[BlogEntry] Celebrity Circus : New Summer Hit!

When you first saw the commercials for Celebrity Circus you may have thought, as I did, "Wait…wasn't there a Circus of the Stars back in the 70's?" Yes, but this isn't even close. It has what has become the standard celebreality gameshow format – some borderline celebrities, most famous only for being on other reality shows, compete in events they don't have any experience in. Three judges give comments, then America votes them off. All standard stuff.

The big difference here is that the events are actually interesting, and hard. This is not the kind of circus with lion tamers and jugglers, this is more like the Cirque du Soleil variety, where most of the events are variations on trapeze and usually involve some level of flying/spinning. There's the hoop, the "silks", a tandem trapeze, a bungee cord thing… I quite like the silks, which basically translates to "as long as I've got a grip on this thing, I might launch into the air at any moment."

The direction is a little weak, especially when the "pros" (in this case, circus folk) have to cover for the celebrities. In any event where there's a harness involved there'll be periods where you suddenly focus on the side act for 10 seconds, and you realize there's something going on, like a person being unhooked, that you're not supposed to see. And then there's the unfortunate fact that they already, even in the first week, feel the need to pad the show out to 90 minutes by having various clips and other interview segments that really should be reserved for later in the series run.

Anyway, the celebrities are the typical assortment:

  • Christopher Knight – when you're still getting introduced as Peter Brady 30 years later I'm not sure if that is a bigger testament to the Brady Bunch show, or to your lack of having done anything else. But Knight is clearly the elder statesman of the group, and I hope he does well.
  • Wee Man – Jackass. That's not a personal comment, or maybe it is. He's from the Jackass crew. Can't stand to look at him, he's annoying. He keeps screwing up his act. If that's because he's little, fine, but why did he sign up in the first place?
  • Blu Cantrell – No idea what she does, she a singer? Based on her attitude the first week, she won't last a second. Lots of segments of her sitting down on the job taking a nap, and then copping attitude and saying stupid things like "When my body tells me to rest I have to rest, that doesn't tell you anything about my work ethic, you don't know me." Well yeah, we kinda do now…
  • Stacey Dash – Here's another one where if you're most known for something from 20 years ago (she was in Clueless), maybe your claim to celebrity is debatable.
  • Antonio Sabato, Jr – I'm sure I've heard the name, but I couldn't tell you what he's in. He's the most muscular of the bunch, and will surely do well in most events because of it.
  • Janet Evans – Olympic swimmer, does not have the body for the kinds of outfits they're putting her in. But again, professional athlete, she'll likely do very well. Her thing's gonna be "not a sexy bone in her body" apparently.
  • Rachel Hunter – Another one for the "famous because she's famous" category, last scene in Dancing With The Stars.

As for the judges, they fall more into the Dancing With The Stars pattern than American Idol. You've got:

  • Aurelia Cats – World renowned (?) trapeze artist in the Carrie Ann spot, she's the technical expert who will pick them apart on the details when she's in a bad mood.
  • Mitch Gaylord – I don't know if I'll call him Len Goodman, but he's the most neutral of the bunch as far as personality goes. Tries to say something nice every time, so he's more Paula Abdul in that respect.
  • Louie Spence – Needs to go. He's got the whole Bruno thing going, with the flare and the hands and the big personality. He's also gay as the day is long and announces it in every other word of every sentence. It's really really annoying.

This was only the second week, so it'll be interesting to see how hard / repetitive the events get. It's very much like Dancing in that they can repeat events each week but have a different celebrity do them, thus putting a new spin on it.

Blu is the first to go, which only makes sense, because she was horrible both in skill and personality. Even when she gets booted she's still complaining about the judging, suggesting the Aurelia come sing one of her songs. Here's the problem, Blu – you came on a show to compete in your ability to do the trapeze, which Aurelia is qualified to judge you on. You asked for it. Now go away. Or better, wait a week and take Wee Man with you next week.