miliosr

Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars

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Here is the cast for the upcoming All-Stars season. (Numbers in parentheses reflect original season and finishing position):

Kirstie Alley (12, 2nd)

Pamela Anderson (10, 6th) (YEA)

Helio Castroneves (5, 1st) (BARF -- should be in jail)

Joey Fatone (4, 2nd)

Shawn Johnson (8, 1st)

Drew Lachey (2, 1st) (YEA)

Gilles Marini (8, 2nd) (YEA)

Kelly Monaco (1, 1st)

Apolo Anton Ohno (4, 1st)

Bristol Palin (11, 3rd) (BARF)

Melissa Rycroft (8, 3rd)

Emmitt Smith (3, 1st)

Breakout by season:

01 -- 1

02 -- 1

03 -- 1

04 -- 2

05 -- 1

08 -- 3

10 -- 1

11 -- 1

12 -- 1

There will also be a fan "vote-in" for one of the following:

Sabrina Bryant (5, 7th)

Carson Kressley (13, 8th)

Kyle Massey (11, 2nd)

Pairings:

Kirstie/Maks*

Pamela/Tristan (YEA)

Helio/Chelsie

Joey/Kym*

Shawn/Derek

Drew/Anna

Gilles/Peta

Kelly/Val

Apolo/Karina

Bristol/Mark*

Melissa/Tony*

Emmitt/Cheryl*

*Original partnership maintained for All-Stars

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Pretty brave: at least five former champions won't repeat.

They should forget about Carson Kressley as a competitor and hire him to replace Brooke Burke-Charvet.

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Pretty brave: at least five former champions won't repeat.

I'm wondering who will get partnered with Cheryl as three of her former partners (Drew, Emmitt and Gilles) are competing.

They should forget about Carson Kressley as a competitor and hire him to replace Brooke Burke-Charvet.

From your keyboard to God's inbox. I didn't think it was humanly possible for someone to be worse than Samantha Harris but Brooke has defied the odds and achieved the impossible.

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I'd vote in Sabrina, she has some talent. I wished for other competitors, but Shawn Johnson earned her win with a highly technical, inventive performance and I am pleased to cheer her on this fall.

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I don't think that there is any fairness in having an "All-Star" season with 5 past champions! It should give those who did not win the first time around another chance to do so. There were so many incredible stars that did so well and didn't win simply because of popularity.

Don't think I will make time in my TV schedule to watch this.

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I've updated my original post to reflect the pairings announced today.

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Interesting pairings for this season. I'm not sure if this the best move for the show since so much of the throughlines are about people taking on new challenges, but the dancing should be interesting.

Even with the five past champions, though, my early money is on Gilles and Peta.

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With the addition of Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel, I'm going to put them down as my wild card. I don't think Sabrina has the fan base to take them all the way, but Louis has never had a strong dancer for a celeb partner on the show, so this should be mighty interesting. He's used to coaching competitors, and actually coached many of the pros on the show in their competitive days, so having a strong dancer in Sabrina could throw a curveball into the show.

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Van Amstel has been my favorite pro ever since Nick Kosovich left the show in an early season. I hope he can stay in a long, long time with Sabrina Bryan.

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With the addition of Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel, I'm going to put them down as my wild card. I don't think Sabrina has the fan base to take them all the way, but Louis has never had a strong dancer for a celeb partner on the show, so this should be mighty interesting. He's used to coaching competitors, and actually coached many of the pros on the show in their competitive days, so having a strong dancer in Sabrina could throw a curveball into the show.

I agree that she doesn't have the fan base necessary to drive to the Final Four. However, as you rightly point out, Louis finally has a celebrity amateur at his disposal who can actually execute his ideas. In the past, the knock on Louis has been that he has overwhelmed his celebrity partners with too complicated routines which are completely beyond their skill sets.

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In advance of the season premiere on the 24th, I thought I would do a little analysis and handicapping of the men's and women's fields. Let's take the women's field first. On the whole, I find the general level of the female all-stars to be less than that of their male counterparts. Unfortunately for the competition, several strong competitors from seasons past cannot compete in All-Stars: Mel B. (2nd in Season 5) and Nicole Scherzinger (1st in Season 10) have other professional commitments, Brooke Burke (1st in Season 7) is hosting the show, and Stacy Keebler (3rd in Season 2) wanted to return for All-Stars but, according to the tabloids, her boyfriend George Clooney vetoed that idea. So, we are left with the following:

Kirstie/Maks: I am hard-pressed to see this pair making it to the halfway mark. Kirstie's issues with her weight were novel during her first season but I don't think that will work again for this season. (Has she kept the weight off?) Maks' popularity has taken various hits in the last few seasons, most recently due to the allegations Hope Solo has made about him in her trashy book. Truth be told, their best week together in their regular season was Week 1 and it was all stagnation after that. That is not going to cut it in a season as stacked with talent as this one.

Pamela/Tristan: I loved her during her regular season and thought she had ability. However, she was under the red lights of doom practically every week so I question how much more advanced her fan base has become since then. I don't see her making the halfway mark unless she and Tristan really come out on fire during Week 1. (Tristan's popularity may buy her some time.)

Sabrina/Louis: Sabrina got her wish -- she can try to avenge her "unjust" ouster during her regular season. The good news for her is that Louis will really be able to put his choreographic talents to work as she will be able to execute his more complicated ideas. The bad news for her is that I still don't know if she has a strong enough fan base to carry her to the Final Four. I can see her making it to the halfway point and then getting eliminated.

Shawn/Derek: I have to say that this pairing is the strongest of the female celebrity amateur/male professional pairings. Shawn is ridiculously fit, has a large and vocal fan base, and is paired with three-time winner Derek. They would really have to screw up not to make it to the Final Four.

Kelly/Val: I'm on the fence about this one. Kelly is a previous winner but she won in Season 1. Standards have risen considerably since then (to the point where it's almost a different show) and I don't know how Kelly will fare against much more serious competition. Complicating matters further is the fact that General Hospital is on the wane so I don't what kind of fan base she has these days. Finally, Val still labors in the shadow of his brother and has not established himself the way Tristan has. They will have to have crazy chemistry from the get-go or they will be an early boot.

Bristol/Mark: Her prior appearance on the show was more of a political statement than a dance statement. Due to all the controversy surrounding her (in)famous mother, her vote was more about the blue state-red state divide than it was about the quality of her dancing (which sucked.) Well, her mother isn't quite what she once was so I don't see the same kind of energy around Bristol this time. I suspect she will be gone by the halfway mark.

Melissa/Tony: She drew a lot of support during her regular season because of what happened on The Bachelor. Like Bristol, I question whether she still has that same headwind behind her. However, she is young(ish) and fit so she should be able to keep pace physically. The wild card here is Tony, who is not known as the most imaginative choreographer on the show. He will have to improve his offerings if he wants them to stick around for any significant amount of time.

So, to summarize, the only pairing I see as a lock for the Final Four is Shawn/Derek. I can also see Sabrina/Louis and Melissa/Tony making it past the halfway point but don't know how much further they can get past that.

Coming up: The men's field!

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Brooke Burke (1st in Season 7) is hosting the show

This could have been the solution to getting her out of the host spot for good. Bummer.

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Kirstie's issues with her weight were novel during her first season but I don't think that will work again for this season. (Has she kept the weight off?)

At the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Spring 2012.

Kirstie-Alley-11.jpg

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And now for an analysis of the men's field . . .

With 4 past winners (Helio, Drew, Apolo, Emmitt) and 2 runner-ups (Joey, Gilles), the men's field is head-and-shoulders above the women's field:

Helio/Chelsie: To my mind, Helio was the undeserving winner of Season 5. (Mel B. should have won.) Basically, his then-partner Julianne Hough, who was hot off her win w/ Apolo the previous season, dragged Helio (who was mugging for the camera all the way) across the finish line. He won't be so lucky this time as Chelsie is no Julianne and his schtick won't cut it against so many other celebrities with enormous fan bases. I would be surprised if he makes it to the halfway point.

Joey/Kym: While Joey wasn't to my taste in his initial season, Kym and he had a strong working relationship which I see continuing here. Kym is a three-time winner of the show (twice in the US, once in Australia) so she has what it takes to get her celebrity partner to the Final Four. The only question mark for this pair is how much of the old N'Sync fan base still exists to support Joey. I predict they make it to the halfway point but are gone soon after that.

Drew/Anna: Drew's partnership with Cheryl in his original season was one of the all-time great partnerships on this show. So, he will be fighting against people's rosy memories of what was with Cheryl rather than what is with Anna. Since his win in Season 2, Drew has remained active in the Dancing with the Stars world (subbing as co-host, participating in the tours). His skill set should still be there as should some measure of his fan base from Season 2. What remains to be seen is how he works with Anna. When she is sympatico w/ her celebrity partner, the results can be magic. When she isn't, the results are pure torture. If these two can work well together, they can make it to the Final Four. If not, they will be an early boot.

Apolo/Karina: Like Shawn, Apolo is a previous winner, is ridiculously fit, is used to taking corrections, and still has a large fan base thanks to his Season 4 win (w/ Julianne). Like Drew, he will rise-or-fall based on how well he gels with Karina. I would say they are a lock for the Final Four barring a complete absence of chemistry.

Gilles/Peta: On paper, this team is the team to beat. Gilles is one of the best male celebrities to ever compete on this show and he has one of the most vocal and diehard fan bases. It also helps him that his fan base is still carrying a chip on its collective shoulder because of his close loss to Shawn in Season 8. His fans should vote until their fingers bleed. BUT, I don't how things will go with Peta. She won't have to dumb down the choreography for him and their contrasting good looks should work in their favor. Who knows, though, if the chemistry will be there? I say he is a lock for the Final Four unless the partnership with Peta is a complete bust.

Emmitt/Cheryl: He will go far on his bright smile, easy charm and Dallas Cowboys fan base. Whether he can crack the Final Four is another story. With so many other stellar performers on this edition, he may not be able to coast along like he did at times on his original season. To my eyes, Cheryl is no longer what she once was and she has taken on an oversexualized sheen which I find off-putting. Still, she is one of the more popular pros and she may be able to work her magic once again to get Emmitt past the halfway mark. I'm not sure what happens after that.

To summarize, I expect to see Gilles/Peta, Apolo/Karina and either Drew/Anna or Emmitt/Cheryl to join Shawn/Derek in the Final Four. But you never know until the votes are counted.

See you on the 24th!

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Thanks Miliosr for taking the time to post your thoughts on the All-Star pairings. I agree with pretty much every thing you said.

Bristol/Mark and Helio/Chelsea are my first picks to go home. The former because she's a bad dancer (among other reasons) and the latter because while he's a better dancer than Bristol and not nearly as annoying, he won purely on Julianne's razzle dazzle charm and smoke and mirrors choreography.

The Apolo/Karina pairing looks exciting to me. I adore Karina. I could spend hours watching Slavik and her dancing during their competing days on Youtube, and Apolo has charm, dancing skills and a strong work ethic. I can't wait to see them together.

I think Drew/Anna could work very well. She's mellowed a bit from her early days on the show and has a dry sense of humor that will pair well with Drew's.

Gilles/Peta is the wild card for me. He is a fantastic dancer and deserved to win his season. If he had gotten Cheryl again this time it would be a total no brainer (barring injury) for them to be in the top 3. The chemistry between Peta and Gilles has got to be there from the beginning and Peta has to step up the difficulty of her routines for him. She's got a contestant that can handle it.

For the women I'm curious to see how Kelly/Val do. I started watching from the second season and so have no idea who she is and how she dances. Val is a fantastic dancer and hasn't really been given an opportunity to shine with his two previous partners so I hope for his sake that thier partnership really rocks and they go far.

I have a soft spot for Melissa/Tony. I like them both, but I do see what other people say when they mention Tony's choreography being dull and uninspiring. When he danced with Elena during his competing days he made some wonderful, exciting routines, so he needs to treat Melissa as a professional partner and really step it up.

I liked Pam as well during her first time on the show and thought she should have gone much farther. She had real potential. Plus, she's got Tristan this time! Lucky girl.

I am looking forward to this season and expect to see some great dancing. I think the pairings that are new actually have an advantage over the ones that have already danced together. They don't have to live up to thier fan's expectations and knowledge of what they can do. Starting a clean slate with a new partner seems the better option.

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There are some very intriguing match-ups this season, and it's going to be interesting for a lot of different reasons. I've always maintained that this show isn't so much about the dancing per se because after all, if you want to see good dancing you can watch the Ohio Star Ball and some other competitions on PBS. It's really about the journey of learning dance, which is in itself a metaphor for how we take on new challenges and extend ourselves.

What makes the All-Star season intriguing is that all of the stars are on for a second time, and theoretically, they at least have some baseline knowledge of ballroom dancing. (I realize that this more true for some than others...). Will this make the season more about the dancing? And how will a season of celebs who all have some fanbase play out. I think the jury's still out.

It's also interesting in the new dynamic with the partners. Some of the pros are much better teachers/choreographers than others. How is that going to play out with new students? For example, Anna Trebunskaya is probably the best all-around female dancer in the professional field. (Karina is still probably the best female dancer overall, but across the 10 dances Anna is definitely the best). But she is a terrible teacher. She really is the classic naturally gifted dancer who can't communicate what comes easily to her. But Cheryl already gave Drew Lachey a very, very good grounding basics. Can Anna take someone who already has a foundation of the basics and bring them up another level? That's going to be interesting to watch...

Conversely with people like Cheryl and Tristan who are at their best guiding beginners, are they going to be able to step it up a level with their charges this season?

How will someone like Shawn Johnson take to another teacher like Derek? And how are all of Shawn's injuries which have piled up over the last few years going to affect her ability to dance?

And Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl.... I was watching old video of her from Season 2 dancing with Louis, and as much as I always am down on her for letting her technique deteriorate to such a state, even I was struck by how different she looked then. It really was like watching a completely different dancer, and it was sad. (And I've wondered if it's part of why Louis doesn't really dance with her on the show anymore. Part of it is probably because of his relationship with Karina, but Louis never let Cheryl get away with cheating her technique like she does now. Maybe it's his instinct as her former coach.)

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The scores from the first night of competition:

01 24.5pts Emmitt/Cheryl (cha cha cha)

02 24.0pts Gilles/Peta (foxtrot)

03 22.5pts Sabrina/Louis (cha cha cha)

04 22.0pts Shawn/Derek (foxtrot)

04 22.0pts Apolo/Karina (cha cha cha)

06 21.5pts Helio/Chelsie (foxtrot)

06 21.5pts Drew/Anna (foxtrot)

06 21.5pts Kelly/Val (cha cha cha)

09 21.0pts Melissa/Tony (foxtrot)

10 20.5pts Joey/Kym (cha cha cha)

11 19.5pts Bristol/Mark (cha cha cha)

12 19.0pts Kirstie/Maks (foxtrot)

13 17.0pts Pamela/Tristan (cha cha cha)

I would be shocked if Pamela isn't the first boot tomorrow. In no way was she in the same league as the other competitors (even the weaker ones like Kirstie and Bristol) tonight. Her cha cha cha was sooooo slow it was painful to watch. What's worse, she appeared completely disconnected from her partner, the other contestants and the show itself last night. Quite frankly, she seemed to me to be high as a kite. So disappointing as I liked her in her regular season and was hoping she would make a good showing here. But, it wasn't meant to be.

I have no idea who will be the other contestant in the Bottom Two (if the show does a true Bottom Two, that is.) On the merits, I would say Kirstie or Bristol should be there. But I suspect one of the middle-of-the-packers like Helio, Joey or Melissa may be there instead.

More thoughts on Night 1 later . . .

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I would be shocked if Pamela isn't the first boot tonight. In no way was she in the same league as the other competitors (even the weaker ones like Kirstie and Bristol) tonight. Her cha cha cha was sooooo slow it was painful to watch. What's worse, she appeared completely disconnected from her partner, the other contestants and the show itself last night. Quite frankly, she seemed to me to be high as a kite. So disappointing as I liked her in her regular season and was hoping she would make a good showing here. But, it wasn't meant to be.

I have no idea who will be the other contestant in the Bottom Two (if the show does a true Bottom Two, that is.) On the merits, I would say Kirstie or Bristol should be there. But I suspect one of the middle-of-the-packers like Helio, Joey or Melissa may be there instead.

I agree with your assessment. Kirstie and Bristol were not in the same league as their competitors, but at least they were engaged; Pamela was, as you say, disconnected from her partner, and I felt pained on Tristan's behalf. I suppose the fan base will be the determinant between Pamela, Kirstie and Bristol, but from the standpoint of technique Pamela is weakest.

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Some random thoughts about last night:

First, congratulations to host Tom Bergeron for his Emmy win on Sunday as Best Reality TV Show host. He really is the glue that holds this show together with his quips, ad-libs and ability to keep the show moving.

I spotted many celebrities (and some former contestants) in the audience last night: Chaz Bono, Tony Geary and Nancy Lee Grahn from General Hospital, Florence Henderson, Nick Lachey, Susan "Cindy Brady" Olsen, Todd and Sarah Palin, Jane Seymour and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Speaking of Kristi, I can only imagine what she was thinking watching Pamela's glassy-eyed self-immolation on live television. Considering she didn't even get an invite to return, she must have been shaking her head at this one person who did get invited.

The surprise of the night for me was Kelly, who performed with much more verve and fire than I remember her performing with during Season 1. She may last longer than I thought if she can keep her stamina up over the course of the season. As she pointed out last night, she is the only former contestant who has never had to perform for a long season. (Her season was only six weeks.) We shall see if she can keep it together for that long.

There was a very telling moment after Shawn and Derek finished performing. As they entered the celebriquarium, Mark was very visible in the background looking majorly depressed. I can imagine he would be given that Derek got Shawn and he got stuck with Bristol.

I wanted to gauge my eyes out seeing Helio mug for the camera as he came striding down the staircase during introductions.

I still stand by my predictions for the finals. If Shawn, Apolo, Gilles and Emmitt can keep the quality high, then they will be the Final Four. (My guess is this foursome represents ABC's preferred final foursome with Shawn/Gilles/Emmitt being the preferred final threesome and Shawn/Gilles being the preferred final duo due to the rematch factor.)

The music is still terrible and so is Brooke Burke!

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Week One - Elimination One:

Bottom Two: Pamela/Tristan and Drew/Anna w/ Pamela/Tristan going home.

No surprise at all as to Pamela's elimination: weak fan base + lousy performance + strange behavior = early elimination. She was marginally more coherent on Tuesday night but only marginally so -- I still thought she was behaving strangely. I was also shocked to see how gaunt she looked in her interview segment w/ Tom Bergeron. She looked so different from the "full figured gal" (in the Jane Russell sense) that brought her to fame. I fear there are troubled waters there. In any event, hers was a deserving boot.

The big surprise from last night was seeing Drew and Anna in the Bottom Two. I suspected a middle-of-the-packer might be in jeopardy but I never suspected it would be Drew. It may have been a case of his fans just assuming he was safe (a bad assumption in an All-Stars season) and not voting. But the problem may also have been that Drew and Anna didn't catch the fire on Monday night like some of the other new pairings. They will have to get it together right quick because there isn't much slack left for them in terms of easy eliminations.

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Did they do a lot of repeats on the results show? My PVR decided that Monday's show was somehow not part of the series.

Bummed about Tristan, but I hope he gets lots of performance slots.

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Helene, they only did one repeat: Emmitt's and Cheryl's. I don't think it was top-of-the-leaderboard quality, but it was worlds apart from some of the others.

Miliosr, I was surprised, too, by Drew and Anna being in jeopardy.

Pamela appears to be in a tailspin, and Tom Bergeron managed her utterances and behavior with the professional aplomb and geniality he is known for. Emmy well deserved!

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