Monthly Archives: November 2008

Ox Notes: November 19, 2008

The Dancing with the Stars 7 contestants were chatty after last night’s Results Show. In addition to filming interviews with Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, they also spoke to E!, OK!, Us and TV Guide.

In the above interviews, the finalists revealed that they’ll be performing three dances during next week’s Finale: a reprise of their favorite routine, a group Samba number (each couple will dance a one-minute solo) and a freestyle routine.

Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer said that their freestyle will be Hip-Hop. Brooke Burke & Derek Hough said they won’t be doing any Hip-Hop moves, but they promised that their freestyle will include lots of tricks, as will Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson’s routine.

Eliminated couple Cody Linley & Julianne Hough made the interview rounds immediately after the Results Show. They stopped by the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and appeared via satellite on Good Morning America this morning.

Catching up on news from Monday night’s DwtS 7 Performance Show, People and TV Guide filed backstage reports from the set.

When I read that the 2009 season of Masterpiece Classic, which begins on January 4 on PBS, will feature adaptations of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Wuthering Heights, I let out a restrained, dignified squeal.

Hugh Jackman’s wife is hilarious. When he told her he’d been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2008, she said, "Obviously, Brad [Pitt] wasn’t available this year."

People also has an interview with ousted Amazing Racers Terence & Sarah. They’re still together, but the interview didn’t do anything to bolster my confidence in their future as a couple.

Ending as this post began, with Dancing with the Stars news, enjoy this randy interview Tom Bergeron did with Chelsea Handler. And check out Tom’s huge biceps!

DwtS 7, Week 9: Results

The Dancing with the Stars 7 finalists have been revealed. No teens allowed!

This Results Show was packed with performances. Instead of the usual encore dance, Aretha Franklin kicked off the show with a vocal performance, accompanied by pro dancers Karina Smirnoff, Anna Trebunskaya, Louis van Amstel and Dmitry Chaplin.

After a brief recap of last night’s dances, singer Leona Lewis performed her hit "Bleeding Love," accompanied by DwtS pros Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina.

Julianne Hough was up next, only this time she was behind the mic, singing "My Hallelujah Song." The performance was recorded a few weeks ago (before her surgery) and featured dancing by Mark Ballas, Derek Hough and Lacey Schwimmer.

Following that performance, John Legend sang "Greenlight," supported by a whole dance troupe.

After a video package featuring some of the stars’ family members, Aretha Franklin took the stage again. This time, she was accompanied by DwtS 6 champs Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas. After watching them dance, I’m inclined to give them the trophy for Season 7, too.

The clip package that followed the performance was easily the strangest part of the show. The remaining contestants analyzed their competitors in a foggy basement boiler room that reminded me of Bonnie Tyler’s insane video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Tom Bergeron quipped, "Nice segment, but we almost lost two of them to smoke inhalation."

Finally, it was time for the results. Lance Bass & Lacey and Brooke Burke & Derek were told that they’d be moving on to the Finals, and Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson soon joined them.

As Cody Linley bade farewell to the ballroom, he said of Julianne, "I love her so much."

Samantha Harris noted that next week’s Finale will have two rounds. The couples will all dance to the same song before dancing their freestyle routines.

Ox Notes: November 18, 2008

After last night’s Dancing with the Stars 7 Semifinals, the contestants chatted with Us Magazine and OK! Magazine. Mel B was also in the ballroom to interview the couples for Access Hollywood.

Next week’s two-hour (yes, two hours) DwtS 7 Finale will feature a performance by Miley Cyrus. It’s Miley!

Cloris Leachman became the latest DwtS 7 contestant to develop a medical condition during the season, even though she’s no longer dancing. She went to the hospital over the weekend for what her reps told People was a "bad cold," though she’s fine now.

Dancing with the Stars 5 contestant Mark Cuban was charged with insider trading yesterday, and so ends my dream of him owning the Chicago Cubs.

This isn’t DwtS news, but The New York Times has a great article about a 12-year-old restaurant critic. Enjoy!

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.