Metta World Peace, apparently still called Ron Artest for the purposes of reality television, made his Dancing With the Stars debut Monday night, busting out a cha-cha with partner Peta Murgatroyd. Click here for the video. And since we don't have actual games to break down -- and may not for a while -- we're going to give his performance the standard Land O'Lakers postgame treatment. (In other news, I'm ready for the lockout to end.)
Here's how it broke down...
Huevos. The man danced a cha-cha on national television. Let's give him some credit. Did MWP and Peta remind me of internationally renowned ballroom titans Bryan Watson and Carmen Vincelj? No, they did not. But then again, let's see Bryan Watson do this. While I'm not exactly an expert in this arena, it looked like MWP was having a good time. You wouldn't expect otherwise, but the man didn't shrink from the spotlight, bringing what would be called a "fun factor."
Potentially Useful Phrases and Nicknames. Bruno the Italian Judge referred to MWP as "Danceatron," before complimenting his "length of bone" (which I understood to be a synonym for "tall") and "performance value." This is all stuff we can put to good use once the season starts, and likely will. Even the negative stuff, like Len the British Guy's belief MWP's performance was "all sizzle, no sausage" will absolutely come in handy.
Lamar Odom's Commercial for Pistachio Nuts. In which L.O. appears to have Artest-esque stars shaved into his head. Good to know he's staying busy, and allowing me to multi-task by keeping track of two Lakers during one broadcast ...
Scores. They were pretty low. Two 5's and a 4, for a total of 14. Len just shredded him, calling his footwork "atrocious," saying the dance "lacked cha-cha content," and that it was "not my cup of tea." As a British guy, the man knows tea. Carrie the Nice Judge, even while trying to be just that, basically compared his actual dancing, on a technical level, to a puddle. That's not good. She did call him sexy, though, which MWP appreciated.
The Look. Maybe there was a Michael Jackson tribute in there somewhere, but something about the hat (glittery porkpie?), tilted to the side, and the blond dye hair/goatee dye job with the unbuttoned vest made MWP look a little like a combination of Dennis Rodman without the piercings/fewer tattoos and something out of American Choppers. It probably wasn't the most accessible ensemble for a television show in which voting is a big component to how long you get to stick around.
Potential Controversy! Odom's loyalties are being tested in this season. As Rob Kardashian, Odom's brother-in-law, finished his dance (coincidentally, right after MWP) L.O., sitting with wife Khloe and other Kardashians, joined in a Kardashian standing ovation. But unless the ABC cameras missed it after MWP finished his dance, Odom stayed seated for his childhood buddy and current teammate. I say we read too much, meaning anything, into it. Just for fun.
Names. Last week, it was all official. Ron Artest became Metta World Peace. But Monday, he was still Ron Artest in the title credits, and they kept calling him Ron. C'mon, folks. Let's get some consistency.
All in all, it wasn't a totally sterling debut, but at the same time I suspect MWP's general popularity will allow him to survive Week 1, and carry him through at least a few weeks. People like athletes on this show, and the guy has more Twitter followers than most of the competition, if not all of it.
Bottom line, there are plenty of far more boring people (as a nation, are we still even tangentially in the Chynna Phillips business?) America can kick off this program.