Backstage at 'Dancing with the Stars': Why No Drama?

One of the biggest surprises on Dancing with the Stars this season has been its relative lack of fireworks.

It isn't about the stars behaving badly, which we were expecting with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, the charismatic Jersey Shore star.

It isn't about romantic hanky-panky or animosity between the celebs and their pro partners, when the biggest relationship story so far is that Brandy called Maksim Chmerkovskiy "an ass----" during rehearsals.

It isn't even about the Tea Party Princess, Republican firebrand Sarah Palin, who caused no commotion whatsoever when she sat ringside last week.

The only tempest in a tutu has been singer Michael Bolton's strong and prolonged objections last week to being sliced and diced by judge Bruno Tonioli, who said, among other things, that "Rin Tin Tin could do a better jive."

Bolton asked Tonioli to apologize, saying his comments were "inappropriate and disrespectful." But even that small kafuffle has been undercut by Bolton agreeing to return to the ballroom as a singer on Tuesday night, filling in for an ailing Susan Boyle.

So what we have here is a bunch of stars who are focused, driven, and keeping their eyes on the prize. Nothing outrageous, anywhere. "I'm working six to eight hours a day," says Sorrentino. "Sweating, missing meals and not going out, not partying. I love to watch TV but I'm not.  I'm just practicing all day and going to sleep."

What? The Situation sticking to the dancing drill and keeping his shirt on?

"I was never a good dancer," he says after his fox trot Monday night, which earned a respectable 20 points. "So not only was it a privilege for me to learn from a professional like Karina (Smirnoff), but I also wanted to show America that I am well-rounded, that I am intelligent, that I am generous and sweet to people."

He's not particularly sweet to women on Jersey Shore. "It's all done with humor, and meant to be entertaining, not harmful," says Sorrentino. "I do have a mother and a sister.  I love my mother. I love my sister. What you see on Dancing With the Stars is the real person. I'm putting in the work. And people are starting to say, 'Hey, we're rooting for you. You're the underdog and you're awesome. You're a nice kid, contrary to what we've seen on that MTV show.'"

So, no fireworks.

Dancing's producers must want to kill him.

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