Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's Gladys Knight Doing Dancing with the "Stars"?

I choose my own TV poison, and one bad apple out of which I've yet to take a bite is ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Although I did watch a YouTube clip of Sade performing "Babyfather" on the DWTS stage two years ago (and how could I not?), I've never seen an episode of the reality-TV dance-off.

It's not that I have anything against B-to-D-listers dancing for dollars, or ABC plugging its own shows by inviting "stars" that nobody really wants to see more of (The View's Sherri Shepherd, just announced for Season 14, premiering March 19), but I've simply never cared for watching other people dance.

I hated doing it from the bleachers at high school dances, or from the cheap seats at office Christmas parties (yeah, that was me always leading the line dance in the middle of the action), and I liked it even less the one time I went to the ballet in New York City.

So no Dancing with the Stars for me this next season. But I do reserve the right to comment on the participants. Once again, they're a mixed bag, ranging from the "Why are they famous?" (Extra co-host Maria Menounos) to the once-famous (Family Matters' Jaleel White, Mellisa Gilbert, the actress formerly known as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, and Jack Wagner, the actor formerly known as General Hospital's Frisco Jones, who was just let go from The Bold and the Beautiful) to the almost famous (singer Gavin DeGraw) to this year's new category.

Drumroll, please: "WTF?! They're still famous!"

In the season 12 running: Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and singing legend Gladys Knight. There comes a point in every icon's career when it no longer matters when you won your last championship or scored your last hit single. You're an A-lister for life. Knight and Navratilova reached that level ages ago. Since I'm no great tennis fan, I won't go on about Navratilova here except to say how much I enjoyed -- and agreed with -- her recent op-ed piece that I read in Australia's The Age newspaper on how to be or not to be gay is not a question that anyone gets to ask. It is so not a choice, folks!

Now off my soapbox I go.

As for my beloved Gladys Knight, what is she thinking? It's not like she has her own Psychic Friends Network to atone for (which I mention because Dionne Warwick appeared on Celebrity Apprentice last year, and because the one time I met Warwick and Knight, they were together at one of Clive Davis's pre-GRAMMY parties and have been sort of soul sisters in my mind since). If Aretha Franklin hadn't been born, Knight for sure would have been crowned the Queen of Soul.

So once again, I'll be sitting out another season of DWTS. Not because I can't stomach reality TV (which I can't), but because I can't stand the thought of Knight being symbolically put out to pasture, demoted to the D-list, which is where every DWTS loser inevitably goes. Right now, I'm going to get behind the music, her music, because that's why she'll always be near the top of my personal A-list.

My Top 5 Gladys Knight Musical Memories (with and without the Pips):

"I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

"The Makings of You"

"Save the Overtime for Me"

"Love Overboard"

"License to Kill"

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