On TV: Blocking the Light Fantastic

Okay, the over-the-top Vegas extravaganza (was that redundant?) called “Dancing With the Stars” is up and running again on ABC. This year we have a strong Pittsburgh connection as Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward makes the transformation from helmet and pads to sequins and ballroom shoes. “I am a dancer. I am a dancer. I am a dancer.” That is apparently his mantra, delivered with the ease of a champion. But, hey folks, Hines apparently has a lot more going for him than his trademark smile. From these veteran dance-watching eyes, he could take the top prize.

Of course, anything can happen on this show. But as I see it, there are only four real possibilities. Former “Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio scored 24 and took the judges’ honors for his foxtrot, while Kirstie Alley, only one point behind, was the surprise of the night with a smooth, undulating cha cha. Disney star Chelsea Kane (who?) showed plenty of personality (think Kate Hudson) in her fox trot and landed in a tie with Hines at 21 points.

Well, hello! Hines has the swivel hips of a Latin lover, is light on his feet and, once he lets loose from his washboard abs and stands up taller, will score in style points as well. For my money, it’s between him and Kirstie, although she could easily self-destruct. Ralph is a dark horse. Obviously he has had some dance training, but is not a natural and even looks a little awkward with his tall, lean frame. Chelsea is talented and perky and could go down the same road as that other talented and perky Disney star, Kyle, who place third last year. I guess we’ll have to see…



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