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Author Topic: DWTS Quick Hits - Season Lucky 13

Icon 1 posted September 20, 2011 01:35            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 1...

And we're back to the ballroom for another season of glitter and spray tans on Dancing With The Stars! This time, though, the ballroom has been expanded into a three-level colosseum, complete with new raised dance floor, new Skybox Celebrequarium on level 2, and new Staircase of Doom(TM) that splits in half to reveal the orchestra on a hydraulically-lifted platform! Hope the dancing is up to snuff as well!

Naturally, Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke are back to do the hosting duties, as are our three distinguished judges: the Emotional Whirlwind, Carrie-Ann Inaba; the Old Man of the Ballroom, Len "DANCMSTR" Goodman; and Our Lady of Perpetual Metaphor, Bruno Tonioli! So let's get to the action!

Ron Artest (aka "Metta World Peace"), paired with New Mutant Peta Murgatroyd, was asked to do the show by his daughter, going through chemotherapy at age 4! Sadly, his cha-cha-cha looked more like he was doing The Robot; Carrie-Ann thought it was fun though. (5/4/5 = 14)

Rob Kardashian, paired with 2-time winner Cheryl Burke, wants a chance to boost his own confidence and stand out from his more famous sisters (including Season 7 celeb Kim)! The Viennese Waltz they did showed he's getting the idea, but his footwork was a little skippy, and he had maybe a little too much energy. (6/5/5 = 16)

Kristin Cavallari, paired with risk-taker Mark Ballas, wants to show the world that she really isn't such a bitch! (She's direct, gotta admit that!) Her hip action in the cha-cha-cha was minimal, though, and she seemed tentative and unsure of herself, overthinking the moves, though she seemed to calm down a bit about 30 seconds before the end. (7/6/6 = 19)

Chynna Phillips, paired with Tony "Oh-thank-God-it's-not-Kate-Gosselin" Dovolani, actually was encouraged to do the show by her husband, Billy Baldwin (yeah, that Billy Baldwin)! And she came out with one gorgeous Viennese waltz, with great flow, great unison, great figures, and just a bit of a bobble at the end. When Len says he likes it, you know that's HIGH SCORE! (8/7/7 = 22)

Nancy Grace, paired with Season-12-Trouper Tristan MacManus, wants to show her 3-year-old twins that Mommy can dance! The voluptuous newswoman can bounce, yes, but not necessarily in the right places for a cha-cha-cha! But she sure had fun with it, and hung in there! (5/5/6 = 16)

David Arquette, paired with defending pro champ and double winner Kym Johnson, wants to get out there after months of sobriety and entertain America! And his Viennese waltz did just that; he was fairly flying around that floor, and gave a good accounting of himself for Week 1. (6/6/6 = 18)

Elisabetta Canalis, paired with Maks' brother Valentin Chmerkovskiy, calls being on the show "a dream come true"! Her cha-cha-cha had more hip action than most, and did well in hold, but fell apart a bit when she went solo. Her lack of performance background is gonna be an issue. (5/5/5 = 15)

Hope Solo, paired with "Bad Boy of the Ballroom" Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is out to block her competition on the dance floor! She turned in a Viennese waltz that showed that, yes, this strong, athletic lady can get girly when she needs to! The energy was incredible! (7/7/7 = 21)

Carson Kressley, paired with fiery Russian redhead Anna Trebunskaya, is out to make the ballroom fabulous! He is definitely the most entertaining of the dancers; he's got musicality, though he seemed a little out of control. (Sabrina, though, felt like she was being tortured watching him!) Len said it had "Jagger, swagger, and stagger." Bruno, though, loved it (natch). (6/5/6 = 17)

J.R. Martinez, paired with Woz's old dance partner Karina Smirnoff, survived a land mine in Iraq to bring his presence to daytime TV and to the dance floor! They had perhaps the best Viennese waltz of the night, with great posture, great extension, and smooth moves. Watch this guy! (8/7/7 = 22)

Ricki Lake, paired with tanned, rested, and ready three-time victor Derek Hough, is out to, among other things, "get her body back," inspired by--who else?--Kirstie Alley! Her Viennese Waltz could use a bit of work on the extension, but her footwork was good; it was elegant and classy! (7/6/7 = 20)

Chaz Bono, paired with "wild child" Lacey Schwimmer, is--everyone recite it with me--"The First Transgendered Contestant On Dancing With The Stars." And, it may be his moves, or just his body type, but his dancing in the cha-cha-cha kind of reminded me of...The Woz! [Beard of Peter Gabriel!] And his enthusiasm was evident; I give him full marks for trying, and hope to see a couple more performances by him. (6/5/6 = 17)

Chynna and J.R. share the first-place slot with 22 judges' points, while Ron is "tail-end Charlie" with 14. Tomorrow night: One of these intrepid couples, believe it or not, has already danced their last! We'll see who it is then!

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Icon 1 posted September 21, 2011 00:34            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

The first hour of the two-hour extravaganza was devoted to a "Meet the Cast" recap...beginning with Ron Artest^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HMetta World Peace (yeah, his name change was legal as of September 16, so they changed his name on the graphics). We also got some behind-the-scenes construction shots of the new ballroom, which is the largest television program set in the world, and features the largest mirrorball in North America as a prominent decoration! (I think I'll just call it "The Mighty Cheesy Disco Ball.")

The first Judges' Encore dance of the season went to...Carson and Anna for their delirious cha-cha-cha! I think Len had already made up his mind last night that this one was the one he wanted to see again...

Tonight's entertainment featured the legendary Harry Connick Jr. singing "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" to accompany Tony and Kym on the floor...and then the ensemble group that looked like a batch of refugees from the Eighties, LMFAO (yes, that really is their name), doing "I'm Sexy And I Know It," with accompanying dancers Maks, Val, Lacey, Cheryl, Tony, and Peta...and some action over atop the judges' table, as Carrie-Ann and Bruno got down! Bruno even removed his shirt, causing Sabrina to yell, "AAAHHHHH! MY EYES!" (Really, though, he was exposing less skin than he did in the video for Elton John's "I'm Still Standing.")

And the very first couple eliminated is...Metta and Peta! Metta was probably THE single most gracious loser the show has ever seen, though, cheering for everyone and thanking everyone involved, especially Peta. (Poor girl...just promoted from the Troupe, and she gets KO'd in Week 1...)

Next week, it's speed galore on the dance floor, as the couples will be doing either the jive or the quickstep!

(Expect the first edition of Erbo's DWTS Power Rankings after Week 3's elimination.)

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Icon 1 posted September 27, 2011 00:44            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 2...

With one elimination in the books, now our dancing stars have to cope with some fast footwork this week, either the quickstep, which is, by definition, "quick," or the fast and flashy jive!

Hope and Maks led off the show with a madcap opening to their jive, but she was out of sync, and the dance looked too "soft." Though maybe Hope scored a bonus point from Len for kissing his bald head. [Big Grin] (6/7/6 = 19)

Kristin and Mark, first to essay the quickstep, may have been off the mark, but not by much! Carrie-Ann pointed out that Kristin was a lot less nervous this week...but they broke hold, and, to DANCMSTR Len, that's a big no-no! (8/7/7 = 22)

Perhaps David and Kym were overcompensating for last week by getting a bit too wild in their jive! It seemed a little disjointed, and the footwork was messed up. But I will admit to being impressed by the way he positively nailed that tumble at the end. (6/6/6 = 18)

Height worked to the advantage of Elisabetta and Val this week, as their quickstep was a big improvement over last week. They broke hold, too, but Len didn't even mention that bit. (7/7/7 = 21)

Carrie-Ann said that Rob and Cheryl were better dancers than sister Kim. This jive didn't really show it, though; it was slow and underwhelming, but, near the end, he got the kicks right. (7/7/7 = 21)

Watching Carson and Anna is proving to be this season's most reliable laugh! But he kept up in the quickstep, and pulled his weight...even if it did kind of look like Pee-Wee Herman dancing (as I pointed out before Bruno did, thankyouverymuch). (6/6/6 = 18)

Ricki and Derek had plenty of energy for their jive; she can shake it like nobody's business, and Bruno mentioned that she was the first to get the kicks and flicks right! Well-executed overall! (8/7/8 = 23)

You can't blame Chaz and Lacey for being cautious; Chaz has been having knee problems. That was probably the slowest "quickstep" you'll ever see, but the dude's got--dare I say it?--balls for going out there and performing through the pain! (6/5/6 = 17)

Chynna and Tony turned in a fun jive that I couldn't really see much to criticize...the only thing was, the judges seemed to feel that she played it too safe after last week. (7/7/7 = 21)

The quickstep by Nancy and Tristan started slowly, but then got Sabrina cheering as it got up to speed! And they stayed in hold! Len commended them for a "proper quickstep," while Carrie-Ann would've liked to see more razzamatazz, producing a nice little argument at the judges' table. (6/8/7 = 21)

Last jive up was J.R and Karina--but, uh-oh, is that a lift I see? Cue Lift Police Sergeant Carrie-Ann, who had to ding them for it! The guy has character all over the place, his sync was dead-on, and he got a standing O from the crowd! Len, though, had to play party-pooper, saying he thought it was more a Lindy hop than a jive. (7/7/8 = 22)

So, this week, Ricki is in the catbird seat with 23 points, while Chaz is in the cellar with 17. Tomorrow night, someone else takes that stroll down Washout Lane!

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Icon 1 posted September 28, 2011 00:29            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

Following the 1-hour recap of last night's performances (actually a pretty good recap, as you get just the performances, judges' comments, and scores, with none of the "rehearsal packages" or Brooke's blathering), the results show got underway with a "sausage party" on the dance floor, as the male Pros and Troupers danced to Lenny Kravitz' "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and finished by flanking Carrie-Ann. Len, meanwhile, picked the Judges' Encore for the week...Ricki and Derek with their impressive jive.

We got an amusing tour of the rehearsal studio, showing off the spot where Tony said "I quit" to Kate Gosselin (May Her Name Live In Infamy), among other "sights."

Two musical guests this week: The Script performed their new song "For The First Time," accompanied by Spare Pros Dmitry and Chelsie doing a rumba-like dance, and Demi Lovato returned to the ballroom with her hit "Skyscraper," along with a bunch of ladders and scaffolds and some Guest Pros dancing/climbing on them. The first Macy's Stars of Dance performance was a tribute to the musical film choreography of Busby Berkeley, which really impressed Sabrina.

And, after all this, the couple getting the hook this week is...Elisabetta and Val! Surprisingly, they were low scorers despite Elisabetta having been the most-improved dancer from Week 1 to Week 2, just two points in judges' scoring behind the leaders! At least they went out on a high note. (And maybe it's true what I read on either the EW.com discussion board or the Facebook DWTS fan page: someone posted, "I don't know any Elisabetta Canalis fans.")

Up next week: each dance will tell a "revealing personal story" from our celebrities...and, yes, the rumba will be involved! Don't miss it!

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Icon 1 posted October 04, 2011 01:24            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 3: The Most Memorable Year of Your Lives...

That's what each dance tonight has to do...tell the story of the most memorable year in each of our celebrities' lives! So let's get to the action!

Rob and Cheryl used the foxtrot to express Rob's feelings about when his father died in 2003. (His dad was one of O.J. Simpson's attorneys, you know?) His sync was a little off in bits, but I can tell he's improved from last week and is finding his place! Bruno said the routine, to Sinatra's "Fly Me To the Moon," reminded him of Guys and Dolls...which Rob's never heard of, but I have! (I was one of the gangsters doing the crap-game-in-the-sewer dance number in a production of it during my junior year of high school.) (Scores: 8/8/8 = 24)

For the rumba Chynna and Tony did, she commemorated 1990, the year Wilson Phillips released "Hold On," by doing a dance to that very song. She bobbled a teeny bit after the really nice opening, but it was very expressinve and really stretched her boundaries. Carrie-Ann said the routine was "like butter." (I believe the song will be reissued on the Land-O-Lakes label. [Big Grin] ) (Scores: 8/9/9 = 26...now the judges are starting to hand out 9's!)

The happiest year of Chaz's life is this one, and he and Lacey commemorated it by dancing to one of his dad's songs (that'd be Sonny Bono, incidentally). But, I'm telling you, that rumba looked very, very static. No real movement in it at all, at least on Chaz's part. Len still called it his best dance, but I dunno...I think he's gone this week. (Scores: 6/6/6 = 18)

Kristin and Mark decided to commemorate 2005, the year she graduated high school and moved to L.A., with a Beyonce samba...and she can shake that thang! She was very light on her feet, making the dance bouncy and fun to watch. Beyonce has been successfully channeled! (Scores: 8/8/8 = 24)

For Carson and Anna, the tango was choreographed in honor of 2003, the year Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted and Carson really came into his own. Technically, the dance was impressive; those high kicks in unison in mid-routine were, dare I say, fabulous! Yet, through it all, his essential character still shone through. "You put the boy in 'flamboyant'!" quipped Len. (Scores: 8/7/8 = 23)

Prepare to tear up for J.R. and Karina and their rumba...it recognizes 2003, the year J.R. was badly injured in Iraq, and, set to a Tim McGraw song, is dedicated to all the men and women who didn't make it home. It choked everybody up, especially Carrie-Ann; even Bruno was uncharacteristically subdued. Sabrina was in tears as well. Man, it sure is dusty in here. (Scores: 9/8/9 = 26)

Nancy and Tristan commemorated the birth of her twins in 2007--an event which almost turned into tragedy, for both Nancy and her daughter Lucy. Their waltz to "Moon River" was beautifully expressive and serene. "Like a mother's embrace," said Bruno. Carrie-Ann saw it as a live-action lullaby, with all the animals gathered around to see and hear the performance. Well, her imagination scores a 10, at least... (Scores: 7/7/7 = 21)

Ricki and Derek had a hell of a year to tackle...2010, the year she had a messy divorce and then lost her house in a fire, but afterward, found her new love. And the rumba they did completely nailed it. Sabrina, at first speechless, managed a single "Oh my God!" "The actress dancer at her best!" crowed Bruno. "Ricki Lake is on fire!" added Carrie-Ann, while Len offered his congratulations. I smell HIGH SCORE! (Scores: 9/9/9 = 27...high score of the season so far!)

For their cha-cha-cha, Hope and Maks recalled the recent Women's World Cup match, in which her team lost at the end but had one hell of a run. And this dance was one hell of a sexy run, too, starting with a bit on a chair that was, as the kids today say, HAWT, but I thought Len might not like it too much! (He didn't, but he thought the rest was great.) She might have been a teensy bit stiff still, but she brought the sexy and ran with it! (Scores: 8/8/8 = 24)

And, to round it out, David and Kym explored his descent into, and recovery from, alcohol abuse during 2010, focusing on his kids as what he found to help keep him sober. Their rumba seemed a little halting early on, but that might have just been the choreography. It wasn't as expressive as that of the other dancers, but Carrie-Ann called it a nice comeback. (Scores: 8/8/8 = 24)

After an emotional night, Rikki and Derek once again claim the pole position with 27 points, while Chaz and Lacey strike bottom again with 18. Tomorrow night: One more couple bids us adieu!

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Icon 1 posted October 05, 2011 00:14            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

After the typical 1-hour recap, the results show kicked off with Mary J. Blige and her hit "Real Love," accompanied by Val and his pro partner Dasha, who are U.S. Latin Champions.

The Judges' Encore this week went to Chynna and Tony for their "Hold On" rumba. We had the New Mutants out on the floor, too, alongwith Peta and Val, doing a dance to "Tara's Theme," in a little preview of next week's theme: a salute to great movie scores!

Macy's Stars of Dance celebrated the Twist this week, with vocalist Estelle and guest vocalist...Chubby Checker, Mr. Twist himself! They even dragged Len out from behind the judges' table to twist right along with all of 'em! And Mary J. Blige took the stage once more to do her upcoming new single, "25-8."

And the couple eliminated this week is...shocker!...Kristin and Mark! They were doing so well, too...but, as we say, the judges propose, the viewers dispose!

Tune in next week for some movie magic!

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Icon 1 posted October 05, 2011 00:22            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

For this week, I have divided the couples in the competition into several groups; they are listed within these groups in roughly descending order.

THE TOP TIER - I expect one of these couples to go on to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

Ricki and Derek (average 23.3, trending strongly upward) - No celebrity partnered by Derek Hough has ever been eliminated from the competition before Week 6. Ricki Lake will not buck that trend. In fact, the two of them have rapidly become the pacesetters in this crowd. They have topped the leaderboard two weeks out of three, and were the first to score trip 9’s. 50% chance they score the first 10 received; 40% that they get the first Perfect Thirty.

J.R. and Karina (average 23.3, trending upward) - Since Week 1, I have been telling everyone: Watch J.R. Out of nowhere, he has burned up to a position almost equal in strength with Ricki. He has natural presence and raw talent that make him a formidable competitor indeed. If Ricki and Derek don’t score the first 10 received, these two probably will. Can I get a “HOO-AH!”?

Chynna and Tony (average 23.0, trending mildly upward) - They’ve shown consistent strength out of the gate, and are definitely in the thick of the fight. Chynna has the poise to run with the best, and could pull it off if she wants it badly enough.

IN THE FIGHT - These couples have what it takes to stay for now, but could easily break out--or backslide--at any time.

Hope and Maks (average 21.3, trending mildly upward) - Athletes are generally a group that’s done well on DWTS, and Lord knows Maks is hungry for that championship. Hope still needs to overcome that “soccer player” mentality for a “sophisticated ballroom lady” mentality, but don’t count her out yet.

Rob and Cheryl (average 20.3, trending upward) - Rob has definitely broken his sister’s longevity record on the show. Beyond that, it’s up to how well he can absorb what Cheryl can teach him.

Carson and Anna (average 19.3, trending upward) - I picked him for the “middle” group over David because of sheer entertainment appeal. It’s nigh impossible not to like Carson; whatever he’s dancing, he’s playing to the crowd, and he knows it. That can take you a long way--hell, it took Donny Osmond all the way to a Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy!--but he has to bring his technique and performance into line as well to avoid falling out of this group.

STRUGGLING - These competitors are still going, but for how much longer?

David and Kym (average 20.0, trending mildly upward) - David is showing improvement, but is ultimately vulnerable to the “squeeze-out,” and his landing in the bottom two in Week 2 shows that his fan support is relatively light. Will probably be gone on or before Week 6.

Nancy and Tristan (average 19.3, trending mildly upward) - Nancy has a charm to her performance, but she’s just not up at the same level as most of the rest of the pack. Will probably be gone on or before Week 5.

Chaz and Lacey (average 17.3, trending steady) - Poor Chaz. His knees just aren’t up to the competition, and it has nothing to do with his being transsexual. He’s held on through sheer sisu (a Finnish term for “guts,” “stick-to-it-ive-ness,” etc., it’s very hard to translate) this long, but with his knees the way they are, there’s just no way he can compete at the same level. If he’s not gone in Week 4, he may wind up withdrawing for health reasons, ala Tom DeLay.

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Icon 1 posted October 11, 2011 01:01            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 4: Movie Themes...

To open the show, we got an exhibition of dancing to a medley of movie themes, by the New Mutants in conjunction with Eliminated Pros Val and Peta, as well as Spare Pro (for this season anyway) Louis van Amstel. And the medley ended with the theme from Star Wars...including choreographed lightsaber battles! Geek Alert! [Geek] Tom quipped, "You can never go wrong with lightsabers and spray tanning!" How true, Tom.

Chynna and Tony led off with a tango to the Mission: Impossible theme, featuring Tony doing a bit of wire-work at the beginning ala Tom Cruise. She seemed hesitant, though, and her footwork slipped and she seemed to stall out in spots. "Slash and burn hot," said Bruno, "but you lost the plot!" (7/7/7 = 21) After that, David and Kym swung into action--literally, in David's case!--with a paso doble to the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark. And I think he held his own here, and did a proper paso. Carrie-Ann crowed, "David saves the day!", but that didn't stop the judges from arguing. (8/7/8 = 23)

For Carson and Anna, it was off to sea with Jack Sparrow ("That's Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow! Savvy?") as they did a Viennese waltz to the Black Pearl theme from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The opening was pure, delightful camp, the way only Carson can do it. It was wild and fun, though lacking in technique; Sabrina thought it sucked, though. (7/6/7 = 20) And what could top that off but Nancy and Tristan doing a paso doble to..."FLASH! AAAA-AAAHHH! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!" Yeah, Queen's crowning-music-of-awesome theme to the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. And damn, did she show some power and intensity! Len wasn't too impressed, but Carrie-Ann did like her technique. (7/7/7 = 21)

Hope and Maks came out with a very charming foxtrot, to "You've Got A Friend In Me" from the Toy Story movies. And she did get the footwork down on this one; it was innocent and fun, very un-Maks-like! Len, however, proceeded to berate them for not being "committed" and not "working together as a team," and they even bleeped out part of what he said! (8/8/8 = 24) Rob and Cheryl also did the paso doble, to the Superman theme, and Rob attacked this dance so hard, sometimes it looked like Cheryl was trying to keep up! Len thought he looked more "like a waiter giving out hors-d'oeuvres," but the crowd liked it. (8/8/8 = 24) And then came Ricki and Derek doing a tango to the theme from...Psycho?!? That's not an easy piece of music to dance to! Yet somehow she pulled it off, with simply immaculate lines and more than their share of drama. Hitchcock would be proud. (10/9/10 = 29...they are indeed the first to "break 10s" this season!)

Chaz and Lacey symbolically "fought back" with a paso doble to the Rocky theme...and, OK, the opening was inspiring, but it wasn't really a paso. Then again, it wasn't "Master P" bad either, and Len called it his best dance to date! ADRIAN!!! (7/7/7 = 21) And J.R. and Karina closed the show with a very classy foxtrot to the Pink Panther theme...smooth, classy, a little saucy, and just really, really good. Len named it "best male dance of the night." (8/9/9 = 26)

Ricki retains her hold on the top slot on the leaderboard with 29 points, just shy of the Perfect Thirty. Meanwhile, Carson saved Chaz from the last-place slot, undercutting his 21 with a 20. Tomorrow night: Elimination! Again!

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Icon 1 posted October 12, 2011 00:28            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

The special guests were packed in so tight that there wasn't even any room for a judges' encore...it might also have been that the results show is only one hour this week, due to some new comedy premiering, so yeah. They started off with a guy named Rafael (I didn't catch his last name) doing a rendition of "Soul Man." Susan Boyle, who had to miss a DWTS appearance due to illness last season, finally made it, to sing "Unchained Melody" (from Ghost) as Val and Peta danced.

Julianne Hough, 2-time champion (and sister to Derek), returned to the ballroom to promote the new movie she's in, a remake of Footloose. (Hollywood is out of ideas.) She and her costar danced to a weirdly slow version of "Holding Out For a Hero" (I prefer, if not the original, then the one Frou Frou did for one of the Shrek movies), then Blake Shelton took the stage to start belting out his rendition of Kenny Loggins' title song, which was much better. Later, Julianne and Derek were reunited on stage in a performance to Ray Charles' "Shake Your Tailfeather" from The Blues Brothers. Those two have a hell of a lot of talent!

And the couple departing this week is...Chynna and Tony?!? I guess it's true; you take your finger off your number for one minute on this show, you could be gone. Chynna admitted that she completely spaced on her routine; Tony, to his credit, did his best to talk her through it, and they did finish it. But, well, that's just how they roll on DWTS.

Next week, the theme lands right in my wheelhouse...80's Week! Can't wait to see what they do...

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Icon 1 posted October 18, 2011 00:44            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 5: 80's Week!...

We are now at the halfway mark in this season, and it's time to celebrate the Decade of Excess...The 80's! To get in the spirit, Brooke has raided the old Dynasty wardrobe and put on a blue sequinned dress with shoulder pads that look about the right size for Tim Tebow! [Big Grin] And a special guest in the ballroom tonight...The Bangles! They lead the show off by doing "Eternal Flame" and "Walk Like an Egyptian," and later play "Manic Monday," all to accompany members of the New Mutants on the ballroom floor.

Hope and Maks know that, if their Bon Jovi tango doesn't fly with the judges, they could be "Livin' On a Prayer"! The routine was so furious it nearly crowded out the cameras, and I particularly noted the intricate sidesteps at one point. Len thought she was "too willowy," but Bruno was ready to vociferously argue the point. (8/8/8 = 24) For Carson and Anna, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" provided the accompaniment to their very fun cheerleading jive routine, but the technique was anything but "Wham!". Bruno called them "loopier than a Looney Tune," and Len wasn't sure this performance was good enough. Quite frankly, me neither, though it hurts to admit it. (6/6/7 = 19)

Evoking the end of The Wedding Singer, Nancy and Tristan rumba'd to Spandau Ballet's "True." It was smooth yet expressive, and felt flirtatious to me; Nancy has learned how to put more character into a dance. Carrie-Ann was holding out for real passion, but both Len and Bruno thought the pitch was just right. (7/7/8 = 22) With the samba to Gloria Estefan's "Conga," J.R. and Karina were out to prove that "J.R." doesn't stand for "Jose Rene" for nothin'! And oh boy, did he up his game with this dance; he worked those hips like few men can! "A loin-shattering sex machine! The Kardashians are gagging!" crowed Bruno. Carrie-Ann summed it up: "That was (BLEEP) amazing!" (9/9/10 = 28)

From there, we tone it down with Rob and Cheryl doing a rumba to "Hello" by Lionel Richie. Rob has the character of the dance down, I'm just not certain he was finishing his hand and arm movements right. He did sell it though; Len appreciated how he took command. (9/8/8 = 25) And the samba by Chaz and Lacey (to Kool and the Gang's "Get Down On It") could easily have been a disaster...but it wasn't. It wasn't the best samba in the world, either, but it was fun to watch; he worked it like I never expected him to. (Oh, he's not suffering from knee issues anymore, apparently.) Len called it "a gallant effort." (7/7/7 = 21)

David and Kym slinked it up in their tango (to "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell), but I thought the dance sort of stalled there in the middle. He doesn't kick as high as Carson (who can?), but I was still impressed. Carrie-Ann liked his improved hold, but thought his musicality could stand some work. (8/9/8 = 25) Alas, Ricki and Derek had their "Easy Lover" foxtrot (music by Phillip Bailey and Phil Collins) get away from them a bit; the actual foxtrot parts were quite clean, but they slipped in these bits in the middle where they started shakin' it, and it just threw the routine off, especially since Ricki was out of time in those bits. I wasn't pleased, and neither was Len. (8/8/8 = 24)

J.R and Karina regain the top of the leaderboard this week with 28 points; for the second week in a row, Carson trails the pack, this time with 19. Coming up tomorrow: Elimination time, and more 80's!

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Icon 1 posted October 19, 2011 02:05            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

The 80's theme kept going with the leadoff dance, where Val, Peta, and a couple of Troupers danced, first to "Like a Virgin," then "Like a Prayer." They even brought in a choir to sing with the latter song!

Kelly Clarkson was the big musical guest this evening, singing both her new single "Mr. Know-It-All" (with Tristan and Kym dancing), and her well-known hit "Walk Away" (with Mark, Val, Trouper Sharna, and Peta). Tom offered to put her name in for a celeb slot in an upcoming season...hey, I think it might work! And it would be, I think, the first DWTS-American Idol crossover.

We also got countrified rockers The Band Perry playing "If I Die Young" to accompany Louis and Karina. And a new feature, the "AT&T Spotlight Performance," highlighted Charm LaDonna, a dancer from the mean streets of Compton whose life might just have been saved by dance (it paid for her college education), and who "pays it forward" by teaching younger kids to dance. She got to get all hip-hop with Mark and Derek...and they can get all hip-hop, too!

The couple eliminated this week was...Carson and Anna! Boy, I'm gonna miss them, they were just so damn fun. As will pretty much everyone else in that ballroom, it seems. That means Carson will miss out on next week's theme: Broadway Show Tunes! This will feature an individual routine and a group routine, too, so now the competition's getting heavy!

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Icon 1 posted October 19, 2011 02:11            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

For this week, I have divided the couples in the competition into several groups; they are listed within these groups in roughly descending order.

THE TOP TIER - I expect one of these couples to go on to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

J.R. and Karina (average 24.8, trending upward) - Justifying my early faith in him, J.R. noses ahead to the top spot. His work ethic and chemistry with Karina are both topnotch, and the effort shows. He missed “breaking 10” first in Week 4 when Ricki did, but has done so himself in Week 5. If he stays at these marks, there’s little chance of stopping him. 50% chance of scoring the first Perfect Thirty.

Ricki and Derek (average 24.6, trending steady but irregular) - Week 5’s steep drop for these two, after leading in judges’ scores three weeks running, shows their weakness: If they try too much tricky stuff with the choreography, it will cost them. Derek needs to put his foot down, pull it in, and stick to proper routines. We know he can do it. And if he does, Ricki should be able to keep up, and they’ll go on to glory. 50% chance of scoring the first Perfect Thirty.

Rob and Cheryl (average 22.0, trending slightly upward) - Rob has had what I call a “Gertrude Lang moment” (after the clarinet-playing high school student in Mr. Holland’s Opus) where everything has started to “click” for him and he’s believing he can do this. If he keeps it up, he can make a really good run at the finals. Heaven knows Cheryl’s the partner that can help him do it.

RUNNING WITH IT - These couples are still going strong for now, but we’ve seen how even Top Tier couples can get eliminated...time will tell.

Hope and Maks (average 22.4, trending steady) - Hope hasn’t quite had the same breakthrough Rob has, though she’s improved as much as he has. She still kind of needs to put the “soccer goalie” persona on the shelf and unleash her inner femme. That could break her above the trip-8 level and into the Top Tier mighty quick.

David and Kym (average 21.6, trending steady but irregular) - David can be somewhat hit-or-miss, though he’s currently showing some promise of bigger and better things. We’re getting into the part of the competition, though, where “miss” could mean “bye-bye.” A solid focus on fundamentals is what he needs to keep in the hunt.

HANGING BY A THREAD - These couples better keep one eye out for the ax...

Nancy and Tristan (average 20.2, trending slightly upward) - I’m a little torn here, because a lot of Nancy’s dances are ones I want to like, they’re just not as good as the ones being cranked out by the Top Tier. Since Tristan was just promoted from the New Mutants this season, I don’t know how good of an instructor he can be, and whether he can get Nancy’s performance solid enough to leapfrog at least into the next category up. The track record says it’s working, but will it work fast enough?

Chaz and Lacey (average 18.8, trending mildly upward) - You’ve got to admire Chaz’s spirit. He’s been down, and he just keeps coming back (indicating he must have one holy hell of a fanbase voting for him), and, believe it or not, he improves. Thankfully, his health is (apparently) no longer an issue; I don’t think he’ll pull a Tom DeLay and withdraw anymore. The only thing is, his performance is still lagging the pack by a fair margin, he’s not improving fast enough, and, barring a miracle, he’s not vaulting out of this category, let alone making a play for the Top Tier. Likely to be gone on or before Week 6...but, given who’s been knocked out already, don’t quote me on that.

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Icon 1 posted October 25, 2011 00:45            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 6: Broadway Week!...

Tonight, the dance performances pay tribute to the Great White Way, and the show kicked off with a performance by the cast of Sister Act.


Rob and Cheryl did a cha-cha-cha to "Walk Like A Man," from Jersey Boys, and it was a nice, clean routine that looked pretty good to me! Len used the adjective "clean" as well, but thought it was lacking in rhythm. Carrie-Ann saw increased charisma from Rob. (8/7/7 = 22) And GEEK ALERT! [Geek] Nancy and Tristan got "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life," from Monty Python's Spamalot, and started their foxtrot by clopping the coconuts! The routine worked well for her, I thought, and they finished it with a nice, positively jaunty little strut! Len, however, thought the parts in hold were less impressive than the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow...but did he mean an African or a European swallow? [Big Grin] (9/7/8 = 24)

David and Kym, dark-haired American guy and blonde Aussie lass, channeled another similar pair in doing "We Go Together" from Grease as a quickstep. David kind of did a "flip" of Kym at the start, not really a lift, and proved to be light on his feet. Carrie-Ann thought it was slightly out of sync; all three judges praised his energy. (8/7/8 = 23) And Ricki and Derek rolled the dice on a quickstep of their own, to "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls. (I remember being one of the dancing gangsters in the sewer to that exact number back in high school...) They led off with a nice bit of soft-shoe, leading through an almost perfectly-synced routine to a slam-bang finish that brought the house down. "It fitted like a glove!" cried Bruno. Carrie-Ann, for her part, blinked back tears to award them a Tony. (10/9/10 = 29)

It was a little disconcerting watching Chaz and Lacey perform a tango to the main theme from The Phantom of the Opera, but that's because I'm usually used to hearing it sung by better singers. (Of course, the originals, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, but also Marco Hietala and Tarja Turunen of Nightwish.) The dancing was no great shakes, either; Chaz is still way too static-looking, and the routine fell flat with me. Bruno said he was "like a cute little penguin trying to be a menacing bird of prey!" Carrie-Ann did like the attitude. (7/6/6 = 19) Hope and Maks opted for a rumba to "Seasons of Love" from Rent, and her sexiness has improved, but she wasn't really on her toes (partly due to the footwear she had on) and might have been overacting it in places. Len called it her worst dance, and Maks picked now to get into his usual once-a-season backtalk with the judges. Sabrina really doesn't like his attitude. (7/6/7 = 20)

And, to finish it off, J.R. and Karina quickstep their way through "Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago, and boy howdy, do they ever! J.R. is a real showman, and their routine skipped around the floor like nobody's business! "It's a HIT!" crowed Bruno. Carrie-Ann decided she needed to hand out another Tony! (10/9/10 = 29)


Following a performance of a Broadway medley by Kristin Chenoweth, all the couples joined up for a dance routine in tribute to the spirit of Broadway. They used two songs: "Big Spender" from Sweet Charity, and "Money, Money" from Cabaret. The dance was choreographed by Kevin Maher, and acting as "creative director" was none other than the just-eliminated Carson! (Yeah, this is right in his wheelhouse.) The overall routine, involving the gentlemen as "customers" and the ladies as "floozies" for the first part, and then some solo bits with lifts for the second part, was pretty darned good for a musical number. The dance was not scored, but the judges called out Rob, Nancy, and Ricki for special attention.

After all that, we have a tie atop the leaderboard tonight: J.R. and Ricki both with 29 points. Chaz, once again, is Tail-End Charlie with 19. Tomorrow night: Scratch another one!

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Icon 1 posted October 26, 2011 00:17            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

After last night's wild and woolly ride, Len and the judges picked a good encore...J.R. and Karina's Chicago quickstep!

We had two musical guests tonight: a reprise of Kristin Chenoweth, singing her new song "Lessons Learned" to accompany Dasha and Tony, and Martina McBride, singing her new song "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" to accompany Val and Chelsie. And the Macy's Stars of Dance performance was Corbin Bleu in a performance with a bunch of dancers from High School Musical, in a medley honoring "The Streets of Broadway." It was very West Side Story. And, as a preview of next week's Halloween Special, we had Mark and Lacey leading a bunch of kids in a dance to "This Is Halloween."

And the couple knocked out this week: Chaz and Lacey! In the end, Chaz went with the dignity with which he arrived, dedicating his run on the show to all the people out there like him (read: transgendered), especially all the kids and teens. Tom pointed out how much charisma and confidence he'd gained through the show. I say, it doesn't matter whether he was born with them or not, but Chaz has some serious balls.

So we'll be back next week for Halloween Week, featuring individual dances and the ever-popular Team Dances!

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Icon 1 posted October 31, 2011 23:34            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 7: Halloween Week!...

They've got the ballroom looking all spooky for tonight's Halloween-themed dances, and there's lots of action tonight!


David and Kym lead it off with their cha-cha-cha to Steve Miller's "Abracadabra." To Sabrina, his steps were a little off, and he was too stiff, but he did manage to do the hip-swiveling with aplomb. Len was actually rather complimentary towards him! (8/8/8 = 24) Our co-leaders, J.R. and Karina, countered with a tango, set to the theme from Ghostbusters. Even with all the special-effects razzle-dazzle they felt compelled to throw in, it was precise and wonderful to watch. Bruno commented that the timing got lost a few times, though, considering the music and the dance style, that wasn't bad. Len was expecting more from him, though. (9/8/8 = 25)

It was "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" for Nancy and Tristan and their jive, which, quite frankly, fell a bit flat. Her moves aren't really sharp enough, and she lost the technique a number of times. "I think the devil got you, your shoes are too small!" quipped Bruno. (7/7/7 = 21) And Rob and Cheryl brought classic TV to their tango, with the music from The Addams Family. And let me tell you, their characterization was DEAD BANG ON; I could have been watching the real Gomez and Morticia Addams out there! Carrie-Ann called it his best dance so far, and I would have to agree! (9/8/8 = 25)

Ricki and Derek played Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf in the forest with a "Sweet Dreams" (Beyonce) paso doble, and it was one of the best pasos I've seen this season. About the only thing Bruno and Carrie-Ann could fault her for was her shoulders coming up a bit. (9/9/9 = 27) Lastly, Hope and Maks did a samba to "Werewolves of London" (?!? Another DWTS music clunker, sounds like...), which Sabrina called too flat-footed, with bad posture. But maybe Sabrina is harsher than the actual judges; Carrie-Ann called it better than their Toy Story dance, and Bruno said, "You were dancing as if your life depended on it!" (8/8/8 = 24)


As with previous seasons, each team gets a single judges' score for this dance, which gets added to each couple's individual score in the end.

J.R. & Karina got the honor of naming Team Tango, and they selected David & Kym and Nancy & Tristan. The routine, set to Rihanna's "Disturbia," featured a great unison opening, followed by individual routines that both Len and Bruno named "disasters." But they pulled it in for a really neat finish, and the judges liked that part. (8/7/8 = 23)

Meanwhile, Ricki & Derek chose Team Paso Doble, picking Rob & Cheryl and Hope & Maks and using "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. The opening rather reminded me of a performance in the first season of the Finnish series Kuorosota (the final round, the choir from Lappajärvi, coached by Timo Kotipelto, singing "Over the Hills and Far Away," to be precise--look it up on YouTube). Rob came out and attacked his dance with vigor and strength, while Hope played hers very dramatically...and seeing Ricki and Derek gave Sabrina chills, it was that good! It all came together in a very strong, well-synchronized finish! The judges raved about this routine, and Len singled out Rob for keeping up well with the performance. (9/8/9 = 26)

After all is said and done, Ricki leads the pack with 53 out of 60 points, and Nancy trails with 44. Tomorrow night, an elimination, and something else scary...Justin F***in' Bieber! [Eek!]

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Icon 1 posted November 01, 2011 15:51      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by Erbo:
Ricki and Derek played Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf in the forest with a "Sweet Dreams" (Beyonce) paso doble,

Did anyone see the first episode of 'Grimm'?

Are they on the same network?

I'm smelling a bit of cross-promotion here...

If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Icon 1 posted November 01, 2011 23:39            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
(TFD: No, but ABC has a similar series titled Once Upon A Time.)


Tonight, we face our worst fear of the Halloween season...Justin Bieber! He doesn't look quite so much like a girl anymore, though; he's going for that New Edition/NKOTB vibe, it looks like. Anyway, his first number was his new song "Never Say Never," and, though it's not exactly my style, it's not the screaming horror I normally associate with all things Bieber.

Carson Kressley simply will not leave! Now he's a roving reporter, interviewing audience members and the judges. Sigh...it's still impossible not to like him and his...erm...unique personality.

The judges' encore for the evening was Team Paso, doing their "Bring Me to Life" paso doble once more. Pity that Evanescence are such posers...

The AT&T Spotlight Performance features ballet dancer Victoria-Rose Viren, whose budding career (she's still high school age, roughly) was nearly cut short by a brain tumor. She not only lived, though, she danced beautifully, accompanied by partner Kyle Robinson, to the music of Christina Perry.

Derek Hough contributed some excitement with an all-acoustic flamenco/Argentine tango routine, with his partner Alison Holker. This routine was made of awesome.

Bieber returned to the stage, accompanied by Boyz II Men, to sing a song from his new Christmas album, "Fa La La." Dancing to accompany the song were Mark and Chelsie.

Tonight, they actually did reveal who the "bottom two" couples were: Nancy and Tristan, and David and Kym. And the eliminated couple was...shocking!...David and Kym! His daughter was pouting, and I think the rest of the ballroom felt much the same way; David's garnered quite a following!

Next week, we get double dances from the couples, including the return of the INSTANT DANCE! This oughta be wild...

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Icon 1 posted November 01, 2011 23:47            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

For this week, I have divided the couples in the competition into three groups; they are listed within these groups in roughly descending order.

THE TOP TIER - I expect one of these couples to go on to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

Ricki and Derek (average 25.6, trending steady yet variable) - They regain the lead on the strength of some strong work in Week 6 and 7. Ricki is fighting a rib injury, though, so it remains to be seen if she can hold through the rest of the competition...but Derek managed to pull Jennifer Grey through to a win despite more serious issues, so he’s the one that can manage her if it’s possible at all. Still have not scored a Perfect Thirty; still 50% likely to do so first; she will make the finals, and is 40% likely to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

J.R. and Karina (average 25.1, trending steady yet variable) - This competition is rapidly becoming a two-couple dogfight, and J.R. has what it takes to hold on till the end. The guy is so understated, it’s deceiving; he’s not as much a larger-than-life celebrity as the others, but his personality and skill are keeping him flying high. One good break for him over Ricki, and he could run away with it. Also has yet to score the Perfect Thirty; 50% likely to be the first to do so; pretty much a lock to make the finals, and 40% likely to grab the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy in the end.

STILL DIGGING - These couples still have a fighting chance, and are fairly close to the Top Tier themselves. Don’t count ‘em out yet.

Rob and Cheryl (average 22.9, trending steady yet variable) - One Kardashian that doesn’t need a Galor-class warship to get what he’s after! [Big Grin] Rob’s ascent from the middle of the pack has been quite a run, and I feel as if he just needs that little push over the cliff, up to 11 (thank you, noted user interface expert Nigel Tufnel), to get into the Top Tier and contend. Knowing Cheryl, she won’t give up on him. 10% chance to grab the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy; probably 60% chance he’ll make the finals alongside Ricki and J.R.

CLOSE TO THE EDGE - These couples are probably out before the finals. Sorry if they’re your favorites.

Hope and Maks (average 22.8, trending steady yet variable) - I put them down here mainly on the basis of Maks’ temper (shown to dramatic effect during Week 6), though Hope has a bit more inconsistency in her performance than David does, and the fact that she seems to learn best from people who aren’t Maks, as shown in Week 7, leaves me thinking, “This will not end well.” Maks better damn well be on his best behavior; if he screws up again, he and Hope will likely suffer the consequences.

Nancy and Tristan (average 21.1, trending steady) - Nancy, while game for the contest and seemingly holding up physically better than most, just hasn’t had the upward break in her scores that would keep her alive in the competition. Hell, at this point, there are two eliminated= couples (Chynna and Tony, Kristin and Mark) who beat her on average judges’ score. She dodged a bullet in Week 7, but sooner or later, the “squeeze play” will catch her before the finals.

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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2011 00:24            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 8: Quarterfinals...

With just five couples left, now we have time in the schedule for two dances apiece, including the return of the Instant Jive!


Rob and Cheryl do their quickstep this week, to "Take On Me." It seems a little jive-like in the intro before they get in hold, but once they do, he keeps his butt tucked in this time (which Bruno noticed--he would!). The footwork seemed a little skippy in parts to me, but apparently not to Len, who called it his best dance yet. (9/9/9 = 27) Hope and Maks did a quickstep as well, but theirs (to "Valerie") was very bouncy and quite good, from her feet to her posture to the cute finish. Carrie-Ann gave her a hug, and Len called it her best dance yet! (9/9/9 = 27) Ricki and Derek slowed it up with a waltz to "You Make Me Feel" that was just beautiful; I noted her extensions and the way she framed herself like a figure skater in the spin mid-dance. The judges were raving, but Len, as much as he wanted to give her a 10, couldn't bring himself to. (9/9/10 = 28)

Sabrina faulted Nancy and Tristan almost immediately in their tango, set to "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane," and it certainly wasn't as crisp as other couples' have been. Her attitude was good, as Brino noted, but that's really just her. Len did see improvement, but Carrie-Ann thought she could have pointed her toes more. (8/8/8 = 24) Then J.R. and Karina took the stage for their walts, to "What The World Needs Now"...and morphed into Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, right before our eyes! From the cute intro with J.R. doing some hopping steps along the stage riser, to the very end, it was truly worth the rave reviews the judges gave it...and truly worth the scores it received. (10/10/10 = PERFECT THIRTY!!! The first of the season!)


Bear in mind that the couples each got their music only minutes before they had to do their jive, so they were rehearsing like mad backstage before coming out to perform! Rob and Cheryl started with "Maneater," and what the hell was that belly-flop he did across the floor at the start? At least it led into a fairly clean routine; all three judges said his feet could be sharper, but Carrie-Ann liked the seamless transitions. (8/8/8 = 24) "The Best Damn Thing" was the track for Hope and Maks, who seemed a tad off-sync to me, but at least she's improved, and was having fun with it. Len was uncharacteristically effusive, standing up to say, "It was bloody brilliant!" (8/9/8 = 25)

Ricki and Derek showed off both his showmanship and her legs to "Land of a Thousand Dances," and her hips can swivel better than my desk chair! The judges, though, noticed that the routine seemed to stop and start in places, rather than being continuous. (8/8/8 = 24) In Nancy and Tristan's routine to "Upside Down," they lost sync and she looked slow. Carrie-Ann did praise her report with Tristan, but Len, using a Cinderella metaphor, said, "The clock's struck midnight, and it's time for you to go." Probably right. (7/6/7 = 20) Lastly, J.R. and Karina just exploded onto the floor in a "Tutti Frutti" blur; they were well-synced, his kicks and flicks were excellent, and this was just a top-notch jive! Bruno began singing "Fame," he was so wowed! (10/10/10 = PERFECT THIRTY!!! Second one for both J.R. and for the season!)

Wow! J.R. and Karina made a statement tonight, riding the top of the leaderboard with a Perfect Sixty! Nancy and Tristan trail with 44 points. Tomorrow night...what was five, shall become four!

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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2011 23:13            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

So, tonight, there were quite a few "Pad The Show" dance performances, including the opening number to "I Am Woman," danced by all the pro ladies and the Troupe ladies, which kind of looked like a cheerleader routine (or perhaps a burlesque show, minus the striptease). The New Mutants got the spotlight again when Andrea Bocelli sang "No One Else Could Love You More," accompanied by smooth-jazz trumpeter Chris Botti.

The Macy's Stars of Dance performance was by Cirque du Soleil, premiering their new show, "Michael Jackson: The Immortal," which was excellent, as Cirque tends to be. And Flo-Rida got the ballroom hip-hopping with his hit "Club Can't Handle Me" and his new one "Good Feeling."

(Oh, and, as is usual this time of the competition, we get the "analysis" of Kenny Mayne, joined by Jerry Rice and Len, in their shameless ESPN ripoff DanceCenter. Which is basically just full of dumb jokes, so whatever.)

And, eliminated at the quarterfinals mark is...Nancy and Tristan! Nancy credited Tristan for virtually everything, and thanked virtually everybody; Tristan, for his part, knew that the objective was not necessarily to be the best, but to do your best. Well spoken, lad! We'll look forward to him in later seasons.

Four couples yet remain to challenge the semifinals, in which we go for THREE dances: one new individual routine, the Argentine Tango, and a Cha-Cha-Cha Relay! Can they keep up the pace?

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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2011 23:19            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

This week, I’m listing the couples in rank order.

1. (tie) J.R. and Karina (average 26.1, trending mildly upward) - J.R., ex-infantry that he is, has stormed this competition as if it were San Juan Hill and he was Teddy Roosevelt. He has natural charisma that his injuries can’t mask, he has excellent stage presence and rapport with the audience, and Karina’s sure hand has built his dance abilities into a winning combination. Finally became first to crack the Perfect Thirty in Week 8, and did it with style, earning a rare Perfect Sixty for the night. Will be in the finals for certain; 40% likely to take home the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

1. (tie) Ricki and Derek (average 25.7, trending steady but variable) - Has been trading places with J.R. for the lead in this competition ever since Week 1. The former Hairspray star displays plenty of ability, she has solid fan support, and, of course, she’s dancing with Derek Hough, who’s got three Cheesy Disco Ball Trophies to show that he has what it takes to get a celebrity to victory. Was the first to “break 10’s” in Week 4, and has scored several since, including one in Week 8. A sure thing for the finals; 40% likely to capture the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy and make Derek the uncontested leader in DWTS victories.

3. Rob and Cheryl (average 23.4, trending steady but variable) - Rob has really evolved as a dancer, and the only reason he’s not contending for second place is that J.R. and Ricki have the top two positions so tightly sewn up between them. He has managed to rise above the reputation of his family name (which, given sister Kim’s recent quickie divorce, is perhaps a bit more tarnished now), and Heaven knows Cheryl’s no slouch, having notched two wins in earlier seasons. 65% likely to make the finals; 10% likely to score the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

4. Hope and Maks (average 23.4, trending slightly upward) - Maks’ “kinder, gentler” approach to teaching in Week 8 paid off; they scored a personal-best 27 in the quickstep. It may not make up for their earlier lack of performance, though. Hope has plenty of ability, and Maks wants it bad, but I’m just uncertain they can leapfrog Rob and Cheryl to get to the finals. 35% likely to make the finals; 10% likely to score the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy.

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Icon 1 posted November 14, 2011 23:36            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WEEK 9: Semifinals...

With just one more elimination to go before the finals, we get three rounds of competition this week! So let's kick it!


Hope and Maks took on the paso doble with "Can't Be Tamed" as the backdrop, and she showed plenty of intensity! But I felt as if Maks were just carrying her through parts of the dance, and she missed a couple of steps. Both Len and Bruno pointed out her loss of control, due to being "unchained and untamed!" as Bruno put it. Carrie-Ann did say she nailed the character, though! (7/7/7 = 21)

Also doing paso this evening: J.R. and Karina to the Legend of Zorro theme! J.R., however, twisted his ankle in practice this week, and hurt it again on the floor here! While I liked his stage presence, it did appear that he's slowed down a bit. Bruno mentioned slight faults in posture and timing, and Len felt this dance didn't suit him. "More zero than Zorro!" he said. (8/7/8 = 23)

"I Go To Rio" is the song, and riding in on the float: Rob and Cheryl! Once they stepped off to do the samba, though, it was fun and bouncy all around, and he was working those hips and butt for all he was worth Carrie-Ann gushed, while Bruno called it "Beyond the rainbow and exceeding all our expectations!" (10/9/9 = 28)

Not to be outdone, Ricki and Derek essayed a samba of their own, to the classic Harry Belafonte tune "Jump In the Line (Shake Senora)." (Perfect samba music.) She was well in sync with Derek, and she was clearly enjoying the hell out of this dance...and shaking the hell out of her booty! "Fabulous!" said Len, while Bruno cried, "I need sunshades!" (10/10/10 = PERFECT THIRTY!!! Third of the season, the first for Ricki and Derek!)


This year, they held back the Argentine Tango to give all the couples a chance to do it in the same round...and first, we get a lesson in "what it looks like when it's done spectacularly" by the Toupe, some of the Pros, and a guest couple who are champions! Oh, and remember, lifts are permitted in this dance!

Hope and Maks started it to "Whatever Lola Wants," and Hope showed off a slinky side of her we've rarely seen! She did stumble a bit on a landing from a lift, though. Len liked it better than her paso, while Bruno noted how she was more controlled this time. (8/8/8 = 24)

After that, J.R. and Karina were out to "Bust Your Windows" with their dance. J.R. has a very commanding presence out on the floor, and he executed the tricky lifts well, but Sabrina could see he messed up a bit and wasn't happy with himself. There was universal praise from the judges, though, and Carrie-Ann saw the "true fire" connecting the two of them, as well as approving of the way he executed the lifts. (9/9/9 = 27)

Rob and Cheryl started in a very oily, silky manner to "Libertango," and went through it with excellent timing, a relentless pace, and a very tricky lift move to end it! Plenty of raves from the judges here; Len said, "You are finishing strong!" (9/9/9 = 27)

Lastly, Ricki and Derek came in and nailed it, with precise movements perfectly in character; their routine sizzled like hell! Carrie-Ann noted her developing core strength, and Len said, "I don't think you know how good that was!" Oh, we do, though! (9/10/10 = 29)


For this round, each couple will cha-cha-cha to a section of the same song, "I Like How It Feels." First place couple gets 10 bonus points, second-place 8, then 6, and lastly 4. Clear?

In the dance, Ricki and Derek led off and came out strong yet precise. Hope got a little carried away, and the ending of her and Maks' routine stuck a bit. J.R. got the hip action down, but I think his ankle must still be bothering him. And Rob just attacked that dance like mad! The final rankings were: Hope & Maks 4th (4), J.R. & Karina 3rd (6), Ricki & Derek 2nd (8), Rob & Cheryl 1st (10).

For this semifinal week, Ricki and Derek return to topping the charts with 67 points (out of 70 possible); Hope and Maks are in the cellar with 49. Tomorrow night: That last heart-breaking elimination before the finals!

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Icon 1 posted November 16, 2011 00:42            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

Since we only have three couples to call "safe" (and one to eliminate), and an hour of time to fill, we get to play Pad The Show in a number of innovative ways! First though, the judges wanted to see an encore of Rob and Cheryl doing the samba...mainly because Carrie-Ann wanted to see that butt shaking again!

Cobra Starship played their new song "Nightshades" with Kym, Tristan, and a couple of the New Mutants dancing. And DWTS just cannot seem to get enough of Carson Kressley; this week, he was in the wardrobe department, doing his best to help out as only a fashion maven of his caliber can. I'd be pissed at the producers, if Carson weren't so darned likable. Can we get him to spell Brooke or something next season? He would probably be an improvement!

We finally get to see the Macy's Design-A-Dance; Anna and Derek take "Bad Romance" and "Show me your...PASO DOBLE!" They would easily take the Pan Pacific Grand Prix, if they didn't make the judges faint first!

The last AT&T Spotlight Performance featured Kenny Wyrmald (of Footloose) introducing four guys from his dance school, the Gold School of Dance Art. Kyle, David, Jacob, and Max are all young dancers, and of course, kids that age being heartless, cruel bastards, get no end of shit for it at their schools. Hey, they get to dance with four hotties, Lacey, Peta, Chelsie, and one of the Troupers, on national TV, to "How You Like Me Now"! Let's see those football jocks do that!

Helping Tom introduce the next bit...Gonzo?!? Yeah, the Muppets are back, in a new Disney movie (CROSS-PROMOTION ALERT!), and they're performing one of the new songs from that movie, along with a gaggle of human dancers. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and all the rest put in an appearance...and what do the judges have to say about the routine? Cue Statler and Waldorf at the judges' table! [Big Grin]

After all this, the final couple eliminated from the competition before the finals is...Hope and Maks! They seemed OK with it; Hope called this one of the toughest competitions of her life, while Maks was uncharacteristically subdued. (He's looked like Happy-Happy-Prozac-Maks the last couple of days. I think he knew the writing was on the wall.)

Next week: Up to FOUR dances for each couple, as we get it on like Donkey Kong, to find out which of these three takes home The Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy!

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Icon 1 posted November 16, 2011 00:49            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

This week, for the last Power Rankings for this season, I list all the couples in rank order.

1. Ricki and Derek (average 26.3, trending slightly upward) - Surge slightly ahead in their duel with J.R. and Karina on the strength of a Perfect Thirty (their first) and another score almost so. You’d never guess how heavy Ricki used to be from the way she looks now, and her dancing, if anything, exceeds that promise. 45% likely to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy, giving Derek an unprecedented fourth victory.

2. J.R. and Karina (average 25.9, trending steady-to-slightly-downward) - J.R.’s stumble due to a twisted ankle opens the door a bit, but don’t count him out; a strong bounce-back in his Argentine tango shows that he’ll never quit, and if he recovers OK for next week, he could still score a richly-deserved victory. 40% likely to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy and earn Karina her first win.

3. Rob and Cheryl (average 24.1, trending steady-to-slightly-upward) - If there were an award for “Most Personal Growth on DWTS,” Rob would win it hands down. Despite his celebrity status, he’s almost the “everyman” in this contest, not well-known like the former talk show hostess nor with the stature of a war hero, but proving he has as much heart as either. 15% likely to win the Cheesy Disco Ball Trophy and give Cheryl Win #3.

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Icon 1 posted November 21, 2011 22:20            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

Hello and welcome to the Dancing With The Stars Season Lucky 13 Finals! We go to full coverage as our stars, on two nights, have to take on four, count 'em, FOUR dances! The first night, though, is very important, as it includes the dance that can make or break a champion, the freestyle! So here comes the action!


Traditionally, in this round, the judges pay a call on the finalists to give them some helpful advice for their last routines!

Ricki and Derek got a visit from Carrie-Ann to help them prepare their cha-cha-cha; she encouraged her, "Let the old Ricki go...make that audience yours" The dance, set to "Yeah 3x," came out sharp, with great hip-swiveling action. I liked her footwork, and the ending was slightly wacky on the timing, but it still worked! Len called it "action-packed," and praised her timing, rhythm, and hips: "A dance deserving of the final!" Bruno praised her for "running at full steam...You've never been hotter and sexier!" He did have a bit about the slight lack of fluidity. "You are looking fierce! You were LIVING the dance!" said Carrie-Ann. She thought her arms got "confused" a bit, but proclaimed, "Confidence at its best!"
Scores: CAI 9, LG 9, BT 9, Total 27

Bruno dropped by to help Rob and Cheryl work on their waltz, encouraging Rob to pump his chest out and walk like a prince. He thought Rob could come out with something great and kill this dance, and the dance itself, to "It Is You (I Have Loved)," did not disappoint. He was in excellent sync when in hold, but may have messed up a bit in the sequence where they separated; he showed good lines and a very elegant finish. "You were flowing and you were glowing!" crowed Bruno, who praised the continuity of lines but pointed out some missed footwork on the crossovers. Carrie-Ann called him "the male version of Cinderella who made it to the ball!" Len praised the hold and posture, and said it had "more rise and fall than Pam Anderson jogging." (He would know, having observed Pam's dancing in a previous season.) He thought it got a bit heavy in places, but it was "simple but simply beautiful."
Scores: CAI 9, LG 9, BT 9, Total 27

And, for the cha-cha-cha, J.R. and Karina got some help from DANCMSTR Len, especially in the butt! (Get your mind out of the gutter!!! [Big Grin] ) The song was "Let's Get Loud," but the dance seemed uncharacteristically subdued for J.R.; his hip action was a little more subtle than I would expect, and he may still have been favoring the ankle a bit. Carrie-Ann noted, "Everyone loves you, they fall in love with your spirit," but had to ding him for dancing ahead of the music, and told him to watch his arms. Len thought the solo part was brave, but the dance wasn't that good overall, being off time and having a lot of mistakes: "Your enthusiasm got the better of you." Bruno, though, loved the mood they set, "like a sultry night in Havana!" He thought his hands were a bit out of place at the start, but that the intensity came through and he nailed the character.
Scores: CAI 8, LG 7, BT 9, Total 24

...continued next post...

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