November 23rd, 2010
09:42 AM ET
Welcome to the show not found on Oprah's "Ultimate Favorite Things" for 2010, "Skating with the Stars." The premise of the show is simple - it's "Dancing with the Stars," but on ice.
Host Vernon Kay began the premiere on the "Dancing" set, which happens to be right next door to the "Skating" set. As he walked toward the "Skating" rink, we saw various crew members celebrating his arrival like he's Prince William. Two minutes in, my wife asked the one question all of America was thinking at that moment:
Who in the world is Vernon Kay?
In short, the British-born Kay hosted the blinked-and-you-missed it celebrity talent show "Hit Me Baby One More Time" for NBC in 2005. He also hosts the UK version of "Family Feud."
Vernon arrived on the "Skating" set with the promise that if you enjoy people falling down, this is the show for you. Alas, no one fell during the live performances, so I feel a tad ripped off.
We're then introduced to the "world class" skaters who are paired with the celebrities. Actually, we're not introduced to them by name, but via some bizarre routine that resembled one of the intermission breaks in the movie "The Running Man." Then the celebs were welcomed to the rink, with Sean Young introduced as a "movie icon." Maybe in Sean Young's world...
Vernon then introduced the judges: Olympic medalist Johnny Weir, some choreographer no one has heard of and figure skating legend Dick Button. Fun fact: Dick Button created "Battle of the Network Stars," so he's highly knowledgeable in judging junk.
This was followed with MORE introductions as Vernon revealed his co-host, Olympic medalist Tanith Belbin. I liked Tanith on this show - she did a great job explaining routines to "common folk" like me. I'd rather see her host the show solo than be dumped with Vernon Kay, whose sole role in the premiere appeared to be acting like a very poor man's Craig Ferguson.
Our first celeb out of the gate was actor Brandon Mychal Smith, who Vernon praised for not falling down. Brandon got several rounds of applause during his routine, which doesn't say much when EVERYONE got several rounds of applause during their routines. Brandon got 16 points out of 30 for technical merit, and 20 out of 30 for artistic expression.
Next up was Sean Young, whose skating partner was introduced with a stereotypical "evil Soviet" soundtrack. Watching their performance was like viewing a VHS tape with the VCR stuck on slo-mo. Dick Button urged Sean to "get rid of her girdle" in future performances, and I'm not sure if that's figure skating speak for asking someone out. Sean got 34 total points for her routine.
Olympic medalist Jonny Moseley, who was complimented by Dick for having great knees, delivered a performance that Tanith said set the stadium on fire, even though the audience sounds the same every time. Forty points for Jonny.
Soap star Rebecca Budig came out with guns blazing, and she and partner Fred Palascak earned a show-leading 45 points from the judges.
We then came to rocker Vince Neil, who was actually a competitive skater as a child. His partner, Jennifer Wester, won something called the Nebelhorn Trophy in 2007. Vince stumbled around the rink during his routine, earning a mere 28 points for his effort. At least he didn't fall on his nebelhorn.
Our final celeb, reality TV star Bethenny Frankel, seemed quite fearless on the ice, allowing partner Ethan Burgess to spin and twirl her into complete dizziness. This didn't please the judges, who awarded her just 29 points and causing Vernon to have a fit.
Next week, the skaters perform either a tango or a waltz.
What did you think of last night's "Skating with the Stars" premiere?
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