Remember Bentley Bumtapper from Season 13? Let us refresh your memory.
He was the suspender-wearing, butt tapping, handsome rascal that turned on the charm and upped the wow factor to tease Lady Nancy in the Cry Baby Cha Cha. Ah, so now you do remember him.
Since Season 13, he has undergone a slight transformation. He is no longer Bentley Bumtapper, the little-bit-shy-but-rapidly-gaining-confidence young man. Instead, meet Rascal MacPip, the very confident, little bit arrogant, but very respectful ladies’ man, and his stunningly beautiful and talented partner, the Empress of Cha Cha.
Let’s talk just a minute about preparation for the Cha Cha, which also happens to be Mr. MacPip’s preferred method of entertaining the ladies. And why not? He saunters, winks, struts, leans, presses, wiggles, lurches, seduces, and on and on and on. But before you can Cha Cha in front of an audience of millions, you have to practice, and Rascal seems to like to laugh as he teaches. He even plans a nice “default” move so the Empress won’t be embarrassed if she forgets a bit of the choreography. Such a move is not needed, however, because the Empress knows what’s what, and if she forgets, she can fake it because she’s a born entertainer, and this lovely lady knows her business better than anybody.
So on to the dance. There were so many different characters in this one that poor Rascal must have some kind of multiple personality thing going on with all kinds of diverse techniques that help him seduce the ladies. It ‘s almost as though he is dangling a carrot in front of us, teasing us with the extraordinary range of possibilities. So let’s talk about a few of those characters, qualities, and tactical maneuvers employed by HRH (His Royal Hotness), Mr. Rascal MacPip himself.
1.The gentleman – Oh mercy me. Right from the beginning when he holds the star’s hand as she descends from the spotlight to dance, our Rascal had us right in the palm of his hand. Keep in mind that we could see the new tattoos on that right arm….and have we mentioned how much we suddenly love tattoos when we were never a big fan of them before? Once again, however, we digress.
Coming down a long flight of stairs on national TV is some serious business. Just think of all the things that could go wrong here, and believe us, we have already imagined the possibilities. In fact, we spent four tortuous days imagining the possibilities, which essentially means that we were procrastinating writing this thing. But back to the possible things going wrong scenario. We know full well what would have happened to us if we started our Week 1 dances on DWTS atop a staircase the size of a wedding cake pedestal. But then again we aren't The Empress, and we don't have decades worth of awesome Motown smoothness embedded in our DNA, nor are we particularly graceful, talented, or naturally gifted. Rascal knew without a doubt that our Empress would glide down that staircase with no trouble whatsoever but he decided to hold her hand anyway – just because. Besides, it was seriously sexy, and it all happened in such slow motion that we relive it over and over again every single day, every single step, every single breath. Think about it. When has a man ever held your hand like that to help you down the stairs while you’re tottering on your stilettos (or your dancing shoes)?
As he led her down the stairs he made it abundantly clear that Miss Sassy Skirt was the real star, and he was merely an extension of that persona. Of course this tactic that was obviously intended to divert attention from himself failed miserably because the truth of the matter is that we are suckers for a real gentleman – particularly a gentleman who looks so good with tattoos, bedhead (more about that later), and a vest (also more about that later). Not only did that gesture get our attention, but it held our attention. Nice try, Rascal.
2.A traditional ballroom or Latin dancer combined with a bit of a bad boy is hot, and you know that was the exact intention in this case. The tattoos gave us just enough of a reason to believe that this Rascal was no ordinary teacher, choreographer, dancer, and gentleman. He also had an insane amount of perfectly tousled bedhead – on this night even more than usual. This rascal stayed in bed a little longer than he should have this morning, and the DWTS hair people didn't have time to style it (we assume) or perhaps it was a well-planned strategy to seduce millions of women. Guess what? It worked. He has a little bit of an edge, and we like it. Nothing boring, nothing staid, nothing expected. From Tristan and the Rascal, always expect the unexpected. Like…
3.The beginning. Our sexy dancer with bedhead has the gorgeous lady in red to do with as he will on the dance floor. But she’s having none of it. She’s his equal, and he has to do a little pursuing….. Speaking of The Lady In Red, I’m thinking somebody ought to sing a song about it. Chris DeBurgh? You listening?
Notice how from the moment The Empress made it down the stairs, the first steps of the dance were instantaneous. No dancing around, no malarkey (Len’s words, not ours), no gimmicks, no showboating on behalf of the pro (thank you marvelous pro whoever you are), no naked chest from the Rascal (just a thought for the Rascal to keep in the back of his mind for future consideration), Gladys and The Rascal, began in hold and a series of perfectly in sync cha cha steps began. Those initial steps were followed by some real rascally closeness between Gladys and Tristan which was amazing, unexpected, and enticing, and it also deliciously set the stage for a wonderful performance. I mean, they really didn't waste any time did they? Giving us the sexy right away was a bold move so early in the game but it really set the tone for the rest of the dance.
4. Precision. The I.L.D. also evidently has a PhD. In Precision. He probably has a PhD in Sex Appeal too, but that’s beside the point. He kisses her hand with the most fleeting of kisses (giggle-SWAT), but before that there is that delicious little fluttering of his right hand as he advances (hot flash-Shakes). That is attention to detail like no other has ever brought to the dance floor on DWTS, and no, we’re not making this up. Nobody else has this kind of detail. This added touch makes us think of other added touches. And believe us when we say that we can always imagine Tristan with many, many more added touches. Tristan's Added Touches....now doesn't that sound like music to your ears my friends? Somebody called it ‘stylized’ and that’s the perfect description. It’s the little things that count…
5. The Added Touches. Let’s talk about the kiss on the hand that changed the whole dynamic of the dance as it showed us he was giving the lady all of his attention. The Empress began and ended the dance above the rest (Rascal was at her feet at the end, remember?), during assorted changes in position a supporting hand went to her back to gently guide her (Who does that???), and the smooth, rhythmic movement of the hips gave us all naughty thoughts – just like they were supposed to. Naughty naughty naughty. You know that had to be intentional. He is a rascal, remember? Anybody notice how when he supports his partner’s back, he does it with the flat of his hand so his fingers aren’t curved around her? It’s unique, it’s sexy, it’s different, and it’s hot. And while we’re on the subject of hot…
6. The lady was in charge – She was on a pedestal in the beginning, and she was on a metaphorical pedestal at the end. That’s hot. Remember just before the famous “Pip” move? Rascal continued to move while pointing to the Empress – that’s where all the attention was directed. And that is how it should be, but that pointing at the lady while stiffening the shoulders and doing the alternate shrug of those broad shoulders while tucking one foot behind the other in imitation of the Pips was very very sexy. Anybody going to argue that point? Speaking of sexy…
7. What about how he very discretely flutters his hand before inching towards her and kissing her hand. I’ve only seen this one other time, and it was in the pro dance “Dancing with the Stars - Pros and Troupe Freestyle Part 1”. Go to about 2:02 mark (you tube) and watch Tristan’s right hand. We noticed it then, we notice it now. Something about that little move of the hand is just spot-on hot. Also spot-on hot…
8. Who knew that a vest could be so darn sexy? First suspenders, now the vest. The red shirt with the black vest and pants reminded us of the whole Latin thing, and the red in the Empress’s dress carried that theme along beautifully. Bold and empowering. Yep. It’s another fashion winner that will keep us talking right up until Season 15.
The bottom line is that there are different types of rascals, but Tristan turns into a rascal when dazzling us with the Cha Cha – not the least of which is the “Oh Hell Yeah That’s Right, I’m Dancing With Gladys Knight Rascal”. We get overt displays of a pure star-struck scamp showing off. And he’s not showing off for his own benefit; he’s showing off to showcase his gorgeous and sassy dance partner. He isn’t afraid to give us hints when he is about to turn on his inner rascal. It’s subtle, it’s simple, and it’s effective. For example, the tongue occasionally makes a brief appearance to let us know he is up to no good, but we have decided not to dwell on anatomical references too much here because we would be in so much trouble....as usual.
The rascal only appears during the Cha Cha. Bentley was just a little shy, a bit unassuming, but lo and behold, Mr. MacPip is an entirely different matter. Full of flirty energy and confidence, he isn’t the least bit intimidated by TE (The Empress), and it’s even better than we thought because the Empress can dance! But the burning question is….can the Rascal really sing or are we being teased and lulled into a sense of false security and anticipation? Only LL from DublinDown330 knows for sure……..