Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And The Ugly Mirror-Ball Trophy Goes To ...

Julianne Hough and the little guy she danced around all season, Helio Castroneves. Mel B., who was the best celebrity dancer on the show, came in second. Marie Osmond came in third.

Which means that for the FOURTH straight time, a little-ish male celebrity has won, and for the third-straight time, that little-ish male celebrity was a sports figure. This was supposed to be the year a woman won it, and really, Helio was probably the fourth-best dancer on the show, following Mel, Sabrina Bryan and Jennie Garth. But he had loads of charisma and was very likeable, and he had defending champion Julianne as his partner. And, despite their claims that as the only male left, Helio was at a disadvantage, it really wasn't because in ballroom dancing, you showcase the female. So all the celebrity females weren't really competing against Helio - they were competing against Julianne, who is one of the most talented dancers I've ever seen. How is THAT a disadvantage for Helio?!

Also in Helio's favor was the fact that a lot of people felt Mel B. had an unfair advantage because she's in the Spice Girls and she sings and dances for a living (part of the same reasons a lot of people didn't vote for Sabrina). But Sabrina's Cheetah Girls are one thing; the Spice Girls are another. I don't recall them doing much dancing outside of prancing here and there, posing and jumping up and down in huge-ass shoes. Because really - you think Posh would do anything that caused sweating?! I think that whole "ringer" thing is part of why Joey Fatone lost last year, and why Mario Lopez lost the year before that.

What probably sealed the deal for Mel, though, was their freestyle. There were a couple of issues - 1. Mel barely had time to rehearse because the Spice Girls reunion tour is starting soon, so they've been in rehearsals for that; 2. Maks hurt his back; 3. Bandzilla completely BUTCHERED "The Way I Are". I'm talking massacred; 4. Mel messed up the choreography, as we learned in tonight's show. The band issue is an interesting one - I came across this on You Tube today ... it's Mel & Maks' freestyle set to the real music. It's crazy, but it makes a real difference. Check it out:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Finale Fizzles, Not Sizzles

The finale of Dancing with the Stars is supposed to be the exciting one with freestyle dance and lifts and all that. Instead, we got probably the worst show of the season. Thank goodness this was the penultimate show and not the first or the series would've been cancelled immediately.

Very disappointing choreography tonight from everyone. There was exactly one good dance tonight - Mel and Maks' cha cha. But yet it still wasn't up to their high standards they had set earlier in the season. And their freestyle? I had a bad feeling when Mel said they were doing some hip hop. Because Russian men and hip hop usually do not mix. And it was quite dull, save for that one really awesome gasp-inducing lift. And don't get me started on the "singing" of "The Way I Are". Good lord.

Here's what I don't get. Why do the professionals think they have to do a non-ballroom dance in a freestyle? Why can't they just do a dance in their specialty and do all the illegal stuff they can't do on the show? Mel and Maks would have killed doing a Latin dance with lifts.

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, Marie and Jonathan came out for their freestyle. At first, I thought it was brilliant - Jonathan sending Marie out as a doll that he would wind up and bring to life as a dancer. Except she never came to life or danced. She remained a doll the whole time. Which, I suppose, showcased Marie as she really is as a dancer - meaning not all that much of one. The idea was half-good, and very reminiscent of the Ashlee/Dmitry "Dance Dance" doll routine on So You Think You Can Dance 2 or the Lacey/Pasha mannequin hip hop dance, but Jonathan and Marie really messed it up by keeping her as a rag doll the whole time. And to add insult to injury, Marie ate it on one of her lifts. They covered well, but she totally fell. This whole thing was so bad that Bruno was pretty much speechless. And the 7 paddle actually came out of retirement!

Helio and Julianne received the highest single score of the night (29) with their freestyle, but I'm thinking that score had more to do with the fact that everyone else's was so bad that theirs looked so much better in comparison. Theirs was fun and entertaining and had lifts and tricks, but it wasn't perfect. Their dual cartwheels looked bad (well, his end, anyway), and some of the lifts were a little scary. But the judges scored accordingly based on what they scored Mel. The jive was not good, and I'm kind of (pleasantly) surprised they got called out on it.

Another thing that was really bad tonight were the attitudes of some of the dancers. Marie, in particular, was obnoxious with her pouting and shouting of excuses. Tom Bergeron even said something directly to her about a hissy fit. It was great. Jonathan, who I usually like, was irritating as well, making angry faces about the judges' "low" scores of 8 in the first round. As if they deserved the same score as Mel and Maks for their cha cha! Maks made some comments to Carrie Ann. And Julianne got pouty when the judges criticized them. Contrast that with Mel, who was amazed and grateful at the 8 Carrie-Ann gave her for the freestyle because she thought they would get 4s.

There's no way I would base the winner of this show on tonight because tonight was just so awful. It would totally unfair to dance based on this. So for the whole body of work, it's Mel B. for the win!

And if they want a good finale in the future, they better get Cheryl Burke a partner who isn't on his death bed. She needs to be in every finale because SHE can deliver a fantastic freestyle (see Lachey, Drew and Smith, Emmitt).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Spicing Up The Dance Floor

Week in and week out, Mel B (Scary Spice) has been performing great routines on Dancing With The Stars, and entering this week, she's had two perfect routines. She got two more tonight, doing a GORGEOUS Viennese Waltz and a strong Paso Doble.

Here's the video of the waltz. Check out the four walking splits she does about halfway into the routine. Damn!


There's no way they could have topped their first paso doble, which could have been the best dance this show has ever seen. This one was good but, as I said, impossible to top thir first.

But the greatest part of that whole dance was hearing crusty old Len Goodman singing a line of "SexyBack" (I'll let you whip me if I misbehave) during the judges' critique. HA!

Julianne and Helio also got a pair of 30s, plus Len's endorsement as the couple of the night and more praising of Julianne as the star of the show. I mean, yeah, the girl can dance, but hi, she's the professional. This isn't supposed to be about her, but almost every dance is about her whirling and twirling around Helio, who, yes, partners well, but basicaly does his poses and twirls Julianne around with a big dorky smile on his face. Big whoop.

Jennie Garth finally got a perfect 30. I was thinking more 29, but she turned a corner with her cha cha, so I can't argue. Her tango was dreadful, though. Or, more accurately, the music they danced to was dreadful.

Marie Osmond got a 29 and a 27. The 29 was deserved - her quickstep was well-done - but the 27 was overscored. The mambo was kind of a mess and seemed a bit desperate. And she still can't move her hips too well. But she avoided a major spill and/or wardrobe malfunction at the end. On her last move between Jonathan's legs, she stepped on part of her dress and could have almost pulled a Jennie/Derek, or, even worse, a Janet Jackson.

Usually the person in last doesn't end up going, so I'm thinking Jennie's a goner tomorrow. I'd be down with Helio going. I don't think Marie is going anywhere. And if Mel doesn't make the final, I will go Scary Spice on someone's ass.

Kelly Clarkson!!

Wow so it's been like 2 months since I've had time to blog about anything, but I had such a great time at the Kelly Clarkson concert tonight that I had to share ...

Kelly was really awesome tonight. Her voice was about as good as I've ever heard her live. The only complaint about the concert is that it's too short - about 1:20 long. With three albums, she can easily play another 5-10 songs, but I guess to keep that voice sounding like that, it's just as well she doesn't overtax it.

She sang a good mix of songs from My December and Breakaway. Only one song from Thankful (Miss Independent ... which was mixed in with AC/DC's Back in Black and with synthesized vocals in the beginning that totally sounded like Britney Spears!), plus two covers - Up To The Mountain (Patti Griffith song she sang on Idol Gives Back) and Home (Marc Broussard song). Both were outstanding, and she sang the hell out of Up To The Mountain. It was beautiful.

Setlist, from what I can remember, and not totally in order:
One Minute
Behind These Hazel Eyes
Because Of You
Never Again
Maybe
Gone
Addicted
Up To The Mountain
Be Still
How I Feel
Can I Have A Kiss (just added to the setlist)
Miss Independent
Walk Away
Hole
Breakaway

Encore:
Sober
Chivas (she said she wrote this song at Molly Malone's in Hollywood on some bar napkins. haha!)
Home
Since U Been Gone

Jon McLaughlin opened for Kelly - he was good! Kind of a Jason Mraz-sounding piano-playing pop-rock-folk singer. He has that one song "Beautiful Disaster" (not to be confused with Kelly's "Beautiful Disaster"). Might have to go download that song ... but not before making a Kelly Clarkson mix mp3 CD so I can listen to all the other songs I didn't get to hear tonight! Except A Moment Like This. I didn't really miss that song too much.