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miliosr

Dancing With the Stars: Season 3

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Elsewhere today Helene writes, "Ballet Talk is a site to discuss issues, history, music, and performances of classical ballet. " Why is the subject being discussed?
Helene, I believe, was speaking to the heart of Ballet Talk -- and why those of us who love and want to learn more about classical ballet gather here.

We also have a separate forum for "Modern and Other Dance," and that is where this particular discussion is being held.

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Elsewhere today Helene writes, "Ballet Talk is a site to discuss issues, history, music, and performances of classical ballet. " Why is the subject being discussed?

Helene, I believe, was speaking to the heart of Ballet Talk -- and why those of us who love and want to learn more about classical ballet gather here.

We also have a separate forum for "Modern and Other Dance," and that is where this particular discussion is being held.

Apologies.

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The Week Four performances episode finished fifth for the week with 18.4 million viewers. The results show finished seventh for the week with 17.5 million viewers.

Meanwhile, I am taking to my bed as a result of last night's unjust ouster -- boo, boo, BOO!!!

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Look on the bright side, miliosr: Jerry Springer will perform in next week's "disco" group dance. :)

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As we all know it comes down to fan base....fair-unfair? :)

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I had never heard of Willa Ford before this show. I was impressed with her improvement every week. I feel we are going to have a change in the voting if there is another season. Don't know about the rest of you, but this season is rather blah to me.

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Don't know about the rest of you, but this season is rather blah to me.
What keeps me coming back are Mario's adorable dimples. :)

Before this DWTS season kicked off, I'd never heard about half of the so-called stars, Mario included. (Ditto last year.) Except for Mario and his adorable dimples, I haven't come to care much about anyone.

I'd love to know how this show was pulled together. Where do the judges come from?

There's a lot of dead time, IMO, although the studio footage is marginally fun.

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What keeps me coming back are Mario's adorable dimples. :)

They are having a similar effect on this viewer.

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Don't know about the rest of you, but this season is rather blah to me.
What keeps me coming back are Mario's adorable dimples. :)

Before this DWTS season kicked off, I'd never heard about half of the so-called stars, Mario included. (Ditto last year.) Except for Mario and his adorable dimples, I haven't come to care much about anyone.

I'd love to know how this show was pulled together. Where do the judges come from?

There's a lot of dead time, IMO, although the studio footage is marginally fun.

Len and Mario are also judges on the original BBC show "Strictly Come Dancing", I don't know anything about Carrie.

I remember Mario from Saved by the Bell (a Saturday morning teen show on NBC back in the early 90's), he had a mullet if I remember.

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Interesting development . . . Sara Evans is quitting the show because she is divorcing her husband!

According to the AP, she filed for divorce on Thursday. Her last appearance on the show will be on Tuesday. No word on whether or not Willa and Maks will be invited back to the show.

There will be a lot to write about this weekend . . .

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The Miliosr Report - Week Five

General Thoughts

The big event of this week was the announcement that Sara Evans was quitting the show because she is divorcing her husband.

I'll leave it to the readers of the Miliosr Report to find the prurient details of the divorce on the Web. For the purposes of analyzing this competition, the circumstances surrounding Sara's departure are not relevant to us. Instead, what is relevant is the impact said departure will have on the rest of the competition and, in my opinion, that impact will be considerable. More on that later . . .

Scores from the Judges

01 27pts Emmitt/Cheryl (samba)

01 27pts Mario/Karina (rumba)

01 27pts Monique/Louis (rumba)

01 27pts Willa/Maksim (rumba)

05 25pts Joey/Edyta (samba)

06 24pts Jerry/Kym (samba)

06 24pts Sara/Tony (samba)

I had a real problem with the scores this week. By allowing such a terrible bunching to occur, the judges pretty much gave the audience a free pass to determine the result and the result was that the audience ousted one of the more talented teams.

If the judges are so upset that talented teams are going before untalented teams, then they need to step up to the plate and score the teams more accurately. Based on what we saw on Wednesday night, there was no way that Jerry/Kym and Sara/Tony should have been anywhere near the Top Five. But because they were, the new scoring process ended up killing Willa and Maks.

Let me explain. Under the new system, the teams get a percentage based on the number of points the judges give them relative to the total number of points assigned. So, out of 181 points, the four first place teams each got 14.9%, Joey and Edyta got 13.8% and the two sixth place teams got 13.3%. All of the teams are then given a percentage based on the percentage of the fan vote they got and the two percentages are added together to give the teams their overall scores.

This is a good system -- if the judges are scoring aggressively. In the absence of aggressive scores from the judges, a talented team that does well with the judges but does not command (for whatever reason) a large and motivated fan base is going to get killed. Which is more or less what happened this week.

Miliosr's Bop to the Top

For the most part, I thought the majority of the performances were of a reasonably high quality this week -- I would put Emmitt/Cheryl, Mario/Karina, Monique/Louis, Willa/Maksim and Joey/Edyta in this group.

I thought Emmitt and Cheryl were the best on the night. I delight in watching Emmitt as he gives the impression of having a ball on the dancefloor. He has good hip action and he and Cheryl traversed the floor very well. My only concern about Emmitt is that his upper body can be as limp as soggy spaghetti at times.

I agreed wholeheartedly with Carrie Ann's assessment of Monique -- her dancing is too internalized. Carrie Ann may be right that this problem stems from Monique's not having a background in live performance. But I also think Louis and his New Age-y coaching isn't helping the situation. Monique often looks baffled at some of his more "out there" instructions and that bafflement sometimes peaks through in performance.

The other three teams were solid if unspectacular -- not necessarily a good thing in a competition of this sort.

Miliosr's Bottom Two

My bottom two would have been Jerry/Kym and Sara/Tony (with Sara/Tony going.)

Jerry and Kym's performance was memorable and I give them credit for really selling it. But c'mon -- Jerry is doing the bare minimum and even that isn't so great.

I know I'm an ogre for picking on a woman going through a painful divorce but Sara was perfectly dreadful on the night. She isn't terribly graceful and the routine was as simplistic as Jerry and Kym's (but without their performance energy.) And why are Sara and Tony's routines always so painfully sloooooow?

The Actual Bottom Two

Jerry/Kym and Willa/Maksim ended up in the bottom two (with Willa and Maks leaving.) No way should Willa and Maks have gone over Jerry and Kym and Jerry knew it on the night. The look of horror on his face when he found out a more talented team was leaving before him said it all.

I'm not sure why Willa and Maks failed to gain much traction in the competition. To my mind, Willa was the most talented dancer among the women and she was a hard worker who was making progress. I think the absence of a large and motivated fan base at the start was a huge impediment for them and I also think the judges didn't do them any favors with the scoring.

But, if I'm being honest, I have to say that Willa and Maks never delivered that one breakthrough performance that would have endeared them to the voting public. As Lisa Rinna has noted, being a solid but unmemorable team is often the quickest way to get booted off the show.

Predictions

Until Sara's surprise annoucement, I would have said she was a lock for the Final Four based on her having a motivated fan base who thought the judges were picking on her. With her departure from the show, I think there will be a bit of chaos until we get to the Final Two. My guess is that Emmitt/Cheryl and Mario/Karina are a lock for Final Four but I'm not so sure what will happen to the other three teams. By all rights, Jerry should go next but he appears to have nine lives so one of the two remaining teams could be in danger of going home.

See you after Week Six -- if I survive Jerry doing a disco routine!

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miliosr, thank you so much for your vivid reports on this season. I rely on them while I wait to get to the friend's house whose been taping them for me. (My cable is out temporarily.)

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Helene -- I'm glad you're enjoying the reports.

Regarding the Sara Evans situation, I guess I don't like my reality TV to be quite that real. Dancing with the Stars only works when it has this magical, Brigadoon-ish quality to it. Once true reality intrudes, the magic begins to fade.

In other news, the performance show for Week Five was fourth for the week with 20.1 million viewers. The results show finished fifth with 18.2 million viewers.

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The prurient details have made The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/arts/tel...7star.html?8dpc

(I find this disturbing.)

I didn't. Interesting reading. :)

miliosr writes:

If the judges are so upset that talented teams are going before untalented teams, then they need to step up to the plate and score the teams more accurately. Based on what we saw on Wednesday night, there was no way that Jerry/Kym and Sara/Tony should have been anywhere near the Top Five. But because they were, the new scoring process ended up killing Willa and Maks.

I think it finally comes down to ratings. They don't want to eliminate popular teams that are bringing viewers back, even if the actual dancing is not that great. I was dividing my viewing time last night between this and the NL playoff, so I was not that focused, but I couldn't agree with you more about Jerry and Kym. Last night's routine to the "Habanera" with Jerry in Spanish costume was just....indescribable.

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About Jerry/Kim's 'Habanera': It got my five votes, as tears of laughter streamed down my face. :) Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!

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Jerry looks to me like he's been reading his own reviews and coming back each week to caricaturize (word? :) ) himself.

The interview with Sara was embarrassing to watch and made me feel sorry for the children, for whose sake she is putatively withdrawing. Their traumas do not need to be exacerbated by her noting them to a nationwide audience.

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I have not seen show and don't really undestand the role of voting. But it's interesting that, according to the NY Times article, support for one dancer over another has become yet another battlefield in the partisan wars:

Tom DeLay, the former United States Congressman and Republican leader from Texas, recently sent out a mass e-mail message asking supporters to watch the show and vote for Ms. Evans, whom he called “a good friend of mine, country music singer and G.O.P. supporter.”

Saying that Ms. Evans “represents good American values in the media” and noting that one of her opponents in the competition was “ultra-liberal talk show host Jerry Springer,” Mr. DeLay added: “We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans.”

Please feel free to delete this post if it is not appropriate to the content guidelines for Ballet Talk. :)

Edited to add: Sorry, I had forgotten that sandik posted news of Mr. DeLay's involvement back in early Sept. A scoop for Ballet Talk. !!!

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The interview with Sara was embarrassing to watch and made me feel sorry for the children, for whose sake she is putatively withdrawing. Their traumas do not need to be exacerbated by her noting them to a nationwide audience.

I'm certainly not sorry I missed that.

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Thanks for the Link, Helene. There seems to be some confusion about this unfortunate lady. ABC calls her:

... country superstar Sara Evans ...
But the Washington Post refers to her as
... one of the semi-washed-up "celebrity" contestants of whom most had never heard until she joined the hit series and then quit abruptly ....
Kenneth MacMillen might have made something out of the ambiguities here, a la "Anastasia." Is he or isn't she the Tsar's daughter? ... or something like that. :beg:

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Returning to the topic :) , what happened on Tuesday? I missed it.

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The Miliosr Report - Week Six

Miliosr's Thoughts

As I suspected, this week ended up being a non-elimination round due to Sara's departure.

I have to admit that I liked the group disco number. None of the celebrity amateurs will ever replace John Travolta in the public's imagination but I liked how everyone was enjoying himself or herself on the dancefloor -- a first in an otherwise tense and joyless season. I would rank Emmitt as the best of the men -- he is a born disco dancer.

Scores from the Judges

01 28pts. Mario/Karina (mambo)

02 25pts. Emmitt/Cheryl (jive)

03 24pts. Joey/Edyta (rumba)

04 23pts. Monique/Louis (samba)

05 18pts. Jerry/Kym (paso doble)

Thankfully, there was no insane bunching in the scores this week. Still, some of the scores were inexplicable. A "7" from Carrie Ann for Jerry and Kym? Please!

The Alpha Males

I thought the judges got it just about right with the top three celebrities -- Mario, Emmitt and Joey.

What frustrates me, though, is that the alpha males aren't taking control of the competition. Mario, Emmitt and Joey all showed aptitude at the beginning of the competition and they continue to show aptitude. What they're not showing is improvement -- they are not progressing the way Drew, Lisa and even Jerry did in Season Two.

As a result, the competition has a very static quality to it. There isn't much excitement to be had because the top competitors aren't giving the kind of definitive performances that would energize the audience and elevate the nature of the competition.

Miliosr's Bottom Two

My bottom two would have been Monique/Louis and Jerry/Kym.

The second I saw Tommy the Clown with Monique and Louis in the rehearsal footage, I knew the routine was going to be problematic. (FYI -- Tommy the Clown is the "father" of the dance style known as krumping.) I don't know what Louis was thinking trying to graft the krumping style on to a samba. The result was a bit of a mess.

I also question why Louis gave in to Monique's desire to perform a solo. She's not always in command of herself when she's performing with Louis -- why would he think she would be any more in command by herself?

As for Jerry and Kym -- I don't know what to say other than I think Jerry deliberately tried to throw the competition on Tuesday night. He looked mighty guilty when Willa and Maks went over Kym and him and I think he decided to fall on his sword this week. Or maybe he's just that bad -- take your pick.

The Actual Bottom Two

Joey/Edyta and Jerry/Kym were the actual bottom two on the night. Joey didn't belong there BUT he's been coasting along in the middle of the pack for a long time now. That's a dangerous place to reside in a competition like this since it is very easy for the audience to forget about you when you're neither memorably good nor memorably bad. Now that all the low hanging fruit has been picked, Joey can no longer afford to coast along under the radar. He must deliver two stellar performances next week or he may find himself following Willa out of the exit door.

Predictions

Next week will give maximum power to the judges as the scoring percentages from this week will carry over to week seven where they will be added to two scoring percentages from the judges (the contestants will perform two dances next week) and the audience percentage from next week. It will work like this:

Percentage - Week Six - Judges

+

Percentage - Week Six - Audience

+

Percentage - Week Seven - Judges - Dance 1

+

Percentage - Week Seven - Judges - Dance 2

+

Percentage - Week Seven - Audience

This is the time for the judges to put the hammer down on Jerry. Whether they will or not remains to be seen.

See you after Week Seven!

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What frustrates me, though, is that the alpha males aren't taking control of the competition. Mario, Emmitt and Joey all showed aptitude at the beginning of the competition and they continue to show aptitude. What they're not showing is improvement -- they are not progressing the way Drew, Lisa and even Jerry did in Season Two.

I actually think that Mario's mambo was a distinct improvement over his previous performances. His lack of partnering is the biggest weakness I see in his dancing, and it was the only performance from him this season that actually showed any substantive lead-follow, the only performance from any of the male celebs, actually. I suspect it's because of his previous familiarity with the dance and the music and he doesn't have any conscious understanding of why it may have "felt better," but hopefully Karina can build on it in future performances.

Joey tries hard, but Edyta is just not a very good coach or choreographer. And she can't get him on beat. Which drives me crazy. It's like nails on a chalkboard when I watch them. His attempts to lead pain me as well.

Emmitt's just not a performer, and Cheryl is not going to be able to drag it out of him in the timeframe this show is on. He has a naturally engaging personality and a sense of "groove," but dances either click into his personality and feel for the music or not.

I also question why Louis gave in to Monique's desire to perform a solo. She's not always in command of herself when she's performing with Louis -- why would he think she would be any more in command by herself?

I don't think the point of the "solo" was question of command. I think it was a bid by Louis to get her to engage in her performance. He's built a good technical foundation in her dancing, and she's steadily improved technically throughout the season. On a week in week out basis, she's executing some of the difficult choreography of any of the celebs. The only celeb that sometimes does more difficult work is Mario.

What she needs is to be able to bring the audience in more, and I think Louis was trying to break that shell. Watching her, I think it's going to be much easier to bring her back from the edge and under control than have her take baby steps out, which will take too long with the timeframe of the show.

I don't know what Louis was thinking trying to graft the krumping style on to a samba. The result was a bit of a mess.

I didn't love it, but with the African beats that are intrinsic to ballroom samba, I don't think it was a *total* mess. The music that they were given was really problematic. (Although I disagree with the judges that Louis didn't choreograph a samba. The music was not samba, but much of the choreography was syllabus samba figures.)

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