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Dancing with the Stars: Season 5

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I, too, would like to see Mel pull out the win this year, especially after seeing those four traveling splits she did during the Viennese waltz on Monday night. But, as sidwich noted, I don't know how strong her core support is. I think she will need to capture the lion's share of Jenny's core support if she hopes to outlast Helio and Marie.

This has been an odd season in many respects but, again, I agree with sidwich that the absence of a clearcut lock for the win at this stage of the competition should make the finale more interesting than usual.

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What I love about Mel and Maks is the risks they take with just about everything. From costumes and choreography to especially the music they dance to. The Pasa Doble to En Voque's Free Your Mind, The Tango to Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus and this week the Viennese Waltz to Queen :dunno:! When you think of these song selections together with those particular dances you wonder how in the heck can anyone pull THAT off! After watching them dance to those choices you wonder why no one has ever thought of that before. They do such a wonderful creative job.

However, all of that skill and energy doesn't mean they will win. I like Marie Osmond, I grew up watching her and Donny, but she's got no business being in the top three. Don't be suprised if she wins the whole thing. :)

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to especially the music they dance to. The Pasa Doble to En Voque's Free Your Mind, The Tango to Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus and this week the Viennese Waltz to Queen ! When you think of these song selections together with those particular dances you wonder how in the heck can anyone pull THAT off!

The pros have very limited input in the music that they dance to. The music is assigned by the producers each week (which makes sense when you think about the music rights that are involved). I am positive Maks did not think "Free You Mind" is a Paso, any more than Cheryl thinks "Thriller" is a Paso, or Louis think "Material Girl" is a cha-cha, although they all did a very good job with what they were given. (The Queen actually is a V. Waltz, and the producers tend to be reasonably good about the Waltz music choices since they do have to stick within the bounds of 3/4).

Actually, I think many of the pros do a very good job at making coherent dances to the music that they are assigned.

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Miliosr Report - Week Nine

Too Many '30s'

The teams performed a ballroom dance and a Latin dance. The judges gave out no less than five '30s', which led to tremendous bunching on the scoreboard prior to the audience vote:

01 Mel/Maks 25.0%

01 Helio/Julianne 25.0%

03 Jennie/Derek 24.2%

04 Marie/Jonathan 23.3%

My favorite dance of the night was Mel and Maks' Viennese waltz. I have had some heavy things to say about Maks in the past, primarily in regard to his inability to yield the spotlight to his celebrity partner. But Monday night was the first night where I felt he allowed Mel to claim the spotlight and the performance was all the better for it.

And those traveling splits Mel executed were just about beyond belief.

The Bottom Two

The two teams left standing under the Red Lights of Doom on Tuesday night were Jennie/Derek and Helio/Julianne with Jennie/Derek leaving.

While I thought Derek made real progress with Jennie over the course of the season, I wasn't surprised when Tom Bergeron called their names. In recent weeks, Jennie made a number of unfortunate remarks during her interview segments implying she would be perfectly happy if she went home. Those remarks were hardly the kind of thing that would fire up a fan base to get out there and vote and sure enough they didn't. With Mel, Helio and Marie campaigning full-tilt (on and off the stage) for the victory, Jennie's ambivalence was a surefire way to exit the competition.

The Final Three

I honestly have no idea what to predict for next week. I am curious to see if Jennie's supporters will continue to vote now that she's gone. My guess is that Jennie's fans will get behind Mel or Helio in so far as Jennie's core supporters may feel that Marie should have gone instead of Jennie. Still, you never know until the votes are counted.

See you next week!

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I didn't watch the season, but have just watched Helio's last 4 dances on youtube, and my God, what a talent. I guess race-car drivers must have fantastic reflexes-- he's SO quick, so responsive to her. and he's got a very strong core. look at him in those red pants, you can see his transverse abdominis doing what it orta. and he's responsive to the music -- he even praises the musicians. For someone under that much pressure, he's really LISTENING --

I love his temps leves -- he's in the air at exactly the right time, just a flash.

Now I've got to go watch Mel and Maks -- she was VERY impressive in the one clip I did see.

I wish i'd seen them do Tharp's Sinatra songs instead of MCB.

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miliosr, (and sidwich), thanks for your reporting on this whole series. Now that I've seen Miss Scary Spice in her paso dobles and her waltz, I get it -- she's a natural performer, she's strong, fast, strking, fleet footed, and she's got imagination -- she can really show you Spanish high fifth, and make you feel that spiralling line as something you feel as well as see. And you're right about Maks not letting her shine -- wonder if it was part of a strategy or just his hunger for attention, or maybe just something that happens when a strong man doesn't pull back -- we see this at San Francisco Ballet a lot, the men are SO visible, and all but the strongest women seem to be slightly flickering....

DWTS had a really good year -- both pairs of finalists were really fine. It was great to see a delicate man like Helio come throughand dance so big.

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I saw an interview with Cameron Matheson on the TV Guide channel and he said that, "Maks doesn't lack for self-confidence!"

I think that self-confidence cuts both ways with Maks and his celebrity partners (Tia, Willa, Laila and Mel). It can be thrilling to see him so dominate the stage but sometimes it can create an odd imbalance between him and his celebrity partner. That being said, his partnership with Mel was my favorite of the four he has been a part of it (probably because Mel's outgoing personality meant she wasn't left in Maks dust.)

The Miliosr Report on the finale coming soon . . .

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Well miliosr i think you're just full of wisdom, and I can't wait to read your thoughts on hte outcome.

And yes, when Mel really came out to meet Maks, she had a personality as big as his -- you wonder if she brought out that whip to let him know she knew he needed to give her more credit.... But that's doubtless his choreography. You wonder with a pair like this, whose ideas were whose. Mel certainly has ideas. The great thing about the waltz was how restrained and classic it was -- aside of course from the travelling splits, which put me in mind of Agon -- so many of the great set figures were in it, and SO WELL DONE.

I wish I knew more about ballroom ; I do Lindy hop myself (which is of course a MUCH greater form than Jive, but that's another matter), but Lindy's a special case. Mambo rhumba tango hte various waltzes foxtrot are all genres with "thought-out" values, and they're all wonderful ,

Myself, I think Tharp's 9 Sinatra Songs is one of the great ballets of the late 20th century, but i want to see it danced by ballroom dancers.

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Miliosr Report - Week Ten - The Finale

Well, the Curse of Kelly Monaco is alive and well. Here is your final finishing order:

01 Helio/Julianne

02 Mel/Maks

03 Marie/Jonathan

I was hoping for a Mel/Maks win but, given that I was on the ABM (Anybody But Marie) train, I'm content with a Helio/Julianne win.

Helio is now the fourth celebrity male to win this competition since Kelly Monaco won the disco ball in Season One. If one of the celebrity females couldn't storm to victory this season (given the relative strength of the women in comparison to the men), then I'm not sure a celebrity female will ever win again.

Performance Night

Each couple performed two dances -- a judges' choice and a freestyle.

I was surprised at how flat all of the judges' choices dances were -- there wasn't a single one that came close to the best dances of the prior week. Alas, the worst was yet to come.

I was so looking forward to Mel and Maks' freestyle and, instead, was shocked and disappointed by it. I thought it was odd, disjointed and unmusical. What happened in the space of week? The easy, obvious person to blame would be Maks, whose responsibility it was to choreograph the freestyle. But I wonder if rehearsal time was also a factor given that Mel starts the Spice Girls reunion tour next week. Maybe a combination of both? Regardless of where the blame lies, they picked the absolute wrong time to have a bad night.

Mel and Maks' freestyle was nothing in comparison to Marie and Jonathan's, however. In case you missed it, Marie was costumed as a grown-up doll. On paper, the idea was OK since Marie sells a line of dolls on QVC and the dance (especially the classical ballet) has a whole history of dances based on dolls and puppets and mechanical creatures coming to life. Unfortunately, two things sunk this dance to the bottom of the ocean. First, Bruno hit the nail on the head when he compared Marie and her doll costume/make-up to the Bette Davis character Baby Jane Hudson from Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? I kept waiting for Marie to say, "Ya ain't goin' nowhere, Blanche!"

The second, and bigger, flaw to this freestyle is that Marie never danced. All she did was make herky-jerky movements! At the end of the day, the competition is about dancing -- not imitating a doll -- and the absence of dancing in this freestyle just killed it.

I wasn't wild about Helio and Julianne's freestyle (it was sloppy in parts) BUT they came out on fire and performed it to the hilt. On a slow night, where the five previous dances had been mediocre at best and disastrous at worst, Helio and Julianne gave the audience the dance of the night and the last thing the audience would remember prior to voting.

I will go to my grave believing that Mel and Maks lost the competition on Monday night as much as Helio and Julianne won it. (I think Mel and Maks were at a mild disadvantage already going into the final round given that Helio (with his suave Brazilian looks) and Julianne (with her All-American wholesomeness) made for the kind of romantic pairing which is more likely to appeal to viewers of this show than the adult eroticism Mel and Maks had together.)

Results Night

Let me take this opportunity to single out host Tom Bergeron for his stellar performance as host. Even when the dancing is nothing special, his numerous, wonderful quips are always entertaining. Grade: A+

I am neutral about musical guest Celine Dion but the lyrics from the Titanic theme song drive me up and over the wall:

"Near/far/wherever you are"

It's not exactly Johnny Mercer, is it?

Mercifully, Marie went first. What followed was the two remaining teams performing a "couples pick" for the judges. I thought Mel and Maks were great on the night but, unfortunately, they were 24 hours too late. The judges tied both couples so it all came down to the audience vote which, as I have already noted, allowed Helio and Julianne to capture the title.

Final Thoughts

I'm starting to believe those fans of the show who say that Dancing With the Stars seasons are a lot like the movies in the Star Trek movie franchise -- the even ones are good to great and the odd ones are mediocre to bad. I would put Season Five in the mediocre category -- better than Season Three but nowhere near as good as Season Four (let alone the still incredible Season Two.) Here's hoping Season Six is a return to form!

Bye! :beg:

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