As "Dancing with the Stars" burst on the screen for its second week into the new season, the emphasis appeared to be on glamour, fast fancy footwork, and a mad dash for the brass ring as contestants worked up a sweat in rehearsal and sought to showcase their talent on the big night with dazzling finesse.
Mad, was the key word, alright.
In fact, tensions ran so high on occasion that one judge quipped:
"Show up. Step up. And, shut up."
Kate Gosselin - the money-grubbing reality-show star (?) - stirred up controversy when a temper tantrum trigged her instructor to yell at her - I quit - just before storming off in a huff.
There were quite a few hits, amidst the misses (and bad manners), though.
Along the way, entertaining quips from the judges, kept the audience in side-splitting laughter.
For instance, when Pamela Anderson wafted onto the stage the spitting image of screen icon - Marilyn Monroe - one judge chortled that he just spied a limo packed with Kennedys careen up to the curb outside.
The impromptu spats - which underscored that a couple of the dancers (male & female) were testy prima donnas - kept audiences on the edge-of-their seats shaking their heads in disgust (but begging for more juicy moments of classless low-brow entertainment).
For example, in one frustrating moment Kate Gosselin confronted her partner - pro dancer Tony Dovolani - because she couldn't cut (or keep up with) the fast pace.
In a shame-faced bid for sympathy, Gosselin played the damsel in distress.
"He feels like I undermined him as a teacher and I didn't. I'm not qualified to teach, but I am qualified to know how it is that I want something to be shown to me," Kate said to camera.
"Like, I just want to learn, like show me, so I can get it."
A handful in the audience were inclined to cluck.
Meanwhile, Tony was under the impression Kate was criticizing his instruction.
"I am a successful dance instructor. No one has ever treated me like this," he wined as he slunk off with his tail between his legs.
Eventually, the dismal twosome patched up their differences and moved on.
Pamela Anderson added a lot of sizzle to the show last night when she went old Hollywood.
When she floated across the stage as Marilyn Monroe - in a sparkly body-fitting gown, white gloves, and short-cropped fifties-style "do" - the rapt audience was knocked out (as were the judges) by a performance that was sensual, precise, and classy.
One judge felt she needed to stand taller, find her center, and - uh-huh - refrain from the tendency to lead with her boobs.
Those judges say the darndest things, don't they?
Later on a talk show around the midnight hour, host Tom Bergeron joked:
"Pam excited me tonight. Then, she danced."
Her partner was dashing in a morning coat with tails, elegant cravat, tasteful pocket puff, and stylish shoes to match.
The performance rustled up a standing ovation for the beaming dancers!
There were precarious moments, though.
In a rehearsal, Pam fell back (with partner in tow) into a mirrored wall and went boom.
"I already said, there's no way I'm going down in a fox trot," she laughed as she struggled to regain her balance (and composure).
The former V.I.P star was praised for "getting into the moment" - and likewise - channeling Marilyn Monroe so expertly.
"I'm happy do something so much fun at this point in career," she chirped to one of the hosts as she waited for the scores to ripple off the cue cards.
"It had an elegance about it... a cheeky charm," Len gushed.
"It was a well executed delicious tribute to the original blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe," Bruno enthused.
Doherty expressed doubts about being able to remember the complicated routine.
"There is so much to learn."
Her instructor was steadfast in pushing her to the limits.
Although TV's popular soap girl appeared a bit dumpy in the rehearsal hall (pleasingly plump?) the still-sexy brunette cleaned up good later.
In fact, the winsome twosome were dazzling in their glittery black & white outfits ( hers sparked up with eye-catching heels and his with a stand-out string tie).
Their high-spirited number, though electric, was a bit flawed.
Len Goodman thought the performance was fast, fun, and energetic.
"A mean jive that engaged the audience," he raved.
"You need more control with the feet, though, Shannon," he added as an afterthought.
Trusting her partner - Mark - paid off well.
Evan (Gold Medalist)) was smartly turned out in tight jeans and vinyl leather jacket teamed with pink socks and ubiquitous sneakers.
"Suprise moves and interesting steps," applauded Len, who was prone to criticize Evan's legs on the grounds that they "went everywhere" in his estimation.
"The connection with the audience and your partner was there."
"Like greased lightning tonight, spot on. Don't go wobbly now."
Niecy added a dollop of humor - and a flourish of color - to the show.
The hefty likeable dancer wore a large flower in her hair to add a touch of romance to the sparkly outfit that accented her generous fleshy curves.
The effervescent gal expressed concerns that there were communication problems with her partner, who was describing the moves in such way, that they diffficult to fathom (in her opinion).
When Louie mentioned he was reaching for a performance that was smooth as butter, she lit up, though.
"Now you're speaking my language. Cause I love food!"
In spite of her loud big demeanour, Judges hailed her fox trot as effortness.
Who would of thunk it?
I didn't warm up to her gown - a nightmare in pink - somewhat reminiscent of a Supremes cast off.
A judge compared it to a frothy pink milkshake (mistake?).
There were a couple of glaring incidents when flowing gowns triggered potential disasters on stage.
For example, fabric often swept up between the legs of male partners, without warning.
Because Niecy was such a big Mamma, I speculated earlier on there would not be any lifts in her dance future, though.
My prediction was right on the money as both bods continued to hug the stage floor throughout the routine.
Two other dancers who fought openly - Jake & Chelsie - caused me to wonder to myself.
Are they in love, but don't know it yet?
He retorted at one point that he felt silly about the routine.
"I react like a porcupine. It's my defense mechanism," he apologized later with an obvious stick still up his pretty little butt.
Chelsie was adamant that she was not asking - but telling him in no uncertain terms - that there were hitches that still needed to be worked out.
When he lamented he couldn't get into a specific position - she remarked off-handed almost under her breath - that he was bull-legged.
He wouldn't cave in, though.
"I tend to take up the challenge, tackle, then try to nail it," he noted earnestly to the camera.
A studlly macho guy rife with attitude.
Jake cut a fine swath on the dance floor, too, decked out in black boots, white socks (or was he wearing spats?), dress slacks, and stylish checked jacket.
At one point, when he unexpected offered up three deep thrusts from the groin area, it became obvious he was definitely stripper material.
Her black cocktail with torquoise fringe flattered her figure.
Judges noted they were a joy to watch, although Jake needed to be lighter on his feet.
"You have to trust your partner," one judge stressed amid nods from others on panel.
Chelsie described her realtionshilp with Jake to that of "brother & sister".
Was it my imagination, or did that assessment of their relationship upset him?
BUZZ Aldrin continued on valiantly.
One judge thought the former astronaut was dancing with trepidation.
"You look like you're afraid to step on her toes."
In spite of comments like - tender, charming, tugs at heartstrings - scores were quite low.
I expect the moon-walker will not be tripping-the-light fantastic much longer on Dancing with Stars.
One cutting criticism?
"On the moon, you go this way 'n that to avoid craters. Here, it may be a good idea to go in a straight line on occasion," Len sniped.
Pussy Cat doll Nicole- and partner Derek - were enthusiastic and full of energy.
Instead of a 50's classic tune they were pining for, the Judges nudged music for a contemporary song under their noses come rehearsal day.
Initially, both were annoyed with the turn of events, they didn't anticipate.
In spite of the disappointment, the attractive couple managed to choreograph an upbeat, fast-paced routine, loved by the normally-picky judges
One judge was totally wowed.
"You reinvented the jive!"
Maks and Erin bowled the judges over, too.
In rehearsal, Erin laughed about the fact she was such a Tom Boy - and lamented to anyone within earshot - that she doubted her dance instructor would be able to draw the inner princess out.
"Maks works hard. He screams and drives me crazy."
The concentrated effort paid off.
Judges raved, after all, that she was a natural.
"Like a duck taking to water."
"Stunning", "lyrical", "flexible" were some of the superlatives used.
Sadly, Chad and Cherly were compared to a snow storm.
"You're glad when it's over," Len sniped heartlessly.
So were we!
Tonight, the first round of eliminations on ABC.