Monthly Archives: September 2006

Cook Islands: Episode 3

Much like certain members of the US Senate,
a couple members of the revamped Aitu tribe voted out of fear, rather
than voting for what they felt was right. As a result, Cecilia was
sacrificed in the name of security on Survivor: Cook Islands.

After
six days as four racially segregated tribes, the Survivors were
summoned in front of Jeff Probst to merge into new tribes. Cecilia,
Parvati, Brad, and Jonathan were randomly selected to start the
schoolyard pick.

Tribes were first selected by gender, with the
stipulation that each successive pick must be from an old tribe not yet
represented on the new team.

Cecilia was given first choice, and she
and Parvati alternated picks until the teams were as follows:
 Cecilia…Jessica…Sundra…Becky…Candice
 Parvati….Jenny…Cristina…Rebecca…Stephannie

The men chose their teams next. Brad picked first:
 Brad….JP….Nate….Adam
 Jonathan….Yul….Ozzy….Cao Boi

The
four new tribes were then combined randomly to form two new tribes.
Cecilia’s and Jonathan’s teams became the new Aitu, and Brad’s and
Parvati’s teams formed the new Raro.

Aitu
Cecilia, Jessica, Sundra, Becky, Candice, Jonathan, Yul, Ozzy, Cao Boi

Raro
Parvati, Jenny, Cristina, Rebecca, Stephannie, Brad, JP, Nate, Adam

Nate
felt like the Fresh Prince as he toured Raro’s camp: “They took us out
of the ghetto and took us to Bel Air.” Parvati was just happy Nate was
around, so that she’d have someone new to flirt with.

Things were just as congenial at Aitu, where Cao Boi told Jessica, “You’re not Asian, but I love you.”

Speaking of love, the merge gave Cecilia the opportunity to ask Candice
about her supposed romance with last week’s evictee, Billy. A stunned
Candice clarified that, when she told Billy, “We love you,” at the last
challenge, “I didn’t mean it like that.”

Becky all but skipped
introductions, quickly getting Jonathan and Candice to agree to an
alliance with her and Yul. Yul cemented his bond with Becky by
disclosing to her that he’d found the hidden Immunity Idol on Exile
Island.

When Jonathan tried to pull Jessica into the alliance as
well, she balked, claiming that she wanted to get to know everyone
before joining an alliance. She confessed to the cameras that she
wasn’t completely comfortable around Jonathan and Candice.

At
Raro, Nate speared an octopus, which wrapped itself around Brad on its
way to the cooking pot. Then a whale swam by Aitu’s beach, and, after
one-upping the other hunters last week, I expected Yul to swim out and
catch it.

Tonight’s Immunity Challenge was a repeat of one of my
favorites from a few seasons ago. The members of each tribe were
clipped, single file, to a rope that created a huge oval track. Tribes
started on opposite sides of the oval, and the object was for your
group to catch up to, and then tackle, a member of the opposing tribe.

To
make things a little more difficult, the track was situated in
knee-deep water, and each tribe member carried a 15-pound bag.
Contestants could drop out of the race at any time, so long as they
gave their bag to another person to carry. In an endurance race, the
longer a team could spread the weight out amongst its tribe members,
the better.

After only one lap around the track, all of the
female members of Aitu dropped out of the race. The strategy was for
the men to put on an early burst and catch the other tribe. But with the extra baggage, they were unable to do so.

The female members of Raro held out slightly longer, with Rebecca
lasting for several laps. The men of Aitu tired quickly, and Raro soon
caught up with them. The men of Raro were easily able to tackle a
sluggish Cao Boi.

In addition to avoiding Tribal Council, the
winning tribe selected a member from the losing tribe to Exile Island.
They chose Candice, in order to keep anyone else from falling in love
with her.

At Aitu camp, Ozzy promised not to vote for Cao Boi,
and Cao Boi suggested they vote for Becky. So Ozzy recruited Cecilia,
Sundra, and Jessica, who all agreed that Becky should go.

With
their original alliance in jeopardy, as Candice languished on Exile
Island, Jonathan asked Jessica about her plans. Jessica said she didn’t
have a good vibe about Becky, and she was set on voting for her, and
not for Jonathan’s proposed target, Cecilia. Jonathan told Jessica she
needed to think past the next vote and ultimately do what was best for
her.

Yul worked to persuade Cao Boi that his position in the
game was better if he stuck with Yul, Jonathan, and Becky. Cao Boi
seemed skeptical, though he did decide to talk things over with
Jessica, to see where she was leaning.

Both Cao Boi and Jessica agreed that they didn’t trust Jonathan. Cao
Boi told Jessica that they would be outsiders in any group, but that
they might have better luck sticking with the unified front of Yul,
Becky, Jonathan, and Candice. Jessica’s brain hurt, as she realized she
really was going to have to think further ahead than the next
challenge, if she wanted to stay in the game.

The conversation seemed like a classic Survivor red herring, just
thrown in to add a little suspense. Jessica and and Cao Boi had
originally been so adamant about voting for Becky. And they’d been so
resistant when initially confronted by Yul and Jonathan.

As
members of both sides cast their votes at Tribal Council, everyone said
that tonight’s vote was pure strategy, nothing personal. Everyone
except Ozzy, who resented that Becky didn’t try to get to know him. His
need to make everything personal could get him voted off sooner than he
would, otherwise.

To the surprise of a previously relaxed and
confident Ozzy, Sundra, and Cecilia, (and me) Jonathan’s and Yul’s
pressure worked on Jessica and Cao Boi. Ultimately, they made what they
viewed as the safer vote: sending Cecilia home, even though they liked
her better than Becky.

If I wasn’t sure already, I’m now convinced that Jonathan, Yul, and
Becky are serious players. And I think they’re all going to be around
for a long time.

Next week, the men of Raro take a break from work, and Cao Boi ratchets up his weirdness by knocking a baby bird from its nest.

DwtS 3, Week 3: Results Show

Harry Hamlin said that only a miracle or surgery could loosen up his
stiff frame enough to make him a contender. His miracle never came, and
Harry & Ashly became the next couple eliminated from Dancing with the Stars 3.

Last
night, the judges criticized a number of couples for breaking the
rules. Host Tom Bergeron gave Judge Len Goodman a chance to clarify
which rules had been broken. Len cited a general rule barring lifts. He
then defined a lift as follows: “Your partner picks you up off both
your feet, and you do a step you couldn’t do on your own.”

The
lift rule was broken during a few of the Performance Show Jives. Video
footage showed clearly that Willa & Max and Joey & Edyta had
included lifts in their routines.

For the Tango, the infractions
had to do with time spent in “proper ballroom hold.” Apart from
approximately ten seconds at the start and end of the routine, dancers
needed to be in contact throughout the rest of the dance. A video clip
detailed how Mario & Karina had broken their hold during the Tango.

“We’re
looking for the best all-around couple,” Len said. “We’re not looking
for a one dance wonder.” Couples are judged on how well they portray
the character of each of the dances, and, ideally, the couple who can
successfully execute the greatest number of dances wins.

Len
announced that Vivica & Max had earned the encore, before the other
judges reminded him that Vivica’s Tango partner was Nick, not Max. The
Shaggy song to which Vivica & Nick danced sounded even weirder the
second time around. All I noticed was the singer periodically grunting,
“Huh…What…Shaggy!” throughout the performance.

Next,
retro-rock group Scissor Sisters performed their song, “Take Your
Mama.” The band played on the dance floor — not the raised stage — leaving just
enough room for Cheryl and ousted pro Jesse DeSoto to perform. This was a
smart staging decision, as it meant the cameras were free to film both
the band and the dancers, rather than cutting away for too many
closeups of the band. The dancing was great and made me wish the song
was a bit longer.

While the band cleared the floor, Samantha
asked some of the couples about last night’s performances. Regarding
Emmitt’s low scores from the judges, Samantha asked him, “Were you
robbed?”

“At gunpoint,” Emmitt deadpanned. Samantha said that
when she talked to him after last night’s show, he was fuming mad. “I
still am!” said Emmit.

Sara said that the country flavor of last
night’s “hat, boots, and choreography were more my style.” She’d better
be careful, lest she confuse this with Fox’s new show, Boot Scootin’ with Celebs.

Then
it was back out to Tom on the dance floor, where he introduced a clip
package of feedback from the Performance Show’s studio audience. The
crowd was evenly mixed on whether following the rules was more
important than going outside the lines to please the crowd. One man told Len to
“lighten up on the Geritol,” while a female audience member said, “If I
want to see cartwheels and handstands, I’ll watch a cheerleading
competition.” One patriot said that “America is based on rules!” I
wonder where he stands on the Geneva Convention’s definition of torture.

After
that, it was time to announce the first safe couples of the night, in
no particular order. To their delight, Willa & Max were announced
first — surprising them more than the previous night, when Samantha
had told them they were falling in love. Sara & Tony were also
announced as safe, as were Monique & Louis. As the show faded to
commercial, Sara walked over to hug Willa, who was gleefully running in
place.

To prepare audiences for one of next week’s dances, the Paso Doble, the pros performed it, in the biggest spectacle in DwtS history. Italian tenor Vittorio, wearing a black cloak, lead a choir singing “O Fortuna,” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
The pros performed the dance of the bullfighter, with the women
clad in flowing black dresses, which mimicked capes. Behind it all, video
screens burned with virtual flames.

The whole thing seemed like some sort of dark ritual. It was Dancing with the Stars, as reinterpreted by Roman Polanski.

As
the singers and dancers cleared the stage and returned to their crypts,
Tom gave credit to Louis for the routine’s choreography.

Samantha
was backstage interviewing the three celebrities safe for next week.
Sara planned on taking her country-theme to new heights next week.
Perhaps she would ride out on a horse, and Tony could lift the horse.
Tony ran backstage in time to remind her of the rule: “No Lifts!”

Samantha
then put Willa on the spot, asking her who she thought would be
eliminated tonight, now that she and Max were safe. Max jumped in and
said he hoped for a four-way tie, and that no one would go home. Willa
agreed.

During an update of DwtS viewer Tysonia’s
progress in the Slim Fast challenge, she Waltzed in front of her
coworkers. She pulled off the dance, knowing that if she didn’t, she’d
never hear the end of it at work. Next week, she has to wear a skimpy
dress for the Samba.

Scissor Sisters came back out to perform “I
Don’t Feel Like Dancing,” or as Tom called it, “The Tucker Carlson
Story.” The judges danced in their seats during the song. Scissor
Sisters is my kind of band. I’m sure I would’ve heard of them before
tonight, if it was seven years ago and I was still cool.

Another prerecorded segment featured the judges
discussing what they expected from performers throughout the
competition. Len said he looks for technique and hold, and how they
sell the performance. “You must feel good about your routine,” he said.
“If you haven’t got confidence, you won’t perfom well.”

Carrie
Ann said that she accounts for each celebrity’s individuality. “Joey
Lawrence’s best performance won’t look like Emmitt Smith’s best
performance.”

Carrie Ann and Len then pointed out some of each
celebrity’s strengths, giving special attention to Sara. I think
Carrie Ann was trying to be figurative when she said, “Each week, Sara
unbuttons another button of her top, and she lets more and more of
herself come out.”

After the judges’ segment, two more couples were announced as safe: Vivica & Nick and Joey & Edyta.

With
the fate of four couples still uncertain, a final prerecorded interview
segment prolonged the tension. Harry said that this competition would
be a piece of cake for him, if he were up against the contestants from
Season One. We learned that practicing has become a full time obsession
for Joey and Willa, prompting Jerry to ask, “What are they, nuts? Don’t
they have anything else to do?”

Mario & Karina and Emmitt
& Cheryl were revealed as the next two safe couples. This left
Jerry & Kym and Harry & Ashly in the bottom two.

Not
wanting to prolong the agony, Tom quickly told Harry & Ashly that
they’d been eliminated. Tom expressed his shock, and some of the crowd
booed the results, as Harry & Ashly made their way over to the
hosts.

Harry tried to be stoic, saying the experience has given
him an “extreme body makeover” and the chance to dance with “a
goddess.” Samantha foolishly tried to ask a sobbing Ashly about Harry’s
dedication. Ashly was far too overcome to answer. Ironically, Ashly had
survived more weeks last season, when she was partnered with the
disinterested Master P, than she’d been able to with a committed
partner like Harry.

As the show ended, Ashly danced with Harry
to “All By Myself.” And last season’s crying queen, Lisa Rinna, sat in
the audience, watching her husband’s final dance.

Next week, the celebrities perform either the Waltz or the Paso Doble.

Here’s our special ode to Harry. You may not have been great on the dance floor, my friend. But nobody can say you don’t know how to have a good time…

DwtS 3, Week 3: Performance Show

The judges were the biggest story of tonight’s episode of Dancing with the Stars 3,
and that’s never a good sign. Emmitt took a beating, while Sara and
Vivica received effusive praise. But none of that compared to the
tongue lashings Len directed at Mario and Joey.

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Tango
Emmitt’s
getting worn out from traveling between Dallas, where he lives, and
Los Angeles, where the show is filmed. This week, he and Cheryl also
flew to Virginia, to support Emmitt’s wife as she hosted the Miss
Virginia pageant. They snuck in an extra practice session by performing
for the pageant crowd.

Someone, somewhere must’ve thought it
would be funny to make Emmitt and Cheryl Tango to Robert Palmer’s
“Simply Irresistible.” Cheryl looked fabulous tonight, sporting some
sweet hair extensions, and Emmitt had no problem maintaining the
intense expression expected in the Tango. It was just too bad that, by
its nature, the dance didn’t allow him to show his fun-loving side. He
also didn’t seem as comfortable with the steps as he had in his
previous dances, perhaps because practice time was at a premium this week.

Len
said that, for the Tango, he was looking for the couples to keep a
hold throughout the middle of the song. They could only be apart for a
few seconds at the beginning and end. (Remember that point; it comes up
again later.) Len said the couple kept their hold, but he was
disappointed in Emmitt’s overall performance. He also criticized Cheryl
for including an illegal lift. Bruno told Emmitt, “The rock is starting
to crumble. You didn’t shine as you usually do.” Carrie Ann said that,
while there were some technical problems, the dance “wasn’t all as bad
as these guys [Len and Bruno] say.”
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 6, Bruno: 6 = 19/30

Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel – Jive
Monique’s
mom flew from South Carolina to watch Monique perform. While seeing her
mom was enough to make Monique happy, she also hoped Mom’s presence in
the audience might make the judges think twice before saying anything
too critical.

Monique started the routine with a crazy backward
leap off of the stage into Louis’ arms. It almost looked like a stunt
from Miami Vice — appropriate, since they danced to “The Heat Is On,”
by Glenn Frey. The extra long fringe on Monique’s outfit made all of
her moves look quick and exaggerated, which probably helped in a fast
dance like the Jive. The fringe also weighed down her skirt, pulling it
down a bit at one point. But Monique maintained her sense of humor,
telling Tom Bergeron after the dance that the daring leap at the
beginning scared the clothes right off of her.

Apparently, Len
is a big fan of the Eagles. He said he liked the song, and he told
Monique the routine had “vitality and fun.” Bruno, in reference to her
bright yellow outfit, dubbed Monique “Little Miss Sunshine.” Carrie
loved the risky jump and said Monique’s moves were “strong and sharp.”
She then warned the other contestants to take note of Monique.
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 9, Len: 9, Bruno: 9 = 27/30

Harry Hamlin & Ashly DelGrosso – Tango
For
inspiration, Ashly and Harry watched couples Tango at an Argentine
restaurant. Harry’s modus operandi for this week? “Passion, passion,
passion.”

This was not one of the evening’s best performances,
in part because the band used some strange, high-pitched effect during
the song that sounded like chatty sparrows squeegeeing windshields. The
dancing itself was competent, if not memorable. Harry’s expression was
inscrutable, but if he says that’s his passionate face, then I guess
it’s his passionate face. He showed the most personality after the
routine, when he took a rose from his lapel, walked up to Carrie Ann,
and then spun around and handed the rose to Bruno.

Bruno said,
“the performance was good, but the footwork was messy at times.” Carrie
joked that she rescinded the 10 that she planned to give Harry, because
he gave his rose to Bruno. She said she appreciates his hard work, but
he’s “still a little awkward.” Len jumped to Harry’s defense: “These
two should go to Lenscrafters, because they’re giving two-for-one. That
was great!”
Judges’ Scores… Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 8, Bruno: 7 = 22/30

Willa Ford & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Jive
Willa
broke into tears after last week’s trip to the bottom two. Knowing that she
needed a perfect routine this week, Willa told Max she’d do everything
he said without arguing. Of course that didn’t last long, and Max
walked out of the rehearsal studio at one point, as Willa had last
week. Max said that Willa’s frustrations stem from the constant
pressure she puts on herself to overachieve. Willa told us this
competition means so much to her because, unlike some of her
competitors, “I don’t have Super Bowl rings. I don’t have an Oscar. I
don’t have a Country Music Award.”

Willa sported a sexy diner
waitress (or space stewardess) outfit for their Jive, a dance that
really seemed to suit her style. Her footwork was great, though she
didn’t move as quickly as the dance demanded.

Carrie called
Willa “the best natural dancer,” but she was critical of the lifts the
couple included. Len, said, “I liked some of it, and some of it I
wasn’t too keen on.” Bruno retorted, “Len, you’re so grumpy tonight.
That was pure Betty Grable. I loved the American cheesecake.”
Backstage, Samantha told Willa & Max, “You two are really falling for
each other!” The couple was too stunned by the comment to respond.
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 7, Bruno: 8= 22/30

Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson – Tango
Kym’s
plan was to have Jerry emulate James Bond during their Tango. “It
doesn’t appear she’s been drinking,” said Jerry. “But she’s not playing
with a full deck.”

Jerry wore a Sean Connery-era Bond white tux
and pantomimed holding a gun. He gave a solid performance, having
worked on his technique as the judges requested. The dance was fun, and
afterward, Kym ran to give him a hug as the crowd chanted, “Jerry!” Tom
joked that Jerry looked like James Bond, but as played by George
Lazenby.

Bruno said the routine was “more like the Pink Panther
— a technical massacre.” Carrie agreed that the dancing wasn’t great,
but said that it was Jerry’s best so far. Len said, “It was a very
unusual Tango, but the footwork was good, and it was fun.”

Waiting
for his scores backstage, Jerry said he wasn’t interested in winning
the whole competition, but prefered instead to win “Miss Congeniality.”
He said that he wanted to stick around until the Waltz, so he could do that dance
with his daughter at her wedding. But after he Waltzes, “America should come
to its senses” and eliminate him, because “everything hurts.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 7, Bruno: 7 = 21/30

Sara Evans & Tony Dovolani – Jive
In
order to make Sara feel more comfortable, she and Tony worked some
country line dancing into their Jive. In fact, they all but replaced
their Jive with a line dance, complete with cowboy boots. Sara looked
at home in her cowgirl gear, as she stepped to “These Boots Are Made
For Walking.” But Albanian Tony made the least convincing cowboy ever.

Carrie
Ann shouted, “I loved it! You might want to keep those cowboy boots on
for a few more numbers.” Len liked it as well. Bruno told Sara she was
“glowing and radiant. Use those assets.” Watch the video if you’d like
to know which two assets Bruno is refering to.
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 9, Bruno: 8 = 25/30

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Tango
To get in the mood for a sexy Tango, Mario kissed Karina on the cheek and smelled her hair during practice.

Mario
and Karina worked in some exciting drops and lifts, breaking holds to
do so — despite the judges’ warnings against such tricks last week.
They’re a great pair of dancers, but Mario needs to believe that the
audience will still appreciate him if he does what he’s supposed to. He
insisted that he’s bending the rules to make things exciting for the
fans, but such statements make it seem as if fans aren’t sophisticated
enough to appreciate ballroom dancing without stunts.

Len asked
the couple point blank, “Whose idea was it to break the hold in the
middle of the dance?” When they didn’t answer (though Karina did hide
behind Tom), Len shouted, “I would’ve given you a 10!” Bruno told the
couple that by including illegal moves, “you make us mark you down.”
Carrie told them, “Respect the rules. You might go further in this
competition.” Still incensed, Len said, “Karina, you’re the jockey,
he’s the horse. You need to get a tighter hold of the reins.” Carrie
Ann and Bruno both agreed that, like Len, they would’ve awarded Mario
and Karina 10s if they’d followed the rules.
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 6, Bruno: 8 = 22/30

Vivica A. Fox & Nick Kosovich – Tango
Following
a cathartic performance last week, Vivica found herself sobbing. “No
one can be as hard as nails all the time,” Nick said of her. But Vivica
recovered quickly, putting on a tutu and taking ballet lessons this
week, at Carrie Ann’s suggestion.

For her dance, Vivica sported
a short hairdo reminiscent of Dorothy Dandridge. But Dorothy never had
to Tango to a song by Shaggy. Vivica put forth a strong effort, looking
tough and elegant throughout.

Bruno called her “the drama queen
of the night.” Carrie said, “You’re a diva!” Vivica ran up to the
judge’s table and kissed Carrie Ann, finally having won over her
harshest critic. Len gave suggestions as to what he thought Vivica’s
middle initial “A” stands for: “Animal, Attack, Aggression, Atmosphere.
I enjoyed it.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 9, Len: 9, Bruno: 9 = 27/30

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Jive
In
honor of their Elvis song, Edyta helped Joey find a pair of “Blue Suede
Shoes.” Edyta’s pseudo-poodle skirt fit right in. Their dancing was
great, although Joey did a handstand, and then flipped Edyta over. It
was a appealing routine, but — after what had transpired earlier in the
show — one that was sure to draw the ire of the judges.

Bruno
reminded “Joey the Dynamo” that lifts aren’t allowed. Carrie told the
couple, “Once again, you were fabulous.” Len, still grumpy after
Mario’s performance, took special offense at Joey’s handstand. “This
isn’t Cirque de Soliel. It isn’t clever. It’s terrible. Don’t do it.”
In reponse to Len’s rant, Tom cracked, “So, you didn’t manage to get
through the whole cigarette during the commercial break.” Joey
apologized for the illegal lifts and promised to do better next week.
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 6, Bruno: 8 = 22/30



Leaderboard:

1 (tie) – Monique & Louis, Vivica & Nick
3 – Sara & Tony
4 (tie) – Willa & Max, Harry & Ashly, Mario & Karina, Joey & Edyta
8 – Jerry & Kym
9 – Emmitt & Cheryl

Even though their elimination looks inevitable, I voted for Willa and Max. I like watching them dance more than a few of the other couples, so I’m not ready to give up on them just yet.

TAR 10: Episode 2

This week’s episode of The Amazing Race taught us that
quarrelsome teams with decent navigational skills almost always have an
edge over the directionally clueless — no matter how positive their
attitudes. But if I had to pick a team as travel guides for my next
vacation, I’d take eliminated cheerleaders Jamie & Kellie over bickerers like Peter & Sarah or Rob & Kimberly every time.

This week, teams
left the Great Wall of China and headed to Outer Mongolia. Two buses,
leaving two hours apart, carried teams on the first leg of their
journey.

1st bus:
Tyler & James, Duke & Lauren, Peter & Sarah, Dustin & Kandice, Rob & Kimberly

2nd bus:
Jamie & Kellie, Erwin & Godwin, Tom & Terry, Lyn & Karlyn, Mary & David

The
two-hour delay gave teams on the second bus time to clown around
together at the bus station. Kentucky coalminer David was even cajoled
into dancing. The Race has been especially eye-opening for David’s
wife, Mary, who’d never met any Asian or gay people before. Her
assessment? “Damn, I like ’em!”

Both buses arrived at a train
station, where all of the teams were forced to wait for a train to
Ulaanbaatar. Because everyone was on the same train, the first-bus
advantage was rendered completely moot.

While the locals outside
the station were amazed by Sarah’s prosthetic leg and her ability to
run on it, they weren’t impressed enough to pay for her demonstration,
although Peter did ask.

In rainy Ulaanbaatar, teams cheered as
their reckless cab drivers made dangerous attempts to pass cars on the
muddy streets. Some of the cabbies were better than others at finding a
temple, where teams observed a traditional religious dance. Teams
entered in groups, as the dance was only performed every ten minutes.

Cheerleaders
Jamie & Kellie had a passenger on the train write directions (in Mongolian) to the
temple. They handed the directions to their cabbie, who sped them to the temple in first place.

The temple
dancers, wearing oversized masks, performed a short skit before handing
teams their next clue. The clue directed teams to drive to
Terelj National Park in old Russian military jeeps.

Several of the
teams were lucky enough to find native English speakers in town, and
asked them for directions. David & Mary just grabbed a cool local
guy smoking a cigarette and had him ride with them to Terelj.

Along
the drive, the old jeeps started to break down. Tyler & James, who
were in seventh, got a flat tire, only to discover that their jack was
also broken. Rob & Kimberly stopped to help the models, but Lyn & Karlyn passed right by. “It’s not like we’re
being mean,” Karlyn said. “We just want to win.”

Rob &
Kimberly couldn’t remove their jack from its compartment, so they left the models and drove on
ahead. Fortunately for Tyler & James, a couple of locals lent them
a jack and helped them with the tire.

Jamie & Kellie, who’d left the temple first, had
trouble navigating, and then stalled their jeep. By the time Jamie was
able to help Kellie restart their vehicle, they’d fallen into last
place.

When teams arrived at the national park, they had to ride
horses, following a guide to a meadow where their next clue was
waiting. Peter & Sarah were the first team to arrive, followed by
the Miss USA contestants, Dustin & Kandice. So that Sarah’s
prosthesis didn’t get caught in the stirrup, she put a fake foot and
shoe on the end of her leg. Kandice donned the required protective (and
furry) Mongolian helmet and yelled, “I’m a Mongolian, baby. Get me some
barbecue!”

Within eyesight of the park, David drove his jeep
into a mud pit. Unable to get the vehicle out, he and Mary were forced
to wait for a replacement. The smoking guy took it as his cue to leave.
And several teams arrived in the meantime, including Rob and Kimberly.

As Kimberly mounted her horse, she asked Rob, “Can horses smell fear?”

He replied, “No, that’s bees and dogs, I think.”

But
Kimberly might have been on to something. Minutes later, her horse rode
under a low hanging branch, clotheslining Kimberly and knocking her to
the ground. Their guide had to chase down the horse as Kimberly sat and
cried. Instead of asking if she was okay, Rob told Kimberly she was okay.

Kimberly’s fall wasn’t even the most dramatic of the day.
Kandice fell off her horse, caught her foot in the stirrup, and was
dragged for several yards, before the horse broke free. She was fine,
though she lost her Mongolian helmet in the process.

Just when
teams thought their animal ordeals were over, they reached the next
cluebox. A Detour forced teams to “Take It Down or Fill It Up.”

In
Take It Down, teams disassembled a traditional tent shelter used by
nomads. They then packed the tent components in a specific manner, so
that the tent could be strapped onto a camels back. The task was more
complicated than it was physically demanding.

In Fill It Up,
teams drove an ox-cart to a stream, filled up jugs of water, then drove
the cart back to a large barrel and emptied their pails into it. It
took at least two trips to the stream to collect enough water to fill
the barrel, and success was entirely dependent on the mood of the ox.

Peter
& Sarah attempted to pack up the tent, but couldn’t figure out how
to do it properly. So they switched tasks, only to be given the most
temperamental ox this side of Manila. The ox ran away, sending empty pails falling off of the back of their cart.

Sarah’s
frustration boiled over, and she started to cry. Peter then stopped
everything to lecture Sarah on why things were going to be okay. She
told him to keep driving the ox-cart, but Peter refused to budge. He
projected his own frustrations onto Sarah and scolded her for “losing
it.”

Sarah replied, “I’m just getting teary. I’m not losing it.”
Eventually, she convinced Peter that her crying didn’t mean she was
giving up, and they continued with the task.

When Peter tried to
drive the cart again, the ox ran away a second time. The couple
switched Detours again, returning to Take It Down. There, Duke &
Lauren were already loading items onto their camel’s back.

Other
teams had more success with their oxen, though the rides weren’t
smooth. Rob, seated on the back of the bumpy cart and holding the water
pails, blamed the uncomfortable ride on his driver, Kimberly. He
shouted orders at her as she led their ox.

Kimberly could only listen to Rob complain for so long before she yelled, “Shut up!”

Rob thought for a split-second before replying, “You shut up!”

Dustin
& Kandice finished Fill It Up around the same time Duke &
Lauren finished Take it Down. Both teams were excited to receive their
clue, which directed them to drive to the Hotel Mongolia.

However,
the clue specified that teams needed to ride their horses back to their
jeeps, wearing all of the safety gear they’d worn to the Detour.
Kandice had lost her helmet when she fell off of her horse, and she and
Dustin couldn’t remember exactly where that had happened.

Their
guide thought he remembered where Kandice’s helmet had fallen, and he
went to retrieve it, as they waited. In the meantime, several other
teams completed the Detour, and last place team Jamie & Kellie had
arrived. When they noticed Dustin & Kandice standing around, Kellie
told Jamie, “I think they’re done and they’re just, like, chillin’ or
something.”

Like Peter & Sarah, single moms Lyn & Karlyn
started on the tent task, only to give up and switch to the ox-cart.
While they were switching tasks, Jamie & Kellie started Take It
Down.

Both teams finished their respective detours at the same
time, and were now in a race to avoid last place. They rode to their
jeeps…only to find both vehicles stalled.

Jamie & Kellie
found some men who explained that they needed to take a bar from under
the hood, insert it in a hole in the jeep’s grill, and actually crank
their car to start it. After Lyn & Karlyn tried and failed to crank
their own car, they got some help, too, and were on the road soon after
the cheerleaders.

Once teams were on the road, they were able to
relax and make up. Sort of. Peter attributed his team’s problems to
Sarah’s meltdown, not acknowledging that he’d been pretty molten,
himself.

And, in their jeep, Rob clarified his surly behavior to
Kimberly. “I wasn’t yelling at you. I just… didn’t know how else to say
it.”

At the Hotel Mongolia, teams encountered a Roadblock:
“Who’s ready to aim high?” One team member needed to complete a
traditional Mongolian training exercise, by shooting a flaming arrow
and igniting a target 160 feet away.

Peter ignited his target
first, and he and Sarah ran to the nearby Pit Stop. For finishing in
first place, the couple won trip to a Mexican resort. While
interviewing them at the mat, Phil asked Sarah, “Did you ever expect, in two legs, to be in first place?” To her credit, Sarah took Phil’s awkward choice of words in stride.

Tyler
& James finished in second, followed by Lauren & Duke, Tom
& Terry, Dustin & Kandice, and Rob & Kimberly. David
completed the Roadblock next, and on his way to the Pit Stop with Mary,
she twisted her ankle. They still finished in seventh, followed by
the Cho brothers, Erwin & Godwin.

On their drive to the hotel, Jamie &
Kellie became convinced that they were driving the wrong way. They
asked some locals, who told them to turn around. They did, soon passing
Lyn & Karlyn going the other direction.

When the
cheerleaders pulled over to ask for directions again, they realized
they’d made a mistake in doubling back. “Today is our stupid day,”
said Jamie. They turned around again. But, by this point, they were too
far behind Lyn and Karlyn, who finished ninth.

At the Roadblock,
Kellie tried to finish strong, but she never got the hang of using the
bow. After several hours, her arm was too tired to shoot another arrow,
and the team walked to the Pit Stop for a mercy elimination.

Next week:
Duke & Lauren don’t have the money to pay a cabbie. And Tom &
Terry fight with Dustin & Kandice, after the Beauty Queens cut in
line.

DwtS In-Season Update: 9-22-06

After a couple of days reflecting upon this week’s performances and results, it’s time to update the Dancing with the Stars 3
Power Rankings. (The rankings don’t represent how I personally feel
about the contestants, just where I feel they stand in the competition
right now.)

9. Willa Ford & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Last Week’s Ranking – 9
Willa
made it out of her first two trips to the bottom, but it’s going to
take a near perfect performance next week to survive. Last season, Tia
Carrere was in a similarly precarious position, when Max choreographed
an amazing Tango that bought them another week in the competition.
That could be good news for Willa, if she’s one of the contestants performing the Tango this week.

8. Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson
Last Week’s Ranking – 6
Jerry’s
certainly popular enough to stick around for a long time, and his
dancing is improving. But if Kym’s knee is aggravated again, Jerry’s
more likely to pull out of the competition than put her in danger of a
career-threatening injury. And switching to a new partner at this point
would certainly be problematic. However, if Kym’s knee is okay, Jerry’s
stock could rise.

7. Harry Hamlin & Ashly DelGrosso
Last Week’s Ranking – 8
Harry’s
made some strides on the dance floor, but he’s still way behind Joey,
Mario, and Emmitt. He also made some comments aired during the Results
Show about how he didn’t feel that he needed to change, because he wasn’t in
any danger. That’s not going to win anyone over to his cause.

6. Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel
Last Week’s Ranking – 7
Monique’s
Mambo earned the highest scores of any woman in the field. But I’m
still not sure she has the star power to be a serious contender. Her
pre-show audience was mostly limited to families with children in a
certain age range. And we haven’t seen much of her personality, yet.
The good news for Monique is that she could be earning new fans with,
of all things, her dance skills.

5. Sara Evans & Tony Dovolani
Last Week’s Ranking – 4
Sara
probably ranks in the top three in terms of fan favorites. But she’s
been second to last in judges’ scores each week. Most fans voting for her
now do so because they are fans of her music. But, in order to win over
new fans, Sara needs to make some real progress in her dancing. And she
can’t let Tony’s negative attitude about the judges rub off on her.

4. Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
Last Week’s Ranking – 1
Their
liberal interpretation of the Quickstep was a mistake that hurt them with
the judges. Mario needs another Latin dance to get him back on track.

3. Vivica A. Fox & Nick Kosovich
Last Week’s Ranking – 3
They’ve ranked third with the judges each week, so I’ll follow suit.

2. Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska
Last Week’s Ranking – 5
Their
Quickstep was wonderful, but the best part about it was Joey’s sincere
appreciation for the judge’s compliments and the audience’s standing
ovation. Drew Lachey earned fans last season with his boundless
enthusiasm and hard work ethic. Joey has those same qualities, so
expect his fanbase to grow as the season progresses.

1. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
Last Week’s Ranking – 2
Emmitt’s
shown far more dance aptitude than anyone expected from him. Cheryl
received Emmy nominations for two of the routines she choreographed
last season. The show’s fans love them both. Together, they are the
most dangerous couple in the competition.

Other DwtS News
Two reports from backstage at DwtS 3: People Magazine was there the night of the Performance Show, while Sports Illustrated caught up with Emmitt after the Results Show. Overheard: Joey & Edyta will dance to “Blue Suede Shoes” next week.

According to the Country Music Television network, Sara and Tony will be dancing the Jive this week.

Cook Islands: Episode 2

Billy found love on Survivor: Cook Islands, but it wasn’t enough to save him from elimination. It might have helped if Billy’s soulmate had been on his
tribe — and if she knew about their romance.

Day four started out well enough for the Aitu tribe. J.P.
attributed the team’s successful fish catching and fire building to
their Latino heritage: “We’re hard workers.” Ozzy was even able to rig
a net trap and catch a wild chicken.

To demonstrate to viewers how Asians
can do everything more efficiently, the show cut immediately to Yul
setting up a box trap at Puka camp and catching two chickens.

Jonathan
returned to Raro from a cold and miserable stay on Exile Island, during
which he’d failed to find the hidden Immunity Idol. Adding to his
frustration was his discovery that the tribe didn’t do anything to
improve the camp while he was gone.

Jessica the fire dancer was
game to help Jonathan construct a floor for the shelter, but the rest of the
tribe preferred to gossip on the beach. Adam protested that building a
floor for the shelter was a waste of energy when they could just sleep
on the cold, wet sand.

At the Aitu camp, Billy also preferred to
conserve his meager energy reserves, and Ozzy was sick of having to
tell him what to do. Billy confessed to Cristina and Cecilia that he
didn’t subscribe to the Hispanic hard work ethic. Hard rocker that he
is, Billy declared, “Metal is my culture.”

Back at Puka, Cultural relic Cao
Boi used his magical headache cure on Jenny. He left a red mark on her
forehead, to match Brad’s from last week, but Jenny wasn’t complaining.
“At least my headache’s gone.”

As they had last week, the four
other members of Puka had to ask Cao Boi to stop telling racist Asian
jokes. They feared that non-Asians might feel that Cao Boi was
confirming negative stereotypes by telling his jokes, one of which
involved a Vietnamese person and several dogs. “A joke is a joke,” Cao
Boi insisted. “No, it’s not,” the others replied in unison. Cao Boy
clammed up, and he never did get to the punchline of that dog joke.

At Aitu, Billy’s snoring kept everyone awake, so they sat around the
fire eating coconut and talking. Ozzy suggested throwing the next
Immunity Challenge in order to get rid of Billy. J.P. agreed, but
Cristina was hesitant. She didn’t like the idea of throwing a challenge
on principle, and was also concerned that it might give Ozzy too much
power.

Jeff Probst started the The Immunity Challenge with a
story about Captain Cook, the island chain’s namesake. The teams then
navigated an obstacle course while tied together, retrieving seven
wooden plaques along the way. On the plaques were written answers to
questions about Jeff’s Captain Cook story. The first three teams to
answer five questions correctly (two of the plaques were red herrings)
won Immunity. And the first team overall won two waterproof tarps.

To
even the teams, Puka, Raro, and Aitu each had to sit one of their
members. Being the least fit tribe member, Billy volunteered to sit
out. But J.P. insisted on sitting out, and thus the challenge was
thrown.

Just to be sure they had no chance of winning, Aitu
stayed at the starting line while the other teams took off, reading a
printed copy of the story Jeff told — just to be sure they had all of
the details right. As the other teams flew through the course,
gathering one answer plaque after another, Ozzy lead Aitu at a snail’s
pace.

Puka and Raro completed the course and answered their
questions at exactly the same time. Because of the tie, both teams were
given Immunity and the Reward. Hiki finished just as Aitu was crossing
a rope bridge suspended over a pit of water. For good measure, Ozzy
even “accidentally” shook one of the ropes, sending Billy into the
water pit.

As the losing team, Aitu chose to send Yul to Exile
Island. While Yul said good-bye to his teammates, Billy turned to the
girls of the Raro tribe and said, “I’m next.” Candice said, “Aww. We
love you.” Billy awkwardly and sincerely replied, “I love you.”

On
Exile Island, Yul accomplished what Jonathan couldn’t, figuring out the
clues and locating the hidden Immunity Idol. For the second time in
one episode, Yul bested the alpha male of another tribe. His
competition doesn’t know it yet, but Yul’s this season’s biggest stud.

At
Aitu’s camp, Billy followed Cristina when she went to get water. He
told her that he knew that the team threw the challenge, and then asked
Cristina if she was sure that Ozzy wouldn’t throw the next challenge
just to get rid of her. She confessed that she doesn’t trust Ozzy, and
promised to talk to Cecilia on Billy’s behalf.

Cristina found
Cecilia on the beach and asked her, in Spanish, if she had any kind of
agreement with Ozzy. Cecilia said that she did not, and the two
considered booting Ozzy instead of Billy.

As Tribal Council drew
near, Ozzy was confident that the women wouldn’t turn on him: “I know
they’re gonna suffer really bad if they lose me.” And Billy held out
hope for a miracle: “My hand is a weak hand, but at least I got one
queen.”

At Tribal Council, Billy told Jeff that the tribe threw
the challenge, and J.P. confirmed it. But Billy said that the challenge
gave him a new reason to want to stay in the game. “I’m playing the
game for love,” Billy said. He described the exchange that took place
between him and Candice and called it was love at first sight. Jeff was
flabbergasted, but Billy insisted that he was serious.

Upon
Billy’s declaration of love for Candice, Cristina and Cecilia exchanged
confused looks with one another. His disclosure may have been the last
straw, because the women sided with Ozzy and J.P. and voted out Billy.

Billy
was laid back in his post-elimination confessional. He was amused that
he, a true metalhead, was kicked off by a guy named Ozzy. “I got to
live the dream of playing Survivor,” Billy said. “Too bad there’s not a heavy metal tribe. I think I would’ve fit in there.”

DwtS 3, Week 2: Results Show

It was the battle of the blondes on this week’s DwtS 3 Results Show. In the end, Shanna Moakler was sent home. And, after two weeks at the bottom, Willa Ford looks to be in big danger next week.

After recapping last night’s performances, the judges’ selected Joey & Edyta for an encore of their Quickstep. Their excitement from last night’s high scores carried over into tonight’s dance, as the two relaxed and smiled brightly throughout the performance.

Their dance was followed by the professionals demonstrating the Jive, one of next week’s celebrity dances. When you think of the Jive, Billy Idol’s song “Rebel Yell” is generally the accompanying soundtrack that plays in your head, right? Me neither. Yet that’s the song they danced to, and it was more than a little weird. Kym didn’t participate because of her knee injury.

Backstage with the safe couples, Sam corrected herself and gave credit to Max and Karina, not Willa, for choreographing the Jive.

When Samantha asked the celebs about their next performances, Sara joked that Tony’s moving in with her, so that they can train nonstop. And Emmitt said, to be tops with the judges, he and Cheryl had to “work a little bit harder.” Cheryl quickly corrected him: “A lot harder.”

From the dance floor, Tom quipped about Samantha’s interview segment, “I don’t know what’s going on with Tony’s hair, but he’s standing between two bald gentlemen (Joey and Emmitt), and bald’s starting to look pretty good.” Backstage, Tony broke into a fit of laughter, the likes of which even Harry’s new yogi has never seen.

Then Tom reintroduced Tysonia, the non-celebrity Slim Fast Challenge contestant we met last week. In this week’s taped segment, she performed a Tango in front of an African dance class, to get the experience of performing in front of an audience other than friends and family. It’s a pretty safe bet that, by the end of the season, she’ll be brought out to perform on the same stage as the stars.

Tysonia’s amateur Tango was followed by a live performance by a couple of Tango pros: Jordi Caballero & Claudia Velasco. The performance included plenty of lifts that the celebrities will not be able to include in their routines next week, but the dance still lacked a little something.

Apparently, Tucker wasn’t as cool with his early departure as he seemed last week. He returned to grill the judges, in a pretaped interview segment entitled “Tucker Carlson: Behind the Sequins.” He was critical of the subjectivity of the judges’ scores. But Tucker admitted that his departure was “a little like euthanasia: sad but necessary.”

In another pretaped segment, the celebs talked about the stress of the elimination process. Monique said that the red spotlight shining on the couples at the bottom was “like being sent to hell.” Willa said, “I’ve never felt such failure as I did last week.” But Harry was confident about his own chances: “I think I’m gonna stay in the competition. I don’t think I have to change anything.” And Shanna was determined: “I want to win this competition. We are not going home tonight.”

Onstage, Tom and Samantha cycled through the remaining couples, until they’d pared them down to the Bottom Two: Willa & Max and Shanna & Jesse. Max looked sad and resigned to going home.

But Shanna & Jesse were eliminated, causing Max to fall down in a pretend faint. Willa climbed on top of him and mimicked CPR. Tom sped through Shanna’s goodbyes, because the show was running out of time. This week’s subtle jab of a departure song: “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane.”