddha for small blessings. BTW, the PBS series by Burns was awesome!

Posted by: sdmac | October 3, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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