Category Archives: Dancing with the Stars: Season 15

DWTS 15: All-Stars winner

Although it’s not always the one who best deserves the mirrorball trophy that wins it, for season 15, there were three lovely women who had worked hard, but also professional dancers who had been challenged this season with never before attempted dances.

Two of the three had won mirrorball trophies before, but it was reality show personality and host Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani who took the mirrorball trophy. It was a first for both.

Dovolani has been with DWTS every season since he debuted on season 2 with wrestler Stacy Kiebler. They finished third and until Tuesday night (Nov. 27), that was the best finish for Dovolani. Dovolani had finished third again during season 8 with Rycroft; Shawn Johnson and her then-partner Mark Ballas took home the mirrorball trophy that season with Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke in second place.

Dovolani and Keibler received 15 tens during season 2 with four perfect scores (samba and jive). Dovolani was paired with Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur for a fourth place finish on season 6.With Winokur he received no perfect scores or tens.

This time, Dovolani and Rycroft beat Johnson. During season 8 with Rycroft, Dovolani earned 13 tens and two perfect scores, both for samba. Johnson and Ballas received 14 tens with three perfect scores. They received 21 tens for five perfect scores. This season with Hough, Johnson had 21 tens and three perfect scores.

Monday night, Rycroft and Dovolani were perfect.

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 for a samba to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan 
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (9.5,10.0,10.0) for a paso doble to ” Espana Cani“by Erich Kunzel 
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 27/30 (9.0,8.5,9.5) for a quickstep to “Hey Pachuco”by Royal Crown Revue 

The super-sized freestyle added other people, making this more like “America’s Got Talent.” Each group added different people, but the standings remained the same. Johnson and Hough and Rycroft and Dovolani posted perfect scores, but Monaco and Val were only a half-point behind.

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 to “I Was Here” by Beyonce with trapeze artists.
  2. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 30/30 to “Carnival de Paris” by Dario G with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastic Team who had just competed this summer in London (Gabby DouglasMcKayla MaroneyAly RaismanKyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber).
  3. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (10.0,9.5,10.0) to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with troupe members and a church choir. Monaco did some aerial tissu.

At the end of Monday night the rankings were:

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 60/60
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 59/60
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 57/60

In the final dance on Tuesday night, it was an instant Latin round.

  • Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0) for cha cha cha to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin 
  • Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) for a Samba to “Life Is A Highway” by Tom Cochrane 
  • Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) for a jive to “Cat and Mouse” by Nikki & Rich 

At the end of Tuesday night, the judges ranking was:

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 88.5/90
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 87.5/90
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 87/90

The rankings didn’t change, leaving Rycroft and Dovolani the winners, but the audience favored Johnson and Hough over Monaco and Chmerkovskiy. Rycroft is only the second TV personality to win the mirrorball trophy (the first was Brooke Burke with Derek Hough during season 7). She is the seventh female winner and the only reality TV star to win.

Dovolani has always seemed like a nice guy, even when he had what seemed like the ultimate challenge: Kate Gosselin. Their paso doble to Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” has become infamous.

Rycroft and Dovolani are perfect champions for season 15 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

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DWTS 15: Finals

There will be a queen to the ballroom tomorrow after the final instant dance. Who will it be: Kelly Monaco, Melissa Rycroft or Shawn Johnson? You can still vote on  ABC.com website or by Facebook.until 11 a.m. East Coast time or 8 a.m. Pacific Standard time.

I have barely recovered from no men making the finals after last week’s double elimination took out Emmett Smith and Apolo Anton Ohno. The three female celebrity finalists are fantastic, of course, but men have a harder time learning the dancing because they are supposed to be leading.

Oh, Gilles Marini is an exceptional dancer. Apolo Anton Ohno was getting a bit more bravura than he had in his original outing. Emmett Smith has such a genial personality on the dance floor and he’s so big he can really dominate that space.

The only lovely lady who calls Los Angeles home is Kelly Monaco, the winner of the first season of “Dancing with the Stars.”  Monaco was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia but now calls West Hollywood home. She’s been on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital” since 2003 as the character Sam McCall. “General Hospital” is supposed to take place in the fictional city of Port Charles, New York. Her TV debut was with a Southern California based show “Baywatch.” She had been an actual life guard prior to being cast on the show.

When she competed on DWTS for the first season, she wasn’t the best dancer nor did she have the highest average score. She also almost had a wardrobe malfunction during one routine. Her partner was Alex Mazo and he came back for a special face-off with John O’Hurley and his partner Charlotte Jorgensen. The season was six weeks long and only required ten dances. This season (15) is 10 weeks long and requires 17 dances as of tonight, Tuesday. For the doubters, Monaco has really proved herself and has good chemistry with her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy.

Melissa Rycroft originally competed during season 8 as a last-minute replacement for the injured Nancy O’Dell. She would finish in third place in May 2009, behind Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas (winners) and Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke (runners up).  Also in 2009, Rycroft got married and just last year, in February 2011, gave birth.

Johnson won an Olympic gold medal for balance beam and all-around in 2008. She was the 2007 all-around world champion and the U.S. all-around champion in 2007 and 2008. She was on a high when she won season 8 of DWTS. She had surgery on her knee in 2010 , after injuring it skiing. But this year, despite a team gold at the Pan American Games in 2011 and a silver for uneven bars, Johnson retired due to continuing left knee problems. She was not on the Olympic team that represented the U.S. in London.

Yet this season has Maksim’s younger brother, Val Chmerkovskiy emerging from his brother’s shadow. Wouldn’t it be something if Val and his partner Kelly Monaco won the trophy that has eluded his brother for 15 seasons? Maksim, of course, hasn’t been on DWTS for all 15 seasons. He wasn’t on the first season or the sixth season. His highest finish was second with Mel B during season five and 12 with Kirstie Alley. He came in third during season 4 (Laila Ali) and 10 (Erin Andrews). He finished fourth during season 11 with Brandy and season 13 with Hope Solo.

Val just began competing on DWTS during season 13 with Elisabetta Canalis for an 11th place finish. She was beautiful, but stiff and had just broken up with George Clooney. He loosened up a bit when he had the bubbly Sherri Shepherd as a partner the next season (14) for a 10th place finish.

Tony Dovolani like Maksim did not appear during the first pilot season. He also joined during season 2 and his partner, Stacy Kiebler (now dating Clooney), finished third. Dovolani also finished third with Melissa Rycroft during season 8. He finished fourth with Broadway musical star Marissa Jaret Winokur during season 6. During season 10, he had the dubious honor of partnering with Kate Gosselin who famously made him lose his temper.  This time around Rycroft has really blossomed and they’ve remained a class act throughout.

Derek Hough is the only pro still in the competition who has actually won a mirrorball trophy. The 27-year-old was in the original London West End production of “Footloose: The Musical” as the lead, Ren. He didn’t get to star in the remake, but his sister Julianne did. Hough joined DWTS during Season 5 when he was teamed with actress Jennie Garth for a fourth place finish.  He did much better season 7 when he paired with Brooke Burke for a win. He also won with singer Nicole Scherzinger (season 10) and actress Jennifer Grey (season 11). That’s three wins. He sat out season 12 due to movie commitments. He finished third with actress/talk show host Ricki Lake during season 13. He’s finished fourth three times: Season 5 with Jennie Garth, Season 9 with Playmate Joanna Krupa and Season 14 with Maria Menounos.

This will be Hough’s last season and perhaps that’s why he’s taking so many risks with his choreography or maybe it’s just that gymnast Shawn Johnson makes him want to show off his acrobatic skills as well. Hough’s a year older than Val.

Dovolani is the oldest professional dancer in the finals at 39.

Of the celebrities, former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson is the youngest at 20. Monaco is 36. Rycroft is 29. Only Rycroft is married (to Tye Strickland with one child).   Her partner, Dovolani, is also the only professional dancer in the finals who is married. Dovolani has three children, the youngest two (twins) were born during Season 7 when Dovolani was paired with soap opera diva Susan Lucci.

At the end of Monday night the rankings were:

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 60/60
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 59/60
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 57/60

The first round of dances were do-overs. Each couple took a dance they had previously performed and brought the routine back to the ballroom for a better score. Hough and Johnson could have scored better, but refused to change their quickstep routine which featured a lift and also got deduction for not remaining in hold.

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 for a samba to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan 
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (9.5,10.0,10.0) for a paso doble to ” Espana Cani“by Erich Kunzel 
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 27/30 (9.0,8.5,9.5) for a quickstep to “Hey Pachuco”by Royal Crown Revue 

The super-sized freestyle added other people, making this more like “America’s Got Talent.” Each group added different people, but the standings remained the same. Johnson and Hough and Rycroft and Dovolani posted perfect scores, but Monaco and Val were only a half-point behind.

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 to “I Was Here” by Beyonce with trapeze artists.
  2. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 30/30 to “Carnival de Paris” by Dario G with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastic Team who had just competed this summer in London (Gabby DouglasMcKayla MaroneyAly RaismanKyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber).
  3. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (10.0,9.5,10.0) to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with troupe members and a church choir. Monaco did some aerial tissu.

You can still vote on  ABC.com website or by Facebook.until 11 a.m. East Coast time or 8 a.m. Pacific Standard time.

DWTS 15 Week 9: Three perfect scores from three different couples

Last night on “Dancing  with the Stars: All-Stars,” the competition continues despite the absence of sigh-worthy Gilles Marini. How is that possible? Of the five celebrity couples left, three posted perfect scores after performing two dances each.  You can still vote on  ABC.com website or by Facebook.until 11 a.m. East Coast time or 8 a.m. Pacific Standard time.

Last week, Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani were almost perfect with only 1 point off of the full 100 points. This week, there was a new leading lady, Shawn Johnson.  She was near perfect with 59/60 points.

This week’s standings are:

  1. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 + 29.0 = 59/60
  2. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.5 + 30 = 57.5/60
  3. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27 + 30 = 57/60
  4. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 25.5 + 28.5 = 54/60
  5. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 27.0 + 27.0 = 54/60

Rycroft and Dovolani were in second, just 2.5 points behind the leaders. If logic has anything to do with it, then the two teams who were tied for the bottom spot with 54/60 should go in Tuesday’s double elimination: Emmitt Smith and his partner Cheryl Burke and Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy.

Last week Monaco and Chmerkovskiy were tied for third with Smith and Burke. Of the five remaining couples, Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff had the lowest score last week.

Last week’s standings were:

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 39 + 60 = 99/100
  2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 38 + 55.5 = 93.5/100
  3. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 36 + 56.5 = 92.5/100
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 34.5 + 58.0 = 92.5/100
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 33.5 + 58.5 = 92.0/100
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 33 + 58.5= 91.5/100
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 28 + 51.079.0/100

Of the remaining contestants, only Rycroft hasn’t won the mirrorball trophy. The first set of dances for this week were gimmicky. And that’s not just the style, but the actual dances. When did Bhangra enter the ballroom and which judge really knows anything about it? I blame jazz on that risky routine that Maksim Chmerkovsky did with Erin Andrews. Only one team got a perfect score: Johnson and Hough. But one other team caught everyone’s attention: Val Chmerkovsky. For his surfer flamenco, he stripped down to his Speedo. Try to top that Maksim!

Despite the skin show, Val and Monaco didn’t place well. How can they? Really? What is the relationship between surfing and flamenco and, as in the case of Bhangra, just what do the judges and the pros know about flamenco? At this point, what are the judges really doing to award points.

  1. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), “Knight Rider” Bhangra to “Mundian to Bach Ke” by Panjabi MC 
  2. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.5 (9.0,9.5,9.0), “Caveman” Hustle to “Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (not Was) 
  3. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27 (8.5,9.0,9.5), “Big Top” Jazz to “What You Waiting For” by Gwen Stefani 
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0), “Espionage” Lindy Hop to “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers 
  5. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 25.5 (8.0,9.0,8.5), “Surfer” Flamenco to “Malagueña” by Brian Setzer Orchestra 

The second round of dances were themed on Michael Jackson’s album “Bad.” What could be better than dancing to the Prince of Pop? Johnson and Hough weren’t steamy enough for judge Carrie Ann Inaba who marked them down one point for their lack of emotional effort. It was Rycroft and Dovolani and Ohno and Smirnoff who reached perfection. Ohno seems to be getting used to having his shirt off, or in this case, almost off.

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani:  30 (10.0,10.0,10.0), Argentine Tango to “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson 
  2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff:  30 (10.0,10.0,10.0), Rumba to “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson 
  3. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 29.0  (9.0,10.0,10.0), Argentine Tango to “Bad” by Michael Jackson 
  4. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy:  28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5), Rumba to “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” by Michael Jackson 
  5. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0), Tango to “Leave Me Alone” by  Michael Jackson.

Dovolani did an amazing set of lifts with smooth transitions despite an injury. What it comes down to is not who deserves to go forward, but who has the better fan base. Smith undoubtedly has a strong fan base and football players have always done well even when they didn’t dance well (remember, Michael Irvin?). But there are two other athletes: Ohno and Johnson. Unfortunately, football is a bigger sport than either short track speed skating or gymnastics. That could mean bad things for Ohno.

The votes should be close so if you want your favorite or favorites to survive, be sure to vote. Tuesday is another double elimination.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook. Online voting closes at 8 a.m. PST.

DWTS 15 Week 8: Two stars eliminated

Last night on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,” two celebrities were eliminated and one wasn’t a surprise, but another one was. Have any question that the audience decides the winner? You can’t after the last three eliminations.

During week six, Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel were eliminated despite have the high score with a perfect 30.  Bryan and van Amstel were tied with Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff. Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke were at the bottom of the leader board with 26.5. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy had a 27. Gilles Marini and Petra Murgatroyd had a 27.5.  Yet it was Bryan and van Amstel who didn’t receive enough votes to go forward.

Last night, the elimination of Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy was a no-brainer. Only their fans could save them and they didn’t have the votes. Alley at 61 was the oldest celebrity contestant and the only one with a weight issue, yet she looked absolutely fantastic during her patriotic Viennese waltz in honor of Veteran’s Day to “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. For that, the couple received a 27–nines across the board; it was their highest score of the season.

Her trio challenge number, a paso doble which she danced without shoes, was less well received. Dancing to “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence with Tristan MacManus, Alley and Maksim received a 24. That was the lowest score given on Monday night.

With a cumulative score of 79/100 (two dances from this week and the score from last week’s dance and the swing marathon), her elimination seemed certain. I’m sorry to see her go because if nothing else, she’s entertaining and Maksim is probably correct when he stated she was the most improved.

The second elimination was bound to disappoint female fans of the show. Marini and Murgatroyd had a 92/100. They were ahead of Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff who scored a 91.5. What really hurt this team was their quick elimination during the swing marathon. They received only a 5 out of a possible 10. Their scores during week 8 were near perfect with a 29.5 for their spy-themed quickstep to “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. For the trio challenge with Chelsie Hightower, the team’s hot salsa number received a 29.0 (to “Rebelión” by Joe Arroyo).

The remaining celebrity contestants are: Shawn Johnson, Kelly Monaco, Apolo Anton Ohno, Melissa Rycroft and Emmitt Smith. Johnson, Monaco, Ohno and Smith all finished first to win the mirrorball trophy during their respective seasons. Monaco was season 1, Smith season 2, Ohno season 4, Johnson season 8 (She beat Marini and Rycroft). Alley was season 12.

Rycroft finished third during season 8. Johnson and her-then partner Ballas won that season. Only Rycroft and Smith are with their original partners and despite her neck injury, Rycroft has been peaking; Rycroft and Dovolani have had two perfect scores this week and were near perfect last week with a 29 for their tango/cha cha cha fusion. Yet they did win the swing marathon. Swing moves aren’t so far from gymnastics required for high level cheerleaders.

Next week, the teams will be dancing one ballroom dance and one Micheal Jackson themed dance and one other dance. Things could get crazy with this kind of pressure which may not be wise. You have to wonder if the people making these decisions have ever had to learn three dances in less than a week.

DWTS 15 Week 8: Who will survive?

It’s already week eight on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,” and the competition is hot. Clearly the weakest couple is Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy who, after four scores–two of which were earned Monday night, are at the bottom of the leader board with only 79 out of a possible 100 points. Compare that to Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani who had two perfect scores this week and won the swing marathon last week for a total of 99 points.

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 39 + 60 = 99/100
  2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 38 + 55.5 = 93.5/100
  3. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 36 + 56.5 = 92.5/100
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 34.5 + 58.0 = 92.5/100
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 33.5 + 58.5 = 92.0/100
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 33 + 58.5= 91.5/100
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 28 + 51.079.0/100

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook. Online voting closes at 8 a.m. PST.

Yet being at the top of the leader board doesn’t guarantee that a couple will survive. Remember that the last elimination during week six took the top scoring couple, Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel, who also had just received a perfect score the night before for their rumba. That meant fans voted for the bottom couple of that week–Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy who had 78.5 points compared to Bryan and van Amstel’s 88.5. Alley and Maksim had a score of 82 and Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke were just barely better with 82.5.  Week five was limited to two performance shows due to the presidential debates and there was no elimination so the team freestyle scores and the individual dances carried over to week six.

This week, each couple performed an individual dance which was themed to honor veterans because Monday was Veteran’s Day. That brought out the uniforms and heroes and who doesn’t love men in uniforms? Gilles Marini and his partner Peta Murgatroyd looked like secret agents: Anyone for a French James Bond?

Monday night’s individual dances brought one perfect score.  Rycroft and Dovolani wouldn’t be the only team to get tens and that left three couples tied for second. Head judge Len Goodman found Marini and Smirnoff as good as Rycroft and Dovolani. It was Carrie Ann Inaba who found them less than perfect. For the two teams of Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff and Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, Goodman found fault–just half a point.

  • Tied for second: Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 29.5 (9.5,10.0,10.0), Quickstep to “Danger Zone“—Kenny LogginsApolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 29.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0), Tango to “Holding Out for a Hero“—Bonnie Tyler

    Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 29.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0), Viennese Waltz to “Angel“—Sarah McLachlan

  • Tied for fifth: Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 28.0 (9.5,9.0,9.5), Viennese Waltz to “I’ll Be“—Edwin McCainEmmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 28.0 (9.0,9.5,9.5), Viennese Waltz to “Love Letters”—Ketty Lester
  • Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0), Viennese Waltz to “Hallelujah“—Leonard Cohen

The judges agreed that this was Alley’s best dance and she received her highest scores for the season. She looked good and even lost some of her characteristic limp arms. Unfortunately that didn’t carry over to the Latin round.

The Latin round was a trio challenge: Each team added a new professional dancer to the mix.

Two teams received perfect scores: Rycroft and Dovolani and Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke. Rycroft and Dovolani were joined by DWTS troupe member Henry Byalikov for a passionate Paso Doble which forced Rycroft to find her inner dominatrix.

Two teams were tied for third place: Marini and Murgatroyd dancing salsa with Chelsie Hightower and Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff were dancing jive with Sasha Farber.

You’d think that Derek Hough and Mark Ballas with Shawn Johnson would be a perfect team, but they went a bit wacko and performed a tribal, earthy samba with very few samba steps. That’s the kind of choreography that may get the attention of producers of musicals, but aren’t what this show requires and everyone knows that Johnson can dance. Another misjudgment was having Alley dance barefoot in a paso doble. She didn’t have the lines and the paso doble requires forced Latin lines that are easier to do with the help of Latin heels. Latin heels are higher than regular ballroom heels by about half an inch.

    • Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani with Henry Byalikov: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), Paso Doble to “Rumour Has It“—Adele
    • Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke with Kym Johnson: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), Salsa to “Mr. Saxobeat“—Alexandra Stan
    • Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd with Chelsie Hightower: 29.0 (9.5,10.0,9.5), Salsa to “Rebelión”-—Joe Arroyo
    • Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff with Sasha Farber: 29.0 (9.5,9.5,10.0), Jive to “Greased Lightnin'”—from Grease
  • Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy with Louis van Amstel: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5), Jive to “Animal“—Neon Trees.
  • Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough with Mark Ballas: 26.0 (10.0,7.0,9.0), Samba to “Jungle Jazz”—Les Tambours du Bronx
  • Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy with Tristan MacManus: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0), Paso Doble to “Bring Me to Life“—Evanescence

Rycroft and Dovolani hopefully won’t be eliminated. They deserve to be in the finals, particularly after Rycroft overcame her injury. Alley and Maksim should go, but they have a fan base and remember what happened during the last elimination.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook. Online voting closes at 8 a.m. PST.

DWTS 15: Week 7

One couple managed to be perfection in the judges’ eyes, but they didn’t end up at the top of the leader board. How was that possible? The dreaded marathon round gave a full 10 points to the winning couple. This week on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” it was Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft who had the high score and Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy who had the low score. Alley and Maksim can relax for now because of the presidential election and the effects of Hurricane Sandy, there will be no elimination this week.

Relive the dances:

This week required the celebrities to learn three dances–well, sort of.What happened was the individual dance was a fusion of two dance styles. You  might think this is a bit contrived, but actually, dancers do this all the time. Swing dancers who dance Argentine tango can combine the two for swango. You see musicals combining two dances for a routine.

The fusion dances offered some surprises and sexy moments. Ladies loved Apolo Anton Ohno stripping off his shirt and showing off his pecs and abs. Of course, we expect Gilles Marini to bare his chest. Surprisingly, Maksim kept his shirt on, but he did have on thigh high boots and tight pants to look kingly or at least like a duke.

The ladies had costumes changes–a costume stripped down to reveal another or just less of what they had on before. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba noted that Alley seemed to lose timing after her costume change (part of her skirt is taken off for the samba portion.

  1. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 (10, 10, 10) tango/paso doble to “Livin’ On A Prayer“—Bon Jovi
  2. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 29.0 (10.0,9.5,9.5) tango/cha cha cha to “Die Young“—Ke$ha
  3. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) Argentine tango/samba to “When I Get You Alone“—Robin Thicke
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 27.5 (8.5,9.5,9.5) rumba/samba to “Fine By Me“—Andy Grammer
  5. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0) to “Don’t Stop“—Gin Wigmore
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0) cha cha cha to paso doble to “Scream“—Usher
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0) quickstep/samba to “Sir Duke“—Stevie Wonder

At the end of the individual dances, Johnson and Mark Ballas were on top. Derek Hough sat this week out due to an injury, but was in the audience cheering Johnson and Ballas on. Johnson with her gymnastic background has some impressive spins and transitions to dips. Kelly Monaco and Val had been at the bottom of the leader board last week, but moved up to a tie for second to the last with Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff. That’s a real fall for Ohno and Smirnoff who had a perfect score last week and were in second place after the score for their country western group dance was added (zero points for all couples with the exception of the winning couple of Dovolani and Rycroft).

The marathon dances tends to favor the couples with a male professional dancer and this season’s swing marathon to “Do Your Thing” by Basement Jaxx was no exception. The last two couples on the floor were both with professional male dancers: Val Chmerkovskiy and Kelly Monaco and the winner Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft. In this case, swing meant mostly East Coast swing with a lot of liefts and a bit of jitterbug. Sorry West Coast swing…you may be the state dance of California, but that doesn’t make you easier to learn.

What was a surprise was that Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd were the second couple eliminated. First was Alley and Maksim. Third to go was Ohno and Smirnoff. The last male celebrity to be eliminated was Emmitt Smith and his partner Cheryl Burke. With all their gymnastics, you’d have thought that Johnson and Ballas would do better, but they were the next to go.

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 29 + 10 = 39/40
  2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 + 8 = 38/40
  3. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 + 9 = 36/40
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 27.5 + 7 = 34.5/40
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 28.5 + 5 = 33.5/40
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27.0 + 6 = 33/40
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 + 4 = 28/40

The marathon moved Rycroft and Dovolani up to first place and Johnson and Ballas (Hough) down to second. Marini and Murgatroyd fell from  a close third to fifth place and a full point behind Smith and Burke.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook. Online voting closes at 8 a.m. PST.

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough (Mark Ballas) : 30.0 (10, 10, 10) tango/paso doble to “Livin’ On A Prayer“—Bon Jovi

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 29.0 (10.0,9.5,9.5) tango/cha cha cha to “Die Young“—Ke$ha
  1. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) Argentine tango/samba to “When I Get You Alone“—Robin Thicke
  1. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 27.5 (8.5,9.5,9.5) rumba/samba to “Fine By Me“—Andy Grammer
  1. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0) to “Don’t Stop“—Gin Wigmore
  1. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0) cha cha cha to paso doble to “Scream“—Usher
  1. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0) quickstep/samba to “Sir Duke“—Stevie Wonder

AT&T Spotlight Performance: Utah’s Best

Two perfect scores and a country hoe down

Last night two couples finally received perfect scores and a country hoe down gave another couple two extra points. Since there was no elimination last week, the two scores from last week will be added on to the two scores from this week.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook. Online voting closes at 8 a.m. PST.

Are you confused? Last week was Guilty Pleasures week, and  each of the remaining eight couples danced an individual dance. Four couples danced the individual dance on Monday (Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy, Gilles Marini and  Peta Murgatroyd, Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke). The other four couples danced a team freestyle. Team Shawn (Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel, Melissa Rycroft and Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff) danced to “Call Me Maybe.”

Marini and Murgatroyd were almost perfect for their rumba. Only head judge Len Goodman wouldn’t give them a 10, but Goodman is always slow to give them out. Goodman gave Team Shawn a 10, but it was Carrie Ann Inaba who kept Team Shawn from a perfect score.

On night two, the individual scores weren’t as high; Bryan and van Amstel were the high individual score of the night with their waltz: 29.0 (10.0,9.5,9.5). Otherwise, 27 seemed to be the lucky score of the night for Team Gilles and all the rest of the couples’ individual dances.

At the end of two nights of guilty pleasures, on the basis of the individual scores only on top were Marini and Murgatroyd.

  1. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 29.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0), rumba to “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
  2. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 29.0 (9.5,9.5,10.0), samba to “Copacabana” bu Barry Manilow
  3. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 29.0 (10.0,9.5,9.5), waltz “So This Is Love”—from Cinderella
  4. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 27.0 (9.0,8.0,10.0), rumba to “My Heart Will Go On“—Celine Dion
  5. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0), tango to “Toxic” by Britney Spears.
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27.0 (8.5,9.5,9.0), samba to “Give It to Me Baby” by Rick James.
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5), quickstep to “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel.
  8. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 24.5 (8.0,8.0,8.5), samba to “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd

Team Gilles received a 27.0 for their freestyle  (9.0,9.0,9.0) to “Gangnam Style“—Psy. Team Shawn received a 29.5 29.5 (9.5,10.0,10.0) for their cheerleader inspired freestyle to “Call Me Maybe“—Carly Rae Jepsen. Team Gilles went for humor and only Team Gilles had to conform to a dance style. Team Shawn had a former Olympic gymnast, a Disney kid (dance trained at Hart Academy of Dance) and a former cheerleader (Rycroft was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader) so the cheerleader theme seemed a natural fit.

Ranking at the end of Week 5 (combined score of individual and team freestyle):

  1. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 29.0 + 29.5=58.5
  2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 27.0 + 29.5= 56.5
  3. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 29.5 + 27.0=56.5
  4. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 + 29.5=56.5
  5. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27.0 + 29.5=56.5
  6. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 29.0 + 27.0=56.0
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 25.5 + 27.0=52.5
  8. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 24.5 + 27.0=51.5

So the team dance dropped Marini and Murgatroyd to a four-way tie for second with Johnson and Hough, Rycroft and Dovolani and Ohno and Smirnoff and brought Bryan and van Amstel to the top of the leader board.

So at the start of Country Week, things were getting close. Two teams were able to make perfect scores (Bryan and van Amstel; Ohno and Smirnoff). Bryan and van Amstel danced a rumba to “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. Ohno and Smirnoff were elegant to a Viennese walt to “Skin (Sarabeth)” by Rascall Flatts.

  1. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), rumba to “Wanted“—Hunter Hayes
  2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), Viennese waltz to “Skin (Sarabeth)“—Rascall Flatts
  3. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 29.5 (9.5,10.0,10.0), Viennese waltz to “Why Ya Wanna“—Jana Kramer
  4. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 28.0 (9.5,8.5,10.0), cha cha cha to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy“—Kenny Chesney
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 27.5 (9.0,9.0,9.5), cha cha cha to “Man, I Feel Like a Woman“—Shania Twain
  6. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 27.5 (9.5,8.5,9.5), rumba to “Home“—Blake Shelton
  7. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0), tango to “Good Girl“—Carrie Underwood
  8. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 26.5 (8.5,8.5,9.5), foxtrot to “Islands in the Stream“—Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers

All eight teams performed a group dance (freestyle) to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” by Big & Rich and “I Play Chicken with a Train” by Cowboy Troy.Of course, there were plenty of lifts in the individual sections, but not all of them had smooth transitions. My favorites were Ohno and Smirnoff, Marini and Muragtroyd, and Monaco and Val.

Rycroft was a bit stiff but she does have a neck injury. Alley had to lay on her back instead of being lifted (as would be usual with that move).

Total possible points are 92.

  1. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 29.0 + 29.5 + 30 + 0= 88.5
  2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 27.0 + 29.5 + 30.0 + 0= 86.5
  3. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 + 29.5 + 29.5 + 0= 86
  4. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 27.0 + 29.5 + 28.0 + 0= 84.5
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 29.5 + 27.0 + 27.5 + 0= 84
  6. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 29.0 + 27.0 + 26.5 + 0 = 82.5
  7. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 25.5 + 27.0 + 27.5 + 2 = 82
  8. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 24.5 + 27.0 + 27.0 + 0 = 78.5

The two extra points didn’t make a difference in the standings. Alley and Maksim were already second from the bottom, but it just enlarged the gap between seventh and eighth. Bryan and van Amstel ended the night at the top of the leader board, two points ahead of Ohno and Smirnoff. Ohno and Smirnoff were only a half point ahead of Rycroft and Dovolani.

At the bottom of the board was Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy.

Who will survive? This is a tough call. Bryan and van Amstel were in the bottom three during Week 3 and Alley and Maksim were in the bottom two during Week 4. I hate to see any of the couples go and Alley still brings the fun factor to the dance floor.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook. Online voting closes at 8 a.m. PST.

  1. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), rumba to “Wanted“—Hunter Hayes
  2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0), Viennese waltz to “Skin (Sarabeth)“—Rascall Flatts 
  3. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 29.5 (9.5,10.0,10.0), Viennese waltz to “Why Ya Wanna“—Jana Kramer
  4. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 28.0 (9.5,8.5,10.0), cha cha cha to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy“—Kenny Chesney
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 27.5 (9.0,9.0,9.5), cha cha cha to “Man, I Feel Like a Woman“—Shania Twain
  6. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 27.5 (9.5,8.5,9.5), rumba to “Home“—Blake Shelton
  7. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0), tango to “Good Girl“—Carrie Underwood
  8. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 26.5 (8.5,8.5,9.5), foxtrot to “Islands in the Stream“—Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers 

DWTS 15 Week 4: DWTS breaks out the gimmicks

Usually “Dancing with the Stars” confines itself to one gimmick a week, but this is the All Stars season so why not pack one week with as many gimmicks as one can to jump the shark? That doesn’t diminish the first tens of the season that left Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson and actor Gilles Marini tied for first.

Vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook.

As if taking a few plays from “So You Think You Can Dance,” the week started with each team picking a dance for another team because it was Opponents’ choice week. The dances were not all new. DWTS has done Charleston, rock n’ roll, disco, bolero, mambo and jitterbug before. The Charleston and bolero were used on season 9. The mambo was performed during seasons 3 through 7. The jitterbug and hustle were seen on seasons 7 and 9. Rock n’ roll was performed season 5 and 11. Disco came back for season 3. What’s new is contemporary although that’s happened in the freestyle and Maksim Chmerkovskiy tried that with Erin Andrews (remember the bedroom dance). Hip hop has also come into a freestyle before as well as giving flavor to a few other traditional dances. Also Bollywood was performed and given to Gilles Marini who performed  it well enough to inspire many I Dream of a Male Genie dreams.

DWTS has had guest judges before, but this time they had Paula Abdul. At least we know that Paula Abdul can dance. That’s not always true for celebrity judge on other shows. What I loved was Paula Abdul playing around with Bruno Tonioli, particularly when she was giving her critique of Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough dancing or…hotter, for Gilles Marini and Petra Murgatroyd.

  1. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 39.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0,10.0) Mambo “Para Los Rumberos”—Santana (Hélio & Chelsie)/Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 39.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0,10.0) Bollywood “Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny)“—Pussycat Dolls feat. A. R. Rahman (Bristol & Mark)
  2. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 37.5 (9.0,9.5,9.5,9.5) Contemporary “Fix You“—Coldplay (Emmitt & Cheryl)
  3. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 37.0 (9.0,9.0,9.5,9.5) Jitterbug “This Cat’s on a Hot Tin Roof”—Brian Setzer Orchestra (Apolo & Karina)
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 36.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0,9.0) Bolero “Better in Time “—Leona Lewis (Kelly & Val)
  5. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 35.5 (9.0,9.0,8.5,9.0) Disco “You Should Be Dancing“—Bee Gees (Kirstie & Maks)
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 34.5 (8.5,9.0,8.5,8.5) Hip-Hop “Poison“—Bell Biv DeVoe (Melissa & Tony)
  7. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 32.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0,8.0) Rock n’ Roll “At the Hop”—Danny and the Juniors (last option left)
  8. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 30.0 (7.5,7.5,7.5,7.5) Charleston “Forty-Second Street”—from 42nd Street (Sabrina & Louis)

This is the first time that Palin and Ballas have beaten Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy although I’m not sure that I’d put Lindy hop and jitterbug in a rock n’ roll routine or perform to that particular song “At the Hop.” Alley didn’t flick her legs sideways and her movement could have been crisper. I don’t think this was one of Maksim’s most inspired routines. I think they should have gone for something down and dirty like the original, less refined Charleston.

Although I’ve truly hated this season, I have to admit that the Bollywood routine almost makes the week worthwhile. Please Disney. Find Gilles Marini a chance to be Aladdin. Broadway, how about Marini as the next King of Siam?  Also, any time you can pair Paula Abdul with Bruno Tonioli–totally watchable TV.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook.

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 39.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0,10.0) Mambo “Para Los Rumberos”—Santana

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 39.5 (10.0,9.5,10.0,10.0) Bollywood “Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny)“—Pussycat Dolls feat. A. R. Rahman

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 37.5 (9.0,9.5,9.5,9.5) Contemporary “Fix You“—Coldplay

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 37.0 (9.0,9.0,9.5,9.5) Jitterbug “This Cat’s on a Hot Tin Roof”—Brian Setzer Orchestra

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 36.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0,9.0) Bolero “Better in Time “—Leona Lewis

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 35.5 (9.0,9.0,8.5,9.0) Disco “You Should Be Dancing“—Bee Gees

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 34.5 (8.5,9.0,8.5,8.5) Hip-Hop “Poison“—Bell Biv DeVoe

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 32.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0,8.0) Rock n’ Roll “At the Hop”—Danny and the Juniors

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 30.0 (7.5,7.5,7.5,7.5) Charleston “Forty-Second Street”—from 42nd Street

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook.

Helio and Drew eliminated on week 3 of DWTS All-Stars

I can barely watch “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” any more. The Bristol Palin problem has the ABC executives happy, with high ratings, but what about the tried-and-true fans who love to watch good dancing? Joey Fatone was eliminated last week; this week it was Hélio Castroneves (with Chelsie Hightower) and Drew Lachey (with Anna Trebunskaya).

Fatone brought the entertainment factor and danced with Kym Johnson in a memorable “Star Wars” tango. Castroneves with Julianne Hough performed that sparkling foxtrot to “Hey Pachuco.” Drew Lachey with Cheryl Burke danced the “Thriller” paso doble.

Both Castroneves and Lachey performed better than Bristol Palin. Mark Ballas is working overtime to make Palin memorable.

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  2. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  3. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 26.5 (9.0,8.0,9.5)
  4. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 25.5 (9.0,8.0,8.5)
  7. Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  8. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)
  9. Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  10. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  11. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)

The current field is:

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani/Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 26.5 (9.0,8.0,9.5)
  3. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel/Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd/Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 25.5 (9.0,8.0,8.5)
  4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)
  5. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  6. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)

Of course, Palin hasn’t had it easy. She received death threats. And then she had a meltdown, arguing with Mark Ballas and that made good TV for Anderson Cooper and co-host Deborah Norville. Norville commented on Palin’s gum chewing problem. Ballas obviously has a problem on his hands in terms of attempting to get Palin motivated.

Compare that to the dedication and good sportsmanship that we see from Hélio Castroneves or the focus and relative humility of Drew Lachey. What about the humorous sound bytes that Joey Fatone provided?

All gone. Watching Palin in her rehearsal package and dancing with Ballas are hard for me and my friends who really love dancing and the kind of unexpected discovery of personalities on the dance floor.

Can Palin again make it to the semi-finals with her questionable dance skills as other more engaging celebrities with better work ethics and dance skills are eliminated? Is this the death knell of “Dancing with the Stars”?

DWTS 15: Week 3 has Melissa Rycroft and Kelly Monaco tied for top spot

Last night (Monday, Oct. 8, 2012) on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,” there was a tie for the top between  Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani and Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy. At the bottom again was Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas with 22.5. Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 9) is a double elimination so there’s double trouble.

Palin and Ballas improved over their score from last week (18), but still were at the bottom of the leader board with 22.5 after performing the paso doble that originally was performed by Derek Hough and Joanna Krupa. That’s a controversial pairing–daughter of the family values Republican Sarah Palin and the Playboy model who has a reality TV celebrity habit and a live-in relationship still.

At least Ballas couldn’t go bonkers with this one. Still the oldest contestant, Kirstie Alley, scored better with a 24. She and Maksim Chmerkovskiy tied with Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya.

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough were in third place. Last week’s top scoring team, Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel were in a four-way tie for fourth with Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd, Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff and Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower.

You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook.

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  2. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  3. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 26.5 (9.0,8.0,9.5)
  4. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 25.5 (9.0,8.0,8.5)
  7. Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  8. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)
  9. Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  10. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  11. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)

Take iconic and be more iconic.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkAI3LSuQYI]

Cha cha cha

Trebunskaya sexed it up with the costumes and stripping Lachey’s shirt.

Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)

  • Crazy in Love“—Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z
  • Joey McIntyre & Ashly DelGrosso (Season 1)
  • Song: “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé
    Score: 20 (7,7,6)

Did you like Maksim with the long hair? Of course, we always like Maksim without the shirt. The strategy here was to improve the technique and camp it up.  This almost made iconic night worth it.

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)

Foxtrot

Is it possible for Apolo Anton Ohno to be steamier than Gilles Marini? Marini and Burke received two tens when they performed this and here’s where being an actor really helps. Marini was suave but sexy as the devil. Ohno was sophisticated but not with the same intensity as Marini.

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 25.5 (9.0,8.0,8.5)

Paso doble

With this dance and partner, Val finally rises out of the shadow of his brother Maksim. Kelly and Val have chemistry, but Kelly doesn’t bristle with the kind of powerful physicality that Laila Ali had–few women do. With Laila Ali, you thought that she and Maksim could punch it out and Maksim would lose. With Kelly and Maksim it’s more a match of forceful personalities.

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)

Can Bristol Palin ever equal the sex appeal and technical skills of Joanna Krupa. You know the answer is no. Ballas goes kooky and they get to play white queen and black king. This is a chess metaphor and has nothing to do with race.

The judges felt it was their best dance of the season–that’s one out of three. It had the most content and attack.

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)

Sabrina Bryan is a strong woman, even if she’s the youngest contestant. However, judge Carrie Ann Inaba thought this team brought nothing new artistically to this routine.

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)

Scary Spice was definitely scarier than Sabrina Bryan. Bruno called her an “adrenaline charged dominatrix.”

With Emmitt Smith, there were some awkward moments, but he is already a commanding presence. There was a scary moment, but it all ends well.

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke had already seen this paso doble–twice. He competed against Mario Lopez and won.

Quickstep

As expected Derek Hough decided to up the acrobatics and even included an illegal lift and a lot of drama at the end.

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 26.5 (9.0,8.0,9.5)

  • “Hey Pachuco”—Royal Crown Revue
  • Helio Castroneves & Julianne Hough (Season 5)
  • Score: 30

I think Johnson and Hough lacked the sophistication that Castroneves and Julianne had.  When Castroneves and Hightower performed their own quickstep it had an amazing amount of joy–even with the slight bobble when Castroneves stepped on Hightower’s dress.

Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)

I can’t choose. I love both versions and both sets of costumes.

Samba

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)

Of course, Martinez didn’t have to perform all the drops and turns that Rycroft did because he’s the guy.

Tango

Don’t you love Gilles Marini doing the tango. Menacing and erotic, Marini delivered another solid performance, but lost points for his hold and some footwork mishaps.

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)

Week 1, it was Drew Lachey and his partner Anna Trebunskaya who were in the bottom two. Week 2, it was Hélio Castroneves and his partner Chelsie Hightower who survived the bottom two.

I’m hoping that Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas will be eliminated and most likely Drew Lachey will go as well. With Joey Fatone gone, the entertainment factor is low with this cast so I’m hoping that Kirstie Alley and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy will continue to dance.

Remember, you can vote online until 8 a.m. PST by going to the ABC DWTS official page for voting or by using Facebook.