Televised Talent: On Billy Dee

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

On the first results night of Dancing With the Stars, many people were upset when Billy Dee Williams wasn't the first star to be eliminated.

But nobody was more visibly angered than Diana Nyad.

Nyad, who is 13 years younger than the "Black Clark Gable," knew she would be the first elimination, because Williams was the only one lower on the leaderboard than her. And Williams is more well known than her. Former hockey player Sean Avery and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, also were voted off in the double elimination. (How many of you would have voted differently if you had known it was a double elimination?)

Many bloggers have suggested that Williams should have been voted off. But I have a different take on it.

He never should have been on the show in the first place.

Remember Buzz Aldrin, the former astronaut who was on the show at age 80? And Florence Henderson, who is now 80, appeared on the show in fall 2010.

Why does Dancing with the Stars bring seniors on the show?

I know the show has an older fan base (they say their average viewer age is 61). I know that's why most of the senior citizens aren't the first elimination.

However, these stars need to think about their legacy.

Williams was, and still is, a very talented actor. He's starred in everything from "Lady Sings the Blues" to "Star Wars" and, most recently, "The Lego Movie." He also guest starred in a hilarious episode of "Modern Family." ("I'm Billy Dee Williams." "I'm Gloria, De Wife.")

But instead of remembering him for his acting roles, he will be remembered as the stiffest star on the dance floor, who complains about his ailments every week. And meanwhile, they give us other dancers on the floor to hold him up and distract us. Why does Billy Dee get two more dance pros than everybody else gets?

It is sad when comedians make fun of him.

This is his legacy?

Please, let him do something that will bring his legacy back. Have him star in a movie like "Last Vegas" that will acknowledge his age while still reminding us that he is one smooth character. Or make him a font of wisdom.

You'd never have Samuel L. Jackson or Morgan Freeman dance in Dancing with the Stars. Don't do the same to Billy Dee.

Please bring his dignity back.

***

In other news, the Battle Rounds on The Voice are being replaced with ... wait for it ... more battle rounds.

This is the long, long process where they narrow down the field of contestants before they end up on live television. Then they'll be eliminated really quickly.

Yawn. Maybe it's because they suck down 3 hours of my time every week on top of Dancing with the Stars, taking up 5 hours of my time, but there is only so much judge drama I can take. Please, give us contestants we can root for. Hello, Sisaundra Lewis, I'm talking to you. Please survive the next battle.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

Facebook: Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Twitter: @DianeSmith_RC

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