Monthly Archives: January 2006

Tatum’s Going to Need Some Uppers (Episode 2-2A)

Something in the universe must have gone horribly wrong. That’s the only way to explain how Master P received enough votes to make it to week three of Dancing with the Stars.

Before we even got to the live portion of the ultimately disappointing results show, viewers were treated to a replay of all nine dances from the previous night. Tom Bergeron introduced each performance in pre-taped segments, and periodically a counter appeared onscreen, indicating how many minutes remained until the live program began. Approximately 27 minutes after the hour, the opening credits ran again, and the live show started.

The logic behind the format makes sense, as DwtS will be up against Survivor on Thursday nights, starting February 2. Survivor fans — and Smallville fans, and O.C. fans, and fans of whatever crap NBC airs in that hour — will be able to catch up on the performances on Friday nights before the results are announced, though they will not be able to vote.

But, for those of us who’ve already watched the Thursday performance show, it’s frustrating to wait through all the performances again, when we’ve been expecting a full hour of new material. And starting the live show 27 minutes in, instead of 30, is clever, but in bad taste. (You can’t watch a 7:00-7:30 show on another channel without missing the first minutes of new DwtS material or the last few minutes of the other channel’s show)

At the start of this week’s live show, Samantha Harris interviewed the couples who’d earned the three lowest scores from the judges: Lisa and Louis, Tatum and Nick, and Master P and Ashly. Tatum was, thankfully, much more subdued than she’d seemed on previous nights. Her PR people must have given her enough pills to sedate her, but not so many that she’d slur her words. All the competitors pledged to work harder next week if they survived this week’s elimination, and all of them but Master P were telling the truth.

After the team interviews, we learned that next week’s dances will be the Tango and the Jive. Apparently, Tango refused to be paired with Cash. According to Louis’s blog, the men will dance the Tango, and the women the Jive.

The Jive originated from the Lindy Hop. So, to get us ready for next week’s performances, two Lindy Hop champions perfomed that dance. They wore what looked like wrestling shoes, which must be better suited than traditional dance shoes for all the jumping around that the Lindy Hop requires. The dancers deserved a lot of credit for making it look totally fun, even though I got exhausted just watching them. My heart raced as I lounged in my pajamas and sipped hot cocoa.

The show then returned to discussion of the competition at hand. In previously-taped interview segments, the show’s celebrity dancers and their professional partners talked about the other teams. Edyta said that, from a pro’s perspective, Stacy is the best celebrity dancer. And Anna gave Drew a lot of praise. It sounded like the professionals won’t be surprised if Stacy and Drew ultimately face off in the finale. Lisa is a fan of George and Jerry. Jerry returned the compliment by saying that he, too, is a fan of Jerry — and he’s taking the competition as seriously as he took playing football.

Jesse McCartney was this week’s guest musician. His song, “Get Your Shine On,” has a ridiculous name but a catchy beat reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Tony and his professional partner, Elena Grinenko, danced to McCartney’s performance. I haven’t been giving Tony enough credit; he’s really talented. And his partner’s amazing. Until you see the professionals dancing with one another, you don’t realize just how skilled they are.

In the show’s last segment, we finally learned the results of the previous night’s voting. To no one’s surprise, Master P and Ashly were in the bottom two, after the audience votes were added to those of the judges. Tatum and Nick were the other low pair.

Although Tatum and Nick — unlike P and Ashly — had done well in their previous performance, they learned how one bad night can lead to a team’s abrupt departure. Host Tom Bergeron declared that Tatum and Nick had lost, and pretty much apologized to them for having to say so. Bergeron said he was stunned, because even he doesn’t learn who’s going home until the names are spoken into his earpiece at the end of the show. He was barely able to hold back from saying what we were all thinking: “How the hell did they lose to Master P?”

P’s sucky disposition can’t weigh down this competition any longer. Fans aren’t doing Ashly any favors saddling her to this lout, so it’s time to cut her loose. She’ll surely be brought back to demo a dance in a future episode. It’s time to get rid of the dead weight.

You Can’t Handle Stacy’s Sausage (Episode 2-2)

The Rumba is the dance of love, and tonight it brought out the bawdy side of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars. There was everything from pole dancing lessons to inappropriate breakfast meat humor. If this keeps up, they’ll have to start airing it in a later time slot.

Things started out on a positive note, since someone evidently told Samantha Harris to speak less throatily, and we were actually able to hear her during the intro. Tonight, the female celebs danced the Rumba and the male celebs the Quickstep. Who’ll follow Kenny Mayne and be the second celebrity eliminated?

Lisa Rinna and Louis van Amstel: For a woman used to playing sexy soap vixens, Lisa has a lot of trouble seeing herself as sexy. It’s actually pretty endearing, and it’s fun to see that she’s actually a goofball. Her equally goofy partner, Louis, suggested pole dancing lessons to help Lisa feel more comfortable performing some of the moves she needed for the Rumba. The lessons worked, and they earned a better score than last week. And yes, Lisa’s loving hubby, Harry Hamlin, was again sitting floorside to cheer her on.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 6, Len – 7, Bruno – 7. Judges Total = 20/30

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke: Feeling the pressure from earning first place honors from the judges last week, Drew and Cheryl stepped it up another notch for this week’s performance. They danced the best Quickstep of the night, with the fastest footwork of any couple. They’re an energetic pair who show what makes ballroom dancing so fun. The only thing working against them was their song, “Neutron Dance,” and the cheesy synthesizer it was played on.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 9. Judges Total = 27/30

Tia Carrere and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: After surprisingly winding up in the bottom two after the viewing audience voted last week, the pressure was on Tia and Max. Like Lisa, Tia struggled with the hip swivelling required for the Rumba. Max solved this by getting them hula lessons, although he seemed to enjoy his hula experience in a way that should’ve been kept in private. Again this week, Max showed the importance of good choreography, allowing Tia to shine in a dance more loving than overtly sexy.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 8, Bruno – 7. Judges Total = 22/30

George Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska: Backstage, Edyta and Stacy engaged in a staredown over George, starting the evening’s running joke of a budding relationship between Stacy and George. Before several commercial breaks, George could be seen whispering in Stacy’s ear or trying to come between her and Tony. Hopefully, George will stick around a while longer so we can see if this fake romance was made to last.

Before dancing, we were introduced to Team George, the chiropractor and sports therapist who keep George out of the motorized wheelchairs they advertise during The Price Is Right. As he put it, “At a certain age, you get your head together but your ass falls apart.” As did Max, Edyta choreographed a routine that played to her partner’s strengths, relying on old Hollywood glamour rather than speedy footwork. Like Master P, George said he’s playing for people from his ‘hood: Palm Beach and Beverly Hills.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 7, Bruno – 7. Judges Total = 22/30

Tatum O’Neal and Nick Kosovich: Last week’s strong performance made Tatum and Nick a bit cocky, and encouraged Tatum to challenge Nick’s teaching methods. Their song, “Careless Whisper,” suited their careless performance. Carrie Ann pointed out that Tatum’s leg work was sloppy, and Tatum looked like she was about to cry.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 5, Len – 6, Bruno – 6. Judges Total = 17/30

Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya: In preparation for the Quickstep, Jerry showed Anna how he gained his speed on the football field, by putting her through some of his old drills. He admitted that the best part was watching her get tripped up for a change. The black and white stripes on her top and on the lining of his tuxedo tails were meant to look like a referee’s uniform, incorporating his football background into their performance. They are a fun couple to watch, and Drew Lachey had better watch out if Jerry keeps improving. The crowd voiced their opinion, chanting, “Jerry!” after the performance.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 8, Bruno – 8. Judges Total = 23/30

Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani: Last week, Len said that Stacy and Tony’s dancing was “all sizzle, no sausage.” In training, Stacy threatened that Len “won’t be able to handle the sausage” they’d bring this week. She was right, and the judges praised them for performing the best dance of the night. While they seem unstoppable right now, Stacy was overanalyzing her dancing during training sessions, at the expense of connecting with Tony. That connection will be crucial as storytelling becomes as important as technique, later in the competition.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 10, Bruno – 10. Judges Total = 29/30

Master P and Ashly DelGrosso: After getting called out by Ashly for his lack of effort, P called her a snitch. And while he did actually attend each of their practice sessions this week, he refused to wear the dance shoes Ashly bought him as reward for his efforts. Their dancing was better this week, but P continues to drag around the dance floor in his P. Miller label gym shoes. He even told Len that he won’t wear dance shoes because his gym shoes are lucky. Must be, since he’s gotten last place scores from the judges two weeks in a row.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 6, Len – 5, Bruno – 5. Judges Total = 16/30

Giselle Fernandez and Jonathan Roberts: Giselle embraced the sexiness of the Rumba, bringing out what she called her “inner Rosarita” and showing off her rock-hard journalist abs. Who knew you’d have to be so buff to read from a teleprompter? Despite the distraction of Jonathan’s excessive chest hair, they gave a great performance. Carrie Ann even said that they are contenders to win the competition, prompting Giselle to shriek with joy.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 8, Bruno – 8. Judges Total = 24/30

1 – Stacy and Tony
2 – Drew and Cheryl
3 – Giselle and Jonathan
4 – Jerry and Anna
5 – Tia and Max, George and Edyta (tie)
7 – Lisa and Louis
8 – Tatum and Nick
9 – Master P and Ashly

As the dances were reviewed at the end of the night, Tia and Max received what could be called polite applause at best, and no applause at worst. Last week’s audience vote may not have been a fluke, and they could be in trouble again. Perhaps Master P’s bad attitude has finally rubbed enough audience members the wrong way and he’ll be voted out. It’s hard to watch Ashly fight a losing battle with him. And even if Tatum’s low score doesn’t get her eliminated tomorrow, there’s a good chance she won’t be able to recover emotionally from the judge’s criticism and she may be out next week.

Performing at tomorrow night’s Results Show will be Jesse McCartney. The fact that I have no idea who he is, but knew Burt Bacharach right away, shows just how out of touch I am with current music. Time to go listen to my Buddy Holly 45s.

My vote tonight: Tia and Max. Dude waxed his chest for this! How does that not earn a vote? I can’t even get my husband to shave his unibrow!

Say a Little Prayer for Kenny (Episode 2-1A)

Somebody had to go first, and Kenny Mayne was the first celebrity eliminated from the second season of Dancing with the Stars. That gives Master P another week to get his act in gear and start taking the competition seriously.

Most of the first Results Show consisted of dance demonstrations. The professionals paired up and danced to the song “The Look of Love,” performed by Burt Bacharach. Note to Burt: just write the songs, don’t sing them, please. Next week’s dances were also demonstrated by the professionals. Male celebs will perform the Quickstep and female celebs the Robot, er, Rumba.

Viewers were treated to clips from interviews with the couples after their Thursday night’s performances. Ashly made it clear that she was disappointed in Master P’s effort, and that things would change if they somehow survived the first round.

Amazingly, they did survive. Ashly built up a lot of goodwill last season, and it didn’t seem fair to give her the boot just because she got stuck with a lousy partner. But if P decides to dog it again next week, viewers won’t feel obligated to give them a third chance.

When announcing the results, the couples staying were winnowed away until the two pairs with the lowest combined scores from the judges and the viewers were left. Kenny and Andrea were at the bottom with Tia Carrere and her partner Maksim, even though Tia and Max were in sixth place after the judges voted. That should spook Tia, because it means that she’s not all that popular with the home audience.

Few of the celebs can feel secure in having a large base of fans who will vote weekly. Jerry Rice is probably the most recognizable of the stars, so he should have no trouble garnering votes. Drew Lachey is also probably safe because of the large number of young women in the viewing audience who listened to 98 Degrees. Having his pop icon brother, Nick, sitting floorside can’t hurt either.

While Stacy Keibler isn’t well known outside of the world of professional wrestling, she’s pretty, and that helped Kelly Monaco gain an early edge last season. Lisa Rinna benefits from Monaco’s second advantage: a career in soap operas. If not the largest pool of voters, soap fans are loyal and vocal, so Lisa should be able to coast along with their votes for another few weeks.

Several of the celebs have been out of the spotlight long enough that they may not be able to count on past popularity to garner votes. To many viewers under the age of 30, George Hamilton may only be the guy from the Ritz commercials. Likewise, Tatum O’Neal may only hold a special place in the hearts of cokeheads. Tia Carrere was never as popular as George or Tatum at their peaks, and it’s been 16 years since Wayne’s World was released. The voting results from this episode show that Tia’s star power has faded the most in the minds of audience members.

Giselle Fernandez is a wild card. I hadn’t heard of her until she was introduced as a competitor on DWTS, so I can’t judge how safe she is. The same goes for Master P; while it doesn’t seem like the average DWTS fan would also be a Master P fan, it’s too early to tell what his appeal will be. Plus, it’s hard to tell if Ashly’s appeal will continue to help his public rating. No matter what, if he doesn’t perform well next week, he’ll lose voters faster than Tia loses her pregnancy pounds.

It’s Not Disgusting (Episode 2-1)

Hollywood’s biggest celebrities came out for tonight’s premiere of Dancing with the Stars. Actor Harry Hamlin watched wife Lisa Rinna waltz her way into America’s hearts. Singer Nick Lachey cheered on brother Drew, who set out to prove that there’s more to him than boy-band good looks. And TV legend David Carradine? Maybe he didn’t realize they’d already cast the show.

Tom Bergeron has taken time from his strenuous hosting duties on America’s Funniest Home Videos and returned as Dancing with the Stars’ host. ABC saved a little Christmas cheer for its viewers and canned former co-host Lisa Canning in favor of the E! Network’s Samantha Harris. Judges Carrie Ann, Len, and Bruno have also returned for another season of bickering. Perhaps David Carradine was really on hand to use his Kung Fu in case the fighting got out of hand.

Tonight’s two-hour premiere featured each couple performing one dance. Male celebrities danced the Cha Cha Cha, while female celebrities danced the Waltz. Here’s how each couple did:

George Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska – Professional dancer Edyta is back after her ill-fated partnership with Evander Holyfield last season. Perpetually tanned film star George looks like he’s made for ballroom dancing, but he’s 66 and has four broken ribs. His acting skills showed as he mugged his way through a somewhat sedate routine. He’s this season’s answer to John O’Hurley, and he’ll be fine until some of the more physically demanding dances.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 5, Bruno – 6. Judges Total = 18/30

Lisa Rinna and Louis van Amstel – Louis is back with a new haircut, looking for redemption after he and Trista Sutter were last season’s first couple eliminated. Lisa’s got some free time after her character on Veronica Mars commited suicide, so what better way to kill time than competitive ballroom dancing? Husband Harry Hamlin also stars on Veronica Mars, but his character’s in jail, so he should be able to attend most of his wife’s performances. Lisa’s flexibility should prove useful (that’s what Harry said, Hey-O!), and she and Louis will be strong competitors once she gets over her nervousness.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 5, Len – 7, Bruno – 7. Judges Total = 19/30

Kenny Mayne and Andrea Hale – Former Sportscenter anchor Kenny may have signed on to this show as a lark, and Andrea’s got the difficult task of getting him to take the dancing seriously. It doesn’t help that Kenny’s the whitest man in America. He dances as poorly as the guys featured in the embarrassing wedding videos shown on Tom Bergeron’s other show. These two don’t stand a chance unless Kenny loosens up a bit. His jokes are the only things that may keep them in it until next week.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 4, Len – 5, Bruno – 4. Judges Total = 13/30

Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani – Professional wrestler Stacy is this year’s ringer. She’s beautiful with long legs and graceful arms, and she’s about 20 years younger than any of the other female celebs. Stacy’s partner, Tony, is too short for her and came off as a jackass when he kept ogling her. As long as they stop dancing at arms length and start interacting with each other, this couple will win.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 6, Bruno – 8. Judges Total = 22/30

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke – Drew is best known as the brother of Jessica Simpson’s soon-to-be ex-hubby, Nick Lachey. Drew’s got some dance experience from his time in the pop band 98 Degrees, but he’s never had to master the disciplined moves required for ballroom. When in her dancing makeup, Drew’s partner, Cheryl, is a doppleganger of the girl who plays Angela on Bones. Cheryl’s too intense to let Drew slack off, which bodes well for this team. They danced the best Cha Cha Cha of the night, and they could make it all the way to the finals.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 8, Bruno – 8. Judges Total = 24/30

Tia Carrere and Maksim ChmerkovskiyWayne’s World babe Tia had a child three months ago and hopes that dancing will quickly take off her pregnancy weight. Her partner, Maksim, is a frightening Russian mafioso whose highest compliment for Tia is that her dancing is “not disgusting.” But he made her look beautiful during the waltz, so this duo could be a force to be reckoned with.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 6, Len – 7, Bruno – 7. Judges Total = 20/30

Master P and Ashly DelGrosso – Ashly’s back after a respectable run as Joey McIntyre’s partner last season. Master P is a fill-in after his son, hip-hopper Romeo, withdrew due to injury. P doesn’t seem that interested in dancing and is treating this merely as a job to be done. He gave the night’s most unenthusiastic performance as Ashly did all the work. Too bad we won’t get to see much more of you, Ashly. You’re a class act. Maybe next season you can dance with Survivor’s Stephenie LaGrossa. Who could stop DelGrosso/LaGrossa?
Scores: Carrie Ann – 4, Len – 4, Bruno – 4. Judges Total = 12/30

Giselle Fernandez and Jonathan Roberts – Jonathan, Rachel Hunter’s partner last season, is back for another go-round. TV journalist Giselle grew up with a famous flamenco dancer for a father, and dancing ability looks like it may be genetic. Jonathan’s a great choreographer who excels at letting his partner shine, so they should remain competitive.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 6, Bruno – 8. Judges Total = 23/30

Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya – Former 49er Jerry is looking for another physical challenge now that his football career is over. His partner, Anna, may be more demanding than any of Jerry’s football coaches ever were. With the pressure of his teammates watching him, Jerry put in a lot of work to make sure he didn’t look foolish on the dance floor. Apart from Drew, Jerry’s the only male celeb with any moves.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 7, Bruno – 7. Judges Total = 21/30

Tatum O’Neal and Nick Kosovich – Tatum brings a lot of baggage to the dance floor as a former child star with a history of drug problems. (Is there any other kind of former child star?) Her Aussie partner, Nick, looks like the Wayne Newton of ballroom dancing. If Tatum would just shut up for a minute, it might be easier to appreciate her dancing. The audience may lose its patience for her long before she loses a step.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 6, Bruno – 8. Judges Total = 23/30

1 – Drew and Cheryl
2 – Giselle and Jonathan, Tatum and Nick (tie)
4 – Stacy and Tony
5 – Jerry and Anna
6 – Tia and Maksim
7 – Lisa and Louis
8 – George and Edyta
9 – Kenny and Andrea
10 – Master P and Ashly

Audience votes will determine half of the overall score for each couple, and results will be aired during a live show tomorrow night. Also on tomorrow’s show, Burt Bacharach performs. Look forward to a lethargic performance of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” by the house band’s unenthusiastic male singer.

My vote tonight: George and Edyta. He earned it in Zorro, The Gay Blade.

New Shows for ’06

The new year brings a new crop of reality shows. What will My Ox Is Broken be commenting on in 2006?

Dancing with the Stars starts its second season on ABC on Thursday, January 5. Mercifully, inept interviewer Lisa Canning won’t return as Tom Bergeron’s cohost. This season’s celeb contestant list includes big names like Wayne’s World actress Tia Carrere and George Hamilton, who may use his perpetually glowing skin to reflect the lights into his competitors’ eyes, blinding them to assure himself victory. The performance shows will air on Thursdays, with the results shows on Fridays.

Beauty and the Geek also returns for its second season. More nerds will pair up with hot babes to compete in challenges, all in the name of fostering understanding between the disparate groups of guys and gals. It’s not nearly as mean-spirited as it could be, which for a reality TV show makes it almost admirable. The season begins on Thursday, January 12 on the WB.

One of the few brand new reality franchises for 2006 is the potentially disastrous Skating with Celebrities. Capitalizing on the success of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, Fox created its own, more dangerous pro-am competition. The program’s early promos have highlighted the injuries suffered during taping–rather than the celebrity participants themselves. At least Full House’s Dave Coulier and sports broadcasting personality (i.e., football weathergirl) Jillian Barberie have some ice skating experience. We’ll have to wait until Wednesday, January 18 to find out how Todd Bridges and the remaining participants fare on their skates. After its Wednesday premiere, the show moves to Mondays–always a good sign for a Fox show. Just ask Arrested Development.

NBC has announced that, based on its successful debut in December, prime time game show Deal or No Deal will get another run. No details were provided on when it returns. While there’s not much to the show–gameplay is slightly less complex than a typical Price Is Right task–it certainly is fun and addictive. Now they need to find more likeable contestants, so I can start rooting for them instead of against them.

New seasons of The Amazing Race and Survivor premiere in February, and of course we’ll be watching. Not so for The Bachelor: Paris, which begins on January 9.