Friday, May 1, 2009

Why is Melissa Rycroft Famous?

Don't worry if you read the title and had to ask "Who's Melissa Rycroft?" Melissa is a new phenomenon. Nevertheless, I think it is now incontrovertable that she is famous. My evidence?
  1. She survived elimination on last week's Dancing With the Stars, even though she didn't dance! She received enough fan votes to completely offset and overcome the Julianne Hough effect. To understand how many votes this is, just conduct a Google search for Julianne Hough. I suspect that men across the country watch Dancing With the Stars just to vote for her. Yes, Julianne Hough was recently voted one of People's Most Beautiful People of 2009. This brings me to my next point.
  2. Melissa Rycroft was also on the list of People's Most Beautiful, alongside Julianne Hough, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie, Zac Efron, and Michelle Obama. You've gotta be famous if you make that list -- at least B-list famous. Yet, you may still ask "Who's Melissa Rycroft?" Hear my next point.
  3. A google search for the very common name, "Melissa" yields about 76 million results. The sixth result is a Wikipedia article saying that Melissa is the 137th most popular name for girls born in the United States. The first Google result? "News results for Melissa," where two of the links refer to "Melissa Rycroft." Try searching "Tony" and finding me on Google.
Still, this is weird. She's famous, but I just don't understand why. I even watched it unfold before my eyes on national television, and I'm still mystified. Here's what happened if you don't already know:

Melissa, a bubbly former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, entered the all-too-frequent "I want to marry him" competition, The Bachelor. The man of the season was Jason Mesnick, a single dad from Seattle. In approximately ten weeks, Jason's task was to whittle down his stock of 25 beautiful women to one woman he wants to marry.

Melissa won Jason's heart early on. She was so much his favorite that he didn't end things when her parents wouldn't talk with him because they were uncomfortable with being on television. They were reluctant even when Melissa told them that she was in love. They didn't want to meet him, but this didn't faze Jason. Upon the last episode, Jason was "in love with two women:" Melissa and, my favorite, Molly. The show was forcing him to break up with one of his two loves, but he didn't know which one to choose.

On the show, Jason decided to break up with Molly. Devastated, it didn't look like he could go on. We cut to commerical and five minutes later, he pulled himself together to propose to Melissa. She said yes, they embraced, and the helicopter with the camera flew over some New Zealand mountain so the two could have some alone time. Nothing about that is reality, yet they call it reality television.

Then, came the show "After the Final Rose," which is supposed to describe the couple's plans for marriage, children and happily ever after. But, this season was different. Instead of pushing his breakup with Melissa off to a less public setting (as most Bachelor guys do with their chosen ones), Jason thought it was appropriate to publicly dump Melissa, and five minutes later, ask Molly if she would come back with him. That was a terrible thing to do, but he did it.

Melissa was quite upset. Some viewers were even more enraged. Would Melissa's limo ride be her curtain call? It seems the answer is no. ABC's Dancing with the Stars saw Melissa's crushed dreams and broken heart as an opportunity. They asked Melissa to fill in for an injured Nancy O'Dell to dance on this season's Dancing with the Stars. She said yes, even though they gave her only two days to "learn to dance" and prepare a routine for the first show.

Melissa made it through the first week relying on previous ballet training and voter sympathy for her public breakup. Thereafter, she's been one of the judge's favorites because she can actually dance and perform. But, I'm still not sure why she's one of the fan favorites. She has no other claim to fame.

There we have it: Dancing with the Stars thought being dumped by Jason made Melissa a star. Therefore, they asked her to dance on the show. She's actually a good dancer, so she stuck around. As a result, she started to grow on people. Therefore, she's famous? What a strange world!

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