Monthly Archives: November 2006

DwtS In-Season Update: 11-04-06

There’s a lot happening at My Ox Is Broken. First, we’re heading to Los Angeles, where I’ll be in the audience for Tuesday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars! I’ll be hanging with my pals Eva Longoria and John Salley — provided I can elude their security guards. My husband/webmaster, Greg, will be writing that evening’s recap and posting the videos. He may not know dancing; but he knows what he likes (Edyta). I’ll file a behind-the-scenes report later in the week.

Second, Jerry Springer was kind enough to grant me an interview on Friday. I’ll be posting the transcript this week from my swanky hotel suite. They have suites at the Ramada, right?

On to the power rankings…

3. Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska
Joey & Edyta are a great couple, but Mario’s got the moves, and Emmitt’s got the fans. Joey’s probably the odd man out this week, no matter how cool Edyta’s outfits are. To stay in, they’ve got to keep their scores right up with Mario & Karina’s, and then hope the audience finds them more likable.

2. Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
Mario could be poised for a fall–just like last season’s most naturally talented dancer, Stacy. Mario’s been on top long enough that he’s started to expect it, and it’s coming across to some fans as cockiness.

Even the judges are starting to have their doubts about Mario & Karina. In an interview with Extra, Carrie Ann gave Emmitt & Cheryl the edge. And Len said, “My brain, at this stage, is saying Mario will win. My heart is saying Emmitt will win.” When the competition is likely to come down to audience votes, the heart could win out.

1. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
Emmitt & Cheryl are still improving each week, with exciting and memorable routines. They’re peaking at the right time. If Cheryl can put together a freestyle routine for the finale that’s half as good as last season’s “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” they could have it in the bag.

Other DwtS News:
People has a new weekly update, and Access Hollywood’s Dish of Salt blog reveals that ousted celeb Shanna Moakler and her professional partner, Jesse DeSoto, might be romantically involved.

Tickets for the Dancing with the Stars Tour are now on sale to the public through Ticketmaster. American Express is offering its Gold Card members special offers for floorside tables at some of the events.

In order to clear up some confusion surrounding the Dancing with the Stars tour, Ashly DelGrosso posted this at her website:
“I have received many emails regarding the DWS tour and conflicting information about whether I will be on it. I wanted to let everyone know that contrary to some advertising I will not be performing on this tour. I am not sure why the tour is being advertised with my name as a performer and I apologize for any inconvenience to those of you who’ve purchased tickets based on misinformation that I would be attending. Thanks again for all of your support. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Cook Islands: Episode 8

Flicka was nobody’s friend after all. This week, she became the eighth contestant booted from Survivor: Cook Islands.

Early
in the episode, Jessica (Flicka) made everyone nervous when she
complained about being left out of her tribe’s voting plans for the previous Tribal Council. She got on
her soapbox in front of Nate, the kidnapped member of Raro. He took it
all in, seeking information that might help him later in the game. “My
eyes are open very much.”

Flicka’s loose lips got
Candice, Becky, and Yul talking about their voting plans. They had
originally planned to eliminate (immunity threat) Ozzy next, but now
they wondered whether to get rid of (unpredictable) Flicka first — or
even (untrustworthy) Jonathan.

Along with their summons to the
episode’s Reward Challenge, each tribe received a catalog of possible
prizes, from which they could choose two items as rewards. Aitu chose
jars of peanut butter and a bag of potatoes.

Raro ignored Brad’s
suggestion to choose the same two items, instead opting for peanut
butter and bread. Their folly was revealed soon after they arrived at
the Reward Challenge; it was raining, and the bread was not in a bag.

The
Challenge consisted of two phases. First, three swimmers would take
turns swimming to a floating platform. There, they jumped off of the
platform, breaking a suspended clay box with a baseball bat-like club
while in midair.

The box contained a key on a string, which fell
into the water once the box was broken. The swimmers retrieved the keys
and swam back to shore. Each team needed to retrieve a total of six
keys, one at a time.

For the second phase, two puzzle solvers
used the keys to unlock six boxes of puzzle pieces. First team to
correctly assemble the puzzle — which, when assembled, was a map of
the world — won reward.

Because of their extra players, Aitu
sat out Flicka, Sundra, and Nate, who was still a part of their tribe
through the end of the challenge.

Brad insisted that he was
better at puzzles than he was at swimming, which proved to be the fatal
blow for Raro. Rebecca was the squad’s first swimmer, and she was so
exhausted from her swim to the platform that she wasn’t even able to
retrieve the first key.

Meanwhile, Ozzy dominated the challenge
for Aitu. When Candice wasn’t able to find her key underwater, she swam
back and Ozzy went out. It turned out that Candice’s clay box hadn’t
shattered completely, and the key was still in it. Ozzy didn’t have a
club with him, so he leapt off of the platform and smashed the box with
his fist.

Aitu was one key ahead of Raro for almost the entire
challenge, and the puzzle was pretty simple. As a result, Aitu finished
their puzzle before Raro’s final key made it to shore.

Nate
rejoined Raro, and Aitu selected Adam to spend the night on Exile
Island. It was already windy, cold, and raining during the challenge,
and the addition of intense thunder and lightning made the night almost
unbearable. Adam huddled under a few boards in the fetal position, but
he was still wet and miserable.

Despite the weather, Aitu
savored their victory back at camp. Blissfully snacking on peanut
butter, Candice said, “I’m in love with everybody I can see right now.
If anybody wants a kiss, come on over.”

Flicka took Candice up on the offer, and the two quickly swapped dabs of peanut butter lipstick. Somewhere in the distance, Billy sobbed, “Why couldn’t it have been me?”

Raro
had little else to due but stew over their loss, and Brad took most of
the blame. Nate called Brad a “nancy boy,” and Parvati said, “I wanna
punch him in the mouth.”

Even on Exile Island, Adam had a few
thoughts on his teams loss. He said, “It’s hard to soar like an eagle
when you’re surrounded by turkeys.” Adam gets all his wisdom from
T-shirts.

Adam’s stay on Exile Island ended when it was time for
the Immunity Challenge. Similar to the Reward Challenge, this challenge
also revolved around swimming and puzzle solving.

First, teams
placed heavy logs into holes dug in the ground, in order of height.
These created a stairway to a platform. From there, three swimmers flew
down a zip line into the water, one at a time. Each retrieved a bag of
puzzle pieces and brought it back to shore.

When all three bags
had been retrieved, the swimmers all climbed a rope ladder back up to
the top of the platform, where their remaining three teammates
assembled the puzzle. The first team to complete its puzzle won
Immunity.

Ozzy’s strong swimming skills gave Aitu a decent lead
going into the puzzle phase, and the team seemed to be doing pretty
well with the puzzle. But once Jenny got the pieces to Raro’s puzzle,
she solved it in what seemed like seconds. Her teammates, Adam and
Rebecca, pretty much just stood back and let her work her magic.

At
Aitu’s camp, a paranoid Flicka pestered everyone about their voting
plans, lest she be left out yet again. She tried to focus everyone’s
attention on targeting Jonathan, sensing the growing feeling of
distrust towards him.

Ozzy was concerned that he might be the
target, so he raised a valuable point to Candice. As the teams only
successful hunter, the tribe would go hungry without him. Like Flicka,
Ozzy also thought Jonathan should go. “If nobody trusts him, then why
is he still here?”

But ultimately, it was Flicka’s paranoia that
rubbed her teammates the wrong way. She became the first Caucasian
voted off this season.

Flicka was understanding about her
dismissal: “I guess I wasn’t playing the game as hard as I should’ve.”
She’s rooting for her buddy Ozzy to win the million dollars.

Next time: Brad loses the trust of Raro, and a surprise twist gives Survivors the chance to change their fate.

DwtS 3, Week 8: Results Show

After several weeks of middle-of-the-road scores from the judges, Monique, the last woman standing, finally earned her first perfect 10s. But they weren’t enough to save her, and she and Louis were the next pair eliminated from
Dancing with the Stars.

The show began with confessional clips
from last night’s Performance Show. Mario admitted to getting emotional
during his Waltz. “I promised Karina I wasn’t gonna cry, but I got all
watery,” he said. “Then when I concentrated on not crying, I thought I
was going to forget my steps.”

Regarding his Fox Trot, Emmitt said, “I’m not sure if the performance was as shaky as those scores.”

But
Emmitt & Cheryl were happier about the response to their Rumba, especially
Len’s comment that he wished he could’ve given them an 11 — which
would have given them a total of 30 for the dance. Cheryl said, “We
really did get a perfect score…”

Emmitt completed her sentence: “…in our minds.”

The
first dance of the evening was the Judges’ Encore. Len announced that
the honor would go to Monique & Louis, “because we thought it was so
fantastic, and it’s the first time they’ve been asked to give an
encore.”

The only difference in tonight’s performance was that,
at the end of the routine, Louis wouldn’t move out of the way so that
Monique could get up off the floor. She played along, flopping around
to indicate her displeasure.

Then it was time for the return of Willa Ford. She didn’t dance. Instead, she sang the theme song from Fame. Why? No one knows. But Tony, Max, Louis, Edyta, Cheryl, and Elena danced to it, which is reason enough for me.

While
the pros cleared the floor, Samantha was backstage asking the celebrity
competitors about the previous night’s dances. Emmitt discussed his
low-scoring ballroom routine. “When you have a score that’s low,”
Emmitt said, “you wanna come back and give a great performance.”
Monique, who’d fared similarly in her performances — scoring high in
the Latin after a rough Ballroom — agreed.

When asked how he
and Edyta were going to move forward in the competition, Joey said, “If
we’re blessed to be here next week, we’re just going to keep it going.”

On
what it would take to score a perfect 30 points from the judges, Mario
said, “Maybe the stars have to be aligned. Maybe everyone has to be in
a good mood.” Back in the ballroom, Tom said the latter condition would
never be met on this show.

Then we learned what last night’s
audience thought of the performances. “I started to get a little choked
up when I saw Edyta in her costume,” Andy Lawrence said.

Another male audience member was outraged: “I am so sick of Mario! The women want him… and the men want him too!”

Two
of last season’s pros, Jonathan Roberts & Anna Trebunskaya, were
also in the audience. Anna was impressed by the male celebrities this
season: “I think I’ll have Mario for Monday, and I think I’ll have
Emmitt for Tuesday.”

After the audience comments, Tom and
Samantha announced the first couple who will be returning for next
week’s semifinal round: Emmitt & Cheryl.

Multinational operatic pop stars Il Divo then took the stage to perform Harry Nilsson’s hit song, “Without You,” in Spanish.

But
the real stars were professional Standard dancers Victor Fung &
Anna Mikhed. They danced beautifully, and Anna’s dress was positively
dreamy. It was my favorite dance of the whole season, so far.

After
the dance, Samantha caught up with Emmitt & Cheryl backstage. “The
pressure right now is really awful,” Emmitt said. “Performing is
nothing. The Results Show is the toughest moment.”

The interview
was followed by an update on Slim-Fast Challenge contestant, Tysonia.
Her partner, Christian, surprised her with the news that they’d be
competing against professionals at the Pacific Dancesport
Championships. Tysonia’s initial excitement gave way to panic, as she
practiced the Rumba. More to come next week.

Then, it was time for the third new dance demonstration of the night. Choreographer Hinton Battle has created a fusion of swing and hip-hop he calls Swop. Eight dancers demonstrated the style with an exciting, acrobatic performance.

Tom
and Samantha announced that, for the remainder of the competition,
couples will choose their own dances. For next week, they will pick one
Ballroom and one Latin style that they’ve already performed, but the
music and choreography must be all new.

“Every couple has to have a strategy from now on,” Cheryl said.

“It’s
going to be a hard decision,” Edyta said, “because we have to choose
dances that are good for us… and the audience… and the
judges.”

As for which dance he’d prefer, Mario said, “To me, it’s the one that got the best response from the audience.”

Monique said, “I think I’m gonna choose something that got some criticism — to give myself a second chance.”

All
the pros said they have special tricks for managing their celebrity
charges over the final couple weeks. Mario needs to be dealt with
harshly. Emmitt needs to have fun. Monique needs to have confidence.
And Joey needs to keep from burning out.

In another clip
package, the judges gave their opinion of the four remaining
celebrities. Len called them “The Big Easy (Emmitt),” “Little Miss
Dynamite (Monique),” “Joey The Dependable,” and “Mario The Magnificent.”

Of Emmitt, Len said he’s “funky. He is a true, cool dude.”

Carrie
Ann said, “What I love about Emmitt the most is the way he moves his
head. It goes with his body.” (I guess that’s better than if it
went with someone else’s body.)

Len did have some nits to pick. “Technically, Emmitt needs to work on his footwork. We want to see good posture.”

Bruno suggested, “Give it the edge. Give it precision.”

Len said Monique “comes to the floor totally committed.”

Bruno
said she has “the most beautiful arms in the competition.” But he also
noted that “she seems to give the same facial expression in all the
dances.”

Carrie Ann said, “She’s disconnected. It all feels quite fake.”

Joey was described by Len as “the most accomplished ballroom dancer in this whole series.”

“You can see the pin-sharp execution of the step with his feet,” said Bruno.

“The only problem with Joey’s dancing,” said Carrie Ann, “is that he gets a little locked in his chest.”

Len said Joey’s weakness was “lack of flair.”

“Mario,
without a doubt, is the most talented of all our celebrities,” said
Len. “He can do things that none of the other celebrities can do.”

Carrie
Ann said, “What’s missing from Mario’s performance is fluidity. He goes
from move to move to move. It’s precise, but he’s forgetting about
everything that’s happening between the steps.”

Of all the competitors, Bruno said, “The standard is so high, whatever happens is going to be amazing.”

After the clips, Joey & Edyta were announced as the next safe couple.

But
that didn’t mean that Mario & Karina and Monique & Louis were
the Bottom Two. Tom clarified that, though either Mario or Monique had
received the lowest total score, the other couple could have been
anywhere in the top three.

Tom then announced the couple who would be going home: Monique & Louis.

As
Tom tried to get Monique to come over for an interview, her mother ran
out onto the floor for a hug. After prying herself away from her mom,
Monique thanked the fans who’ve kept her in the competition so long.

Of
his partner, Louis said, “Whatever I threw at her, she never said no.
She’s a perfect example, that if you want something bad enough, you can
do it.” Monique said she and Louis will be lifelong friends.

After
a short video montage of their performances, Monique & Louis walked
to the center of the floor for their final dance. Monique’s mom was
back, cutting in on Louis. The rest of the competitors waited to
approach, until Monique waved them over. Everyone stood in a circle and
danced to “Don’t You Forget About Me.”