Monthly Archives: April 2008

DwtS 6, Week 6: Performances

The judges awarded Dancing with the Stars 6′s first perfect score tonight. Guess who earned it.

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Cha Cha Cha
This was not the Jason Taylor we’re used to seeing. He looked lost and, like the rest of us, he resorted to staring at Edyta. It didn’t help that he had to Cha Cha Cha to music that hardly felt like Cha Cha music at all.

Len Goodman said his "heart went out to [Jason]" when he noticed the football player counting his steps out loud. Bruno Tonioli said, "Your footwork wasn’t as good as it could’ve been." Carrie Ann Inaba suggested to Jason, "I think you’re dancing smaller than you should be. Just be big."

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

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Rumba
Shannon’s polite smiling seemed like a cover for some discomfort on her part. Her extension was nice, and the slow movements of the Rumba emphasized it. But if you’ve been following the romance rumors about these two, the performance didn’t quite live up to the hype.

Bruno said, "The cardinal sin in the Rumba: hip action… none." Carrie Ann told Shannon, "You really are what the show is about. We’re looking for beyond potential. You have the ability to make great shapes, but you just have to sustain them a little bit more." Len liked the "great chemistry," but noted, "It needed a little more hip action here and there."

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

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Mambo
Marlee looked fierce in tiger-print dress, but her face gave away every slip up. Her timing was off in parts, and her hip movements didn’t look fluid. Considering that Fabian is a Mambo champion, it would’ve been okay if he’d done a little more showing off.

Carrie Ann said, "You guys look like you were forcing and struggling." Len agreed: "I thought you did a great job. It just, it looked uncomfortable throughout." Bruno noted Marlee’s problems with timing, but added, "What you do here, I believe it is a plus for the show."

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

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Fox Trot
In rehearsal, Cristian said he wanted to dance well enough to warrant being renamed "Cristian de la Fox Trot." He certainly did, giving an elegant performance and looking dapper while doing it.

Len made a bold and disturbing pronouncement: "If you’re in the Bottom Two tomorrow, I’ll show my bum in the supermarket." Bruno said, "Cristian at his dashing best. Your footwork tonight was excellent." Carrie Ann said, "There’s a fine line between being rigid and refined, and tonight you passed way into refined." Cristian told the judges that he loved them, and hugged Tom Bergeron as Tom tried to send it to commercial.

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

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Viennese Waltz
Pretending to be a princess worked for Marissa. Their routine was classy and gimmick-free, and wardrobe finally made her a flattering outfit.

Bruno told Marissa she was "all light and frothy." Carrie Ann said, "I am definitely on the Winokur Wave." Len said, "Gradually we’ve seen your confidence grow, and you’ve come out now like a true princess."

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

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Jive
This was a Jive to remember. The choreography was challenging and cute. Kristi’s kicks and spins were fast, and she kept her knees up — a detail many stars fail to master.

Carrie Ann shouted, "Hell, yeah! That is what I’m talking about!" Len called the performance "a smorgasbord of dance." Bruno said, "You’ve performed the best you ever have. My favorite dance to date."

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

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Rumba
As the couple danced to Marvin Gaye’s "Let’s Get It On," Mario unbuttoned his shirt and walked up to Karina, who was basically wearing a bedsheet. Gee, I’m not sure what they were going for.

Len mentioned that they did a lift, and said, "The Rumba is a story of a developing romance. It’s not the story of a strumpet and a gigolo. It was too raunchy for me." Bruno disagreed: "I think this was fabulous. I need an ice bucket." Carrie Ann said, "That was better than good sex. That was ridiculously good. But there was a lift, so I am gonna dock you for the lift."

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

Group Dance
Finally, it was time for the group country dance, which wasn’t scored by the judges. Christian Perry choreographed a showdown between the men and the women, portraying outlaws and sheriffs, respectively. None of that outlaws vs. sheriffs stuff really came through in the performance. As Carrie Ann said: "It was a little crazy."

Judges’ Leaderboard:
30 — Kristi & Mark
28 — Mario & Karina
27 — Cristian & Cheryl
26 — Marissa & Tony
24 — Jason & Edyta, Shannon & Derek
21 — Marlee & Fabian

Kristi & Mark were so far ahead of the other couples that they get all of my votes this week. Marlee & Fabian seem sure to land in the Bottom Two, but with whom? Will Cristian & Cheryl’s 27 be enough to save them from a return trip to the Bottom?


Ox Notes: April 21, 2008

Senator Barack Obama will drop by tonight’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for a little pre-Pennsylvania primary publicity.

In her OK! Magazine blog, Kristi Yamaguchi writes that she wishes she would’ve grilled those ballroom kids for some tips after last week’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show. She and Mark Ballas will Jive tonight, while Cristian de la Fuenta & Cheryl Burke will dance the Fox Trot.

Tomorrow night’s Results Show will feature a performance by the cast of Riverdance (thanks for the link, Marina). And the Broadway cast of A Chorus Lineincluding DwtS alum Mario Lopez — is scheduled for a May 6 Results Show performance.

In case you didn’t read the comments in Friday’s Ox Notes, Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough were busted smooching on a beach in Malibu. Extra has a clear shot of the kiss.

Also allegedly caught kissing recently were DwtS‘s Cheryl Burke and 300‘s Gerard Butler.

If you’ve wondered what Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s been up to during his Dancing with the Stars hiatus, he gave The Insider a behind-the-scenes tour of the Las Vegas show he’s choreographing.

I’m bummed that Gossip Girl now airs at the same time as Dancing with the Stars. I’m going to have to record the new episode of GG, and then blow through tonight’s Performance Show recap.

New York Magazine has a fascinating article about Gossip Girl‘s success amidst changing TV watching habits, especially with the desirable demographic of text-message-addicted younger viewers.

Ox Notes: April 18, 2008

Dancing with the Stars fanatics, prepare to shell out big bucks for a good cause. Shoes worn and autographed by some of the women of DwtS are up for bid at the charity auction site, Clothes Off Our Backs. To promote the auction, Julianne Hough took Entertainment Tonight shoe shopping.

Incidentally, Samantha Harris wears size 9 shoes. You’d never know, since she’s always hiding them under floor-length gowns.

The day after getting booted from DwtS, Netherlands-native Louis van Amstel became an American citizen.

In other patriotic news, Hillary Clinton’s getting a lot of hype for her appearance last night on The Colbert Report. But her bit wasn’t as funny as Barack Obama’s appearance via satellite, and both candidates were trumped by John Edwards making demands in exchange for his superdelegate vote.

TV Guide interviewed John Oliver, better known as the British guy on The Daily Show, ahead of his new stand-up special, premiering tonight on Comedy Central.

NBC’s announced its plans for an "All-American Summer," set to kick off July 1 with Celebrity Family Feud, hosted by Al Roker.

The network has over 100 hours of environmentally-themed programs scheduled for next week in honor of Earth Day (which is Tuesday, btw). The programs will be spread across the NBC-affiliated networks, under the umbrella slogan "Green Is Universal."

The CW decided that Gossip Girl is popular enough that it can make more money by only offering episodes of the show for sale at iTunes, and not streaming it online. Considering that I just ran to iTunes to buy the super-addictive song featured in Gossip Girl‘s OMG ads, "Sour Cherry" by The Kills, I think The CW could be on to something.

Last night’s episode of Survivor: Micronesia is a must-see, thanks to great one-liners from James and Erik, as well as the biggest blunder in show history. Watch the episode here before you check out how the latest jury member is enjoying life at The Ponderosa.

Ox Notes: April 17, 2008

Even if she doesn’t win Dancing with the Stars 6, Marissa Jaret Winokur will have a lot to brag about after the season is over. Sony is developing a daytime talk show for her, which they hope to debut in Fall 2009.

Here’s a link to Mel B’s post-Results Show interview video for Access Hollywood. Tuesday night’s show was watched by 15.4 million people.

Before he was eliminated, Entertainment Tonight chronicled what a week with Louis van Amstel is like.

When Cristian de la Fuente isn’t rehearsing for DwtS, he takes his adorable daughter to tea at American Girl Place — with Access Hollywood cameras in tow, of course.

Based on information gleaned from interviews posted in yesterday’s Ox Notes, Jason Taylor will dance the Cha Cha Cha next week, Kristi Yamaguchi the Jive, and Marissa the Viennese Waltz.

Last night’s episode of Top Chef was my favorite of the season thus far, if only because most the contestants’ dishes were well received, for a change. Zap2It has a very entertaining recap, in case you missed the show.

Head judge Tom Colicchio has been publicly airing his concerns about the excessive use of profanities by the contestants of Top Chef: Chicago. If only censors were paid by the bleep…

Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Survivor, TV Guide has an interview with the first member of the jury, Eliza Orlins.

Eliza also guided a video tour of the Ponderosa, where jury members are sequestered for the remainder of the season. The camp is pretty basic, but must seem like luxury living compared to a damp cave on the beach. CBS will post new Ponderosa videos after each episode.

Ox Notes: April 16, 2008

Apparently, Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel made a somewhat quick exit after being eliminated from Dancing with the Stars last night. TV Guide and OK! had the chance to interview the duo for their Results Show articles, but People did not.

The Insider and Entertainment Tonight have video footage from after last night’s show, and both shows interviewed Priscilla & Louis. Maybe Priscilla’s just got something against People Magazine.

Kristi Yamaguchi was up bright and early to post at her blog at OK!. She confessed that she wasn’t very comfortable in her midriff-baring lavender dress.

Kristi wasn’t the only one unhappy with her outfit this week. Shannon Elizabeth was so displeased with the first dress DwtS costume designer, Randall Christensen, made for her that she had the costumers scrap it and start over again. Access Hollywood has video of the offending garment.

Access Hollywood‘s Web site has been slow to post Mel B’s post-show interview videos this week. Here’s Mel’s vid from Monday’s DwtS Performance Show, which was seen by a measly 17 million viewers.

In other TV news, ABC cancelled plans to revive Circus of the Stars after it ran into trouble booking talent due to the glut of celebreality shows currently on air or scheduled for the summer. NBC is going ahead with its Celebrity Circus.

I don’t follow The Biggest Loser, but Reality Blurred has a list of how much weight the current season’s contestants lost, and the figures are impressive.

The 20th season of The Real World starts tonight on MTV. It’s the first season that I won’t watch, and it feels damned good to be free of a show that’s become nothing more than a celebration of debauchery, cruelty, and intellectual laziness. And, yes, I know how old that statement makes me sound. Now get off my lawn!

DwtS 6, Week 5: Results

The night’s big surprise wasn’t which couple was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars, but which couple joined them in the Bottom Two.

During a recap of last night’s Performance show, confessional footage showed Shannon Elizabeth and Marlee Matlin reduced to tears by the judges’ comments.

After an encore performance by Kristi & Mark Ballas, Samantha Harris caught up with Shannon and Marlee backstage. When asked if she thought she did her best, Shannon said that, under the circumstances, "I kind of feel like I did."

Samantha asked Marlee, "How frustrating would it be for you if you were to be sent home tonight?"

Marlee jokingly responded, "I’m gonna strangle you if I leave," but then amended her plan to, "No, maybe Tom instead."

Before he introduced the next segment, Tom Bergeron scolded the studio audience: "Marlee Matlin: she threatens murder, and you applaud her."

Then it was time for Ozomatli to give one of the best guest performances in show history, accompanied by DwtS pros Fabian Sanchez, Kym Johnson, Louis van Amstel, Karina Smirnoff, Derek Hough, Edyta Sliwinska, Jonathan Roberts, and Anna Trebunskaya. Show producers should hire Ozomatli to perform all of the music for Latin Night, next season.

Following the performance, Tom announced the first results of the evening. Kristi & Mark were safe, and Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke found themselves in the Bottom Two — left to consider their fate for the next 40 minutes.

It was then time for the season’s new ballroom kids competition. Dmitriy & Michelle danced a nifty Jive, but the judges chose Jaryd & Cara (whom Bruno called "the cutest little gremlins") and their Cha Cha Cha to return to dance again, later in the season.

A video package showed some of the preparations the stars go through on Performance Show day. The women spend hours getting their hair and makeup done, while the men play football in the parking lot. Tony tries to keep his partner, Marissa, loose by harassing her, and Derek sings to Shannon.

Jason & Edyta were the next couple to learn that they were safe. Then, James Blunt sang his new single, "Carry You Home." Champion cabaret dancers Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian performed as Blunt sang.

After the last performance of the night, Samantha asked a stunned Cristian what he was thinking as he waited to learn if he’d danced his last routine. Cristian replied, "It feels bad."

With time running short, Mario & Karina, Marissa & Tony, Shannon & Derek, and Marlee & Fabian learned they were safe. That meant Priscilla & Louis were back in the Bottom Two for the second week in a row. Appropriately, they were eliminated.

As Priscilla said her farewells, the credits rolled. She had to take some of her precious seconds to clarify that she doesn’t really run a psychic hotline, as suggested in a DwtS April Fool’s Day bit.

The show ended before Priscilla & Louis could take the floor for their last dance, and before it was even possible to determine what cruel exit song they’d dance to. "Heartbreak Hotel," perhaps?

Ox Notes: April 15, 2008

Here’s a collection of coverage of last night’s Dancing with the Stars 6 Performance Show, starting with a great TV Guide article about the rough season Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough have had. The writer, Deborah Starr Seibel (the best reporter covering DwtS, in my opinion), gives Jonathan Roberts his due for being ready to fill in on short notice, week after week.

After last night’s show, Jonathan gave an interesting — and long — interview to TV Squad, assessing the performances and providing more details about nearly having to take the stage with Shannon.

The Insider has post-show interview footage, hosted by the intolerable Cojo. And Cheryl Burke got in a great line in her interview with Entertainment Tonight. Responding to Carrie Ann Inaba’s request for a more "erotic" Rumba, Cheryl said, "Honey, after all the rumors about me, I’m not about to go there."

Kristi Yamaguchi got up bright and early to post a blog entry for OK! about last night’s high-scoring Rumba. And Yahoo! has another Buzz Session video, with Joey Lawrence’s take on Latin Night.

Betting odds for DwtS 6 have been updated, giving Priscilla Presley a 45-1 chance to win. Marissa Jaret Winokur’s odds are even worse, at 50-1.

CBS announced its summer schedule, and Lifetime and Bravo also released their future programming plans.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has bowed out of the CW’s Beverly Hills, 90210 spin-off.

The fourth season of The Deadliest Catch premieres tonight on Discovery at 9 ET. I’ll be recording my favorite fishermen to watch after the DwtS Results Show.

And if you missed Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani’s guest appearance on the most recent episode of The Soup, check out the funny video below.

DwtS 6, Week 5: Performances

After Dancing with the Stars 6‘s Latin Night, Kristi Yamaguchi remains the star to beat.

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Samba
Sad news, Sesame Street fans: Karina killed Big Bird to make her skirt. Mario looked like the Samba movements came easily to him, and his attitude in rehearsals was great. This was the best he’s looked since Week 2.

Len Goodman said, "Work on your footwork a little bit more, but I’ve gotta tell ya, best dance so far." Bruno Tonioli told Mario, "If your hips could talk, we’d be censored tonight." Carrie Ann Inaba said, "It was nice and clean and to the point. It was a very classic routine."

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

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Rumba
Priscilla is impressively flexible. But it felt like she was sleepwalking through the performance — when she wasn’t posing, that is. There wasn’t any emotional hook.

Bruno complimented Priscilla for seeming "sensual, but not trashy. Available, but reassuringly expensive." Carrie Ann told Priscilla, "You were in your mind a little bit too much this week, I think. It didn’t just flow from your body effortlessly." Len said, "It was too careful. I was disappointed in the routine."

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

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Samba
This was Marissa’s most confident performance, and she and Tony executed some nice turns. But the choreography wasn’t very challenging and still felt a bit slow. The routine was heavy on the shimmy, and light on the footwork.

Carrie Ann said, "You were workin’ it, girl. That was your best routine by far. In the beginning, you were just a little bit off the music." Len said the routine had "more bounce to the ounce." Bruno told Marissa, "You have more shake than a cocktail bar. You really put the effort in it."

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

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Rumba
The performance was nice and romantic, although things really got going once Cheryl got Cristian to smile, and he loosened up. Like Carrie Ann mentioned last week, Cristian still looks a little weird when he looks away from Cheryl and toward the camera.

Len gave a backhanded compliment: "It wasn’t gruesome to watch. It was a very competent performance." Bruno said, "The chemistry with you two is great." Carrie Ann disagreed with Bruno: "I actually thought, tonight, the chemistry wasn’t there between you two. What I think you need to do to get better is work on sustaining your movements."

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

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Samba
The routine had energy and covered a lot of the floor. But it suffered in the execution, with a number of missed hand holds and problematic tempo changes.

Bruno told Marlee, "Very, very hot and sexy in the Samba. There is something very inspiring about you because you are so determined." Carrie Ann said, "You had a lot of stumbles and you were out of sorts. You continued, and it came back to life." Len said, "Marlee, you dance with such confidence. The Samba is definitely the most difficult of all the Latin dances."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…8 = 22/30

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Rumba
Wisely, Mark allowed Kristi to smile during the performance, instead of forcing her to portray hot, steamy passion. The performance felt romantic and believable — all the moreso because the two people dancing looked like they actually liked each other.

Carrie Ann told Kristi, "I have to commend you; you really took a risk this week. I think you gave up some of your movements to have that emotion, but I think it was a good call." Len said, "I’m gonna give you three words: Fab. U. Lous." Bruno renamed her "Kristi Yummy-licious."

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

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Samba
Derek went back to the hospital the morning of the show with a case of food poisoning. Jonathan Roberts filled in for him during dress rehearsal, but Derek returned in time to perform live.

Shannon said in the rehearsal footage that she wasn’t comfortable with the Samba, and it showed during the performance. Her moves were stiff, and her height made her look gawky. And, once again, Shannon looked completely exhausted as she listened to the judges’ comments.

Len said, "As good as that was, it wasn’t, for me, really good enough. Not enough hip action." Bruno told Shannon, "You’re such a good looking girl, you have to come out and shake those maracas." Carrie Ann told Shannon, "Sometimes you did look awkward, but don’t give up that attitude."

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

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Rumba
It was another strong effort from Jason, although he wasn’t able to find the perfect balance between of manliness and grace that the Rumba requires. And Edyta stole the spotlight from him with some eye-popping poses.

Bruno asked Jason, "How can you be so light and so big at the same time?" Carrie Ann said, "The two of you have the most insane chemistry on the dance floor." Len told Jason, "You’ve got a naturalness about you. You’re like a bloke, havin’ a dance." Len warned Edyta to lay off some of the posing so that Jason has to do more of the work.

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

Judges’ Leaderboard:
29 — Kristi & Mark
27 — Mario & Karina, Jason & Edyta
24 — Marissa & Tony
23 — Cristian & Cheryl, Shannon & Derek
22 — Marlee & Fabian
21 — Priscilla & Louis

Kristi & Mark seem like an unstoppable force, but I’m giving them a couple of my votes this week just to make sure they don’t get Sabrina’d. The rest of my votes will be split between Cristian & Cheryl and Shannon & Derek. Their humorous rehearsal footage has made them two of my favorite couples, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best from them yet.

Priscilla & Louis, who were in the Bottom Two last week, are obviously in the most trouble. But I won’t be surprised to see any of the couples who scored less than 27 points join them under the red lights.

Ox Notes: April 14, 2008

The My Ox Is Broken homepage got a new addition over the weekend. The ABC Dancing with the Stars widget allows you to watch videos from the show and check out cast bios, right on the MOIB homepage. And until April 30, ABC will plant a tree for every ten videos watched on one of their widgets. So start watching.

DwtS pros Mark Ballas and Derek Hough spent their weekend gigging with their band, Almost Amy, and People was there.

Kristi Yamaguchi blogged for OK! that she and Mark take breaks from dance rehearsals by going to the carwash together. And Marissa Jaret Winokur blogged for Us that her wretched Paso Doble dress was, at least in part, her idea.

Marissa and partner Tony Dovolani interviewed each other for Entertainment Tonight, disclosing more about Marissa’s bathroom habits than I wanted to know.

An article in AsianWeek highlighted Cheryl Burke Dance’s partnership with the city of San Francisco to fight childhood obesity.

Survivor‘s 17th season will be filmed in High Definition.

Project Runway judge Nina Garcia has left Elle magazine, putting her future with the show in doubt.

MTV’s new show about a high school newspaper, The Paper, debuts tonight, and got less-than-stellar reviews from Variety and Reality Blurred.

Ox Notes: April 11, 2008

The Dancing with the Stars pros are dropping like flies. Tony Dovolani was taken to the hospital after this week’s Results Show, but he’ll be able to dance again by Monday night (thanks to Deb for the link to the story).

So, will Jonathan Roberts get to dance with his fourth partner this season, and practice with Marissa Jaret Winokur while Tony recovers? Or will Tony recruit one of the former DwtS pros living in the New York area (Elena Grinenko or Maksim Chmerkovskiy, perhaps) to help out? We’ll find out on Monday night.

Kristi Yamaguchi wrote a blog post for OK! magazine following Tuesday’s Results Show, although she doesn’t mention Tony’s injury. And Entertainment Tonight has an adorable video of Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough interviewing each other. It’s worth watching just to find out what Derek’s bizarre bad habit is.

Derek’s sister, Julianne Hough, released a video for her new song, "That Song In My Head." Julianne’s young enough that she still sounds like she’s doing an impression of someone singing country, but she’s got plenty of time to grow into her voice. And the song is kind of catchy. (Thanks to Kells for the link).

James Blunt and Ashlee Simpson will be the musical guests on the April 15 and 22 DwtS Results Shows, respectively. Def Leppard will perform on the show on April 29.

Someone who won’t be singing on TV again any time soon is George Takei. Secret Talents of the Stars was cancelled after one airing.

Zap2It has a recap of last night’s episode of Survivor: Micronesia. I have a whole new respect for Erik for convincing the tribe to call itself Dabu, which he said was Micronesian for "good." He later admitted to the camera that he made it up just to see if he could get the tribe to call itself something that sounded silly. Props, Erik.