Nobody was expecting billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban to be a runaway surprise on the ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars, but he naturally managed to raise a few eyebrows on his Tuesday night dancing debut. For one, the opening credits featured the Dallas Mavericks owner and HDNet guru shouting "I am a lean, mean dancing machine!" And paired with scantily-clad Australian dancer Kym Johnson, the 49-year-old entrepreneur wiggled his hips, snapped his fingers, lip-synched, and (naturally) let his tongue hang out.
Cuban did indeed "churn the butter" as he'd promised his blog readers. He also ended his dance with an odd little hop that led one of the judges to characterize him as a "bouncing bionic billionaire."
He clearly had a lot of fun, and was remarkably good-natured about the whole process despite his reputation for picking fights around the NBA. But it was borderline offensive when Cuban, who is reportedly worth $2.6 billion, showed up in brown coattails covered in faux tatters and danced the foxtrot with Johnson to the tune of hobo anthem "King of the Road."
It's going to sound preachy of me in the midst of an otherwise fluffy blog post, but homelessness and poverty are legitimate problems in the U.S. and it was neither cute nor funny for Cuban to evoke vagrancy in his dance debut. What would happen, for example, if Apple CEO Steve Jobs dressed up as a homeless person for Halloween?
All political correctness aside, Cuban also managed to look adequately ridiculous. As one anonymous observer glued to a TV screen told me, "That jacket is a fashion felony."
Cuban earned a final score of 21 (a seven from each of the three judges), to which he responded with "Blackjack, baby!" Viewers won't know until Wednesday night whether he makes it to the next round. Whether or not more dancing from Cuban will be amusing or simply irritating remains, well, up in the air.