Monthly Archives: November 2006

DwtS Extra: Front Row at DwtS

When I envisioned attending a taping of Dancing with the Stars, I never dreamed I’d wind up as a VIP in the front row, seated next to the President of Zambia…

What makes me a VIP? Well, nothing, except that I know some very generous people. Imee DuBose, webmaster of StrictlyCheryl.com and MOIB’s occasional behind-the-scenes reporter, had arranged for four seats to the show in the name of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia. When his party only needed three of the seats, Imee graciously submitted my name for the fourth.

Dr. Kaunda, an 82-year-old ballroom aficionado, was in Los Angeles representing the Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation. His organization works to end the scourge of poverty and AIDS in Zambia, and he was brought to California to address those issues by Project Concern, a not-for-profit organization working globally to prevent disease.

But Tuesday night was for lighter things, like watching celebrities dance.

I arrived at the CBS Studios at 3:05 p.m. PST. Once past security, my husband/chauffeur, Greg, dropped me off at Studio 46. I got my hand stamped and turned over my cell phone and camera to the security agents guarding the audience holding area. While seated on a bench, I started to get the feeling I wasn’t in the right place.

I was with the general audience (gasp)!

So I grabbed my electronic devices, headed around the corner to the VIP entrance, and checked in again, receiving a red Dancing with the Stars stamp on the inside of my wrist (so it wouldn’t show up on camera, I presume). I was handed a bracelet allowing me access to the Green Room after the show, and I stood in line with my fellow VIPs, waiting to enter the studio.

Other folks in line with me included a couple of contest winners from Nebraska and the mother of one of the camera operators.

During this time, I called Shawn Ruggiero from Project Concern, who assured me that Dr. Kaunda was on his way to the show, and that I was welcome to wait for them to arrive before entering the studio.

I checked with Heather the Audience Coordinator, and she told me I’d be seated with Dr. Kaunda at one of the floorside tables across from the judges. I decided to wait a bit longer for my companions, so I found a bench in front of the studio entrance.

As the VIPs with whom I’d been waiting filed into the studio, I noticed that it wasn’t until after 4 p.m. that the celebrities — like Ryan Seacrest, Elizabeth Berkley, and George Lopez — started to arrive. Just because they’re rich and famous, they think they’re entitled to skip the lines. They’re right.

Taye Diggs arrived and joined up with three gorgeous, thin, young women in short dresses and high heels — the kind of women you want to hate on principle. After checking IMDB, I’m pretty sure that one of the beautiful girls was Diggs’s Day Break co-star, Moon Bloodgood.

Then Adam Baldwin (one of Hollywood’s few non-Baldwin Brother Baldwins) showed up and joined the unofficial Day Break cast party. I confess that, at the time, I was secretly perturbed that Baldwin couldn’t psychically sense how much I’d liked him on Firefly. Some part of me expected him to come over and talk to me about the show. Not that I would’ve been able to speak.

It was closing in on 4:15, and I decided to enter the studio and find my seat. I stopped in the ladies’ room to ditch my nylons, which had inevitably ripped. Besides, it was 95 degrees in L.A., and no one else was wearing them anyway.

A page took me to my seat at the back of one of the floorside tables. I know it was my seat because it had my name on it. It seemed gauche to put the sign with my name on it in my purse. But, in retrospect, odds are pretty low that Elizabeth Berkley would have outed me as the Midwestern plebeian who stole the sign with her name on it. I should’ve taken it.

Noticing that I was alone at my table, a kind soul named Bill Virchis — who was sitting with George Lopez at the "Fans of Mario Lopez" table — took pity on me. Bill’s involved with the production of the upcoming Tango Ball in San Diego, and he was Mario’s high school wrestling coach. We talked about the studio’s deceptively small dance floor, and the special efforts the lighting crew takes to make sure the floor doesn’t reflect light into the dancers’ eyes.

During our conversation, Heather the Audience Coordinator came over and told me that she and her crew were rearranging some seats, and I’d be moving to the front of the table, right next to the dance floor.

It seemed to me that Heather and her crew have one of the hardest jobs at DwtS. Celebrities arrive later than the rest of the VIPs and regular guests, and it’s Heather’s job to make sure that there are good seats available for the bigwigs, but that none of the seats near the floor go empty if those bigwigs don’t show. She’s constantly considering possible scenarios, and adapting as necessary.

As I moved to the front row, I shot Bill a terrified glance, and he encouraged me to just have a good time.

Space near the dance floor is at such a premium that my legs were tucked behind a huge light fixture at the edge. My chair was placed right next to the one reserved for Dr. Kaunda, and there was just enough room to my right for a cameraman to sneak in between my seat and one at the next table.

It was already 4:30, a half hour before showtime, and barely half of the VIP table seats were filled. I was still the only attendee at my table.

Around that time, the warm-up emcee came out to entertain the audience and get us in the flow of the show. He introduced the judges, specifying that we give an especially huge welcome to Len. Apparently Len was concerned that Bruno and Carrie Ann had been getting bigger rounds of applause of late.

The judges took their seats and began looking over their notes. Len took a swig of Red Bull and then handed his can to Bruno for a sip.

Tom and Samantha came out next, and her dress was so long that she couldn’t walk without holding up the bottom of it.

When Bruno and Len left their seats for a few minutes, Tom sat in Len’s chair and talked to Carrie Ann. Even though I couldn’t hear the conversation, based on the hand gestures, I could tell that Tom was doing a dead-on impersonation of Len.

As we got closer to showtime, the remaining celebrities took their seats. The seats at the back of my table were occupied by sportscaster Rich Eisen and his wife.

Finally, at 4:55, President Kaunda and his two guests arrived — the last three VIPs into the ballroom. Tom came over and said hello, and then it was time for the show to go live.

A camera panned my row of tables as the whole studio audience clapped. This footage was inserted at the end of the dancer introductions, and then saved as insurance. It could be edited into the Pacific Coast broadcast in the event of a wardrobe malfunction.

The show began with 20 minutes of performance footage from past Results Shows, which we were able to watch on screens to the side of the stage. During the commercial breaks, the emcee acknowledged people in the audience celebrating their birthdays, including Samantha’s handsome husband, who probably sneaked into the show under his wife’s dress.

When the dancing finally got underway, the show was amazing. The colors are bright, and everyone looks fabulous. Little details, like the way the fabric in Cheryl’s Waltz gown never seemed to stop moving, jumped out at me.

Cheryl and Karina are both gorgeous in person, and all the dancers have perfect skin. But what blew me away was Edyta’s smile. Her smile lit up the whole room, and it never once faltered — whether she was on or off the dance floor. If I could emulate any of the pros, I think I’d pick Edyta, because she always looks genuinely happy.

During the commercial breaks, everyone cleared the dance floor. Tom often ran up to some seats to the right of the judges, where professionals Nick and Tony sat alongside some of the makeup artists. When necessary, the makeup techs sprinted from the audience to apply touch-ups to the hosts, stars, and judges.

Speaking of the judges, Carrie Ann had a rough night. The emcee encourages the audience to boo when they don’t like a judge’s comments, and Carrie Ann didn’t shy away from offering criticism, earning her the loudest boos.

Because the hosts’ and judges’ microphones aren’t amplified in the studio, the booing crowd couldn’t hear any of Carrie Ann’s positive follow-up comments. In the case of Mario’s Cha Cha Cha, everyone was surprised when she ultimately gave him a 10.

As soon as the show was over, the press descended on the dance floor. Tom and Len immediately went backstage and changed into jeans, while Bruno, Carrie Ann, and all of the dancers were interviewed. Samantha started her second job of the evening, interviewing her castmates as a correspondent for the E! Network.

Post-show dance floor

After retrieving my camera from security, I met up with Cheryl’s mom, Sherri Burke. When I introduced myself, she hugged me as if she’d known me for years. I think she gives everyone that impression. She knew all the security guards and pages by name, and she mingled effortlessly. It was almost as if she owned the studio, and we were her guests.

Sherri was accompanied by the Mayor of Atherton, California, Charles Marsala. He was happy to chat for a while, until he had to run off to his second shindig of the evening: Governor Schwarzenegger’s victory celebration.

Kathy, Sherri, and Mayor

Season One champ Alec Mazo was there, but I didn’t approach him, because he is very handsome and I am a coward. I did get the chance to talk with Music Director Harold Wheeler, who is quite handsome in his own right — just not Mazo handsome.

Mr. Wheeler said that the band has been rehearsing nonstop since the season began. Once the season ends, he expects a two week period of complete relief, until he starts to miss DwtS, which he said always happens.

It took over an hour for Emmitt & Cheryl to finish all of their interviews, and Cheryl had less than a minute for a few pictures, before she was whisked off to another media photo shoot.

Kathy and Cheryl

Now that the cast interviews had ended, the lights in the studio were turned off, signaling that it was time to head to the Green Room.

Sherri, Mayor Marsala, and I walked up to the Green Room for something to drink. Nick Kosovich was there, looking as "Nick" as you could possibly imagine: tall, suave, holding up a drink, and surveying the room with detached amusement. He was like an Aussie version of William Powell in The Thin Man movies.

Deciding I’d used up enough courage and karma for one evening, I called Greg for a ride back to our hotel. (Thanks to our Slingbox — which lets you connect to your home cable via the internet — Greg had watched the show’s live feed from a nearby Starbucks.)

We picked up a couple subs for dinner and arrived at the Ramada in time to catch some of the tape-delayed West Coast broadcast of the show. Tom introduced the President of Zambia, and I witnessed my television debut.

Kathy, Kaunda, and Lopez

(Thanks, Uncle Stu, for the video capture!)

As for who will win Dancing with the Stars 3, I have no idea. I generally don’t believe in momentum in sports, but I do think that Emmitt & Cheryl are the popular choice now and could have the edge.

But, after seeing the show live, I have a new appreciation for Karina. She’s such a talented dancer that, if she can create a superb freestyle routine, she and Mario have a good shot.

TAR 10: Episode 9

After fording Finnish swamps and riding bikes through a limestone mine, all the racers of The Amazing Race wanted was a nice Pit Stop — where they could get some rest and maybe do some laundry. But this week was only the first half of a two-part leg of the race.

Learning that teams would start this week’s leg by leaving Madagascar for Finland, Beauty Queen Dustin asked, “Don’t they wear wooden shoes there?”

Godwin Cho said he and his brother were running this leg “in memory of [David & Mary],” who were eliminated last week.

Erwin laughed at Godwin and said, “You make it sound like they’re in the grave!”

Teams
arrived in Helsinki on the same flight, and then made their way to an
internet cafe, where they were surprised to receive videos from home.
Viewers were surprised to learn that Erwin has a hot girlfriend.

The
cafe owner gave teams their next clue, directing them to travel 125
miles by train and taxi to a school with a typically difficult-to-spell
Finnish name. On the train, Kandice had to borrow beauty products from
Tyler, settling the debate: male models are more vain than beauty
queens.

The Beauty Queens and the Models grabbed the first cabs
they saw when exiting the train. The other three teams noticed that
there was a official queue of Finns waiting for taxis.

Rob &
Kimberly begged their way to the front of the line, and Lyn &
Karlyn just cut in front of everyone. As he and Erwin waited patiently
at the end of the line, Godwin mused, “Being polite sucks sometimes.”

Upon
reaching the school, teams found their next clue in a box at the edge
of a muddy field. They had their choice of Detours: “Swamp This or
Swamp That.”

In Swamp This, teams strapped on cross-country skis
and followed a one-mile course across the swampy, snow-free field. They
could finish the task quickly if they could master the technique.

In
Swamp That, teams completed an obstacle course on foot through the mud.
Though the Swamp That course was shorter, some the obstacles required
brute strength, and teams were more likely to get stuck waist-deep in
the mud.

Tyler & James opted for Swamp That, while Dustin
& Kandice strapped on their skis for Swamp This. How anyone could
turn down the chance to run a Finnish mud obstacle course is beyond me.

The
Models had an easy enough time swinging on ropes and crawling through
mud, until a steeplechase-style jump into a mud pit left James mired in
sludge. Once Tyler helped James free, they continued on to the next
phase, where one team member needed to carry the other.

Tyler
started out carrying James, but they switched halfway through.
Exhausted from their efforts, the final phase of the course — a run to
the clue box — slowed to a leisurely walk.

The next clue
instructed them to take a train 104 miles to the town of Turku, and
then drive another 70 miles to the Tytyri limestone mine in Lohja.

Just
to make sure the skiers didn’t stay totally clean, their course
included a similar steeplechase-style jump. Dustin landed on her rear,
complaining, “It’s gonna look like I pooed my pants.”

The Beauty
Queens reached the clue box shortly after the Models, but were able to
make up ground when Tyler & James took the time to change clothes
before getting into their cab to the train station.

Rob &
Kimberly gained a lead on the two remaining teams when Rob carried
Kimberly through part of the obstacle course at a brisk pace. In their
cab, afterward, Rob said, “I didn’t think I’d be able to carry you as
easily as I did!”

I can only assume that, as soon as he said that, Rob wished he could take it back.

When Kimberly asked the inevitable follow-up question — “Do you think I’m fat?” — Rob wisely kept his mouth shut.

Rob
& Kimberly just missed the first train to Turku, giving Dustin
& Kandice and Tyler & James a one-hour head start on the other
three teams.

At the mine in Lohja, teams encountered a
Roadblock. One team member had to ride a bicycle one mile down into the
mine, retrieve a limestone block, climb back up the mine, and break
open the block to find a clue. The ride down the hill was easy, but
everyone walked their bike back up the steep hill.

The clue
inside the rock instructed teams to drive 39 miles to Olympic Stadium
in Helsinki. Tyler & James arrived first, and the next clue told
them to rappel face-first down a tall tower attached to the stadium.

Tyler
went first, hoping to demonstrate the safety of the task to the fearful
James. James worked up enough courage to go through with the rappel,
but his technique suffered a bit.

Instead of walking his way
down the building, James’ legs hung free and he dangled in his harness
like an upside-down “V,” bent at the waist. He was forced to lower his
whole body weight using just his arms. The whole endeavor looked like a
Coast Guard helicopter rescue in reverse.

As James reached the
ground, Dustin & Kandice were about to start their descent, and the
other teams were arriving at the stadium. Tyler & James received a
clue informing them that this leg of the race wasn’t over, and that
they would need to keep racing.

Next week, teams get to drive
tanks through another swamp. And Lyn & Karlyn break away from the
Cho Brothers, ending the Six-Pack alliance for good.

Cook Islands: Episode 9

It would’ve been satisfying to see the scheming Jonathan get his comeuppance after foolishly ditching the Aitu tribe to join Raro. But Brad’s ouster may have set things up to be much more interesting in the coming weeks of Survivor: Cook Islands.

The day after Flicka was eliminated from Aitu, Candice opened up to the camera about her plans to ditch the rest of her tribe (including Jonathan) for her old buddies Parvati and Adam, once the two tribes merged.

Turns out, Candice didn’t need to wait for the merge to get her wish. At the Reward Challenge later that morning, Jeff Probst
offered all of the survivors ten seconds to decide whether they wanted
to “mutiny” — leaving their current tribe and joining the other.
Candice seized the opportunity and rejoined Adam and Parvati on Raro.

Once he saw Candice mutiny, Jonathan did the same, believing (incorrectly) that he and Candice had a strong bond. This gave Raro eight members (the four Caucasians, Nate, Rebecca, Jenny, and Brad), and left Aitu with only four (Yul, Becky, Ozzy, and Sundra).

The remaining members of Aitu were stunned by the defection, but they rallied during the Challenge.

Teams
placed two female members into a barrel and rolled them through an
obstacle course, collecting buoys along the way. At the shore, the
buoys clipped onto the barrel, and all tribe members floated with it
out to sea.

One team member dove below the water to grab four
flags before floating back to shore. The first team to clip their flags
to a pole and raise it won reward.

The race was over as soon as the tribes hit the water. Raro’s A-Team (Nate, Adam, Candice, and Jenny) quickly floated off course and never recovered. As Aitu raised their flags, Ozzy told Raro, “Mutineers are the first people to die.” Aitu then sent Candice to Exile Island.

For their Reward, Aitu
got to enjoy a letters from home and a breakfast of pastries. The
combination of the letters and the emotional win brought all of them to
tears. Yul reassured the group, “We’re a family out here.”

On Exile Island, Candice admitted that she hadn’t expected Jonathan to follow her to Raro. Now she was mad that he was bonding with her buddies, while she was alone.

But
things weren’t going well for Jonathan at camp. His arrival was met
with skepticism, and he was overly eager to please his new teammates.
He did all of the work around camp, while they lounged in the sun.

Nate
was happy to take advantage of Jonathan’s eagerness, knowing that it
wouldn’t win him any favor. Nate asked, “You think we’re gonna have
your back after you just sold out your old tribe? Are you dumb?”

Then it was time for the Immunity Challenge. All of Aitu participated, and the four Raro members who sat

Teams paddled glass-bottom boats over marks placed on the seafloor, using crosshairs
etched in the glass to line them up properly. Once lined up, teams
dropped cannonballs through a small chute. If aimed correctly, each
cannonball would land in a basket underwater. This released a pair of
buoys with letters painted on them.

After hitting three targets, teams rowed to shore with their lettered buoys and used them to solve a word puzzle.

Raro took an early lead, carefully lining up their boat and hitting their first two targets, while Aitu
struggled to figure out how to use their boat’s sight. But then Yul
realized that he could look straight down the cannonball chute instead,
and line up each basket quickly and accurately. His team had to shush
him when he nearly yelled out the secret in his excitement.

After that, Aitu soon hit their three targets and rowed to shore, while Jonathan missed Raro’s third target over and over again. When Jeff announced that Raro was having trouble, Jonathan muttered, “Oh, please.”

In his flat play-by-play voice, Jeff replied, “Jonathan getting frustrated by me.”

For
the word puzzle, teams had to rearrange their letters to form the name
of the ship on which the world’s most famous mutiny occurred. It took Aitu mere seconds to spell out “Bounty,” and the challenge was over.

Once Raro was back at camp, Parvati quickly sought out Candice to ask about her relationship with Jonathan. “How tight?”

Candice responded, succinctly: “Not tight.”

Jonathan
seemed the obvious boot, but Adam was concerned that Brad — who’d
previously said the game was “every man for himself” after the merge —
would side with Aitu as soon as he could.

Since
Jonathan had just betrayed his old tribe, Adam correctly figured
Jonathan had nobody to rely on. Adam convinced Nate that it couldn’t
hurt to drag Jonathan for a while, telling him which way to vote until
it was time to get rid of him.

Nate agreed with the plan, but he didn’t want Brad to suspect anything was up. So Nate hung out with Brad, saying they were “homies” and reassuring him that, after the merge, they would “chop [Aitu] like poop.”

At Tribal Council, Jenny made another colorful and crude promise regarding the Aitu tribe: “We’re gonna pick ’em off like zits.”

But before the zit picking and poop chopping, Raro had to vote out one of their own. Adam’s plan held, and Brad was voted out.

In
a twist on previous seasons, Brad became the first member of the jury.
That would make for a ten person jury, instead of the usual seven.
Something tells me there’s more to it than that.

Brad described Survivor as “The best, worst experience of my life.”

Next
time, Adam and Candice get smoochy, making Jenny nervous about the
strength of her tribe’s alliance. And Jeff introduces yet another twist
that could change everything. EVERYTHING!

DwtS 3, Week 9: Results Show

Mario and Emmitt have been fan favorites since the beginning of the
season, so it was no surprise that they earned spots as finalists for Dancing with the Stars 3. Still, it was sad to see Joey & Edyta go.

After
a brief rundown of last night’s performances, the judges asked Mario
& Karina for an encore of their Tango. Len said that the judges
finally agreed on which of the perfect-scoring routines to award the
encore “after hours of deliberation and three bottles of wine.”

Hey, look, the newest Bond girl is in the audience! Perhaps it’s because the latest James Bond movie comes out next week.

And
wouldn’t you know it, several of the pros just happened to choreograph
a demo dance to the James Bond theme song just in time for this week’s
show. Elena, Tony, Kym, and Max were joined by two of last seasons
pros, Anna Trebunskaya and Jonathan Roberts. It was good to see them
back again.

After the shameless promotion, Samantha interviewed
the remaining couples backstage. She recycled some of the questions
she’s been asking for weeks. Joey’s still working hard, and Mario’s
still feeling “the pressure.”

Emmitt said that Joey and Mario were so competitive, “They could play my sport.”

The
backstage interviews were followed by footage of interviews with
members of last night’s audience. Of Emmitt, one audience member said,
“Any man that can smile like that and make your panties fall off, he
deserves to be voted for.” (I must not have sat next to her; there was
no underwear on the floor by my table.)

Elizabeth Berkley was rooting for her former Saved By the Bell
castmate, Mario. And Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, first president of Zambia (and
my unofficial date for last night’s show), said he was impressed by all
of the celebrities. That’s the kind of stuff you’ve gotta say if you
want to be president.

After the interviews, we got a preview of some of the early rehearsals for the DwtS
Tour. Even though she’s not listed on the official tour website, Ashly
DelGrosso was at rehearsals, perhaps filling in for Karina while she
competes with Mario.

To build excitement for the tour, Max &
Willa, Harry & Ashly, Lisa & Louis, and Kym & Joey McIntyre
performed a fun jive to “Footloose.”

Slim-Fast contestant
Tysonia and her instructor Christian were in the audience tonight to
watch footage of her performance at the Pacific DanceSport
Championships. They finished their round in second place. According to
the DwtS board at Dance-Forums, the winning couple was pro Jeremy Gatlin and his student Mika Garrett.

Then, tonight’s special musical guests, Pet Shop Boys, performed “West End Girls” alongside some hip-hop mimes.

A
package of interviews with members of the media followed. Rachael Ray
said that the show is so popular, even the animal kingdom keeps up on
the show: “My pit bull definitely has an opinion about this.” Most of
the media members expressed more interest in the scandals associated
with DwtS (e.g., Shanna decking Paris Hilton, Sara Evans’ divorce, etc.) than in the show’s dancing.

Another
clip package featured the remaining participants talking about their
competitors. Edyta said that when Emmitt dances, “he looks very
masculine.”

“Joey’s a real nice guy,” said Mario. “And I think that comes across when he performs.”

And of Mario, Joey said, “Those routines that he does with Karina are perfection.”

Finally,
it was time for elimination. Mario & Karina were announced as the
first couple moving on to the finale. Then Tom announced that Joey
& Edyta had received the lowest number of audience votes, meaning
they were going home.

Tom asked the audience, “Have you ever seen as much unbridled enthusiasm as Joey brought to the dance floor?”

Of
Edyta, Joey said, “This is a great friendship. We’re gonna go on the
tour, and we’re gonna rock it out for 40 dates or so.” Joey tried to be
positive about his experience, but the smile was gone from his eyes. He
was obviously disappointed.

Samantha announced that next week,
the final two couples will dance their favorite routine from the
season, a new freestyle routine, and then both couples will perform
dances to the same song

As the show closed, Joey & Edyta danced their final dance to the comically insensitive “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.”

DwtS 3, Week 9: Performance Show

I was at the taping for this week’s Performance Show, so my hubby, Greg, took over the task of getting the videos recorded, prepped, and uploaded. And since he’s the only one of us who saw the show on TV, he wrote this recap. Later this week, I’ll be posting about seeing the show in person.

Ballroom Round

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Tango
Mario was glad to have the chance to pick this week’s dances and music. “I like having control of my destiny,” he said. He chose the Tango as one of his dances because he “got scolded for it before.” Mario went back to his hometown, Chula Vista, where he spoke to students and celebrated “Mario Lopez Day.”

Dancing to “Whatever Lola Wants,” Mario and Karina wore black outfits and serious expressions. They started their hold early on in the dance, and kept it throughout — a big change from their first Tango. Rather than exhibiting athleticism and showmanship, it looked like they focused on doing the dance properly, trusting their personality to come through.

Len started off stern, saying of the stars, “They’ve all got to up their game.” He quickly softened and told Mario, “That was your best dance…ever!” Bruno thought the routine was “Gutsy, intense, all gift-wrapped with beautiful technique.” Carrie Ann said, “That might be the best dance I’ve seen this whole season.”

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

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Waltz
Emmitt & Cheryl went to a NASCAR event to promote themselves and give Emmitt a chance to say, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” Cheryl was excited to do a Cha Cha Cha, because “Emmitt is so good at putting in his own funky moves.” Emmitt looked forward to the Waltz, because it would show off his versatility. He said, “You’re in the competition so you can become a champion.”

The couple danced to Billy Vera’s “At This Moment.” Emmitt wore a jacket with long tails, and Cheryl had on a beautiful, flowing dress. The routine was romantic and smooth, just like me. It sounded like the audience was cheering loudly throughout the entirety of the performance.

Len said it the dance was like a music box, in which “Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty used to go round and do a lovely waltz.” Carrie Ann said, “There’s an authenticity to you when you get out there and dance.” Bruno told Emmitt, “You’re turning into an American wonder. It’s like the Grand Canyon.”

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

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Quickstep
Joey said he and Edyta chose the Rumba because, the first time out, “we didn’t get the marks we wanted.” Conversely, they chose the Quickstep because they did it well the first time they tried it. Joey wanted to dress as a sailor and dedicate his dance to his Navy vet grandfather. Joey and Edyta went to Disneyland to rally support.

For their Quickstep, Joey and Edyta danced to “42nd Street.” As promised, Joey wore his sailor’s outfit, and Edyta wore what was, for her, a rather conservative dress. It was appropriate, but a little sad (for me). Their moves together were quick and sharp, and they were at their best when working together. Unfortunately, Joey broke into another one of his solo tap routines in the middle, which broke the momentum of the dance.

Of the routine, Bruno said, “Anchors aweigh! Full speed ahead!” Carrie chided the couple for Joey’s solo bit: “You broke the hold!” Len responded by saying, “Technically, you did break the hold. But, it was still in keeping with the dance. That deserves to go into the finals.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 29/30

Latin Round

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Cha Cha Cha
They danced to Weird Al Yankovic’s hit song, “Fat” — though this version had different lyrics that weren’t as funny. Karina wore shiny vinyl pants and a bikini top, and Mario had on a tank top and black slacks. I just happen to have both those outfits in my own wardrobe. Where their Tango was serious and restrained, their Cha Cha Cha was an athletic crowd-pleaser. There wasn’t a lot of interaction between the two dancers, but the routine very well danced. Mario did a bunch of Michael Jackson moves, though I don’t know what that has to do with Weird Al.

(Update: To save any more readers from sending us emails, I want to clarify that I was just kidding about Weird Al. I know the song was Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Thanks to those of you who’ve sent helpful messages.)

Carrie Ann said, “I took a point off because of the Michael Jackson. I added a point back because of the hot Cha Cha!” Len felt “there was too much popping and breakdancing, and not enough Cha Cha.” Bruno snarled, “When you’re good, you’re very, very good. And when you’re bad, you’re even better.”

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

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Cha Cha Cha
For their Cha Cha Cha, Emmitt wore a metallic shirt, and Cheryl had on an animal print dress. In this dance, Emmitt got to be Emmitt. Throughout the song, “Mustang Sally,” Emmitt showed off his big smile and smooth footwork. He worked a lot more with his partner than did Mario, and the routine was pure fun.

Bruno said, “The audience really eats you! You exude such joy. Irresistible.” Carrie Ann stood up and sang, “Ride, Emmitt, Ride!” Len told Emmit, “You did that dance in week one. I loved it, then. I love it ten times more, now.”

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

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Rumba
In a week where the couples got to choose their own music, Joey & Edyta inexplicably picked the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame.” Edyta wore a fringed skirt and metal bikini top (just like Princess Leia), and Joey was in dark pants and an open shirt. They did a solid job, like they always do, but I think this dance may have been their last. Joey might score the highest in real competitions, but he doesn’t play to the audience like the other two contestants.

Len told Joey, “I’ve always said you are a ballroom dancer, and not so much a Latin dancer. Tonight, you proved me wrong.” Bruno called Joey “a smoldering shapeshifter on the floor.” And Carrie Ann praised Joey’s partner for her teaching. “What an improvement. Edyta, you worked on his chest!”

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



Leaderboard:
1 (tie) – Everybody (59/60)

This week, my vote didn’t go to anybody. I’m a man. I don’t watch this dancing stuff.

(Okay, I voted for Emmitt. But I’m going to miss Edyta after she and Joey go home on Wednesday.)

DwtS Extra: Jerry Springer Interview

This past Friday, I had a chance to chat with Jerry Springer. Jerry was a great interview and a heck of a nice guy. We talked a lot about Dancing with the Stars, and a little bit about politics.

How are you feeling after your run on Dancing with the Stars?
My hair hurts. You know, it was more exercise than I was used to.

You didn’t have a strenuous regimen before doing the show?
Back in ’87, I think I did a knee bend. I do remember doing that. But I don’t think I’ve had any real exercise since then. I play golf, and back when I was younger I played sports. Most guys did. But I haven’t run around or done anything like that for years.

So when you signed up, how long did you think you were going to last?
One week. [The show’s producers] thought so, too. The hotel was only booked for the first week. I was joking around that, that first week, when you show up at the studio to find out if you’ve been voted off, I was the only guy that showed up with his luggage. I was sure I was going home.

I really was the worst dancer. But the people watching were really nice, and I guess they just liked to laugh at me falling over and they kept me on. But clearly, all of the others were better dancers than I am.

I don’t know about that. Tucker was no great shakes either.
Yeah, okay, I figured we were about even. I figured if I was gonna last, it would be between him and me.

The rest, they’re 35 years younger than me. They certainly were coordinated; they knew how to dance going in.

And it was important at the end. That’s why I kept going to the camera and saying, "Please, stop voting," because it would’ve ruined the show. Next year then, everyone would’ve just come on and joked around.

I think it’s important for the integrity of the show that I was voted off — that you let the final four be real dancers. I could be entertaining for a while, but at the end, it was a show about dancing, and it wasn’t appropriate that I was still on. That’s why I kept saying, "Please stop."

So you were being sincere when you asked fans to stop voting for you?
Yeah. I was just being honest the whole time. I said, "This is fun. I enjoy it, and I’m flattered. But it’s not fair."

Plus, these are young people at a really important part of their career. It could be a great boost for them; this could make them stars. So why should I get in the way? I’ve had my run. I’ve been lucky. Let one of the younger people give their career a boost.

You’ve already got the Jerry Springer Show on television, and Springer on the Radio on Air America.
I’ve been lucky. That’s why I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to be on in the first place. I just tried to be entertaining every week.

All of the cast members seem to get along really well. How much time did you spend together?
Starting Monday, we’d be together. I’d fly in on Sunday night or Monday morning, usually Monday morning I’d fly out there and then in the afternoon we’d have the blocking and then the dress rehearsal. Then Tuesday, we’d have the show and then Wednesday, the Results show. So I’d say Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we’d be together.

They were all really, really so nice to me, and I like them all. Every one of them had a great personality, and it was just nice. I’m sure they didn’t see me as a real threat, so it was pretty easy to be hangin’ with me. They weren’t worried that I’d come up with a trick step.

But, if they’d ask me questions — some advice about the business or what they’d be doing — I’d be helpful, of course. They were probably watching my shows when they were in high school, so that was kind of neat.

How often did you see Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris?
I would only see them on Tuesday and Wednesday, and they were really nice. So are the judges. The truth is, everyone associated with the show was really nice. No one had an attitude. For all the bad stories you hear about Hollywood, this was really a nice group. I don’t think we were overcome with any huge egos.

So you said you would fly out there. Where were you training? What was your work schedule like, accommodating the radio show and the TV show?
Well, the radio show I would do from whatever city I was in, but the TV show I would do in Chicago on Thursdays and Fridays, three shows a day. And then Saturday and Sunday we would rehearse, and Monday morning we would fly out to L.A. Because I’m going against the clock, that got me in around noon, and blocking was late afternoon.

So that was usually my schedule. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I’d do the radio show from out in L.A.

So where did you and Kym practice in Chicago, then?
The Fred Astaire Studio and the Arthur Murray Studio, downtown.

By the way, was that her idea for the ruffled shirt for the Samba?
Well, what happens is, they have a wardrobe coordinator, and as soon as the Results Show is over, they tell you what your next dance is for the week. So you have a meeting with the designers, and you talk about what the dance is and what you kinda wanna be looking, and you all discuss it.

Me, I just sat there. The only thing I kept saying was, "Think funny. Think funny." Because if I look like I’m taking it too seriously, it would be offensive to people.

Let’s be honest about this. The honest thing is, I don’t know how to dance. I’m gonna really try, but let’s try to entertain by putting some comedy into it. Make it an entertaining dance rather than an artistically perfect dance. So that’s what I did. We always thought, "What am I gonna look funny in?"

And those [practice clip] packages we do for the next week, I always tried to put some comedy into it.

And it seemed like Kym was really able to play off of you.
She was phenomenal. Phenomenal. She had the toughest job of any of the dancers.

In fairness, all the other pros are wonderful people and great dancers, but they got to dance with people who can dance. So they got to say, "Now we’ll do the split, and now we’ll do the lift, and now we’ll…" So they could just sit down at the drawing board and create this wonderful dance.

Well, she obviously couldn’t do that with me, so considering the limitations of what I could do physically, she was remarkable. And she’s got such a great attitude. She’s a real sweetheart.

Yeah. She’s been a great addition to the show, and I hope she comes back for another season. Now, regarding the other young woman in your life, it’s well known that you did the show for your daughter, Katie. Is she taking dancing lessons, too, in preparation for her wedding? Or does she already know how to dance?
No, she doesn’t. We’re all gonna take lessons someplace and learn how to do the Waltz together. I now know the basic steps, and I can show her, but I don’t trust myself as being a teacher. So I suggested, "Why don’t we go take dancing lessons together and learn it." So that’s what we’re gonna do.

What advice do you have for any fathers who might have to learn this stuff for their daughters’ weddings?
Try to do it in front of less people! You know, trying something in front of 30 million people probably wasn’t the smartest thing I ever thought about.

Are you and Kym going to be back for the finale?
Yes. And then there’s a national tour, which she’s gonna go on, and they’ve invited me to be on as many shows as I can be on. So I’ll see. Trying to balance everything, I’ve gotta figure out what cities I can get to.

I’ve already got my tickets for the Chicago show.
I’ll probably be at that one.

Switching gears, the big question is… Do you think Sherrod Brown’s going to be able to defeat Mike DeWine in your former political stomping grounds of Ohio?
Yeah, I think it looks like it. It’s not a slam dunk because of the great "Get Out the Vote" operation that the Republicans have, so they will always wind up doing a little better than what the polls show. But even if the gap is narrow, and it’s now seven points, my guess is that Sherrod will survive that.

I also think there really will be, and what happened today with that reverend, that really nullifies any concerns people had with what John Kerry had done for the Democrats. I think there is just now such national disgust with the current administration or whatever, I think it’s a sweep year. Every once in a while, it happens. And it’s happened to Democrats, too. It’s not always just bad Republicans. There’s a pendulum, and I think the pendulum’s ready to switch. I think we’re going back the other way.

Even if Saddam’s trial is decided by Monday, is that going to make any difference?
I don’t think it means anything because I don’t think it’s on anyone’s consciousness. People are wondering why we haven’t gotten Osama bin Laden. Saddam Hussein may be a pig, but he never attacked us.

Americans don’t go around saying, "God, I hate Saddam Hussein." That was someone we were told to hate, but there’s no instinctive feeling of animosity. People intellectually say, "God, this is a very bad person," but I don’t hang around anyone who starts a discussion with, "Oh, that Saddam Hussein…" It’s, "Why the hell are we in Iraq?" Some people think it’s good, some bad, but you never hear talk about Saddam.

So no, I don’t think that has any effect. Plus it looks a little too manipulated. To the extent that it has a political impact, I think it will backfire, because it looks like we talked them into announcing it two days before the election. It’s just so blatant.

Even if the judge did decide that’s when he was going to announce it, wouldn’t you call him and say, "You know what, it’s going to look awful. Couldn’t you just hold it off for a week until after the election?" And of course they would, so it’s clearly a political…it’s just so crass and obvious. But I don’t think it will any effect. No.

Thanks so much for the interview, Jerry!
Thanks, Kath. Take it easy.

TAR 10: Episode 8

Twice this season, Kentuckians David & Mary were the last team to
the Pit Stop. And twice, they’d been spared. This week, David &
Mary actually beat a team to the finish. But a 30-minute penalty bumped
them into last place — and off of The Amazing Race.

The
episode opened with teams leaving Mauritius for nearby Madagascar.
Beauty Queens Dustin & Kandice started out in first place, and
David & Mary were in last. The Kentuckians needed to finish in
first place this week, or else they’d suffer the aforementioned
30-minute penalty for coming in last place during the previous
episode’s non-elimination leg.

All the teams caught the same 11
a.m. flight to Madagascar, where they arrived to find a new twist in
the game: the Intersection. An Intersection forces two teams to work
together until informed otherwise.

Models Tyler & James
paired up with Dating couple Rob & Kimberly, forcing the distrusted
Beauty Queens to work with one of the members of the 6-Pack: The Chos,
the Alabama Moms, and David & Mary.

In this case, being
despised by their competitors worked in Dustin & Kandice’s favor.
Lyn & Karlyn and David & Mary paired up, leaving the Beauty
Queens to work with the younger, fitter Cho Brothers.

The clue
at the Intersection contained two clues: a Detour and a Fast Forward,
which could benefit (or not) the both teams attempting to complete it.

The
Intersected squad of Tyler & James and Rob & Kimberly opted to
go for the fast Forward. They rode to a market to discover they’d be
dining on a local delicacy: cow lips. Kimberly pointed out that the
cooked lips still had teeth and hair attached. Each person had to eat
an entire plate full of lips, and it wasn’t long before barfing ensued.

Because
other teams had already undertaken the Fast Forward, Lyn & Karlyn
convinced David & Mary to skip it and just go for the Detour.

Both
Bama/Tucky and Cho/Queens chose to do the Detour task “Long Sleep,” in
which teams needed to cover eight large, foam mattresses in fabric and
deliver them to house. No one chose the other task, which required
teams to make 28 sheets of decorative paper, using traditional methods.

The
Chos and the Beauty Queens had a relatively easy time carrying their
large mattresses through the narrow streets and alleys of Madagascar’s
capital city, Antananarivo. David & Mary and Lyn & Karlyn tried
to carry their mattresses in a single giant stack through traffic,
succeeding only in dropping the mattresses on top of unsuspecting
motorists.

Once the mattresses were delivered, teams received a
clue freeing them from working with their partner team and directing
them to a Roadblock. One team member needed to search through a market
for four rubber stamps — car, boat, plane, and train — sold by four
separate stamp dealers. The non-Roadblocking team member went ahead to
the Pit Stop to wait.

As Dustin and Godwin began their stamp
searches, Tyler & James and Rob & Kimberly were still munching
on cow lips. James discovered an unknown gift: an astounding ability to
eat large amounts of gross food quickly. He finished his lips well
ahead of Rob, who was followed by Tyler.

A crowd of locals
watched Kimberly throw up every few minutes, until she eventually ate
the last of her lips. Task completed, the team partnership was
dissolved, and both pairs drove to the Pit Stop in separate cabs.

But
moments before Tyler & James reached the Pit Stop at Andohalo
Cathedral, Dustin arrived and rejoined Kandice. They stepped on the mat
in first place, for the second week in a row. For finishing in first
place, they won a trip to Hawaii, complete with a helicopter tour over
an active volcano.

Tyler & James finished in second place,
followed by Rob & Kimberly in third. All those cow lips (and teeth
and hair) couldn’t have been worth it for second and third place.

Godwin
arrived at the Pit Stop and met up with Erwin, giving the Chos a fourth
place finish. That left David and Karlyn to wait to see which of their
partners would arrive first.

Mary reached the Pit Stop, and
their 30-minute penalty started when she and David stepped on the mat.
With 20 minutes remaining on the penalty, Lyn arrived, so David &
Mary were eliminated.

It was an emotional goodbye for the two
sets of friends, but Mary stayed upbeat. She said she’s proud to be
from Kentucky, but she looked forward to showing her kids the wider
world. “I don’t want my kids to be like me,” said Mary. “I want my kids
to experience life.”

Next week, Lyn & Karlyn get emotional
after watching videos from their kids. And racers get stuck in a “muddy
situation.” Here’s a hint: it involves mud.