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Hold all calls; we have a winner

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  March 31, 2009 11:02 AM

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I confess to a guilty pleasure: I love "Dancing with the Stars."

Don't mean to alarm anyone, but I like dance. I was quite the 10-year-old tap dancer, if I do say so myself. I am a huge fan of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, especially Astaire.

I'll watch any Astaire-Rogers movie (I mean, she was flat-out gorgeous, which is a nice bonus), and Kelly's acrobatic style is amazing, but I am here to say that the single greatest dance number in the history of Hollywood was the Astaire-Eleanor Powell "Begin the Beguine" collaboration in "Broadway Melody of 1940." This premise is completely non-negotiable.

So what does any of this have to do with sports? Simple. My initial interest in this particular program was Jerry Rice. I was curious, and he delivered the goods, finishing second. This made dancing chic, and so we have had the succession of athletes, from Emmitt Smith, who won the whole thing; to Clyde Drexler, who was horrible; to Appolo Ohno (another winnah); to Gille Villeneuve (yet another winnah); to Kristi Yamaguchi (yup,still another winner); and now to Lawrence Taylor, who is a middle-of-the packer.

This year we are, I think, four weeks in, and I am here to tell you it is over. For in this year's competition we have the single greatest dancer in the history of the show. His name is French actor Gilles Marini, and he is astonishingly good.

On Monday night he danced an Argentine Tango. Omigod. I thought Carrie Ann Inaba was going to leap over the table and rip off his clothes (she's pretty hot herself). I mean, she needed to get hosed down. Bruno Tonioni is naturally exuberant, but this performance taxed even his enormous powers of verbal approbation I'm telling you; Gilles Marini is both disgustingly good-looking and even more disgustingly talented.

The judges gave him three 10s. It's hard to get a 10 out of salty Brit Len Goodman, who twice gave scores two rungs below each of his colleagues last night. Three 10s is rare.

The public may not agree, but my advice to the people who run this show is do whatever you have to in order to make this "competition" come out right. It would be a collosal embarrassment, as well as a laughable miscarriage of justice, if this man does not win. I really don't see any reason to continue. Gilles Marini is the best dancer DWTS has ever had.

About halfway through his number, I said to my daughter, Jessica, "This guy is so good I don't think you could tell which was the professional and which was the amateur." Keep in mind that his partner is two-time winner Cheryl Burke.

And what does Carrie Ann Inaba say? "You can't tell who is the professional and who is the amateur!" Swear to God.

Case closed.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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