Monthly Archives: April 2008

Ox Notes: April 10, 2008

Wrapping up Dancing with the Stars news for the week, here are links to People’s backstage reports from this week’s Performance Show and Results Show. The Results Show won its timeslot in terms of overall viewers (16.5 million), but finished behind Hell’s Kitchen and The Biggest Loser in the 18-49 demographic.

If you thought you spotted Bachelor Andy Baldwin sitting with Donald Trump’s ex, Marla Maples, in the audience of Monday night’s episode of DwtS, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you. The two are a couple.

And if you’re still reeling about some of this week’s outfits, check out this blogger’s pet peeves about the costumes on Dancing with the Stars. Amazingly, Marissa Jaret Winokur’s awful Paso Doble dress wasn’t mentioned.

Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Survivor, TV Guide has an interview with Ami, who said she didn’t start playing the game until three hours before her ouster. Oops.

Survivor producer Mark Burnett signed a deal with AEG Live, the production team behind the Dancing with the Stars Tours. Why am I getting horrifying visions of a "Survivor on Ice" arena tour?

Speaking of ice, the Discovery Channel and BBC will co-produce a high definition documentary series akin to Planet Earth called Frozen Planet, set to premiere in 2012.

The website BuzzSugar has a slideshow titled The Best Game Shows of My Childhood, a list that’s probably most relevant to those in the 25-35 age range. In my youth, I watched almost all of the shows on the list, with Fun House being my favorite of the bunch.

Ox Notes: April 9, 2008

In his post-Results Show interviews, Adam Carolla was just as charming as during his exit speech. Mel B has the best interview video, in which Julianne Hough revealed Adam’s plan to introduce her to all of the fun kid stuff she’s never done because of her years of rigorous dance training: visiting Sea World, drinking Kool-Aid, and eating Cap’N Crunch cereal.

Entertainment Tonight‘s post-show video features the stars interviewing their pro partners. The Insider has video as well.

Adam told OK! Magazine something I wish we would’ve heard from former contestants like Master P, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Sara Evans: "Honestly, I’d rather leave a little bit early than be the one that’s hanging around while other people who can dance better than me get voted off."

Samantha Harris told TV Guide that Adam was one of the few celebrities she didn’t mind grabbing her microphone. And Priscilla Presley told Extra that landing in the Bottom Two after being criticized for her lift was a "reality check."

Next week, Shannon and Marissa will dance the Samba, and Priscilla, Cristian, and Kristi will Rumba.

Julianne Hough already has post-DwtS plans lined up: she’ll sing the national anthem before the Indy 500.

DwtS 6, Week 4: Results

Who would’ve guessed that the most inspirational exit speech in Dancing with the Stars history would come from Adam Carolla?

Instead of starting the show with the judges’ encore, musical guest Sheryl Crow performed a live version of her hit "All I Wanna Do." The performance was accompanied by DwtS pros Tony Dovolani, Edyta Sliwinska, Kym Johnson, and Fabian Sanchez.

A recap of last night’s Performance Show was then followed by the encore. Len Goodman said that, since the judges couldn’t agree on a favorite dance, they gave it to the most entertaining dance: Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough’s Paso Doble.

After the encore, Samantha Harris caught up with Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough backstage. Sam explained that, at the end of their performance last night, their fellow cast members chanted, "Kiss! Kiss!" as they watched from backstage. Shannon said that, if they would’ve gotten the encore, she and Derek really would’ve kissed at the end.

Then the first two safe couples were announced. High scorers Jason Taylor & Edyta and Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas were told they’d be back next week.

A new time-killing feature made its debut after the announcement of the safe couples. Two pairs of child ballroom dancers performed live, and the DwtS judges pick one of the couples to dance again on a future episode. Aaron & Daniela’s Samba lost out to Aaron & Rashell’s Paso Doble. Always good to have your ego put in check on national TV before you’re 10-years-old.

Then professional dancers Delyan Terziev & Boriana Deltcheva danced while Sheryl Crow sang a song off her new album.

The song was followed by a special segment about the pro performances on the Results Shows, which are assembled in a matter of hours.

After many commercials, Marlee Matlin & Fabian, Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke, and Mario & Karina Smirnoff all learned they were safe. After a few more commercials, Shannon & Derek and Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony learned that they were safe, too.

That left Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel in the Bottom Two with Adam & Julianne. Tom Bergeron promised that the losing couple would have enough time to say good-bye, and he honored his promise as Adam & Julianne were cut from the competition.

Contrary to the funny-guy front he’s presented, Adam gave a speech that showed just how much participating in the show has meant to him: "I want to say, I had the time of my life. I lost 20 pounds of fat, and I gained 105 pounds of angel." He hugged Julianne and added, "I love this girl."

Adam finished by saying, "I recommend this experience to everyone who’s scared of everything. If something scares you…I’m gonna get philosophical for one second, Tom. We all don’t get the opportunity to do Dancing with the Stars, but you at home…there’s something that scares you. There’s something that is your Dancing with the Stars. Embrace it. Don’t run from it. Do it."

Julianne got teary-eyed and called Adam a "great guy" before the couple danced their final dance to Whitesnake’s "Here I Go Again."

 

 

Ox Notes: April 8, 2008

One of my favorite things about this season of Dancing with the Stars is Yahoo’s Buzz Session with Diane Mizota & Joey Lawrence. This week, Diane & Joey make fun of Carrie Ann Inaba for crying, and call out the judges for inconsistent scoring. It’s refreshing to see a former contestant who’s willing to speak his mind, without worrying about offending his old castmates or the producers.

Joey also noted that the judges aren’t rewarding Adam Carolla for his improved dancing the way they are other celebrities. Julianne Hough agrees, and she told Extra she’s "pissed" about it.

While the painful neck injury suffered by Julianne’s brother, Derek, has gotten all the attention, Kristi Yamaguchi told TV Guide that she’s been dancing on a swollen ankle since Saturday.

Mel B filed another slightly unprofessional but totally amusing post-show interview video for Access Hollywood. Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, which I’m convinced are actually the same show, have post-show interview videos as well, both titled "The Dancers Celebrate Their 10s."

In other reality competition news, Project Runway will move to Lifetime after next season, in part because the show’s producers were tired of Bravo ripping off PR‘s successful format. Bravo’s parent company, NBC Universal, has filed suit to stop the move.

Today, the WGA resumes its efforts to unionize reality show writers by staging a press conference highlighting lawsuits against reality show producers over unpaid overtime.

Delays due to the writers strike forced HBO to move some of its show premieres to fall, instead of debuting new seasons this summer. And Fox has updated plans for its summer schedule.

DwtS 6, Week 4: Performances

After remaining under wraps for the first three weeks of the season, the "10" paddles made several appearances during the latest Dancing with the Stars Performance Show.

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Paso Doble
This routine easily could’ve been ruined by an odd song choice: New Order’s "Blue Monday." But another strong performance by Kristi saved the day. The couple’s striking outfits helped, as well.

Len offered only the smallest criticism for Kristi: "Every dance has a slight sameness to it — not in the choreography." Bruno was full of praise: "You really unleashed the harlot tonight, my darling." Carrie Ann said, "You both set the standard for this competition. That was fantastic."

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

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Viennese Waltz
Priscilla & Louis spent much of the early part of the dance out of hold, so I never really felt an emotional connection between them. And Priscilla’s dress made her look like a mermaid. Even though this wasn’t my favorite of their dances, it’s hard to deny Priscilla’s considerable skills.

Bruno complimented Priscilla’s "great interpretation." Carrie Ann told Priscilla, "You’re able to create such drama with your facial expressions." But Carrie Ann noticed a lift in the routine, and Len did as well: "I would’ve given you a higher mark, but I’ve gotta drop a point because you did do a lift."

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

Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough — Paso Doble
In a DwtS first, Adam rode in on a unicycle, and remained on it for the first part of the dance — all while wearing a Zorro mask and a fake pencil moustache. I don’t know what to say about the dancing, although Julianne did manage to work in a number of tricks. But overall, the routine was damn funny.

Carrie Ann almost stole Adam’s comedic thunder with her perfect delivery of the following line: "It was smooth and it was dramatic. Your turns were fantastic. And then you got off the unicycle." Len told Adam, "You are such a lovable character…unfortunately, you’re not much of a dancer." Bruno said, "You are the classic example that genius and insanity goes hand-in-hand."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…7, Bruno…6 = 19/30

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Viennese Waltz
During rehearsal footage, Marlee explained that her deafness affects her balance, and that the twirls of the waltz made her dizzy. Fabian adapted the choreography, and they spent less time in traditional hold than the other couples. Overall, the dance was nice, and Marlee’s detail work with her hands was lovely.

Len said, "I thought it was very, very good. It was poignant. In hold, sometimes your head is a bit bizarre." Bruno said Marlee was "totally immersed into the role." A teary-eyed Carrie Ann said, "You made me cry. Something about that performance just took my breath away."

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

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Paso Doble
This was much better than their performance last week, but the connection between them doesn’t seem as strong as it was during the first two weeks. and it looked as though they missed a couple of hand holds. Karina ended the routine with a daring flip worthy of the superhero costume she was wearing.

Bruno dubbed him "Mario the Conqueror." Carrie Ann said, "You could tell you spent the hours in rehearsal, ’cause that was a very challenging routine. Sometimes I felt that your movements got just a hair awkward." Len told Mario, "I admire your spirit. You’ve got one style of dance, and it’s sort of wild. Work on the styling a little bit more." To his credit, Mario said he appreciated Len’s criticism because it helps him get better.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…7, Bruno…9 = 24/30

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Viennese Waltz
This was a surprisingly sexy waltz, especially considering that most of Edyta was uncharacteristically covered in fabric. Jason stayed in character and showed off his great extension, although he lost his footing at one point. That said, this dance was overscored by the judges.

Carrie Ann told Jason, "That was beautiful. You have an understated elegance about you. You stumbled, but I’m gonna forgive you for that because that was great. Len called the performance "a wow of a waltz." Bruno said, "You managed to make the Viennese Waltz sexy, sensual, erotic," and then he added something about a swan mating ritual.

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

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Paso Doble
Cheryl’s costume looked like it came from the set of an adult movie remake of The Matrix, and yet it somehow worked for her. The dancing was very good, and Cristian seemed to embrace his inner matador, shouting and stomping enthusiastically.

Len said, "I liked the passion and the drama. I don’t think you really conquered the music, but another fine performance." Bruno said the performance was "very convincing, totally in character." Carrie Ann disagreed with Len about the music, but she warned Cristian, "Watch your eyes when you’re out of the hold. Sometimes you get a little glazed over."

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

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Viennese Waltz
Jonathan Roberts filled in as Shannon’s partner during rehearsals, as Derek recovered from his neck injury. Derek, who still choreographed the routine, coached from the sidelines and stepped in when he felt he was able. Shannon had to remind him to take it easy.

Derek, the consumate pro, never let a hint of the pain he was surely feeling cross his face during the routine. The performance was smooth and lovely. It might’ve earned straight 10s, had they been able to rehearse with Derek at full strength.

Bruno told Shannon, "The hot babe definitely has graduated into a class act." Carrie Ann said of Shannon’s progress, "Something’s definitely happening. It’s really beautiful." Len said, "For me, I think that’s the best dance I’ve seen tonight."

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

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Paso Doble
Their performance was more compelling than last week’s. But it was marred some by harsh stage makeup and a totally unflattering outfit for Marissa. The designers have botched all of her costumes, with no sign of improvement.

As Marissa & Tony took their place next to Tom Bergeron, it was apparent that the long-standing resentment between Tony and Carrie Ann has not gone away. As she started her comments, Carrie Ann joked, "Tony’s giving me dirty looks." Tony muttered a reply under his breath, prompting Carrie Ann to ask, "What?" Tony gave a quick smile and said, "Nothing," and the show went on, but it was an uncomfortable moment to watch.

Carrie Ann said, "I thought it was fantastic. This was a whole different Marissa." Len agreed, "You’re on an upward spiral. If you’re back next week, keep it up." Bruno said, "You let go of the safety net."

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

Judges’ Leaderboard:
29 — Kristi & Mark, Jason & Edyta
28 — Shannon & Derek
26 — Cristian & Cheryl
24 — Marlee & Fabian, Mario & Karina, Marissa & Tony
22 — Priscilla & Louis
19 — Adam & Julianne

My votes tonight go to Kristi & Mark and Shannon & Derek, who I again felt gave the two best performances of the night. I would’ve ranked Jason & Edyta in third place. I could throw a few more votes to Adam because I think he’s funny, but I’ll be surprised if he’s not out on Tuesday night.

This week’s Results Show marks the first time the Bottom Two couples will be announced. Priscilla & Louis seem the most likely to hit bottom with Adam. The only couples I’d be shocked to see at the bottom are Kristi & Mark and Jason & Edyta.

Ox Notes: April 7, 2008

Today’s all Dancing with the Stars edition of Ox Notes starts with a personal story. While I was home watching TV on Friday night, the last person I expected to call me on the phone was Tom Bergeron.

Friday night in San Francisco, Cheryl Burke celebrated the opening of her new studio, Cheryl Burke Dance. Several DwtS cast members, including Cristian de la Fuente and Tom Bergeron, attended the opening, as did MOIB contributor, Imee.

Before the party, I asked Imee to touch Tom Bergeron on my behalf, and she used this as an opening to approach the DwtS ringmaster. Imee took things a step further and asked Tom to give me a call. Excited at the chance to talk on Imee’s pink-sleeved Blackberry, Tom pulled Imee outside and gave me a ring.

Back in Illinois, I answered the phone and hear, "Hi, Kathy. This is Tom Bergeron. Why aren’t you at the party?" I manage to keep my cool and say I lost my plane ticket when ATA filed bankruptcy. Tom answered, "Lost your plane ticket. You don’t know how many women have given me that excuse in my life."

We chatted for another minute or so, and I made sure to tell Tom that he’s the best part of Dancing with the Stars. According to Imee, many people at the party told him the same thing. Also according to Imee, Cristian de la Fuenta is very handsome in person.

So big thanks to Imee for making my weekend, and giving me a great story to tell. Now, on to news.

Poor Cristian was recently subjected to shopping with the Insider’s Cojo for a dress for his mom, who flew in from Chile to attend tonight’s show.

During tonight’s Performance Show, Kristi Yamaguchi and Mario will both dance the Paso Doble. Be warned, Mario’s Paso song is Stevie Wonder’s "Higher Ground."

According to TV Guide’s latest Power Rankings, Marissa Jaret Winokur has a 0.2% chance of winning DwtS.

After three seasons of competing in America without winning a trophy, the powers behind the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars are trying to woo Kym Johnson back to her homeland.

Former DwtS contestants Joey Fatone and Mel B have signed on to host a singing competition on TLC.

Ox Notes: April 4, 2008

If you watch anything on TV tonight, make sure it’s Countdown on MSNBC at 8 or 10 ET. Rachel Maddow is filling in as host, and she’s the best political analyst on TV right now. Unlike most pundits, who are career journalists or ex-politicians, Rachel is a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD in Political Science. And on top of those credentials, she’s funny.

Another show to watch this weekend is one of MTV’s many reruns of Rock the Cradle. I caught the show this morning and was impressed by the quality of singing from the celebrity offspring. Plus it was amusing to see Olivia Newton-John sitting in the audience next to Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, as though they’re watching their kids sing in a high school choir concert.

Dee’s son, Jesse Blaze Snider, is a professional comic book writer, as well as an aspiring musician.

Paul Mirkovich and Rafael Moreira of the Rockstar: INXS house band are in the Rock the Cradle house band.

One show I plan to catch in weekend reruns on Bravo is Step It Up and Dance, which MOIB reader Beto said was worth watching. Do the rest of you who saw it agree? Zap2It has a recap of last night’s premiere.

Al Pacino says he hopes to follow in his pal George Hamilton’s footsteps and compete on Dancing with the Stars — if only to lose a little weight.

Former DwtS contestant Joey McIntyre is reuniting with New Kids on the Block for a tour.

In other unnecessary ’80s throwback news, someone is remaking the film Short Circuit. Good thing Steve Guttenberg’s available.

Ox Notes: April 3, 2008

Yesterday, NBC announced plans for its primetime schedule covering Fall 2008 through Summer 2009. The proposed schedule can be viewed in grid form here.

Survivor: Micronesia returns to its regular timeslot tonight. Host Jeff Probst recently revealed that he and Survivor: Vanuatu contestant Julie Berry are no longer dating.

Also on the tube tonight is the premiere of dance competition show Step It Up and Dance on Bravo at 11 ET, which is past my bedtime.

Catching up on news about this week’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show, which was seen by 16.9 million viewers, People has a backstage report. In her video report for Access Hollywood, Mel B sussed out that Marlee Matlin will dance the Viennese Waltz next week, while Marissa Jaret Winokur will Paso Doble.

DwtS Season 1 contestant John O’Hurley has signed on to host CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars, which means he won’t be hosting the primetime celebrity version of Family Feud that NBC is developing. That job will likely go to Al Roker.

Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar made the surprising announcement that they will leave the series at the end of this season. The CW has already renewed the show for an eighth season.

I’ve been frustrated with the direction the show’s taken in the last few seasons, as new cast members and assorted threats to humanity pulled the focus away from Clark’s relationships with Lana, Chloe, and Lex. The fact that Lex and Clark have been fighting for the better part of two seasons, and yet the Luthor Mansion security guards always let Clark in so that he can insult Lex before inevitably asking for his help, is one example of the lazy storytelling that plagues the show.

If the CW proceeds with an eighth season, it had better be the last. Just kill off Lana so that Clark and Lex can blame each other for her death and we can get on with things, already.

Ox Notes: April 2, 2008

Derek Hough put on a brave face at last night’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show, suffering through pain from a strained neck muscle. Mark Ballas’s father, Corky, was at the rehearsal where Derek hurt himself, and told TV Guide that it might’ve happened because Derek, Mark, and Julianne Hough didn’t warm up before dancing.

During post-show interviews, Derek donned a neck brace, which can be seen in video reports filed by Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and The Insider.

Catching up on some of the backstage reports from Monday night’s DwtS Performance Show, which was watched by 20.29 million viewers, here are links to an article at People.com and Mel B’s video report for Access Hollywood. Mel B is my favorite of the post-show interviewers.

In Mel B’s video, Shannon Elizabeth and Priscilla Presley said that they will dance the Viennese Waltz next week, while some of the other couples will Paso Doble.

DwtS host Tom Bergeron’s plans for the summer include hosting an eco-themed celebrity talk show called Supper Club on Planet Green, and he showed Access Hollywood around the environmentally-friendly house where the show will be filmed.

MTV is airing an alcohol-fueled Real World Awards Show tonight at 10 ET. Us Magazine compiled a slide show of then-and-now photos of some notable Real World cast members.

In an effort to encourage CBS to renew their favorite show for the fall, fans of the vampire drama Moonlight teamed with the Red Cross to organize a nationwide blood drive. The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd notes: "At least executives can take heart that, unlike in the infamous Jericho peanut-mailing campaign, Moonlight fans are using their blood to help a good cause rather than sending it to the network."

DwtS 6, Week 3: Results

On Dancing with the Stars, nice guys finish tenth.

The evening started out well for Steve Guttenberg. His Tango got the encore — not the one that he performed with Anna Trebunskaya, but the one he practiced with Anna’s husband, Jonathan Roberts. Steve & Jonathan danced what Tom Bergeron called a "Man-go," and it was easily the best encore in show history. (Skip to the 6:20 mark on the video below for the performance)

Steve & Jonathan’s encore was followed by the announcement of the first two couples who would be moving on to next week: Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas and Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough. The good news elicited a loud "yeah!" from Julianne.

Kylie Minogue was the evening’s special guest artist, and she sang her new single, "All I See."

Then it was time to hear from some of last night’s audience members. Sabrina Bryan called Priscilla Presley "beautiful," and Natasha Henstridge was annoyed with Len Goodman for criticizing Mario. Len, I saw her in Species, and I would not want to be on her bad side.

Another two couples were then told that they were safe: Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel and, surprisingly, Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani.

After a commercial, Samantha Harris chatted backstage with the four safe stars. Kristi and Priscilla, last night’s top scoring dancers, said they never feel confident due to the show’s unpredictability.

That prompted Adam to grab the mic from Samantha, and, with his arm around fellow low-scoring star Marissa, he directed his comments at Kristi and Priscilla. In mock outrage he yelled, "Cut the crap, ladies! You know you’re in the driver’s seat. Stop talking down to us!" The pro dancers could be seen laughing in the background, and Kristi jokingly assumed a boxer’s stance in preparation to fight Adam.

The jokes continued during a Dancing with the Stars April Fool’s bit about secret interests of the stars. The interview segment seemed plausible at first, as Jason Taylor spoke of his childhood hobby of building ships in bottles: "As I grew bigger, the ships got smaller."

But any pretense of reality went right out the window as Marlee Matlin talked about her volunteer work as police officer: "The fact that I am deaf is beneficial in this line of work. With no hearing, my sense of sight is keener. I even read lips in the dark."

The other pretend hobbies of the stars included Shannon Elizabeth’s duties as president of a MacGyver fan club, Kristi is a competitive eater, Priscilla runs a psychic hotline, Marissa surfs, Steve raps under the name "Guttemeister General," and Cristian de la Fuente trains his pet otter.

Guest dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed a routine that was good, but probably would’ve been better if seen from the studio audience.

Then Julianne and Mark danced a hip-hop influenced routine as Kylie Minogue performed her hit "Can’t Get You Out of My Head."

To kill time unnecessarily, a video clip featured a professional matchmaker rating all of the couples. She proclaimed Kristi & Mark the perfect match, even though she’s never seen them dance together.

As the show neared its end Jason & Edyta Sliwinska and Marlee & Fabian Sanchez, Cristian & Cheryl Burke, and Shannon & Derek Hough all learned that they’d earned a spot in next week’s show.

That left Steve & Anna on the chopping block with Mario & Karina Smirnoff, although the couples didn’t necessarily represent the Bottom Two vote-getters.

Steve & Anna were eliminated. Tom & Samantha cut Steve off in the middle of his goodbyes, which sucked given what a good sport Steve’s been all season. The departing duo danced their last dance to Fleetwood Mac’s "You Can Go Your Own Way."