Vanilla Ice tackles the foxtrot on “Dancing With The Stars”

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One week after Lochtegate made its way onto the “Dancing With The Stars” stage, our local celebrity dancer (and Ryan Lochte defender) Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle did his first real ballroom dance with a “Married With Children”-themed foxtrot. (We can all agree that last week’s delightful “cha-cha” to “Ice Ice Baby” was a cha-cha only in the loosest sense, which is not to say that it was not delightful.)

Knowing all the moves to the 26-year-old “Ice Ice Baby” video can date you, as, apparently, knowing who Peg and Al Bundy are (Rob did, while partner Witney, who’s like 12, looked up the show on YouTube and studied it like doing homework on ancient artifacts cuz we old, son.) The scores came out to a decent 26, with Carrie Anne scolding Ice for lip-syncing along with “Love and Marriage.” I know they’re trying to make real dancers out of them, but it’s the second week, and it just came off really nit-picky and snappish. Dude’s previous ballroom experience was having a ball doing the Running Man in a room. Cut him some slack, you know.

Besides Ice, my favorite dancers so far are Maureen McCormick, Calvin Johnson, Babyface and Laurie Hernandez, because they lose themselves in their dance with such abandon. (Calvin is also super hot.) Mr. Van Winkle appears safe from the first elimination – I kind of think teen sensation Jake T. Austin is going home, because he was way off-beat. Sorry, Jake T. Austin!

More headlines:

 

Our back-in-the-day chat with Maureen McCormick

Our take on Vanilla Ice’s defense of Ryan Lochte

Our interview with Ice about his “Dancing” tenure

 

 

Vanilla Ice defends “DWTS” co-star Ryan Lochte as “American hero.” Is he though?

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In his “Dancing With The Stars” debut on Monday, Wellington’s Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle did, indeed, stop, collaborate and listen in his opening cha-cha to “Ice Ice Baby,” and got an enthusiastic response from the crowd (if not head judge and resident grumpy dance grandpa Len Goodman).

However, the rapper/house flipper/celebrity about town was not so enthusiastic about the stage-crashing protesters who jumped in and interrupted judge Carrie Ann Inaba as she attempted to critique disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. The official broadcast cut away from the melee’ and you just heard a lot of scuffle and a stunned Inaba yell “Off! Off!” to the crashers, wearing anti-Lochte shirts and apparently upset that he’s appearing on a fun dance show after lying about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio during the Olympics. Perhaps you’ve read about it.

Several of Lochte’s co-stars supported him in later interviews, mostly saying he was a nice guy who didn’t deserve to be attacked, but no one defended him so furiously as Van Winkle. He told E! News that Lochte is “an American hero. Get over the story. It doesn’t matter…And you know what, the guy that came out here with the shirt…never cater to a hater, just say later.” You can see that interview in the video below, and an even more passionate version show on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (and mocked by Jimmy Kimmel, who enjoys mocking Vanilla Ice) that you can see in this link around the 4:11 mark.

With all due respect, Ice (who I admittedly cover regular and who seems like a good guy) I think you’re wrong. The haters took it too far – “crashing Ryan Lochte’s dance show” is not a thing one needs on your arrest record. But the story does matter. While I get that Van Winkle and the other dancers’ first instinct is to defend a guy they seem to like get rattled by angry people right in front of them, I think “American hero” is more than a stretch. It’s just not true. Lochte’s amazing swimming makes him an amazing, iconic swimmer, who’s added to the national medal count. Those feats within the pool are his own, and no one can take them away, even with his temporary suspension by USA Swimming. But even if his swimming makes him heroic, it can be argued that his goofy, drunken after-party escapade at a Rio gas station and his subsequent lie about it demolish that hero status, particularly as an American hero.  Sorry.

He wasn’t just a guy on spring break, but an adult at his third Olympics and, one would assume, an adult who understood that he was representing his country in and out of the pool. Did he kill anyone? No. Is he the first person to go to another country and act afool? No, he’s not. But he did embarrass himself and his nation, and then compounded  it by lying about it and spinning it into an international incident. And then he left his boys in the country to deal with it – Lochte says he was already scheduled to leave, but it didn’t look good. None of this makes him Hitler. But it does make him the quintessential Ugly American, who stomps into foreign lands and acts like a jackass assuming that his American-ness will get him out of it.

That’s ugly. Not heroic. Just saying.

“Dancing With The Stars”: Vanilla Ice’s chances at winning the mirror ball trophy

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As Season 23 of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” begins, and we prepare for the dance-spirations of the usual collection of retired athletes, reality show stars,  various randos and recent Olympic champions who are obvious ringers and really shouldn’t be allowed to compete, America wonders about the chances of a 90s rapper turned television house rehabbers.

Related: Read more about More Vanilla Ice

Well, at least the part of America that lives in Palm Beach County and loves Vanilla Ice. And enjoys 90s rappers. And high top fades. And the DIY Network. (Also putting the rag top down so your hair can blow.)

So, what is the possibility that Wellington’s Rob Van Winkle, of “The Vanilla Ice Project” and “Ice Ice Baby” fame, could dance away with that mirror ball trophy? Honestly, it’s hard to say. There have been dancetestants that seemed sure things but came off like robots, like Olympian Lolo Jones, and seemingly middle-aged also-rans like comedian Bill Engvall who became not only audience favorites but legitimately better dancers.

Ice is – or at least was – known for his dance moves (see below) – but he admitted recently that at 48, they’ve gotten “rusty.” Then again, he is currently touring, so he’s still actively out there moving, and as he demonstrated on “Good Morning America” recently, he’s still enthusiastically attacking challenges. Of course, the Running Man isn’t a ballroom dance, so after the obligatory “Ice Ice Baby” freestyle, the Paso Doble looms, and I’m not sure how that goes with “Ninja Rap.”

Ice himself told me that he believes Olympians Laurie Hernandez and Ryan Lochte are going to be competitive, and since gymnasts like Hernandez have dance training, I expect her to win, honestly. I also worry about Marilu Henner, who claims she hasn’t had dance lessons since before Hernandez was born but is paired with pro and frequent winner Derek Hough, so she’s probably a ringer. Still, nobody expected Vanilla Ice to have a second career as Rappin’ Bob Vila, either. So we’ll see. My predictions – somewhere in the top five?

More in Vanilla Ice coverage:

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/vanilla-ice-admits-hes-never-seen-dancing-with-the/nsPYy/

Video: Vanilla Ice speaks about upcoming “Dancing With The Stars”