EXTRA! EXTRA! Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Dances with the Stars: Connections (#12)

Buzz Aldrin walks on Moon

No one can say “Dancing With the Stars” eldest contestant,  Buzz Aldrin, isn’t up for a challenge.

The 80-year-old former astronaut has rapped with Snoop Dog in “Rocket Experience,” has been on a Russian nuclear icebreaker to the North Pole and a French submersible down two-and-a-half miles in the ocean to the Titanic — oh, and he’s planning on driving a Hummer to the South Pole next December.

His current challenge:  learning to dance in front of millions of people on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“It been quite a bit harder than I thought it would be,” Aldrin told  Zap To It during an interview. “I’m glad it’s a taxing challenge, and I’m very glad to have passed that first milestone.”

Aldrin, one of the lowest scoring contestants so far (right down there with Kate Gosselin), made it through the first week without spending any time in the dreaded bottom two. While Aldrin wasn’t too shocked that his space fans came through for him, he was surprised to see Pamela Anderson get sent to the hot seat.

“I couldn’t explain that really because I thought she performed quite well,” says Aldrin. “I think the judges maybe had her a little higher, as I recall.  Maybe she just didn’t get that many votes, but I can’t understand that because she’s such an unusually attractive person.”

While Anderson’s looks didn’t earn her votes, Kate Gosselin’s tabloid appeal certainly did (in case you missed it, her dancing was abominable). But as far as dance ability goes, Nicole Scherzinger seems to be the one to beat — and Aldrin thinks we’ll see her around for a while.

“[Nicole]’s going to rank right up there when the final reckoning is being made. She along with Evan Lysacek…. He’s certainly very good on the dance floor too.”

Aldrin knows his limitations, but the high-energy octogenarian is approaching his latest challenge with a positive outlook.

“About all I can do is hope for the best. I hope, because that’s the reason I got involved in this. When people see my name out there … they’ll be reminded of the wonderful success of the Apollo program we had 40 years ago.”

That’s right, he’s hoping he gets the man-on-the-moon sympathy vote, and he’s not ashamed to say it. As former “DWTS” contestant Adam Corolla pointed out in a segment poking fun of the show during last week’s elimination episode, Aldrin shamelessly wears a rocket t-shirt every opportunity he gets.

But when you’re the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11 (a.k.a. the first manned lunar landing in history), you can wear the t-shirt all you want.

Aldrin will see if the space-loving community comes out in full force again to keep him onboard for another week when he competes next  tonight (April 5) on ABC.  Zap To It 04/05/2010©

USC Fan Buzz Aldrin Chows Down

In 2006 I met Buzz Aldrin at the USC vs. Texas National Championship football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  It was being promoted as possibly the Greatest College Game ever, and it was!  I don’t think the TV audience watching at home ever realized  that 100,000 fans, young and old, stood on their feet for the entire game,

Prior to the game, I was wearing my USC colors and walking in the Rose Bowl parking lot where I met a young woman who invited me to attend a tailgate party.  She said, casually,  “It will be fun.  An Astronaut’s going to be there.” Kathryn handed me her business card.  I looked at the card. “One of the attendees will be an Astronaut?” I asked. Well, folks, she wasn’t kidding.  I can tell you from personal experience that Buzz Aldrin is a very nice “down to earth” guy and a rabid USC Fan.

On “Dancing with Stars” Buzz Aldrin’s speciality has been the cha cha.  Not bad for an 80-year-old man, but then again, he walked on the Moon.



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