Say a Little Prayer for Kenny (Episode 2-1A)

Somebody had to go first, and Kenny Mayne was the first celebrity eliminated from the second season of Dancing with the Stars. That gives Master P another week to get his act in gear and start taking the competition seriously.

Most of the first Results Show consisted of dance demonstrations. The professionals paired up and danced to the song “The Look of Love,” performed by Burt Bacharach. Note to Burt: just write the songs, don’t sing them, please. Next week’s dances were also demonstrated by the professionals. Male celebs will perform the Quickstep and female celebs the Robot, er, Rumba.

Viewers were treated to clips from interviews with the couples after their Thursday night’s performances. Ashly made it clear that she was disappointed in Master P’s effort, and that things would change if they somehow survived the first round.

Amazingly, they did survive. Ashly built up a lot of goodwill last season, and it didn’t seem fair to give her the boot just because she got stuck with a lousy partner. But if P decides to dog it again next week, viewers won’t feel obligated to give them a third chance.

When announcing the results, the couples staying were winnowed away until the two pairs with the lowest combined scores from the judges and the viewers were left. Kenny and Andrea were at the bottom with Tia Carrere and her partner Maksim, even though Tia and Max were in sixth place after the judges voted. That should spook Tia, because it means that she’s not all that popular with the home audience.

Few of the celebs can feel secure in having a large base of fans who will vote weekly. Jerry Rice is probably the most recognizable of the stars, so he should have no trouble garnering votes. Drew Lachey is also probably safe because of the large number of young women in the viewing audience who listened to 98 Degrees. Having his pop icon brother, Nick, sitting floorside can’t hurt either.

While Stacy Keibler isn’t well known outside of the world of professional wrestling, she’s pretty, and that helped Kelly Monaco gain an early edge last season. Lisa Rinna benefits from Monaco’s second advantage: a career in soap operas. If not the largest pool of voters, soap fans are loyal and vocal, so Lisa should be able to coast along with their votes for another few weeks.

Several of the celebs have been out of the spotlight long enough that they may not be able to count on past popularity to garner votes. To many viewers under the age of 30, George Hamilton may only be the guy from the Ritz commercials. Likewise, Tatum O’Neal may only hold a special place in the hearts of cokeheads. Tia Carrere was never as popular as George or Tatum at their peaks, and it’s been 16 years since Wayne’s World was released. The voting results from this episode show that Tia’s star power has faded the most in the minds of audience members.

Giselle Fernandez is a wild card. I hadn’t heard of her until she was introduced as a competitor on DWTS, so I can’t judge how safe she is. The same goes for Master P; while it doesn’t seem like the average DWTS fan would also be a Master P fan, it’s too early to tell what his appeal will be. Plus, it’s hard to tell if Ashly’s appeal will continue to help his public rating. No matter what, if he doesn’t perform well next week, he’ll lose voters faster than Tia loses her pregnancy pounds.