Monthly Archives: October 2006

DwtS 3, Week 6: Results Show

As expected, the celebrity eliminated on this week’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show was… nobody.

The
show started with snippets from the couples’ post-dance confessionals.
Louis fulfilled a promise he had made to the judges, listing all of the
Samba moves he’d included in his routine with Monique.

Feeling that the
judges were scoring the female celebrities more harshly than the men,
Monique vowed to add more gimmicks next week, such as starting the
routine seated in a chair while Louis dances around her.

She must have forgotten just how far Tucker & Elena got with that act.

When it came time to award the encore, the judges gave it to the couple with the highest score last night: Mario & Karina.

I
must have drifted off to sleep during the encore, because I surely
dreamt the next part of the show: Lionel Richie performing “All Night
Long,” as Tony, Elena, Max, and Karina danced a Samba.

But I
wasn’t dreaming — it was real! The dancing was absolutely fabulous,
and Nick Kosovich, who designs the male professionals’ costumes, took
the open-chest shirt to new extremes for Max and Tony.

At the end of the routine, Max hugged Lionel Richie. Lucky Lionel.

After the performance by Iraq’s favorite pop star,
Samantha spoke with some of the celebrities backstage. She asked Mario
if he was nervous about having to learn two new dances next week, and
she seemed surprised when he said yes. Mario said, “I’m always nervous,
and I hope the others are, too, so that it levels the playing field.”

Then,
Samantha, who must have a familiarity with the cast that doesn’t
translate to television, awkwardly danced her way to Jerry, calling
him, “The Jer-meister.”

Jerry pointed at Samantha as she moved
and said, “That was how I danced last night.” When asked if he hoped to
move on in the competition, Jerry said, “If I make it through to next
week, I’m gonna demand a recount. This has been great. Thanks for
having me.”

Then it was time for the Performance Show’s studio
audience to weigh in. Everyone who mentioned Monique’s routine felt the
need to demonstrate their own krump moves. Eva Longoria, who’s becoming
as ubiquitous as Lisa Rinna, said that she felt the judges were
unfairly scoring Mario as if he were a pro. Apparently, a 28/30 is
unfair.

The coolest celebrity in the audience last night was Dennis Haskins, better known as Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell. He said, “As Mario’s former principal, I give him an A.”

After that clip package, the first two safe couples were announced: Mario & Karina and Monique & Louis.

Then
it was back to the dance floor for a special performance by Nick and
his wife, Lena Kosovich. Not only was she his professional partner, but
she co-designs the dancers’ outfits with Nick.

They danced to
“The Show Must Go On” by Queen, and the singing quality reminded me
that Freddie Mercury was one of a kind. Nick’s shirt seemed fairly
conservative until he bowed low at the end of the dance. Boom! Manly Chest Explosion.

As
swooning women everywhere recovered, Samantha caught up with the two
safe couples backstage. She told Monique, “You’ve got to be feeling
pretty confident.”

Monique said, “Not at all! I’m just so happy to be here.”

And Mario attributed his success to having “the best dancer in the world for my teacher.”

Then
it was time for an update on the Slim-Fast Challenge contestant,
Tysonia. Tysonia danced the Cha Cha at her daughter’s high school.
We’ll need an update next week on the damage that her mom’s dancing did
to her daughter’s social life.

Lionel Richie was back to sing
his new song, “I Call It Love.” Lionel’s decided that the best way to
update his sound for a new audience is to use electric drums. Those
laser beam sound effects sound just as futuristic now as they did in
1975: “Pyew, Pyew, Pyew!”

Lionel’s trip back in time was
followed by a segment about the show’s costumes. Costume designer
Randall Christensen and his crew have only four days to get all of the
costumes ready for each show. “On one lady’s costume alone, we can
easily put over 15,000 rhinestones,” Randall said. “And those have to
be individually placed, one at a time.”

And the stars really do
have input into their costumes. “The colors, I leave up to Cheryl,”
Emmitt said. “But the style is up to me.”

On performance day,
necessary adjustments are made to ensure the outfits work: from gluing
and taping dresses to the body, to sewing microphone packs into secret
locations. Kym said, “I don’t even want to begin to tell you where I’ve
had microphones on my body.”

Keeping with the body theme, body
language expert Jo Ellen Dimitrius was brought in to analyze the stars’
behavior. In front of the judges, she observed, Mario holds his head
down in fear. Monique blinks rapidly because she’s nervous, and Joey
licks his lips — a lot. Emmitt touches his belt in an attempt to
ground himself, and Jerry tries to put his hand in his pocket and hide.

Dimitrius
said that, come elimination time, we see “the real Mario” — intense
and focused on moving on to next week. Monique looks down at the
ground, hiding, while Emmitt and Jerry hold their heads up, “looking
for the answer.” Joey stays calm and doesn’t move, “because he realizes
he has absolutely no control over what happens.”

Next week, the
couples will have to perform two individual dances. Lest the added
stress lead to arguments, Len advised the cast, “Try to imagine you’re
two people in a rowboat, and you have to work together.” To Jerry, he
added, “Remember the KISS method — Keep It Sweet and Simple.”

Tom
and Samantha then began delivering the fates of the remaining three
couples. Emmitt & Cheryl were safe, leaving Joey & Edyta and
Jerry & Kym in the Bottom Two. As the show went to commercial,
Jerry waved and mouthed “good-bye” to the camera.

After the
commercial, the elimination theme played, and Tom said, “The couple
with the lowest score, and therefore leaving right now… Neither of
you.”

Joey looked around confusedly, and Jerry collapsed on the stage. Joey had to perform fake CPR and help him up.

Samantha
explained that the judges’ scores from this week will be added to next
week’s scores, and that the audience votes from this week will be added
to next week’s audience votes to determine who goes home next.

Tonight’s
result put Joey and Jerry on notice for next week. That was good news
for Jerry, who seems to eager to get home, relax, and watch the show on
TV.

Since Sara & Tony didn’t get a proper send-off, Tom
introduced a package of Sara & Tony clips. All of the couples then
danced to a reprise of “The Show Must Go On,” as the credits rolled.

Note: If you missed last night’s Pro Demo or Group Disco, the video clips have been added to our recap of the Performance Show.

DwtS 3, Week 6: Performance Show

Sara Evans saved her first public interview regarding her divorce for tonight’s episode of Dancing with the Stars. The interview ended the show on a somber note, after a night of high-energy dancing.

The
show began with a pro demonstration of all of the dances scheduled for
this episode, including the Tango, which Sara & Tony would’ve
danced. Because Louis is the only male professional dancer left in the
competition, Max and Tony lent their skills to the performance. With
four female pros left to match up with the three guys, Cheryl sat out
the demo — presumably because she spent most of the week training with
Emmitt in Texas.

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Mambo
Mario
warned viewers, “Just because I’m Latin doesn’t mean that the Latin
dances come naturally to me.” To get in the spirit, Karina and Mario
went to a dance club with Eva Longoria. Over drinks, Eva slurred, “I
want to know why a Russian is teaching you Latin dances.” She and Mario
went off to dance, leaving Karina sitting at the table alone. Karina
was polite about being ditched, so I fumed on her behalf.

Making
use of all of their assets, Mario wore a sleeveless shirt and Karina
wore a low-cut dress. Mario took Carrie Ann’s advice and made his moves
less staccato than last week. It was a fun routine, full of spins.
Overall, it was more athletic than it was emotional.

Len told
Mario, “Parts of that were as good as you can dance. When you’re
dancing together, you don’t focus on each other.” Bruno was unabashedly
enthusiastic: “You’re a devil on that dance floor. Sinfully good.”
Carrie Ann said, “I noticed a difference at the beginning; you didn’t
clip your arms as much. You’re close to our professionals. That’s why I
nitpick you so much.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 28/30

Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel – Samba
Monique
asked Louis if she could do a solo during their performance, assuming
that Louis would choreograph it for her. Louis agreed to the solo, but refused to choreograph it, instead
bringing in Tommy the Clown to help Monique come up with her own routine. Tommy’s the man who created
krumping, a form of freestyle dancing.

Monique opened the
dance by running out of the audience, sporting a short, curly
hairstyle and a pink outfit with things that looked like tentacles
hanging from the rear. Monique did her krump solo to the opening bars
of “ABC,” by the Jackson 5. The solo was so different from ballroom, it
just didn’t make sense. This was their most exciting performance, but
it didn’t scream Samba — although if Louis is just hoping to win over
the audience, it could work.

Carrie Ann said, “I’ve got to be
careful what I ask for, ’cause that energy was fantastic. I think it
was a little self-indulgent to do the solo at the beginning.” Len
directed his comments at Louis: “The first half had no Samba. The rest
of it was an absolute hodgepodge of peculiar stuff.” Bruno told
Monique, “Krumping is great in the right place at the right time, but
this is a Samba. You should’ve stuck to Louis’s instructions.” Louis mumbled a threat to show the judges just exactly where the Samba was.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 23/30

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Rumba
“I
don’t want to make you uncomfortable,” Edyta said to Joey as they
practiced. “But we have to act like lovers. Now grab my head.” Because
that’s what lovers do. Joey and Edyta attempted to be sexy, but wound up laughing
throughout rehearsal. Joey ran the routine by his wife, Chandie, to make sure
she approved of it. She chided the couple for not being sexy enough.

Edyta
began the routine silhouetted on the stage, looking like she was
covered in nothing but a small, very strategically placed bedsheet.
Joey was at the foot of the stage with a microphone, lip-synching
“Father Figure” by George Michael, as one of the house band singers
performed the real vocals. Edyta got tangled in her bedsheet dress a few times, but apart from
that, they moved very well across the floor. Finally, Joey looked
relaxed as he danced. And if you’re going for sexy, having Edyta
half-naked pretty much takes care of that.

Bruno said, “I like a
little bit of dirty dancing. You could’ve gone a little bit dirtier for
my tastes.” Carrie Ann said, “I hated the beginning with the
microphone. But the dancing was a lot better this week.” And Len said,
“I thought that was right on the money.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Jive
To
get in the mood for the fast kicking Jive, Cheryl brought in some
Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders to inspire Emmitt. He did high kicks with
them, and they cheered, “Go Emmitt!” as he and Cheryl practiced.

So
that Emmitt didn’t become overwhelmed by the speed of the Jive, Cheryl
worked the fast parts into small chunks, with plenty of slower sections
in between. The mix of speeds worked, not interrupting the flow of the dance at all. I don’t
know that I’ve seen two more genuine in-dance smiles this season than
the ones Emmitt and Cheryl wore during this performance. Emmitt ended
the routine by sliding across the floor on his knees, and he came up
laughing.

Len told Emmitt, “You went off-time once. It’s not the
end of the earth…Well done.” Bruno said, “You
two create such joy, such energy.” Carrie Ann told Emmitt, “You had a
lot of mistakes. But every man who watches you says, ‘I want to dance
like that.'”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 25/30

Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson – Paso Doble
Apparently
having watched some other dancing show with some other Jerry last week,
Kym said, “Jerry was like a sexy tiger in the Samba.” Jerry was nervous
about this week’s Paso Doble, pointing out, “There are no 62-year-old
matadors.” The couple went to a Bloodless Bullfight, where
Jerry was easily defeated in the ring by a baby bull.

Jerry came
out in full matador regalia, wearing a hat and holding a guitar, which
he smashed on the steps. Putting a different spin on the Paso Doble,
Jerry shambled about like a matador afraid of the bull — and Kym was
the bull. (I thought the woman was supposed to be the cape, but who’s
afraid of a cape?) It was more a skit than a dance, and it ended in
Jerry falling to the ground in defeat. After the music stopped, Kym and
Tom dragged Jerry off of the floor.

The judges couldn’t even
look at Jerry without laughing. Gathering herself, Carrie Ann said,
“Entertainer you are, but it went a little too far.” Len said,
“Everyone here should congratulate Kym, because she does such a great
job. Jerry, I don’t think the world’s ready for your Paso Doble.” Bruno
said, “It’s been a perverse pleasure watching you every week,
butchering every dance. Tonight it was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

While
waiting for his scores, Samantha asked Jerry if he was ready to learn
two new dances next week. “These are all such better dancers,” Jerry
said. “We’re having fun, but it’s painful”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…6, Bruno…5 = 18/30

Group Disco
On
her way to rehearse the Disco routine, 22-year-old Cheryl said, “Emmitt
is gonna be great. This is his era.” Jerry arrived at practice wearing a white Saturday Night Fever
suit.

Since
the group was dancing to “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” by Michael
Jackson, Joey and Mario fought over who did the best Jacko impersonation. Mario had the moves down, and Joey had the voice.

Tony came back to help the couples work on their
lifts. When Cheryl described their lift — similar to the famous lift
at the end of Dirty Dancing — as “scary,” Emmitt said, “It’s not that scary.”

“It is for me!” Cheryl replied.

Emmitt
& Cheryl and Monique & Louis opened the routine with some nice
lifts. Then Jerry broke out some dance moves familiar to those of us
with marginal dancing skills: classics like the sprinkler and the
lasso, and something that involved him rolling on the floor. There was
a bit of miscommunication between Joey and Edyta, resulting in Edyta
administering a Chuck Norris-style roundhouse kick to Joey’s head.
Mario lifted Karina much more smoothly.

While the judges didn’t
score the routine, Len complimented Emmitt, Joey, and Mario on their
lifts. He told Monique she had great rhythm, and said, “Jerry’s
impression of Free Willy was absolutely fabulous.” At that precise moment, a killer whale flopped onto the floor and challenged Jerry to a dance off.

Sara Evans Interview
Tom
didn’t throw Sara any softballs, as he asked her if divorce proceedings
were already in the works when this season of DwtS started. Sara said that some
things were already in motion, but that “it was always my intention to
try [to work things out]. I’m completely against divorce.”

Sara
said that she received the report on the sexually explicit content found on her husband’s computer last Tuesday, just before dress
rehearsal. Her intent had been to finish the run of the show, but
“something traumatic” happened on Wednesday night after the Results
Show that made her fear for her children’s emotional welfare —
specifically that of her seven-year-old son. Tom observed, “Somehow
‘Mommy has to go disco dance’ might not have been the thing that he
needed to hear.”

Sara said, “I just needed to be right there to
look at my son at all times, to see the expression on his face, to see
if he’s crying. I just needed to take care of my children.”

While
she’s worried about the effect that the proliferation of details about
her divorce will have on her family, she appreciates the support she’s
been getting from fans and fellow entertainers. For right now, she’s
ready to go home “and just be a mom.”

As for her DwtS
experience, she said, “People were calling and voting for me and, for
whatever reason, they could identify with me. It is so humbling, and
I’ll never forget it.”

Sara promised she’d try to be back for the finale, along with
partner Tony. She joked that she and Tony have forged a strong friendship, “even though he’s
Albanian.”

Tony was understanding about having to leave the show
as a result of Sara’s decision. “If I was in her position, I’d do the
same thing,” he said. In a nice gesture (not to mention a smart move), Sara has asked Tony to choreograph her next tour.

Leaderboard
1 – Mario & Karina
2 – Emmitt & Cheryl
3 – Joey & Edyta
4 – Monique & Louis
5 – Jerry & Kym

I
split my votes this week between Joey & Edyta and Emmitt &
Cheryl. Their routines captured the spirit of their dances better than
the others.

Tomorrow night, Lionel Richie performs, and we find
out if tonight’s votes actually count, since it’s unlikely anyone will
be eliminated.

DwtS In-Season Update: 10-16-06

After Sara Evans’s withdrawal from Dancing with the Stars,
there’s a good chance that no one will be eliminated this week. But
that doesn’t mean these performances won’t count. Some couples could get a boost from
a strong performance, while for others, a bad routine could signal the
beginning of the end. Here’s where I’d guess the remaining teams stand,
pre-performance.

5. Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska
Their
first place finish during week two may have been a fluke. Since then,
they’ve finished in the middle of the pack. Last week, four couples
tied for first place — and Joey & Edyta weren’t among them.

The
judges aren’t going to give Joey high marks until he stops thinking so
much when he’s on the dance floor. And his competitors all have
enthusiastic fanbases, leaving Joey as vulnerable as anyone. He needs a
string of great performances in order to stick around.

With so
few teams left, one more sub-par performance could mean trouble for
Joey & Edyta. On the other hand, they could still win the whole
thing. That’s how wide open this season is, which is one of the things
to love about it.

4. Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson
Week
after week, Jerry just keeps hanging around. What people (myself
included) have overlooked is that there is actual dancing happening
when he’s on the floor. His routines with Kym aren’t all gimmickry.

Voters
may finally abandon Jerry if it looks like he might sneak into the
final three ahead of the more talented performers. But after last
week’s Bottom Two scare, his fans might be motivated enough to keep him
around through one more elimination, assuming he survives the Disco.

3. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
To
a large degree, the judges’ scores for this couple are as much a
reflection of their opinion of Cheryl’s choreography as for Emmitt’s
dancing ability. So long as he’s good enough to pull off a fun, solid
routine, that’s all that really matters to the judges.

Emmitt’s
current fanbase is solid, so he and Cheryl need to keep crafting
winning routines to add to that fanbase. All it might take is one
routine as well-timed and compelling as Cheryl’s “Thriller” Paso Doble
from last season, and Emmitt could run away with the title.

2. Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel
As
the last woman standing, Monique’s should gain a lot of votes from
people who don’t want to see the girl power disappear from the show
completely.

Carrie Ann spelled out exactly what Monique’s
problem has been so far. Though she’s as talented as anyone in the
competition (except maybe Mario) she’s not connecting with her audience
emotionally.

I’m expecting this week to be Monique’s defining
moment. In her post-show comments last week, Monique was upbeat and
said she understood what she has to do to reach out to people. If she’s
finally able to start doing that this week, she’s on her way to the
finals. If not, I’ve got her ranked three spots too high.

1. Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
Even
more than his remarkable dancing skills, Mario’s loyal fans seem most
impressed with his looks. Or maybe his dancing is what’s made him so
attractive. In any case, he’s the clear frontrunner at this point. The
bad thing about being the frontrunner is that there’s nowhere else to
go but backward.

Mario’s attitude toward the judges, disregard
for the rules in some instances, and even his past history have turned
off potential voters. As other competitors are eliminated, there’s a
chance that fans of the eliminated couple will offer their allegiance
to somebody perceived as more likable — like Emmitt or Monique.

But
Mario is so good, he seems the one lock to make it to the final show,
and that’s why I have him ranked at the top. However, at this point
last season, Stacy Keibler looked unbeatable, too.

Other DwtS News:
Big news from Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s website. There will be a Dancing with the Stars tour,
tentatively slated for December through February, and Max and Willa
will be participating. We’re still waiting for confirmation from ABC…
and looking forward to hearing which cities will be tour stops.

In Carrie Ann news, she’s got a hunky young boyfriend: Artem from So You Think You Can Dance. And Carrie Ann also had some things to say about Willa’s departure from the show.

TAR 10: Episode 5

The Amazing Race 10 finally had its first non-elimination
episode. Kentucky couple David & Mary are the lucky ducks who got a
second chance.

Teams left Ha Long Bay,
Vietnam, and took a train to Hanoi, where they needed to purchase
airline tickets to Chennai, India through one of the city’s many travel
agencies.

The long train ride gave teams the opportunity to form
alliances. An agreement already existed between Erwin & Godwin, Lyn
& Karlyn, and David & Mary. Rob & Kimberly informally
teamed up with Tyler & James to share information and follow each
other around.

Peter, eager not to be left out of the information
swapping, offered his insight on travel agencies to anyone who would
listen — provided they agree to help his team at a later date. Dustin
& Kandice were the only team to consent to work with him, even
though they had no actual intentions of ever helping Peter & Sarah
in return.

Flight jockeying ultimately got Dustin & Kandice
and Peter & Sarah the earliest flight into Chennai — even though
the Beauty Queens did their best not to share any info with Peter when
sussing out connecting flights. Both teams arrived in Chennai at 7:50
a.m.

Lyn & Karlyn, Erwin & Godwin, Rob & Kimberly,
and Tyler & James all arrived in Chennai at 9:20 a.m. David &
Mary, who were unable to get seats on an earlier flight, arrived at 10
a.m.

In Chennai, teams had to take a bus to Mamallapuram, or as
Peter put it, “We go from one polluted city to another.” (I think he
was misquoting lyrics from “One Night in Bangkok.”)

Mamallapuram
was the site of this leg’s Detour: “Wild Things or Wild Rice.” In Wild
Things, teams transported a crocodile from one pen to another, and in
Wild Rice, teams completed a traditional rangoli
design by filling in a chalk outline with various colors of dyed and
powdered wild rice. The colors had to match those in a diagram given to
each team.

Some of the teams went to Wild Rice first, simply
because it was the closer of the two Detours. When they saw the level
of detail work required, most decided to tempt their fate with the
crocs — a significantly faster task. Only Tyler & James and David
& Mary saw Wild Rice through to completion.

Peter &
Sarah were the first team to successfully move their croc from one pen
to another. But, jogging to the bus stop, Peter had little sympathy for
Sarah, who had to hop along on her damaged prosthetic leg. He yelled at
her to keep up with him, even though it wasn’t physically possible.

When
they had time to sit, Peter tried to pin Sarah’s frustration on her.
“Get it together, Sarah,” he said. “It’s just a game. We’re just having
fun.”

“I’m not really having fun with you, Peter,” Sarah shot back.

Having
completed the Detour, teams took the bus back to Chennai for one of my
new favorite Roadblocks from any season of the race. One team member
attended a class on Indian rules of the road, and then got into a car
and took a driving test to earn an legitimate Indian license. And the
racers thought the crocs were scary…

The classroom instruction
portion of the road block wasn’t especially helpful. Drivers were given
a horn so that they could honk at any animals or children who wandered
into their paths. When the instructor told Rob not to drink and drive,
an honestly confused Rob asked, “Drink what?”

Miraculously, all
of the drivers were able to avoid being run over by buses, and they
similarly avoided hitting any motorbikers, pedestrians, or bicyclists.
The driving wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t deadly either, which is really
all you can hope for on the crowded streets of India.

With
drivers licenses in hand, teams had to drive themselves — with an
instructor in the car — 10 miles to the Pit Stop, which was at the
Chennai Chettinad House. Peter & Sarah arrived first, winning a
pair of home gyms.

Dustin & Kandice arrived next, followed
by Rob & Kimberly (who didn’t argue this entire leg, as far as we
saw), Erwin & Godwin, and Lyn & Karlyn. Tyler & James were
stunned to find out they were in 6th place. They had no idea that the
Wild Rice Detour had taken so much longer than the other task.

David
& Mary, who’d been even slower at the Detour than Tyler &
James, didn’t reach the driving school until after dark. They were the
last team to arrive at the Pit Stop, but were not eliminated.

Instead
of taking the team’s money and possessions, as on previous seasons,
David & Mary received a different kind of penalty. Unless they
finish the next leg of the race in first place, they will receive a
30-minute penalty.

Considering that the 30-minute penalty given
to Tom & Terry in week three dropped them from second place to
eighth, 30 minutes could very likely mean the end of the race for David
& Mary.

Next week, Lyn & Karlyn get in a fight with
Dustin & Kandice. After the fight, one of the Beauty Queens refers
to Lyn & Karlyn as “The Sistahs.” That’s no way to win Miss
Congeniality.

DwtS In-Season Update: Sara Evans Quits

Here are some headlines from around the web regarding this story. We’ll keep adding more between now and Tuesday’s show. You’re welcome to email us — myoxisbroken@gmail.com — if you’ve found a source with additional info not yet covered here.

Sara Evans announced Thursday that she’s leaving Dancing with the Stars, after filing for divorce from her husband, Craig Schelske. Nashville entertainment reporter Brad Schmitt has excerpts from the press release.

The reasons Sara cited in the divorce papers were numerous and sordid. Among them were her husband’s infidelity, alcohol abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and pornography (and by that, I do mean pics of her hubby with other women).

The papers also mention two instances specifically related to Dancing with the Stars. On September 17, her husband objected to a costume designer from DwtS being in their home while the children were present, referring to the designer as a “sodomite.”

Her husband claimed the next day that one of their children had broken out in hives from merely looking at the “sodomite.”

Also, on October 6, Sara’s husband refused to let their children attend the hockey game where Sara sang the National Anthem, as filmed for DwtS.

Sara will make an official announcement on Tuesday’s Performance Show. But Tony told People magazine, “This has really taken me by surprise.” As recently as October 10, Sara spoke highly of her husband in Us magazine.

ABC has yet to announce how this will affect the show, which is scheduled to end its season on November 15. The natural assumption is that Willa & Max will be brought back to fill the empty slot. But don’t count on it. Even if ABC asked her to come back, it doesn’t sound like Willa would feel right about accepting.

According to Access Hollywood, Willa expected to be eliminated on Wednesday. That night, when Tom Bergeron asked how she felt about getting cut, she responded, “Relieved.” And this morning on Live with Regis and Kelly, after Kelly lead the crowd in a chant of “Bring back Willa and Max,” Willa said, “I had a really good time, but when America votes, you go, ‘Okay, America voted.'”

Tony will be performing with Elena Grinenko Saturday night at the Chicago Harvest Moon Ball. If I’m able to infiltrate the ball, I’ll be sure to ask Tony about everything — except maybe the gory details of when he took Sara to the doctor for treatment of a stress-induced cyst on her eye, as just reported on the Insider. Yuck.

DwtS Extra: Scenes from a Show Taping (Part One)

Imee DuBose, a friend of Cheryl Burke and
webmaster of Cheryl’s official website, StrictlyCheryl.com, was in the
audience for Tuesday night’s Performance Show. Imee graciously agreed to
write about the experience.

In Part One, Imee tells us what happens before and during the show. In Part Two, she gives us a glimpse of the after-show happenings.

Tinseltown Meets Vegas

My
Tuesday night ballroom experience actually started in the middle
of the afternoon. VIPs (the invited guests of the pro dancers and
celebs) are encouraged to show up at 3 p.m. PST for the ABC show,
which is shot at CBS Studios, Hollywood — in an example of network collaboration.

My
husband, Tony, and I arrived dressed in our “ballroom” attire: a suit
and tie for him, and a fancy spaghetti-strapped dress for me. We joined
a number of other VIPs in line, waiting to go through the security
checkpoint to enter the studio. Members of the general public, who get
their tickets from On Camera Audiences, are in line by around 1 p.m.
and enter through a separate door.

Studio security
differed from airport security in that all the VIP ladies, dressed to
kill from head to toe, got to keep their lipstick (and any other gels)
in their purses. On the other hand, the DwtS security
folks confiscated cameras, cell phones, and PDAs until after the show
was over. Instead of the old “coat check,” we now have “cell check.”

As
we entered the studio, I saw Jerry Springer in his “Evil Puffy Shirt.”
He was modest and apologetic (for his shirt) as I said hello and told
him what a wonderful Waltz he’d performed last week. Honestly, I wasn’t
one for Jerry Springer, pre-DwtS. However, I have quite a different impression of him now.

Looking around the made-for-TV ballroom studio, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Las Vegas.
There are no windows or natural light. And the studio is tastefully
decked out in red curtains, countless little lights, huge chandeliers,
and an enormous mirror ball.

Inside the studio, there
was a lot going on. Production assistants/staffers dashed around
hurriedly with communication headsets on, as the audience members filed
in. There was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air long
before the show started.

We took our seats, opposite
the Judges’ Table and underneath a red curtain. Cheryl’s mom, Sherri,
sat next to us. Also in the audience were some recognizable faces:
Disney Channel stars Zac Efron, Ashleigh Tisdale, and Kim Rhodes; DwtS
alumnae Tia Carrere (who has lost the baby weight) and the ubiquitous
Lisa Rinna; and, for the guys, former NBA player John Salley.

The
show is live for the East Coast, so we started warming up at 4:45 PST.
An emcee got the audience ready for the show to air, and he entertained
us when those watching the show on TV were sent to commercial break.

During
the warm-up and breaks, the emcee brought audience members to the dance
floor — which is a lot smaller than it appears on TV — and had them
do various moves to the fun music playing. (Recorded music, giving the DwtS Band a break.)

This week, one such audience member was part of an enthusiastic bunch of high schoolers from Pomona Valley.
The emcee teased them about missing school to come see the show. And he
pointed out that the students get to wear their formal attire twice in
one week: first to DwtS, and then to their Homecoming dance.

Soon,
it was time to introduce the judges, as they took their seats: lovely
Carrie Ann, debonair Len, and fun-loving Bruno. The audience gave them
a warm welcome. Then Samantha was introduced, and finally, another warm
greeting from the audience for Tom.

The countdown began for the
show to air live. Five, four, three, and “Begin clapping…” Spotlights
started to swirl, and about ten cameras were moving strategically to
capture their shots.

The crowd went wild as all the
celebrities and dancers worked their way from the trademark staircases
to the dance floor. They all looked fabulous, and many of them are much
thinner than they look on TV. The colors of the outfits are much more
radiant in person, too. The competition then began with the first
couple: Joey & Edyta.

At the commercial break,
the emcee found out more about the audience members. This time, it was
a group of ladies who drove from Palm Springs and are avid fans of DwtS, having watched it since Day One, Season One.

A
noteworthy moment occurred after one of the Rumba performances, when a
lively Bruno needed to let off some steam. While the TV audience
watched commercials, he got up and did a playful Hip Hop dance to the
music.

The competition ended on a high-energy note,
with Emmitt & Cheryl bringing the entire audience to its feet. It
was a wonderful last performance for the evening. There was lots of
clapping and yelling for all the performers, as they returned to the
dance floor to end the show.

Dancing with the Stars includes
all the key ingredients of Vegas allure: excitement, entertainment,
anticipation, and suspense. Will your number — or, in this case, your
celebrity and professional dancer — come up a winner? Stay tuned!

Sherri, Imee, Emmitt, and Samantha
Above: Sherri (Cheryl’s mom), Imee, Emmitt, and Samantha (Imee’s friend)

Cheryl's Biggest Fans
Above: Cheryl’s biggest fans — Cami, Coco, Lauren, and Nina (who also happen to be Imee’s children) — dial the Barney phone to vote for Emmitt.

Cook Islands: Episode 5

Stephannie’s teammates granted her wish on this week’s Survivor: Cook Islands. They voted her off so that she could spend the night with a bowl of mashed potatoes.

Before Raro found itself back at Tribal Council, things seemed to be going well. Booting J.P. had the exact effect that the Raro ladies wanted: getting the guys to help out around camp. The ladies awoke the morning after J.P.’s elimination to find the remaining three guys cheerfully gathering wood and fishing.

Later that day, at the Reward Challenge, the tribes faced off in a test of strength. Each tribe fielded three pairs to hold weights, and two individuals to load weights.

Both members of the pairs used one hand to hold a rope attached to a hook via a pulley, and at 2-minute intervals, the two weight loaders from the opposing tribe added 5-pound weights to one pair’s hooks. Once either member of the pair dropped their hook, the pair was out.

Cao Boi and Becky, the weight loaders from Aitu, decided to target Nate & Adam, adding 30 pounds to their hooks before moving on to the other Raro pairs. Parvati and Jenny gave some weight to all of Aitu’s pairs before loading up on Yul & Jonathan.

Raro’s strategy worked. Aitu’s Yul was the first to lose his grip on a rope. Then Raro’s Rebecca & Stephannie bowed out. When Sundra & Candice lost their grip, Jessica & Ozzy were the only ones left standing for Aitu, against Raro’s Adam & Nate and Brad & Cristina. Jessica taunted Cristina, but it was Jessica who lost her grip first.

Raro won some fishing gear, spices, and, most importantly, a few bottles of wine. They also sent Jonathan back to Exile Island.

The wine took its toll on the castaways. The Raro tribe woke up the next morning to find Adam with an octopus wrapped around his foot. (I can’t tell you how often that happened in college. And we were landlocked.)

Determined to augment their camp’s dwindling supplies, Cao Boi, Ozzy, and Jessica rowed from Aitu’s beach to a nearby island. There they found coconuts, medicinal fruits…and Raro’s camp.

As the invaders approached, Rebecca muttered, “And it’s the three that we can’t stand.” Mistaking the silent treatment for an invitation to sit down, Cao Boi launched into a lengthy explanation of the symbolic meaning of monkeys, rats, dragons, and horses.

When everyone had all but fallen asleep, Cao Boi asked permission to collect supplies from their forest. An annoyed Adam said, “Not on our island.” Undaunted, Cao Boi asked if he could just have a few of Raro’s newly won spices. Another negative response, and the invaders rowed back to Aitu.

Meanwhile, on Exile Island, Jonathan correctly interpreted the clues and dug a trench big enough to “bury Yao Ming,” but he didn’t find the Immunity Idol. “I have to assume that the Idol’s been found,” he said, “otherwise, I’m a complete moron.”

Jonathan returned to the mainland for the Immunity Challenge. This challenge was an over-the-top version of something from a sixth-grade outdoor education trip.

First, using three stepping poles (long poles with small platforms at the top), six members of each tribe had to stand in shallow ocean water and hold up the poles. The other two tribe members then used the poles as stepping stones to go from one tall platform to another.

Following that, all eight members of each tribe had to swim a short distance to a small platform (about five feet tall and less than 2′ x 2′ on top). Tribes had to climb the platform until each member’s feet were on or above the top of the platform at one time.

Raro took an early lead, as Jenny and Parvati crossed the stepping poles slightly before Jessica and Becky did. Raro then got seven people atop their platform, and they were shifting to accomodate the eighth: Rebecca. But when her teammates tried to hoist Rebecca into place, they all fell off the platform and into the ocean.

While Raro scrambled back up their platform, Aitu realized that the tribe members on the platform’s outer edge only needed to have one foot on the platform. The other foot could then be lifted in the air. Cao Boi and Yul lifted their feet, and Aitu won.

At Raro’s camp, most tribe members wanted to vote out Cristina. She’d taken over J.P.’s vacant role, barking orders while lounging around. It seemed like her demise was certain.

Talking over the plan with Nate, Stephannie joked that she could see herself in front of a big plate of mashed potatoes and gravy that night. Nate took her dreams of comfort food seriously. Because he felt Stephannie couldn’t be counted on to give her all in challenges, Nate told everyone at camp that she had chosen mashed potatoes over Survivor.

Stephannie tried to plead her case, but she’d opened a delicious, gravy-soaked door she couldn’t shut. The decision at Tribal Council was unanimous, and she was sent home.

Next week, Cristina gets the chance to correct her bad behaviour, after Nate broached the subject at Tribal Council. And it’s two-for-one week on Survivor; each tribe must vote out one of its members.

DwtS 3, Week 5: Results Show

It was a bad night for dancing, in two respects. The professional performances on this week’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show were nothing special, and Willa & Max were eliminated.

The
recap of last night’s show was full of salacious material. Explaining
her comment about the chemistry she has with Max, Willa said, “Uh,
didn’t mean it like that. We’re dancing!” Max chimed in with a deadpan,
“Yeah, exactly.”

Louis said that the closing move in his routine with Monique “was in the last page of the Kama Sutra book.”

And
in regard to Bruno’s randy comments, Mario said he hadn’t realized he
was “throbbing.” Karina replied, “Baby, you are the King of Throbbing.”

It
was then time for the judges to award the encore. First, Len
complimented all of the professionals on the work they’ve done with
their celebrities. When choosing an encore, he said, “Sometimes you
want to see a couple for the pure joy and entertainment they bring.”
That could only mean that Jerry & Kym would get to reprise their
fun, silly Samba.

After carting one old man off of the dance
floor, they carted on another: Rod Stewart. Rod’s velvet jacket looked
awesome, but his shirt needed an extra button at the bottom. His modest
gut kept hanging over the top of his tight, acid-washed jeans. Edyta
& Kym accompanied Rod’s performance of “Hot Legs” with their own
hot legs. They looked great, but the routine was just okay.

As
Rod left the floor to look for some Hot Wings, Samantha chatted with
some of the celebrities backstage. She asked Joey if his fifth place
finish with the judges made him feel vulnerable. “I’ve felt vulnerable
every week,” he said. “It’s really no change for me.”

Mario vowed to act on Carrie Ann’s advice: “I’m gonna try to ‘unclip’ myself… and listen to Karina.”

When
asked if he was concerned about possibly having to learn two new dances
next week, Jerry asked, “What do you mean, two dances? What’s the
difference? I dance the same dance every day, just at different speeds.”

Then
it was back out to Tom, who introduced a package of comments from last
night’s studio audience. James Tupper from ABC’s show Men in Trees
got into trouble with his date when he said that Willa Ford was “hot.”
And Tia Carrere was glad that she was an audience member this time, and
not a participant: “It’s not me stressing out there on the dance floor.”

After that, Mario & Karina and Monique & Louis were announced as the first two safe couples.

In
preparation for next week’s group disco, some unidentified pros
demonstrated the dance. Lifts will be allowed next week, and the
lifts were definitely the highlight of tonight’s demo. It was
choreographed by Travis Payne, whose work you may have seen in the
movie, From Justin to Kelly. But you probably didn’t.

Following
the 1970s flashback, Samantha caught up with the two safe couples.
Mario & Karina were relieved to survive another week; Karina’s
normally psychic mother had dreamt that they’d be leaving the show
tonight. Monique said that her performance with Louis was so strong
because, “for the first time, we just had fun.”

Then it was time
to check in with Slim-Fast’s rep, Tysonia. This week, she performed the
Quickstep in front of her choir. She said that her energy level has
gone up dramatically since she started dancing.

When the show returned from commercial, Rod Stewart was back to sing “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

To
build the suspense a little while longer, Tom introduced a package of
clips of the pros talking about the challenges of training celebrities
with no dance experience. Cheryl said, “The number one thing the
celebrity has to overcome is the fear of feeling stupid.”

And it
takes different teaching styles to make the relationship work. Kym uses
positive feedback, while Max says, “My style is just… you do exactly
what I say.”

After the clips, Tom and Samantha announced the
fates of another two couples. Sara & Tony were safe, while Jerry
& Kim were in the Bottom Two.

Before announcing the final couple in the Bottom Two, it was time for another clip package: Everyone was nervous on performance day… A priest blessed Mario… Joey sang… Just get to the Bottom Two already!

Emmitt
& Cheryl and Joey & Edyta were safe, leaving Willa & Max at
the bottom with Jerry & Kym.

After scoring first place points from
the judges this week, Willa & Max were eliminated. The crowd booed loud and
long, and Jerry looked more devastated than Willa.

Willa tried to quiet the crowd, and she told Tom, “I did exactly what I set out to do. I improved every week.”

Max said of Willa, “She may have become my favorite student.”

Willa
& Maksim took the floor for their last dance. It looked like many
of the celebs and pros, especially Kym and Sara, were fighting back
tears — appropriate, since Willa’s farewell song was the Roy Orbison
classic, “Crying.”

Quick Note: Cheryl Burke’s friend, Imee DuBose, was one of Cheryl’s VIP guests at this week’s Performance Show. Imee’s writing a pair of articles for MOIB about her experience, and we’ll be posting Part One on Friday.

This Week’s DwtS Results Show Poll:
Take Our Poll

And with this final clip, we give Willa and Max a proper sendoff:

DwtS 3, Week 5: Performance Show

This week’s Performance Show was the best yet for this season of Dancing with the Stars.
Only three points separated all the couples, four teams tied for first
place, and nobody scored lower than an eight from any one of the judges.

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Samba
Joey
liked the Samba in theory more than he liked actually rehearsing it.
“It’s supposed to be sexy, but I feel like a chicken,” he said. “The
Samba should be for ‘sam-body’ else.”

They danced to “Freedom”
by George Michael, and in Michael’s honor, Joey came out in a black
leather jacket. I’m not sure what Edtya’s sheer black turtleneck was an
homage to. Joey was able to pull off his chicken move without looking
like a chicken; it looked more like he was channeling Tony Dovolani.
Audience member Marilu Henner looked impressed. The routine was
entertaining and technically solid, but Joey never really looked
comfortable.

Len appreciated the couple’s “cleanness and
precision. But sometimes it lacks a spontaneity.” When the audience
began to boo, Len chastised them: “Don’t be puerile!”
Turning back to Joey, he said, “Take off the shackles of inhibition.”
Bruno snapped at Len, “You should be shackled to Shady Pines.” Bruno
felt the routine was “modern, great fun.” Carrie Ann said, “You’re
strong performers, but I wasn’t completely impressed this week. You’re
better than that.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 25/30

Willa Ford & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Rumba
The
Rumba’s Cuban origins provided a convenient excuse for Willa and Max to
train at the beach. Willa laughed as she spun out of control and fell
on the sand, which was more forgiving than the wood floors she’d grown
used to. Once they got the basics down, Max let loose, taking his
shirt off and throwing seaweed at Willa.

Once I got over the
fact that Willa & Max were performing to “Every Breath You Take” by
The Police (really the only off choice for a song this week), I
realized that there was a lovely dance going on. There were gorgeous
holds, nice kicks, and even some splits. With each performance better
than the last, it’ll be fun to see what next week holds for Willa and
Max — assuming they get the chance, of course.

Regarding the
romance rumors surrounding Willa & Max, Carrie Ann said, “If you
guys aren’t going out, you should. That was amazing.” And on the
technical side, she pointed out, “Those rumba walks are very difficult
to do.” Len told Willa, “You’ve gone from strength to strength.” Bruno
said, “You left me breathless. Your improvement has been incredible.”

Waiting
for their scores backstage, co-host Samantha Harris asked how the
couple’s relationship off of the dance floor helps them perform. Willa
matter-of-factly said, “We have great chemisty no matter what we’re
doing.” She was stunned when the audience let out a collective,
“Ooooh…” Willa blushed. “Why does the audience do that?” she asked,
as Max and everyone else backstage laughed.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

Sara Evans & Tony Dovolani – Samba
Sara
said she would learn to dance like a Samba party girl “if it kills me.”
Perhaps it did, because Sara danced like a zombie. She just doesn’t
have the natural fluidity that her competitors do, so her dancing looks
stilted and jerky. She’s trying very hard, but it appears she’s reached
her ceiling. At least she smiled throughout the routine and had fun
this week.

Keeping her low ceiling in mind, Tony should be
choreographing routines that highlight Sara’s strengths and camouflage
her shortcomings — aiming for humor and showmanship. But he’s not
doing that. Instead, he fills in the gaps with his own flashy moves,
overshadowing his partner as she struggles to keep up.

Bruno
liked Sara’s attitude. “Finally, as sexy Sara, you can shake your ass
when you want to.” Carrie Ann advised Sara, “Everytime you come out on
the dance floor, it must feel good to you.” Len said that Sara &
Tony did a great job interpreting their song. He also said he bought one of Sara’s CDs this week —
albeit second hand.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Rumba
All
of their rehearsing gave Karina “Mario overload.” So, they relaxed by
Mario’s friend’s pool. Mario rubbed sunscreen on Karina’s back before
tossing her into the water. In regard to their supposed romantic
relationship, Mario said, “I can see us… being friends for a long
time.”

Their performance was beautiful — a perfect present for
Mario on his birthday. He makes dancing look so easy, it’s almost
unfair.

Len told Mario, “You’re the dead opposite to Joey. You
go out there with everything. You’re like a tightrope walker.” Bruno
called the performance “intense, throbbing, and masterful. You two make
such a package.” Carrie Ann looked at the camera and said, “He’s an
amazing dancer, everyone can see that.” Then she turned to Mario and
said, “It’s a stylistic choice — you clip some of your movements.” She
would like to see Mario add some breadth to his movements.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson – Samba
“This
week, I’m gonna have to go crazy,” Jerry said. Kym was concerned about
their performance: “The Samba is everything Jerry isn’t.” To get Jerry
in the mood to party like they were in Rio, Kym made Jerry get a
spray-on tan. “Eat your heart out, Mario,” said the newly bronzed talk
show host.

Jerry & Kym stole the show with their outfits: a
black, ruffled, satin shirt with a deep-V for him (my husband called it
“The Evil Puffy Shirt”), and a glitzy showgirl number with a tail and
headdress for her. Their routine truly was a party, almost a variety
show skit set to music. But Jerry and Kym actually managed to work a
lot of Samba moves into it. The dance earned big laughs from the
audience, especially Lisa Rinna and Tia Carrere, who sat together.

When
Carrie Ann stopped laughing, she said, “That was hysterical. You tap
into what dance is all about: communication. And you did a good little
basic in there.” Len told Jerry, “I relate to you. I know what your
body must be going through. I look forward to you coming on more than
any other star. But, that’s Len the Person. As a judge, I’m going to
give you the highest mark I’ve ever given you.” Bruno called the
routine “worthy of Lucille Ball. This should be a sketch. You should
make this a character.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel – Rumba
Louis
used several metaphors to explain the woman’s role in the Rumba.
Monique would need to be a hunter, a whip, a washing machine? Monique
warned viewers at home that the routine was so hot, “it might fog up
your television.”

Monique’s legs are the fastest in the
competition. Louis really took advantage of her talent and included a
lot of moves that you’d never expect an amateur to be able to do. But
Monique nailed everything, including a cool monkey-bar-flip move at the
end of the routine.

Bruno said Monique was “like a forbidden
fruit. Everybody wants you, but nobody can touch you.” Carrie Ann
praised Monique’s technique, calling it “grounded” and “sensuous.” But,
Carrie Ann said, “Something about your performance always leaves me a
little lost. You’re too internal.” Len said the performance was
“courageous, outrageous, contagious.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Samba
A
week of serious “hip action” sent Emmitt to the chiropractor for some
painful-looking adjustments. But you’d never know he was in pain by his
performance. It was a fun routine, heavy on the Samba moves and light
on the gimmickry (apart from when Cheryl playfully mimed grabbing Emmitt’s butt at
one point). Emmitt was beaming by the end of the performance, as was
audience member and former NBA player, John Salley.

Len gushed,
“That is what I wanted to see — the carnival dance! That was was the
best Samba of the night.” Bruno told Emmitt, “You are a party legend.
You can shake that pelvis.” Carrie Ann responded by standing up and
doing a little shimmy, herself. Then she told Emmitt, “Don’t leave it
between Joey and Mario. Get in there!”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

Leaderboard
1 – (tie) Willa & Max, Mario & Karina, Monique & Louis, Emmitt & Cheryl
5 – Joey & Edyta
6 – (tie) Sara & Tony, Jerry & Kym

My
vote this week went to Willa & Max. Their performances are really
starting to grab me, and Willa’s improved so much that I can’t wait to
see what else she’s capable of. Plus, we’ve had two weeks in a row of
footage of Max without a shirt. I’m all for three!

New this week! Take our MOIB Performance Show Poll:
Take Our Poll

DwtS In-Season Update: 10-09-06

Vivica’s departure last week showed that everyone on Dancing with the Stars is fair game. As this week’s Performance Show approaches, who’s feeling secure, and who’s on shaky ground?

7. Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson
Their
touching Waltz earned them another week of competition, thanks to all
of the parents (and saps like me) in the audience who threw a spare
vote Jerry’s way. He’s actually not a bad dancer, but he can’t do some
of the “wow” moves that the younger celebs can. It could soon be time
to let the young ‘uns have the floor to themselves. Though I have him
ranked last pre-dance, if someone else has an off night, don’t be
stunned if Jerry’s fans save him one more time.

6. Sara Evans & Tony Dovolani
After
a relatively high-scoring Jive, Sara’s Paso Doble scored only a twenty
from the judges. Like Jerry, she just can’t keep up with the rest of
her competitors. After the unexpected departure of Vivica (whose
dancing was technically far superior to Sara’s), I suspect the judges
are going to start scoring performances much more critically. If that’s
the case, Sara could be in trouble.

5. Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel
Monique’s
stint in the Bottom Two was a shock, but it did show where she ranks in
terms of fan support. Louis is more intense than he was last season,
and his serious demeanor seems like it’s stifling the fun side of
Monique that she’s shown on several occasions. They need to look like
they’re having fun if they want to win over new fans — and they need
to do it soon. If they can, they still could wind up the season’s
sleeper team.

4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
I
should be ranking them higher just because of Cheryl’s cool long hair,
but they just haven’t hit the right note quite yet. Mario and Joey are
two of the best dancers in DwtS history, and it’s going to
take some creative choreography, technical chops, and loads of charisma
to pull ahead of them. Emmitt & Cheryl have the potential to do it,
but they need to start building the foundation now for a strong finish.

3. Willa Ford & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Willa’s
recovered nicely from a couple of early brushes with elimination, and
her popularity appears to be on the rise. If she continues with the
strong performances, she could be the last woman standing — a feat
that seemed near-impossible after the show’s first few weeks.

2. Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska
They’re
having such a good time that it’s hard not to like them. Though they
each have different strengths, you could flip a coin to decide who the
better dancer is between Joey and Mario. Joey’s best bet is to continue
to be gracious. That could give him the win with the audience, should
the judges deadlock.

1. Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
As
I said, it’s pretty even as to who’s the better dancer, Mario or Joey.
Mario may have the edge because he’s hot, and as long as he keeps
swaddling his buns in spandex, that may be what it takes to win the
trophy.

Other DwtS News:
Extra filed a behind-the-scenes report on Joey and Mario. And here’s a link to the original TMZ report about the meeting between Shanna Moakler’s fist and Paris Hilton’s face.

This week’s issue of TV Guide features a spread on the early careers of some DwtS
cast members, including a photo of a scantily-clad Bruno Tonioli
dancing in an Elton John video from 1983. If you’ve ever wondered what
Bruno looked like in bikini briefs (and who hasn’t?), rock out to the
video for “I’m Still Standing.”