Last night was unequivocally the biggest sporting event of the year. Yes, if you tuned into NBC last night, you witnessed something incredible: Eli Manning’s dancing debut.
This was something that had been in the works for a long time. Eli’s football career has been in question for some time now, and the straw broke the camel’s back this past season. When Eli Manning was benched in favor of Geno Smith, his mind was made up. He would be quitting at the conclusion of the season to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a professional dancer.
After what we can only assume was years and years of training during his time away from football, Eli finally showcased his moves in public. Previous to last night, there was only speculation about Eli’s dancing abilities. Could he take the lead in a dancing duet? Could he execute a proper chassé or pirouetté? Please God let him know to curtsy at the beginning and conclusion of his performance. Often, the pre-dance curtsy is neglected.
For his introductory performance, Eli scored a primetime slot on National Television. If that isn’t an indication of this guy’s future popularity, then I don’t know what is. Let’s take a look at the performance that people are calling “the dance heard ‘round the world”.
First off, let’s just acknowledge Eli’s mastery of marketing his own brand. Dance aficionado’s have been waiting for this moment for a long time, but football fans were likely confused. EM10 combatted this by wearing New York Giants gear and choosing WR Odell Beckham Jr. as his dance partner. He also chose to perform to “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley. The song was popularized by the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing”.
With Giants apparel, a recognizable partner, a universally loved song, he had all his bases covered. Every demographic was engaged, and he delivered.
The performance began with a ballroom-style dance with OBJ. Eli, clearly in the dominant role, guided Beckham through the brilliant choreography. They waltzed with a perfect 3/4 tempo while emphasizing the first beat (as is the only way to waltz), and Eli spun his partner like a figure skater. The two took each other’s hands, as narrated by the lyrics of the song, and continued their duet. Soon after, Eli left his partner to further demonstrate his skills.
Eli, ever the showman, threw in a couple freestyle moves, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Chris Brown’s performance at the 2012 Grammys. Odell simply laughs, watching the virtuoso at work.
After welcoming his offensive linemen into the performance and paying tribute to football with a drop back and some fancy footwork, Eli prepared for his finishing move. The pièce de résistance. I’m talking about the move.
He nailed it, unlike Ryan Gosling in “Crazy, Stupid, Love”. Eli showed his strength, which was always what separated him from the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL. He raised his partner up in the air as if he weighed nothing, and I have to admit, Odell Beckham Jr. held his form perfectly. It was a fitting end to an immaculate performance.
Let’s take a look at the Judge’s final scores.