Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back to the Country Stage for Chuck!

Despite his recent attitude adjustment and improved dancing, Chuck and Julianne were eliminated last night. He was improving on all fronts, but it was too little, too late and he can go back to singing to his country audiences. (By the way, on his "exit interview" on Jimmy Kimmel, he insisted he didn’t realize he had handfuls of Julianne’s boobs last week until they saw it on You Tube. Okay, whatever - do we need your Man Card too?)

The show begins with Team Tango getting to do the Encore Dance, again simply introduced by Tom and Samantha as opposed to Len. Gonna have to write the producers about that, it’s just not fun that way!

In some confessional interviews, Chuck says "it’s not my plan to wear less clothing as the season goes on - but it’s working." Ty offers "I know I’m not doing great in Len’s world but I’m doing better than he’d be doing in mine!" Tom’s comment was a hoot, too: "I’m sure Len’s never been on a bull but he’s been responsible for some." During Tony’s comments, I felt so bad for him, he looked so bummed out (and glad I’m not married to him - those puppy-dog eyes would turn me to mush every time!)

Samantha tried to seriously tell us that the stars have started getting endorsement deals because of their high profile on DWTS. Seeing that smirk, though, had me rolling my eyes wondering what goofball stuff they were going to dream up - then the "Ballroom Dancers of Genius" came on and really made me giggle. It was a take-off on the Bud Light ads but they sang "put my career aside and become a celebrity dancer," making mention that for Lil’ Kim "where did all my street cred go?" As Shawn stared at the Mirror Ball Trophy, they sang "I thought it would be nicer." Later the "commercial" was Melissa starting a service called Dance Match. Chuck & Julianne were "matched" by her service - cheesy, but cute. My favorite, though, was a black and white "commercial" with the disclaimer first: "some people may find this disturbing." Tony, Derek, Cheryl, Chelsie, and Edyta took part in this one (each taking turns with a line) and I managed to catch most of it:

"Every year pro dancers are hurt senselessly to make dance television."
"Why are celebrities so cruel? Stop the abuse."
"How many more mic packs to I have to land on?"
"How many more costumes need to be torn?"
Here’s where it gets really interesting:
Derek, standing naked with a big mirror ball in front of him: "I’d rather go naked than see another dancer hurt."
Cheryl, with two strategically-placed mirrorballs in front of her: "I’d rather go naked than see another rhinestone injury."
Tony with a mirrorball in front of him: "I’d rather go naked than wear another ice pack." (And that mirrorball wasn’t all that big, caught the sides of his naked person, and mmm them hips look nice!)
Edyta had only one mirrorball in front of her: "Dancers are people too."
[Sponsored by PETD - People for the Ethical Treatment of Dancers.]

Tom comes back from commercial saying that we’re "in for the most shocking elimination of the season." Leads me to believe that Melissa isn’t going anywhere ... but who? One of the front-runners like Gilles or Lil’ Kim?

Robin Thicke was introduced and I swear I heard something about hip hop in his introduction, but it sounded more like disco to me. I did notice that he’s much better looking than his father. It was nice to see Dmitri, Alec, Edyta and Kym out there again (along with Tony and Cheryl) and their bright yellow costumes were very spring-y.

Lil’ Kim & Derek are announced that they are safe.

There’s a clip with the judges telling us about what the stars are especially good at and they end up making a very scary, ugly composite of Chuck’s head (he has the right mental attitude), Gilles’ arms (he adds passion with his arms), Ty’s body (core strength, great posture), Melissa’s legs (she .uses her legs like a paintbrush on canvas, per Bruno), Shawn’s feet (for her precise footwork), and Kim’s face (she makes every person feel like she’s dancing specifically for them). Let’s not do that one again, okay?

Maybe this is part of the "most shocking" but Ty & Chelsie are told they are safe. After a bit, we get to see Gilles & Cheryl celebrate their safeness and are told that "everyone from Team Tango are safe."

The pro dancer competition is coming up, and Genya , Afton, Mayo & Anna made it through to dance this week. Genya now has to dance with Afton and they’ll be doing the Quickstep. Genya hasn’t danced ballroom in ages so Afton has to teach Genya. I thought they did great (but then it is one of my favorite dances, so I’m biased). Just to show how serious he is, Genya even shaved for the performance. The judges liked it and commented about the characterization of dance being done beautifully, that Afton is a good teacher and Genya looked like he danced ballroom.
Mayo & Anna are doing the Jive and they are going to prove that tall people can do Latin dances. I liked it (and the Jive is another favorite) but not as much as Genya & Afton. Len commented that "I said tall people would have problems with Latin dances, but I also said Ty should go - so I’ve been wrong twice." Bruno said "I feel cats everywhere!" I really think they need a translator or subtitles for him, either he said "cats" and we need to know what cats have to do with the Jive, or he said something else and we need the English version. Anyway, I saw Len move away closer to Carrie Ann - which I see a lot when Bruno speaks, I think Len may worry about getting his nose broken by Bruno’s demonstrative arms.

Shawn & Mark are safe, leaving Chuck & Julianne and Melissa & Tony to sweat out another commercial break. Carrie Ann is asked what we’ll miss if Chuck is eliminated, and she says Chuck is just "coming into his stride," and it will be a shame to see him go. Bruno offers that Melissa is one of the best dancers we’ve ever had with potential to be champion. Asked who should stay, Len said "based on last night, Chuck should stay, but based on the last 7 weeks, Melissa should stay."

Chuck & Julianne are eliminated and Melissa is crying - but is she genuinely upset that Chuck’s going or that relieved that it’s not her? Chuck tells Tom and Samantha that he had a great time, he loved the standing ovations from the crowd. He mentioned that "it goes to show how many fans Melissa has, for her to be five points down and still be here." (The comment itself sounds bitter, but his voice didn’t, so maybe it’s just me). He began to say "I think the team dance did us in" and Tom cut him off right there, saying "Let’s go out on a high note. This is what the show is all about, to come out of left field, out of your comfort zone and go so far. More important, the relationship is still intact, right?" (Chuck confirmed this). He’s very thankful to the fans and looking forward to going back on tour.

Tom tells us that celebrities from past seasons will dance with the two remaining pros next week as they audition for our votes to become a professional on next season’s show. Hmmm, who are they bringing back? Melanie? Sabrina? Lisa Rinna? Joey? Wayne Newton or Cloris Leachman? (Ha!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fractured Ribs and Men in Tights - What is the Ballroom Coming To?

What a night! You can see how much better everyone is getting - the dances were great and we got to see the Team Dance-Off. The couples were divided into two teams: Team Mambo and Team Tango - and Team Mambo ended with a routine reminiscent of "Men in Tights" which just cracked everyone up.

We're men, MANLY men, we're men in tights. Yes! We roam around the forest looking for fights. We're men, we're men in tights. We rob from the rich and give to the poor, that's right! We may look like pansies, but don't get us wrong or else we'll put out your lights. We're men, we're men in tights - TIGHT Tights - Always on guard defending the people's rights. When you're in a fix just call for the men in tights!

Anyway, on to the dancing - and it’s LIVE! From Hollywood! We see Tony walking dejectedly down the stairs by himself when the couples are introduced, and we’re told Melissa has an injury and cannot compete tonight, and we’ll get more information later. Oh-oh, was that rib injury worse than we were led to believe?

Gilles & Cheryl begin the evening with a Lindy Hop. We’re really starting to see what a taskmaster Cheryl is - bordering on bitchy sometimes, but you can understand why she’s a two-time champ at this - and it doesn’t seem to faze Gilles in the least. Gilles’ shoulder is really bugging him so he gets a cortisone shot and is okay - but it doesn’t help him get the hang of the Lindy Hop lifts. I give Cheryl a pass for being bitchy this time because practicing one lift, Gilles ended up dumping Cheryl on her head and how can she teach with a massive headache? That pompadour hair of Gilles’ was really scary and a little distracting, and I swear he was off step to begin the dance, but it was cute and the judges didn’t mention/didn’t see/it didn’t happen any missteps on Gilles’ part, so I guess I’m seeing things. Len began by rattling off a list of things the French are famous for: "French fries, French kissing .... and now put the Lindy Hop on that list!" Bruno liked Gilles’ show of versatility, saying he revealed his sense of comedy. Carrie Ann called it fantastic, saying it’s "nice to see another side of you." Great scores: 9-9-9=27.

Lil’ Kim & Derek will dance a Paso Doble. Kim is going back to her old ways and putting her personality back in her dancing, except she’s doing a lot of karate moves - and putting Asian influence into a Spanish dance isn’t going to fly, I think. Derek had to keep reminding Kim that the Paso Doble has no hip action. I absolutely LOVED Kim’s dress for this dance! Her face looked goofy, though, she's not the best at stern looks. Bruno was excited: "The bitch is back! That was a classic, classy Paso!" (There were some gasps at that comment, but Kim loved it). Carrie Ann called it dramatic and aggressive. Len began sounding like he hated it: "It isn’t about mastering a dance you’re good at. It’s about coping with a dance you’re not good at. I thought this would be a disaster (wait for it....) - I thought "oh no" but got "OLE!" They were VERY happy with their scores: 9-9-10=28 (scoring their first 9 from Len).

Chuck & Julianne are dancing the Cha Cha. Julianne is thinking that the dance will suit them well, since it’s a flirty dance, and that’s what their relationship is. They had a lot of fun in rehearsals and laughed a lot (a definite contrast to Cheryl and Gilles!) Chuck’s hips were actually moving and he looked pretty good in the blue silk pajamas this week. Carrie Ann told him "you are in the game - you are running and your hips are running for you!" Len offered that "it’s not how you start, but how you finish" and said it was fantastic. Bruno said Chuck had great "bum action" (and I’m really starting to notice that Bruno is acting more and more like the show’s "funny uncle" - makes more mentions of the men’s lower anatomies than anything!) All the judges, however, made mention of Chuck’s "wooden" arms. Sorry, I liked it but thought the scores were a bit high: 9-9-8=26.

Shawn & Mark are up next to dance the Samba. Mark brings his Mom, Shirley (a former dancing champion) in to help Shawn with her arms (she looks like she’s swinging a baseball bat) and seeing this reserved woman, I’m thinking I don’t know how she and Corky are married (if they still are). Total opposites! Their dance seemed a bit subdued for a Samba (mom’s influence?) Len was NOT impressed, telling Shawn she lacked hip action and that the "dress was doing most of the work." He called it good, not great. Bruno disagreed, saying that Shawn is a carefree dancer that performed a good Samba, but she’s still not a wild child, not "Lady Gaga." (I don’t want to know what that is). Carrie Ann told her not to listen to the guys - "your aim is not to be Lady Gaga. Your aim is to get the steps, do a proper Samba and that’s what you did." Scores matched the comments: 10-8-9=27.

Melissa & Tony should be dancing next, but we see how her rib injury progressed to the level that she just couldn’t dance tonight. They are to perform the Jive, and Tony is really pushing it with the choreography. During practice, Melissa hits the floor in pain and they decide she has to see a doctor, who diagnoses a hairline fracture in her ribs. The doc tells her she can keep practicing as long as she can tolerate it. As of Monday morning, however, it bothered her and they tried "treatment that didn’t work" so Melissa can’t dance and the judges will be basing their scores on the last taped practice dance on Monday morning. The practice was not the dress rehearsal, and Melissa was wearing a sports bra and r-e-a-l-l-y low-cut jeans (and had to pull them up during the dance). Each judge was very apologetic, saying that obviously the showmanship wasn’t there, nor the moves as crisp as they needed to be. They were "marking," which we find out is a run-through of the dance making sure you’re in the right places on the stage. Tony looked ready to cry backstage with Samantha, telling the audience to "please vote - you know we can do that ten times better." I think the judges scored the dance on Melissa’s reputation thus far, knowing that yes, she could have done much better: 7-7-7=21.

Ty & Chelsie will be dancing a Salsa, and I’m thinking poor Ty will implode having to move his hips. I love Ty - a lot. He’s got a great personality and wit, he’s a gentleman and he works his buns off, but he is better suited for the ballroom dances that require stiffness of posture. Dimitri came in to practice to help Ty get the idea, and that’s where Chelsie noticed that Ty is really white and put him in a spray tan booth. (Ty mentioned that at nine years old he got a sunburn so bad he had third-degree burns so he avoids the sun now - can ya blame the guy?) The look on Ty’s face as he was being sprayed was pretty good - a mix between total embarrassment and determination that he was going to do whatever Chelsie told him to. I liked the dance a lot, Ty was moving really well and looked a lot looser than usual. Carrie Ann ranted that she loved it, saying "I never know what to expect, and when I heard Salsa, I thought "oh no!" but it was great!" Len turned total buzzkill, saying that "you’ve had highs and lows, you’ve hung on for eight weeks and done well, but unless you come out and really perform in the group Tango, I think it’s time for you to hit the trail." (Jeeze! I didn’t think it was anywhere near that bad!) Bruno told Ty he enjoyed watching that dance, but said Ty had to move from his hips and not his knees. The scores matched the comments: 9-7-8=24.

On to the Team Dance-Off! Shawn & Mark, Melissa & Tony and Chuck & Julianne make up Team Mambo. Chuck says "we have an Olympic medalist and a scorned woman, so watch out!" Lacey Schwimmer ended up stepping in for Melissa with only about 2 hours to learn the routine (and yes, she’s a professional and yes, it’s her job, but still - that’s not much time to get a whole dance!) Their dance was to a Beyonce song (little do we know how much this matters) - perky and fun, the solos of the couples looked great. Lacey & Tony were told that they would not be judged at all, they were pretty much out there for balance and the scores would be based solely on Shawn and Chuck’s performances. (No pressure, there). When the couples got back together at the end, the men tore off the little skirts of the girls as they danced on the floor, and ran off - we find out that the men are on top of the judges’ table and have ripped off some clothes of their own, revealing sparkly tops and white tights! Chuck’s top was an off-the-shoulder number that was just the height of a fashion statement (see how far he’s come?) The end of the dance was eerily familiar to the SNL spoof with Justin Timberlake of Beyonce’s video. Confused? Go to YouTube and look up both, and you’ll see! Len told them that it was a good job, when they were dancing together it was "tight." Bruno went over the top about the guys in their tights, telling them to step forward and screaming something I’m sure the producers were happy we couldn’t hear because of the audience cheers and laughter. Carrie Ann said the ending was fun but a little distracting and told them that they were overpowered by the music - it was more fun than the dancing. Their scores: 8-8-9=25.

Team Tango consists of Ty & Chelsie, Gilles & Cheryl, and Lil’ Kim & Derek. They were the 4th, 5th and 6th place teams last week, so they feel they have to work extra hard to overtake Team Mambo. Ty is happy that he finally has a guy showing him what to do during the dances and Chelsie acts hurt: "What, I’m not manly enough for you?" They begin the dance with Kim between shirtless Gilles and Ty, and Ty looks sexy to me (which kind of worries me, cuz "Ty" and "sexy" just don’t fit too well together). They are dressed again for their solo dances with their partners, damn. Kim & Derek are first up for the solo dance and Kim messes up a bit but recovers pretty good. Ty’s and Gilles’ solos also look great, and the synchronicity the group has at the end is just perfect. Bruno is excited, saying they came out like a "pack of voracious raptors and the ending gave me goosebumps!" (At least I think that’s what he was saying - raptors, rutches, something like that). Carrie Ann said Team Tango takes it and loved the unison at the end. Len told them he saw Kim’s "little blunder" and that Gilles’ footwork was "atrocious" but then sucked up to Ty, saying he "nailed it." Backstage, something happened with Chelsie and Kim - they somehow got stuck together in the head region (was it their hair ornaments tangling or did Chelsie’s earring get stuck in Kim’s hair?) and had to spend the backstage interview and scores with their heads together. After a little "surgery" Ty managed to get them apart. Great scores for Team Tango: 9-9-10-28.

The leaderboard after the judges’ scores:

Lil’ Kim and Derek: 28 + 28 = 56
Gilles and Cheryl: 27 + 28 = 55
Shawn and Mark: 27 + 25 = 52
Ty and Chelsie: 24 + 28 = 52
Chuck and Julianne: 26 + 25 = 51
Melissa and Tony: 21 + 25 = 46

What a fun night! Aside from Melissa being absent, I think it proved that everyone left has a right to be there and the dancing has improved immensely. I sure hope that Melissa recovers and is able to keep dancing - she’s one of the good ones with a real shot to win this thing. Have you voted? Keep your favorite couple in the competition!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Finally Scored in the America's Next Top Model Fantasy TV League

If you are a really big fan of Reality Television, BuddyTV has a Fantasy TV League. Paz mentioned on his Americas Next Top Model Cycle 12 Episode 3 Recap. I am a member of the ANTM Cycle 12 Premier League. I have been making picks almost every week since the beginning and I am doing a terrible job.

I finally got on the board in week 9 when I correctly picked the elimination and scored 2000 points. I moved from last place to tied for 8th.

This is actually the first time I have ever participated in a fantasy league. I figured if I ever did it would be in something like football, not ANTM. Oh well, it is pretty interesting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LT Giving Up Edyta for His Golf Bag

All the votes have been counted and tonight we find out who goes home - and it’s all LIVE!!!!
We begin the show with the Encore Dance which is, of course, the Group 60's number, and it’s just as much fun tonight as it was on Monday. I’m just wondering, though, why they cut out asking the judges who they wanted to see in the Encore Dance and letting Len announce it. Mr. Grumpy Pants must have really ticked someone off there!

Filler clip of the week: some medical experts are asked how this show is taking a toll on the stars. Lil’ Kim has lost 2 inches off her waist and hips. Gilles’ resting heartbeat is down from 46 to 36. Lawrence lost 15 pounds. (And Nancy O’Dell is having knee surgery. And Jewell ripped something in her knee. Feast or famine!)

Natasha Bedingfield sang - never heard of her, and wasn’t impressed. After a couple of sentences I switched over to the hockey game and managed to catch a Red Wings goal. (I usually at least stick around to watch the dancing and missed Dmitri and Lacey’s performance, but hey, it’s playoff time!) Burn the Floor was then introduced, made up of international ballroom champions that are opening on Broadway. I loved every one of those people, thought it was the best dance segment (aside from our pros) that I’ve seen!

We get the backstage interview with Samantha, where Chuck mentions that he "never thought it would take red silk pajamas to tie Gilles (scores)." Chuck & Julianne are then the first couple to be announced as safe, along with Melissa & Tony and Shawn & Mark.

A new twist! There is a contest to choose a new pro dancer for next season. There are three women, three men vying for one spot on Season 9. They are paired off into couples but are basically competing against each other ... interesting. The judges will comment but not score, it’s all up to the viewing audience on who goes or stays. The lowest-scoring male and female will be eliminated next week, and the remaining couples will dance again....and so on, until there is one pro left. I’m curious to see how they’re going to do the competition between the two remaining pros. Considering ballroom dancing is pretty much all about the man being there to make the woman look beautiful, the emphasis is supposed to be on her - the guy may not stand a chance. But then, if they let them dance alone, that defeats the idea of seeing how they dance with a partner. Am I over-analyzing this? Maybe I should just sit back, enjoy the ride, and let them figure it out!

Anyway, the first couple are Afton & Brent and they’re doing a Cha Cha. They know each other well and dance together in a show (sorry, forgot the name of it). The judges were all very complimentary, and they both looked pretty good to me. Next up, Anna & Mayo (yes, like the condiment) and while they are good friends, they’ve never danced together so they may be at a disadvantage ... but their Waltz was absolutely amazing! Unless the next couple is fantastic, I’m choosing them - and Mayo’s my favorite of the two. Bruno called it "Waltz at its classic best" and I agree wholeheartedly. Snow & Genya are up next with a Rumba, and we find out Genya is Alex Mazo’s brother (he gets points with me by association!) Genya & Snow are both pretty feisty, arguing in rehearsal about their dance. Snow mentions something about Genya having to deal with stars who don’t know how to dance, and when Genya retorts ''The whole point of this is that I'm dancing with a pro,'' I liked him even more. Not sure he’d be able to put up with a know-not-how-to-dance star, especially if they’re really bad (Cloris Leachman) or have a lousy attitude, but his little go-round with Snow was fun. Len offered that Genya danced "like a real man" and that Snow showed "romance without being raunchy." Oh, dear, now I’m torn on who to vote for.....

We’re treated to Celtic Woman, a group of four singers with a violin player and a choir, singing "You Raise Me Up" and watching professional dancers Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian dance the literal translation. He tossed her around like a rag doll (although no rag doll I’ve ever seen looked like her!) and it was all very nice.

We can finally get down to the nitty-gritty and the four remaining couples. As Tom mentions each couple by name, saying his little bits, he gets to Gilles & Cheryl and the audience cheers. He then talks to Ty & Chelsie and the audience cheers. (No such reaction for Lil’ Kim & Derek or Lawrence & Edyta ... interesting.) Lil’ Kim & Derek and Gilles & Cheryl are sage, and while Ty & Chelsie are not necessarily in the bottom two with Lawrence & Edyta, someone is going home and it’s ..... Lawrence & Edyta.

While LT perked up his attitude the last couple of weeks and actually had some fun, the most fun I think he’s had to date is hearing his name called. He’s probably on the golf course right now! He did sound gracious, saying he had fun, and Edyta taught him well about dancing, but "I don’t know where the hell I’m gonna use it!" Edyta reminded LT that she taught him to dance and "I’m looking forward to golf lessons, you owe me."

Next week the couples will dance two dances. It’s getting down to the wire, and your votes will be more important than ever!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chuck as a Blonde (Ugh); LT, Give Up Your Man Card!

LIVE! From Hollywood, it’s Dancing With the Stars!!! The pros come out with their star partners who had a hand in designing their costumes this week. Lawrence mentioned he would try to make his mother proud, and I bet she was, because Edyta was covered from neck to toes with fur around her neck and wrists! Looked like a coat for Siberia! LT, turn in your Man Card!

Melissa & Tony are up first to do an Argentine Tango. Bruno told her last week to bring out her "man eater" persona but she’s having trouble, so Tony takes her to Wisteria Lane and they meet up with Teri Hatcher. Teri tells her to get to her romantic place, and forget the cameras...just "be where you are with your partner." It was a great dance, I’ve decided I like the Argentine Tango much more than the regular Tango (especially with the legal lifts). Len called it "fantastic" and loved Melissa’s "series of intricate steps." Len also liked the interaction, likening it to "don’t touch what you can’t afford." Bruno told her "revenge of the man eater!" and "your legs were like tools in the hands of a master." He wanted a drink. Carrie Ann liked the passion and drama of their dance and decided it’s the best Argentine Tango this season (although Gilles & Cheryl got a 30 for theirs earlier in the season). Carrie Ann and Tony seem to have put their differences behind them this year, because she told Tony that "you are the king and queen of legal lifts!" Super scores: 10-9-10=29.

Lawrence & Edyta will Waltz. LT is having a busy week, because he has to fly to Miami for a golf event for his charity. He taught Edyta to swing a golf club and we had fun watching her try to hit the ball. Lawrence laughed that "now she knows how it feels to be judged on something she’s never done." He tries his best at an accent that sounded more like a gastrointestinal problem and said, "You looked so good but your technique sucks!" He mentioned that Edyta now knows how he feels every day in practice. Edyta is trying to tell LT that the Waltz is graceful and romantic, and Lawrence quips that "LT and graceful have never been used in the same sentence." At the beginning of the dance he took off that furry coat and her dress was absolutely gorgeous, rainbow hues of blue (but still a LOT more cloth than usual for Edyta!) Their dance was nice, Lawrence was much more relaxed than he’s been. Bruno told him got romance right because at the beginning it was like watching a scene from Dr. Zhivago. Bruno said his turns were a bit clunky, though, it was "not terrible but not brilliant." (How’s that for a ass backwards compliment?) Carrie Ann praised LT, saying "I actually saw more freedom in your movement" and told him he was a great dress designer. Len offered that LT captured the grace of the dance with tenderness and elegance and "overall I was shocked at how well you performed." Len did mention that he was concerned with Edyta’s dress because during the dance part of it went over Edyta’s head. That’s when Tom quipped that "we only put Edyta in those skimpy costumes for her safety." His scores were reasonable: 7-7-7=21.

Up next are Lil’ Kim & Derek and they’ll dance a Rumba. They focus on pleasing Len this week, saying that in order to get a perfect 30 they have to please Len too. Derek is really having trouble with the choreography because he wants it "technical and entertaining" so he can please everyone, having a alance between sexy & sweet. He wants to "tone down Kim’s sexiness." (America is gonna make you turn in your Man Card too, it!) The pink costume that Kim talked about putting Derek in last week was disappointing - just pink accents. The dance was nice, which for Kim is saying a lot! They did have a really neat move where Kim twisted around in Derek’s arms - different. Carrie Ann looked pained, saying it was "understated but a bit underwhelming." Len began with "Be still my beating heart!" HOWEVER! He agreed with Carrie Ann, saying to go with what you know, don’t try to please one person. Len added, "Don’t worry about the sexiness in the dance - I love it, I just don’t mark it that high." Bruno said it was a good Rumba, but "taking the raunch out of Kim is like drinking a margarita without tequila!" I’m thinking that they may actually have hit it with Len this week, but no: 9-8-9=26. (If anyone has figured Len out even one bit, ‘splain it to me, okay?)

Chuck & Julianne are going to dance the Samba. Chuck is going to work really hard because "all I want is a 9!" He knows they have to impress the judges but he says "in the end it’s all about the fans." He had a concert in Alabama and fished for votes among the fans as he signed autographs. At the beginning of the dance, they made a move and I’m thinking Chuck’s hands slipped big time because Julianne pitched forward and Chuck grabbed her to pull her back - and ended up with handfuls of Julianne’s boobs. He didn’t try to wiggle his hands away and get them under her arms (where I think they should have been in the first place), just kept dancing with his hands all over her boobs. I had to replay it a few times for my hunny (he didn’t believe me at first - thank goodness for TiVo!) You can bet that will be on Entertainment Tonight or TMZ! Didn’t bother their dance one bit, which looked like a lot of fun. Len was excited, saying "Chuckie! I liked it a lot!" and saying it was Chuck’s best dance to date. Bruno was out of his seat - "You must want it so badly! You were working that butt and those hips like never before!" Carrie Ann just gave Chuck her standing "whoop" and hugged him. Backstage Chuck said that "Alabama will keep us in this competition" and was ecstatic about their scores: 9-9-9=27.

Ty & Chelsie are up next with a Waltz. Ty hasn’t been making the judges - or himself - happy the last couple of weeks but is looking forward to going back to the ballroom style because "I get to hold on again, and I’m good at holding on." He mentions that he knows the Waltz is supposed to be a romantic dance but Chelsie feels more like his adopted daughter. Chelsie invited Ty’s wife Jewell in to help, and Ty said that Jewell helped him tap into his softer side. You could tell that Ty was enjoying this dance (and holding on) - his posture was great and he was smiling again! Bruno told Ty that he had a "bigger comeback than Mickey Rourke." Last week Ty was in the gutters but this week he’s back in the game. Carrie Ann thought their connection was fantastic and Ty made a beautiful frame for his partner to dance with. She did notice that "every once in awhile you got that ‘I’m afraid to be out here’ look" but decided her dancer was back. Len was pleased for sure - "good hold, good posture, and more rise and fall than a bride’s nightie." Back to good scores: 8-8-8=24.

Shawn & Mark will do a Cha Cha. Shawn is really stressing because while she hasn’t left Los Angeles since the show started, she has to go to both New York City and Des Moines this week and won’t have time to rehearse the group dance with the group - she’ll have to learn it on her own. Mark is concerned because Shawn is really over-tired and not picking up steps as quickly as she usually does. (Now wait one minute! She’s an Olympic gymnast - how many hours does she train for that? Lots more than now! Plus, she’s freaking 17 years old!!!! I could go for DAYS at 17! Get with it, kiddo!) Their Cha Cha was to a Michael Jackson tune, "Pretty Young Thing" and Mark had on the quintissential MJ outfit, complete with sparkly white socks. Their dance was fun and I thought the best of the evening so far. Carrie Ann loved it, saying that Shawn has flawless technique and "sometimes I don’t feel like the dance comes to life - but tonight you came alive!" Len told her that the Cha Cha is a difficult dance - it is sharp and crisp and you have to blend rhythm with it and she pulled it off. Bruno called her a "cheeky little devil" and said she was flamboyant and vibrant, technically flawless and reminded him of a young Debbie Reynolds or Mitzi Gaynor. They loved the scores: 9-9-10=28.

Gilles & Cheryl are wrapping up the couples portion of the evening with the Viennese Waltz. During rehearsals, Gilles is getting the steps but being "too Latin" with his movements - sticking out his chest and stiffening his arms when he extends them, looking more powerful than the softness the dance requires. Cheryl took him to visit a synchronized swimming coach and Gilles came out in a one-piece bathing suit and white bathing cap saying the suit was "from the era of the Viennese Waltz." (He did change into a little tiny black Speedo-looking suit, which was just wonderful). He picked up the fluidity of the moves in the water and had fun, spitting water at Cheryl and doing a cannonball. I thought it was a really pretty dance. Len told him he had "lovely rotation" and did a superb job, although he needed to work a little bit on his footwork. Bruno didn’t try to hold back his French accent, telling Gilles he looked like Louis Jourdan in Gigi (which gave Gilles a great smile). Bruno told him it was "glamorous but you still managed to put some sex into it." Carrie Ann called Gilles the most graceful male dancer but nitpicked that he had to watch his posture. Their scores: 9-9-9=27.

So here’s the leader board after the judges’ scoring:
29 - Melissa & Tony
28 - Shawn & Mark
27 - Chuck & Julianne
27 - Gilles & Cheryl
26 - Lil’ Kim & Derek
24 - Ty & Chelsie
21 - Lawrence & Edyta

We’re shown clips from rehearsals of the group dance, which to me has always been much more fun than the actual dance (especially with last season's dreadful hip hop). Since Shawn can’t be there, Mark brings a life-sized cardboard cutout picture of her. Ty cracks everyone up by coming in with a long-haired wig and headband, complete with John Lennon glasses, but the choreographer/teacher tells him he’s in the "wrong era of the 60's." They’re all having a great time except for Lawrence, who looks totally confused. Ty laughs that "LT’s making this whole day fun because he ain’t having none of it." LT remarks that it’s more like "dancing with the clowns." (I have a feeling that’s why Lawrence is ‘way in the back for the dance!) The live dance was shown in black & white and was a lot of fun. Chuck looked ridiculous in a blonde Beatles wig but I give him props - at the beginning he wouldn’t have been caught dead in that. Each couple got their chance to do a little solo too. The judges got to comment but did not score the dance. Bruno had the comment of the evening, saying the boys produced a performance of sublime silliness and told Chuck "be careful - it starts with a wig and ends up with a frock!" Carrie Ann thought the girls nailed it. Len said it was fun and energetic and took him back to the 1964 when he went clubbing in London.

All in all, a fun night - the judges were a little stingier with the scores than I thought they should have been. Did you vote? I hope so - otherwise don’t complain if your favorite goes home tonight!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bye Bye to a Classy Jackass

Well, our loveable Jackass, Steve-O, couldn’t hold out any longer and was eliminated last night with his lingerie-clad partner, Lacey. I was really starting to warm up to him and actually like him, stupid TV show and drug use behind him. He seemed like a really nice guy and went out with class. (Learn something from that, LT - although I’ll give Lawrence credit, he’s improved his attitude as of this week too).

Lil’ Kim & Derek are asked to perform their Jailhouse Rock Jive as the Encore Dance. It looks just as good as Monday and a bit looser - amazing what "not being judged" can do for a performance.

Some backstage confessional moments: Steve-O wondering what was up with the judges on Monday. "I forget the dance, I get a 5. That was my best dance yet, and I get a 4." (I hear ya, Steve-O, but don’t try and figure out Len. It will send you back to drugs). Chuck says that "Bruno liked me raunchy. Carrie Ann liked me raunchy." Julianne laughs that she likes the fact that Carrie Ann liked him raunchy better, but Chuck doesn’t care, good scores are good scores.
Members of the cast of West Side Story perform "America" and bring the house down. I think I’m going to have to check that out again, I’ve only seen the movie and it’s been eons. That was a great performance.

Backstage, Samantha interviews some of the stars and Steve-O is thankful for the "outpouring of love and support, regardless of what happens." We find out there is no Dance-Off tonight (thank you, dance gods!) Confessing to the camera after his dance on Monday night, Chuck says "I am so turned on I don’t even remember what the judges said." (I imagine Chuck & Julianne are taking a bit of a risk with their relationship, doing this show together and Julianne having to be a hardass to teach Chuck. Going back to their roots for a sentimental reminder of their first date was probably a pretty good idea.)

The first two couples are told they are safe: Lil’ Kim & Derek and Lawrence & Edyta. Edyta looks genuinely surprised and happy - and after reading a lot of the message boards, it’s been noted that Lawrence may be giving Edyta the "Karina syndrome" because she seems like her heart is not in it this season. I started paying attention and can see from their rehearsal footage that she looks tired and Lawrence isn’t helping. Maybe LT’s newfound enthusiasm will help pick up Edyta a little.

Rascall Flatts perform a song from their new album, which I have decided I have to buy. They’re one group everyone can like whether they like country or not. Tony and Julianne perform, and Julianne does the head-whipping thing again - she’s gotta have a headache after all that! (Or am I just projecting how I would feel? Probably. Although if it were me, I would have broken my neck!)

We find out the Stars get to design the costumes for next week’s dance. It’s hysterical seeing the stars in the room with the costume designer and the professional dancers locked outside, wondering what is up. Lil’ Kim is picking out pink for Derek - and Derek doesn’t care what she dresses him in, as long as he doesn’t have to wear her pasties. Cheryl looks sour, saying "this is a bad idea," and Lacey yells at Steve-O "don’t make me look fat!" Lawrence says his mom will be around next week, so he’s thinking a little bit more clothing for Edyta. (Many, many male viewers of the program have just decided that LT is gay.)

Shawn & Mark and Melissa & Tony will be back next week, they are safe. Backstage, Samantha talks to Lil’ Kim about plotting Derek’s costume, and Kim says "I can put him in a paper bag and he still looks hot." (Go ahead, Kim, feed that enormous ego!) Samantha teases LT, telling him "you may disappoint most of the US by putting more clothes on Edyta," and Lawrence says "yeah, she doesn’t like to wear much."

Carmen Electra dances with a group in a cabaret-style number choreographed by former Pussycat Doll Lindsley Allen. It was fun, although we got to see that Ms. Electra has gained a little weight. (Just as I type that I feel lousy - she has a KILLER body that’s maybe - what, 10 pounds heavier than we last saw her in the limelight, she still looks absolutely fabulous, and all anyone can say is "wow, she gained weight!" See how screwed up society is? Now I know what Cheryl was yelling about when the media made such a big deal of her little weight gain. And another thing .... um, oh. I’ll get off the soap box.)

A body language expert comes in to tell us what the stars are really feeling. Kim has big eyes and her mouth is always open, so she’s taking it all in. Shawn isn’t secure, as proved by her shoulder-shrugging. Ty holds onto Chelsie a lot, he needs the reassurance that she’s there. Melissa shows a lot of fear. Chuck is trying really hard. Gilles looks up a lot, as if he’s praying, which shows he’s humble. Lawrence stands with his chest puffed out, meaning he’s open and can take whatever the judges dish out. Tom quips that the expert "made everyone feel practically naked - but then, they are!"

Gilles & Cheryl are told they are safe, leaving Chuck & Julianne, Ty & Chelsie and Steve-O & Lacey to sweat it out during the commercial break - and the director or somebody goofed a bit. The music ended but they didn’t cut away right away, and we see Tom walking toward the remaining couples saying "well, that was abrupt!" Good thing he didn’t say anything nasty or embarassing - live TV can bite ya in the butt sometimes!

Back from commercial, Chuck & Julianne are told they’re safe. Tom asks the judges about the remaining two couples, and Bruno says that Ty is the perfect gentleman, while Steve-O brings a childlike quality to the show. Tom pins him down as to who should stay on the show, and Bruno says "the best dancer." Having to give a name, Bruno offers that Ty should stay, and he’s right, Steve-O and Lacey are done. He was complimentary to Lacey for putting up with him, (I think - you be the judge) saying "sometimes I tend to manstruate." (I looked it up. There is no such word. I don’t want to even guess at that one!)

So next week is the big, allegedly fun un-judged group dance along with the individual couples’ dances. It will be a 60's theme (early 60's or the acid-laden late 60's? Yeah, let’s see some "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida!") And will we see Derek in pasties? We’ll find out next week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Frantic Jives and Raunchy Rumbas

Here we go again folks! LIVE! From Hollywood! It’s Dancing With the Stars! It’s Jive and Rumba week. How will our stars fare tonight? Let’s find out!

Melissa & Tony begin the evening with the Rumba. It’s a sexy, romantic dance and while the steps are "coming together easier than the Paso Doble" per Melissa, she’s having problems getting into the romantic character of the dance. Tony tells her to imagine there’s a 10-carat diamond on her finger ... woops, there was a diamond on that finger at one point! Melissa looks at Tony and says "you mean on this empty finger?" Tony looked very sheepish, realizing she was engaged to The Bachelor and then un-engaged, and said "sorry, I guess that was the wrong analogy." Sweet, sappy Tony also told Melissa "your beauty is coming through you like a beam." I sure hope Tony’s wife gets some of that talk too! I liked their dance and I loved Tony’s choreography. That split move was really great (if you don’t have a DVR or TiVo to watch it again, catch it on the ABC website. It’s worth another look!) Len liked it too, saying it was clean and precise with great choreography. Bruno liked that it was so exotic - "your body can assume the most incredible shapes." Carrie Ann loved the emotional quality of the dance, saying that it was believable romance. "But how do you get romantic dancing with such a goofball?" Great scores: 9-9-9=27.

Lil’ Kim & Derek will dance a Jive. At rehearsal they talk about how different they are but how they’ve clicked in this competition. Kim thinks "we’re so different, we make each other better." She’s having problems with the concept so Derek takes her (in a beautiful 50's-era red convertible) to a 50's diner where classic cars are everywhere. They danced to Jailhouse Rock and Derek took the theme all the way - he was a "prisoner" and Kim a cop. It was very, very perky and really tough choreography if you ask me! I was pretty proud of Kim keeping up (although I saw a couple of little screw-ups, I’m surprised there weren’t more!) Bruno went bonkers, saying "I’m guilty! Arrest me!" and offering his wrists to be handcuffed. Carrie Ann gave her signature stand up whoop and in the process her diamond bracelet went flying. She complimented the "pizzazz." Len, the ever-present stick in the mud, said it was fun and full of energy, but they got carried away with the story of Jailhouse Rock and it was too theatrical, not enough Jive. The scores were predictable from the comments: 10-8-10=28.

Steve-O & Lacey will dance the Rumba. Can Steve look romantic or will he end up looking constipated? After stating that he "doesn’t even feel comfortable talking to Lacey about romance" because of their brother-sister relationship, he essentially kills any and all hope of conjuring some up by farting through rehearsal. His dog comes to rehearsal and he rolls around on the floor loving up the pooch, and Lacey tells him, "The passion that you have with your dog right now? That's exactly what you need with your rumba.'' That makes me really uncomfortable. He has to take his dog-love as an example? I’m sure PETA will be all over them soon! Anyway, you could see the improvement in Steve-O’s dancing - his arms and hands were looking really "flowing" although I noticed he seemed to stomp when he moved. The judges were gentler this week, at least. Carrie Ann called it "oddly mesmerizing" and said people like Steve-O because he works so hard and has commitment. Len told him "you can’t confuse movement with dancing" and that he had no hip action. Bruno said he had the "charm of a confused puppy" and his dancing was bad - "Thank goodness for Racey Lacey!" (who was wearing a really cute lingerie set of shorts, bra and short cover up in a soft turquoise, very nice for night-night but I don’t know about a dance floor outfit!) Honestly, I didn’t think their dance deserved such lousy scores from Len and Bruno: 7-4-5=16.

Ty & Chelsie bring us their version of the Jive. Ty really needs to loosen up, so Chelsie brings a mini-trampoline and a hula hoop to the studio. Ty really gets that hula hoop going, too! I thought Ty looked great at the beginning of the dance when he leap-frogged over Chelsie, who was standing straight up and Ty didn’t jump off the stage but from the floor! The dance seemed a little disjointed at the beginning but warmed up as it went along. All the judges like Ty a lot, (as I imagine the audience does, he really is a nice guy!) but it’s getting to the point where the dancing is more important, and Ty is finding that out. Len told him he looked bewildered - "What am I doing here?" and that it took a long while for the dance to get started "and when it did, it wasn’t that good." Bruno started sounding complimentary: "You went for it like a wild animal, lots of kicks and flicks" - but then dropped the bomb "and none of them right." Carrie Ann was a bit nicer, saying that it was an exciting Jive, but Ty didn’t find his footing. Backstage, Ty was his usual even-keeled self, saying that "We can fool the people but not the judges" and after getting their scores, saying that it was "4 points higher than the first week." 6-6-6=18.

Shawn & Mark will dance a Rumba. This ought to be interesting - a sexy Rumba with a 17-year-old?! Trying to teach Shawn the character of the dance, Mark is having problems (surprise) with Shawn’s youth and shyness. He finds out she is missing her senior prom to do the show and decorates their rehearsal studio with balloons and banners and a disco ball for Shawn’s "prom." I’ve always liked Mark, but he never stood out a whole lot for me, but that was a really sweet thing to do (as well as helping Shawn get the idea). The dance looked great, although Shawn looked more "serious" than "romantic" to me. Bruno loved it, saying it was "so beautifully pure - the innocent side of romance with a hint of the devil." Carrie Ann said she could see the discomfort in Shawn’s eyes at the beginning of the dance but that Mark brought out the "acting" in the second half. Len mentioned that Rumbas can be "warm or they can burn - and you got this one just right." Backstage, Mark said he tried hard to keep it "age appropriate" and it obviously worked: 8-9-9-26.

Lawrence & Edyta are up next with a Jive. Edyta tells LT "you’re supposed to have a huge smile on your face with a Jive" but sees it’s impossible with his attitude learning a new dance. Fellow ex-footballer and ex-DWTS star Warren Sapp comes into the rehearsal and tells Lawrence to loosen up and smile a little, and the light bulb goes on. LT interviews that Warren told him he’s supposed to be having fun, and up to this point he hasn’t been having fun. The dance was an improvement although he’s not one of the "big men" as light on his feet as Warren Sapp or Emmitt Smith. He’s just not fluid enough. Carrie Ann was happy that LT "brought your groove back!" but admonished Edyta for the lift (she did a helped-along-by-LT somersault in the air), saying it wasn’t necessary. Len said it was good, basic movement and LT showed the lighter side of his personality, even if he could have been lighter on his feet. Bruno said it looked like LT was having a good time and praised Lawrence for not having lost his timing throughout the whole dance: "your best dance so far." Okay scores: 7-7-8=22.

Gilles & Cheryl are next, and they’re also dancing a Jive. Probably a good choice for them, because after their steamy Paso Doble and all the European kisses he’s laying on Cheryl, I think a Rumba would have certainly put him into divorce court. Gilles is looking forward to letting his fun side come out, but Cheryl is kicking his butt with the choreography and he’s finding it hard to get the steps and lighten up at the same time. Cheryl gives him some time off for fun and takes him to a soccer field and lets him kick a ball around, telling him "that’s how you kick" during a Jive. Watching the dance, I’m both in awe and sympathetic of Gilles - that was some tough choreography! Couldn’t believe Gilles actually managed to keep up. I hated the music - it seemed out of kilter for a Jive. Len liked it enough, saying he showed a lot of quality, but it was a little frantic at times. Bruno told them any faster and they’d have passed the speed of light. He mentioned that "because of the speed you tend to lose your footwork" and that at times Gilles looked like a "mad skee-wull," which I translated to "mad squirrel." Carrie Ann said Gilles was doing something weird with his arms but liked it. Backstage Gilles gasped that it was the "hardest dance I’ve ever done." Good scores: 9-8-9=26.

Wrapping up the evening are Chuck & Julianne and the Rumba. Okay, they’re dating, they should nail the romance and sexiness of this one no problem. Of course, when your honey is teaching you how to do something you’ve never done for a competition it’s a bit tough to think of her romantically (unless you had a thing for your teacher way back when). They take off from practice to recreate their first date and be romantic without dancing. It looked pretty good, although Julianne was tossing her head around so much I was hoping it wouldn’t go flying off her shoulders into the audience (and the audience would have plenty of souvenirs - Carrie Ann’s bracelet and Julianne’s head - here we come Ebay!) Bruno was happy, saying "That’s what I wanted! Chuck switched on the raunch factor!" but did let him know it wasn’t technically perfect. Carrie Ann was fanning herself and said it was the most passionate of the evening. Cranky pants Len said that "parts of that dance were more suitable for the bedroom than the ballroom" and it was a little too raunchy. Backstage, Chuck told Samantha it was his favorite dance of the season. Their scores: 8-7-8=23.

The judges' leaderboard looks like this:
29 - Melissa & Tony
28 - Lil’ Kim & Derek
26 - Shawn & Mark
26 - Gilles & Cheryl
23 - Chuck & Julianne
22 - Lawrence & Edyta
18 - Ty & Chelsie
16 - Steve-O & Lacey

So has everyone voted? Don’t assume someone else will do it! Will Steve-O escape once again? Will it be LT and Steve-O in the bottom two again for that ridiculously unnecessary Dance Off? Anyone looking like a clear winner to you?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Alas, Poor David - Steve-O Still Lives to Dance Another Day

Okay kids, another one bites the dust! Bye-bye to David & Kym and I’m personally sorry to see him go. He danced much better than Lawrence Taylor and his attitude was SO much better. He tried so hard but never quite seemed to get it (he said in his confessional that he felt like a stepchild with the judges, and I can’t blame him). Lawrence will be leaving soon, anyway. Although, that brings us to .... Steve-O & Lacey ARE STILL AROUND?!!! His fans must be legion, because while he’s a very likeable guy (more likeable than Lawrence, for sure) he just can’t dance. And yes, this is a popularity contest dressed up as a dancing competition, but - ???

The show opened rather interestingly, with no real intro to the fact that Lil’ Kim & Derek would be dancing their Viennese Waltz as the encore. No talking to Len, nothing but Tom saying they would be dancing. Weird. Then when their dance was over, the shot of Tom and Samantha talking had Lil’ Kim & Derek in the background, bowing to the crowd and twirling around. It looked like Kim was getting ready to leave and Derek grabbed her arm to keep her there - which was distracting from what Tom and Samantha were saying. Bad camera work there, ABC!

We find out from the confessional that Melissa stepped on her dress and ripped it and had her shoe temporarily caught in her dress, thus the reason for her mistake at the end of Monday’s performance. Tony was very complimentary, though, telling her that most people would have freaked out at that point but she kept going, and he was very proud of her. I’m glad Tony finally has a partner that can dance, let him stick around for awhile longer. I love his choreography and he’s usually gone too soon from the show.

Announced as safe are Shawn & Mark and Lil’ Kim & Derek. Poor David is standing behind Kym with an absolutely miserable look on his face (kind of like a Karina sneer but less snotty).

Etta James sings her signature song "At Last." She looks fabulous for 71 (okay, she could have gotten Botox or a face lift) even though she’s sitting in some kind of special chair with high arm rests. Still sounds damn good, too! Appropriately, the engaged Maks and Karina dance to the song and do a fine job, very sexy. Their lifts were fantastic.

Next announced as safe are Gillis & Cheryl; to everyone’s surprise, especially them, Steve-O & Lacey; Chuck & Julianne and Melissa & Tony. Chuck actually looked happy when they called his name - which is a bit different for him, he never looked all that excited about sticking around.

We see a clip with comments from the stars about how the show has impacted their lives, with Gillis saying he now "Sees Cheryl more than anyone" and "It’s hard taking orders from a 23-year-old" as we watch drill instructor Cheryl put him through the paces in rehearsal. Melissa gives a "before" look and the "after" - after 5 hours in makeup (she’s cute, but yes it’s an improvement). Chuck is happy that he can still keep his Man Card even dancing with spray tan. Steve-O says even walking down the street with his buddies, he catches himself practicing dance moves.

The Stars of Dance performance is the cast of La Rêve. No clue what that’s about, but trusty old Wikipedia helps me out: "Le Rêve ('"The Dream" in French) was the first production show to open in the Wynn Las Vegas casino resort. It is set in a one million-gallon (water) capacity theater and features diving and feats of strength with state-of-the-art special effects, where no seat is more than 40 feet from the stage. The production was created by Franco Dragone and is similar to the shows produced by Cirque du Soleil." Maks also choreographed it during Season 6 when he sat it out. Now I get the dance a little better - at least I understand why it looked so - um, different. There was a couple dressed in traditional ballroom garb dancing traditional ballroom, circled by a bunch of guys shirtless with high-waisted Buddha looking pants/skirts. The guys dressed all in black in the background were neat, tossing each other around from group to group (like cheerleading moves, almost). The Buddha guys were swishing their skirts around as they moved and even picking them up high enough to show their little red panties. Pretty strange!

Demi Lovato comes out to sing. I have no clue who she is. Per reliable Wikipedia, she’s one of the Disney actresses/singers. She’s no Miley, that’s for sure - the song was crappy and she sounded equally crappy singing it - but I guess she’s this week’s "let’s give the younger crowd a reason to stick around." Lacey’s brother Benji (cutie!) danced with a female, didn’t catch her name but that’s okay, she looked like a dork with that big pink bow thingie on the back of her costume.

Backstage, Samantha can talk again and asks Chuck another goofy question (after she tried to pin him down Monday night about the getting down on one knee ending to the dance - why didn’t she ask Julianne, who choreographed it, if she was trying to tell Chuck something? I guess it’s ok to mess with the stars but not the pro dancers). Anyway, she says that next week they get the romantic, sexy Rumba, and that should give Chuck & Julianne "home field advantage" since they’re already dating. He agrees and says he wants to make Carrie Ann scream when they get done dancing.

The last three couples stand on the stage for Tom to announce who will be in the Dance Off. Ty & Chelsie are told they’ll be back, leaving David & Kym and Lawrence & Edyta to try again. David & Kym are first, and David starts off with the stiff face again, but relaxes and looks like he’s getting into the part. Len says he liked it last night, but tonight he had more expression and improvement. Bruno said David "works well under pressure" and should be in the Dance Off every week if that’s the way he improves. Carrie Ann felt the connection tonight and said he had more passion. They improve 2 points from Monday night’s scores: 8-8-8=24.

Lawrence & Edyta will re-dance the Paso Doble. LT looked a little better but I wasn’t that moved - he just doesn’t do it for me at all. Bruno said that "we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg" and that he needs to get into the music from the beginning of the dance, not just halfway through. Carrie Ann loved his power and mentioned the difficult music again, with all its tempo changes. Len reiterated the tough music and said there was real improvement. They matched their scores from last night: 6-7-7=20.

Okay. So David improved, LT didn’t, and so....David is going home. Again, the couple scoring higher and improving their scores leaves, making the Dance Off totally pointless. If it changed the outcome, great. Otherwise, find something else to fill the time and stop torturing these poor couples!

So, should we start taking bets on how long Steve-O can last? Should the audience do Edyta a favor and stop voting for LT? Why are they voting for him anyway? Will ABC wise up and dump the Dance Off? Or do you like the second chance dance? Let me know!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bulls and Beauty (Huh?)

LIVE from Hollywood! It’s Dancing With the Stars!

Looking forward to seeing the Paso Doble, my favorite dance of all of them. The couples line up for their welcome, and I’m wondering what’s the deal with Shawn & Mark touching their noses with their fingers?

First up, Chuck & Julianne will dance a Viennese Waltz. It’s a romantic dance and this should be right up their alley (considering they’re dating). Chuck wants to break out of the middle of the pack this week, and Julianne works him good to get the moves. I love her hair for this dance! (I wonder how long they've been dating - the move of Chuck going down on one knee at the end of the dance was an interesting addition on Julianne's part, don't you think? Hint hint?) Looks okay to me, Len says that Chuck "finally came out of hibernation" but his footwork suffered a bit. Bruno tells him the "impetus" was there and he came out of Julianne’s shadow. Carrie Ann disagrees with the guys, saying that he lost focus during the dance. Bruno jumped all over Carrie Ann, saying that "you should give praise when it’s better" and Carrie Ann saying "it wasn’t there." Backstage with Samantha, Chuck said it was a challenging week, because Julianne was in Vegas for the Country Music Awards and he was there "losing money and trying to learn to dance." Their scores: 7-8-8=23

Lawrence & Edyta will dance the Paso Doble. I’m thinking this is right up his alley, he can use all the intensity and aggression from his football playing days. Lawrence says the same thing, he’s going to use the same intensity as when he played football. I loved the slide move Edyta choreographed for the dance and thought she did pretty good choreography for really, really crappy music. I noticed that Lawrence seemed disjointed but then the music for the dance was the culprit, if you ask me! Bruno called him "the prince of darkness" and said Lawrence started off like a block of granite and he thought "this is going to be terrible" - but then Lawrence started moving his feet and it got a lot better. He yelled at Lawrence: "Why didn’t you do that all the way through?" Tom asked "you really want to get in his face like that?" Carrie Ann said it looked like he had a limited range of motion but he did well with the music. Len told Lawrence "you not only scared the bull but you terrified me!" Talking to Samantha, Lawrence said his golfing buddies told him if he lost at golf, he’d have to give them a lap dance. Tom mentioned that ABC was thinking about it..."Lap dances with Lawrence" - it could work! Their scores were okay: 6-7-7=20

Shawn & Mark are going to dance the Viennese Waltz. She feels klutzy learning the dance. Learning a graceful turn, it looks great until she falls on her face on the floor. (And you know she can do that move barefoot on a 4_inch balance beam!) Their dance looked graceful, though, and she kept her foot on the floor when Mark spun her around. At the end of the dance, he picked her up and carried her off the floor - which technically was a lift, we’ll see what Carrie Ann says! She starts off telling the couple that "simplicity is the best route to success." The Lift Nazi is happy that Shawn kept her foot on the ground and said "I won’t count that last lift" because it was part of the spirit of the dance. (I didn’t think it was a lift because it was at the end, but then, if she wants to be really fair, she should have counted it!) Len said it was a romantic dance, but the Viennese Waltz is all about footwork and she should have been "forward on her heels and not on the balls of her feet." He got booed mightily by the crowd and protested that "I’m a stranger in this country and I get booed for telling the truth!" Tom told him that yes, he was "strange in this country" and moved on to Bruno. He said they looked like "sweetness and light" but Shawn was "pretty as a picture." Their scores were pretty good: 9-8-9=26

Next up with a Paso Doble are Melissa & Tony. He tries to get Melissa to get the "look of a Matador" but Melissa finds it hard not to smile & giggle during rehearsal. Tony tries to make her feel the aggression from when she’s mad at herself during practice. It looked really good to me although I noticed that Melissa smiled toward the end of the dance. She caught herself and went back to the intense look but I think it was because of a mistake. Len told her she was an excellent dancer in a difficult routine and she handled the routine well - but she did have some little blunders. Bruno called her :Carmen the Heartbreaker" and said most of it was very beautiful but she did make some mistakes. Carrie Ann called the dance "very dynamic" but said she was a little off balance and they did a little lift (didn’t look like it to me, but I’m not there....) Talking to Samantha, Melissa said she was concentrating so hard on her face that she forgot the choreography for a second. Tony gave her great props, saying that it was harder choreography and she was great to make the mistake and come back from it. Their scores weren’t all that bad: 8-8-9=25

Next are David & Kym and a Viennese Waltz. David wants to move out of the middle of the pack this week. He said "if Len likes fine wine, then BAM! He gets wine." He’s hoping the judges won’t have a chance to tell him his "booty is sticking out." His expression at the beginning of the dance looked more suited to the Paso Doble - very mean and determined. I thought their dance was pretty good. (I'm really feeling for David. He works his tail off in rehearsals and never seems to make it with the judges.) Bruno said "the spell worked at times" but then David lifted his leg and it looked like he was a "dog at a lamppost." Bruno stressed that they needed to stick to basics. Carrie Ann told David that he moved well but the couple looked disconnected. Len seemed pretty happy, saying he loved the story of the dance. "I’m very pleased, very good performance." Scores still in the middle of the pack: 7-8-7=22

Can Gilles & Cheryl recreate their wonderfulness of last week with a Paso Doble? Gillis tells Cheryl he studies martial arts and this should help the dance. He brings his son to the martial arts studio (because he hasn’t seen his son much since he began the show). Gillis and his son practice fighting techniques and we see Gillis’ son go nose-to-nose with his dad, saying "you’re going down, Papa." Gillis tells the camera "you’ve seen me love, seen me intense - now you’ll see me fight." I loved it (even if I am a bit biased, I love Cheryl) and so did the crowd, giving them another standing ovation (and especially seeing Gillis shirtless at the beginning of the dance! *sigh*). Carrie Ann called the dance "breathtaking" and said it was like watching somebody go to the core and essence of the dance. Len asked Carrie Ann "Didn’t you find it a bit hectic in places?" and ended up getting booed by the crowd. He said he liked the dance otherwise but wasn’t sure about the shirtless start - and Tom called him out for having "pec envy." Bruno said he was "going for the kill" and it was more than a dance. Bruno said it was full of sexual tension - "Will he? Will she?" Their scores were great: 10-9-10=29

Steve-O and Lacey are going to dance the Viennese Waltz, and I’m thinking this will be a disaster, going on his past performances. I was actually impressed with Steve-O in this dance! Lacey wants him to loosen up a bit and brings his Jackass buddies into the studio. They have fun dancing with each other, and one of his buddies tells him that "Last year you had like, what? Two weeks to live? And now you’re on this show dancing in front of millions of people." Len began the critiques, saying that he’s always been negative in the past, but "tonight was your best dance." Bruno told Steve-O that his timing was "on" tonight but he had technically more to do (in the way of work). Carrie Ann told them it was "sweet innocence" and he needs to work on his posture. Backstage with Samantha, Lacey said that at the beginning of the week they were down because of being in the bottom three, then got mad and really practiced hard. Lacey was very complimentary, hugging Steve-O and saying he did great and that she was proud of him. I thought their scores could have been a little better: 6-6-6=18

Ty & Chelsie get to dance the Paso Doble, and Ty is thinking this is right up his alley. He rides bulls and says that he has a "counter move for every move the bull has." He takes Chelsie to see a real bull at a ranch and has her sit on it in the gates. Chelsie tells Ty that in the dance, she is the bull and Ty says if "bulls looked like her, there would be a lot more bull riders!" Bruno liked the dance, saying "you did it all" and the steps were there, but that it was too robotic. (I agree). Carrie Ann agreed as well, saying Ty looked stiff. Len told them this dance was not quite to standard after his last couple of dances and his weekly improvements, but considering his Cha Cha the first week, Len is still happy. Their scores were okay: 7-7-7=21

Lil’ Kim & Derek will dance a Viennese Waltz to wrap up the night. She’s pretty busy this week, having to do a music video and photo shoot, and they practice when they can. Derek isn’t pushing her too hard, saying that if she doesn’t get the moves after four tries, he moves onto something else. This kind of frustrates Kim because he’s not giving her a chance to learn the moves. I liked the dance, though, it looked like there was a lot of waltzing in it. Carrie Ann said she was "just beaming" throughout the dance, they were perfectly matched and complimented each other. Len said it was "lyrical" and he loved the musicality, but he felt like a podiatrist always looking at her feet. Bruno liked it, saying it was different that she "managed to make the Viennese Waltz look sassy and sexy." He said she was in total harmony with her partner. Backstage, Lil’ Kim said this show was bringing out her sensitive side. Good scores: 9-8-9=26

The standings according to the judges look like this:
29 - Gillis & Cheryl
26 - Shawn & Mark
26 - Lil’ Kim & Derek
25 - Melissa & Tony
23 - Chuck & Julianne
22 - David & Kym
21 - Ty & Chelsie
20 - Lawrence & Edyta
18 - Steve-O & Lacey

So, will Steve-O’s fans keep him around? Will Lawrence disappoint the prior football contestants and leave early? Did you vote? You can vote online until noon - save your favorite!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Take Your Goofy Laughs and Just Go!

Well, this may be a pretty good show tonight! Samantha can’t talk, there will be an encore dance, and there’s no Dance-Off because two couples are going home. Don’t know about you, but I’m not impressed with the Dance-Off at all, I’d rather they brought the encore dance back full-time.

Monday’s recap includes some not-seen confessional footage. David Alan Grier is sitting with Kym and remarking that during the Lindy Hop, he was afraid of dropping Kym: "If I dropped her half the band would kill me." I also noticed that when Lil’ Kim & Derek got their scores and got the first 10 of the season, Kim was hugging Derek and Derek was more interested in looking at the camera and pumping his fist than celebrating with his partner. Maybe I’m being overly critical of Derek, but it seems since he won the Mirror Ball Trophy he’s been a bit more full of himself. He still has flashes of niceness, but he seems to be a little more conceited as the days go on. Maybe he’s been hanging around Karina and her scowls have affected him (and after thinking so far this year that Karina has reined in the scowling, she made up for it last night!)

The Encore Dance is, of course, Gillis and Cheryl’s hot, steamy Argentine Tango. I’m beginning to notice that Gillis kisses Cheryl - a lot. I’m watching camera shots of Gillis’ wife in the audience to see any flicker of jealousy, but I realize a) he’s an actor, and has kissed many women in his profession (probably much more passionately than the pecks on the cheek he’s giving Cheryl) and b) he’s European. They kiss everybody.

Another cute confessional was from Chuck and Julianne, sitting in their 1950's diner uniforms. Chuck is pleading with the fans that "this outfit could be reality! If you send me home I could be flipping burgers!" (Maybe for a music video on one of his country CDs).

So let’s find out who’s safe: Gillis & Cheryl (of course) and Lawrence and Edyta. Lawrence hasn’t been the best contestant this season if you ask me. His attitude isn’t one of excitement to learn but "okay, I’m learning it and doing the steps okay, why aren’t you giving me 9s?" He’s doing a disservice to his fellow football DWTS alumni like Jason Alexander and Jerry Rice, who learned with enthusiasm and were happy about it.

We are told that Holly and Dmitri are in the bottom two. A well-deserved spot. IF the evening goes as it should, the two Steves should join her in the bottom three and any two of those couples could go home.

Kevin Rudolph sings, and I have no idea who he is. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the song he’s singing, but I like it. My hunny remarked that it’s interesting that the music acts are getting younger, considering the demographics for this show are leaning toward the older folks. I think the Baby Boomers out there could appreciate Kevin Rudolph, though, it was a good rocking song and gave our pro dancers a chance to showcase one of next week’s dances, the Paso Doble. Lacey, Julianne and Chelsie joined Derek and an unknown stranger and looked great doing so. After some checking, I found out that the other male dancer was Artem Chigvintsev, a Season 1 participant of So You Think You Can Dance (and former canoodler with Carrie Ann).

Backstage, Samantha croaks through interviews with the couples whose fate has been announced. Holly tells Samantha that "at least if we get eliminated we’ll have a buddy" because of the double elimination. She hated the dance off from last week but realizes it may have saved her butt this week after screwing up on Monday night. Cheryl says that she has great chemistry with her partner and gets another kiss from Gillis. Lawrence hates the stress of every day except Tuesday when he finds out how much the fans love him. (Attitude, LT!)

Shawn & Mark are told they’re safe.

Next up is a demonstration of the Viennese Waltz (the other dance for next week), choreographed by Louis VanAmstel. Louis dances it with an unknown female, and an unknown couple and Jonathan & Anna, pros from seasons past. The women are wearing fluffy pink gowns and the dance is very pretty.

Chuck & Julianne are told they’re safe, and Lacey & Steve-O are in the bottom three.
Boyz II Men comes out and my memory is suspect, but I seem to remember them as a rap group, and I’m not looking forward to their number. Then they start a Motown medley and sound really good, and I love their dancing, which takes me back to the good old days of the 70's and the Four Tops and Temptations. (Yes, I am old). Tony, Cheryl, Dmitri and Kym have a great time dancing too.

Steve-O gets interviewed and gives us the quote of the season thus far: ''I'm not used to dealing with high-pressure situations without drugs and alcohol.'' Tom says that Steve-O's comment in week 4 that ''I've made it through all of this without getting loaded'' could be one of the finest tributes to the show ever.

The judges talk about this season’s stars. Bruno says Wozniak is very charming, but "he just can’t dance. Period." He tells us that "All the technique in the world doesn’t cut it - you have to sell it too."

We're given an explanation of the scoring system. (I’ve been trying in vain to get onto the DWTS website to get their explanation - so I can copy and paste it rather than use my notes, but it keeps crashing on me). The judges' scores count for half of the couple's total, and the audience vote counts for the other half. They total up the judge’s scores from the evening and turn the couple’s scores into a percentage of the total points allotted. So for example, if the total of all scores that night was a 300, and Gillis and Cheryl got a 30, they would be awarded 10% for the judges' half. The same is done for the audience vote, although the numbers are obviously much bigger. So it's not as much about how many votes someone gets as it is about how many MORE votes they get than anyone else. Which is why Wozniak made it through last week without being in the bottom two.

Lil’ Kim & Derek and Melissa & Tony are told they’re safe. Poor David looks like he’s suffering from horrible gas, that pained look on his face. He’s just so tortured, and he really should listen to the judges and just relax. Ty & Chelsie are told they are safe and they ease David’s angst and tell him he’s coming back next week also, leaving (surprise) Wozniak & Karina in the bottom three. (And giving us a Karina scowl as big as we’ve ever seen).

We then find out that Holly & Dmitri and Wozniak & Karina are leaving. In their departing interviews, I hear them both laughing and thank the Lord that I don’t have to be subjected to that any more (noting that Wozniak’s laughs sound like a child molester). Wozniak was very gracious, however, noting that he saw Holly & Dmitri’s dress rehearsal and that it was perfect, so he felt bad about their live performance coming out the way it did. Nice, but bye-bye.

So next week we get to see the Paso Doble (I will really miss Maks!) and the Viennese Waltz. Talk about contrasting styles of dance! I don't see Steve-O making it through either of those. Will he make it through or will his fans save him once again?

WARNING: Big Brother Spoilers!

We watch the current season of Big Brother on CBS and the Feeds. We watch all Big Brother 24 coverage and DVR it and watch it again. There will be posts about things we have seen from watching Big Brother 24/7. If you are a casual viewer of the CBS show-only or do not want to read any spoilers, do not read our posts dealing with the Live Feeds.