Category Archives: Apolo Anton Ohno

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.

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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.

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.

DWTS 15 Week 2: Sabrina Bryan quicksteps to top spot

Last night on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” was all about stamina as the teams faced the jive and the quickstep. Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel led with 26.0 points in quickstep. The low score of the night was Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas with 18.0 for their quickstep, but that doesn’t mean they will be out on Tuesday night.  You can still vote online through the ABC.com website or by Facebook.

You can still vote online.

  1. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 26
  2. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5
  3. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 25.0
  4. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 24.5
  5. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 23.5
  6. Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 23.0
  7. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson: 22.5/Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 22.5
  8. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 22.0
  9. Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5
  10. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 21.0
  11. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 18.0

Palin brings out the weird in Ballas and here it was the country quickstep. She had the smile, but those not quite daisy dukes aren’t doing her any favors. some of that footwork is pain ful to watch. The ending is ridiculous. Judge Bruno Tonioli called the routine, quickstep gangnam-style via wild, wild west.

Tonioli also commented there wasn’t much in-hold position and when the couple were in hold Palin’s frame wasn’t good. Carrie Anne Inaba reminded Ballas that according to the rules, once the couple is in hold, they must stay in hold. Goodman also commented that while he liked the enthusiasm, he didn’t like the break in the middle. “I liked the hoe down, but the technique was low down.”

During season 11, Palin and Ballas did the quickstep to “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes for a score of 22 (7, 8, 7). During that season, they posted the lowest score during week 5, 7, 8 and 9 and still made it to week 10, where they again posted the lowest score to finish third. That meant that week 5, Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas were eliminated instead. Week 7, it was former NBA forward Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke. Week 8, it was former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya who got the axe. And the worst elimination was Grammy Award-winning Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy during week 9.

This season, Palin and Ballas danced to “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson and received sixes. The team was the low score for their dance and for the entire night.

The high score, 26  was also in the quickstep with Bryan and van Amstel performing to “Black Betty” by Ram Jam. this team received the only nine of the night from Carrie Ann Inaba (9.0, 8.5, 8.5).

Tonioli thought this routine was a dazzler. Inaba thought the topline was incredible. Goodman liked the upper body was calm. Bryan looked glamorous and while I had doubts about this partnership, I like it better than the original Bryan and Ballas. She was elegant and vivacious and sharp.

The highest score awarded by head judge Len Goodman was 8.5 to the following teams: Bryan and van Amstel and Marini and Murgatroyd. Bruno Tonioli gave an 8.5 to Bryan and van Amstel and Marini and Murgatroyd as well as Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough. Bruno Tonioli gave an 8.5 to Bryan and van Amstel and Marini and Murgatroyd as well as Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough. Goodman awarded Johnson and Hough an 8.0.

Marini and Murgatroyd  performed the jive to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen which started out with Marini at the piano. He was sporting a pompadour like Elvis and she was too. Marini decided to go shirtless which judge Inaba appreciated.  Murgatroyd was also showing a lot of skin (but not like the infamously uncovered Edyta Sliwinska) and swished that fringe.

Johnson and Hough performed their jive to “The Nicest Kids in Town” from “Hairspray.” Len Goodman wanted more content and that’s after host Tom Bergeron commented that Johnson wasn’t breathing hard, but Hough was. Bruno Tonioli felt differently. For him it was vibrant and eye-popping. Carrie Ann Inaba agreed and dubbed them the All-Stars sweethearts. It was a fun athletic routine that starts off with hairspray and a cartwheel (down the steps).

Kirstie Alley also at the bottom again. She was barely recognizable with that black bob wig. The theme was French streetwalker and the song was “Non Non Rien N’a Changé” by Les Poppys. Inaba had one suggestion–to match arm movements stylistically. Goodman called her flirty and dirty, but a great improvement over last week. Tonioli called her a raunchy mama.  I hope the curse of Palin doesn’t push Alley out of the competition while allowing Palin to continue.

Last week’s leaders, Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke went for a cool cat and played on Smiths fearlessness as far as color. Smith was in a fire engine red tux with tails with a leopard print bow tie and cumberbund while Burke had a long dress in matching leopard print. Goodman faulted Smith’s upper body movement in his quickstep. Tonioli noted a timing miss.

Smith and Burke received a 22.5 to tie with Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson who performed a quickstep to a Hollywood Charlie Chaplin theme. Fatone

Quickstep:

  1. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 26
  2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 24.5
  3. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson: 22.5/Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 22.5
  4. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 22.0
  5. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 18.0
  • Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 24.5
  • 24.5 (8.5,8.0,8.0)
  • “Five Months, Two Weeks, Two Days”—Louis Prima
  • Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 22.5
  • 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)
  • “A Cool Cat In Town”—Tape Five

Jive:

  1. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5
  2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 25.0
  3. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 23.5
  4. Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 23.0
  5. Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5
  6. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 21.0
  • Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 25.0
  • 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)
  • “The Nicest Kids in Town”—from Hairspray

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

DWTS 15: Cha cha cha

The cha cha cha was first performed during week 1. The full leader board for week 1 is:

  1. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 24.5
  2. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 24.0
  3. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 22.5
  4. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 22.0/Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 22.0
  5. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 21.5/Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5/Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 21.5
  6. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 21
  7. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson: 20.5
  8. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 19.5
  9. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 19
  10. Pamela Anderson & Tristan MacManus: 17

For the cha cha cha:

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 24.5

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 22.5

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 22.0

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 21.5

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 19.5

Pamela Anderson & Tristan MacManus: 17

DWTS 15: Week 1

Last night on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” the level of the competition was high, but we also saw the network returning to the low of cheap sex sell tactics. Last season went on without a Playboy bunny. This season, they brought back the pin-up factor with Pamela Anderson. Is that working for you? It wasn’t working for the judges who put her at the bottom of the board. At the top, were some all time favorites. You can still vote online either using Facebook or by going to the ABC website.

Football players have been popular with DWTS fans, even when they can’t dance like Michael Irvin. But some football players can dance and have the kind of flair on the dance floor that you can’t teach.

Retired NFL running back Emmitt Smith is one of those and he was in fine form last night, taking the top spot on the leader board, but by the slimmest of margins in DWTS history–half a point.

Yes, you heard right. Half a point is all that separates first and second place on the leader board. This season, to make things crazier, the judges now can nitpick to within half a point. And the points aren’t coming easy. In second, behind Smith who was reunited with professional dance partner Cheryl Burke, is another Burke protege: Gilles Marini.

Marini is paired with Peta Murgatroyd. Murgatroyd has proven herself an astute judge of the judges and her celebrity. Although she was eliminated quickly the first time out. She was with the recently renamed Laker Metta World Peace and the first elimination. Last season, however, with football player Donald Driver, she took the mirrorball. With the ever-so-sexy Marini, anything is possible. Last night they went for suave in their foxtrot. He was in a white tux with black details. She was in a gorgeously glamorous white gown. It was like a breath of old Hollywood.

Smith and Burke had been more get down funky in their cha cha cha. Smith can dazzle with that smile and dared to wear bright blue shoes; Burke worked that curly mane she was wearing.

In third was the fans’ choice, Sabrina Bryan who was dancing with Louis van Amstel. We were worried about the chemistry between Bryn and van Amstel. Remember the chemical badness of Margaret Cho and van Amstel? Contrast that with the wonderful mentoring van Amstel performed on Kelly Osbourne, making that British bad child bloom like a rose. Bryan had originally been partnered with Mark Ballas during season 5 and had finished seventh. That was due to lack of fan support as opposed to bad dancing.

Bryan was chosen from a pool that included Disney kid Kyle Massey and the campy Carson Kressley.  Massey had competed during season 11 with Lacey Schwimmer and they finished second to Jennifer Grey and her partner Derek Hough. He and Schwimmer beat Bristol Palin and Ballas who were third. Palin is back and her mother was in the audience last night.

The zany Cressley had been partnered with Anna Trebunskaya during season 13. They finished eighth. War vet and soap opera actor J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff won that season with Rob Kardashian a surprise second place with Burke.

Massey and Bryan are both Disney stars and have natural performance ability. Massey was a delightful surprise, but Bryan should have made it to the semi-finals. Her elimination was a shocker and DWTS has brought her back into the fold. Of course, you have to remember that ABC is owned by Disney.

As a nod to the past, the very first mirrorball winner was back, actress and Playboy Playmate Kelly Monaco. Her original partner was Alex Mazo. But the show had definitely evolved since then. During season 1, there were only six celebrities and six weeks of dancing. Monaco won against fan favorite John O’Hurley and his partner Charlotte Jorgensen. Both Mazo and Jorgensen have retired from DWTS, but Louis van Amstel was partnered with Trista Sutter from “The Bachelor.” They were the first eliminated. Edyta Sliwinska and her partner professional boxer Evander Holyfield were the second elmination. Jonathan Roberts was paired with model Rachel Hunter. Joey McIntyre and Ashly DelGrosso finished third.

Monaco (who had the first wardrobe malfunction in DWTS history) danced the waltz week 1 for a score of 13 (5, 4, 4). For week 2, she did better with the rumba, 17 (5, 6, 6). Week 3, she and Mazo were given a 21 for their jive (6, 7, 8). Week 4, when they performed a samba, they were the high score with 26 (9, 9, 8). It was the first time they beat O’Hurley and Jorgensen who received a 21 (7, 8, 6). Week 5 Monaco and Mazo performed a foxtrot for a 22 and a paso doble for a 25, but O’Hurley and Jorgensen received 27s for both dances.

Week six, Monaco and Mazo were one point ahead of O’Hurley and Jorgensen and won. That upset viewers so much ABC had a special dance off between the two couples that ended with Monaco and Mazo were three points behind. This one-off special had the couples perform one unlearned Latin dance during the first round. In the second round the couples performed an unlearned ballroom dance. The last round was the freestyle. O’Hurley and Jorgensen won by three points.

DWTS has certainly evolved and the celebrities perform for 10 weeks instead of six. That means more dances to learn and more pressure.

This season there were no clear train wrecks on the dance floor, but there were some obvious underachievers such as Pamela Anderson who, with her new partner Tristan MacManus, ended up at the bottom of the board. MacManus can dance and he has that cute Irish accent that made third sound like turd to Nancy Grace, but his ability to showcase his celebrity isn’t impressive. Grace wasn’t that graceful, but when he had Gladys Knight some of the dips were not well suited to the Empress of Soul.

Here’s how it stood at the end of the evening:

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 24.5

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 24.0

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 22.5

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 22.0

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 22.0

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 21.5

Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5

Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 21.5

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 21

Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson: 20.5

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 19.5

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 19

Pamela Anderson & Tristan MacManus: 17

It’s no surprise that Anderson ended up at the bottom. Only Bryan and Anderson had never made the semi-finals in this field of all-stars. Bryan definitely had the ability. Anderson looked worse in her performance with MacManus than she had done with her original partner (Damian Whitewood). MacManus choreographed a quick dip into a split move that looked good on other celebrities, but both times that Anderson performed it, she went into it bent-kneed and came out of if awkwardly. She seemed more involved, or self-involved, in her hairography–not the flipping, spinning type. Her hairography was more primp and look sexy like I just got out of bed. That might work for Playboy photo shoots, but not on the dance floor. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba cautioned Anderson to put in the work. Bruno Tonioli was kinder, but the message was the same.

Palin, who got to the semi-finals more on view voting than actual merit, is understandably also near the bottom. Mark Ballas is a skilled teacher, but their chemistry is almost toxic. During their original time together, Ballas went into his self-indulgent choreography funk. There was a real concern that Palin could win. We wonder if the campaign to get Palin off of DWTS will start up again. There’s an old Facebook page just for that cause.

Second from the bottom is an old favorite that we’d like to stay: Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Alley is the oldest contestant and the most in need of losing a few pounds. We love her chemistry with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and hope she doesn’t go tonight. Our choice would be Anderson, then Palin.

By dance, Smith and Burke had the top score for the cha cha cha and Anderson and MacManus had the low score. Marini and Murgatroyd were the high score for the foxtrot and Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy was at the bottom.

Online voting will remain open until 11 a.m. (Eastern Time)/ 8 a.m. (Pacific Time) today, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. You have 13 votes and spread them around, but spare the viewers from more performances by Anderson or Palin.

The results will be announced tonight, Tuesday, September 25 on the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars: The Results” show, 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) on ABC. One couple will be eliminated but before that, singing sensation Justin Bieber and Pitbull will perform.