Monthly Archives: November 2006

DwtS Offseason Update: 11-29-06

Dancing with the Stars 3 may be over, but there’s been plenty of news and rumors swirling about the DwtS Tour and Season 4.

Tour News
The tour lineup has changed. Maksim Chmerkovskiy
decided over Thanksgiving weekend to pull out of the tour, in order to spend
more time working with his students. Because she did not want to dance with another partner, Willa Ford has also dropped out of the tour.

Fans who purchased VIP tickets
from I Love All Access and no longer wish to attend can contact the company for a refund.

Joey McIntyre will be using the DwtS
tour appearances to promote his new album, which will be available at
each performance. He’ll be singing a couple of numbers, as well as
dancing with his partner, Kym Johnson.

Season 4 Rumors
One season barely ends, and rumors about possible participants for the next begin. Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson has been lobbying producers for a spot in the Season 4 cast.

Producers have extended an offer to Jennifer Aniston
to be a contestant, and she’s reportedly considering the offer. She
would certainly be the biggest celebrity ever to compete on the show.
And if DwtS wants to turn the season into a mini-Friends reunion, they can get David Schwimmer, too. Unless there’s some secret plan to make a sequel to The Pallbearer, that guy’s not doing anything.

When DwtS 4 starts up in March, it will likely change nights to avoid going up against American Idol on Tuesdays.

Gossip
After spending Thanksgiving together, Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
left on Sunday for a Mexican vacation — even though they still won’t
publicly admit that they’re dating. Hopefully, they’ve at least
admitted it to each other.

In the same article in which she announced her departure from the tour, Willa put all of the rumors about her supposed romance with Max to rest. She’s become engaged to National Hockey League player Mike Mondano.

Other News
For some additional reading, check out this interview with the DwtS costume designers.
Thanks to their quick thinking, they were able to avert a Janet
Jackson-like moment for Willa Ford on her final night of competition.

Also, an arts critic at Slate offers some interesting opinions on the quality of the dancing on DwtS.

TAR 10: Episode 11

After Yielding another team this week, Dustin & Kandice dodged
karmic retribution. Though they arrived at the Pit Stop in last place,
it was a non-elimination leg, meaning the Beauty Queens still have a
shot at winning The Amazing Race.

The episode began with teams leaving Kiev, Ukraine for Ouarzazate, Morocco. All the teams wound up on the same connecting flight from Casablanca, which arrived in Ouarzazate at about midnight.

Lyn
& Karlyn had wisely chosen to pick up a map of Morocco during one
of their layovers. That helped them become the first team to reach the
site of this leg’s first clue: an antique store in the Kasbah market
district.

At the store, they picked up an amulet that would be
used at the Pit Stop to determine which team won the special prize for
this leg. They also received a clue, directing them to nearby Atlas Studios.

The
clue warned teams that a Yield (which allows a team to force a
trailing team to wait for a predetermined amount of time) lay ahead.

The
‘Lyns looked forward to Yielding the Beauty Queens. But the studios
were closed until 8 a.m., so they lost their lead and weren’t able to
take advantage of getting there first.

Once the studio gates
opened the next morning, a footrace ensued. The first two teams to
reach the Yield mat — Tyler & James and Rob & Kimberly —
elected not to Yield anyone.

The Beauty Queens were the third
team to the mat and Yielded the only team behind them: Lyn &
Karlyn. Dustin didn’t consider the move a personal attack on the
Alabama Moms. She said, “If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be playing our best
game.”

But Karlyn definitely took the Yield personally. Despite
her own plans to use the Yield against the two blondes, Karlyn thought
that Dustin & Candice using the Yield to their own advantage showed
that “they have no character.” Karlyn added, “That’s for them to live
with.”

The first three teams opened their next clue: a Roadblock honoring some of the movies filmed at the studio, such as Cleopatra and Gladiator. One member of each team had to ride in a chariot around a race track, grabbing two flags suspended over the track.

James,
Dustin, and Rob hung on as their chariot drivers sped the horses around
the track. James missed his flag on the first go ’round, forcing him to
ride an extra lap. Dustin and Rob finished their task in just two laps.

As Dustin & Kandice walked off the course, Karlyn flipped them off. Lyn told Karlyn, “Don’t do that. That’s ugly.”

By
the time James had completed his bonus lap and grabbed his flag, Karlyn
was getting into her chariot. Lyn had confidence in her teammate: “The
fact that we were Yielded probably pissed her off, so she’ll do it.”

Karlyn
executed the task faster than the three lead teams had, so she and Lyn
were able to make up ground on the way to their next clue, which was at
a cafe in the town of Idelssan.

Rob & Kimberly had to stop
to change a flat tire on their car, and they wound up passed by all the
other teams, including the Alabama Moms. Lyn had no sympathy for Rob
& Kimberly. She muttered, “You should’ve Yielded the Blondes,” as
she and Karlyn drove by.

The clue at the cafe was for a Detour: “Throw It or Grind It.”

In
Throw It, teams had to use a pottery wheel at a nearby potter’s shop to
create two “properly made” pots. The shop was located four miles
further up the road.

In Grind It, teams backtracked four miles to the North Africa Horse ranch and olive farm. There, they used an olive mill, (like a giant mortar and pestle, only with a millstone instead of a pestle), to grind 75 pounds of olives into a fine paste.

At
each of the Detours, only three teams could participate at a time. That
meant that, if all the teams chose the same Detour, the fourth place
team would have to wait for one of the others to finish.

Dustin
& Kandice picked Grind It and headed straight to the olive farm.
Models Tyler & James chose Throw It and asked some cafe patrons for
directions to the pottery shop.

Just before leaving, the Models
reread their clue. They’d misinterpreted the instructions for Throw It.
Tyler said to James, “We have to make the pots, dude. It’s not actually throwing them.” They switched tasks and chased the Blondes to the olive farm.

On
the way, both teams saw Rob & Kimberly still struggling with their
flat tire. Dustin & Kandice sped on by, prompting Rob to shout, “I
f***ing hate those girls.”

Tyler & James stopped to give Rob
& Kimberly information on the Detour, so Rob’s anger had abated by
the time Lyn & Karlyn passed by without offering any assistance.

When
Rob & Kimberly reached the cafe, they elected to follow all of the
other teams to Grind It. This wasn’t the best strategic move, since Rob
& Kimberly had already seen all three of their competitors heading
to the olive farm.

They would almost certainly have to wait for
one of the other teams to finish the task before they could start —
unless one of those other teams got lost.

Luckily for Rob & Kimberly, that’s just what happened.

The
Beauty Queens drove past the farm, and by the time they realized what
they’d done and made their way back, all three stations were already in
use by the other teams.

The Male Models finished grinding the
olives first and began bagging the fine olive paste. Lyn & Karlyn
weren’t far behind, so Dustin & Kandice waited to see which station
would open up first.

Tyler & James finished the task and
received a clue instructing them to drive to this leg’s Pit Stop. Along
the road to Marrakesh, teams needed to look for a marked boulder, which
pointed the way to a Berber camp, where teams would spend the night.

(For
some viewers, the game lost any suspense at this point. As Phil Keoghan
talked about the Berber camp, he stood in front of the large tent.
There were eight cots inside — enough to accommodate all of the teams
still racing.)

Lyn & Karlyn finished the Detour next,
followed by Rob & Kimberly. Driving to the Pit Stop, Karlyn gloated
over the Beauty Queens’ navigation error: “Karma’s a B!”

As
Dustin & Kandice finished the task and hit the road, Kandice took a
different view than Karlyn. “There’s no bad karma in a game,” said
Kandice. “You do what you do to win.”

Tyler & James reached
the Pit Stop in first place, and they also held the winning antique
amulet from earlier in the leg. It entitled them to a new Palm Treo PDA
and a year of Sprint service. Trading amulets for wireless service has
been a tradition in Berber culture for generations.

The Alabama Moms finished in second, followed by perpetual third place finishers (six times in a row!) Rob & Kimberly.

Dustin
& Kandice weren’t far behind, but they finished in last place. Phil
informed them that this was a non-elimination leg — so they need to
finish first on the next leg in order to avoid a 30-minute penalty.

Those
30 minutes will be even more precious next week, when the competition
will be whittled down to the final three teams who will compete for $1
million.

Also next week, Lyn loses her patience for Karlyn and
tells her to shut up. And when locals pelt Rob & Kimberly with
tomatoes, Kimberly flees.

Cook Islands: Episode 11

Jonathan finally figured out what most of us already knew: his Raro
tribemates are stupid. Fortunately, a merge gave him the perfect
opportunity to save himself and sacrifice one of the dummies. As a
result, Nate became the next jury member on Survivor: Cook Islands.

From
minute one of this episode, the Raro tribe gave Jonathan plenty of
clues that they weren’t the ideal candidates with whom to be stuck on
an island. First, Nate, Parvati, Adam, and Candice slept in while
Jonathan went fishing.

Then, when Jonathan returned from his
hunt, hours later, he came back to a camp with no fire, firewood, or
water. His tribemates became resentful when he asked them to fetch
water and make a fire.

Nate pouted, “We’re not knuckleheads. We know what to do.” Meanwhile, Candice failed repeatedly in her firestarting attempts.

There was no Reward Challenge this episode, but there was still a reward: a feast to celebrate a merging of the tribes.

Because
Raro went into the merge with 5-4 advantage in members, the former
members of that tribe — save Jonathan — were feeling overconfident.
At the feast, the “Raro kids,” as Jonathan called them, insisted on
getting “faded.” They drank too much beer and spent a good part of the
celebration throwing up.

After he was done puking, Adam started
hitting on Parvati, despite his already being on kissing terms with
Candice. He told Parvati that both women could share him, a statement
that struck Adam as immensely funny at the time. If he and Candice were
at home watching this week’s show together, I doubt she was laughing.

Jonathan thought the Raros were stupid for getting wasted, when an Immunity Challenge could come at anytime.

At
the camp of the newly formed Aitutonga tribe (formerly Raro’s camp),
Jonathan enjoyed an intelligent conversation. He discussed strategy
with Yul, namely the possibility of Jonathan re-aligning with his old
Aitu tribemates: Yul, Becky, Sundra, and Ozzy.

Though the topic
of the hidden immunity idol came up, Yul didn’t cop to having it.
Nearly every sentence in the discussion began with the word
“hypothetically.” (“Hypothetically, if I had the idol…”,
“Hypothetically, if you did…”, “Hypothetically, if you switched after
I told you I did…”, etc.).

In the end, Jonathan wouldn’t
commit to anything, since he didn’t want to commit to turning on the
Raros unless he was pretty sure Yul had the idol.

The season’s
first individual Immunity Challenge favored the lighter and more
dexterous tribe members. Contestants had to hang onto a 15-foot tall
pole, using bands of rope spaced at intervals for footholds. Once a
survivor slid down to the ground, that contestant was out.

Jonathan
complained to host Jeff that being relatively heavy and having large
feet put him at a disadvantage when standing on the thin bands of rope.

Yul,
who agreed with Jonathan, explained the physics of the challenge to
everyone. He lectured them about surface area relative to mass, saying,
“It’s why elephants can’t run up trees.” He ended his nerdy soliloquy
with the sentence, “I’m never gonna get a date again.”

Big boys
Adam and Jonathan dropped within 15 minutes, and before the first hour
was over, there was only one man left in the challenge (Ozzy) and
several women. After 90 minutes, it was down to Candice and Ozzy.

A
downpour forced Candice to shift for a better position, and like
everyone before her, that was the beginning of the end. She moved down
to the next rope band, and when she couldn’t get a stable foothold, she
was forced to move even lower.

Candice’s feet hit the ground, and Ozzy won immunity from that evening’s vote.

Back
at camp, Yul told Jonathan that he was in possession of the secret
Immunity Idol from Exile Island. To prove it, he showed the idol to
Jonathan. That confirmed for Jonathan the precarious position he was in.

At
Tribal Council, the Raro tribe would certainly vote for Yul, (the
biggest threat from the the Aitus) and he would produce the Immunity
Idol. That would mean the elimination of the person with the
second-highest number of votes. If Jonathan failed to align with the
members of Aitu, Yul promised they would all vote for him.

Jonathan
told Yul he would think things over. He then contemplated having to
betray everyone on his new tribe, after just recently betraying
everyone on his old tribe when he switched teams a few weeks back. In
an interview, he said, “Either way, I’m a complete bastard.”

Jonathan
then went to feel out the mood among his old Raro tribemates, by asking
them to consider the possibility that Yul had the secret Immunity Idol.

Nate,
Parvati, Adam, and Candice were adamant that there was no way that Yul
could have the idol, since he’d only spent one night on Exile Island.
After all, Adam, Candice, and Jonathan had all spent time on the
island, and none of them had been able to find it.

That foolish
reasoning (They didn’t realize that the reason they couldn’t find the
idol was because Yul already had it!) confirmed for Jonathan that he
was aligned with a bunch of nitwits.

So, Jonathan decided to
backstab the Raros, only weeks after backstabbing the Aitus by
deserting them. At Tribal Council that night, he joined his old Aitu
tribemates and voted Nate out of the competition and into the jury.

Jonathan’s
flip was a smart move, it was the right move, and — for viewers — it
was the most interesting and satisfying move. But it could put Jonathan
in a real tough spot with the jury, should he make it to the final two.
As he’s all too aware, he’s now turned on everyone at least once.

After the vote, Candice, Parvati, and Adam gaped in amazement, and Jonathan avoided their gaze by staring upward.

Nate knew exactly who had switched allegiances. In his closing comments, he said, “Jonathan, you can kiss my ass!”

Next
week, the former members of Raro are enraged by Jonathan’s betrayal.
But vengeance is his, as he and his industrious Aitu allies refuse to
share the food they gather.

TAR 10: Episode 10

The Chos learned a valuable lesson on this week’s episode of The Amazing Race.
If you frequently stop to ask for directions, you will reach your
destination. However, you’ll probably also finish in last place and be
eliminated.

Beginning right where last week’s episode
ended, Tyler & James were the first team to finish the frightening
face-first rappel down the tower at Olympic Park in Helsinki, Finland.
They opened their next clue, in which they found cash and learned that
they were only halfway through this double-length leg of the race.

The
clue instructed them to fly to the capital city of the country in which
the Chernobyl nuclear disaster took place. As they drove to the
airport, Tyler fumed that the other teams would most likely catch up to
them there and level the playing field.

But before that could
happen, the other teams still had to complete their descents down the
tower. Dustin & Kandice did so with relative ease. Heading to the
airport, the team discussed what they remembered about Chernobyl.
Dustin said, “I know it’s where the atomic bomb went off.”

Rob
& Kim were the third team to reach the ground and receive their
clue. As he drove to the airport, Rob exclaimed, “We’re going to
Russia!”

Erwin learned the hard way why the racers wore helmets
on the rappelling task. He lost his footing and swung around, hitting
hit head on the tower. He wasn’t able to get back in the proper
position, and so he spent a good deal of his descent scraping his
helmet along the wall.

At the airport, Tyler & James learned
from the ticketing agents that Chernobyl was in Ukraine, and that the
capital was Kiev. Unfortunately for them, the first flight there was at
8:45 the following morning, which left plenty of time for the other
teams to book their flights.

Tyler & James and Dustin &
Kandice booked the 8:45 flight, which connected in Vienna and was
scheduled to arrive in Kiev at 1:35 p.m.

All of the other teams
got on another flight that connected in Warsaw and was also scheduled
to arrive in Kiev at 1:35. Because of a delay, the Warsaw-Kiev flight
landed approximately 30 minutes after the first flight, giving Tyler
& James and Dustin & Kandice a bit of a buffer.

When the
teams arrived, they jumped in their cars: old Russian sedans of
indeterminate make and model that reminded Kandice of her first car, a
’64 Falcon. A clue inside the car contained directions written in
Ukranian. Dustin read the Cyrillic lettering as, “Ta hocka bocka wocka.”

The
clue directed them to a tank training academy run by the Ukrainian
army. Most of the teams hired cab drivers to read the directions and
guide them there. Erwin & Godwin did not.

Instead, they
stopped, repeatedly, to ask for directions. This was bad news for Lyn
& Karlyn, who were following the Chos. They grumbled about the Cho
strategy until, finally, the Chos gave in and hired a cabbie as well.

At
the tank school, a Roadblock awaited the contestants. Representing
their teams, James and Dustin hopped in a pair of Soviet era T-64 tanks and drove though a mile-long obstacle course. Dustin skillfully navigated the course, passing James along the way.

James,
on the other hand, struggled to keep his tank moving. And when it was,
it crashed into Dustin’s. She plowed through a huge mud puddle
smoothly, but when James hit the same puddle, a wave of muddy water
splashed into his tank, drenching him.

The next clue directed
teams back to Kiev, where they need to find an apartment building and
pick up a clue from the tenant in apartment 33.

As both teams
drove back, they passed Rob & Kimberly heading to the Roadblock.
Tyler & James stopped to point Rob & Kimberly to the training
center. Seeing this gesture of friendship, and aware of the Chos
alliance with the ‘Lyns, Dustin said, “We don’t have any friends.”

At
the school, Rob wished he’d chosen to drive the tank, which did look
like a lot of fun. But, instead, Kimberly raced around the course,
finishing well before the last two teams arrived.

Driving back
to Kiev, their car overheated. Rob & Kimberly had to wait for a new
car to be delivered, though they were still able to keep their lead
over the Chos and ‘Lyns.

Godwin and Lyn did the tank driving for
their teams. Godwin finished first between the two, because, as Lyn put
it, she drove “like a blue-haired lady on a Sunday drive.”

Keeping
true to their alliance — and despite being in a race to avoid last
place — the Chos decided to wait for Lyn to finish, so the teams could
return to Kiev together.

In Kiev, the Beauty Queens and Male Models got their next clue from a kerchief-clad babushka in apartment 33. It was a Detour: “Make the Music or Find the Music.”

In
Make the Music, teams had to create a rap song about the countries
they’d visited on the race. They then had to perform the song at a
dance club. Their judge was Kiev’s top rap star — a guy that looked
like a Nascar driver who’d mugged Kevin Federline for his clothes.

In
Find the Music, teams went to the National Music Academy and searched
thousands of pages sheet music, looking for Tchaikovsky’s “Concert
Fantasy.” Then, they had to search over 100 practice rooms for one of
six pianists who could perform the piece for them and hand them the
next clue.

Dustin & Kandice picked Make the Music and went
to the club, where they put on their own rap gear, which was as cheesy
and gaudy as you’d probably assume. Dustin said, “I wish I knew how to
pretend I was a rapper… like stick your hands in your pants.”

During
their performance, the Beauty Queens rapped about one of the tasks in
Kuwait: “By the time it was over, we looked like hags.” The Ukrainian
rap star approved of their rhymes, and he handed them a clue sending
them to the Pit Stop, which was in the shadow of a sword-weilding
statue at Kiev’s Great Patriotic War Museum.

Over
at the conservatory, Tyler & James had put on tuxedos to search the
stacks of sheet music. Finding the piece was easy, but searching the
practice rooms was not. They interrupted a number of violinists and
singers before finding a pianist who was waiting to play for them.

The
models listened until she finished playing the entire piece, then
changed back into their less-formal racing attire. They arrived at the
Pit Stop first, earning the Models a trip to Puerto Vallarta. Dustin
& Kandice weren’t far behind.

Rob & Kimberly decided to
take on the rap challenge. Kimberly wrote lyrics while Rob drove to the
club. Rob asked, “Are you gonna make it funny?”

Kim replied, “I don’t know. Whatever. I’m just gonna rhyme.”

Erwin
& Godwin were still driving to the apartment building, stopping to
ask for directions whenever they had even the slightest doubt about
where they were going, which was often.

Lyn & Karlyn knew
they could make better time on their own, so they and they drove away
from the guys at one of their frequent stops.

Godwin cursed when
he realized they’d been ditched. Erwin just said, “We’re disappointed.
Our alliance with team Alabama is over.”

After both teams got their clues from the apartment, Lyn & Karlyn went to rap, and the Chos headed to the conservatory.

Meanwhile, Rob & Kimberly finished up their lackadaisical rap and reached the Pit Stop in third place.

Lyn
& Karlyn were much more enthusiastic, stretching out their rap with
the occasional “Yeah, boy!” Lyn was flowin’ with lyrics like, “We had
to travel far and foreign talk,” and “Madagascar, ahhhhhhhhh!”

They
got their clue and hired a cab to lead them to the Pit Stop. On the
way, Karlyn said of her former allies, “Hopefully, the Cho brothers are
lost.”

Erwin & Godwin had an easy enough time at the
conservatory, but they decided not to hire a cab to guide them to the
Pit Stop. Consequently, they drove onto a street that was closed for
pedestrian use only, and they were stopped by the police.

In scary Soviet-era fashion, the officer told the Chos to get out of their car. He then demanded, “Show all documents.”

By
the time the Chos reached the Pit Stop, the sky was dark and all of the
other teams were long gone. When Phil told the brothers they’d been
eliminated, he asked about their “nice guy” strategy. Godwin sobbed,
“We wanted to run the race the way we were raised.”

Next week,
James has a rough time trying to drive a chariot. And Lyn & Karlyn
get excited about a chance to Yield the Beauty Queens.

Cook Islands: Episode 10

The Raro tribe set Rebecca up to fail in this week’s Survivor Immunity Challenge. And when she did, they voted her out. But Rebecca didn’t leave alone. In a surprise twist, Raro had to vote out a second member, and Jenny was the unlucky victim.

The episode began at Raro, where Jonathan regretted switching from Aitu last episode. Because he was no longer aligned with anyone, he called himself “a wandering Jew without a tribe.”

When the teams fetched their Reward Challenge treemail, they received a board displaying nautical flags and their corresponding letters. Aitu, correctly guessing that they would need to memorize the code, studied the board rigorously.

At the Reward Challenge, two large compass roses had been placed on the beach. Each tribe sent a pair of teammates to dig up a chest near a specified direction on the rose (e.g., North-Northeast). On each chest was written another direction, where a second pair from each tribe would find another chest. And so on.

Once a team had dug up four chests, they opened them to find a total of seven nautical flags inside. The first team to correctly spell the word “victory” with their flags won the reward: a feast with a local tribe.

Because Aitu only had four members (Yul, Sundra, Ozzy, and Becky) and Raro seven, Raro had to sit out three people.

For some reason, Raro chose to sit out Nate, Parvati, and Rebecca for the Reward Challenge. This meant that all three of those members would, by Survivor rules, have to participate in the vastly more important (if a bit less filling) Immunity Challenge.

Though Nate and Parvati had performed well in previous challenges, Rebecca had yet to distinguish herself in a single one. Plus, this challenge involved no swimming, Rebecca’s biggest weakness. So saving her for the Immunity Challenge seemed, well, really stupid.

Pairs were evenly matched during the first round of the challenge, when Jonathan and Jenny dug up their first chest just seconds after Yul and Sundra uncovered theirs.

But then things fell apart. Adam and Candice couldn’t decide which point of the compass represented East-Southeast. Nate and Parvati watched from the sidelines in disbelief. Raro fell behind and never recovered. Aitu solved their puzzle before Raro even unearthed all their chests.

When Jeff Probst asked Aitu which member of Raro they’d be sending to Exile Island, Yul counted, “One, two, three…” and the whole team said, “Candice.” Aitu clearly had neither forgotten nor forgiven her defection from their tribe several days earlier.

On Exile Island, Candice cried and ate sea cucumbers. She sobbed, “It’s not fun to know that people that you like want to see you suffer.”

Aitu flew in a private plane to their feast, which was held on a nearby island. They were greeted in dramatic fashion by a tribal chief, who yelled a friendly greeting in a voice that sounded more like a threat. Tribesmen then carried the stunned members of Aitu on litters and sang to them with some pretty impressive harmonies.

The food looked great, but it was the entertainment that proved the most compelling part of the visit. Some of the hunkier tribesmen danced with Becky and Sundra, and two cute young women kissed Ozzy on the cheek.

Yul, who was trying to keep a low profile, was targeted by two of the biggest women in the tribe. They gave him a sort of island lap dance before picking him up and sandwiching him between them. Everyone laughed, as the usually serious Yul danced with his new friends. But the minute he was let loose from his whirling, fleshy prison, Yul collapsed to the ground and tried to bury his head in the sand.

Meanwhile, at Raro, Jonathan caught fish in an attempt to prove his worth to his new tribe. Though he’d been a schemer on Aitu, he was now stuck in a much more submissive role.

As Jonathan fished, his tribemates discussed voting strategy. Jenny felt Rebecca wasn’t contributing enough in challenges. Adam worried that Jenny was (correctly) suspicious of his relationship with Candice. And everyone considered getting rid of Jonathan — which had been the original plan when he joined their tribe.

Before the Immunity Challenge, the teams received another study guide: a map naming the islands of the Pacific. Because Rebecca was having some trouble memorizing the island names, Parvati trained her with some clever mnemonics.

For the challenge, tribe members swam one at a time to a group of four floating pontoons. After unhooking a bundle from under one of the pontoons, the tribe member swam back to shore.

Once the last bundle reached shore, teams untied them to find ten wooden slats with the names of island groupings written on them. The tribe that first placed the slats next to their corresponding locations on a map won immunity.

Ozzy and Nate started by swimming to the farthest pontoon for their respective tribes. The race was close until the last pontoon, when it came down to Sundra and Rebecca.

Sundra was back to shore before Rebecca could even untie her bundle. Raro had barely unwrapped their bundles before Aitu solved the puzzle.

Jeff Probst had a special item for the losing tribe: a sealed bottle with a note inside. Raro was to bring the bottle with them to Tribal Council. It wouldn’t be opened until after the vote.

At camp, Raro speculated that the note inside contained details on a merge. And they agreed that Rebecca needed to go home.

At Tribal Council, Raro did vote Rebecca out. And then it was time to open the mystery bottle.

Jeff asked Parvati to unseal the bottle and read the note inside. It had nothing to do with a merge. Instead, it instructed the tribe to vote out a second tribe member.

Nate mourned Raro’s loss at the challenge, knowing that a win would’ve reduced Aitu to two members. He grumbled, “Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Spilled milk!”

The tribe voted again, without any further discussion, and the results were two votes for Jonathan, and four votes for Jenny. She was unpleasantly surprised, and in her anger, she flipped her tribe the bird as she walked away.

In her closing comments, Jenny said, “I am completely pissed off. I feel completely burned.” Poor Rebecca got no closing comments at all.

Nate, who’d cast the other vote for Jonathan, looked surprised as well. Suddenly, he was the only non-white member of his tribe.

Next time, Jonathan gets fed up with doing all of the work around Raro’s camp, Yul tells Ozzy about his Immunity Idol, and Adam and Candice suck face.

DwtS 3 Finals: Results Show

First, a quick note to all MOIB readers. We can’t thank you enough for reading us, writing to us, and otherwise supporting us this season. We’ll be posting plenty of off-season DwtS updates and (hopefully) interviews over the next several months — so please stop by every now and then. And, of course, we’ll be back in full swing when the new season starts up. Thanks again!

Even after his retirement from football, Emmitt Smith is still earning
trophies. And Cheryl Burke’s record on Dancing with the Stars remains unblemished.
Emmitt & Cheryl won the final audience vote and, as a result, were
handed the DwtS 3 mirrorball.

After
a recap of the previous night’s performances, Tom Bergeron announced that each finalist couple would be dancing an encore this week. From their three
performances, the judges asked Emmitt & Cheryl to reprise their
Samba, and Mario & Karina danced their Freestyle.

It
was then time for a final update from Slim-Fast Challenge contestant
Tysonia. After her months of dancing, she says she lost 15 pounds and
got a promotion at work. Since the show spent so much time covering
Tysonia’s journey, I was surprised that she wasn’t asked to perform at
tonight’s live show.

Next up was a recap of the show’s early
eliminations — and a medley of dances by those eliminated stars.
Tucker & Elena performed their Cha Cha Cha, Shanna & Jesse
danced their Mambo, Harry & Ashly their Tango, and Vivica &
Nick their Paso Doble. Near the end of the routine (around the 2:40 mark of the video below), you could see the
show’s emcee at the bottom of the screen, encouraging the audience to
cheer.

After a commercial break, the rest of the ousted couples
performed. Willa & Max danced their Rumba, Sara & Tony did
their cowboy Jive, Jerry & Kym donned their ridiculous outfits for
the Samba, Monique leaped off of the stage into Louis’s arms for their
Jive, and Joey & Edyta performed their Fox Trot. As the couples
took their bows, Max blew a kiss to the camera.

The highlight of
those performances was Monique. Even in tonight’s brief routine, she
had tremendous speed and accuracy. By re-dancing a routine she’d
originally performed in the third week, Monique showed just how much
she’d improved over the course of the show.

The dance medleys
were followed by a package of interviews with the family and friends of
the remaining dancers. Former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete said, “My
highlight is to really see what outfit [Emmitt’s] going to wear. It’s
certainly not an outfit he would wear on a regular night out.”

Emmitt replied, “A man in pink looks strong. That’s a man that’s confident!”

Ryan
Seacrest had thoughts about the clothes in which Mario’s danced. “It’s
made me a little uncomfortable to see some of the outfits he’s been
wearing on the show.”

Eva Longoria was also concerned. “I said,
‘Mario, do not let them put you in these tight pants and tight shirts.’
Then he started getting all these votes, and I said, ‘Mario, keep
wearing the tight pants and the tight shirts. It’s working!'”

George
Lopez had his own reason for wanting Mario to win. “The trophy, it’s
kind of like this disco ball. We’re Latinos. It would look brilliant in
our living rooms.” George added, “Mario, I think, finally, you got
people to forget Saved by the Bell.” Never, George. We will never forget.

After
the clips, Tom walked over to the audience and asked each of the
eliminated celebrities to name a favorite memory from the show.

Tucker: “The chair. I loved the chair.”

Shanna: “Besides dancing to Kris Kross, Jerry smacking the guitar on the stage.”

Harry:
“Dancing with Ashly every night, and looking out and seeing my wife
Lisa cheering me on even when I was less than perfect.”

Vivica: “Making some new friends and dancing with Nick.” Tom asked Vivica if they stay in touch, and she answered dryly, “No.”

Willa: “The week of the Waltz, when my grandmother came to watch me.”

Sara: “Making a lifelong friend in Tony.”

Jerry
(sporting his Evil Puffy Shirt): “When they said I could keep the
shirt.” After the laughter from the professional dancers in the row
behind him died down, he said, “Katie being there, that was the best.”

Monique:
“Definitely having my mom in the audience, but also the day that I
found out that Jerry Springer was my dad.” Kym raised her eyebrows in
shock, while Tony and Max roared with laughter. Jerry kept a straight
face and just shook his head.

Joey: “Just having my wife, my mom
here, and my whole family get so involved in this whole thing. It’s
just been a really great ride for all of us.”

As Joey spoke, you could still hear Tony and Max cackling at Monique’s comment.

Because
of her dancing tonight, and the joke about Jerry being her dad, I am
suddenly awaiting the next Monique Coleman project. She just earned
herself a new fan.

In a nice package of clips, Emmitt &
Cheryl talked about what their time together had meant to each of them.
“We’ve just become such good friends,” said Cheryl. “Like brother and
sister.”

Emmitt clarified, “I’m the big brother.” Turning to
Cheryl, he said, “Thank you for pushing me, even when I did not want to
be pushed. I love you, and I thank you, once again, for being a
friend.” Cheryl teared up at Emmitt’s heartfelt comments.

Mario
& Karina’s clips package followed. About their weeks of training,
Karina said, “There was days when you want to kill the other half —
slowly and painfully.” But she said of Mario, “I think of him as my
castle, my wall of protection. He’s unbelievable.”

And of Karina, Mario said, “She’s my stand up comedian. She’s my friend. She’s my little dictator.”

Finally,
with only a couple minutes of showtime remaining, Tom announced the
winners: Emmitt & Cheryl. Emmitt took the glamorous mirrorball
trophy and held it over his head. Though clearly disappointed, Mario
& Karina just smiled and shrugged to their friends in the audience.

The
show’s tight schedule allowed precious little time for interviews with
the winners and runners up. Emmitt addressed Mario and said, “To you,
my friend, I appreciate you very much. You’ve been a true gentleman.”

When Samantha asked a teary-eyed Karina to say a few words about Mario, she said, “He is my true champion.”

A
trickle of glitter fell from the sky, and the season’s celebs and pros,
led by Vivica & Nick, ran out to congratulate the champs. As the
final credits rolled, the band played “We Are the Champions,” and Jerry
Springer danced with one of Emmitt’s daughters.

DwtS 3 Finals: Performance Show

After this week’s Performance Finale, Emmitt and Mario are in a dead heat. It’s up to the fans to decide who will win Dancing with the Stars 3.

Take Our Poll

Tonight’s show brought all of the stars to the ballroom, including DwtS alums Joey McIntyre, George Hamilton, Stacy Keibler, Lisa Rinna, and Harry Hamlin. Friends of the celebrity finalists, like Tiffani Thiessen and Marcus Allen, were also in attendance. Someone even let Jose Canseco into the ballroom.

But, in honor of the special occasion, the families of the dancers got the best seats in the house. Emmitt’s wife and kids, Mario’s parents, and Cheryl’s mom, Sherri, all had front row seats to the final competitive performances of the season.

The show started with clips of Emmitt’s and Mario’s performances, week by week. The highlight of the reel was a montage of the many times that “good friends” Mario & Karina have been caught kissing on camera.

Round One – “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder
In a DwtS first, both couples danced to the same song: Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” Judge Len Goodman noted that Quickstep, Mambo, Samba, and Cha Cha Cha would all work to the song. Both couples elected to do the Samba. In a way, this was too bad. By ignoring the Quickstep option, there were no Ballroom routines included in tonight’s competition, only Latin and Freestyle.

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Samba
The outfits for this routine were priceless. Cheryl’s dress looked like it was covered in peacock feathers, and Emmitt’s sleeveless shirt and shoes were in a matching peacock green. It was a solid, if not standout, routine that started slow and improved as it went on. Lisa Rinna — who usurped my old seat this week — danced wildly in her chair, and it was hard not to focus on her, since she was wearing a zebra-print dress.

Len said, “At my age, it takes a lot to get me excited. I’m like a dog with two tails. That did not disappoint me in any way.” Bruno said, “What a way to start this incredible final.” Carrie Ann told Emmitt, “What’s so great about you is… you’re the everyday man who became a dancer in front of our eyes.”

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 30/30




Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Samba
Mario followed up Emmitt’s well-executed Samba to “Sir Duke” with his own well-executed Samba to “Sir Duke.” Who did a better job is a matter of personal preference. And, for this round, I preferred Mario & Karina’s dance. To me, it looked like the more sharply executed of the two routines.

Carrie Ann said, “For the first time, I really saw you actually enjoying yourself completely. You rose to a new level tonight.” Len said, “It was clean, it was precise, it had good rhythm. You messed up the running promenade. You got off on the wrong foot.” Bruno said, “That was scintillating. It was a very complicated technical routine, and you took a great chance coming into the finals and going for it with such a difficult routine.”

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 29/30




Round Two – Favorite Dances

Emmitt & Cheryl – Mambo (Week 7)
This Mambo earned them a 29 the first time they performed it. Emmitt’s kids flew out to L.A. to watch their dad perform. Offering encouragement, on of Emmitt’s daughters said, “You have a lot more fans than Mario. He might have dimples, but you’ve got style.”

Emmitt’s shimmy was out of control — in a good way. He and Cheryl had great execution and no mistakes, which is all they needed to do to earn perfect scores.

Bruno told Emmitt, “You must be driven and empowered by the muse of dance. The ease by which you come out here and charm everybody is astounding.” Carrie Ann said, “You mastered the technique, and you entertained the crowd.” In regard to Cheryl, Len said, “This girl should get an MVP: Most Valued Partner.”

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 30/30




Mario & Karina – Paso Doble (Week 4)
Mario fell at the end of the dance the first time he and Karina did it, and it still earned 29 points. Mario’s mother said that, if her son doesn’t win Dancing with the Stars, “Mama will make him a trophy.”

Mario really looked like he was feeling the the dance. I don’t know if I appreciated how cool the routine was the first time I saw it. Mario didn’t fall at the end, and the effect was more dramatic than the original performance.

Len called the routine “so great. Full of fire. Full of passion.” Bruno called Mario, “The Latin Thunderball! Like a storm over the sun-baked Spanish plain.” Bruno gestured wildly, mimicking moves from the Paso. Eventually, Len had to restrain him. Carrie Ann said, “This dance embodies what you’re best at. Your lines were beyond perfection.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 30/30




Round Three – Freestyle

Emmitt & Cheryl
Cheryl believes that her Freestyle with Drew last season won them the competition. Drew and his wife, Leah, visited Emmitt & Cheryl during practice to offer encouragement. Emmitt & Cheryl’s Freestyle routine left Drew in stitches. “Why?” you ask. Because…

…Emmitt & Cheryl danced their Freestyle to “U Can’t Touch This,” by MC Hammer. They dressed in gear reminiscent of the original video — including long-rise Hammer pants for Emmitt — and they copied a lot of Hammer’s famous moves. To heighten the danger factor, they included four challenging lifts. The lifts weren’t perfect, but they looked tough.

What the routine may have lacked in technical excellence, it more than made up for in entertainment. This is the one dance in the entire competition where the sole goal is to please the audience, and Emmitt & Cheryl did just that. It was an inspired choice. And the singer who performed it did as credible a job as can be done with MC Hammer.

Carrie Ann told Emmitt, “You just put MC Hammer to shame. It was what you do best.” Len told Emmitt, “If there was a prize for my dancing hero, you’d win it. It was the cherry on the cake.” Bruno said, “That was the hammer, the chisel, and the shovel. I never thought I’d see the running man again. But you missed a little on the second lift.”

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…9 = 29/30




Mario & Karina
Mario & Karina were sad that their dancing partnership was coming to an end. But Mario was at least relaxed about the lifts in their routine. He dropped Karina on her head in practice a few weeks ago, so it would be hard to do much worse than that.

Mario & Karina danced to another hit of the late ’80’s: “It Takes Two,” by Rob Base. That meant that one of the singers had to spend the entire song yelling, “Yeah…woo!” repeatedly. Mario’s white pants and tank top were fine, but Karina’s hip-hop flapper look was odd.

While their dancing was executed well, Mario & Karina didn’t quite go “free” enough in their Freestyle. Mario did some breakdancing, but they only did a couple of lifts. And, at times, Karina almost seemed to defer to Mario, rather than dance with him. Overall, it seemed more a showcase for Mario alone. Granted, the couple had a very tough act to follow, but I expected something a little more exciting or daring from them.

Bruno called the performance “a hit parade on the dance floor.” Carrie Ann said, “That was it. That was the best dance that I have seen this season.” Len said, “If that dance was a film, you’d win an Oscar.”

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 30/30




Both couples ended the evening tied with 89/90 points. That means that this season’s winner will be decided entirely by viewer votes.

My vote tonight went to Emmitt & Cheryl. In my opinion, Mario & Karina had a slightly better Samba. And the second round dances were pretty much a wash, though I still might give the edge to Mario.

But dancing to “U Can’t Touch This” was such a savvy choice by Emmitt & Cheryl — and the routine was so fun — they swayed my vote in their favor. It was a move designed to steal all of the attention away from the other couple, and it did just that. Emmitt & Cheryl get extra points just for knowing how to play the game better than anyone else.