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April 2012 Archives

It was a night of highest highs and some pretty low lows on "Dancing with the Stars."

It was classical music night and Viennese waltzes, paso dobles and tangos abounded. And while Melissa Gilbert and Maks Chmerkovskiy were almost scolded by the judges (unfairly so), Maria Menounos and Derek Hough landed at the other end of the spectrum with the season's first perfect score of 30 for their mindboggling paso doble.

It was also a night for the big team dances, one a tango, the other a paso doble.

As for the team dance scoring?

Team Tango (Katherine Jenkins, Maria Menounos, Roshon Fegan, and Jaleel White and their respective partners): Judge Len Goodman called it a mix of the good the bad and the ugly. Carrie Ann Inaba went gaga over it and scored them a 10 (come on Carrie Ann, there WERE mistakes in that dance, so a perfect score seemed odd). Len could only muster an 8, which seemed low, and Bruno scored the team a 9, which seemed just right given the complexity and intensity of the tango they performed. TOTAL: 27

Team Paso (William Levy, Donald Driver, Melissa Gilbert and their respective partners): Judge Len Goodman summed it up by saying "You guys UNdressed to impress!" Praising the shirtless physiques. Still, Len could only score them a ridiculously low 8 (have NO idea what he was watching); Carrie Ann doled out a 9 and so did Bruno, both praising the dance's intensity and passion. TOTAL: 26, much to the boos of the ballroom audience.

So it's off to the races for Tuesday night's elimination round. I'd lay odds that Melissa Gilbert will probably be sent home by the judges in the final bottom two dance-off of the season (Gilbert was at the bottom of the leader board Monday night).

The first perfect score on Season 14 of "Dancing with the Stars" was handed out to Maria Menounos and her partner Derek Hough for their positively sizzling paso doble. The vampire-fanged Menounos and her vampire-hunting nemesis Hough were unstoppable in their precise, spot-on (as Len Goodman would say) paso that brought the ballroom audience to its feet.

Earlier in the night, the judges were not so kind at all to Melissa Gilbert, nearly chastising her for her dancing skills and award her and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy a score of 21, all but guaranteeing their spot in the bottom two on Tuesday night when TWO contestants will be sent home.

Bruno Tonioli will write tell-all book

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"Dancing with the Stars" judge Bruno Tonioli revealed to the British press that he will be releasing his own tell-all book some time in the fall, in the wake of the just-released "Strictly Come Dancing," the unauthorized biography of Simon Cowell, by Tom Bower.

Tonioli, splits his time between "DWTS" and the hugely popular British dance competition show "Strictly Come Dancing" on BBC1, which also features fellow "DWTS" judge Len Goodman, along with Arlene Phillips, Craig Revel Horwood and Alesha Dixon who recently left to join the judging panel for "Britain's Got Talent."

According to The Sun, Tonioli will talk about everything from his bullied childhood to growing up gay in Ferrara, Italy, to working in music videos as a dancer (most famously in Elton John's "I'm Still Standing") to his work as a choreographer to the stars, including Tina Turner and the Rolling Stones.

More news at

Maria Menounos poses nude for Allure

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"Dancing with the Stars" new "It" girl Maria Menounos is among a bevy of beauties posing nude in the May issue of Allure magazine.

The 33-year-old Menounos, along with Debra Messing, Leslie Bibb, Taraji P. Henson, and Morena Baccarin, were photographed by acclaimed celebrity photographer Patrick Demarchelier. See Maria Menounos photos here.

In the black-and-white photo, Menounos is atop a bed wearing nothing but diamond jewelry.

The photos are showcased in the magazine's Body Image feature.

Latin Night sizzles on 'Dancing with the Stars'

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It was the midway point of the season on tonight's "Dancing with the Stars" and it was all about Latin dance as the celebs and their pro partners samba'd, salsa'd and Argentine tango'd their hearts out.

In the end, Argentine tango ruled the night, while samba sank two contestants who may very well have to face a dance-off Tuesday night on the results show.

Katherine Jenkins and her partner Mark Ballas turned in a hot, hot, hot Argentine tango and shortly thereafter William Levy with his partner Cheryl Burke delivered an equally hot, hot, hot Argentine tango sending both teams to the top of leader board with a tie score of 29.

At the other end of the spectrum were Gavin DeGraw who earned a paltry 20 for his "mad" samba, and Gladys Knight with a similarly low 22 for her unexciting samba.

In between, Donald Driver and his partner Peta Mergatroyd turned in a tango that should have tied them with Katherine and William, but alas, their score was only 27 thanks to a surprising "8" from judge Len Goodman who seemed out of sorts on this night (Translation: take those happy pills, Len!).

Karina Smirnoff did all she could to get Gavin DeGraw to samba, but his goofy, fun, mayhem-riddled dance was "bad" enough to earn a dismal score of 20. But at least he gave it his all, right?

Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson started the night off with their respectable samba, but it only earned them a 24 on a night when the former child star really needed to pull some 9s from the judges to turn around his downward scoring spiral.

Returning from her dramatic, injury-riddled week, Melissa Gilbert didn't fare much better with her partner Maks Chmerkovskiy, as their salsa was "too out of control" for judge Bruno Tonioli. Her score: 21.

Last but not least, Maria Menounos nabbed a score of 27 for her fiery, "saucy hot" salsa with partner Derek Hough. The rumors of their off-screen romance persist; their on-screen chemistry only fuels the fire.

So who goes home Tuesday night?
It will probably come down to Gladys and Gavin, and I'm thinking Gavin may have danced his last ballroom dance.

And why is the audience now standing throughout the dances?

Our sister paper, the Naperville Sun, reports that a local boutique is featuring some of the jewels sparkling on "Dancing with the Stars":

If you've noticed the earrings worn by some of the contestants on "Dancing with the Stars," here's your chance to buy them.
Ginger Makowski, owner of Karisma Boutique, 232 S. Washington St. in downtown Naperville, is offering Anne Koplik Designs jewelry, a vintage-inspired jewelry line.You might have seen them on other TV shows and in fashion magazines, too.
"We are unique that we are offering the earrings worn by Peta Murgatroyd and Gladys Knight on the premiere episode of 'Dancing with the Stars,'" says Lisa Tyson, store representative. (Olympic champion and season eight winner Shawn Johnson also wore Koplik earrings on the show.)
Shop for the earrings and other fashions from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday."
----Naperville Sun

Too much drama on tonight's "Dancing with the Stars" results show.

Cutting to the chase, it came down to Sherri Shepherd and Roshon Fegan, and when the music was over, it was Shepherd who was show the door. The co-host of "The View" broke down in tears when the announcement was made, but she gracefully thanked the show and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy, and urged viewers to pursue their dreams.

Melissa Gilbert, who was rushed to the hospital Monday night and is reportedly suffering from a concussion and some whiplash, was not present tonight. However, she and her partner Maks Chmerkovskiy will live to dance another day as they were voted on to next week's competition. Host Tom Bergeron and Maks explained Gilbert's condition, with Maks quipping "She's a fighter, a trooper. I'm looking forward to next week, she's looking forward to next week. She's a little sedated, so she doesn't know what she's looking forward to."

A slow-motion look at the video from Monday night's dance showed Melissa hitting her head against Maks' leg, which sent him falling during their demanding paso doble. The audio even reveals Melissa telling Maks that she hit her head.

And kudos to the show's official knight in shining armor, otherwise known as Gavin DeGraw, who carried Melissa up the stairs Monday night to the backstage area while the ambulance was on its way. A gentleman indeed.

Melissa Gilbert injured on 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Actress Melissa Gilbert was rushed to a hospital moments after competing Monday night on "Dancing with the Stars."

According to a statement issued today, the actress says she is okay, suffering from a mild concussion and some whiplash.

Gilbert had just completed her best performances so far this season with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and according to reports started complaining about dizziness soon afterward. As a precaution she was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Gilbert tweeted last night that "very soon I will be safely home being taken care of."

After taking a few more looks at last night's dance, there is one moment early on where Gilbert's head appears to touch the floor, though it doesn't appear to be a slam or accidental "drop" by her partner Maks. Of course the camera angle can not always reflect the severity of the point of contact. However, the rest of the dance appears free of head/floor contact by the actress.

The actress revealed at the season's onset that she had suffered a serious back injury requiring surgery just 18 months ago.

Earlier this week, Gilbert, who was rehearsing the very demanding paso doble for Monday night's competition, blogged on

"This week of Dancing has been a killer. I have a burn on my ankle from being dragged across the floor by Maks. It will scar. No question. The scar is mine. I earned it by working really hard. As crazy as it sounds the scar will become a symbol for me. It is a symbol of life without limitations.

"Here's what I've had working against me:
I will be 48 in a few weeks - definitely past retirement for a dancer.
My spine is fused in two places now - last surgery was about a year and half ago.
I was not in the best cardiovascular shape of my life when this started."

It's not clear if the actress will have to withdraw from the competition.

'Dancing with the Stars' rocks on

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It was Rock Week on "Dancing with the Stars" and there was much rock and rolling to be had, starting with a performance by KISS.

The pleather was flying as couples turned in tangos, paso dobles, jives and Viennese waltzes (!?!) to the tunes of Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Queen and Alice Cooper among others.

First things first... that William Levy never heard of Twisted Sister is understandable, having been born and raised in Cuba where American music was banned. That Jaleel White never heard of Mick Jagger is mindboggling. It's not like he grew up and worked and went to university on the other side of the planet. Though White did say that growing up there was "zero rock in the house." So I guess I had to forgive all when he soon uttered one of the best lines of the night: "[Mick Jagger] walked like George [of the TV series "The Jeffersons"] Jefferson a lot."

As for the scoring, the judges were a little more conservative with the paddles tonight. 9s turned out to be a rare sight, save for the 3 that were doled out the Donald Driver for his "psychedelic, sexy, taunting, hot damn!" paso doble (as Carrie Ann Inaba blurted out). It was the score that propelled him to the top of the leader board.

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower also received 9s, two of them, plus an 8, for their gorgeous and elegant Viennese waltz, though during rehearsals, Chelsie called the sinewy-limbed star "a noodle." And it brought out this gem from judge Len Goodman "Good job dawg." Go Len!

The most confusing judging happened half-way through the competition as the judges gave Gladys Knight a score of 20 for her tango (to the very difficult-to-dance-to "Bohemian Rhapsody"), though she completed some difficult footwork. Moments later William Levy was awarded a 22 for his jive that featured missteps throughout and a big mixup in the middle. Levy's score also tied White',s which was just ludicrous, considering White nailed his tango for the mostpart.

The three-week leader, Katherine Jenkins was dethroned with a score of 24 as she and Mark Ballas turned in a paso doble that was "too aggressive" according to the judges. It was a powerful dance, nonetheless.

Sherri Shepherd didn't fare quite so well this week either, as her tango with Val Chmerkovskiy just fell flat and earned a score of 21. Val's brother Maks fared only slighly better with partner Melissa Gilbert, earning a 22 for their paso doble that brought out the "bad girl" side of Gilbert (who was down-scored for a slip and fall that was totally Maks' fault and he said so).

Maria Menounos, dancing with a fractured foo,t also received a pair of 9s (and one 8) for her tango with Derek Hough that was solid despite her ailing feet (Derek carried her piggyback out of the ballroom).

Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff ended the night with a tango that didn't seem all that, but the judges awarded a score of 23 to the duo who has been in the bottom two for the past two weeks come results show night.

Seen in the ballroom tonight: Nia Vardalos, Rita Wilson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, David Hasselhoff, John Stamos (maybe next season, John???).

The results tomorrow night? It's probably going to come down to Gavin (again) and possibly Gladys! I'm thinking DeGraw may have danced his last dance tonight.

Len Goodman to host "Titanic" PBS special

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"Dancing with the Stars" head judge Len Goodman is hosting "The Titanic with Len Goodman" at 8 p.m. April 10 on WTTW-Channel 11. It's a fascinating look at where the ill-fated ship was built, the key players involved in her design, and the very human side of the tragedy from the stories of those who made it and those who perished.
Read my interview: "Speaking With... Len Goodman"

As for "DWTS," when asked about this season's crop of contenders, Goodman had this to say: "It's marvelous. This is by far one of the best group of celebrities we've ever had. This will be a tough season in terms of who goes home."
When asked whom he thinks is already "one to watch," Goodman replied: "Well, Katherine Jenkins is beautiful and a lovely dancer. And you gotta like William [Levy]. He's hot."

So do the judges really get along, Len?
"Everybody gets along," Goodman said emphatically. "Especially we three. We get on terrifically. We meet up and have dinner on occasion. We call each other to chat. Even if we have a bit of a spat on the show it never carries past the show."

And I asked Goodman why he was so happy this past week during the heated competition, as the 9s and 10s flowed almost as freely as the tears.

"I took my happy pills," Goodman said with a hearty laugh. "I guess the anti-depressants kicked in finally."

Jack Wagner exits 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Let's chalk this one up to "I didn't see it coming."

Sure, Jack Wagner wasn't the best dancer of Season 14 of "Dancing with the Stars," but he wasn't exactly the worst. And I'm thinking he had a pretty vast fan base. However, when all was said and done, it was Wagner, Gladys Knight and Gavin DeGraw facing elimination on week 3 of this very intense season. In the end it was Wagner who graciously said his good-byes.

This season is a tough one because the celebs are proving to be a serious lot when it comes to their dancing prowess. And the judges have been handing out 9s and 10s like candy on Halloween. The dancing in many instances has been grand, but where do you go from here in terms of scoring as the season wears on?

In a BIG twist on the show's scoring procedures (much of it coming from yours truly over the years), host Tom Bergeron announced that for three weeks straight (after next week, that is) the bottom two couples each on each results show will compete in a dance-off for the judges who will then cast the deciding vote as to who goes home. In seasons past, the judging has come under great scrutiny when many less-than-great dancers went on in the competition while far superior contestants were sent packing after the judges' votes and viewer votes were combined.

Let's see how this new scoring strategy plays out.

Next Monday it's all about rock 'n' roll.

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