“Dancing with the Stars” launched this week with what is most certainly the most eclectic and evenly-matched cast in the show’s nine seasons. Last night’s elimination show saw the exit of R&B weirdo Macy Gray and Hollywood scion Ashley Hamilton. But the episode — and the whole week, really — was hijacked by a tribute to the late Patrick Swayze, who did as much as anybody to bring dancing back to the big screen and into the mainstream. A pair of the professional dancers on the show did a touching dance to Swayze’s “She’s Like the Wind” while another two re-created the final routine from “Dirty Dancing” (accompanied, of course, by “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” (There was a third tribute — an interpretive dance of the pottery scene from “Ghost” — but the less said about that, the better.) Some of the celebrity dancers had good weeks — particularly Mya, Donny Osmond and Aaron Carter — but the Swayze tributes really drove home how much better the pros are than their more-famous counterparts.
Other highlights from this week: The duel between Tom Delay and Chuck Liddell continued with relatively even scores and Joanna Krupa revealed herself as a better mover than anybody thought. Also, last night saw the premiere of a snippet of Miley Cyrus’ new video for “Party in the U.S.A.” that featured lots of cowboy boots, pickup trucks and giant “Patton”-esque American flag backdrops.
With one week in the books and two dancers gone, Krupa and Carter have the best scores with Mya and (shockingly) Kelly Osbourne not far behind. The competition should get livelier as more and more people get eliminated, but it’s pretty clear that the three-night marathon kickoff-a-palooza is simply too much.