Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Dancing With the Stars :: Season 30 Premiere


Dancing with the Stars' star-studded 30th anniversary premiere
by Kim Krober

What a difference a year makes! Dancing with the Stars returned in full sequined force to celebrate its 30th season in style. It was great to see a choreographed opening number featuring all the dance pros in their splendor, along with the return of an audience (even if it wasn't a full crowd, and they were all wearing face masks). I was happy to see my favorite curmudgeon Len Goodman back as a judge now that pandemic traveling restrictions have eased and even happier to see the producers decided to keep Derek Hough as a judge, fresh from his inspired Emmy win.

Rounding out the judges' table, Carrie Ann Inaba looked like a radiant goddess, and Bruno Tonioli continues to be my favorite silver fox. Host Tyra Banks did not disappoint, coming out in a dress that I think was inspired by the mirror ball trophy but looked bizarre on her. There should be a DWTS drinking game for every time she makes a wardrobe change and bonus shots for each outfit being more hideous and unflattering as the night progresses. Or, maybe we could hire better costumers to dress her or veto her poor decisions if she's dressing herself. Just a thought.

Let's see how your favorites fared on this first week of competition:

Melanie C & Gleb Savchenko, Cha-Cha

I remember when The Spice Girls were everywhere spicing up everyone’s lives in the ‘90s. I predict good things for Melanie C (Sporty Spice) this season, if her spirited Cha-Cha with Gleb set to The Spice Girls’ smash hit “Wannabe” is any indication. It was the perfect eye candy to open the show. Len complimented Melanie for a polished performance while Derek called it clean and precise with beautiful footwork. Bruno thanked her for spicing up the cha-cha-cha but told her she could have benefited from having more pronounced hip action. Carrie Ann said all her dreams were coming true having her favorite Spice Girl in the house, calling the dance amazing. It was enough for 7s from all the judges except for Derek, who gave her a 6.
Total: 27

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin & Witney Carson, Cha-Cha

I’m not ashamed to admit a secret crush (well maybe not so secret now) on WWE superstar The Miz. Seeing him dance a Cha-Cha to “Butter” by BTS made me melt to his charms again. I would love to see a pro athlete go all the way this season, and he's my top pick. Derek was surprised to see him have fluid movement without any stiffness. Bruno praised Witney for taming the beast, calling him a well-oiled machine who was surprisingly light on his feet. Carrie Ann said he had an incredible energy, but he needs to tone it down a notch. Len said it was better than he was expecting for his first dance. It was great to see Witney back and with a potentially strong partner!
Total: 24

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Jive

Professional athletes-turned-dancers are somewhat of a mixed bag on DWTS. Historically speaking, NBA players don’t do as well as NFL players on this program due to their height differences with their dance pro partners, and Iman and Daniella clearly have their work cut out for them. However, Iman’s Jive to Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” showcased his youthful energy. He can certainly shake it like a Polaroid picture. Bruno noted that he was nimble with plenty of musicality, but he needs to work on his footwork. Carrie Ann called him the "Fly Guy of Season 30," saying his Jive was incredibly smooth for week one. Len was sad that it was too casual with poor technique, although he admitted it was entertaining. Derek said he looked comfortable and in his element.
Total: 21

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Salsa

No offense, but I could care less about “social media stars.” ABC is only interested in Olivia Jade for being the daughter of disgraced celebs Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli. I think they’re hoping her family’s scandal will bring ratings. She is fortunate to be paired with DWTS royalty Val. Not only is he a great teacher and choreographer, but he will likely garner them more votes than she would have earned on her own (ironic, no?). Her Salsa to Lizzo’s “Juice” received praise from Carrie Ann who admired her legs and her confidence. Len thought it was clean and polished, although it could have used more spice. Derek could tell she was having fun but cautioned her about her shoulders. Bruno told her she took to dancing like a duck to water.
Total: 25

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Tango

I’m not a big country music fan, so I hadn’t heard of Jimmie Allen before the cast reveal. However, his smile and personality quickly won me over. His tango to Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” seemed more awkward than sexy, but it is the first week and partnerships aren't fully forged yet. Len noted this type of dance didn't suit his personality, but he feels he has great potential. Derek called it incredible week one frame, though he needs to be more consistent in his movements. Bruno said they managed to keep the Tango on track even though there were some missteps. Carrie Ann felt it was missing some of the dance's specificity but said it was a tremendous effort.
Total: 22

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Tango

I’ve recently been binging reruns of The Office, and it still holds up as being one of the funniest sitcoms of the modern era. It was a treat seeing Melora Hardin (the love of Michael Scott's life Jan) dance a Tango to Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible," and my heart is happy to see her paired with Artem. They looked so handsome together. Derek gave her a standing ovation, saying he was blown away by the dynamics and dips. Bruno said she rocked the Tango with great lines and placements, although she lost her balance a few times. Carrie Ann gave it up for the drama and beautiful extensions. Len liked there was "no messing and no stressing." Overall, it was a great first week effort!
Total: 26

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Jive

Olympian athletes tend to fare well in this competition, and Suni Lee does not seem to be an exception to the rule. Her Jive with fan favorite Sasha to Justin Bieber and The Kid LAROI’s “Stay” was easily a standout performance of the night. Bruno called her the Golden Girl, admiring her sunshine and precision with her kicks and tricks. Carrie Ann complimented her skills but told her not to keep it all inward. Len enjoyed the precision but said it could have benefited from more flair and freedom. Derek echoed Len, saying it needed more expression now that she's already mastered the perfection of the dance.
Total: 28

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Tango

Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby seems like a perfect match for Cheryl Burke. Their Tango to “Physical” by Dua Lipa was oddly hypnotic. Carrie Ann could see what all the hype was about with Cody's amazing physique, although she would like to see him more relaxed on the dance floor. Len felt he showed promise but he needs to hold his head up and frame a little tighter. Derek said he was an absolute riot in the best possible way while Bruno called it a great ride (on and off the bike, meow). All the judges agreed Cody is one to watch this season, and I would concur.
Total: 24

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Tango

Will Amanda Kloots’ Tango to Jennifer Lopez’ “Dance Again” be “The Talk” of the 30th season premiere? The pair looked good together with a fun, flirty vibe. Len loved the full Tango content on the first dance while Derek praised her attack, finesse, and joy. Bruno said it was beautiful and full of exquisite details, calling her the full package. Carrie Ann held back tears as she told her that her husband is looking down from heaven and smiling at his angel on the dance floor. She solidified her place as being one to watch.
Total: 28

Martin Kove & Britt Stewart, Paso Doble

What’s the Cobra Kai motto? “Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy.” For being the oldest competitor this season at 75 years young, Martin Kove attempted to strike hard with his first dance. Selecting a Paso Doble to The Karate Kid’s memorable theme “You’re the Best” was a strategic move to present him in his best light: as the evil mastermind behind Cobra Kai. He may not be able to move as fluidly on the dance floor as younger competitors, but he has my heart and votes. Derek proclaimed "Cobra Kai forever!" before saying he felt Martin was more than a little unprepared for the first week. Bruno liked the pitch but told him to work on cleaning up the script and creating more blockbuster content before going into production. Carrie Ann admired his commitment to character. As someone else in his twilight years, Len applauded him for a gallant effort.
Total: 13

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong, Foxtrot

I’ve never seen a single episode of any of the Real Housewives shows. That being said, her Foxtrot to Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” was light, airy, and beautiful to behold. Bruno likened the dance to watching Venus emerge for a kiss. Carrie Ann thought Kenya looked regal and refined with great posture. Len said it had a charm and sophistication while Derek said he can't wait to see what else she can do this season. Same, albeit begrudgingly. Age ain't nothing but a number, as these two proved with their perfection.
Total: 26

Christine Chiu & Pasha Pashkov, Tango

I’ve never watched Bling Empire, so I wasn’t familiar with Christine Chiu. However, Fergie’s “Glamorous” seemed like an appropriate introductory Tango song. I'd like to see Pasha take her far in this competition because he seems like such a nice guy season after season. Carrie Ann told her she's a diamond in the rough with a back most dancers would kill for and an incredible flexibility. Len admired the control, calling it a terrific effort. Derek loved her rhinestone dress and frame, although he said he would have liked to see her glide across the floor a little more. Bruno told her she's a gem but could benefit from a little more polish to achieve true brilliance.
Total: 25

Matt James & Lindsay Arnold, Cha-Cha

Will ABC ever run out of Bachelor contestants to turn into ballroom dancers? It would appear not, with Matt James being the next to vie for the coveted mirror ball trophy. Matt’s Cha-Cha to “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James was a decent effort. Len thought the hip action was lacking but predicted a rosy future in this competition for Matt. Derek welcomed Lindsay back after taking a hiatus to have a baby but cautioned Matt about working on his footwork. Bruno said he delivered with his natural stage presence. Carrie Ann echoed that the footwork was iffy but admired how big he dances, filling the space with confidence.
Total: 24

Brian Austin Green & Sharna Burgess, Foxtrot

I've always had a soft spot for Brian Austin Green since his Beverly Hills, 90210 days. I had no idea until today that he was dating dance pro Sharna Burgess! I am so excited to see their chemistry sizzle this season. I hope it spells another win for her, as she's one of my favorites. Their Foxtrot to Bruno Mars’ “Skate” teases what is yet to come. Derek liked the ease of his movements while Bruno called him Prince Charming. Carrie Ann loved seeing Sharna so happy but warned Brian not to be so mesmerized by his partner that he forgets to connect with the audience and judges. Len told him to work on his footwork but admits they have something special. I heart these two together!
Total: 24

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Quickstep

Love is love, and I’m not one of the fans bothered by seeing a female contestant dance with a female dance pro this season. As long as she puts in the hard work and takes this competition seriously, I wish her all the best. Pairing her with Jenna Johnson was a stroke of creative genius. Dancing a Quickstep to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” was an excellent way to begin the competition. Bruno applauded the history-making moment and freedom of expression of seeing a same-sex couple dance on DWTS, saying he was so high he could hit the rafters. Carrie Ann called it amazing and admired how JoJo took the lead even when her partner slipped a little. Len said it was full of attack and enthusiasm. Derek told her she was born for Dancing with the Stars. She earned the first 8 of the season. I can't wait to see what else is up their sleeves.
Total: 29

What surprises do you think this season of Dancing with the Stars still has in store for us? Did you play along with the fun predictions game on the ABC website where fans have a chance to win prizes based on how well they know this competition?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Dancing With the Stars announces Season 30 Cast


ABC's Dancing with the Stars 2021 celebrity cast was announced on ABC's Good Morning America, live from Disney's California Adventure. The series, hosted by supermodel and businesswoman Tyra Banks, returns to the ballroom for its milestone 30th season with a lineup of celebrities including a WWE legend, a Real Housewife, a Bachelor, a country superstar and a Spice Girl, to name a few. The cast joins Suni Lee and JoJo Siwa, both of whom were previously announced at ABC's 2021 TCA Virtual Press Conferences last month. The new celebrity cast will debut their twists, tricks and kicks during the premiere, live on MONDAY, SEPT. 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on ABC. Watch episodes on demand and on Hulu the day following their premieres.

The celebrities and professional dancers heading to the ballroom are as follows (in alphabetical order): 


  • Country singer Jimmie Allen
  • Spice Girl Melanie C
  • Christine Chiu ("Bling Empire")
  • Brian Austin Green ("Beverly Hills, 90210")
  • Melora Hardin ("The Office")
  • Social media star Olivia Jade
  • Matt James ("The Bachelor")
  • Amanda Kloots ("The Talk")  
  • Martin Kove ("Cobra Kai")
  • Gold medal Olympian Suni Lee
  • WWE Superstar Mike "The Miz" Mizanin
  • Kenya Moore ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta")
  • Peloton star instructor Cody Rigsby
  • NBA star Iman Shumpert
  • Popstar JoJo Siwa

Professional dancers:

  • Brandon Armstrong
  • Lindsay Arnold
  • Alan Bersten
  • Sharna Burgess
  • Cheryl Burke
  • Witney Carson
  • Artem Chigvintsev
  • Val Chmerkovskiy
  • Sasha Farber
  • Jenna Johnson
  • Daniella Karagach
  • Pasha Pashkov
  • Gleb Savchenko
  • Emma Slater
  • Britt Stewart

Viewers will have to tune in to the season premiere to find out with whom their favorite professional dancers are paired. The pairs will be judged by a panel of renowned ballroom experts, including Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough.

During its fall 2020 run, ABC's Dancing with the Stars ranked as the No. 1 entertainment series in its two-hour time slot among Adults 18-49. The series finished among last season's Top 5 most-watched unscripted series with Total Viewers.

The series is produced by BBC Studios' Los Angeles production arm.

JIMMIE ALLEN - Signed to BBR Music Group's Stoney Creek Records, multiplatinum recording artist and songwriter Jimmie Allen has been blazing trails since the beginning of his breakout career. He made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 hits off his 2018 debut album "Mercury Lane" (which The New York Times dubbed as one of 2018's strongest) - the first being his debut single "Best Shot," which claimed the No. 1 spot on Country radio for three weeks, and second being "Make Me Want To." In July 2020, Allen released his star-studded collaboration project "Bettie James" that has since garnered 171+ million streams and a slew of critical acclaim for the music, the historic nature of various collaborations and its subsequent place in country music history. Named for his late grandmother, Bettie Snead, and late father, James Allen, "Bettie James" has been hailed as an "announcement of [Allen's] arrival" and a "huge step for country" (NPR), and "a powerful statement from a developing voice" (Billboard). On June 25, 2021, Allen released the project's follow-up album "Bettie James Gold Edition." The reigning 2021 ACM New Male Artist of the Year and 2020 CMA New Artist of the Year nominee has amassed more than 850 million on-demand streams and performed on "The Kennedy Center Honors," "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," "Good Morning America," "TODAY," "American Idol," "Tamron Hall," "The Steve Harvey Show," "ACM Awards," "CMA Awards," "CMT Music Awards" and more. His current single "Freedom Was A Highway" with superstar Brad Paisley is climbing through the Top 20 on Country radio as he is out on the road on Paisley's headline Tour 2021 as special guest this summer. Allen's debut picture book, My Voice Is a Trumpet - a powerful story about speaking up for what you believe in at any age - was published on July 13, 2021, with Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Allen also serves as executive music producer for Netflix's series "Titletown High," which premiered globally on Aug. 27. Follow Jimmie Allen on Instagram and Twitter.

MELANIE C - The start of Melanie's career really needs no explanation at all, as it is rather well documented. After the iconic 1996 debut single "Wannabe" topped the charts in 37 countries, Spice Girls' debut album "Spice" went on to sell more than 31 million copies worldwide, becoming the bestselling album of all time by a female group. The girls went on to sell more than 85 million records, releasing three studio albums, 13 singles, and winning a host of awards including a BRIT for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. In 2012, Melanie reunited with the Spice Girls for what she described as the highlight of their career as a group - performing at the Olympic Closing Ceremony in London. Follow Melanie C on Instagram and Twitter.

CHRISTINE CHIU - Christine Chiu most recently produced and starred in Netflix's breakout smash hit series, "Bling Empire." She is a co-owner and founder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery and the Regenerative Medicine Aesthetic Institute, as well as the SPA at BHPS. As chief creative officer, she designed the luxe clinic and developed branded partnerships in the non-invasive Spa at BHPS. She has led the development and amplification of the Dr. Chiu brand and has been the spokesperson for the Institute and a respected beauty expert in both dermatology and surgery for national and local print, digital and television media. Chiu attended Pepperdine University, graduating at the top of her class with a dual degree in both international business and philosophy, and a minor in marketing. She spent over a decade in marketing and public relations in the cosmeceutical technology sector prior to founding Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Inc. with her husband, Dr. Gabriel Chiu. As the world's youngest noted haute couture collector, Christine is an international fashion insider and sought-after brand ambassador. Chiu has been recognized in national and international media for her unique personal style, beauty expertise, commitment to Asian American representation and social involvement. Christine and Dr. Gabriel Chiu can often be found following their shared passions for culture, coastlines and cuisine from Paris to St. Barts to throughout Asia. They reside in Beverly Hills and Malibu, California. Follow Christine Chiu on Instagram.

BRIAN AUSTIN GREEN - Brian Austin Green quickly gained overnight fame as he endeared himself to millions as the sweet and naïve David Silver on the teen phenomenon "Beverly Hills, 90210." As an actor, director and producer on the show, his resume is as extensive as it is versatile. Green was recently seen on the reboot of "BH90210" on Fox, on which he also served as executive producer. The reboot scored the best series premiere of summer and the best summer rating of a FOX show (excluding sports) since 2016. The reboot was a six-episode summer event. Green also recently became part of the Masked family at Fox, serving as part of the judging panel on the new "Masked Dancer" along with Paula Abdul, Ken Jeong and Ashley Tisdale. He also starred on the FX show "Anger Management," opposite Charlie Sheen, playing the role of Sean who dated his ex-wife and becomes his best friend. He starred in "Wedding Band" for TBS as the lead character Tommy - lead singer of the band of four longtime friends who play in a band for hire. Prior to that, he was a series regular on the critically acclaimed Fox television show "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and love interest to Marcia Cross' character in "Desperate Housewives." In addition to acting, he has a podcast on iTunes - "With Brian Austin Green." Follow Brian Austin Green on Instagram and Twitter.

MELORA HARDIN - Melora Hardin is well known for her portrayal of Jan Levinson, Steve Carell's rigid, former corporate boss and love interest, on the critically acclaimed NBC series "The Office." Additionally, Hardin was Emmy(R)-nominated in 2016 for her recurring role of Tammy Cashman on Amazon's Golden Globe(R)-winning comedy "Transparent." She recently wrapped the fifth and final season of Freeform's "The Bold Type." Hardin starred as Jacqueline Carlyle, a strong but nurturing editor-in-chief at a high-end women's magazine, inspired by the life of Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan. She also recurs on the ABC series "A Million Little Things." Follow Melora Hardin on Instagram and Twitter.

OLIVIA JADE - Olivia Jade is a content creator whose social platforms have gained a following of over 3.7 million and focus on fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and promoting confidence to young women. In 2017, Jade became a Sephora Collection Ambassador and continued this partnership throughout 2018. Previously, she landed on People's Ones to Watch list as the Influencer to Watch and was nominated for a Shorty Award for Best Breakout YouTuber. After a nearly two-year hiatus, Jade was welcomed back to her online community with open arms. She continues to focus on beauty and lifestyle, along with wellness, social issues and uplifting others. Some of her recent brand partners include Revice Denim, Vivrelle, Vestiaire, White Fox, Boohoo, Shopbop and many more. Follow Olivia Jade on Instagram and Twitter.

MATT JAMES - Charismatic and engaging, Matt James was the first Black Bachelor on ABC's 25th season of its hit romance reality series "The Bachelor." A total package with strong family values and a great career, the 30-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder has used his growing platform for good. The North Carolina native went to Wake Forest University, where he majored in economics and played wide receiver for the football team. He went on to play professional football before moving to New York City, where he now resides. His love of food and passion for giving back led to his creation of an organization that is designed to find creative ways to engage kids from underserved communities in New York City, encouraging physical and mental wellness while also giving them opportunities for new experiences throughout the city. Follow Matt James on Instagram and Twitter.

AMANDA KLOOTS - Amanda Kloots is a television host, bestselling author, Broadway actress and award-winning fitness entrepreneur. Kloots can currently be seen as a co-host of "The Talk," CBS' Daytime Emmy(R) Award-winning talk show highlighting current events, pop culture, family, celebrity and trending topics of the day. Kloots recently released her memoir, the New York Times bestseller "Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero" that was co-authored with her sister Anna Kloots. A former Broadway dancer and Radio City Rockette, Kloots performed on a variety of stage, film and TV productions for over 17 years. Her love of dance and fitness led her to work and lead classes at one of New York's premiere fitness studios. Kloots developed the jump rope method after years of trying different ways to stay in great shape. In 2016, Kloots decided to focus full time on her AK! Fitness brand - her signature classes feature jump ropes and dance mixed with cross training to create a unique full-body workout. In addition to the AK! Fitness brand, Kloots and her sister, Anna, launched the apparel company Hooray For(R). A proud Ohio native, Kloots currently resides in Los Angeles with her son, Elvis. Follow Amanda Kloots on Instagram and Twitter.

MARTIN KOVE - Seasoned actor Martin Kove is best known for his iconic portrayal of villainous karate sensei, John Kreese, in "The Karate Kid" trilogy. Kove recently reprised his role for season two of Netflix's breakout series "Cobra Kai" (based on "The Karate Kid" franchise and set 30 years later). "Cobrai Kai" has been lauded as the most in-demand digital original series in the world (with tens of millions of views in a matter of days). With over 100 films under his belt, some of Kove's most notable credits include "Rambo II," opposite Sylvester Stallone, and westerns such as "Hard Ground" with Burt Reynolds and the re-make of "Gentle Ben," both which appeared on The Hallmark Channel. Follow Martin Kove on Instagram and Twitter.

SUNI LEE - Suni Lee is a three-time Olympic medalist, taking home the esteemed gold medal as the all-around champion in women's gymnastics at the 2020 Olympic Games. As the first Hmong-American Olympian, her story is more than just triumph, it's one of representation. Born and raised in Minnesota, Lee's journey now takes her to Alabama, where she will compete as a college freshman this fall at Auburn University. At just 18 years old, Lee hopes to inspire and empower her peers and the next generation to work hard toward their passions and achieve their dreams. Follow Suni Lee on Instagram and Twitter.

MIKE "THE MIZ" MIZANIN - WWE's resident Hollywood A-lister is ready for his close-up every time he enters the ring. Born in Cleveland, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin has made a career out of turning hurdles into his own personal trail of awesomeness. While in college, he auditioned for "The Real World" and went on to become one of the most popular cast members of the show's 10th season, "Back to New York." It was on this show where he debuted his wrestling alter ego: "The Miz." In the years following, he became a mainstay on MTV, hosting various popular shows on the network and competing on "The Real World"'s sister show, "Real World/Road Rules." After moving to Los Angeles, he auditioned for the WWE's "Tough Enough," where his performance impressed the WWE executives enough to grant him a developmental contract. In the 12 years and counting that followed, "The Miz" has become one of WWE's biggest stars. He has won the WWE, U.S., Intercontinental, and Tag Team titles (making him the 25th Triple Crown and 14th Grand Slam Champion in the history of the WWE). He also starred in films produced by WWE Studios, best known for playing Sgt. Jake Carter in "The Marine" franchises; and in the reality television series "Miz & Mrs." alongside his wife, WWE Superstar Maryse Ouellet. Follow "The Miz" on Instagram and Twitter.

KENYA MOORE - Actress and producer Kenya Moore is best known for her role on eight seasons of the highly rated and über popular reality series Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Also an entrepreneur, she has grown her hair care line, Kenya Moore Hair Care, over the past four years into a national brand that is carried in over 2,200 Sally's Beauty Supply stores across the nation. The world was first introduced to Moore in 1993 when she made history becoming the second Black woman to be crowned Miss USA. Kenya is also the ambassador to the Baby Quest Foundation. Follow Kenya Moore on Instagram and Twitter.

CODY RIGSBY - Born in California and raised in North Carolina, Cody Rigsby came to New York after college and worked as a professional dancer on projects including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Victoria's Secret, ELLE Magazine, SNL and more. This city, and the dance world within, gave Rigsby the tenacity to become a Peloton instructor; and his belief that life should be experienced authentically and fully is represented throughout his rides. Rigsby's personal fitness goals are to be driven by the intention to always present the best version of himself, while inspiring members to be the same. As the director of Cycling Content at Peloton, Rigsby reminds everyone in his class to push themselves, but have a good time doing it, because we all need to have a little more fun. To help everyone feel at ease, Rigsby has been known for his stage-worthy singing, dancing and overall silliness on the bike, all matched with uplifting and up-tempo playlists packed with Top 40 hits, house tracks and more. Outside of Peloton, Rigsby is a huge influencer across the board with over 1 million followers on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook combined. Follow Cody Rigsby on Instagram and Facebook.

IMAN SHUMPERT - Iman Shumpert is a father, rapper, producer, entrepreneur, actor and NBA basketball player. He became a fan favorite in New York with his gritty defensive play and high-top fade haircut, reminiscent of past Knicks players. Drafted No. 17 by the New York Knicks in 2011, he played four seasons for the team. He went on to win an NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers and play for the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Brooklyn Nets. Known by music fans as Iman, he has made his own path to musical respect with his high-tempo flow and personal lyrics as seen in his most recent musical release "Joyride." In addition to writing lyrics daily, he continues to work on various musical projects and build his record label A Sinner's Peace. Iman surprised fans by appearing in BET's hit show "Twenties" last season and will be acting in a few additional television shows this fall. He won an Emmy(R) for his participation in the MSG Network show "Beginnings." Iman and family have a new reality series, "We Got Love Teyana & Iman," premiering August 2021. Fashion and design is how Iman expressed his creativity while growing up outside of Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois, in the 1990s. From wearing and modeling clothes to designing, he has now developed his own clothing brand called Centerpiece. Iman wants people to be inspired to become the centerpiece of their family and their own life. Follow Iman Shumpert on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

JOJO SIWA - JoJo Siwa is a global superstar, singer, television and film star, bestselling author and social media sensation. Siwa has over 60.5 million followers on social media and over 3.6 billion views on YouTube. In 2020, she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. A consumer products powerhouse, her famous JoJo Siwa bow has sold more than 80 million bows globally to date. Next, Siwa will star in and executive produce "The J Team," a new live-action musical premiering on Paramount+. Siwa also serves as creative director and executive producer of the upcoming series "Siwa's Dance Pop Revolution" on Peacock. Follow JoJo Siwa on Instagram and Twitter.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Hotchka Movie Review: Cinderella

‘Cinderella’ has an odd balance to it, with uniformly bad humor but fairly well done musical scenes.

by Jeremy Fogelman

Starring: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine with Billy Porter and Pierce Brosnan

Is the world finally sick of James Corden? I know many of his antics are incredibly annoying, but I always had a soft spot for his “Celebrity Noses” recurring sketch. Although in those he’s always being constantly frustrated, as opposed to throwing out a bunch of hacky awkward “jokes” in many of his appearances. But I think he can be entertaining when he’s not doing his shtick, for example, his short part in Ocean’s Eight. And apparently he had some idea for a new take on Cinderella.

Cinderella comes from director and writer Kay Cannon, who is known for all three Pitch Perfect movies, a bunch of 30 Rock episodes, and the cancelled show aptly named Girlboss. This version of the Cinderella tale is a bit close to the Disney version, although it never quite gets close enough to be a direct ripoff. The baseline story (or at least the well-known French version that inspired the modern versions) is the main inspiration, with animals turning into other things.

Here we follow Cinderella, played by Camila Cabello, similar to the classic version except that this version of Ella has dreams of being a dressmaker and running her own business. The movie incorporates both arrangements of song covers in very clunky and obvious ways and a few originals, like Cinderella’s “Million to One”. Weirdly, that song sounded very auto-tuned to me, and I know Camila Cabello can sing so it’s a bit odd.

But there’s a constant, very heavy-handed “girls rule, boys drool” sort of performative wokeness here, and a real resistance to any actual sort of antagonist with depth or legitimate threat. Cindy’s evil stepmother is played here by Idina Menzel, and her perspective could be easily explained by the overly obvious needle drop cover of “Material Girl”. She’s really let off the hook at the end of the movie for essentially trying to force Ella into an unwanted marriage.

This is one of the “they don’t know their own message” issues, because the movie is at the same time trying to comment on medieval sexism and patriarchal systems while at the same time trying to do the same about the modern world. But there’s quite a difference between the two, and it takes a deft touch to draw parallels and comment in an effective way about it. This way is entirely unsubtle.

© Sony Pictures

Sometimes the unsubtle part is fine, like when Billy Porter shows up to sing some great songs and call himself the “Fabulous Godmother” -- but then he’s also called “Fab G” and it’s immediately cringey. Essentially every attempt at humor here is like that, not funny at all, and very try-hard. Still, the performances are pretty good, for the most part.

The Prince here is played by milquetoasty Nicholas Galitzine, who gets a lot better when the script gives him more emotional scenes and not so great when they try to make him jokey. His parents are played by Minnie Driver and Pierce Brosnan and it’s a real dissonant mess with how this world is constructed with a “monarchy”.

Most of the song arrangements are pretty good, and some are great, some of the performances are very good, and some, like unfortunately every terrible moment with James Corden or the very 90s parody rap moments, drag the movie to a halt every time. The real issue here is that the movie has pretenses of being a feminist subversion of the Cinderella tale, but it can’t help but try and appeal to all of the sorts of things that make you think of the “hello fellow kids” meme.

I feel like the song choices, if mostly executed well enough, were often so obvious it felt like a bad joke. When the movie actually slows down and takes some time for its characters, it’s greatly improved, but the comedic tone is just not good. It’s probably entertaining enough for a weekend stream anyway.

Cinderella is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The film has a run time of 1 hour 53 minutes and is rated PG for suggestive material and language.