Monthly Archives: October 2007

Ox Notes: October 25, 2007

Mark Cuban posted his thoughts on his Dancing with the Stars experience at his blog, and equates the feelings to those of being the new kid in the neighborhood. Now that he has some free time, perhaps Mark can help Cheryl Burke sort through her laundry.

When DwtS returns on Monday night, Jane Seymour will be dancing the Jive. She says the Jive makes her "think of soldiers and their gals, sipping sodas and having fun in the moment," so perhaps she and Tony Dovolani will go a little retro with their routine.

Tom Bergeron warns any of the remaining contestants thinking of ways to garner sympathy votes: "I don’t know if you can faint after someone has already fainted, but you can try other things."

The cast of Project Runway 4 has been announced. Until given reason to do otherwise, I’ll be rooting for local (Chicago) boy Steven.

ABC has ordered more episodes of Samantha Who? and has set return dates for October Road and Notes From the Underbelly. Also, Fox has ordered more Back to You.

Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Survivor, check out this interview with Aaron, who was ousted when his team threw a challenge.

Also just in time for tonight, TV Guide has an interview with Jensen Ackles, aka Dean Winchester on Supernatural. If you’ve never seen the show before, head to iTunes and purchase last week’s episode, "Bad Day at Black Rock." It’s an hilarious example of Supernatural at its best.

If that episode doesn’t convince you to watch Supernatural, perhaps Jensen Ackles’ singing will:

Ox Notes: October 24, 2007

Backstage reports from TV Guide and People focused on the lingering anxiety surrounding Marie Osmond’s fainting spell on Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars Performance Show. For Marie’s part, she doesn’t seem concerned, although she appreciated Jonathan Roberts’ assurances that things could be worse: "Of course – he couldn’t come up with anything that would actually be worse – but he thinks there’s got to be something!"

According to Jennie Garth’s blog, she was really keen on the canary yellow dress she wore this week.

The cast of the newest season of The Amazing Race has been announced, and it includes a couple of dating Goths.

In order to focus on avoiding a strike, the Writers Guild of America has stopped trying to unionize reality TV show writers. Reality shows may be where many of the writers end up working in the event of a strike.

Also ahead of the strike, ABC has ordered more episodes of Pushing Daisies, and CBS has ordered more Moonlight.

The Chicago Tribune has the scoop on how you can get free tickets to a screening of the SciFi Channel movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor.

And November 4 starts a week of "green" programming on NBC. In addition to news specials, the network worked environmental themes into their scripted programs in some creative ways. My favorite is Alec Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock developing an obnoxious environmental mascot called Greenzo. He’s no substitute for the peacock.

DwtS 5, Week 5: Results

On a night when his Dallas Mavericks beat my Chicago Bulls in preseason basketball (grrrr), team owner Mark Cuban was the only loser in his organization. He and Kym became the latest couple cut from Dancing with the Stars.

After a recap of the Performance Show performances and medical emergencies, Mel & Maks were given the judges’ encore for their Samba. The two giggled throughout their sharp performance.

The encore was followed by Jennifer Lopez, who performed a song from her new album accompanied by her own dancers. Due to a family illness, J. Lo’s two numbers had been taped on Sunday, which made me wonder where they got a full studio audience on such short notice.

After the performance, last night’s studio audience weighed in with their comments. Heather Mills said what many viewers thought when Marie hit the ground: "At first, I thought it was a joke. I thought, ‘That’s the best drop I’ve ever seen in my life!’ And then suddenly she wasn’t moving." Florence Henderson said, "I thought Jennie deserved higher marks," and Tori Spelling agreed: "I knew she could dance. I didn’t know she could dance like this."

Then Sabrina & Mark and Mel & Maks were announced as the first two couples moving on to next week.

After a break, Samantha interviewed Marie & Jonathan and Helio & Julianne backstage. Marie joked about last night: "What fell quicker: my body or the scores?" And, when asked if his low scores meant he was heading in the wrong direction, Helio said, "I’m a racecar driver, and we only go one direction: left."

Next week, the couples will take part in the season’s first group dance: a rock n’ roll number choreographed by Christian Perry. The choreographer and several other dancers demonstrated some of the moves he’ll be including in the performance. The demonstration dance may have marked the first time anyone’s done the Lindy Hop to Fall Out Boy.

Following that, Jennifer Lopez returned to perform her jock jam, "Let’s Get Loud," accompanied by DwtS pros Karina, Derek, Cheryl, Mark, Alec, Julianne, Edyta, and some other guy.

The the pros offered some insight into how they choreograph their routines each week. Kym develops her dance in private before presenting it to Mark, and Edyta listens to each new song "about fifty times before I actually start think about any steps." In contrast, Maks creates the whole routine in the studio with Mel.

Derek offered this tip: "The key to choreographing a good routine is… you gotta be a good choreographer."

Then, Cameron & Edyta were told they were safe.

After a break, Samantha was backstage with Mel & Maks and Mark & Kym. Samantha asked Mel, "Who do you think it will be [in the bottom two]?" The question drew boos from the other stars and dancers waiting backstage, and Samantha admitted it was a bad question. Mark said of his chances, "It’s out of my control now."

One final clip package focused on the stars and how they manage their day jobs. Marie admitted, "It’s starting to take its toll." Mel said, "Your body and your mental stuff is going nuts." But Mark promised, "If I can’t out-talent them, I’m going to out-work them."

Then Jennie & Derek, Marie & Jonathan, and Helio & Julianne were told that they were safe, leaving Mark & Kym and Jane & Tony in the Bottom Two.

Tom asked Len a question he normally deflects: "Who would you want to see back?" Len said it was a choice between fun (Mark) and class (Jane), "And, if I have to make a decision, I always go with class and elegance."

Tom announced the voting results, and Mark & Kym were out. The couple got a standing ovation from the crowd and judges. Mark thanked everyone on the staff and even shook hands with the judges on the way to his last dance with Kym.

After finally running out of music about being sad or never dancing again, the band played "I Think We’re Alone Now," as the credits rolled.

Ox Notes: October 23, 2007

TV Guide’s backstage report has details on what led to Marie’s collapse last night on Dancing with the Stars. Smoke from the wildfires surrounding Los Angeles had been aggravating Marie’s asthma all day, and she’d forgotten to bring her inhaler to the show. Producer Conrad Green said Marie would be examined by doctors today.

Fellow contestant Jane Seymour was also struggling with the wildfires: her husband, James Keach, ignored an evacuation order and stayed behind to protect their Malibu home.

The fires brought an end to the filming of an episode of 24, and currently threaten the bed & breakfast owned by Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott. Fans of MTV’s The Hills will be relieved to know that Spencer Pratt & Heidi Montag’s house has been spared.

Viva Laughlin was not so lucky. Cop Rock: Las Vegas got canned after only two airings, and will be replaced this Sunday by a CSI rerun. The latest season of The Amazing Race debuts as its permanent replacement on November 4.

And I’ve got a new reason to watch Sportscenter: the hilarious Rick Reilly has signed on to do on-air commentary for ESPN. He doesn’t start until next June, however.

DwtS 5, Week 5: Performances

One of the stars really got down this week on Dancing with the Stars. Just not in a good way.

Marie Osmond & Jonathan Roberts — Samba
Marie & Jonathan’s Samba was well-executed and cute, but lacked sizzle. Marie’s unflattering dress was ruffled in all the wrong places, and its robin’s egg blue color contributed to the performances cutesy vibe.

As Len explained why the Samba is difficult for amateurs to master, Marie began breathing heavily and slumped to the ground. Tom Bergeron immediately said they’d be back after a commercial break, as the audience gasped and the judges looked on in concern. The HD feed stayed with the show long enough to hear the band kick in awkwardly with their standard bump music.

After returning from commercial, an alert Marie stood backstage with Jonathan waiting to get their scores from the judges.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Backstage with the couple, Samantha Harris told Marie, "If you thought fainting would get you 10s, it didn’t work." Marie chuckled and said, "No, you don’t plan those things." Then she explained that she occasionally passes out when she gets winded, and then apologized for spooking everyone.

Jane Seymour & Tony Dovolani — Rumba
Jane & Tony’s Rumba seemed a little low key after the drama that preceded it. But Jane moved beautifully, and she looked stunning in an open-backed red dress.

Bruno gushed over Jane: "It was wonderful. You looked like Edyta at times." Carrie Ann noted, "There is a bit of a problem on your spots on your turns." Len told Jane, "You’re really classy the way you dance."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 26/30

Mark Cuban & Kym Johnson — Samba
Mark & Kym danced to the I Dream of Jeannie theme song, with Kym dressed as Jeannie. Mark dressed as a nerd, which didn’t make sense, considering Jeannie’s master was an Air Force Captain (and astronaut). Despite that, Mark did move better, now that he’s decided to just have fun and not worry so much about the judges’ scores.

Carrie Ann said, "I actually liked it. The content was there as well. The only thing that was really lacking…was the technique." Len told Mark, "Get that lamp, rub it hard, and hope that Jeannie sorts your feet out." Bruno said, "It was your most entertaining dance to date."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Sabrina Bryan & Mark Ballas — Rumba
Sabrina’s dance was much more fluid than Jane’s, and more romantic as well — especially when Mark put his face in Sabrina’s cleavage at the end of the routine.

Len said, "Your strength is [that] you’ve got no weaknesses. For me, there was one or two over-the-top poses and postures going on." Bruno countered, "A good trick is a good trick. It was a totally grown up, ripe, womanly performance." Carrie Ann told Sabrina, "Normally, you knock us over. Tonight, you gently beckoned us in. You’re just hitting the edges of your turns a little hard."

Backstage, Sabrina took Len’s comments in stride: "I think Len has so many amazing comments, and they’re what keep getting us better each week."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 28/30

Jennie Garth & Derek Hough — Samba
Derek took Jennie to a Hip-Hop choreographer to help her learn to "shake her fun stuff." Jennie did an admirable job shakin’ it, but it’s still apparent that acting sexy is unnatural to her. Still, the routine’s fast turns and variety of moves made up for any awkwardness.

Bruno said, "This Samba had so much content, it was almost like How-To-Samba. Performance-wise, you stalled a little bit." Carrie Ann agreed, "Tonight is just a rough night. You were trying to give us a lot more sexy than you’re used to and you’re comfortable with, and I appreciate that." Len said, "I thought it was far better than these two did."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…9, Bruno…8 = 25/30

Helio Castroneves & Julianne Hough — Rumba
Helio’s black, sparkly turtleneck drew attention to the problems in his performance: hunched shoulders and effeminate arm movements. If Julianne hadn’t looked so beautiful, the dance would’ve been a loss.

Carrie Ann told Helio, "I didn’t feel your spirit in this dance, and your lines were a bit awkward this week." Len quipped, "I’ve seen more romance at the dentist." Bruno told Helio, "You looked in pain."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…7, Bruno…8 = 23/30

Melanie Brown & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Samba
Intercontinental travel must not have left Mel & Maks with much time to craft a proper wardrobe. Nude-colored dresses and shirts with neon pink and yellow racing stripes are never a good idea. Bad outfits aside, they gave the most energetic and loose Samba of the night, complete with Mel doing the splits.

Len, who’s apparently never eaten an M&M before, said, "M&M, isn’t it? Fruity, sweet, delicious." Bruno said, "That was full of excitement. For me, the best Samba of the night." Carrie Ann went one step further: "That was my favorite dance you’ve done this season."

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

Cameron Mathison & Edyta Sliwinska — Rumba
For their routine, I think Edyta mistakenly donned the outfit she’ll be wearing in the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The routine was loaded with more tricks than any of the night’s other routines, after last week’s crackdown on lifts by the judges. While the tricks added "Wow!" factor, it meant that Cameron got away with doing little dancing, at times.

Bruno gushed, "Incredible passion." Carrie Ann said, "Emotionally, I thought you guys aced this," but noted that Edyta’s foot came off the ground during the second trick. Len appreciated Cameron’s improvement, but warned, "Edyta, don’t keep doing those one-legged spins. They’re gettin’ on my nerves."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 26/30

Leaderboard:
29 — Mel & Maks
28 — Sabrina & Mark
26 — Jane & Tony, Cameron & Edyta
25 — Jennie & Derek
23 — Helio & Julianne
21 — Marie & Jonathan, Mark & Kym

Apart from Mel & Maks’ Samba and Sabrina & Mark’s Rumba, none of the performances made a lasting impression on me. While Mark & Kym and Marie & Jonathan could wind up in the Bottom Two, a few minutes under the bright red spotlight might be what it takes to wake Helio & Julianne up and get them back to the top of the leaderboard next week.

Ox Notes: October 22, 2007

Las Vegas oddsmakers updated the betting odds on the remaining Dancing with the Stars contestants, now that their preseason favorite to win, Floyd Mayweather, has been eliminated. Carrie Ann Inaba told People that Sabrina, Helio, Jane, and Cameron are all in the running for a Season 5 victory.

Two_left_feet, a poster at Dance-Forums, figured out who’s dancing what on tonight’s Dancing with the Stars Performance Show. Jennie, Marie, Melanie, and Mark will Samba, and Sabrina, Helio, Jane, and Cameron will Rumba.

Former DwtS contestant Lisa Rinna has started a fitness class called Cardio Ballroom with her pro partner on the show, Louis van Amstel. Meanwhile, Lisa’s fellow Season 2 contestant Stacy Keibler isn’t really up to anything.

Fox’s Next Great American Band debuted on Friday to an audience of less than 4 million. I plan to keep watching it as long as Light of Doom — the prepubescent Iron Maiden — is on the show.

NGAB’s dismal debut comes at a time when networks are turning more of their Friday and Saturday night programming over to reruns, as viewers are using those nights to catch up on shows they recorded earlier in the week, anyway.

And a revised cast list for Donald Trump’s celebrity edition of The Apprentice has surfaced, including Marilu Henner, Stephen Baldwin, and Gene Simmons. NBC’s lawyers had the good sense to override Trump’s request to cast LiLo’s unstable dad, Michael Lohan.

Survivor China: Episode 5

Peih-Gee and Jamie established a new Survivor maxim: when the producers mess with you, you mess back.

Before producers thrust a big twist upon the tribes, romance was brewing at both camps. At Zhan Hu, Jaime confirmed her affection for Erik by telling him about the hidden Immunity Idol. And at Fei Long, human action figure James admitted to have a certain appreciation for the hard working lunchlady, Denise: "If Denise was 10 years younger, or if I was older — whichever way — Denise would be in trouble."

The lovebirds were interrupted when a boat pulled up at each camp. Chinese fishermen handed each tribe a note instructing them to choose two members of the opposing tribe to join their own.

Fei Long chose Frosti and Sherea because of their strong performances in challenges. Then the tribe — correctly assuming that the other tribe would be receiving a similar message — steeled themselves for the likely departure of James and Aaron.

Zhan Hu selected James and Aaron, and immediately started celebrating the addition of two members to their ranks. "Power really shifted to our tribe today," bragged Peih-Gee.

It never occurred to the members of Zhan Hu that Fei Long might have gotten the same note. Not when their boat left, and not when a second boat arrived without James or Aaron. The depleted Zhan Hu tribe thought the producers were just giving them the gift of two strong members.

Only when they were handed the second note, instructing them to hand over Frosti and Sherea, did they realize that their good fortune came with a price.

After swapping tribe members, both tribes celebrated with a basket of food and wine. But Peih-Gee never stopped thinking about the game, and she pulled Jaime aside to discuss strategy.

If Zhan Hu won the upcoming Immunity Challenge, then Fei Long was sure to vote off Frosti or Sherea. Assuming that the tribes would merge when there were ten Survivors left in the game — and assuming that Zhan Hu won the next two Immunity Challenges — Zhan Hu would enter the merge with only three original members.

However, if Zhan Hu lost the next two Immunity Challenges on purpose, Peih-Gee, Jaime, and Erik could get rid of James and Aaron, and Zhan Hu would enter the merge with five original members to Fei Long’s five.

In other words, by throwing the next two challenges, Zhan Hu could neutralize the twist and garner the same net effect as if they’d won the two challenges and lucked into Fei Long voting out its two strongest members

At the Immunity Challenge, Erik & Aaron (Zhan Hu) and Jean Robert and Frosti (Fei Long) exhausted themselves diving for underwater puzzle pieces and dragging them to shore. Apparently, Peih-Gee and Jaime hadn’t filled Erik in on the plan ahead of time.

Onshore both teams began assembling their puzzles at nearly the same time: Peih-Gee, Jaime, and James for Zhan Hu, and Sherea, Denise, and Todd for Fei Long. But Jaime and Peih-Gee giggled uncontrollably and blundered about, with Jaime going to far as to discretely pitch one of their puzzle pieces into some tall grass. Only host Jeff Probst suspected they were tanking the challenge; everyone else just thought they were idiots.

Working by himself, James couldn’t outsolve Fei Long’s puzzle masters, and Zhan Hu lost, badly.

Back at camp, a confused Erik confronted the still giggling Jaime and Peih-Gee: "What the hell was that?" Jaime asked Erik, "Could you not tell we were throwing it?" Evidently, Erik couldn’t. He didn’t approve of what they’d done, but he wasn’t going to turn against them, since their plan wasn’t without merit.

Later, Peih-Gee asked a grumpy James if he’d like to stay in the game at Aaron’s expense. James replied, "Send my ass home." But Jaime felt that Aaron’s social connections with the members of Fei Long made him dangerous.

At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst got Jaime to confirm that they’d thrown the challenge, and James said that he didn’t want to stay on a team that was happy about losing. But the original members of Zhan Hu stuck with their plan and voted out Aaron.

After being eliminated, Aaron said, "I’d rather still be on that island with those people, even though I don’t like them anymore."

Next time, prepare to leave the room when the Survivors endure a gross food challenge.