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Reality TV: Driver is a reason to watch ‘Dancing’

Morning, UP

May 19, 2012
RENEE?PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Reality competition TV is not for me. Mostly. In this space before, I have mentioned my guilty-pleasure attachment to "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" - although last season's dude, Ben, nearly put me off that show forever.

Other than that, it's a TV category I avoid. I've never watched an episode of "Survivor," "The Voice," "The Amazing Race," "Fashion Star," "Top Chef" or "The Biggest Loser."

It has been several years since I tuned into "America's Next Top Model" and when Chris Daughtry was voted off "American Idol" much too soon, I stopped paying much attention to that competition.

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Now, however, for one reason and one reason alone, I am a faithful viewer of the reality competition "Dancing with the Stars." The reason? Donald Driver.

Driver, No. 80 for my beloved Green Bay Packers, is a contestant in this 14th season of "DWTS." He has made it to the finals, which will be broadcast live Monday and Tuesday nights.

Cannot wait for it. Never, ever thought I would say that, but DD has created a case of "DWTS" fever within me.

Over the top hardly describes "Dancing with the Stars." The show's glitz and shine are blinding at times and the contestants' spangly outfits make Elton John and Cher look Amish.

The music is big, the costumes are tiny and the taped segments are usually heightened bits of drama. It's almost overwhelming watching the two-hour live competition shows on Mondays and nerve-racking to wait through the often bloated results shows on Tuesdays.

"JUST TELL US ALREADY!" is what I want to scream some Tuesday nights.

My Facebook friends will verify I am a campaigner for Donald Driver. Every Monday evening, I post reminders on Facebook (and Twitter) in hopes people will vote for DD, including the toll-free number to call to make it easier for them to dial.

The first time I did it, a former colleague of mine here at the Journal, Jon Sicotte, scolded me on Facebook for posting my hopes people would vote for DD before he had even danced, saying I was making this a "popularity contest."

To which I replied, "Of course it is a popularity contest." The public is voting and that counts for half of the contestants' scores so OF COURSE it's a popularity contest.

However - and this is an important however - Driver is actually one of the best dancers this year. He works really hard on his routines and his professional partner, Peta Murgatroyd, has found him to be an apt pupil.

The trio dance he and Peta did with Karina Smirnoff on the night of May 7 was one of the best routines I've ever seen. Go online to watch it ( and you'll see what I mean.

Donald had my support before he even danced his first step because he's a Packer and that's like family to me. But his exuberant, enthusiastic efforts have won him tons of new fans, even some Detroit Lions fanatics in my circle of friends.

This past Monday during the semifinals, in the audience in the ballroom were Packer Coach Mike McCarthy and players Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, cheering their colleague on. Talk about the cherry on this viewer's sundae!

Win or lose, Donald Driver has provided me some great entertainment this spring. Will I watch "Dancing" again? Absolutely... but only if Clay Matthews or Aaron Rodgers or some other Packer competes for the "DWTS" disco ball trophy, I'll be glued to the tube.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal .net.



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