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dancing with the stars

Without Kate Gosselin, Dancing With the Stars Falls on Its Head

You know that pesky co-worker, the one who constantly barrages you with inane questions and can't seem to fathom that when you're typing, it means you're working? But then he or she gets transferred to another department, and without all that interruption, your days go so much sloooower, and you realize you have nothing to gossip about with co-workers besides, ugh, actual work. Well, in the Dancing With the Stars version of our life, Kate Gosselin is that now-departed office pest. Because without her drama, tears, and embarrassingly awkward dancing, the show has lost its sparkle (metaphorically, of course, given the massive amounts of glitter still on display). Last night, we were left watching generally nice people dancing generally well — and who really cares about that?

The best they could do to drum up excitement was a montage of the stars falling flat on their faces. Okay, so Evan Lysacek actually got a minor concussion, and that's impressive, but otherwise, this segment could have been pulled out of a clip reel from America's Funniest Home Videos circa 1988. Though we've been satisfied by seasons of bland DWTS in the past, once Gosselin entered the picture, our expectations for the show's entertainment value rose along with the increasing absurdity of her hair extensions. Compared to Gosselin, the show's other buzzy contestant, Pamela Anderson, is a likable workhorse, dedicated and uncomplaining even though she seems to land in the bottom two every single week. The feisty Niecy Nash has turned out to be more sappy than sassy (the pro–gay marriage dance was oddly touching, but not something we'd specifically tune in for), and even seeing the scandalous Vienna in the audience rooting for Bachelor Jake has been a disappointment. You know it's a problem when DWTS is undoing what little drama The Bachelor generated, which is perhaps why host Tom Bergeron sounded so desperate last night while reminding us in the show open that we really, really like watching. "Last week, Dancing With the Stars was once again America's No. 1 show! Thanks again for making us the most-watched show in the country!" he crowed, which sounded more like a plea than a statement. After the dancers competed in an exhausting swing-dance marathon concocted to distract us from Gosselin's glaring absence, Bergeron concluded, "We will see you tomorrow night in the ballroom!" But without Kate stomping around and glaring, Tom, we're not sure if you will.