Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Champions of Season 8 are .... SHAWN & MARK!

It’s 8 PM and LIVE!!! From Hollywood! It’s Dancing With the Stars!

Oh. Wait a minute. It’s not live, it’s a repeat from last night! Okay, that leaves me time to check out American Idol and the Wings/Blackhawks hockey game....

It’s 9 PM and now we’re LIVE!!!

We’re informed that the couples will be performing their favorite dances from the season for their final dance of the season and the judges’ scores only. Len says all the judges agree that this has been the best season yet and the three best dancers remain.

We get highlights from the first three weeks - Belinda Carlisle & Jonathan come out and dance, and so do Denise Richardson & Maks, and Holly Madison & Dmitri. They all pretty much still stink.

We see clips from Steve Wozniak & Katrina, and it reminds us that he’s probably the worst ever on this show - unless someone has any other nominees? I know Master P was pretty bad, but Woz gave him a major run for his money! Woz has been in the audience every week since he was kicked off (right where he belongs!) They "dare" him to do the Worm again - he can’t and the attempt is scary!

David Alan Grier and Kym dance their Viennese Waltz. After his acrimony when he left the show, I’m kinda surprised that he came back to dance. Steve-O dances with Lacey next - and we’re reminded of Steve-O’s shortcomings again. His smile is really infectious, though! Steve-O says if he had danced the dance like that the first time, the trophy just "might have been mine." David says that after having time to reflect, he made a lot of friends inlcuding the three judges "who keep texting me." Tom then deadpans that this show can make you delusional.

Now we get to find out which of the new pros - Anna or Mayo - gets to dance on next season’s show. Anna gets the job and thankfully, Len won’t be showing his bum in the supermarket!!! Tom introduces her dance with Maksim, saying "with her partner whom she tamed" and Maks has to waggle his finger at that. (Wonder what Karina thinks about that?) She managed to lose an earring during their dance, lucky neither of them stepped on it! Mayo is kind of an afterthought for Tom, who dismisses him without a lot of fanfare.

Lawrence Taylor & Edyta dance, and they introduce LT as the man "who almost forgot to say goodbye, he was racing off to the golf course." He looks like he’s having a whole lot of fun this time (probably because he knows this completes his commitment to the show). Tom asks Edyta what it’s like to have a partner that even she can’t make happy ... and Lawrence says "it’s called your husband." Samantha and Tom quickly move on to the "journey through Season 8."

Time to welcome back our "country singin’ couple," Chuck Wicks & Julianne. They’re dancing the Samba, and he’s very careful not to grab her boobs this time. Samantha tells Chuck he’s changed colors like a crayon (? She’s such a dork sometimes) and Chuck says he has a new respect for satin, silk, glitter and thongs.

And Bruno says, "If you can’t take the heat, get out of the ballroom."

Jeffrey Ross comes out to roast the three finalists. "Bergeron is an old French word, it means 'Seacrest'." And the three judges are "Smoking, Croaking and Flaming." He says "No stars made it to the Finals - what’s going on? This show isn’t called "Dancing With the Vaguely Familiar." Ross picks on almost everyone: Ty Murray did the "Brokeback Mambo." Woz is like a chunky chipmunk who ate Alvin and Theodore. Belinda Carlisle is dressed like a hooker from Battlestar Galactica. Every time the director yelled "action" Holly Madison started taking her clothes off. Lil’ Kim did the show for community service. The three stars left are "Underage, Unwed and Unpronounceable." Gilles didn’t have the largest role in Sex & the City but he "did have the biggest part." If Shawn wins, they’ll send her to Disneyland but she’s too short to ride Space Mountain. Jeff asks Melissa if she’ll marry him - and says wouldn’t it be something if she came in second on this show, too? (Gets a BIG groan).

Lil’ Kim and Derek dance their Jive, which starts off fun, but it looks like Kim forgot a chunk of it. Ty Murray & Chelsie recreate their Lindy Hop - and I see that Ty wasn’t really all that good, but man, he was a nice guy and loads of fun. He says that the youngest pro on the show "got a cowboy to the semi-finals."

We get a clip of the three stars trash-talking for the trophy, pretty funny when Gilles said "Melissa, here’s a rose. I’m taking the trophy."

The finalist couples are re-introduced and Shawn & Mark will dance first. We’re shown clips of her practices and judges’ comments. Shawn says she’s always been a competitor but now she’s learned to be a partner. Mark compliments her, saying she’s an "amazing person, and you’ve come so far." They dance the Cha Cha to the Michael Jackson song "PYT - Pretty Young Thing" and Shawn looks much more relaxed and fun about it. Len says the longer she goes, the stronger she gets. Len’s problem with Shawn has always been her lack of performance, but tonight she came out and nailed it. Bruno says Shawn is going from cute to saucy and sexy (and when you think about it, that’s kinda creepy). Carrie Ann says that "we all underestimated you" and Shawn deserves to be where she is. Their scores: 10-10-10=30. (Really, I think if any of the couples don’t get a 30 tonight, they will have screwed up pretty bad).

Melissa & Tony are up next. Tony says he got the ideal partner and had the best season he’s ever had. They’re dancing the Samba (their perfect 30 of the season). At the end of the dance at the judges’ table, this time Tony grabs Bruno and gives him a kiss on the head. Everyone is cracking up! Bruno says that Melissa’s Samba is "even more appetizing on the second helping." Carrie Ann says that Melissa is the like the muse of dancing and she’s brought out the best in Tony this season. Len says she has a great presence on the floor with style and elegance she mixes that with rhythm and performance. Backstage with Samantha, they talk about the fact that they’ve all become great friends and tonight it’s all about enjoying everyone’s dances and thanking the fans. Their scores: 10-10-10=30.

Gilles & Cheryl will dance and their clips show them getting misty about about their friendship, and that Gilles doesn’t want to stop dancing. They’ll dance the Argentine Tango again. It's as great as the first time, I see trip 10's again! Carrie Ann goes first, saying that Gilles is a very special performer with an artistry to his dances. Len says that Gilles has brought him the most pleasure to watch, and that Gilles took him back 50 years to a little smoky basement watching two couples dance. Bruno says it was not an Argentine Tango but an Argentine Triumph, where he plays each step like a performance. Gilles says Cheryl has done so much for him and his family, and he loves Cheryl, and Cheryl says he will always be a winner in her heart, no matter what happens. Of course, their scores: 10-10-10=30.

Lady Ga-Ga performs again while they tabulate the final numbers. I didn’t listen, sorry, just not interested. I want to get to the results already!!!!! (Besides, she’s scary to look at. Or is it a he? I’m just not sure to tell the truth).

The couple in third place is announced first: Melissa & Tony. Now I’m wondering if Shawn managed to pull this out?! Melissa is very good about her exit, saying her life has been great for the last 11 weeks and she’s had a blast.

Tom says that in 8 Seasons, this is the closest vote ever - less than 1% difference in votes. Who are the Champions? Does Cheryl pull through again or does the young’un get the Mirrorball? The winners are .... SHAWN & MARK!!!!!!! Mark is crying? Tom hands Shawn the trophy and tells her to put it with "all those medals." The youngest competitor is now the Champion! They are hoisted up onto Derek's and Chuck's shoulders to enjoy the confetti and the adoration. Gilles is very complimentary to Shawn in congratulating her. A surprise to many, but that's what happens when you involve a fickle public in choosing the winners!

Until next season, have a great summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's All on the Line Now! Who's Got What It Takes to Win The Mirrorball?

LIVE! From Hollywood! The FINALS of Dancing With the Stars!!!!!

Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really looking forward to the Freestyle dances. Each star still in the competition has improved a whole lot with their dancing, and their pros are great choreographers, so this should be a great night! On with the show!

The first dance number for our couples will be a "group" Paso Doble - they will dance together at the beginning and end, but they will each dance as a couple and be judged on that. We see Len with Bruno and Carrie Ann in a three-way - phone call - and I’m wondering if it was Bruno’s idea to be sunning by a pool in his Speedo (probably. The guy does have a great body, but unfortunately, it’s wasted on other guys). Carrie Ann was eating a mound of salad while discussing which star she would be assigned to for assistance in the Paso Doble. Bruno goes to help Shawn and tells her that she needs to do something she hasn’t done before. Carrie Ann tries to impress upon Melissa the need for intensity, and tells Melissa to "push me out of the way." Melissa tries and bounces off Carrie Ann. (Is it me, or is Melissa looking really skinny lately?) Melissa eventually gets the idea and Carrie Ann tells her "that’s it!" Len goes to show Gilles how to "wow the crowd" with big arm movements. He tells Gilles & Cheryl that "you made me do something in the dance studio I haven’t done in a while ... perspire."

I was really disappointed by the music - it was a stupid, stupid choice for the Paso Doble. These were three great dancing couples, it would have been much more dramatic if they’d picked more intense music, rather than "So What" by Pink. However, the dances were absolutely wonderful in spite of the music. Melissa looked very - well, pissed, which went well for her dance. Len mentioned that modern music isn’t the best for the Paso Doble but they all "coped" very well. He told Shawn her rendition was very exciting. Although Melissa had a slight mistake in the middle, she was much more convincing this time. He told Gilles it was not hectic at all (as opposed to Gilles’ last Paso Doble) and very intense. Bruno offered that each couples’ dance was splendid; Shawn had great technique, Melissa’s confidence has grown, and Gilles was strong. Carrie Ann was likewise complimentary, saying that all three are turning into incredible dancers. She told Shawn that every move was "perfection" although because of her age, she was having problems with the emotion of the dance. Carrie Ann said Melissa nailed it, and for Gilles, "I expect perfection and there it was!" Their scores: Shawn & Mark 9-9-10=28; Melissa & Tony 10-9-10=29; and Gilles & Cheryl 10-10-10=30.

On to the Freestyle dances! We see Shawn & Mark’s rehearsals, with Shawn saying they won’t be using gymnastics because they want to show what she’s learned so far. Apolo Ohno comes in to give pointers and encouragement, but he tells Shawn that "no Olympian who has made the Finals has not won." (No pressure, there). They’re wearing some interesting costumes - hooded baggy outfits, glitter gloves and masks. (Which I find out is Jabberwocky-style. I think I’m getting old, not sure where that came from). They ended up ripping them off after a few intro steps (although Shawn looked like she had a little trouble getting her stuff off, like maybe her mask got stuck in her hair) and their dance was a combination of lifts, steps, hip-hop and fun. I really liked it - and Shawn looked really comfortable doing it. They did a lot of side-by-side dancing and they looked great. Bruno leaped out of his chair saying "you are going for creative gold!" He said she sold the performance and their synchronicity was awesome. Carrie Ann said that’s what she wanted to see, very creative and she loved the precision. Len said he loved the Jive elements at the beginning, loved the precision, loved the speed - "I loved it." I guess they did - perfect scores of 10-10-10=30. (Bruno yelled "11!" as he held up his "10" paddle).

Melissa & Tony are next. Tony said the only other time he’d been in the Finals was in Season 2, and Len told him he wasn’t impressed (because it was a snooze fest), so Tony is going to pull out all the stops this time. They’re practicing a lot of lifts and flips, and poor Tony got popped in the eye by Melissa’s arm and it was pretty red and puffy (but the make-up department did great if there were any residual colors on Tony’s eye.) Their routine was very energetic, lots and lots of lifts, and all were performed perfectly. I’m thinking, though, watching them, that Len wasn’t going to like the hip-hop stuff - nothing wrong with a little, but Tony should have mixed in a few other dance steps ... Carrie Ann said she loved Melissa’s new attitude, but that she was a bit disjointed from the dancing to the lifting. Len said they showed their versatility but the hip-hop "is not my cup of tea." He said that Melissa is so elegant, but they went for the cheerleader instead of the ballerina. Bruno agreed with Carrie Ann, that it was disjointed, and said it was "not as perfect as I’d like to see for a final dance." Their scores: 9-9-9=27 (and after those comments, I expected 8's!!)

Gilles & Cheryl will finish off the Freestyle round, and after her dances with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith, I’m really looking forward to this one! Gilles is much sexier than either of those guys, and the things she can do with him .... ! (Okay, deep breath. There. All better.) Gilles’ shoulder is bothering him again and he has a doctor come in to fix it up - we find out that he and his daughter will be having surgery at the same time and will share a room (Gilles for his shoulder, and the daughter, I forget, if he even said what it was). Cheryl says that Gilles has the potential to be better than Drew and Emmitt were. They dance to "Flashdance" and immediately my hunny says "that’s a song that highlights the girl, they shouldn’t be dancing to that!" I’m thinking more about the words, "I can have it all and I’m dancing for my life" and think they apply to Gilles in the competition (am I getting too overboard here?) Anyway, the dance was nice, although I will admit that I think Cheryl sold Gilles short compared to what she did with Drew and Emmitt (that Freestyle with Drew to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" is my all-time favorite ever). Len loved it, saying it was high energy, slick, and he loved the slow start. Bruno called it a great performance, but said he wanted more dancing from Gilles. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno and mentioned that it was a weird choice of music, that "Flashdance" was about a female dancer (and my hunny then said "AHA!" He likes to get validated too!) Their scores: 9-10-9=28.

I did some poking around and found a backstage interview with Gilles, who was asked how he liked his perfect scores on semi-final night: "I would never have gotten those scores with any other dancers. Cheryl put in so much work with me. I’d have three 3’s without her. It’s all Cheryl Burke – and I’m not kidding. She molded me into a dancer in front of a live audience. I really want to thank America for giving us the chance."

So we have one more dance tonight for the judges’ scores, and our winner will be announced. All our stars from this season will be back to dance, we’ll find out who the new pro will be next year (betcha it’s Anna). I’ve been trying to see what the deal is with the dances tonight (do the couples pick it, do the judges pick it, is it a new one or a repeat of their best or favorite?) But no luck. It’s a 3-hour finale, though, beginning at 8 PM (and I really REALLY like this show - but three hours? I think they could do it in 1½ or 2 and it would be fine. I TiVo American Idol, but I’d really like to watch it tonight and not stay up all night doing it!)

So did everyone vote? I thought about signing up for a few more screen names to vote more, but I’m sticking with my one name as I have done since Season 2 when I started watching, and just voted my 5 votes. Here are the standings after the judges’ scores:

58 - Shawn & Mark
58 - Gilles & Cheryl
56 - Melissa & Tony

Who will win that wonderful Mirror Ball trophy? Tune in tonight to find out!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Cowboy Rides Off Into the Sunset

Okay, folks, I babysat the grandbabies again tonight, and didn’t get home till 9:55 p.m. The hockey game starts at 10 PM so I’m blasting through the TiVo version so I won’t miss too much of the Red Wings stomping the Ducks - so this will be the succinct version!

The show begins with Raphael Saadiq singing. I’ve never heard of him, although he’s a Grammy winner. He looks like a nerd. Zipped through that one quick.

Going through the highlights from last night, Ty says "We might be on the bottom this week, but in week 1, we were 13th. Now we’re all the way up to 4th."

Shawn & Mark’s Argentine Tango is the encore dance tonight. Looks just as good, if not better, than last night.

Former champions Helio Castroneves, Brooke Burke & Drew Lachey comment on the final four. Helio says this may be the best season - "since mine." He also noted that Gilles reminds him of himself! Brooke & Drew are more serious in their comments, but Helio is having fun with his.

Tom tries to make it sound like there will be a surprise elimination tonight - which makes me think that Ty is going home. The more he tries to build it up, the less a "surprise" it is.

The two pros-to-be, Mayo and Anna, will be dancing tonight with pro partners. They have choreographed a Latin and ballroom dance. Mayo is dancing with Kym Johnson, the Cha Cha and the Tango. I liked the Tango very much! Not sure about the Edyta costume on Kym...see- through "dress" with a bikini underneath. Len said people ask what he likes about ballroom dancing, and if asked again, he will tell them to "watch Mayo and Kym’s Tango." Bruno said Mayo provided a great frame for the gorgeous Kym - and mentioned that for once Kym got to dance with someone with longer legs than she has. Carrie Ann was impressed with the choreography but wanted more of Mayo’s personality. Mayo likes working with Kym because she’s a fantastic dancer but "doesn’t have a big head."

Anna & Maks are dancing the Samba and Quickstep. When Anna meets Maks, he tells her that he’s a lot more difficult than celebrities. Maks says that she has to choreograph the dances for him, and he’s very picky. As they rehearse, she decides the way to deal with someone tough is to be tougher. The Quickstep is one of my favorite dances, and they looked great! Bruno starts complimenting and Maks thanks Bruno, who says "not you, it’s for her, honey." Carrie Ann said any celebrity would be lucky to have Anna. Len says that Anna is only 21 years old but dances with maturity. She brought the best out in Maurice last week and now the best of Maks. Anna tells Samantha that working with Maks was fun, especially when he "showed up on time." Early morning rehearsals are not for Maks!

Gilles and Ty get interviewed by Samantha backstage. Gilles says it’s great to get a perfect score, but he’s standing across from a man who gets a zillion votes, so he’s still nervous. Samantha asks Ty if he goes through to next week, does he have one more week in him? Ty quips that he didn’t think he had ten weeks in him!

The Macy’s Stars of Dance Design-A-Dance contest comes up. The public was able to vote on costumes, dancers, the dance and the music. The costume designer, Rebecca Farmer, is sitting in the audience (the person didn’t last year, it’s nice that she was able to be there). The pros chosen by the fans to dance are Derek, Mark, Lacey and Julianne and they’re dancing the Quickstep, and it was perky and funny, and I loved it!

The pro contest Latin round is next, and Mayo & Kym will Cha Cha. Mayo is in a Saturday Night Fever outfit, which looks goofy, but he’s much more animated. They do some "messing about" moves I’m not sure Len will appreciate. Carrie Ann says Mayo is a wonderful dancer, but you have bring out all the different characters. Len said the Tango was far superior to this Cha Cha. Bruno agrees that he’s stronger in ballroom than Latin, and goes on to say that when taking risks, you have to be careful, and he would have done a proper Cha Cha. (Wow! For once I’m right about the judges!)

Anna & Maks are dancing the Samba. It looks a little "frantic" at times - can I be right about the judges’ thoughts a second time? Len says that the competition is about the four-week process and Anna has been great all the way through - "And if you’re not the one that comes back next season I’ll show me bum in the supermarket." Bruno said Anna has proven versatility, having four different partners in four weeks. Carrie Ann wants to see more of Anna and wants her to come back. (Oh well, I guess being right once this season should be okay for my ego!)

Now, on to the votes for the stars (about time!) As Tom talks about each of the couples, each couple except for Shawn & Mark gets a hand after Tom stops talking. Interesting! The first two couples are announced as safe: Gilles & Cheryl and Shawn & Mark.

After sweating out the commercial, "not necessarily in the bottom two" Melissa & Tony and Ty & Chelsie will find out who stays. Len says the others have climbed hills but Ty has climbed mountains. He mentions that Melissa had four days’ notice to come on the show, and even with her injury has improved greatly. Bruno says that Melissa has been great from the beginning and is a potential champion. Tom doesn’t let the music go very long when he tells Ty & Chelsie that they are leaving. Ty says he has a whole new respect for dancing, and Chelsie teaching him to dance is "Like teaching a blind guy to paint." All he tried to do was remember the steps, and Tom tells him it’s not all about the steps, but the total package, and Ty is the total package as an entertainer.

So next week is the finals - Monday to dance, and it’s freestyle night, so that should be some great fun - and Tuesday to award the Mirrorball Trophy. Will Shawn pull it out or is it a contest between Gilles and Melissa? Stay tuned!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Semi Final Pressure - Who Will Make It To The Finals?

The Olympian, the Sexy Hunk, the Girl Next Door, and the Battling Cowboy hit the floor for the Semi-Finals tonight! After 13 weeks of sacrifice, they’ve come too far to leave now! And it’s all LIVE! From Hollywood!

The Pros begin the evening with a dance. Louis VanAmstel, Karina Smirnoff, Dmitri Chaplin, and looks like Genya - but the two blonde females, I have no idea. It’s a great performance, choreographed by Louis.

The stars will be dancing both a ballroom and Latin dance tonight.

First up will be Melissa & Tony. They review their dances - talk about the Foxtrot, and learning her frame. Melissa said walking backwards was tough, and Tony commented that "Yes, difficult things are not difficult for you. Just the easy stuff. Like walking." Tony says that the Samba was the first time he felt Melissa knew what Latin dances were about. Funny, they don’t mention Melissa’s boob popping out a bit on the bottom of her top...saw it on the TiVo this time and it only peeked out at the bottom, no big deal. Tom laughs during the interview that their smiling teeth are very bright, cracking Tony up.

Gilles & Cheryl are next to be highlighted. They liked their Foxtrot also. Gilles loved the costume, "I felt pretty cool inside it. But to tell the truth, inside it I died three times and fainted twice." They talk about his "rise and fall" and how Len said he didn’t have it. Gilles said "He just had to pick on the Frenchy." Gilles loved the Paso Doble. Cheryl said making him begin the dance without a shirt made the dance memorable. Cheryl confessed doing some steps too fast, but Gilles said everyone was concentrating on their facial expressions and their passion of the dance. He said the hard part was to "kill Cheryl" at the end of the dance and she was reacting to his move and bounced her head on the floor. Tom interviews them saying that Cheryl has a tendency to be cranky as a teacher, but Gilles said that while it’s an unorthodox way of teaching, he doesn’t learn any other way. Gilles tells Cheryl not to change a thing, and Tom says "stay cranky." Gilles comes to her defense and says she’s not cranky, "She’s the boss."

Shawn & Mark are next, saying their breakthrough ballroom dance was the Quick Step. Shawn feels her personality really came out. They broke the rules with that dance by breaking their hold, but they won’t do it again so they can get into the finals. Shawn loved the Paso Doble, saying the character was the hardest thing to get into. Mark said trying to keep her from laughing was tough. She slapped him during one set of moves, and Mark said he had a hand print on his neck. Tonight they will be doing the "moody" Argentine Tango, so having done the Paso Doble character last week, Shawn is looking forward to being mean again - "But just here."

Ty & Chelsie talk about their ballroom dances, and Ty said they wouldn’t have been able to improve like they have without the Week 2 Quickstep. They came up from a 14 the first week to a 20, enough to stay in the competition. He had great posture and showed everyone how good it was. Chelsie said the Lindy Hop was their breakthrough dance. Ty said it’s the one dance he went out with confidence. He was able to do the lifts that a lot of other competitors couldn’t do, and Ty said that he got stronger because "I had to lift you over my head 3000 times in practice." Tom asked which dance he was most excited about, and Ty said both of them - and Tom tells him "That’s not what you said in rehearsal."

Leading off in the ballroom round is the woman who went from "Searing pain to perfection." Melissa & Tony are doing the Cha Cha and the Quickstep - and she’s got to work on her feet to make Len happy, so Tony is going to push her harder than ever. They did a neat Death Spiral at the end, and the whole dance was perky and fun. Len the "ballroom podiatrist" (according to Tom) starts the judging, saying it had great musicality, he loved it and her feet were much improved. Bruno said it was very, very good, but not as exhilarating and it could have been, and for the semi-finals, he needs more. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno, saying she’s doing beautiful movements, but "it doesn’t give you joy to do it." She said there was space in the hold, and it was "pretty but not fun." Their scores: 9-10-9=28. After those comments, I’m surprised at the 9's. They’re ecstatic getting a 10 from Len.

Gilles & Cheryl are doing the Waltz and the Salsa this week. He’s practicing shaking his hips for the Samba, and Gilles said "Kim is gone, and someone has to shake their booty now, and I think it’s got to be me." Cheryl brought Jonathan in to help with the sophistication of the Waltz. Gilles liked that he was being taught the man’s role by a man. Jonathan tells him "To make the finals, all you need to do is remember to keep your frame, rotate your sides, rise and fall, keep your head up, stretch your neck, look at Cheryl, stretch your body, fill out the music - you’ll be fine." (Yeah, that's it. No problem!) Doesn’t seem like a lot of Waltzing in this one, more posturing and twirling. Don’t think Len’s gonna like this one! Cheryl seems pretty happy, though. Bruno leaps out of his chair, yelling "That is how you start the race for the final!" Soft of touch, irresistibly romantic. Carrie Ann says that people watch ballroom dancing because it takes them to a land of fantasy and "that was breathtaking." She compliments Cheryl on her choreography. Len gave them a "Sitting down standing ovation." (Okay, so I was wrong. That’s why they make the big bucks.) Gilles says backstage that Cheryl is taking him to places he’s never been before. He wants to show respect to everyone that puts a TV on. 10-10-10=30, a perfect score for the couple, and Gilles is happy to get the perfect 30 "for Cheryl."

We find out Kym and Maks will be dancing tomorrow night with Anna and Mayo - wonder if Maks will be a good boy, or give Anna some grief?

Shawn & Mark are going to stick to the rules this week. They’ll be doing the Jive and the Argentine Tango and the lifts are scaring Shawn, and they’re having major problems with them. Shawn looks really old doing this dance! They’re simulating a fight of passionate people (Mark probably screwed around on her and she wants to kill him, typical male.) It takes them awhile to do a lift, but they pull it off. Mark is doing more "flicking" than Shawn, but the dance looks pretty good, and he steals a kiss at the end. Carrie Ann says she worried about Shawn being the youngest competitor and delivering the emotional content, but "I’m silly because you delivered!" Len said she dances with a maturity he didn’t expect, and intensity. "It was honestly your best performance." Bruno comes out of his little world and says "What we have here is Catherine Zeta Shown." Shawn cracks up (I think he was saying "Shawn." That accent just kills me!) He compares her to the murderous Chicago routine: "He had it coming."

Clips are shown "Where our semi-finalists came from." Melissa has a Texas mentality, when things get tough you keep going. All Ty wanted to do was be a cowboy, he never played with toys. Shawn started walking before she was nine months old. Gilles’ father worked day and night in a bakery, and Gilles brought that work ethic to the dance floor.

After the commercial Shawn & Mark get their scores: 10-10-10=30. Shawn is jumping around, and Tom suggests that Samantha doesn’t want to jump around in her dress. (Yeah, there will be more popping boobs if she does).

Ty & Chelsie will finish off the ballroom round. Ty asks Chelsie "What do you think got us through - the fans or my spot-on Rumba?" (Cute, Ty). He takes Chelsie to ride a mechanical bull, telling her to stiffen up a bit because "You dancers are so fluid." Ty says that the Salsa is supposed to be a party but "It’s more like a pain in the ass with all the steps you gotta remember." Chelsie wants their Viennese Waltz to be the greatest ever. Ty says "My fans went out on a limb and kept me in over a better dancer" so he wants to justify their votes. The dance looks good, he’s got that great posture, but you can see some goofs and he messes up and gets really wobbly during a leg-lift move at the end of the dance. Len doesn’t think anyone has worked harder or struggled more. "There were a couple of little issues during that dance but overall I thought it was wonderful." Bruno said "We like you and I understand why America loves you." Bruno says his arms were like "chasing flies" and Len starts protesting. Carrie Ann loves how Ty gets the whole room generating support for him. "Tonight you struggled, and wobbled a bit on the turns." Len breaks in saying "he wobbled twice!" and argues with Carrie Ann who says they have to take off points for that, setting off a debate amongst the judges. Tom tells them "Down, kids." Their scores are predictable: 8-9-8=25.

Tom quips that the post-show dining will be "Three tables of one" for the judges.

We’re shown a clip of "Meeting the people who helped our stars get where they are today." Melissa’s family is in the audience every week. Her Mom says Melissa got frustrated easily when she didn’t get something on the first try. They show Melissa working with the Dallas Cheerleaders and then going through her engagement and breakup on national TV on "The Bachelor." (I missed the comment from Len in a past show when he said "The Bachelor’s loss is Dancing with the Stars’ gain." That was nice!)

Melissa & Tony come up to dance the Cha Cha. Her costume just sucks, it’s a sparkly bra and skirt with silver round spangles hanging off of it like Christmas decorations. The dance is pretty damn good, though, if you ask me! Bruno is up first with his critique, saying he likes his Cha Cha "Full thrust and full on." He says at times Melissa was sensational but at times she didn’t sustain the energy. Carrie Ann thanks Melissa for taking the correction from the last dance, saying she was much more emotional this time. But she agrees with Bruno, saying the size of her steps were "discombobulated." Len like it, but not as much as he was hoping to. "It’s not to the standard of your Samba." But, Melissa is a really good dancer. Backstage, Melissa thanks the fans for getting them this far. Their scores: 9-9-9=27. Can’t complain much about that! Total 55 out of 60.

Let’s see how Gilles grew up next. He is from Cannes in the south of France, the center of town "Where it was pretty tough." He explains that in France, men can be "romantic and emotional without shame." Gilles worked hard with his father, and he’s living the American dream. In Gilles & Cheryl's Salsa he seemed a little stiff to me (but again, I’ll probably be in outer space somewhere.) Cheryl’s dress is pretty interesting! Carrie Ann gives Gilles the yell, jumping out of her seat. "That’s Gilles Marini at his best." Len is almost speechless, saying "I wish I had an 11 paddle." Bruno had the best line of the season, though: "Lil’ Kim is alive and well and she’s living in your pants!" He agrees with Carrie Ann that he deserves to be in the Finals. Backstage, Gilles says that he wants to dance one more time with Cheryl and he hopes the fans keep him around. Their scores are perfect: 10-10-10=30, for an absolutely perfect total of 60 for the evening. (And again, proves that I have no clue what I’m talking about).

We’re shown where "Our gymnast learned to go for the gold." Shawn took the swings off the swingset and was flipping on the top as a child. Before the Olympics, her gym in Iowa flooded and the town worked to clean it up so she could keep practicing. Those dots on Shawn & Mark’s costumes are a little eye-boggling, and with her ponytails she looks like a kid again. She seems to get a little out of sync, but the end of their Jive is cute, they dance to the judges’ table and pull up spangly "10" paddles. Len says that the band is a great part of the show, with great music. He liked the feeling of the dance, it was fun, but there was "Too much messing about dancing." Bruno likes it "when you go wild." He thinks it looked like a Lindy Hop at times, but Shawn "sold it 110%." Carrie Ann loves how Shawn has come along in the performance of the dances, but maybe she lost a little steam. Shawn is asked to tell the fans why she should stick around, and she says they worked hard. Their scores: 9-8-9=26, getting a 56 for the evening. Len gets booed heartily for his score.

Ty & Chelsie are finishing the evening, but we see where Ty’s roots are. He was a pretty cute little kid in his cowboy hat and chaps! He told his dad at 3 years old that Dad didn’t need to hang on to Ty's belt while he was riding on calves. Ty said that dancing wasn’t his thing, but he was going to give it all he had. Jewel said that "What you see on Monday nights is the man I married - very macho, but also very sweet." Now they will dance the Samba - and his hips still don’t move well. He looks like he’s having a great time, though! He stops and jiggles his ass during a moment, and gets big cheers from the audience. Bruno says Ty has resilience and determination and "Threw everything but the kitchen sink in there." Carrie Ann votes Ty most valuable player of Season 8. Len says "In the ballroom dances you’re like Arthur Murray, but in the Latin dances you’re like Murray in a hurry." Len does compliment Chelsie, saying she’s done a fantastic job. Samantha asks Ty to tell his fans something, and he says he doesn’t want to let them down. Their scores: 8-7-8=23, and a total of 48 out of 60.

After the judges’ scores, here are the rankings:
60 -Gilles & Cheryl
56 - Shawn & Mark
55 - Melissa & Tony
48 - Ty & Chelsie

Of course, I don’t see anyone but Ty (nice as he is) going home tomorrow, but hey, some weird stuff has happened on this show! Did everyone vote? We’ll see who gets a shot at the Mirrorball Trophy tomorrow night!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shocker!!! Nice Guys Stick Around and the Bionic Booty Gets the Boot!

Well, I pretty much "watched" this twice, once while babysitting my grandkids (and really not seeing or hearing much) and once again on TiVo, and the result was still the same - Lil’ Kim & Derek say goodbye. After listening to the hype about the "shocking (that wasn’t shocking)" elimination of Chuck & Julianne last week, and not hearing anything this week, I assumed (as most of you did, I’m sure) that Ty & Chelsie were gone this week. NOT! The bionic booty has been booted! And she is a much better dancer than Ty, the nice guy. I guess the cowboy nation got moving on their cell phones and computers and proved they’re a force to be reckoned with! I’m just speechless. (Well, not really. I do have to finish this recap....)

Melissa & Tony begin the show with the Encore Dance, dancing their Samba. I guess this time they taped her top down really well, no hint of a costume malfunction!

In the Confessional after last night’s performance, Ty offered "when I was doing the Rumba move, I could tell Mommy liked!" Maybe he did get lucky after sure wasn’t that leopard robe!

Dance Center is back. Kenny Mayne starts talking about Ty and says this show is finally rewarding bad dancing. Len sticks up for him saying he’s a very good dancer. They talk about Ty being robotic, and we hear robot sounds as he dances. Lil’ Kim is next, and they pick on Len, as we watch Carrie Ann and Bruno give her 10s while Len gives a 4. Kenny says that Len’s not getting any love at home. They talk about her "assets" and Len says that "she’s got the gear in the rear, she might as well use it." They laugh at Mark’s facial expressions and say he’s turning into a chipmunk - with photos to back up their claims -and show two chipmunks dancing.

Some guy came up to sing, it was Jamie Cullum - wasn’t all that interested (my TiVo viewing was running into the Red Wings game against Anaheim, so sorry, folks, I didn’t even listen). I did enjoy watching Agnieszka Kazmierczak and Urs Geisenhainer (gesundheit) dance in fast forward, though!

"In no particular order" we get the first couple safe: Gilles & Cheryl. They look like kids that won a basket of bubble gum!

Back to Dance Center. Melissa is next, Kenny talks about how she had to endure national embarrassment at the hands of "one man" - and they show Tony. Len says he’s only known Tony to be a complete gentleman. They show a practice where Tony is laughing as Melissa grabs her rib cage. Kenny then says Gilles is prostituting himself and "will get naked at the drop of a hat. I don’t see what the big deal is, he doesn’t have that great a body" and we’re treated to the three guys (Jerry Rice, Kenny Mayne and Len) sitting there with their shirts off. At least Jerry is still in a bit of shape - but Len has a tattoo. Kenny Mayne is probably the whitest guy on TV. My stomach is now churning!

The Macy’s Stars of Dance was interesting - a huge star was in the center of the stage and the dancers hung in various places and danced around it. It fascinated my grandson and catapulted him into question mode: "Is that a star, grandma?" "Why are they jumping on the star?" "They’re not jumping, they’re dancing, honey." "No, grandma, they’re jumping. That boy over there is going really high on the star. Will he fall off?" "I hope not, honey." "He would cry. Why does that girl hang upside down?" "She’s dancing, honey." "I listen to that song with Mommy in the car." Adorable kid, I love to hear his perspective on things!

The new professionals-to-be are coming up. Afton and Cody are up first. Afton’s first two partners have been eliminated, and she’s wondering if that’s her fault. He’s working on Hannah Montana, and rehearsing with Afton until midnight and practicing during his lunch hour on the set. Cody’s immaturity hasn’t changed, and Afton has to put tape on his mouth. They are dancing the Samba and even with all of Cody’s experience on this show, he still can’t move his hips. I’m not really impressed with the choreography. Len says that Afton did a good job teaching "wooden" Cody. Bruno said she made Cody to sell himself. Carrie Ann said her skills were brought out and Cody is cute.

More results - the next couple going to the semi finals is Melissa & Tony. I feel good for Tony, he looks so happy and he deserves it.

Mayo is dancing with Lisa Rinna, she of the overly puffy lips. She’s saying he’s so tall (they have a 9-inch height difference) and she has to get used to his body. "It’s like having sex with somebody else, I have to get used to it." They’re dancing the Quick Step. It was pretty cute, perky, and Mayo choreographed himself a part where he took off Lisa’s skirt. Bruno complimented him on using Lisa’s assets. Carrie Ann felt they got a little out of control. Len said they pushed the boundaries with a cartwheel and a bit of a striptease, but well done. Lisa said Mayo was a great teacher, "making this old dog do new tricks!"

Anna is going to dance with Maurice Green. They’ll be dancing the tango, and Anna says that he picked the dance - "Why would he pick a dance he’s never done before?" Their Tango is pretty darn good! Carrie Ann said with a performance like that, they could be heading to the semi finals. Len said Anna brought out the most in her celebrity. Bruno called her a miracle worker. Maurice said Cheryl was a good teacher but Anna is good too. Tom tells us that next week, the two pros left will have to choreograph a Latin and Ballroom dance and perform them with one of the pros.

Shawn & Mark are told they are safe, leaving Lil’ Kim & Derek and Ty & Chelsie in the bottom two. Asked if Ty goes, Len said it would be a shame because it’s been fascinating to watch him improve, and they would miss Lil’ Kim’s bionic booty. Here comes the music and .... WOW! Lil’ Kim and Derek are gone! Not as shocking as when Sabrina was ousted, but still! Tom says that there was a real shock in this room and that he loved watching her dance. Derek is very complimentary, saying that she is one of his favorites. Ty looks shell shocked that he’s still around (as was most of the audience) and almost embarrassed, like he knew he should have gone. Let’s just hope they voting audience gets their heads out of their collective asses and votes properly from now on - for the best dancer, not the nicest or most improved. I think it should come down to Melissa and Gilles for the Mirrorball Trophy - what do you think?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ribs are Better, Gilles & Cheryl Get HOT on the Floor - Literally!

The intensity is ramping up! Five couples remain - who will make it into the semifinals? We’ll find out LIVE! From Hollywood!

The show opens with some pros dancing a medley of ballroom dances. Nice to see Jonathan and Anna, Lacey, Dmitri, Kym, and Louis VanAmstel. It took me past the dance to remember who Louis was, I haven’t seen him in ages. They all looked wonderful (and was Anna wearing a wig or did she cut her long hair that short?)

First up, Shawn & Mark in the Ballroom Round dancing the Quickstep. Shawn is getting stressed because of the speed of the Quickstep - but Mark is a great teacher with her, knowing when to push and when to back off (like when she’s snuffling). I really liked their dance a lot. The judges did too! Len said it was fun, joyful, and carefree. "For the first time, I think we saw your personality." He mentioned she didn’t look afraid. But, Mr. Cranky Pants didn’t stop there and tsk-tsk’d them for breaking the hold during the dance. Bruno yelped "you danced like Sporty Spice!" He noted her great footwork, saying "yes, you broke the hold but it was great fun." Carrie Ann was complimentary as well, saying this was Shawn’s best dance ever. She did say "I have to take a point off because you broke the rules" regarding the hold. (I understand that the judges are looking for the dance as it’s meant to be danced, but I don’t think the judges should "punish" the stars for choreography that their pros make them do - i.e., "breaking the hold" in the Quickstep. That always kinda bugged me, they should be judged on their steps and all, not on the choreography which is out of their control. Okay, off the soapbox). Great scores: 9-9-9=27. (Does that mean she may have gotten a 30 if Mark didn't screw up the choreography?)

Ty & Chelsie will dance the Argentine Tango. Ty likes this dance, saying "It has everything I like. It’s strong, it’s serious, I get to hang on to Chelsie, and I can do lifts." They video taped their practice and Chelsie had Ty take the video home to watch. I’m impressed with his work ethic but that robe! Leopard spots on brown! Must have been a present from Len.....During the dance, they stood back to back and Chelsie flicked her leg back, making me wonder how many times she caught his nads during practice. The judges tried to be gentle, but it’s getting to the point that his dancing flaws are coming through. Bruno said "you won’t let anybody down with your strength and determination," but added that Ty stepped the dance instead of gliding through it. Carrie Ann said "this show is about what you do with what you have, and you’ve come so far." BUT she noted his "little stumble." Len said, "some of Bruno’s comments are why I’m on medication. You captured the essence and flavor of the dance. You’re not a natural performer and actor and for me you’ve produced your best dance." Great scores, but not this late in the season: 8-9-8=25.

Up next are Lil’ Kim & Derek and they’ll be dancing a Waltz. We know that the slow dances are a struggle for Kim, she likes to shake that thang. It looked really nice and delicate, though - Derek is one helluva choreographer. Carrie Ann said that Kim has the ability to make everything look like it feels great but noted a "lot of missteps" and told her she’s got to extend her hands all the way. Len explained the Waltz is a challenging dance for Kim because "you can’t show razzamatazz." He then said "I was so shocked at the quality of that dance." Bruno got very close to crossing the line saying "you tried to be a lady but you’re more comfortable being a tramp." (I knew what he meant, and most of us did, but he really has to watch how he words things!) Bruno tried to explain he meant that Kim didn’t feel as comfortable as she usually is. Thankfully Samantha didn’t push that little remark backstage, where Derek said "the Salsa is coming, and she’s bringing the bionic booty back!" Their scores: 8-9-8=25.

Gilles and Cheryl’s ballroom dance is the Fox Trot. You know they’re really taking license with the editing and showing more Cheryl the taskmaster footage and none of the fun they’re having - "That wasn’t a heel. I hate that. You look like a monster." They seem to promote Cheryl being a slave-driving teacher as much as they pushed Karina as the sneer queen. Cheryl takes Gilles to see professionals at a Fox Trot competition so he gets the idea. It was very smooth and romantic, so obviously Cheryl’s browbeating is working. He blew a kiss to Carrie Ann during the dance (does that get him a 10, Carrie Ann?) Len said that he loved the interpretation of the dance but Gilles needed to straighten his legs. Bruno raved that Gilles’ performance was "in a class of its own, classic - with a sense of theater!" Carrie Ann thought Len was "crazy" because she loved the way Gilles finished his lines and said "a performance like that will take you to the semi finals!" Obviously the blown kiss worked: 10-9-10=29.

Melissa & Tony will be dancing the Viennese Waltz to close the ballroom round. Whatever "treatment" Melissa is getting is working, and the pain is manageable. At least she didn’t get the Quick Step for this round, and the Viennese Waltz will be easier on her ribs! I loved the choreography, I think Tony is one of my favorites for that. Tony wanted her to concentrate on her feet to make Len happy this week. Bruno told her she was "lighter than air - very balletic." Carrie Ann complimented her fluidity in movement. Len loved the sense of romance and the extension of her arms, but said "I’m still not a fan of your feet." Good scores: 9-9-9=27.

We find out that Genya was voted out of the "new professional dancer" competition (Too bad! He was so damn cute!) Tom announces that Afton will be dancing with Cody Linley, Anna will dance with Maurice Green, and Mayo gets Lisa Rinna. Samantha interviews them all backstage. Lisa is excited, and Cody says they’re doing really well, so watch out! Maurice says he wants to make Cheryl (his previous partner) proud as well as help Anna win. Mayo admits that he’s nervous, and Tom laughs that "you should talk to Len, I hear he has medication."

The pros come out to dance a Latin medley to show us how it’s supposed to look. We find out that Louis VanAmstel did all the choreography and he’s given his kudos, and rightfully so. The judges talk about the upcoming dances from the stars, with Len making the best comments: "Ty and the Rumba, oh my!" and "If Kim can’t do the Salsa I’m gonna pop off and pickle me walnuts." (If anyone has any idea what that might mean - uh, never mind. I don’t want to know). We also find out that each star will have to perform a 15-second solo during the Latin dances.

Shawn and Mark will dance the Paso Doble. Mark says that Shawn is so sweet she may have a hard time with this one, and I agree. She’s very young and just too cute to be believable in the Paso. Can Mark work his magic? She can’t seem to stop giggling and get the emotion of the dance, so Mark reminds her of her "Olympic face" and the intensity of right before a competition. He tries to get all bullish on her, showing her his bull-killing moves, which only sends her into more giggle fits. Whatever they did, It worked - she looked tough and did a great job. Carrie Ann said that Shawn "glared" at her and scared her, and that Shawn "delivered the drama." Len liked the solo and the dance, calling it clean and precise, but turned back into Mr. Cranky Pants and said "it wasn’t over exciting." Bruno was happy that Shawn "showed the killer instinct and scored big." Backstage, Shawn said that Mark was trying to make her mad to help her attitude along. They loved the scores: 10-9-10=29.

Up next are Ty & Chelsie to Rumba. Chelsie tells him it involves some Cuban hip action and Ty deadpans "I’m pretty sure we know I’m not Cuban." During the dance, he was actually moving his hips (even though it looked like there was a stick up his butt). His solo at the end was performed in front of his wife, Jewel, and consisted of stripper-like gyrating. He got a kiss at the end of it although it seemed that Jewel was laughing too hard to really kiss him. Len started off saying that the dance had charm, looked sweet, and he was moving his hips, but - "the first dance you were a peacock and now you’re a feather duster." Bruno told him he is the most likeable star that’s been on the show, but not to confuse likeability with ability - "I want Mario Lopez and you were Kenny Mayne." Carrie Ann just wished she could score Ty on how much he’s improved. Samantha had to ask about his solo backstage, and Ty said "I’m hoping my solo pays dividends later." He really is a funny, nice guy but the worst dancer of the couples left. Their scores: 7-7-7=21.

Lil’ Kim & Derek will Salsa, and Kim is planning to shake her stuff like a salt shaker "or a pepper shaker - that’s hot, right?" She wants to bring heat and her bionic booty and really impress the judges. Her solo was a bit uncomfortable with her writhing on the floor, but she definitely brought it and shook throughout the Salsa. Bruno was happy, saying "you’re in your element - your booty can do no wrong!" Carrie Ann told her that "I’ve never seen a booty shake like that." Len told them that Derek wasn’t even really needed out there with Kim, but that she got so into the dance it looked like she lost a little control. (I thought I saw Lil' Kim on the wrong leg at the beginning.) Great scores, though: 9-9-9=27.

Everyone is looking forward to Gilles & Cheryl’s sexy Latin-lover Rumba. I wasn’t really impressed with the see-through shirt (either wear a shirt or not, don’t tease!) His solo at the beginning was a bit weird, but when they got into the dance, hoo boy! Hot hot HOT! Dancing to "Sexual Healing" no less! At the end, they rolled around on the floor and looked like they were about to .... well, get busy - they sold it to me! At the end, they showed Gilles’ wife applauding with a big smile on her face, so I guess she didn’t buy it (lucky for Gilles!) Carrie Ann said Gilles delivered but she found the solo a bit odd and self-indulgent. Len said it looked fantastic to him but he "didn’t like the silly walk or rolling about the floor." Bruno said it "ended like she was ravaged by a savage" although he noted it was a "bit uneven." Samantha actually said a funny - "to the folks at home, after you’ve gotten out of that cold shower, call in." Good scores: 9-9-9=27.

Melissa & Tony will finish off the night with a Samba. Tony told her that the celebrities have to do a solo, and Melissa protested "I’m not a celebrity, can we get off on a technicality?" No such luck, and her solo was just fine. She seemed really embarrassed after the dance, and I didn’t hear why, but after some checking I guess she was saying "my boob came out!" I was wondering why Tony looked so giddy. It was obviously well-hidden - although I’m sure if it had really popped out they would have had to stop and put it back! Len loved it, saying "you should 100% be here next week." Bruno told Melissa the dance made him happy to be there watching it. Carrie Ann got everyone on edge saying that "at this point in the competition, I have to point out the flaws." (Pause for dramatic effect). "Take the week off. There were none!" They were ecstatic about their scores: 10-10-10=30. Tony really deserves to be in the semi finals, finals, and maybe even win. He really is doing great with all he had to put up with this season - someone starting 3 weeks late, being judged on a run-through practice because of injury.

So, here are the standings after the judges’ scores:
57 - Melissa & Tony
56 - Shawn & Mark
56 - Gilles & Cheryl
52 - Lil’ Kim & Derek
46 - Ty & Chelsie

Did everyone vote? Who will get into the semi finals, ever closer to the shot at the beautiful (*rolling eyes*) Mirrorball Trophy? We’ll find out tonight!

WARNING: Big Brother Spoilers!

We watch the current season of Big Brother on CBS, Big Brother After Dark, and the Feeds. We watch all Big Brother 20 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 After Dark and the Live Feeds.