Alas poor Robert. We didn't get to know him because he didn't let us in. He was Garbo on a cheap soundstage in Henderson: he wanted to be alone. He withdrew. He retreated. He was vague as fog. The latest contestant to exit Dancing with the Stars left a stranger.
It was all very peculiar. He chose live television to suffer an identity crisis. A couple of weeks ago Robert was shown in a kind of counselling session with the show's producer. The fun had gone out of dancing, he said. He needed help. She nodded, and said she understood. She wore soft, neutral colours. She spoke in low, soothing tones. But all psychiatry is bunk and she gave him absolutely nothing to go on with. He was dead man dancing.
It was a missed opportunity because Robert had it all. He could have gone the whole way. Looks, style, humour, physical grace — it was all there. There were glimpses, too, of a ripped Dad bod. He was another Simon Barnett in the making but he was too shy to reveal his abs and too shy to reveal his soul.
He looked magnificent when he first appeared all those weeks ago. He was beaming from ear to ear, he couldn't have been happier. But the judges gave him low marks and their criticism seemed to crush his spirits. He never truly bounced back. The best he could do was strive for competence. Week in, week out he scored 7. Other contestants hit 8s and 9s but Robert plodded along with his dreary collection of 7s.
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It couldn't go on. He wore his demons on his sleeve. The public felt his reluctance. His failure to show himself or express himself was like a refusal. He was a reminder of the great short story by Herman Melville in which the enigmatic character Bartleby famously and mysteriously says: "I prefer not to."
It was sad to see Robert go last night. There were tears in his eyes. It was the moment he had been too obviously dreading, and anticipating; in a sense, he wished it upon himself. He wanted the pain to stop.
For the rest of us, the pain only grows worse. David Seymour remains on the show. Good. I helped keep him there: I voted for him last night. DAVID 3333. Now this may come as a bit of a surprise to readers of my Dancing with the Stars reviews. I have done my best to flay Seymour alive for his rank incompetence. But I have seen the light, and it's thanks to a comment I read on the Twitter machine yesterday by ex-journalist Felix Marwick. "Maybe," he posted, "if we all vote for Seymour, and he wins, it makes the show such a calamitous tragedy that it's permanently cancelled."
The show already is a calamitous tragedy thanks to the continued presence of the creature from the Act lagoon. It should be razed. Seymour is the flaming torch; vote DAVID 3333, and throw petrol on the fire.