OFFSTAGE: Toby Keith vs. Twirls on Dancing With the Stars

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

One of my favorite country singers (Toby Keith), my favorite Girl Next Door (Kendra Wilkinson) and my favorite Karate Kid (Ralph Macchio) were all on Dancing With the Stars last night (April 19), so it should’ve been the highlight of the season for me. But somehow, I just cannot stand when shows try to combine the music I love with the ballroom dancing I hate. So when Keith performed “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and Maks Chmerkovskiy and Lacey Schwimmer and friends took over the stage with twirls and spins and lifts, albeit in cowboys boots, denim, rhinestones and ruffles, I nearly turned it off. But they promised Keith would be back later in the show, so I waited. Through clips of a “Sweet Home Alabama” samba and behind-the-scenes bloopers. Through Kirstie Alley’s partner (Chmerkovskiy) explaining how he is some kind of sexscicle and redundant commentary from the judges. Then finally, halfway through the show, Keith came back on to sing “American Soldier,” again with dancers trying to hog the attention and get in the way of a heartfelt American anthem. The one good thing coming out of this episode was that Macchio and Wilkinson were safe, because it was Petra Nemcova who had to turn in her dancing shoes.