Billy Dee Williams, known by Star Wars fans as the sultry Lando Calrissian of Cloud City, has tried his hand at just about everything creative. He can paint—some of his limited edition prints are beings sold for $4,700. He can sing—his voice is nothing short of a crooner.
But apparently he can’t move his hips as swiftly as a 17 year old singing sensation on his latest venture, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. For that, he’s received a lot of flack from the judges.
From Stormtroopers to cheering Ewoks strategically placed amongst the crowd, Williams brought Star Wars flare to his Cha Cha when Billy Dee dawned Lando’s signature blue and glided across the stage and dance floor.
Watch the routine in the video below:
The dance was set to recognizable Star Wars music (the part with the Cantina score is my personal favorite), Star Wars fans took to social media using the hashtag #TeamSlando to encourage Billy Dee as the judges, who were not as star-stuck, slammed his dance:
Carrie Ann: You’re definitely the most relaxed dancer I’ve ever seen. The hips are still going but we’re going to need a little more from you next week.
Excuse me…next week? With the show’s new voting procedure, ABC will know who will be eliminated every Tuesday when all of the votes are totaled, which means that one performer will dance every Monday but will have already been eliminated in the eyes of the show. Meaning, even if Billy Dee weighs in at a perfect 30 next Monday, he could already be off the show if last Monday’s score and votes didn’t keep him in the competition.
But don’t get me started on Bruno’s comments:
Bruno: Bill, may the Force be with you..I think you’ve got the wrong character. You played a very dainty, very careful C-3P0, you know what I mean? I want Darth Vader. Bigger, more powerful.
All of the Dancing With the Stars judges have a history with dance and are entitled to their professional opinion: Carrie Anne danced with Jennifer Lopez and Madonna back in the ‘90s, Bruno is a praised choreographer, and Len is a professional dancer and dance teacher–but Einstein said it best when he said that “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Billy Dee received a score of 15 out of 30 from the judges. With votes from Star Wars diehards, we might be graced by Lando’s presence for a few more weeks, but I’m frustrated with the show nonetheless. No, he can not dance as well as actress Candace Cameron or an Olympic Gold Medalist, but do not judge 76 year old Billy Dee Williams, who has had two hip replacements, on his ability to Cha Cha by the same standards of the 17 year old “Pretty Brown Eyes” singer Cody Simpson’s take on the dance.
Finally, judge Len spoke some truth: “Well Billy you were on time, you didn’t forget your routine, it was entertaining…two hip replacements, you’re 77, you did a good job.”
ABC: If you know he’s not going to be a “good dancer” by your standards, why even cast someone like Billy Dee Williams on the show? I believe ABC needs to STOP casting people who they KNOW are going to get low scores solely for the purpose of ratings. This is a dance competition for pete’s sake.
If Dancing with the Stars wants fast-paced, hip swaying, leggy action, the show needs to cast talent for just that—talent, not for ratings. The show may have cast Billy Dee because they knew that ratings would go up as Star Wars fans flocked to support the actor. But by that same logic, the ratings will plummet when he is voted off. I’m watching for Billy Dee, not for sexy hip swaying.
“You played a very dainty, very careful C-3P0.” Ugh. He’s in his 70′s, Bruno. Excuse me, but were you Lando Calrissian, the suave gambler, savvy entrepreneur, and sultry smuggler who made women go weak in the knees simply by smiling? No. So take that Bruno and Carrie Ann, and please judge Billy Dee, and all of the other 70 year old actors, musicians, therapists, etc. you’ll invite onto your show, accordingly.
The only consolation I have with the judge’s criticism that Billy Dee had to agree to be on the show, and he genuinely looks like he’s having fun with his dance partner Emma. During Monday’s dance routine, Billy Dee Williams flashed a killer smile, and demonstrated an even better attitude in the face of adversity—that’s worthy competition in my eyes, if given a fair chance.