Monthly Archives: October 2006

TAR 10: Episode 6

In a reversal of last week’s first and last place finishers, David
& Mary finished in first, and Peter & Sarah came in last. But
getting eliminated from The Amazing Race wasn’t all bad — Sarah’s not stuck with Peter anymore.

Teams left Chennai, India, for Kuwait City, Kuwait, arriving on the same connection from Mumbai. The couples drove to the Kuwait Towers where they found their first clue, which held instructions for both a Roadblock and this season’s first Fast Forward.

The
Fast Forward was especially important for David & Mary, who needed
to reach the Pit Stop first to avoid a 30-minute penalty (the price for
finishing last in the previous week’s non-elimination leg).

To
dissuade other teams attempting the Fast Forward, Erwin & Godwin
pretended that they were going for it, along with David & Mary. The
other five teams could then feel secure that they were in no danger
this episode, as whichever of the two Fast Forward-seeking teams failed
to get it would likely be too far behind to catch up with the pack.

Erwin
& Godwin walked to the parking lot with David & Mary. The
Kentucky couple drove off, and the Cho brothers waited a few moments in
order to give their alliance-mates a head start. The Chos then went
back up the tower and rejoined the other teams, pretending that they’d
decided, at the last minute, to attempt the Roadblock instead.

For
the Roadblock, one team member climbed a service ladder on the Tower’s
exterior, 610 feet above the ground. At the top, the Roadblockers
retrieved satchels full of puzzle pieces, which they brought back to
the ground to assemble. As Sarah climbed the ladder, Peter cheered on
his “Bionic Spider-Woman.”

Once assembled, the puzzle revealed
the location of their next clue — written in Arabic. Tyler finished
his puzzle first, and then asked a local man to read the location and
give him directions. Other teams followed suit, although the quality of
information varied depending on which local they asked.

Lyn
& Karlyn were asking a couple of men for directions when they
noticed the Beauty Queens approaching. “Don’t help them,” the Alabama
mothers told the men, grabbing their arms and pulling them away.

One
of the men did help Dustin & Kandice, but they were upset by Lyn
& Karlyn’s actions. “It’s tough when you have The Sistahs being big
pigs,” Kandice said. In their car, Lyn and Karlyn felt that it wasn’t
fair that the Beauty Queens had gotten to use the same local help that
they had.

Erwin & Godwin, who were in last place after the
diversion they’d caused for David & Mary, made up ground by getting
a police escort to the next clue’s location: a bead shop in a local
market. “I have a whole new respect for law enforcement,” Godwin said.

Meanwhile,
David & Mary reached their Fast Forward. They donned fire-retardant
gear and, walking behind a fireproof shield, retrieved a clue from a
box next to an oil fire.

As she inched toward the fire and its
1000 degree heat, Mary said, “Maybe Steven Seagal will see me and want
me to be in one of his movies.” They got their clue, which directed
them to drive to the Pit Stop, near the Al-Sidiq Water Towers.

David
& Mary drove to the Pit Stop, where Phil informed them that they
were the first team to arrive and had won a trip to Jamaica. Their
enthusiasm was somewhat muted, as they worried that Erwin &
Godwin’s generous act may have cost them the race.

Meanwhile,
the other teams scoured a crowded street, looking for the Race flag
signifying the shop in which they’d receive their next clue. Tyler
& James found the bead shop first, and a man behind the counter
gave them their next clue. It was a Detour: Manual or Automatic.

In
Manual, teams drove to an outdoor facility that manufactured camel
feed. Each team needed to fill ten 110-lb. bags of feed, carry them to
a pallet, and stack them — all to the foreman’s satisfaction.

In Automatic, teams drove to a camel racing track. There, they needed to strap a voice-activated robot jockey
to a camel’s back. On commands sent via a walkie talkie, the robot
jockey whipped the camel. Once the camel crossed the finish line, teams
received their next clue.

Teams made their choice between Detour
options, but the tasks themselves weren’t what separated the pack.
Nearly every team got lost driving around Kuwait City. Tyler &
James watched their lead disappear as they failed to get clear
directions to the site of the Manual task.

Rob & Kimberly
arrived at Manual, first, with Dustin & Kandice right on their
heels. The Beauty Queens filled and stacked their bags remarkably
quickly, only to discover that their bags weren’t full enough. They
redid much of their work, as Rob & Kimberly finished and Erwin
& Godwin arrived.

Dustin & Kandice out-navigated Rob & Kimberly to the Pit Stop, winning the race for second place.

Lyn
& Karlyn were the first to the Automatic Detour. They strapped a
robot jockey to their camel and yelled, “Go, camel, go!” to activate
the robot’s automatic whip. This was one of the rare occasions when the
less physically demanding task was also the quickest.

Lyn &
Karlyn arrived at the Pit Stop in fourth place. The Cho brothers,
certain that their earlier good deed would go punished, were stunned to
hear Phil tell them they were in fifth place, and not eliminated.

Peter
& Sarah, the third team to reach the market, had the worst luck of
any of the teams. After thinking they were irrevocably lost, Peter
spotted a red-and-yellow Race arrow along the road. He laughed and
congratulated himself repeatedly for spotting the arrow. Unfortunately,
the arrow eventually led them to the long-completed Fast Forward — not
to a Detour location.

After receiving a string of bad
directions, Tyler & James abandoned their plans to shovel camel
feed and, instead, drove to the camel racing track. They ran alongside
their camel, yelling, “Whoa, wait for us!” They reached the Pit Stop in
sixth place.

Peter & Sarah were still lost. Eventually, they
drove all the way back to the Kuwait Towers. There, a man offered to
lead them to the Manual Detour. Somehow, they wound up in the parking
lot of a grocery store.

When they finally found the camel feed facility, the sun had set. At the Pit Stop, Phil informed them they’d been eliminated.

Phil
asked what they’d learned about each other on the race, and Peter
announced that he and Sarah had broken up. “I think Sarah and I both
realize we’re good friends. We don’t really balance each other very
well.”

Sarah was more blunt: “He’s not a very nurturing individual.” She vowed to find someone better.

Next
week: Tensions escalate between Dustin & Kandice and Lyn &
Karlyn. And Dustin crashes the Beauty Queens’ vehicle into a bus. I
guess an Indian driving test only improves your skills so much.

DwtS In-Season Update: 10-22-06

Last week’s non-elimination episode of Dancing with the Stars
revealed who’s most likely to be eliminated this week, and who are we
at MOIB to disagree? At this point in the competition, there aren’t too
many surprises in the weekly Power Rankings.

5. Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson
Jerry’s
literally told his fans to stop voting for him. And, with last week’s
ridiculous Paso Doble, he’s told them figuratively, as well. I’ve
enjoyed watching Jerry on the show, but as he’s said more than once,
“It’s time.”

4. Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska
Spending
time in the Bottom Two alongside Jerry was a real wake-up call for Joey
& Edyta. But with the competition this tight, I’m not sure if
there’s much they can do to make it to the finals. They should squeak
through this week, but they need to be absolutely perfect after that.

3. Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel
Monique vented in the Week 6 Unaired Confessionals video
that the judges have scored her more harshly than they have her male
competitors. Looking back at her scores, compared to those of the men,
she may be on to something. If only two couples will participate in the
finals, Monique may have a tough time garnering the fan support she
needs to overcome the judges’ scores and make it to the final week of competition.

2. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
Emmitt
has no fan support issues, which is why he has yet to face the red
glare of the Bottom Two lights. He’s popular and charming, and he’s got
the partner who best knows how to make magic from the producers’ strange song selections. I’ll be shocked if Emmitt and Cheryl
aren’t in the finals, and that’s the only week they need to win.

1. Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
Based
solely on the number of people who’ve viewed the YouTube video of Mario
& Karina’s most recent dance, you may want to bet the house on
them. As of today, their video had received over four times as many
views as their closest competitors, Emmitt & Cheryl.

Mario just needs to keep things status quo until the finale (without making it seem like he’s coasting, of course). Once
there, he and Karina have the talent and athleticism to perform a
Freestyle routine that all but dares fans not to vote for them. It’s
obvious they have the highest skill level, so it will be all about the
routine.

The Freestyle’s choreography is what sunk Stacy &
Tony last season — and what helped lock up the victory for Drew &
Cheryl. I have a feeling that, like Cheryl last season, Karina won’t go
conservative. So Mario’s in a great position to win.

More DwtS News:
In an interview with AOL, Cheryl confirms that she and Drew Lachey will be a part of the upcoming Dancing with the Stars tour. Maksim’s rep has published the tour schedule at Max’s site.

Speaking of Max, he and Willa Ford aren’t doing much to put rumors about their alleged romance to rest.

In the Sara Evans divorce case, her husband, Craig Schelske,
denies many of the charges made against him. He claims that Sara was
the one guilty of cheating. According to Schelske, he learned of her
affair on October 11 — the same night the couple was seen arguing in a
restaurant, after Sara’s last Results Show. The woman Sara has accused
of having an affair with Schelske, Alison Clinton, denies any kind of inappropriate relationship.

Cook Islands: Episode 6

Neither tribe had immunity this week on Survivor: Cook Islands. Cao Boi and Cristina were the least popular on their respective teams, so they got axed.

The
day after a Tribal Council in which Cristina learned her tribemates all
considered her “annoying,” both the Aitu and Raro tribes were summoned
to a Reward Challenge.

For the challenge, each team selected
three members whose job was to hold on to a post for dear life. In
teams of two, the remaining tribe members tried to pull one opposing
tribe member off a post, through about fifty feet of sand, and
across a goal line. First, women would go against women, then men
against men, and then the women were up again.

The first tribe to drag all three opposing post-holders to their goal line won.

Jeff
told the tribes he had some good news and bad news. The winning team
would enjoy a feast of roast lamb. However, they’d be gorging at Tribal
Council, where both tribes would be voting someone out.

Because
the challenge was physical, and Aitu had an extra man, Cao Boi sat it
out. As it turned out, the challenge was more than just physical. It
may have been the most brutal in show history.

Aitu’s Jessica
and Becky manhandled Raro’s Jenny, yanking her from her post and
hauling her to the goal line, Jenny kicking and squirming the entire
way. Her body took a beating, and so did her swimsuit, which had to be
blurred out at one point.

At the same time, Raro’s Parvati and
Rebecca had little luck wrestling Aitu’s Candice away from her post.
Each time they were able to move her, Candice used her lanky frame to
reach back and grab on to the post.

Once Jenny had been dragged
across Aitu’s goal line, Yul and Jonathan took a crack at Nate. He put
up a good fight, but they were still able to pull him to their goal
before Parvati and Jenny bested Candice.

Perhaps the best fight
of the challenge was Raro’s Cristina versus Jessica and Becky. Early
on, Jessica put Cristina in an illegal choke hold. Cristina’s police
training kicked in, and she pulled Jessica’s hair and shoved her face
into the sand. At times, Jessica’s only recourse was to pin Cristina
down and hope that Becky could pull them both, a few inches at a time.

As
the fight raged, Raro’s Adam and Brad were able to haul Aitu’s Ozzy to
their goal. Ozzy didn’t make things easy, and the three lay in the sand
trying to catch their breath as Parvati & Rebecca went to grab
Sundra, Aitu’s final woman.

Sundra gripped the post with her
legs in a scissor lock, buying her teammates enough time to get
Cristina near the goal. With a final pull, Becky was able to touch
Cristina’s toe to the goal line, earning the win for Aitu.

Both
tribes had time to recover from the challenge and discuss voting
strategy before Tribal Council. Cristina begged the Raro tribe for a
second chance. Nate and Rebecca discussed saving Cristina, and
eliminating Jenny instead.

At Aitu’s camp, Cao Boi awoke from a
weird dream about a shaman woman who told him he needed to apply for an
American Express card. Obviously, it could mean only one thing: Cao Boi
had to come up with a plan to flush out the Hidden Immunity Idol. Rarely
are dreams so literal.

Assuming that Jonathan had the Idol —
because he’d been to Exile Island twice — Cao Boi suggested to Yul
that three people vote for Jonathan and three people vote for Candice.
The tie would force Jonathan or Candice to use the Idol for
self-preservation, and the other would be sent home.

Yul called the plan “ingenious,” but he didn’t comment on its lone flaw: Jonathan and Candice didn’t have the Idol. Yul did.

Jonathan’s
constant shifty glances and secretive ways made the plan, named “Plan
Voodoo” by Cao Boi, appealing to many tribe members. But its source,
the dream, also reinforced the reigning opinion that Cao Boi was off
his rocker.

That opinion was confirmed at Tribal Council, when Yul said, “I can’t say I fully understand him.”

When
asked about his voting strategy, Cao Boi further confused his
tribemates with a chess analogy that didn’t make much sense, until Jeff
Probst correctly interpreted Cao Boi’s plan to “expose the queen” as an
attempt to put the Hidden Immunity Idol into play.

Ultimately,
only Jessica and Cao Boi stuck with Plan Voodoo. Jessica voted for Jonathan,
while the plan’s mastermind voted for Candice. Everyone else voted for
Cao Boi.

In his exit interview, Cao Boi said his only regret in the game was trusting in “the Asian Community.”

Aitu
then moved over to the jury box, as Raro took their seats for Tribal Council.
Before deliberations began, Jeff handed Aitu a pot of greasy lamb
shanks. The members of Raro could do little but watch and lick their
lips.

When asked about the verbal beating she took at the last
Tribal Council, Cristina admitted that it hurt. Brad stood up for her,
saying, “Some things are better left unsaid.”

But Adam refused to let things go, saying, “Her personality just clashes with ours. She can’t change it.”

Before
Raro voted, Jeff gave Aitu the opportunity to kidnap someone from Raro.
That person would be awarded Immunity, share in the lamb feast, and
then become a part of Aitu through the next Reward Challenge. Aitu
kidnapped Nate.

Nate chowed down as Raro cast their votes. Once
they were finished voting, Aitu was sent back to camp, leaving Nate in
the dark about who was voted out from his tribe.

Cristina and
Brad voted for Jenny, but the rest of Raro sided with Adam and voted
for Cristina. Brad looked nervous as the votes were read, a possible
sign that he’s not on the same page with his tribemates.

Of her experience on Survivor, Cristina said, “I met some really good people, and I met some awful people.”

Next week: Jessica says too much about Plan Voodoo in front of Nate, and one survivor spends a stormy night on Exile Island.

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.