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Dancing with the Stars: Season 5

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Ratings - Week Two

Performances -- # 2 (20.2 million viewers)

Results -- # 8 (15.9 million viewers)

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I'm just baffled that Floyd would be doing Dancing with the Stars at the same time as he is training for a fight. (He is a great fighter--with unbelievably quick reflexes. But the greatest fighters have been known to go down when they aren't training seriously.)

That said, I never watched Dancing with the Stars until I heard he was on, and then I checked in to see him midway through the show Monday night. I do think he is very talented--though self-conscious as a dancer which he most certainly is NOT as a fighter--and I would enjoy watching him grow as a dancer too. But...uh...I still prefer that he focus on the fight.

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Miliosr Report - Week Three

The Women

So, here we are at Week Three and it seems that, for the moment at least, all the energy and excitement is with the women. The Top 5 scoring couples for this week all had a female amateur as part of the team:

Three-Way Tie for 1st w/ 27 pts -- Jane/Mel/Sabrina

Each of these routines was entertaining in its way but not without flaws.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree about Jane's progress in relation to her competitors but, since her mother died last week, I'll have to suspend my critical faculties until next week. I do think she brought great drama to the dance and this ability may serve her in good stead for some time to come.

Maks and Mel dance with great energy and verve. But my complaint with Maks is always the same from season-to-season -- he seems unwilling or unable to blend his own dancing with his celebrity partner's in order to create a seamless whole. Last night with Mel was like dancing with Willa all over again -- two different dances going on.

Sabrina and Mark are cruising along in the competition and should be safe for the foreseeable future. They are a very high-octane couple but I question Sabrina's ability to do anything but barrel through the routines. The standard dances will tell the tale for her.

Two-Way Tie for 4th w/ 25 pts -- Jennie/Marie

I guess I didn't "get" what all the fuss was about with Jenny and Derek's tango. Apart from the technical issues that sidwich pointed out, they have zero chemistry together and she always seems like she is on the verge of nervous collapse.

I also agree with sidwich regarding Jonathan's work with Marie. She is hardly in possession of the most flexible "instrument" in the competition and yet he is making the most of the abilities she does have. She needs to tone down the cutsie-pie mannerisms, though. She doesn't possess the same level of acting ability that Jane does to pull them off.

The Bottom Two

Wayne/Cheryl and Floyd/Karina were in the Bottom Two this week with Wayne and Cheryl going home.

Not much to say about this booting -- Wayne and Cheryl were clearly the weakest couple left in the field and escaping elimination in the manner of Jerry Springer and Billy Ray Cyrus would have been a travesty. A very deserving boot and Cheryl seemed relieved for the experience to be over.

Going Forward

I'm not really sure what to expect from this point onward. Most of the remaining competitors appear to be equally matched in terms of name recognition and fan bases so it may come down to which couple can capture the imaginations of America. I am intrigued by the fact that Mark Cuban has escaped the Bottom Two for the last two weeks. I wonder if he can keep avoiding the Bottom Two now that the lowest hanging fruit has been picked.

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Ratings - Week Three

Performances - # 2 (19.6 million viewers)

Results - # 7 (16.4 million viewers)

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Miliosr Report - Week Four

Let's cut right to the chase this week and get to the scores and the Bottom Two:

01 30pts Sabrina/Mark (paso)

02 27pts Cameron/Edyta (paso)

02 27pts Helio/Julianne (waltz)

02 27pts Jenny/Derek (paso)

05 26pts Jane/Tony (waltz)

05 26pts Marie/Jonathan (waltz)

05 26pts Mel/Maks (waltz)

08 23pts Floyd/Karina (paso)

09 22pts Mark/Kym (waltz)

At first glance, it looks like Mark and Kym would be done for by finishing in 9th place. But when you divide each team's score by the total number of points (234), there's only a 3.4 point difference between the first place team and the ninth place team. As a result, viewer voting take on an exaggerated significance -- a bottom-finishing team like Mark and Kym can survive provided they are registering with viewers.

The Bottom Two

In the event, Floyd/Karina and Mel/Maks were in the Bottom Two with Floyd and Karina leaving.

Floyd and Karina's departure was no great surprise as they were in the Bottom Two last week and -- unlike Mark and Kym -- did not appear to be making much headway with the audience. A fair boot.

Mel and Maks appearing in the Bottom Two was a much more intriguing development to my mind. They did not belong in the Bottom Two -- that position should have gone to Mark and Kym. However, we are at that point (probably the earliest ever in five seasons) in the competition where there are almost no weak teams left. Mel and Maks have been cruising along this season as a kind of "meat and potatoes" team. In past seasons, that strategy probably would have carried them into the Final Four. Not this season. Across the board, this is one of the strongest fields the show has ever produced so Mel and, especially, Maks (with his choreography) will have to step it up a notch if they hope to avoid the red light of doom next week.

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Ratings - Week Four

Performances - # 2 (19.4 million viewers)

Results - # 7 (17.3 million viewers)

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Thank you for keeping us posted, miliosr.

More reviews from anyone?

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I am not at ALL qualified to give a review - I just watch the show and have my own impressions.

In random order, my thoughts are:

* I think the couple who left last night was the right choice. (Mark/Kym I believe?)

* I did like Maks and Mel's performance

* didn't agree with judges about some of the others - specifically Helio and Juilanne (but what do I know really)

* I thought that generally this was a weak week! Perhaps it was a result of the slower music for some couples - I thought weaknesses really showed. Jane, for example, has been quite strong but I wouldn't say that this was a stellar week for her.

* I thought Marie's costume was NOT AT ALL a good choice. Perhaps that is why she fainted - I would have. Honestly.

* Personally, I didn't care too much for Sabrina/Mark's piece, although the judges (and public) seemed to love it. I thought it was too much drama, not enough dancing...but again WHAT DO I KNOW!!

I will end - and likely get skewered!!

m2

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Miliosr Report - Week Five

mom2 -- not being an expert hasn't stopped me over five seasons!

Marie Osmond

The big "event" this week was Marie Osmond passing out on live television. She and her partner Jonathan had just completed their samba (they were the first couple of the evening) and were about to get the judges' comments when Marie fell -- hard -- to the floor. Kudos to host Tom Bergeron for immediately calling for a commercial break -- he was definitely the "cool head" in a difficult situation. One long break later, Marie was up, moving around and seemingly OK.

I've had something similar happen to me and, believe me, it's not a pleasant feeling. When your blood sugar gets too low, your body just shuts down and all you can do is hope someone catches you.

Mel and Maks

After landing in the Bottom Two last week, Mel and Maks rebounded strongly this week and took first place with the judges with 29 points -- good enough to escape the Bottom Two this week. I would agree with mom2 that the performances as a whole were lacking -- too many of the celebrity amateurs are stagnating or regressing.

The Bottom Two

In the event, the Bottom Two consisted of Mark/Kym and Jane/Tony with Mark and Kym going.

Mark's ouster was absolutely the right one. He was clearly the weakest celebrity amateur left in the field and it would have been a shame if he had outlasted any of the others. Still, he proved to be a gallant competitor (if not an especially coordinated one.)

I think a number of things worked against Jane this week. She and Tony had to follow Marie and the fainting episode so I think the audience may have forgotten about her amidst all the chaos. More importantly, I think Jane and Tony were hurt by a certain "sameness" that has overtaken their performances. Week-in and week-out, they deliver competent performances. Unfortunately, the performances are starting to blend into one. Whether its the choreography or Jane herself, this team dances every dance as if it was the same dance. She will soon find herself evicted from the competition if she cannot vary her performances for the audience.

Last Thoughts

I have to say I loved both of musical guest Jennifer Lopez's songs, especially the pro dance set to her song "Let's Get Loud". Usually the musical guest and the pro dancers act like they are on different planets but J.Lo's performance with the pros on Tuesday night worked like crazy -- for once, the musical guest, the pros, the band and the audience all appeared to be on the same wavelength.

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> I have to say I loved both of musical guest Jennifer Lopez's

> songs, especially the pro dance set to her song "Let's Get

>Loud". Usually the musical guest and the pro dancers act

>like they are on different planets but J.Lo's performance

>with the pros on Tuesday night worked like crazy -- for

>once, the musical guest, the pros, the band and the audience

>all appeared to be on the same wavelength.

It was fantastic, "Let's Get Loud" -- that song and the professional dancers giving what seemed to be their favorite performance in years. It was great energy and really great dancing by the pros. Thank you J. Lo for taking time from her tour to make this unforgettable performance happen for a TV audience.

I was at ABT's gala last night, but taped "Dancing With the Stars" just to see what J. Lo would do. Wow! What a talent, and although she sang, and didn't really dance, I know she can (dance).... it was a dynamite number.

Yes, overall, the amateur "stars," I agree, were/ARE very much lacking this season. Last season was far better.

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I am not at ALL qualified to give a review - I just watch the show and have my own impressions.

* I thought Marie's costume was NOT AT ALL a good choice. Perhaps that is why she fainted - I would have. Honestly.

m2

Her costume looked like something a 3 year old girl would wear to her Glamour Shots photo shoot. :bow:

I'm not an expert either, but I like my Samba slow and sultry and Marie/Jonathon's was too punchy and frenetic.

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Mel and Maks had the advantage of having an actual Samba music for thier dance while the others had less danceable music(IMO). Who decides which music are used?

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> Who decides which music are used?

I'm assuming, since the pros choreograph the dances, that they also pick the music.

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I'm assuming, since the pros choreograph the dances, that they also pick the music.

The pros are able to submit some preferences prior to the season, but the producers assign out the music which the couples only receive after the results from the week before. Hence, Edyta listening to "Superman" over and over and over trying to figure out how to choreograph a coherent Paso (I'm quite sure that all of the couples have been assigned some music that left the pros scratching their heads and worse.)

I think a number of things worked against Jane this week. She and Tony had to follow Marie and the fainting episode so I think the audience may have forgotten about her amidst all the chaos. More importantly, I think Jane and Tony were hurt by a certain "sameness" that has overtaken their performances. Week-in and week-out, they deliver competent performances. Unfortunately, the performances are starting to blend into one. Whether its the choreography or Jane herself, this team dances every dance as if it was the same dance. She will soon find herself evicted from the competition if she cannot vary her performances for the audience.

I think what's struck me about Jane's performances, and rhumba in particular is how very superficial they are. She's still not using her knees, ankles or feet to get into the floor, her partnering skills are non-existent so she and Tony aren't really using her momentum or weight to provide power or dynamic, and she really has no real sense of phrasing to the music. Everything occurs at this very monotone level, and that's a no-no in any dance, but especially rhumba where everything is stretch-stretch-stretch then... SNAP-SNAP-SNAP.... stretch-stretch-stretch. It's what creates the excitement in the dance.

While I'm not a fan of Tony's choreography at all, I think the rhumba choreography could have been okay (just okay, but better than it was) with a more advanced dancer who could have created more texture.

Marie has nowhere near the talent, training or body, but she is a very savvy performer and in Jonathan, she has one of the top pro-am coaches and choreographers in the country. I have to admit my fondness for trashy TV to say that watching her judging stint on "Celebrity Duets" I was pleasantly surprised at how intelligent and thoughtful her comments were to each of the contestant. Although she had some serious tendencies to chatty-Cathy, more often than not she could give very clear articulate thoughts on why a performance worked or didn't. I'm sure she knows exactly what kinds of things will work for her and will please and audience and what is blah.

More reviews from anyone?

My cable's been out for more than a week, so I don't really have reviews. If it's hard to get perspective on ballroom through a TV screen, it's really hard trying to do it through a micro-window on a laptop. I also can't really comment on Paso Doble since my real International Latin training ended many, many years ago after a few months when I was still living in England, and I never got to train Paso.

Random thoughts in no particular order:

Paso and V. Waltz are dances no coach in right mind would try to teach a beginner after only a couple of months, and while I can't comment on Paso, it was like a surreal reality watching the pros trying to teach their students something approaching V. Waltz, a dance that is all about velocity and rotation and partnering, when none of them have sufficient skill to handle anything approaching it. Two couples (Jane and Tony and Julianne and Helio) did not even attempt turns in both directions which is the basis of V. Waltz.

Shocked at how not suited Julianne's choreography was for Helio. His topline issues really became apparent with the V. Waltz, and he just does not have the sufficient sense of stretch or line to accomplish what she set out for the rhumba.

I thought Sabrina made some good progress with the rhumba (she's trying to stretch and snap, but it's not quite soup), but if there is a fairness question with the show, I seriously wondered about the fairness of her getting to work with Shirley Ballas, even if she is Mark's mother when none of the other contestants got the benefit of a coaching session with a world-renowned coach.

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I wish my 'random thoughts' were that thorough and coherent, sidwich. Thanks.

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I wish my 'random thoughts' were that thorough and coherent, sidwich. Thanks.

Tonight's biggest shock was the elimination of Sabrina and Mark :)

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Ratings - Week Five

Performances - 1st (21.4 million viewers)

Results - 5th (18.1 million viewers)

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Miliosr Report - Week Six

Let's get down to business this week with the most shocking elimination ever!

The Bottom Two

Sabrina/Mark and Cameron/Edyta were in the Bottom Two this week with Sabrina and Mark leaving.

There was much shock on the night that Sabrina was out but I must confess that I wasn't as surprised as the audience, the hosts, the judges or the other competitors. Up until this week, Sabrina and Mark have always been at the top in terms of the judges scores so we've never had a good test of how they were registering with the audience. This week, they tied for fourth with a so-so foxtrot. Sure enough, they were gone the next night.

I don't think it was time for Sabrina to leave the competition as I think she was a better dancer than several of the other remaining competitors. BUT (you knew that was coming) she had a number of things working against her that destroyed her the second the judges' scores drooped:

1) I'm convinced there was a portion of the audience who resented the fact that Sabrina earns her living as a professional dancer. Granted, she's a hip hop dancer but, in the minds of some, it appeared that she had an unfair competitive advantage.

2) While Sabrina was one of the strongest celebrity amateurs technically (if not the strongest), I found her dancing hard and graceless. I've said it before (and I'm sorry to sound like a broken record on this score) -- the key to victory in this competition is to make the audience fall in love with you and your professional partner. Kelly/Alec, Drew/Cheryl, Emmitt/Cheryl and Apolo/Julianne all did this and they stormed to victory in the end. Sadly, Sabrina and Mark never displayed that magic (or were able to convincingly fake it) and that contributed to their ouster.

I was more surprised that Cameron and Edyta were in the Bottom Two. I'm not quite sure what happened with these two as Cameron is showing mild improvement and they have good enough chemistry together.

Going Forward

This has been an unpredictable season in many respects, not least because of all the drama (death, fire, fainting, food poisoning, etc.) I honestly don't have a clue who is likely to go home next which, after the last two predictable seasons, is refreshing.

Here are the six remaining couples at the halfway point:

Mel/Maks

Helio/Julianne

Jennie/Derek

Cameron/Edyta

Marie/Jonathan

Jane/Tony

See you next week!

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Ratings - Week Six

Performances - # 1 (21.4 million viewers)

Results - # 5 (18.9 million viewers)

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Miliosr Report - Week Seven

I had to miss the performance night due to home repair issues so I'll get right to the results.

The Bootees

The last two teams left under the red light of doom were Jane/Tony and Jennie/Derek BUT Tom Bergeron made a very pointed statement that one of these two couples wan't necessarily in the Bottom Two. In the event, Jane and Tony were the next couple to leave the competition.

Having not seen their performances on Monday night, I can't comment on how well they did or did not perform. Based on recent performances, however, my hunch is that this was the right time for them to go. Jane cut an elegant figure on the dancefloor but, unfortunately, I think that proved to be her undoing. There was a certain elegant sameness to all of her performances and, ultimately, that may have caused the audience to lose interest in her. In addition, she has a mildly prickly demeanor that probably didn't do her any favors either.

Five celebrities left -- Mel, Helio, Jennie, Cameron and Marie.

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I'm assuming, since the pros choreograph the dances, that they also pick the music.

Sometimes i just can't believe they call this a rumba, or that a cha-cha-cha, or a samba... Their vision of latin rythms is...funny.. :(

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Ratings - Week Seven

Performances - # 3 (20.5 million viewers)

Results - # 9 (17.1 million viewers)

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Miliosr Report - Week Eight

If I computed the judges' scores correctly, here's how the teams fared in terms of percentages:

01 Helio/Julianne 21.7%

02 Mel/Maks 21.3%

03 Cameron/Edyta 19.4%

04 Jennie/Derek 19.0%

05 Marie/Jonathan 18.6%

The Bottom Two

Again this week, host Tom Bergeron made a point of stating that one of the two couples in the Bottom Two wasn't necessarily in the Bottom Two. Such as it was, the Bottom Two consisted of Cameron/Edyta and Jennie/Derk with Cameron and Edyta going home.

By all rights, it was Marie's time to leave but, given the death of her father the previous week, I doubted the audience would vote her off and sure enough they didn't. That being the case, Cameron and Edyta were reasonable bootees. He was decent enough over the course of the competition but he had reached the limit of what progress he was going to make. So, it was time for him to go. Poor Edyta, though. Even with someone as spectacularly fit as Cameron, she still couldn't get over the 5th place finishing spot she always finds herself in.

The Final Four

I feel like this season has sputtered to the Final Four rather than raced toward it. With the exception of Mel, none of the competitors has really caught my fancy. My dream finale would be Mel vs. Jennie but I suspect I'm going to get Helio vs. Marie.

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Thanks for your posts, miliosr! I look forward to them each week.

I am watching the show now (missed quite a bit tho). I see that Marie still hasn't had very good costume advice - or maybe it's just me.

I agree that Mel and Maks seem to be the standouts - after some non-descript performances early on.

For me, Jenny isn't confident enough - which seems odd for an actress, but you never know what will "get" someone, really. This is too bad, as she really is a lovely dancer when her lack of confidence isn't showing!

And having watched Mel and Maks now - WHO chooses the music for this? Honestly. Paso doble to "I can't get no satisfaction"??

Clearly, I am getting too old for this!

m2

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By all rights, it was Marie's time to leave but, given the death of her father the previous week, I doubted the audience would vote her off and sure enough they didn't. That being the case, Cameron and Edyta were reasonable bootees. He was decent enough over the course of the competition but he had reached the limit of what progress he was going to make.

Although this year is interesting in that there's no clear frontrunner, I think Marie has an excellent shot at winning. Besides coming in with a good-sized fanbase, top-notch performing skills and a very popular and skilled pro, ballroom dancing is HUGE in the Mormon community and Utah. I think BYU is the only accredited college in the nation that offers a degree in ballroom dancing.

Although I think Mel is by far the best dancer left in the competition, I am concerned as to whether her fanbase is large enough to sustain her in a competition this tight. I've really been enjoying her dancing and loved that Maks choreographed their V. Waltz to start with the natural (right) turns, reverse (left) turns, and fleckerl which are the traditional figures that make up International Standard V. Waltz. Very classic.

I did not like Jennie and Derek's Mambo from a couple of weeks ago, mainly because as entertaining as it was there was hardly any Mambo or Mambo technique in it. I don't think either of the Houghs has much if any experience in American Rhythm, and it shows (Julianne's Mambos with Apolo and Helio had similar issues). I am curious what Mark Ballas may have done with the Mambo given the shared training and background.

While I generally like Julianne and Helio, I feel like Helio has plateaued in his development at this point (not uncommon with beginners), and Julianne has hit a wall as to what she can do with him. Her choreography is really starting to look like a series of "tricks" strung together with some choreography in-between and she's better than that.

From a pro-am teaching perspective, what I don't like about Julianne's choreography is that she will often insert an eye-popping trick that can be very high-risk. Last night, they were having visible problems with one of the spins and had to bail on it early, and a similar trick in her Mambo with Apolo last year was thisclose to wipeout. I really don't think some of these are worth the risk when something easier would be just as impressive to an uneducated audience.

Jane cut an elegant figure on the dancefloor but, unfortunately, I think that proved to be her undoing.

I'm not sure if her elegance was the problem, so much as a lack of technique and musicality. Although Tony is a very good dancer himself, he's never been good at teaching beginners. While Jane could hit the marks of his choreography accurately, there wasn't a whole lot going on otherwise.

Unfortunately, given the show's fondness for glamazon's, I don't think they'll ever let him go since he's one of the few available pros tall enough to partner many of the celebs.

I don't think it was time for Sabrina to leave the competition as I think she was a better dancer than several of the other remaining competitors. BUT (you knew that was coming) she had a number of things working against her that destroyed her the second the judges' scores drooped:

Sabrina's weak dance also occured Halloween week, which has never gone well for Disney's "tween" stars (Monique was eliminated the same week).

While Sabrina was one of the strongest celebrity amateurs technically (if not the strongest), I found her dancing hard and graceless. I've said it before (and I'm sorry to sound like a broken record on this score) -- the key to victory in this competition is to make the audience fall in love with you and your professional partner. Kelly/Alec, Drew/Cheryl, Emmitt/Cheryl and Apolo/Julianne all did this and they stormed to victory in the end.

I think Kelly, Drew and Emmitt also benefitted considerably from large and established fanbases. Apolo and Julianne were the couple I would say most benefitted from the "coupledom" effect.

I liked Sabrina. I think she was strong technically AND she was developing competent technique under Mark's instruction. Foxtrot is never going to be a good dance for her (she's too short for one, and it's not the best dance suited for her personality), but I think the foxtrot they performed was better than it's given credit for. To me, watching the foxtrot (generally considered the most difficult of the Ballroom dances) and comparing it to their earlier quickstep (generally considered the easiest), I can see how much she's improved in her frame, connection, head placement, etc. It's no comparison even though quickstep suits her much more.

I was more surprised that Cameron and Edyta were in the Bottom Two. I'm not quite sure what happened with these two as Cameron is showing mild improvement and they have good enough chemistry together.

I usually write Edyta's celeb off at the beginning of each season. She seems like one of the nicest of all the pros, but I don't think that she's that effective as a teacher or choreographer.

I have to give her credit this season, though. I don't think anyone considers Cameron all that talented as a dancer (least of all Cameron), but she really took him much farther than I ever thought she would and did a really good job with him. He actually became a pretty competent beginner with a real sense of use of body weight and lead, and that is much, much further than she's gotten any of her previous celebs and her choreography this year has actually been fairly decent. Although it got quite a few knocks, I though the Samba choreography was pretty good and pretty classic samba, bad costumes and all.

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