Monthly Archives: March 2008

DwtS 6, Week 3: Performances

The top of the leaderboard stays mostly unchanged, while one star fails to dance to her potential in Week 3 of Dancing with the Stars 6.

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Jive
Marlee shook her stuff in a skimpy purple dress. She had no trouble keeping time with the music, but her arms were all over the place. It was another good performance, but not quite as electrifying as her two previous dances.

Len Goodman said, "I think you did a great job." Bruno Tonioli cautioned, "You lost the timing a couple of times. The underarm passes could be smoother." Carrie Ann Inaba added, "I love the chemistry you two have. Watch your hands a little bit. They’re a little bit pancakey."

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

Steve Guttenberg & Anna Trebunskaya — Tango

Anna was sick during the week, so, naturally, her husband Jonathan Roberts filled in for her during rehearsal, for what Steve called "Man-on-Man Tango."

The usually jovial Steve had no problem maintaining the serious character of the dance. His performance was impressive, considering he spent all week dancing with a dude. The routine was classic and free of gimmicks, which Steve saved for after the dance, donning goggles and using a mixing bowl as a helmet, before the judges rendered their opinions.

Carrie Ann said, "That was your best dance so far." Len told Steve, "The actor came out in you this time. Your footwork was fantastic." Bruno quipped, "Man-on-man did the trick for you."

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

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Jive
This was the first really energetic dance of the night. Cristian looked good, although the sleeveless shirt he wore to show off his buff arms made him look a bit like a He-Man action figure, and it compromised the smoothness of his arm movements.

Bruno asked, "Are you on rocket fuel tonight?" Len agreed: "The best dance you’ve done so far." Carrie Ann warned Cristian to "watch your arms," but added, "It was fantastic."

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

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Tango
This routine had the unfortunate distinction of being the first of the season to be ruined by terrible music. Mario & Karina danced to "El Tango de Roxanne" from the film Moulin Rouge — a version of the Police song "Roxanne" — and the vocals were unlistenable. Apart from noticing that the couple had chemistry, nothing from the routine stuck with me.

Len said, "For me, it was a mess. You’ve bitterly disappointed me tonight." Carrie Ann agreed: "There were a lot of missteps. You’re better than that." Bruno said, "I didn’t think it was that bad."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…6, Bruno…8 = 21/30

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Jive
The routine started with a pair of cartwheels and continued with solid technique throughout. Shannon looked like she’s having a good time, although she was exhausted by the end. She, Derek, and Tom Bergeron sat on the dance floor as the judges gave their comments.

Bruno said, "I love a girl who comes out here and goes all the way." Len said, "What I saw tonight was a really good Jive." Tom interrupted to joke about winded Shannon, "There’s so much heavy breathing down here that I feel like I’m sitting next to a 900 number." Carrie Ann concluded, "Every time you come out here, you’re surprising, which is good in this competition."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough — Tango
During rehearsal, Adam told Julianne about some research he did into this week’s dance: "I went home and Googled ‘Tango.’ You know what it’s about? Prostitutes and pimps. And guess which one you are."

Adam was able to keep up with Julianne without screwing up his moves, which is probably exactly what they set out to accomplish. It was enjoyable to see Adam try and maintain the serious character of the dance, which he did until a smile broke out in the waning measures of the song.

Carrie Ann was stunned: "I cannot believe I’m going to say this, but Adam Carolla was quite sexy out there." Bruno told Adam, "You’re not a master technician, but you’re getting better." Len told Julianne, "You’ve done a fantastic job. You made Adam look like a dancer."

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

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Jive
In rehearsal, Marissa contemplated what many of us have long wondered about Tony: "How bad do you have to be to be ‘The Bad Boy of Ballroom’?"

The routine was slow, they didn’t cover much of the floor, and the choreography was uninspired. On top of all that, Marissa’s footwork was off a number of times.

Len was blunt: "It was a little bit careful, and careful doesn’t win Dancing with the Stars." Carrie Ann was even tougher: "That was boring. You are so much better than this. You’re not giving your best." Bruno agreed: "It was like a Jive on cruise control. Come out here and live up to the talent that I know is there."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…7, Bruno…6 = 19/30

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Tango
Priscilla & Louis gave the most passionate performance of the evening; I had to remind myself that she’s old enough to be his mother. Priscilla’s technique is good, and she’s the best of the stars when it comes to conveying dramatic emotion.

Bruno dubbed the performance "The Hot Cougar Tango." Len enthused, "Passion! Drama! Fire and ice!" Carrie Ann said, "I believed every minute of it," warning Priscilla, "Watch the neckline a hair."

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

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Jive
Jason moves well, but the choreography didn’t seem as demanding as it could’ve been, given his natural talent. And he needs to stop looking at his feet when he kicks.

Carrie Ann told Jason, "When you hit your lines, they’re beautiful. But…this week, you were dancing a little small in your upper body." Bruno called the performance "a cool Jive." Len said, "The lines were good, and I liked all the tricks. The bit I didn’t like was the rest of it. It had no Jive action." Len finished with a Lenism: "One week you’re a rooster, the next week you’re a feather duster. That’s life."

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

As the show went to commercial, Tom faked a cough so that Survivor host Jeff Probst could step in from the audience and read his lines from the teleprompter. The bit would’ve gone over better had the studio audience recognized Jeff without his traditional Tribal Council Khakis.

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Tango
During rehearsals, Mark was concerned that Kristi wouldn’t be able to express the intensity of the Tango on her face. But Mark’s aggressive expressions during the performance bordered on comical. Kristi displayed wonderful control and gave the best performance of the night.

Len stated, "I’ve liked everything you’ve done, and this is no exception." Carrie Ann told Kristi, "Your technique is amazing," but warned her, "Your anger on this was just one dimensional. I don’t feel much when you dance." Bruno expanded on Carrie Ann’s warning: "I want you to be a dirty girl." Kristi flashed him a little leg as they left the floor.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

27 — Kristi & Mark
26 — Priscilla & Louis
25 — Cristian & Cheryl
24 — Shannon & Derek
23 — Jason & Edyta
21 — Marlee & Fabian, Steve & Anna, Mario & Karina, Adam & Julianne
19 — Marissa & Tony

Kristi again deserved honors, and Priscilla continues to surprise me with her talent. I’ll be splitting my votes between Kristi and Adam because I think he’s funny and want him to stick around. And fans of Marlee, Steve, and Mario will undoubtedly vote in droves to save them from the pile-up near the bottom of the leaderboard.

Just like Monica Seles seemed to be the obvious boot last week, Marissa seems the likely boot this week. I hadn’t heard of Marissa before she was cast on Dancing with the Stars, and she hasn’t won me over enough in the last three weeks to want her to stick around. Tony’s need to argue with the judges only increases my desire to see them go.

Ox Notes: March 31, 2008

Mario is spending today perfecting his Tango for tonight’s Dancing with the Stars 6 Performance Show, and trying to debunk rumors that he and Karina Smirnoff are more than just dance partners.

Marissa Jaret Winokur tells Us that she’s been struggling to turn over complete control to Tony Dovolani during rehearsals.

Tom Bergeron revealed that, at last Tuesday’s Results Show, Paula Abdul begged him to compete on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.

When this season of DwtS ends, Cheryl Burke will have her hands full running her new San Francisco studio: Cheryl Burke Dance.

Former Dancing with the Stars competitor Floyd Mayweather, Jr. won his match at Wrestlemania over the weekend.

Jon Kelley, a former Chicago sports anchor, is the new host of The Mole.

NBC is preparing to announce its programming plans for summer and fall, which look to be heavy on escapism and light on reruns.

A disagreement between the two major actors’ unions has increased the odds that Hollywood could face another strike this summer.

The Amazing Race 12’s goth couple, Kynt & Vyxsin, visited the junior high school where, last month, 15-year-old Lawrence King was killed by a fellow student for being gay. King’s teacher said that Kynt & Vyxsin are the only celebrities who’ve offered to visit the school and speak with students.

Ox Notes: March 28, 2008

Penn Jillette’s early departure from Dancing with the Stars 6 cost his partner, Teller, $5000.

If you’re looking for some cheap laughs, you can watch every episode of South Park for free online.

Hollywood executives have been discussing the future of television after the writers strike.

Mixed martial arts are all the rage on TV right now. NBC has a late-night MMA show in the works, and the Futon Critic’s latest development update lists a new show on G4 staring Tito Ortiz.

In other development news, Fox has tapped Jason Bateman to direct a comedy, and Smallville’s Green Arrow has a role on a new CW medical drama.

ABC has plans for a reality competition show that, I’m ashamed to admit, I am really looking forward to. The premise of Wipe Out is just that: contestants take part in challenges designed to make them fall down, face plant, and crash into things — kind of like a physically competitive version of America’s Funniest Home Videos. The concept is totally lowbrow and, therefore, right up my alley.

Ox Notes: March 27, 2008

Another day, another Dancing with the Stars scandal. MOIB reader Katy noticed a TMZ report that the professional dancers get outside help choreographing their routines for DwtS.

There are a couple of reasons why I don’t find this allegation particularly scandalous. First, Cheryl Burke and Nick Kosovich were both nominated for a Best Choreography Emmy in 2006 for Cheryl & Drew Lachey’s "Thriller" Paso Doble, so the collaborative element of the show’s choreography has been public knowledge for at least two years.

Second, all of the pros have family or friends who are also dancers, so it’s probably hard to avoid getting input from them, whether asked for or not. If only someone had told Tony Dovolani years ago, "Whatever you do, don’t try to recreate Saturday Night Fever."

Tony’s one of two DwtS-ers adding to their families. MOIB reader Deb mentioned that Tony will soon become a father to twins. I’d never have guessed, as Tony’s hardly showing at all (thanks for the link, Marina). And Season 4 competitor Laila Ali is pregnant with her first child.

People posted a backstage report from Tuesday night’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show, which was watched by 17.2 million viewers.

Battlestar Galactica’s Helo has joined the cast of Joss Whedon’s new show, Dollhouse.

According to an article about reality show winners, victory on The Ultimate Fighter might guarantee your best chance for long term success.

Ox Notes: March 26, 2008 lost one of its two celebrity bloggers as a result of last night’s episode of Dancing with the Stars. TV Guide has a backstage report from the show, and in it, Penn Jillette’s wife, Emily, mentions that she’s been taking ballroom lessons so that they can dance together. However, Penn told People, "I won’t keep dancing."

Entertainment Tonight has video from the Results Show, including Derek Hough interviewing partner Shannon Elizabeth about how cool he is.

There’s been plenty of drama off the floor for two DwtS participants. Cheryl Burke spoke with TV Guide about dealing with tabloid rumors, and People has an update on Priscilla Presley’s botched plastic surgery.

A celebrity edition of Family Feud may air on NBC in primetime as early as this summer. No word yet on whether current host and former Dancing with the Stars contestant John O’Hurley will make the move from syndication.

Variety praised another game show host, Drew Carey, for the job he’s done filling Bob Barker’s shoes on The Price Is Right.

Survivor fans should be aware that the show is off this week. In the meantime, here’s an interview with Kathy, who says the day she quit Survivor: Micronesia was one of the "happiest moments of my life."

Kathy and the other Survivor to leave the island last week, Tracy, spoke with TV Guide, and their post-show plans made me laugh.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas now has a second show in development for ABC, making that the third show he’s working on at the moment.

Variety’s Brian Lowry called out the talking heads on cable news networks for being "decidedly ill-equipped to deal with intricate or nuanced ideas" when discussing the presidential campaign. I couldn’t agree more.

DwtS 6, Week 2: Results

Dancing with the Stars 6’s first Results Show was light on surprises — which, this early in the competition, is probably a good thing.

Perhaps the most unexpected moment came early in the show when the judges awarded their encore to Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska for their Mambo, instead of to Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas, who earned the highest total score over two weeks.

The voting results for all the men were announced before any of the women’s results, and Steve Guttenberg & Anna Trebunskaya were the first couple told that they’d be moving on to next week.

Before any other results were revealed, teenage heartthrobs the Jonas Brothers performed a cover of A-Ha’s hit, "Take on Me." They were joined on the floor by DwtS pros Anna, Edyta, Tony, and Jonathan.

After the musical interlude, Samantha Harris interviewed all of the male competitors. They all expressed happiness that "The Gutte" was safe because, as Jason put it, "He just loves life."

The Gutte was then joined by Jason & Edyta, Mario & Karina Smirnoff, and Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough, who learned they’d be moving on to Week 3 as well.

That left Penn Jillette & Kym Johnson and Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke to await their fates, although Tom Bergeron noted that they weren’t necessarily the two lowest scoring couples. Penn & Kym were told to hit the road, and Penn said that he and Kym would perform next week in the parking lot.

With the men’s voting results announced, it was time to find out which of the female celebrities would move on to next week. Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough were the first couple to get the good news.

In a special pre-taped segment, Cameron Mathison donned his Superman outfit from last season and interviewed folks on the streets of New York City about the current season’s contestants. Some poor guy will forever be teased by his friends for telling Cameron he’s rooting for "Monica Guchi." Then again, the guy’s friends may not want to admit they watch DwtS. The bit wasn’t as good as Dance Center, but it wasn’t as bad as Jimmy Kimmel & Guillermo.

Two more performances stood between viewers and the results. Jacques Heim choreographed a Cirque du Soleil-style routine that combined aerial acrobatics with dancing.

And the Jonas Brothers returned to perform "When You Look Me in the Eyes," accompanied by DwtS pros Cheryl and Louis.

Following those performances, Samantha interviewed the Hough siblings and their respective partners. Adam commandeered the interview, first suggesting that the good-looking Houghs be bred in a lab. And when Julianne rhetorically asked, "Who paired us together?" Adam replied, "God did," and looked skyward.

Finally, Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez, Kristi & Mark, and Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel learned that they were safe as well. Tom mentioned again that the two remaining pairs — Monica Seles & Jonathan Roberts and Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — weren’t necessarily the two lowest vote-getters among the women.

Monica & Jonathan were then told that they were out. Despite leaving so soon, Monica said she’s learned to love dancing and plans to keep it up.

Every season, the outro songs are notoriously cruel, but tonight’s song seemed especially so. Sheryl Crow’s "The First Cut Is the Deepest" would’ve been a fine choice, if it weren’t for the fact that Monica was once stabbed in the back during a tennis match by a deranged fan.

Ox Notes: March 25, 2008

At last night’s Dancing with the Stars Performance Show, Carrie Ann Inaba told TV Guide she expects the easy camaraderie between this season’s stars to disappear after tonight’s first Results Show: "It’s then that all this happy stuff goes away."

Entertainment Tonight filed its own backstage report from last night’s show.

As expected, DwtS won in the ratings during all two hours of its Week 2 Performance Show.

TV Guide also has a report on the Dancing with the Stars panel discussion at last weekend’s Paley Fest.

Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey spoke with Extra about the rumors of a romantic encounter on the recent DwtS Tour.

In TV development news, the Futon Critic has an update on shows going into production.

Variety has a pair of informative articles about Hollywood’s unexpectedly slow recovery after the strike and the disappearance of sitcoms based on stand-up comedy routines.