Monthly Archives: November 2008

DwtS 7, Week 9: Performances

One duo dominated the Dancing with the Stars 7 Semifinals, and it wasn’t who you’d expect.

The Semifinals consisted of two rounds of dances. First was a Latin Round, followed by a round of dances in new styles introduced this season. Two couples chose Salsa and two chose Jitterbug. Both styles were demonstrated with live performances by professional couples who specialize in those disciplines. Lifts were allowed during the second round, but not the first.

Round 1

Brooke Burke & Derek Hough — Jive
Brooke made some early missteps that threw off her whole performance. The jive was so fast that she never a chance at recovering. Len Goodman called it "a disaster." Bruno Tonioli said, "The technique went down the toilet." Carrie Ann Inaba said that the lift in their routine was "a bit disrespectful."

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

Cody Linley & Julianne Hough — Paso Doble
Cody looked fired up to be dancing with Julianne again in their military-themed Paso. Bruno said Cody danced like an "AWOL android." Carrie Ann gave Cody a "10 for determination," but told him to watch his hands. Len said, "It just lacked dance quality for me."

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

Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson — Mambo
This was the first largely mistake-free performance of the night. Carrie Ann said, "You gotta up your game. It was a little lackluster for me." Len said, "At least you come out and show us great personality." Bruno said it was "flat-footed, but very engaging."

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

Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer — Mambo
Lacey showed how physically strong she is by doing an impressive back bend. Len said, "That’s the best dance so far." Bruno cheered, "This is Semifinal material!" Carrie Ann said, "That was a show stopper."

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

Before the second round of dances, Len visited all of the couples in rehearsal to give them tips.

Round 2

Before the competitors performed, the Salsa was demonstrated by pro dancers Paul Barris & Yesenia Adame.

Brooke Burke & Derek Hough — Salsa
This was so much better than their first dance. Bruno yelled, "Brooke is back! Thank you!" Carrie Ann said that the lifts were appropriate for the dance. Len told Brooke that, if she makes it to the finale, "Work on your strengths. Don’t worry about other people."

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

Cody Linley & Julianne Hough — Salsa
Cody was not well served by following Brooke in the same dance style. Carrie Ann said, "It was a lot of fun." Len said, "I didn’t realize you were such a strong lad." Bruno said, "Still a bit loose, technically."

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

Then the Jitterbug was demonstrated by pros Christian Perry & Annette Nicole.

Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson — Jitterbug
The gambling theme present in their outfits was a little weird, especially Kym’s roulette wheel skirt. Len told Warren, "You are truly a joyful person to watch." Bruno said, "Your feet were all over the place." Carrie Ann said, "I liked it."

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

Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer — Jitterbug
Lance lost his shoe during their Navy-themed routine. Bruno said, "Shoes off or shoes on, that was brilliant." Carrie Ann said, "Once in a while, magic happens on the dancefloor. And that was magic." Len said, "You’ve come out tonight and danced two incredible dances."

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

Judges’ Leaderboard (60 points possible):
57 — Lance & Lacey
49 — Brooke & Derek, Warren & Kym
46 — Cody & Julianne

As the leaderboard shows, it’s time for Cody to go. Brooke’s getting my votes tonight; I’d hate to see her miss the Finale just because her first real off performance of the season came during the Semifinals.

Ox Notes: November 17, 2008

Nigel Lythgoe has thrown down the gauntlet. The So You Think You Can Dance creator plans to debut Superstar Dancers of the World on NBC in early 2009, which could put it in direct competition with Dancing with the Stars.

According to a Zap2It article, SDotW will feature two soloists, one pair and one group from each of eight countries competing in a variety of dance styles. The show’s host is DwtS substitute judge Michael Flatley.

The Dancing with the Stars Tour wraps on February 8, 2009, which would put the show on pace for its usual March debut. There’s no word yet on when SDotW will begin, nor how many episodes it will last, but the two shows could wind up as direct competitors.

I’m trying to curtail some of my TV viewing, and if I have to choose one dance show to watch this spring, it’ll probably be Superstar Dancers of the World. Given the hours I’ve spent over the course of seven seasons of Dancing with the Stars, sitting through endless commercials and boring filler material — not to mention the mostly-forgettable performances of the current season — I’m ready for something new. I just wish Tom Bergeron (who is consistently great) would switch shows along with me.

What about you? Would you ditch Dancing with the Stars for Superstar Dancers of the World?

In other DwtS news, Julianne Hough talked with ET about her return to the ballroom.

TV Week has an article about reality shows that should be resurrected. Topping the list is Rock Star, which was hosted by DwtS 7‘s Brooke Burke.

Variety’s Brian Lowry writes about the disturbing trend of TV news anchors pitching products during newscasts as a means of skirting Tivo’s fast-forward feature.

Tim Gunn told EW that Project Runway 6 is "phenomenal." Let’s hope a judge decides to let Lifetime air it.

People interviewed ousted Top Chef: New York contestant Patrick Dunlea.

Reality Blurred’s Andy Dehnart writes that he’s disappointed with the turn Survivor: Gabon‘s taken now that Kenny, Crystal, Susie and Matty have seized power. I agree, but I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out exactly why I do.

It’s not just that I don’t particularly like Kenny, Crystal, Susie and Matty, who’ve all gotten more annoying since they took control of the voting. I keep waiting for Sugar to stop buying Kenny’s B.S., for Corrine and Randy to channel their misanthropy into a way to save themselves, or for Bob to use his MacGyver skills to come up with an unbeatable plan. But I don’t know if they have it in them.

Is it wrong of me to hope for all that? Should I just sit back and enjoy the beautiful African scenery?

Is Survivor: Gabon getting you down, too? If so, why?

Ox Notes: November 14, 2008

Just a quick Ox Notes before I go review the Hindi movie Dostana this morning.

Jeff Probst’s EW blog post about last night’s Survivor: Gabon episode includes a deleted scene of the tribe that won the Reward Challenge coming down hard after returning to camp.

And (spoiler) I defy you not to laugh during this Ponderosa video of Marcus and Charlie choosing coordinating outfits for next week’s Tribal Council. Apparently, they spent hours on the task.

In Dancing with the Stars news, Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson performed a few seconds of the Jitterbug they’re preparing for Monday night on Thursday Night Football.

So You Think You Can Dance producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe talked to TV Guide about comments allegedly made by other DwtS pros regarding Lacey Schwimmer’s weight: "Lay off her because she’s a brilliant dancer."

Lythgoe was in TV Guide’s offices to talk about a new dance show he’s developing. Tentatively titled Dance Stars of the World, Lythgoe wants the TV show to be sort of like the Olympics of dance.

Ox Notes: November 13, 2008

Christmas came early for nerds this year. HBO has ordered a pilot of Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

I cannot stress enough how good these books are, and how many people who usually avoid the fantasy and sci-fi genres love them. There are no orcs or trolls, and the series is not set in outer space. There are kings, queens, and knights, but little in the way of chivalry.

The characters have realistic emotions and motivations, but the story drives the action, sentiment for the characters be damned. Martin’s "gritty" style of storytelling is currently reshaping the genre, much like J. R. R. Tolkien did 60 years ago.

Pick up a copy of Game of Thrones, read it, and let me know what you think.

Catching up on Dancing with the Stars news, Lacey Schwimmer told People that she’s considering bribing judge Len Goodman with baked goods. And Misty May-Treanor sounds like she’d be up for a second attempt at DwtS after her leg is healed.

Kim Kardashian blogged about the elimination of her pal, Cheryl Burke, this week on DwtS. Kim recently landed a guest role on an upcoming episode of How I Met Your Mother.

On December 23, former DwtSer Marie Osmond will host an ABC special called Rediscovered, in which former wannabe child stars get their chance to perform onstage 20 years later. The show, co-hosted by Donny Osmond, will also feature old audition footage of stars like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Jessica Simpson.

NBC has pulled the plug on Lipstick Jungle and My Own Worst Enemy.

Comedian Chris Elliot’s 21-year-old daughter, Abby, makes her Saturday Night Live debut this weekend.

Variety’s Brian Lowry examines why British sitcoms are so much funnier than American sitcoms these days.

E! has a poll about the Top Chef: New York debut that asks the same question my husband asked as we watched it last night: what’s will all the bald chefs? Bravo’s website features blog posts about the episode by judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and former contestants Lee Ann Wong, Stephanie Izard, Richard Blais, and Brian Malarkey.

Ox Notes: November 12, 2008

After last night’s Dancing with the Stars 7 Results Show, the couples chatted with Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Us Magazine, E! and TV Guide. Ousted pro Cheryl Burke told OK! that she’s decided to join her partner, Maurice Greene, on the DwtS Tour.

In the above interviews, Brooke Burke said that she’ll dance the Jive and Salsa next week, and Lance Bass said he’s got the Jitterbug. No word on what Lance’s other dance is, or what Warren Sapp and Cody Linley will be dancing.

Cody told OK! that he thinks Miley Cyrus might perform for the DwtS 7 Finale. His original partner, Julianne Hough, will join him for next week’s semi-final round. She spoke with Access Hollywood about returning to the show and blogged about it for Fancast.

People has a behind-the-scenes report from the set of Monday night’s DwtS Performance Show.

A new season of Top Chef debuts tonight on Bravo at 10 ET, minus judge Ted Allen. Entertainment Tonight has a list of this season’s celebrity guests, which includes the rock band Foo Fighters. I wonder if they’ll change their name to Food Fighters for the occasion (har, har)?

Speaking of Foo Fighters, they’re taking part in CBS’s Very Merry Yuletide programming this Christmas season.

Reality Blurred’s Andy Dehnart appears in a video that Survivor: Gabon host Jeff Probst shot of members of the press taking part in one of this season’s challenges.

Kelly, who was eliminated from The Amazing Race this week along with her partner, Christy, told People, "I have a good feeling we’ll be back for All Stars." I don’t know if that’s confirmation of a second All Star season or just wishful thinking on Kelly’s part, but I’d be happy to watch them bumble their way through another season.

DwtS 7, Week 8: Results

A third mirrorball trophy wasn’t in the cards for Cheryl Burke this season.

Tonight’s Dancing with the Stars 7 Results Show began with an encore of Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson’s "Peter Gunn" Tango. The encore was followed by Edyta Sliwinska metaphorically passing the torch back to Julianne Hough, who’ll dance with Cody Linley again next week.

Then, musical guest Brad Paisley sang his first song of the night, while Lacey Schwimmer and her brother, So You Think You Can Dance 2 champ Benji Schwimmer, danced a West Coast Swing.

Following the performance, Warren & Kym and Lance Bass & Lacey were told that they’d made it to next week’s semi-final round.

Everyone got a chance to relax during a pretaped segment in which Celebrity Rehab‘s Dr. Drew Pinsky conducted a therapy session with each couple. With so much talking and no dancing, I tuned out during this bit.

The content of this week’s Macy’s Stars of Dance Performance was selected by online voters, who picked Julianne and Derek Hough to dance a Jive to "Great Balls of Fire." It had some exciting tricks, including Julianne walking in high heels as Derek sat on her shoulders.

Then it was time for a second performance by Brad Paisley, accompanied by DwtS pros Kym, Edyta, Karina Smirnoff, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Alec Mazo and Genya Mazo, Alec’s brother.

The pros took a seat on the stage after the dance, so that Tom Bergeron could chat with them about the upcoming DwtS Tour. Maks, who is choreographing the tour, said he plans to give it a "pop" flair, including songs sung by Toni Braxton.

Before the final verdicts were announced, a Kinesiology professor explained the science behind the pro dancers bodies, and how they’re able to generate such speed and power. Mostly, the segment was an excuse to see Alec and Edyta nearly naked.

Brooke Burke & Derek were then told that they’d made the semi-finals, leaving Cody & Julianne and Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke in jeopardy.

After Maurice & Cheryl were told that they were out of the competition, Cheryl said to Maurice, "Out of all of the seasons I’ve been on the show, you’ve been the hardest working partner I’ve ever had." During their farewell dance, Maurice brought his daughter out of the audience and onto the dance floor.

Ox Notes: November 11, 2008

Here’s a couple of quick notes on Dancing with the Stars before I head off to do Veterans Day-type stuff.

Kym Johnson did a nice job last night covering up a shoulder injury she suffered over the weekend.

Entertainment Tonight got the couples to talk about their strategies for the semi-finals. If they survive the vote tonight, Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke will dance the Tango and Jitterbug next week.

Even though Derek Hough has been leading the pack with celebrity partner Brooke Burke all season, he told OK! that victory is not guaranteed: "There’s only been one occasion where the best dancer has won and that was last year [with Kristi Yamaguchi]. Other than that, it’s always been the best personality that has won." I think you’re on to something, Derek. (Though I will say that, even if Drew Lachey wasn’t the best dancer of Season 2, he definitely earned his win with the best performances in the final week.)

DwtS 7, Week 8: Performances

Even with the pressure of two individual dances this week, Brooke & Derek managed some impressive scores and held on to the top spot on Dancing with the Stars 7.

Ballroom Round

Cody Linley & Edyta Sliwinska — Fox Trot
Edyta’s dress looked like a costume designer’s idea of a ballgown from the future. Of the dancing, Len Goodman said, "I was pleasantly surprised." Bruno Tonioli told Cody the routine was "your most grown-up performance to date." Carrie Ann docked them a point for a lift, though she said she liked the performance.

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

Brooke Burke & Derek Hough — Tango
I’m not sure why Brooke was wearing a belt under her dress instead of over it. Bruno told the couple, "You were in tune like two instruments that have played together forever." Carrie Ann told Brooke, "That is why you’re the last woman standing." Len said, "It was riddled with mistakes."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…8, Bruno…10 = 28/30

Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke — Quickstep
The quickest thing about this performance was when Cheryl did a cartwheel at the end of the routine. Carrie Ann said, "Yeah! I loved it." Len said, "You flew round that floor." Bruno told Maurice, "You kept it going all the way through with aplomb."

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

Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer — Fox Trot
The daring duo kept things traditional this time. Len said, "You’re here on the wrong night. Extreme Makeover was yesterday." Bruno said, "I really, really enjoyed it." Carrie Ann told Lance, "You’re really animated out there."

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

Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson — Tango
Warren wore a sparkly tux for the occasion. Bruno said, "Secret agent Warren Sapp is back. He’s big, and he does a mean Tango." Carrie Ann told Warren, "You make us all feel like we’re in the number." Len said, "You’re in it, now."

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

Latin Round
Each star was required to dance a 15-second solo during this routine.

Cody Linley & Edyta Sliwinska — Mambo
Cody’s solo included a one-arm push-up and a leap onto the judges’ desk. Carrie Ann said, "It was a little erratic. But I know you were very excited." Len said, "Overall, I think you’ve done two good dances." Bruno said, "It went a little spasmodic at times." After the performance, Cody said that Julianne Hough will return to dance with him next week.

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

Brooke Burke & Derek Hough — Mambo
Brooke’s solo featured some fast footwork and a wig that was as distracting as the belt from her first performance. Len said, "I thought that was a very ambitious performance." Bruno said the routine "could revive the dead. You’re a great dancer." Carrie Ann said, "At times your posture felt a little awkward."

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

Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke — Paso Doble
Maurice twirled a cape for his solo. Bruno told Maurice, "You were twirling that cape like a wind turbine in a hurricane." Carrie Ann said, "Next week, I wanna see you bridge the gap between the stomping and the intensity and the gracefulness of the upper torso." Len said, "I thought you did a really good job. Well done."

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

Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer — Samba
Lance did a boy-band-style dance for his solo. Carrie Ann noted, "The Samba is one of the most difficult dances on the show." Len said, "I’m sure you’re going to be back because I think you’re very popular, but you must work on your footwork." Bruno said, "You did a very difficult Samba."

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

Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson — Jive
Warren added some flair to traditional Jive moves for his solo. Len told Warren, "You come out, and it’s such a joyful thing to watch, except for your feet." Bruno told Warren, "You release such a contagious sense of fun that you can’t actually dissect the technique." Carrie Ann said, "I love that you did a Jive-inspired solo."

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

Judges’ Leaderboard (60 points possible):
55 — Brooke & Derek
54 — Warren & Kym
50 — Lance & Lacey
48 — Cody & Edyta, Maurice & Cheryl

Brooke & Derek have been the best couple for a long time, which makes voting for them this week even more important, lest they get Sabrina’d. I suspect Maurice & Cheryl will go home on Tuesday night, since I suspect fans will want to give Cody one last chance to dance with Julianne.

Ox Notes: November 10, 2008

Kym Johnson told People that she thinks she and Warren Sapp can win Dancing with the Stars 7 if they keep having fun on the dancefloor, though she may have to use a few perennial pro tricks as well.

Tuesday night’s DwtS Results Show will feature a vocal performance by Julianne Hough that she recorded before leaving the show to have surgery.

I agree with Reality Blurred’s Andy Dehnart that last night’s Holi Roadblock on The Amazing Race was one of the best challenges ever, particularly because of Kelly’s self-inflicted misery.

The latest Survivor voted out of Gabon, Marcus, did interviews with Reality Blurred and People.

Lost returns to ABC’s lineup on January 21, 2009.

Showtime and the BBC are working on a new historical drama series called Camelot.

Since it’s a light news days, I’ll share with you a clip from the new Hindi movie that came out on Friday, EMI. It’s a dance number inspired by Saturday Night Fever. John Travolta’s got nothing on Arjun Rampal:

Ox Notes: November 7, 2008

Last night’s episode of Survivor: Gabon was a doozy. Host Jeff Probst blogged about the episode for EW, and CBS’s website posted the first Ponderosa video of the season, which contained this quote about production’s efforts to conceal the ousted contestants’ identities as they drive through town: "They wrap you up in this cloak like you’re Frodo Baggins."

Catching up on some reports from the set of Dancing with the Stars, People posted an article about What You Didn’t See at Wednesday night’s show. Kim Kardashian blogged about what it was like to experience the show from the audience.

Lance Bass told OK! that he and Lacey Schwimmer will dance a Fox Trot and Samba next week on DwtS. And Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson interviewed each other for Entertainment Tonight.

People got the scoop on this season’s new permanent Top Chef judge, Toby Young, from Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio.

FOX changed its midseason schedule, relegating Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse to Friday nights. Zap2It posted an analysis of FOX’s schedule changes.

Due to the economic downturn, networks and studios are demanding budget cuts from producers.

Before the first script was even written, The CW scrapped The Graysons, a series about the origins of Batman’s sidekick, Robin.