Ox Notes: January 5, 2009

Ox Notes is back! Throughout 2009, I’ll be posting new Ox Notes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, instead of the daily posts I’ve done in the past. Today’s is a special Monday post because…

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff got engaged on New Year’s Eve! A tasteful ceremony in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom (officiated by Tom Bergeron, of course) sounds appropriate for the DwtS pros.

In other Dancing with the Stars news from the past month, Mark Ballas left the DwtS Tour after he suffered a groin injury. He expects to recover in time for the show’s eighth season debut on March 9.

DwtS alum Marissa Jaret Winokur will host a new weight-loss show on Oxygen called Dance Your Ass Off.

The New York Times ran an interesting piece on why many foodies are annoyed that Rocco DiSpirito left the kitchen to pursue mainstream popularity on shows like Dancing with the Stars.

I watched an episode of Rocco’s new cooking show on A&E, Rocco Gets Real, and wasn’t impressed. The format — professional chef helps struggling home cooks prepare meals in their own kitchens — has been done before on shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Take Home Chef and Food 911.

The international dance competition Superstars of Dance debuted on NBC last night, and I was pleased with the quality and variety of the dancing on the show. The production value could use some work, however. The massive stage dwarfed the soloists and pairs, and every time bland host Michael Flatley approached the cheesy judges’ dais, I thought I was watching a PBS pledge drive.

On the positive side, I’d be happy if Superstars co-host Susie Castillo took over Samantha Harris’s job on DwtS. And producer Nigel Lythgoe was smart to showcase some So You Think You Can Dance vets like Robert Muraine and Pasha Kovalev & Anya Garnis.

The show moves into its permanent timeslot tonight at 8 ET. Tonight’s episode is two hours long, which means I’ll be recording it and watching it later to skip over the copious commercials and Flatley’s flatly delivered lines. Will you be tuning in?

Check out Pasha & Anya’s performance from last night’s Superstars of Dance premiere: