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April 2010 Archives

Jake Pavelka out of the ballroom

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It was only a matter of time before Jake Pavelka's bad dancing caught up with him. On tonight's "Dancing with the Stars" results show, the moment arrived. The former "Bachelor" star landed in the bottom two and was shown the door after the judges' scoring and viewers votes were tallied. A very emotional Jake brown down into tears when asked what he would like to say in gratitude to his pro partner Chelsie Hightower. It's not the first time we've seen Jake cry when he had to explain his feelings to a woman; "The Bachelor" episodes were often peppered with his teary-eyed blathering.

On the sidelines, his fiancee Vienna was clearly in shock and sad. And yet she stayed strong for him, shedding not one tear on camera.

The best part of tonight's show was the sports science analysis of a ballroom dancer's moves. It was one of the most insightful segments the show has ever done, and it confirmed what most of us thought all along: those pros are powerful athletes. It was great television.

What's ailing 'Dancing with the Stars'?

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On Monday night's episode of "Dancing with the Stars," two things became crystal clear as I watched "the most-watched show in America." One--- it's the halfway point in the season, and frankly, I don't care who wins; and Two--- this show is just not fun anymore.

There, I said it.

I have been a faithful and vocal supporter of this show ever since its debut five years or so ago, from when it was that little oddball show that everyone had written off, except for millions of viewers like me. Over the course of the next 9 seasons, I found the program was steadily evolving, becoming exciting, fun AND funny, quirky, aggravating, ridiculous, disappointing (when the wrong couples were sent home way too early), and actually educational (who knew a samba from a rhumba?). The show embodied everything that makes for good reality television. It has spiraled into shadow of its former marvelous self. Instead of ballroom dancing, most nights (in between the dancing) we're treated to wannabe comic bits and "witty" quotes from stars, pros, and judges trying to out-wit one another.

TV Dancing with the Stars.jpg
Nicole Scherzinger, left, and her partner Derek Hough, have provided much of the excitement on the dance floor during the current season of "Dancing with the Stars." (AP)

This season, which started out with an interesting-enough batch of celeb contestants, has turned into "Whining with the Stars." I can't remember any season that contained so much diva drama, whining and complaining (and yes, the producers choose to show specific video clips of those incidents) to the point of exhaustion. It's almost as if the couples are told that each week that the cameras will be scouring their rehearsal time for a meltdown scene. After all, it makes for "great television." Frankly, it's become a downer. How many more scenes of stars walking out of rehearsals do we need to see?

Why not show us one of the pros actually working out a dance routine? Some insight into THEIR creative process (since I truly believe these are extremely talented individuals)? The judges, specifically Len Goodman to his credit, constantly complain that certain "steps" are missing from routines. Why not put a video montage together illustrating the specific steps (in addition to pros demonstrating a "proper" waltz or cha-cha), so we can better understand what these dances involve? That could make for some great television, too. And yes, producers, you could even make it funny.

"Dancing" was great television from day one because it was so different from any other reality show out there. It was charming. And the competition didn't involve eating bugs or jumping off a cliff or stabbing the other contestants in the back. It was all about disparate celebs with pretty much no knowledge of dance taking viewers on a fun-filled journey to sore feet, sore muscles, great costumes and hopefully, an exiting dance routine. There were moments of great joy, injuries, difficult practice sessions, complaining stars, perplexed pros. But all of it came together on game night, in one big, fun-filled competition. Even if every celeb made a total fool of himself or herself out there on those boards, we laughed with them, and it was a great escape at the end of a long, hard work day.

So where HAS all the excitement gone? Do the couples just seem, well, bored? What happened to the days of Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough bringing down the house with their electrifying dance routines? What happened to beautiful moments like watching Jerry Rice's Fred Astaire-like footwork evolve each week? Or poignant moments like Jerry Springer just wanting to learn the waltz so he could dance at his daughter's wedding? Or sizzling moments like the tango between Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff?

In a 2009 interview with the Sun-Times, season one competitor John O'Hurley summed it up thusly: "It's now the most over-produced show on television. It's lost so much of its charm. And that's a shame."

And when it comes to the judges' scoring, their comments have in many cases become rather mean-spirited, their "paddles" revealing little consistency ("7s" for Jake's miserable samba Monday night was ludicrous; "robbing" Chad Ochocinco of 9s for his very good Argentine tango was incomprehensible).

As for who goes home tonight, Jake should get the boot. But if I were Pamela Anderson and Chad Ochocinco, I'd be worried.

And yes, I will continue to watch this season, right up to the presentation of that marvelously tacky mirror-ball trophy. After all, it only brings us that much closer to next season.

Kate Gosselin sent packing from 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Tonight's "Dancing with the Stars" results show had some of its credibility restored as Kate Gosselin, the mom-dancer-diva everyone loves to hate was finally voted off the show by viewers and judges alike.

It was a tear-filled Kate who was rendered speechless (with at least six minutes left to go in the show) as host Tom Bergeron and Kate's pro partner Tony Dovolani seemed to come to her rescue. How many times did we have to explore how much this opportunity meant to her? Yes, she proved that single moms everywhere are just as wonderful and hard-working and fun and dedicated as everybody else out there. But she was still a terrible dancer who had truly outworn her welcome. Fret not, Gosselin is on to another reality show, another book, and so it goes...

Considering Pam Anderson was standing in the creepy red light (alongside Kate) as their fate was announced, the writing might be on the wall for her as well. Let's face it, the show is heading into the second-half of the season, and the weaker dancers have just about used up their nine ballroom lives.

'Dancing with the Stars' goes 'Outside the Box'

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Okay, so Nicole Scherzinger can't pronounce Maks Chmerkovkiy's name, but if you're a fan of the show, you will probably get a kick out of this unplugged Q&A session (on AOL) with Maks, Derek Hough, Erin Andrews and hosted by Nicole. Sigh.

Movie night on 'Dancing with the Stars' lacked star power

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It's late, so short and sweet is called for.

Tonight's competition was all about the movies. Settled in with a bowl of popcorn with high expectations. What a boring night (the only true "wow" moment came from Nicole and Derek who took "Pretty Woman" to a whole new elegant place. Overall, odd movie choices were made in terms of song selections, considering there are some pretty heady movie musicals out there.

And of course, the judges' scores were just ridiculous. Yawn. It's getting soooo old.

And speaking of getting old....

Kate Gosselin stomped and walked and fumbled her way through "Don't You Forget About Me" from "The Breakfast Club," and I only wish we WOULD forget about her. That miserable movement about the ballroom was not dancing, and yet the judges rewarded her with 5s. Excuse me? Buzz Aldrin did almost as bad a job and he got pelted with 4s. It's beyond obvious that she is going to stay around as long as possible to appease the ABC ratings hogs.

The rest of the pack:
Jake: Tom Cruise he's not. The underwear opening was one of those moments on "DWTS" that will go down in infamy. But I gotta give him credit for taking some risks with "Old Time Rock and Roll."

Evan: Dashing. And Anna Trebunskya channeled Edyta Sliwinska with her lack of a costume tonight.

Chad: Charming, but there was definitely something amiss between him and Cheryl
tonight. Not even their playful banter was, well, playful.

Pamela: Can't say I recognized much of a quickstep, since it was slow and steady, but she sure can channel Dolly Parton in many, MANY ways

Niecy: Thank GOD she got her joyous groove back. "La Bamba" suited her to a T.

Erin: She and Maks are sooooo cute together. "Pulp Fiction" suited them to a T.

So who's going home? Yes, we ALL know it should be Kate, but I have a feeling Chad may be headed for the locker room Tuesday night.

Soap star gets the boot on 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Sometimes I REALLY hate being right, and last night was one of those times. I predicted that it very possibly was Aiden Turner's last dance in the "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom, and on tonight's results show, the prediction came true as the sexy soap star was voted off the show.

The celeb who SHOULD have been shown the door was Kate Gosselin, who continues to defy the odds and all reason.The fact that she can't dance is an understatement. But she is a ratings-grabber, if nothing else, and apparently her legions can out-call and out-text anybody's else's.

If I were Jake Pavelka, or Niecy Nash (who, along with the aforementioned Kate and Aiden, ended up in the last three couples standing column before elimination), I'd be very worried about next week's results show. Kate's crusaders might just have one of you hanging up your dancing shoes for good.

Side note: Is it just me, or did Edyta Sliwinska's tanned nakedness finally outwear its welcome? Seems even her lack of clothing couldn't save her for one more week. This week's costume was just the worst one to date; or maybe voters have just, uhm, seen enough for one season?

What an odd sort of night it was on tonight's "Dancing with the Stars" competition. Two dances were performed, the sultry rhumba and the fiery tango. Not a whole lotta either dance turned up for the party, as couple after couple failed to massively impress the judges. Two sets of scores were issued, one for performance and one for technical skill. (Prior to this week, one set of scores sufficed for both, but why split hairs).

Once again, Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya topped the leaderboard with their tango, earning a combo "52" for their efforts. At the bottom of the pool (no surprise here) are Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani with a dismal "32." In the night's biggest surprise, Pamela Anderson and her partner Damian Whitewood delivered a scorching rhumba, that netted them a "47," their highest of the season and the third-highest of the night. In between, the rest of the pack seemed almost "lost" tonight; a disconnect permeated the dance floor as partner failed to connect with parter, and couples failed to connect with their music, their dances and frankly, this viewer.

Some general observations on week four of competition on "Dancing with the Stars"

Ouch! Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli are not feeling the love tonight, judging by their comments and their liberal use of the "5" and "6" paddle....

Is it just me, or are Edyta Sliwinska's costumes even teenier than ever before? I'll bet tonight's entire ensemble took no more than one yard of silver lame. Poor Aiden; he's never going to overcome her presence.

Louis needs to bring some joy back into Niecy's dances. What a downer the past two weeks have been. She is capable of such joy in her dances (look back at week one).

Evan's tango was perhaps not as snazzy from my TV vantage point as it was from the judges' viewpoint.

Pity Tony Dovolani for having to listen to Kate Gosselin's constant whining about her life and her woes and blah blah blah. Note to Kate: EVERYBODY's life is tough.

The coosome twosome of Maks and Erin perhaps needed to spend a wee bit more time on their footwork this week... ahem

The judges complained about musicality on several occasions... well, note to producers: The music selections tonight were just weird. Great songs on their own, but especially with the tango, they were just too bizarre and the rhythms just too illogical for tango. I'm all for innovative music, but even the pros looked somewhat lost in trying to match the music to the artistry of the dance.

Chad Ochocinco proved he's got some pretty sexy dance moves, and frankly, he displayed the best musicality of any of the celeb guys tonight with his fluid rhumba movements.

Who's outta the ballroom tomorrow night? It should be Kate Gosselin, but Aiden Turner might have danced his last dance tonight.

NEXT WEEK: They dance to movie musical classics.

Kate Gosselin dancing on to new series

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Just when you thought Kate Gosselin really cared about all of your "Dancing with the Stars" votes that are keeping her on (and on the show's payroll) week after week, AP reports today that super mom will be headed to her own series later this year, as well as a series of specials based on her previous reality show life. Hey, a mom's gotta do, what a mom's gotta do.

The details according to AP:

Kate Gosselin is launching a series that will profile everyday women facing personal challenges.
"Twist of Kate" will follow the reality star and supermom as she visits the homes and workplaces of her subjects, where she will exchange insights for living. The 12-episode season will premiere in late summer, the TLC network said Thursday.
The single mother of young twins and sextuplets, Gosselin will also revisit her family life for a series of "Kate Plus 8" specials beginning in June.
Kate and her then-husband Jon starred for several seasons in the hit reality series "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which collapsed last fall as the couple's marriage fell apart.
This week, Jon Gosselin sued his ex-wife for primary custody of their eight children.
Gosselin's attorney, Anthony List, has previously accused Kate Gosselin of neglecting the children because she appears on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," a charge her attorney rejected as "patently false."

Once upon a time, there was a show called "Dancing with the Stars," and on this particular Monday night's episode, all the competitors were supposed to tell a story through their dance routines. Some of them did very, very well (Erin & Maks, Evan and Anna, Nicole & Derek), while some of them did not very well at all (Buzz and Ashly, Kate & Tony). Others did so-so (Niecy & Louis, Chad and Cheryl, Pam & Damian, Aiden & Edyta, and Jake & Chelsie).

There were also three wise judges, who rated each competing couple to their best of their judges' skills. Only thing, those skills reflected little of what transpired on this glittery night. That's where this story ends.

Reality check.

For the third week in a row, Kate Gosselin made Buzz Aldrin look good, and for the third week in a row, her scores should have been no higher than 4s. And yet, she was promptly rewarded for her dismal efforts with a 15 from the very judges who raked her across the coals for her lack of anything resembling dancing talent. Moments later, the leader (until tonight) of the pack, Nicole Scherzinger, likewise got raked over the coals for what vaguely passed for a quick step AND included a lift AND included several "broke holds," (though it really was the night's liveliest performance). AND the judges rewarded the duo's efforts with an 8 (from Carrie Ann), and a 9 from Bruno (Len awarded a 6 for a dance he just loathed). Earlier in the night, the judges rewarded Jake Pavelka and his partner Chelsie Hightower with a 21 for a quick step in which not much quick stepping was accomplished. Same for Aiden Turner and Edyta Sliwinska, who earned a 20 for his clunky quick step. And on it went.

I think the show has lost all sense of reason when it comes to the judges' scoring criteria. The viewers' voting continues to be the popularity contest it has always been, and that's to be expected from any reality show involving viewer input. What astounds is the fact that for the past two or three seasons, I can't figure out how the judges ARE scoring. Maybe "Dancing" needs to take on the "American Idol" approach: no judges' scores, just comments --- and leave the rest to the viewers. The whole concept of a leaderboard is becoming quite comical as the seasons fly by.

Next week, it's a double-score showdown, wherein the judges will award two sets of marks for each couple: one for technique, and one for performance. Well, what exactly have they been awarding scores for up until now?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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