Monthly Archives: February 2006

No Happy Ending for Misty the Masseuse (Episode 12-3)

Southern charm and magic hands weren’t enough to save Misty from being voted off of Survivor: Panama – Exile Island. All the back massages she gave Austin and Nick were offered in vain, as the two younger men decided to align with the La Mina tribe’s elders, Terry and Dan.

After ejecting Melinda at the last Tribal Council, Casaya returned to camp with their new team member, Bruce. Unable to suppress his teaching urges, Bruce immediately involved his tribe in a water filtration project.

Since they didn’t have fire, the Casayans poured water through several layers of T-shirts, which Bruce claimed would eliminate 90% of dangerous impurities. The tribe drank container after container of the water, and nobody complained about it tasting like a dirty sweat cocktail.

Not everyone in Casaya was happy that Bruce had taken over. Courtney — who has somehow found time to become a wilderness expert in between her professional stints as a massage therapist, ski instructor, and performance artist — privately questioned the effectiveness of the shirt filter. Shane, always seeking a target for the rage caused by his nicotine withdrawal, interviewed that Bruce was driving him nuts.

Meanwhile, at the La Mina camp, things looked dire. Without the spear Sally had lost a few days before, all the tribe had been able to catch with their lines and hooks were poisonous puffer fish. The tribe’s meager diet of snails was augmented by a single tiny, non-poisonous fish that Terry caught. “Nemo,” as La Mina called the little fish, provided just enough energy for them to win the Reward Challenge.

Three members of each tribe took turns firing balls from a slingshot out to their remaining four teammates, who stood on a balance beam suspended over the ocean. La Mina caught more balls than Casaya, earning them a tarp, pillows, blankets, rope, water cans, fuel, and a kerosene lamp.

Perhaps most significantly, La Mina won the right to decide which member of Casaya would spend the night on Exile Island.

Upon arriving at the challenge, Casaya had gushed about the energy and survival knowledge Bruce brought to camp. Although they felt guilty doing it, La Mina reasoned that Casaya might disintegrate without Bruce, and they sent him back for a second consecutive stay on Exile Island, where he would remain until the Immunity Challenge. As Shane observed, La Mina was playing for keeps.

La Mina got their goodies back to camp just in time to throw the tarp over their shelter and protect themselves from another Panamanian downpour. They enjoyed a much more comfortable evening than Bruce, who didn’t even have time to look for the hidden Immunity Idol before the all-night storm hit. Bruce spent the night sitting in the rain, with only a piece of parchment to cover his head.

At Casaya, Bruce’s absence meant Shane and Courtney had to resort to picking on each other. Aras, who had pledged unity with Shane, Courtney, and Danielle immediately after Casaya formed, feared that he had aligned himself with a bunch of lunatics. Outsider Cirie entertained herself by watching the alliance members start to realize that they hated each other.

Over at La Mina, Misty pulled out all of her flirtatious tricks in an effort to shore up an alliance with Nick and Austin. Sally presented a logical argument for teaming up, saying that Terry would be the most obvious target after the merge, so an alliance with the two young women would appear less threatening to the members of Casaya.

Bruce returned to compete for Casaya in a beachfront Immunity Challenge. In each round of the Challenge, a canvas sack had been buried down the beach. Pairs or trios from each team raced toward the sack, dug it up, and tried to return it to their team’s mat. Participants were allowed to tackle one another in order to steal the sack or otherwise keep their opponents from completing the task. The first team to return three bags to their mat earned Immunity.

The full-contact competition seemed to favor the heftier Casaya tribe. When Shane wasn’t wildly tackling skeletal Dan, he even coached his tribemates to use their size: “Sit on her, Cirie!” But La Mina’s athleticism evened the competition, and, after four rounds, the tribes were tied, 2-2.

In the final round, Terry and Ruth Marie took on Danielle and Bobby. Terry dug up the sack and was immediately wrapped up by Danielle. Terry handed the sack to Ruth Marie, who had a clear shot at the La Mina mat. Mere steps before finishing, Bobby caught up with Ruth Marie, grabbed her by her shirt, and dragged her to the Casaya mat for the win.

Losing the Immunity Challenge forced Austin and Nick to decide which pair of La Minans they would align with for the remainder of the game: the younger women or the older men.

The young women targeted Ruth Marie, who was physically the weakest, had started to look as strung out as Shane, and was aligned with nobody. However, Terry and Dan were determined to boot Misty. They argued that she had performed worst in the Immunity Challenge. But the men’s real fear was how the clever and likable engineer might fare if she made it to the merge.

At Tribal Council, Terry told host Jeff Probst that Survivor was a physically challenging game, but the mental part was easy, because of the cameraderie with his tribemates. Dan, Misty, and Sally all agreed that their team got along with each other surprisingly well. Nick confirmed that different groups were forming at camp, but didn’t say with which group he and Austin would be voting.

Only when the votes were finally read did Misty realize that her efforts had failed, leaving only Sally and Ruth Marie to break up the La Mina boys’ club. Misty wished her tribe members well, and her torch was snuffed.

Next week, the situation gets worse for La Mina, when the tribe runs out of food. The Casaya alliance also struggles, as Danielle becomes the new target of Shane’s unpredictable wrath.

Didn’t They Almost Have It All (Episode 2-7A)

The season’s final elimination was also its most heartrending, as Lisa and Louis were sent home in the semifinal round of Dancing with the Stars. The couple’s tear-filled goodbyes distracted from the shock that Lisa’s companion in the bottom two was Stacy, who had been tied for first place after the judges voted on Thursday. The audience revealed its pecking order, and there’s a very good chance that the weakest dancer remaining, Jerry, may take home the trophy.

The show started with a recap of Thursday night’s performances. Drew and Stacy were both upset about some of the comments they received from the judges. Stacy believes that Carrie Ann has “had it in” for her from the beginning, and Drew recommended that Len take Viagra to remind him what passion is.

Drew and Cheryl earned an encore from the judges, and the couple dedicated their Rumba to Len. Drew acted less angry than he did last night, but his intensity was still there. If he could just keep those darned shoulders down…

Backstage, Samantha interviewed Stacy, Lisa, and Jerry about their performances. Jerry’s bringing back bad memories of Master P when he talks about his scores. He said the show was all about the fans, but that he still had love for the judges. He’d better not start mentioning disaster victims or the ‘hood.

Back on the dance floor, jazz singer Michael Bublé gave his first performance of the evening. Eliminated pros Nick Kosovich and Andrea Hale danced beautifully to the classic song, “Moondance.” Nick has shaved the facial hair he sported early in the season, and he now looks like he could be the suave brother of actor Bruce Campbell.

Following the performance, the judges evaluated each semi-finalist’s strengths and weaknesses.

Drew’s great footwork and volcanic performances have kept him near the top of the leaderboard, but he needs to finish his lines to move his dancing to the next level. While Stacy has the most natural ability, she’s still having trouble communicating the emotion of each dance. Jerry looks like a dancer, but he won’t be great until he masters his footwork and posture. Lisa’s energy and vulnerability make her a captivating performer whose moves only need a little polish to make her a 10.

When asked which celebrity has impressed them the most, each judge offered an opinion. Carrie Ann said that Drew’s well-crafted characters have won her over. Bruno called Lisa “Miss Most Improved,” and congratulated her for nailing the difficult Fox Trot. Like many of the fans at home, Jerry has impressed Len the most by being his favorite football player. Len didn’t have much to say about Jerry’s dancing, however.

For a change of pace, host Tom Bergeron put on his dancing shoes and performed the Quickstep. His professional partner, Ashly, was surprised that Tom chose the Quickstep, since it’s a challenging dance and he has no experience. But the lightness and fast pace of the dance suited their homage to Charlie Chaplin. The performance was filled with comedic bits, but never at the expense of the dance.

Next week, co-host Samantha Harris will take her own turn around the dance floor. She didn’t say who her partner is, but if there’s any justice in the world, it will be Max.

After Tom and Ashly danced, Michael Bublé returned to sing “Save the Last Dance for Me,” with a performance by Edyta and her professional partner, Alec Mazo. Alec and Edyta are engaged, and they danced their entire routine sporting the cheesy grins of a couple in love. The real thing can’t be faked.

In preparation for the dreaded elimination, viewers watched a montage of interviews with friends and families of the celebrities.

Jerry’s wife, Jackie, said that his dedication to dancing has added “oomph” to their marriage, as he frequently interrupts her while she cooks for an improptu dance. Lisa’s husband, Harry, talked about how all-consuming the competition has been for her. Hulk Hogan was proud of Stacy, and Steve Young was proud of Jerry. Nick Lachey made fun of the two-inch heels on his brother’s dance shoes, but teared up when he talked about his hopes for Drew. Stacy’s dad also got choked up when talking about her. And Ronnie Lott promised that, if Jerry won, he’d cry, too.

It was then time to announce the first two couples moving on to the finale. Drew & Cheryl and Jerry & Anna were pronounced safe. That left Stacy and Lisa shaking as they waited to hear which one of them would be sacked.

Lisa and Louis were announced as the eliminated couple, and Harry Hamlin looked on dejectedly from his seat in the audience. Lisa tried to stay upbeat even though she was crying, calling the experience one of the best of her life.

A touching video showed clips of the couple’s performances and interviews. As she watched, Lisa lit up each time Carrie Ann complimented her. The montage ended with a clip of Louis saying that Lisa will forever be his favorite student.

As the video ended, both Lisa and Louis were in tears. Lisa called Louis one of her soul mates, and he was too overcome with emotion to say anything.

Tom sent them onto the stage for what he called their last televised dance. The most insensitive final dance song yet began to play, and Louis and Lisa laughed as they danced to “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.” The camera stayed with them until the song finished, and Lisa ran to Harry, hugged him and said, “I love you.”

The way the camera stayed with Lisa until the end of the song showed just what producers thought she meant to Dancing with the Stars. Lisa’s enthusiasm made her very endearing, and everyone on the show seemed saddened by her departure. She can be proud of the impression she made on her fellow dancers and her fans at home.

Stacy and Drew should be very worried about next week’s finals. For Stacy to land in the bottom two this week, she needed to be dead last in audience votes. And for Jerry to stay, he needed to finish first with the audience.

Assuming that Jerry gets the lowest score from the judges next week, whoever finishes in first place needs to come in at least second in the audience votes. Because of her lack of fan support, Stacy’s obviously in the most trouble. But Drew and Cheryl need to finish first with the judges and hit every theme park in California to get the votes they need to win.

Next Thursday, the couples will perform their favorite dance from this season. If they choose the dances that earned the highest scores, Jerry will dance the Fox Trot and Drew will Tango. Stacy can pick between her two perfect scores, the Jive and the Samba. The smart choice might be the Jive because of its higher level of difficulty for her. Carrie Ann did tell Stacy to take more risks.

Couples will also be judged on a freestyle routine. I’m not sure what that entails, but I’m hoping that the Worm is a required element.

The Final Countdown for Lisa and Louis? (Episode 2-7)

Despite giving two of her best performances in one night, this may be be Lisa’s last week on Dancing with the Stars. Although Stacy and Drew tied for first place, the studio audience’s chants of “Jerry!” show who the real favorite is.

Tonight’s semifinal competition took on a different format from the last couple of weeks. The group dance was replaced by a second solo dance from each couple. Both dances were scored by the judges, with a total of 60 points possible for each couple. The first round consisted of ballroom dances, and the second of Latin dances.

Round 1

Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani: Learning two new dances in four days would be stressful for anyone, but Stacy’s limited acting background made it hard for her to transition between classy ballroom dancer and sexy Latin seductress. To ease the tension and boost Stacy’s confidence, Tony brought in actress Lisa Ann Walter from the film Shall We Dance to give Stacy some pointers.

The couple’s Quickstep was hampered by a distracting song, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” which Tony dealt with by choreographing in some 50s dance moves. The effect was cheesy and kept them from getting quickly into the Quickstep. During this semifinal round, Len expected all of the couples to earn their place in the finals, and said that Stacy and Tony did. Carrie Ann complemented Stacy on her fast footwork, but criticized her for not taking risks. As always, Bruno drooled over Stacy, calling her perfomance “a symphony of beauty.”
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 9. Judges’ Total = 27/30

Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya: The extra workload this week left Jerry confused and frustrated. In sporting terms, that’s called “gripping.” It didn’t help to have Anna’s husband, ousted pro Jonathan, and her mom, Irina, pressuring the couple during practice.

In an effort to stick it to the judges for giving George Hamilton consistently high marks, Anna worked props into both of their routines tonight. Jerry played a broom-wielding janitor in their Tango, while Anna played a drunk socialite. It worked as well as a janitor tangoing with a drunk would. Bruno said the effort wasn’t good enough, and Len said it wasn’t even a proper Tango. Anna defended her choreography, citing the song they were assigned: “It was Blondie, for God’s sake!” Carrie Ann appreciated that Jerry took a risk, but reminded him to work on his footwork.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 7, Bruno – 6. Judges’ Total = 20/30

Lisa Rinna and Louis van Amstel: To relax during their busy week, the couple visited Lisa’s parents in Medford, Oregon, former home of Ginger Rogers. They practiced on the stage of the Ginger Rogers Theater, and the theater’s marquee read “Good Luck Lisa and Louis.”

“Fever” was the perfect song for their sexy and stylish Fox Trot. Unlike the two previous couples, they avoided gimmicks and stuck with classic ballroom sophistication. Carrie Ann noticed that Lisa’s personality always comes through in her dancing, and Len said the performance was “a joy to behold.” Bruno summed it up in one word: delicious.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 9, Bruno – 9. Judges’ Total = 26/30

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke: During their week of practice, Drew and Cheryl went to Disneyland to perform in front of several thousand people. This seemed a little suspicious, considering that ABC is owned by Disney. It came off as a ploy to help Drew into the finals.

A classy Fox Trot suited the song “It Had to Be You” perfectly. Carrie Ann and Len both enjoyed the performance, but Bruno was disappointed in some arm movements in the middle that looked too Paso Doble. Drew cautioned Bruno to be nice, as the pregnant Mrs. Lachey might react violently, due to her fluctuating hormone levels.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 8. Judges’ Total = 26/30

With the first round completed, Stacy was in the lead, with Lisa and Drew tied for second place, and Jerry in a distant fourth. As the second round began, the camera paused on Lorenzo Lamas in the audience. A potential celebrity for season 3?

Round 2

Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani: Another inappropriate song made for a technically good, but rather unenjoyable, Cha Cha Cha. In an effort to interpret Kelly Clarkson’s angry break-up ode, “Since U Been Gone,” Stacy and Tony spent the performance fake-scowling at each other. When Carrie Ann said she didn’t believe the hostility they tried to portray, Stacy defensively asked, “Didn’t you listen to the song?” Len noticed that Stacy’s arms were a bit stiff, but he said that it was otherwise well done. Bruno remained as objective as he could, calling the dance “a visual feast.”
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 10. Judges’ Total = 28/30

Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya: Giving a nod to Drew’s removable sleeves, Jerry and Anna used a suit jacket as a dance prop. As he feared, Jerry wasn’t able to move his hips the way he needed to for their Rumba. Carrie Ann said that Anna did a great job, and Bruno complimented Jerry for staying in character during the dance. But Len spoke for all of the judges when he said that, while Jerry’s efforts are admirable, “against the others, you’re the worst.” Jerry disagreed with Len’s assessment, but said he already felt like a winner.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7, Len – 7, Bruno – 7. Judges’ Total = 21/30

Lisa Rinna and Louis van Amstel: Lisa and Louis danced a fun Cha Cha Cha to the song, “Material Girl.” Lisa’s devoted hubby Harry Hamlin cheered at the end, whipping a towel over his head like a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Bruno appreciated Louis’s clever choreography, and Len enjoyed the couples’ wonderful chemistry.

A compliment that Carrie Ann gave to Lisa highlighted the major difference between her and Jerry. Carrie Ann said that, through sheer determination, Lisa has been able to nail her routines every week. Despite having the same level of determination, Jerry just can’t execute the moves. Lisa said that, if eliminated tomorrow, she’d feel like her job wasn’t finished.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 9. Judges’ Total = 27/30

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke: Drew’s distaste for the hip action of the Rumba didn’t stop him from earning the highest scores of the night. His hips have a way to go before they meet professional standards, but Bruno and Carrie Ann called the performance powerful and sexy. Len congratulated Cheryl on designing a wonderful routine, but he criticized Drew for appearing too aggressive. Instead of conveying desire, Len said Drew’s mannerisms looked more like, “I’ll knock your bloody head off!”
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 9, Bruno – 10. Judges’ Total = 29/30

Leaderboard (combined scores from both rounds)
1 – Stacy & Tony, Drew & Cheryl (tie)
3 – Lisa & Louis
4 – Jerry & Anna

Unless Jerry and Lisa come in first and second (respectively) in audience votes, one of the two of them is going home. If the studio audience’s response is indicative of the at-home audience’s, Lisa will be eliminated.

Were the show based on effort and improvement, it would be easier to argue for Jerry to make the finals. But as it is, his ability just doesn’t warrant it.

My vote this week: Lisa. She deserves a chance to compete for that tacky trophy.

He Should’ve Cast Magic Missile (Episode 2-5)

Karl didn’t have much to say in any of the previous episodes of Beauty and the Geek, but it was no surprise that he narrated most of episode five. As is reality show tradition, the producers wanted to give him plenty of airtime before he was eliminated.

As the episode began, Josh was disturbed by the lackluster response he and his partner, Cher, received upon returning from the elimination room. Cher explained that their housemates’ coolness was directed at her, not him. As much as everyone feared Chris (whom Josh and Cher eliminated), the rest of the cast seemed to dislike Cher even more.

Everyone was excited to find out that this week’s challenges would take place in Las Vegas. Joe used the bus trip to Vegas to teach the girls how to play poker in preparation for their challenge. None of the girls took Karl up on his offer to teach them Dungeons & Dragons. He didn’t have the charisma to talk them into it.

Upon arriving in Vegas, the beauties and geeks did what all twentysomethings do when they go to Vegas. They drank. With his confidence bolstered — whether by liquor or by his experiences on the show — Joe played drums for the hotel’s dance club band. Cher and geek hunk Wes left the club early to make out in Cher’s room. That left Josh to spend the night on the couch, which is marginally better than the closet. Just ask my husband.

On game day, the girls found out they’d be playing strip poker, but using their geek’s clothes as chips. The couple whose geek ended the game wearing more than just his underwear won the challenge.

Cher quickly realized that her best shot was to bluff her opponents. Three of the beauties fell for her act, leaving Ankur, Wes, and Karl shivering in their briefs. Brittany saw right through Cher and won the challenge with “kings over queens, full house.” If she was able to pick up poker that quickly, maybe Brittany’s faking her flakiness.

After putting their clothes back on, the guys roamed the casino, inviting people to a party that evening. Each guy hosted a catered party in their suite, and the geek with the highest number of women at his party won. Despite having told everyone that his party would be “awesome,” not a single person came to Karl’s soiree.

Josh and Ankur got the best response to their invitations, although Ankur spent most of his event hiding from his drunken guests. Josh schmoozed his way to victory, and only about half of his female guests had their husbands in tow. Cher was thrilled with the win, and Josh was just happy she wouldn’t think of him as a loser anymore.

When it came time to decide who would be sent to the elimination room, Josh wanted to send Sarah & Wes. Cher asked that Josh spare her new boy toy, and he relented. That forced Danielle & Karl to do battle with Jennipher & Ankur, who were selected by Brittany & Joe.

Danielle got her team into an early hole after she failed to answer a single question correctly. Jennipher gave Ankur a two-point lead, meaning he would only need to get two questions right to win. Karl kept pace, answering his first two questions correctly. But Ankur went 2-for-3, so Danielle & Karl went home.

Karl appreciated the confidence he gained from being on the show, but vowed to continue playing Dungeons & Dragons — only now on Wednesday nights instead of Friday. Danielle said she didn’t know she had it in her to help build someone’s confidence the way she did with Karl. The word geek is no longer a part of her vocabulary, she vowed. Karl reminded her to give herself more credit for being smart.

Next time on Beauty and the Geek, the beauties ask the geeks out on dates. After boring dinner conversation with Wes, Cher wonders if what happened in Vegas should’ve stayed in Vegas. The guys direct the girls in a lingerie photo shoot, and Wes makes Brittany uncomfortable by proposing some provocative poses.

Nobody Puts Georgie in a Corner (Episode 2-6A)

George was saved from another painful week of dancing when he was eliminated tonight from Dancing with the Stars. Time for him to check into a Beverly Hills spa for some rest and recuperation.

Lisa and Louis kicked off the show with an encore performance of their Quickstep. Judge Len was most impressed by Lisa’s continued improvement, and he commended Louis and all of the other pros for their hard work. Bruno gave Stacy credit for her well executed Jive, the dance that should be the hardest for her, given her long legs. Carrie Ann gave Jerry’s ego a boost for showing so much commitment in his passionate Paso Doble.

After the encore, co-host Samantha Harris briefly reviewed Thursday night’s performances with the stars who received the lowest scores from the judges, George and Jerry. George said that, if he made it through to next week, he honestly wasn’t sure he’d be physically capable of performing two solo dances. Jerry assured Samantha that scoring in the bottom two was a part of his plan. Everyone roots for the underdog, after all.

Tonight’s first musical performance of the night was by Natasha Bedingfield, whom I’ve never heard of. Her song was uninspiring and made me long for The Pussycat Dolls.

Backstage, Samantha interviewed last night’s perfect tens, Stacy and Drew. The interview was interrupted when George offered Stacy a ring and proposed marriage. She wore the ring for the rest of the show.

Following the proposal, the first pretaped segment of the night highlighted some of the aches and pains suffered by the celebrities. Jerry said that if a move doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right. All of them had blisters and bruises after practicing 6-8 hours per day. Lisa and Stacy touted dancing as the world’s best weight loss method; even Jerry and Drew have slimmed down. And thanks to all of his training, George has pecs of steel.

When the show resumed broadcasting live footage, six of my beloved Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s students performed a Jive exhibition. Sergey Onik & Michelle Glazarov, Boris Leokumovich & Nicole Volynets, and Valentin Chmerkovskiy & Valeriya Kozharinova are some of the top young talents in the world. It doesn’t hurt that all of the guys look like miniature versions of Max. Seeing how easy the girls made dancing look made me curse my parents for not pushing me into dancing as a kid. I could’ve been in Riverdance, Mom!

Valentin Chmerkovskiy is Max’s little brother, and he and his partner performed on the PBS show, America’s Ballroom Challenge, as well. (That show reairs in the Chicago area Saturday night at 10 on WTTW.) Follow this link to read an article written about Valentin shortly after the PBS performance was filmed.

The big celebrity performance of the night was Bill Medley, who sang “Time of My Life” accompanied by his daughter. Tony and Cheryl perfomed the original choreography from Dirty Dancing, which was a welcome distraction from Medley’s raspy singing. Near the end of the song, the student dancers came back out to participate.

Before the voting results were announced, a pretaped segment examined the challenges faced by the professional dancers. Louis knows better than most that the pros have many roles: teacher, coach, therapist. During her interviews, his partner, Lisa, wore a shirt that read “In between crying.” For Tony, the reward is seeing Stacy turn into great dancer.

Jerry & Anna, Drew & Cheryl, and Stacy & Tony were the first couples announced to move on to the semi-finals, leaving George & Edyta and Lisa & Louis in the bottom two. George and Edyta were all smiles as their names were announced as the next couple to go home, and both spoke affectionately about each other. Host Tom Bergeron asked, given George’s fondness for Edyta, how could he keep hitting on Stacy? George responded by begging America to vote for his future wife, Stacy, next week.

With only two weeks remaining, the four best couples remain. Can Lisa and Jerry raise their games to compete with Drew and Stacy? And if they can’t, will it still be satisfying if one of them wins the trophy solely on the basis of popularity?

Quitters Never Win…Right? (Episode 12-2)

To quit or not to quit? That was the question Shane pondered throughout the second episode of Survivor: Panama – Exile Island. Even as he walked to Tribal Council, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to continue the game. Somebody, get this guy some Nicorette.

The night following the first Tribal Council of the season was rough for everyone, not just the Golden Girls, who had just voted out their first member. A massive storm hit Panama, and all of the teams endured a soggy, sleepless night. Shane was interviewed during the storm, and said that the whole island felt unlucky. Seconds later, Mark Burnett’s prayer was answered. As the camera rolled, Zeus lobbed a lightning bolt right next to where Shane was standing.

After the storm cleared, Shane elaborated on why he was in such a lousy mood. He missed his son, and he felt stupid for coming on the show when his family didn’t need the money. On top of that, he stays very busy in his ordinary life, and the monotony of camp life was driving him nuts. This is who you become when you don’t use your vacation time, people.

Before this week’s Reward Challenge, the original four tribes were dissolved. A man and woman were selected randomly as the first members of two new tribes. Danielle became the first member of the Casaya tribe, and Terry the first member of La Mina. Each of them selected another teammate of the opposite gender, and the new teammates followed suit in a schoolyard pick ’em.

Somehow, La Mina wound up with the Survivor equivalent of the varsity basketball team, while Casaya got the chess club. And Danielle had the first pick! How did it go so wrong? Her first pick was Shane. Here’s the order in which members were picked:

Danielle – Shane – Courtney – Aras – Cirie – Bobby – Melinda
Terry – Sally – Austin – Misty – Nick – Ruth Marie – Dan

Danielle chose Shane because he was “the cool guy with the Boston tattoo.” Presumably, Shane picked Courtney because she’s an outsider like him, Courtney picked Aras because she thinks he’s hot, and Aras picked Cirie because he’s a flake. Cirie gets credit for making the only smart choice of the lot, selecting Bobby because he was the strongest guy left.

Contrast this with Sally, who chose Austin because he was “fast,” and Nick’s choice, Ruth Marie, the strongest woman left. La Mina had a strategy to win. Casaya had no clue what they were doing.

Bruce wasn’t selected by anyone, and therefore had to spend three days on Exile Island. That meant that Bruce wouldn’t participate in the Immunity Challenge, but it also meant that he couldn’t be voted out. Instead, he would take the place of whichever castaway was eliminated next.

There was very little footage of Bruce in exile. He tried to make a fire but broke the flint, and he practiced karate. Apart from enduring a rainstorm alone, Bruce did remarkably well by himself. With his discipline from karate, and the perspective of a 58-year-old, Bruce was probably the person best suited for three days in isolation.

After Bruce parted ways with the other castaways, Casaya suffered the first of what should be many defeats. In a reward challenge, they failed to carry a half-dozen heavy wooden snakes through an obstacle course before La Mina. The winning tribe received fishing gear, including a Hawaiian sling (basically, a pronged fishing spear with a rubber strap), lines, hooks, and a raft.

But La Mina’s victory celebration was cut short back at camp. Onshore, Terry warned his teammates to keep hold of the sling’s strap when firing the spear. Sally was excited to try fishing, so she and Nick took the raft and sling out to some 30-foot-deep water. On her first practice shot, Sally flung the spear into the ocean, where it promptly sank. At that exact moment, somewhere in Indiana, Rupert Boneham wept, without knowing exactly why.

Thank goodness La Mina still has the rest of their prize. They’ll need that raft if they plan on losing the rest of their fishing hooks.

Over at Casaya’s camp, Shane quickly organized an alliance with Aras, Courtney, and Danielle. Cirie and Melinda had a hard time controlling their instinctive eye rolls every time one of their new teammates said “like” or “whoa.”

The Immunity Challenge wasn’t any easier for Casaya than the Reward Challenge. Five tribemates sat with a thatch zombie head inside a leaky boat. Those five bailed water, while the other two team members had to pull the boat ashore by diving underwater and carrying a big box that served as the boat’s anchor. Once ashore, the tribe needed to run and place their zombie head atop a zombie scarecrow’s body.

Casaya struggled to find two people who had the lung capacity and strength to complete the first part of the task. By the time Aras and Courtney proved themselves as Casaya’s strongest underwater duo, Terry and Austin had already pulled La Mina to a speedy victory.

Upon returning to camp, Shane realized that coming on Survivor was the stupidest thing he’d ever done, and asked his tribe to vote him out. But Aras convinced Shane he was just suffering from dehydration, prompting Shane to ask his tribe not to vote him out.

Rather than stopping the nonsense there, Aras told the entire tribe that either Melinda or Cirie was going home that night. Aras said he wanted to play honestly and not blindside anyone. That should work about as well as showing everyone at the poker table your cards before betting begins.

Shane criticized Aras for sounding “insincere.” He then said that whichever of Melinda and Cirie didn’t go home this week was going to be heading home next week. Off-camera, Courtney and Danielle cursed themselves for aligning with two morons.

At Tribal Council, Shane laid out his frustrations for Jeff Probst, including his desire to quit. Melinda and Cirie both expressed frustration at their team for even thinking of keeping someone who didn’t completely want to be there. But their protests went unheeded, and Melinda was voted out. Her replacement, Bruce, must be eager to whip these idiots into shape.

Next week, Misty and Sally use their feminine charms to keep Nick and Austin from aligning with Dan and Terry. And Shane gets mad at someone or something. We’ll have to wait and see if the object of his wrath is real, or if its just those darn sand fleas he yelled at this week.

Flatulating Around (Episode 2-6)

Two couples earned perfect scores in week six of Dancing with the Stars. With all of these 10s being given out, host Tom Bergeron suggested the show take a cue from the movie This Is Spinal Tap and reset the judges’ paddles to 11 for next week. Let’s just hope no one has to dance around a miniature model of Stonehenge.

As the number of couples remaining in the competition dwindles, the show’s intros have gotten progressively longer. The audience didn’t see the first competitive routine until 15 minutes into the program. It will be interesting to see how the show fills 90 minutes next week, with only four couples competing. Too much filler may drive viewers to Survivor, Everybody Hates Chris, or, if they’re really desperate, the Olympics.

There was one spectacular moment during the show’s intro: Max was back! All 10 of the pros demonstrated the dances that would be performed this evening. Ashly & Louis danced the Jive, Jonathan & Anna danced the Tango, Tony & Cheryl danced the Paso Doble, Nick & Andrea danced the Quickstep, and Max & Edyta performed the Rumba. It was a lovely Rumba, despite the fact that they danced to the theme from Titanic.

Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya: The first celeb to perform this evening, Jerry had to muster up some acting skills for the Paso Doble. But he and Anna had some unusual interruptions to their normal training schedule. Anna accompanied Jerry to Detroit for the Super Bowl, where he was honored alongside other past Super Bowl MVPs. As many fans congratulated Jerry on his dancing as on his football accomplishments.

In order to achieve the strong posture required for the dance, Anna handed Jerry a quarter and told him to “hold it between [his] butt cheeks.” Tom quipped that Jerry has become so adept with the quarter that he now dispenses change.

Their performance was solid technically, but felt a little slow. Len said that, while the basics were there, the routine wasn’t exciting. Carrie Ann disagreed, and enjoyed the energy Jerry showed. Bruno thought the routine was simple, but effective.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 7, Bruno – 8. Judges’ Total = 23/30

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke: Tango practice was interrupted when Drew’s wife and his brother, Nick, attempted to hijack him to watch the Super Bowl. Cheryl refused to let Drew leave until he’d learned his part, a feat made more difficult as Nick sat on the side making cracks like, “Our family name is ruined.”

The final product was a near-perfect routine that showcased great technique in an engaging presentation. Except for the “Thriller” zombie bit that Drew employed during the Michael Jackson song, this is the closest he has come to looking like he’s having a good time dancing, at least in facial expression. It was nice to see. Even if it takes all of his concentration to execute the routine, it shouldn’t look that way to the audience. Compare Drew’s and Jerry’s expressions while dancing to Tony’s and Louis’s, and you’ll see some of what separates the amateurs from the pros.

Len said it was their best dance to date, and Carrie Ann and Bruno enthusiastically agreed.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 10, Bruno – 10. Judges’ Total = 30/30

George Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska: George was concerned about the Rumba, because a man who rumbas poorly looks effeminate. To prevent that, Edyta brought in her professional partner, Alec Mazo. Alec, looking better than he ever did dancing with Kelly Monaco last season, taught George all of the tricks to making a wrist flick seem manly.

As usual, George and Edyta relied on props to tell their story, including a cigarette holder for the elegant lady and a tray for her waiter. At the end of the routine, Edyta slipped waiter George a hundred dollar bill. Carrie Ann complimented George for executing the Rumba’s hip action, and Bruno described the routine as Dynasty: The Musical. Len was less impressed, criticizing George for not moving enough: “Edyta was flatulating around you.” That may be the case, but Gentleman George never let on that he smelled anything.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 7, Bruno – 8. Judges’ Total = 23/30

Lisa Rinna and Louis van Amstel: More tears from Lisa as she struggled to master the Quickstep in practice. After succeeding with the Latin dances, she was nervous about performing a traditional ballroom dance. To correct Lisa’s posture and help her feel more sophisticated, Louis took Lisa for etiquette lessons. She’s lucky they aren’t required to dance with books on their heads.

Fancy costumes helped create the elegant feeling the Quickstep embodies; Lisa’s dress sported a collar of lavender feathers, and Louis looked like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island. Their performance was fast and energetic, and it ended with them running up the stairs on the stage. When Len told Lisa she danced with great control, posture, and speed, she shrieked happily, “I did?” Bruno declared that “the emancipation of Lisa is complete.”
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 9. Judges’ Scores = 27/30

Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani: Because the Jive was spread throughout the world by American soldiers during World War II, Tony thought it would be nice to practice their routine in front of some Marines. The soldiers at Camp Pendleton were more than happy to meet Stacy, who forced Tony to do push ups as the Marines counted for him. A sign at the camp read “Dancing with the Stars Is Patriotic,” and I swear I saw few of the military Jeeps with “Support Stacy & Tony” ribbon magnets.

Their fun performance built upon last week’s perfect Samba. The Jive allowed Stacy to show a lot of personality, and credit goes to Tony for finding the best ways to make her the belle of the ball. Early in the competition, Tony had Stacy do a lot of high kicks, as if her legs were all she had going for her. As she’s improved, his choreography has relied less on her legs for wow factor, and has used more difficult footwork and figures to show off her dancing skills.

Len admitted he was nervous about Stacy doing the Jive. If she didn’t execute her kicks quickly enough, her long legs would look silly, but he was impressed with her sharp leg flicks. Bruno was as enthusiastic as ever for his inamorata, Stacy, and Carrie Ann described the performance as “pretty much perfect.”
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 10, Bruno – 10. Judges’ Total = 30/30

Tonight’s group dance was the Viennese Waltz. Because couples turn almost constantly during the dance, there are plenty of opportunities for dance floor collisions. Rehearsal didn’t go smoothly, as Louis struggled to keep everyone on task, which was made all the more difficult when George’s pants fell down. When Louis and Tony danced together to demonstrate Waltz technique, Lisa and Stacy giggled like schoolgirls.

During the live performance, couples took turns soloing in the middle of the floor. Because the group dance isn’t subject to the same restrictions as the judged performances, lifts were permissible. Nearly every pair executed some kind of lift, although Lisa and Louis went for a floor spin move. Since there was no way George could lift Edyta, he did the chicken dance. Really.

According to Len, Stacy & Tony had the best Viennese Waltz technique, but he preferred Drew’s & Cheryl’s solo. Carrie Ann liked the risk Lisa & Louis took for their solo. As one would expect, Bruno liked Stacy’s & Tony’s lift the best.

Leaderboard:
1 – Drew & Cheryl, Stacy & Tony (tie)
3 – Lisa & Louis
4 – Jerry & Anna, George & Edyta (tie)

Jerry may have more harsh words for the judges tomorrow night after placing at the bottom of the leaderboard two weeks in a row. Also, the results show will feature a recreation of the final dance from Dirty Dancing, performed by Tony and Cheryl. Bill Medley himself will provide the accompaniment, as he sings “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Couldn’t they get Jennifer Warnes, too?

My vote this week: I can’t vote for Max anymore, so what’s the point?