Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's time to crown a winner

I guess I'm going to have a lot of time to blog since there are going to be three dances, some singing and then two hours of filler before they award the Mirror Ball Trophy.

My friend Laura and I were talking today about the sheer badness of last night's show. Those were the three most craptastic freestyle dances that have ever been on a finale show. There were too many tricks and too little dancing. Helio was the closest to good and he wasn't even in the same ballpark as Apolo & Julienne last year and Drew & Cheryl a few years back.

I'll say this again: If this is the last dance you're going to do before the final round of voting, why would you give us crap? The choreography was too gimmicky and too over the top. I know everyone wants to do all the lifts they can because they're permitted, but please remember the fundamentals!

Maks and Jonathan gave in to temptation and let their stars down. Julienne did a good job playing to Helio's strengths, but even he came up a little bit short. If I were on this show, not only would I be making out backstage with Marie and Julienne, I'd have gone all out on that last dance, but first I'd have videotaped myself doing the dance and then asked, "Is that the best I can do?"

If Mel and Marie had done that, I'm sure they'd have changed their choreography.

We have some initial filler and then Celine Dion comes out to sing her "The Boat Sinks!" song. Apparently she's a big fan of the show because she wants to be on it as a celeb dancer.

I blogged through the singing now we're at the first batch of results.

Who's getting whacked?

Please be Marie! Please be Marie!

(Scary music)

It's Marie. Hallelujah! While I think she's a fantastic entertainer and a lot of fun, she has clearly been the weakest dancer on the show for the last two or three weeks. In a year that the right person usually went home (with the exception of the Sabrina debacle), Marie stuck around about three weeks too long. I am happy that she accounted for herself well, but she overstayed her welcome.

I am surprised that she didn't pull a Jerry and outlast one of the other two, but this was the right thing. Now I just have to sit through an hour and a half of filler . . . Someone remind me to get up in an hour so my ass doesn't plant roots in the floor in front of the TV.

Now we're treated to each of the eliminated dancers. I am happy to see Josie back, if only for the eye candy factor. I'm not looking forward to Wayne, Albert (who?), Mark and Cameron's return. I have an idea: they should bring Drew back, too!

Watching Helio make Julienne snarf was pretty funny.

After that we see Albert, then Wayne and Floyd's non-dances. Mark is back and he's okay (again). It's kind of fun watching these guys dance when nothing is on the line and they're just having fun.

Sabrina coming back seems appropriate given that she probably should have been in Mel's place in the finale with Marie being relegated to a strong fourth place finish.

Look! It's a Drew sighting. Knock Samantha over and take the mic! Please, Drew! Come back to us! Don't stick us with the Queen of Unintentional Comedy!!!!

Jane and Tony are on and we're now at the halfway point of the show. Where is that law requiring all reality TV results shows to be no longer than 10 minutes?

I think I'm going to miss the rest of the show because Cameron's "Superman" dance is on and I have to go to the hospital to get someone to look at my bleeding eyes. Twice already this season (it inexplicably was the encore dance) was too much.

Next we get some pimping by Drew for his new show. I could have done without seeing Cameron without a shirt on. I still can't believe he outlasted Sabrina.

It's good to see Jennie back. She should have made the finale instead of Marie. Without the pressure of being judging, she looks like she's actually having fun. I just wish she could have relaxed to this point about a month ago because she improved the most over the course of this show.

With half an hour left, the two finalists are re-introduced before their last dance. Each has picked their favourite and they get to embellish it a little. I look for Mel to do her paso and Helio to do his quickstep.

After the filler piece, it seems that Mel wants to do the mambo, which was pretty good, but not great. It was okay but again not great. She gets lots of good hip action, but that was about it. The judges gush all over it. She's going to get a 30, which basically seals up the competition for her. That means Helio needed to finish first in the fan voting in order to win (since the fan voting breaks all ties).
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 8

While we're waiting for Helio's last dance, let me say that I am very excited about the new movie, National Treasure: Book of Secrets. The first movie was very good: family friendly, funny and it had lots of good history in it. As someone with two degrees in history, I was happy to see it being portrayed in a way that was both fantastical but also grounded in a little bit of reality and plausibility. The new movie looks good from the previews (admittedly, not always a good gauge of how good a movie might actually be) but with all of the original cast returning, I have high hopes. Plus, I'll be giving extra credit for students who go see it.

With the Pimp Spot of the show, Helio fully unleashes his quickstep. If you do the math, he's dancing solely for kicks since he can't catch Mel in the judges's scoring. Once again, he and Julienne do a good job. Unless they fall, they're going to get a 30 again and then we'll see how they finish up in the competition.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

I think Helio is going to win. Like Mrs. High Lord, I don't know who is voting for Mel and I think Helio has more fans. Of course, I could be wrong.

Mrs. High Lord likes Helio better but she's not willing to make a call on the winner right now. She likes that Helio seems to have come further as a dancer; the people like Drew, Sabrina and Mel have had some dance training (even if it wasn't ballroom) while others who haven't done any have a longer row to hoe, like Jennie and Helio.

There are 10 minutes left. How much more filler can they pack into this show? My ass has fallen asleep. Seriously.

Finally the filler is over.

The winner is:

(scary music)

(more scary music)

(drumroll please)

Helio and Julienne!

I'm happy to see this result, although in truth, I'd have also been happy to see Mel and Maks win.

The milk was pretty funny.

Mel is trying hard not to look ticked off. And doing a mighty fine job of it, too.

The current tally for the celebs:

Professional Athletes: 3
Boy Banders: 1
Soap Opera Homers: 1

What is it about professional athletes that makes them so good on this show? Is it really athletes? Or is it that Cheryl and Julienne are that good? I'd tend to believe in the latter. Let's see if they shaft Julienne next year by giving her a partner like Ed Begley, Jr. or William "The Refrigerator" Perry like they did to Cheryl with Ian and Wayne.

This season was pretty good as far as the show has gone. My only two gripes about the show are inflated scores and the super-suckitude of the freestyles. Other than that, the dancing was pretty good.

Sabrina being ousted early was a little frustrating, but it seems they got a good winner anyway.

My only question is this: in a year when the women were stronger than the men, how is it the guys have now won four in a row? And John should have won in season 1, too.

I think the answer is that the girls are better choreographers. Tony screwed Stacy over in season 2 and Maks didn't do Mel any favuors this year. In seasons 3 and 4, the girls weren't as strong as the guys overall and we had all-male top 2s.

Maybe Celine Dion can turn this around for the girls next year.

So that wraps another season of DWTS. As far as the viewing goes, I disagree that this was the "best season ever", but it still wasn't bad. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to read the blog (all eight of you). I'll be back in force once American Idol starts in January.

Congrats, Helio! You deserved it!

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The final night of dancing

With the Screen Writers Guild on strike, it looks like the only shows that will be any good come January are American Idol (where the writing is always of suspect quality) and Battlestar Galactica, a show that's entering it's final season and has already finished filming.

Unless there is a quick resolution, it looks like other shows that are promising (ie-Notes from the Underbelly, The Big Bang Theory, Samantha Who?) might end up getting canned because ratings will suffer through the reruns and other crap they stick on the tube. That means tonight's finale show might signal the end to anything worth watching on TV for a while.

At least I've got BSG: Razor on DVR to hold me over.

In other news, my fantasy teams were 1-3 this week. I'm down by 30 points in one league; if I'd played the Minnesota defense instead of the Ravens, I'd be up by 40. I hate it when I do that to myself.

In another league, I'm in first place in the standings but 7th in points. I'm losing in that league, too, but at least I've locked up a playoff spot. Now if I can just do something about Donovan McNabb getting hurt year after year . . .

Back to the dancing:

Going into tonight, Mel and Helio are the clear frontrunners. Marie is there only because of her massive Mormon fanbase. There's an article on MSNBC that says the judges don't have any impact on the outcome; it's just a popularity contest. The fan votes might be the only reason why Marie finishes anything but in third place.

Of course, as this year has shown, sometimes this show is very predictable and sometimes, you just don't know what's going to happen.

While I'm interested to see who wins this year, I'm not looking forward to the filler that's going to come tomorrow night.

Tonight they're dancing twice. Once is the judges's pick and the second dance is the freestyle. With Tony gone, I'm not worried about choreography killing one of the finalists (like he did to Stacy a few seasons ago), but I'd look for one monkey wrench in the machine tonight.

After being introduced to the dancers and Mel's cleavage, she comes out with Maks doing the cha-cha-cha. Can she wear any less? (Not a complaint; I'm just sayin'). I'm less than wowed by her little foray into the audience with her husband. She shakes her moneymaker well, but I'm not blown away. I give it a big aiiiiight. Len is unnecessarily nice. Like me, Carrie is not impressed.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-10
The High Lord's Score:

Going in the two-hole is Marie. If I were her, I'd go for broke and let it all hang out (both literally and figuratively). After all, she needs all of the help she can get because her technique isn't going to get her past the other two dancers this week. Her footwork leaves much to be desired; following Mel is definitely not a good place for her to go. She has a couple of stumbles and misses a couple of cues, but I think we all expect that from her. In other places, I think she's moving at less than full speed. Not quite Mark Cuban speed, but she's not 100% either.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Getting the third spot is Helio. If Mrs. High Lord ever leaves me, when I'm done making out with Marie, I'd like to introduce Julienne as the next Mrs. High Lord. They're doing the jive and I'm not sure about the pink shirt. It's a good dance for Helio; just goofy enough to bring out his natural playfulness, but also technical enough to show that he's actually a good dancer. The judges are unnecessarily harsh. Are we watching the same show?
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

Why are the judges hating on Helio? After weeks and weeks of over inflating scores, now they're having a dose of reality?

Mel comes out with her freestyle and I'm not sure about the chair props. I also think the strobe lights are about to trigger my epilepsy. I'm underwhelmed. Mrs. High Lord says they don't have a whole lot of flow and transition. It seems they're moving from one trick to another. Both appear stiff, although this may be part of the routine. Speaking of "the Routine", let's see it!!!

Carrie is right that they are better than this dance; if anyone killed this dance, it was the choreography. I think Maks pulled a Tony on Mel this year. If she looses to Marie, it will be Maks's fault. On a night when this last dance can make or break you for the season, why would you do this dance?
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 7

If that's a 27 point dance, I'm sure that Helio got hosed. The race car driver's jive was much better than the scores they got, which is especially curious given the unpredictable scoring this year.

My friend Jennifer from over at Idoling Along says that Marie is going to finish in second place because she's the sentimental favourite and I think she's right. Both Mel and Helio needed to finish in first place to avoid a disappointing third place finish.

Marie is doing a doll dance and the gimmick got old quick. It's not Jerry in the afro so maybe she'll actually finish in third. She entertaining and goofy but it also seems like she's going from one trick to another. However, she's being intentionally stiff about it. It doesn't help that she fell down at the end.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

I'm curious as to why Maks and Jonathan didn't go balls-to-the-wall tonight. Both tried too hard to work in tricks and stunts instead of just dancing. At this point, the freestyle round is Helio's to lose.

The Steelers-Dolphins game has been postponed so I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I hope the Patriots go undefeated because I never want to hear about the '72 Dolphins again. I'd also really like to see them go 0-16 so that everyone talks about the 0-16 Dolphins as the worst team in history as some sort of karmic reward for 35 years of everyone harping on how great the 17-0 undefeated team was.

Helio and Julienne also go for a gimmick but quickly shed the racecar outfits for sparkles. They're also obsessed with tricks, but they're working in some actual dancing, too. There are a few flubs and missed cues, but this dance flows better than either of the other two. I will be astonished if they get 10s, but compared to Mel and Marie, this was pretty good (ie-the new perfection). Plus, they looked like they're having fun.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

Apparently, tomorrow night they're dancing once more with the judges's scores being added in for the final tally. I'd say that Mel needs the most help. Even though she's in first place right now, who's voting for her? With the fan voting breaking all ties, she needs to place at least second in fan voting and then have a monster night tomorrow in order to have a shot at winning.

Helio got screwed by the judges on his jive. There are no two ways about it. He should have finished a point or two better, putting him in at least a tie for first. Marie is relying solely on her fans to help her place. As things stand right now, she needs to place first in the fan voting and Mel last in order to win; any other placement will guarantee her runner up at best.

I can only hope Marie doesn't steal this away from the other two.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DWTS Semi-Finals

Here we are with four dancers left. My neice, her boyfriend and my brother in law stopped by so I haven't been able to blog the entire show and I'm only marginally paying attention to the filler.

The Kenny Mayne Dancing With the Stars Stars skit was very funny.

It's good to see Sabrina back showing us that she never should have been eliminated. Can you tell I'm still bitter?

I can't believe Marie is safe. I think that means Jennie is going to get whacked. I don't see either Mel or Helio getting canned, but stranger things have happened (see Bryan, Sabrina).

My friend Jennifer seems to have called this one perfectly. She thinks Marie is the sentimental favourite who is going to sneak into finishing second.

Now Mel has been declared safe. No surprise there.

Scary music.

Will Helio or Jennie get the boot?

More scary music.

Helio is safe. Jennie gets eliminated.

I think I called this one last night.

I'm sorry to see Jennie go. Marie is the weakest of the dancers left, but probably has the most support, and that's why she's still around. The thing I liked about Jennie is that she's coachable and she always seems to take the feedback given by the judges and try to improve each week.

To me, Marie has peaked. Helio and Mel have also topped out, but they're far and away better than the other two remaining stars.

That leaves us with Helio, Marie and Mel finale. They're going to get three dances next week and then we'll see the champ crowned. As of right now, I'm giving the following odds to win:

Marie 40-1
Mel 5-2
Helio 2-1

There you have it. I reserve the right to revise my predictions as appropriate.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Three girls and a guy

It's been a rough week in the High Lord's household. Mrs. High Lord blew out her knee and has been hobbling around on crutches. She's feeling better and is a little more mobile, but is looking at surgery next month.

Before the knee gave out, she had the crazy idea of having Turkey Day dinner at the house. If everyone shows up, we could have 45 people here. I think I'm going to Shoney's or KFC.

My kids have also been turning in gobs of make-up work. I'm swamped but luckily grades aren't due until after the holiday break. I am continually astounded that many kids don't take an interest in their grade until four days before the grading period ends. On the plus side, since I accept work late (with a 30% penalty), a lot more kids are going to pass this six weeks than at the beginning of the year.

Tonight is the semi-finals where we have the two best dancers left, the fan favourite and the dark horse. You figure out who's who.

They get to pick their own styles, one ballroom and one latin.

Marie is first. She is the weakest dancer left but she could be this year's Jerry (unexpected runner-up) who advances solely on her fans's rabid support. In the ballroom round, Marie selected the quickstep. I don't know that this is the best dance for her. On the plus side, her dress does a nice job of pushing up her boobs. In parts she's moving at ¾ speed, but she looks like she's having fun. The music is favourable for her; it's light and friendly. She wants 10s; I think she'll get a mix of 8s and 9s. All the judges fawn over her. I didn't think it was that good.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-9
The High Lord's Score:

That was not a 29 dance. I'd go 24 tops. Helio's quickstep was a 30. This was nowhere close. Maybe they're going to inflate everyone's scores to leave it in the fans's hands.

This year's frontrunner 2.0 Mel is up next with a Viennese Waltz. She brings her Spice Friends along with her, and that's always good to bring in the eye candy votes. "Somebody to Love" starts and Freddie Mercury is turning in his grave. What's with the splits? Maks is her best friend; the choreography plays well to her strengths. Like Sabrina, Mel sometimes overdances, but it wasn't too bad tonight and Maks did a good job of reigning her in.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

They're definitely softballing everyone. That wasn't a 30 worthy dance either. It was better than Marie, but not "perfect".

This year's rising star is Jennie. She's been improving steadily and in a play for attention, she slips in a little bit of ABC/Disney product placement by taking her kids to Disneyland, where they had to close down Pirate of the Caribbean because people are spreading their loved ones's ashes on the rides at the Happiest Place on Earth. She comes out with a tango. I'm distracted from the dancing by the gawd-awful singing. She looks technically good, but a little robotic. I'd call this a little bit of a reversion to some of her early (bad) habits. Mrs. High Lord says Jennie is a lot more comfortable around Derek and that's what's been helping her lately.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

If Marie got 29, Jennie deserved a 30. I'm having a real problem with the scoring tonight. Someone please replace Samantha "I apparently missed the filler before the dance because I just asked Jennie something she told us earlier" Harris with Drew.

Since we're having company this weekend, I've got to find a day when I can hang the Christmas lights. I'm going to be off on Wednesday, so if it doesn't rain, that's what I might be doing. You'll know I fell off the roof if I don't blog the finale next week.

What does Rascal Flatts have to do with Disney? They're on with Helio and manage to work their album into the show. Has TiVO really changed the advertising landscape to the point where bands have to push their CDs during actual TV time? He's doing a foxtrot in the ballroom round. Marie should have done this dance. I thought Helio stumbled in a spot, but I liked it. He moves well; he's fluid and graceful. I liked his quickstep better, but given the other scores tonight they had better get 30 on this.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

I'm very happy that my Jaguars are solidly in second place behind the Colts in the AFC South. Check out this video of Maurice Jones-Drew pwning Shawne Merriman last week. That's a hell of a block.

Did anyone but me fall asleep during the Len segment?

Marie comes back with a mambo. I hope Jonathan is wearing a traditional outfit (or he's getting ready for the chicken dance at the wedding). They certainly have fun, even if they're dancing is just this side of mediocre. At least Marie gets her brothers in to the act. Was that even a dance or just Jonathan throwing Marie around? I'm "meh" over it.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

The scores are coming a little down to earth. I'm going to Marie's for Thanksgiving.

If I were Mel, I don't know that I'd try another paso doble. Their last one was so good, can a repeat possibly top it? To me the answer is no. She already had her defining dance of the competition. This paso is very good, but it's more of the same. I think she should have done something a little more fun and less intense. I think they'll score them high, but instead of putting this thing away, she left the door open.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

With a cha-cha-cha Jennie loosens up a bit. She should have done this one first. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. Marie's undeservedly-high score in the first round will probably consign Jennie to 4th place and that means probably elimination because of the Osmond Bloc. Jennie will have to score well to pull herself into sole possession of 3rd place. I'd give it to her because she is a better dancer than Marie.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score:

Is 30 the new 27? This moves Jennie ahead of Marie, but it wasn't perfect.

Getting the pimp spot, Helio drops a cha-cha-cha on us. Except for stealing Cameron's jump off the stage entrance, I liked the rollercoaster gag. The singing makes me want to beat my head against the table, but the dancing is fun. Helio has always done well in the latin dances. Where Mel's second dance was flat compared to her first, Helio goes straight for the throat with this one. I think it was the only dance worthy of even being considered for a 30 tonight. Compared to the other dances tonight, Helio turned this one up to 11.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score:

Last week, they didn't give us a leaderboard at the end of the show; let's see if they do it this week.

That puts the finishing order for tonight:


One person is going to be eliminated tomorrow and then three people will be dancing next week for the "much-coveted" trophy.

I think the person who will be eliminated is Jennie. I don't think she has the fanbase who can stave off the legions of fans who will vote for Marie (who should be the one to go home). Of course, given how this show has gone this year, I wouldn't also be too shocked if there is "surprise" elimination tomorrow night.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Results . . . Five to go

With five dancers left, there is a clear top tier and a clear second tier.

In the top are Mel/Maks and Helio/Julienne.

The other three are good, but not great. At this stage, good doesn't cut it.

Helio gets the encore (no surprise), then Gloria Estefan sings in Spanish. I had a taekwondo instructor who was absolutely head-over-heels in love with Gloria. I just remember how the American Idols butchered her songs on "Latin" night a couple of years ago.

We then get our first batch of results. The five couples are brought out and one person is announced as safe:

It's Marie!

The "no particular order" stuff makes me believe that Marie may have been in the bottom two. After all, she was lowest in the judges's scores last night. However, after her (probable) appearance in last week's bottom 2, maybe her fans came out en masse and when combined with the Osmond Bloc, it put her over the top.

I think everyone is now in full It-Could-Be-Me-Like-Sabrina mode now. I think this likely means that Jennie will be going home tonight. She was second lowest last night and I don't think she's got the fans to out-vote SOH's legions.

The Jimmy Kimmel segment is reasonably funny this week. I just hope we don't see the Jerry/Kenny/Lenny stuff again.

More filler.

The other four are up. The "writer's strike" joke is pretty funny.

Scary music.

Helio and Julienne are safe. Her dream for a repeat is still alive.

That leaves Cameron, Jennie and Mel.

We are reminded that Jennie has never smelled the bottom 3 and then the judges wax on all three of the remaining dancers.

Next to be revealed as safe: Mel/Maks.

I think I predicted this.

Is it Jennie or Cameron?

(scary music)

SOH! They actually did it!

I'm surprised that he outlasted Marie, but as I said before, he never had a chance to win. While I personally don't care for him, I think what makes him a weaker dancer is that he wasn't constantly improving like Jennie and he apparently doesn't have the rabidly-loyally fans of Marie.

A little part of me wonders if this massive Mormon voting bloc that is keeping Marie around will show up on Election Day for Mitt Romney.

At the beginning of this season, if you had asked me who I thought would be around with four to go, I don't think I ever would have imagined that Jennie or Marie would still be alive right now. Marie is fun (and cute, too!) and she's got a corner on the sympathy votes, but she's the weakest of the second tier dancers.

Jennie is a good dancer. She's proven that she's capable, but is always nervous. I think that's part of her charm, though. She's pretty, but not drop-dead gorgeous. She's got talent, but you can tell this doesn't come easily to her. She works hard, and improves every week, and I think the audience appreciates that.

In the top tier, it's my opinion that this competition is Mel's to lose (remember that I thought the same thing about Sabrina), but Helio is making a late charge. It wouldn't surprise me if either wins.

Next week, I think we'll finally be saying good bye to Marie, then it will be a Helio, Jennie and Mel finale.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day!

If you haven't already, thank a veteran of our armed services for their dedication and patriotism. Yesterday (even though people are off work today) originally commemorated Armistice Day (when World War I ended) but was changed to Veteran's Day in 1968. We honour everyone who has served in uniform, not just those who died (that's Memorial Day), whether it was in peacetime or during war.

Our freedoms are secured by the people who serve in the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy. Not all of them have glamourous jobs like fighter pilots, Special Forces or tank drivers. While they are all trained for combat, many do other jobs that have civilian equivalents. Our servicemen and women are infantrymen, office clerks, nurses, dentists, airborne and everything else. Each of their jobs is vital to the security of this country and we should thank them more than one day a year.

On to the show . . .

We open tonight's show with Jennie and her jive. I can't believe Richard Simmons made her cry. Of all the contestants this year, Jennie is clearly the most improved. While not spectacular like Mel and Sabrina, she's proven that she's coachable and she takes all of the judges's comments to heart (unlike Jane). Her jive wasn't fabulous, but was serviceable. I'll always give her a "A" for effort and a solid B for the performance. It wasn't as bad as the judges said, but she should get into the semis next week ahead of Marie or Cameron. Going in the Dead Man's Spot won't help her.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

The judges's scores are higher than they should be, but I have a feeling they're being generous. In other news, that singer is wearing something on her forehead to draw attention away from her boobs and Samantha is showing hers off.

Next up is SOH who shows off how busy he is and how much people love him. They show him in Disney World with ABC's other SOH (Kelly), then he's whining about how he's never gotten a 10. His Viennese Waltz would be better with good music. In all fairness, between this and the Superman theme it's a wonder he's still around. I wasn't awed by the dance, but then again, I'm not sure exactly how a Viennese Waltz is supposed to go. It reminded me of something out of a bad local-theater Nutcracker Suite production. [conspiracy mode=on]The judges are kind to him, but I kind of expect that.[/conspiracy mode]
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 7

(He doesn't get his 10, though; I'm sure someone at ABC is making "the call")

Next up is Marie who is recovering from the loss of her father. After this year, it seems that anyone with older parents should decline an invitation. Her rumba is okay. Not great and certainly not as romantic as it should have been. I think she may be carried by the sympathy votes again, but right now, she's the weakest dancer left.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

The judges are certainly being kind tonight.

Helio is next. Julienne brings in some big guns to help Helio with his technique. Let's see if it pays off. They're doing the paso doble, and he seems to have fixed his neck. He gets to look both serious and smile in this one. His technique is solid, certainly better than the other three who have gone tonight. I think Mel will wipe the floor with him, but so far, he's the best of the night.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Tom says that Mel is the only dancer to score a perfect 30 this year. Of course, he's wrong; Sabrina got a 30 and show she's gone (thanks, Cameron . . . you bastard!). MSNBC thinks she's going to win and I think I'm going to have to kill someone at ABC for giving the band "Personal Jesus". While not as good as last week's paso, her tango is also a go-for-the-throat dance. She's definitely out to put everyone away this week.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

This time, despite all the raving about Mel's technique, they lowball her scores. If Cameron and Helio got 9s, Scary Spice deserved a 10 or two this week.

In the second round, Jennie leads off with a foxtrot. She ought to do well. Jennie seems more relaxed with this dance, probably because it's a more elegant dance and lower-energy. Derek did a good job with the choreography on this one. He plays to her strengths and doesn't ask her to do too much. I liked it.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

Looking for an excuse to show off is arms, Cameron brings us his cha-cha-cha in a skin tight, flesh-coloured outfit. I know the girls will think it's hot, but it's making my eyes bleed. The rendition of "Brown Sugar" isn't helping. It's okay, if a little "meh" for me. Len and Bruno said they were stiff, and they're right.
The Judge's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

The math puts him one spot ahead of Jennie.

Marie comes out with a honky tonk jive that's pretty good. It suits her well since she can have lot of fun with it. In a couple places, she looks like she's moving at ¾ speed. It wasn't great and solidified her as a lock for the bottom 2. That's not really a negative criticism, but at this point, the other four are clearly more deserving to stick around for next week.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Note to Unintentional Comedy Queen: Do not ever speak with a southern accent again.

Helio borrows Cameron's jump off the stage move for his quickstep. The suit is ugly as hell, but the dancing is good. He's clearly having fun and his technique is spot on, too. I am also officially envious because he got to make out with Julienne on national TV. Watch out, Helio, or Apolo is going to put a hit out on you. They're going to get 10s. If Mel's earlier tango was her "statement dance", this was Helio's. Unless he falls down next week, you can put him in the finale right now.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 10

She must have done something right because Mel is in the pimp spot. She gets to shake her hips around in that frilly little number. This week was also reasonably drama-free. I liked the dance; it was high-energy but not too much. The judges all liked it, rightfully so. They'll get a 10 or two, but it won't be perfect.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-10
The High Lord's Score:

Marie should go home tomorrow, but she'll probably get through with sympathy votes. Cameron might be in danger because his scores were low, but I don't think he's going to get kicked off. That means Jennie will be the one who finds herself without a chair when the music stops; her scores were the lowest and I don't think her fans have more clout and Marie and Cameron's.

To me, this is a two horse race: Mel and Helio (in that order). Everyone else is dancing for scraps. The finishing order of the other three is inconsequential. All that matters to them is who gets to be there for the finale to finish in third place.

If Mel or Helio get the boot tomorrow, I am officially swearing off this show.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Who knows what's going to happen tonight?

Before we start tonight, I heard that Marie's dad died last night, so I'm guessing that she won't be there tonight. I'll be that also means she's safe.

After last night, everyone I talked to seems to agree that it's Jane's time to go. Yes, she's elegant and graceful, but she has stumbled two weeks in a row with subpar dances. Jennie seems to be making a charge of sorts; she's not doing great, but she's improving every week, unlike Marie.

Cameron's stock is also rising, but Helio and Mel are unquestionably at the top of the heap.

The show starts an hour-long orgy of filler and unnecessary babble. Sure enough Marie has gone home and is also safe.

While I'm waiting through the recap, I'd like to say just how ticked off I am at one of my fantasy football teams. In my American Idol Conspiracy Fantasy Football League, my team "Tastes Like Chicken" was up against at team that has been on a tear. She went into the week 8-0, all the while trouncing the competition on the coattails of Tom Brady and Randy Moss. On a week when they didn't run away with the game, I lost 204.05-203.08. That's a loss by 0.97 points.

Let me say that again: 0.97 points!!!!!! If Willis McGahee doesn't fumble, I win. If Drew Brees throws one more completion, I win. If Brian Westbrooks rushes for 10 fewer yards, I win. Arrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Have I also mentioned that I had another team lose to a guy that played six guys who didn't even set foot on the field this past weekend?

In other news, my other two teams won, so I can't be too distraught.

After some filler and singing by Leann Rimes, we find out that Cameron is safe. That leaves Helio, Jane, Jennie, and Mel in danger. No real surprises there. SOH was protected (as ABC wanted) and they string us along with a little more manufactured suspense.

The Jerry/Kenny/Lenny skit was less than funny. The breakdancers were good, though.

After some more Leann, JKL are back and this skit is absolutely horrid. Why won't they bring back Jimmy and Guillermo?

Finally, we're back to the results.

I think I'm going to start watching this show in the same way I watch porn: on video and if a girl with big boobs is talking (ie-Samantha "The Babbler" Harris), I'm hitting the fast-forward button.

We're reminded once again that anyone could be eliminated. Mel and Maks got the encore and they're safe. I am instructing the crew of Graymalkin to secure from condition 2 and resume normal stealth operations. Order confirmation 6-2-Alpha-4.

There's no bottom two this week, so presumably these three (Helio, Jane, Jennie) are the lowest vote-getters. I think this means Jane is going home because she had the lowest judges's total.

Helio is safe. Again, no surprise.

Jane will probably stay. She doesn't deserve it, but I think she has more voters.

Scary music time.

(Dramatic pause)

It's Jane and Tony. Shock. Surprise.

They got it right again this week. After robbing Sabrina last week, I'm happy to see that the correct couple got the axe this time. I like Jane and she's a good dancer, but at this point, she was just overmatched by the others.

I think it was odd how they told us that Jennie wasn't necessarily the next-to-lowest vote getter, which makes me believe that it was Marie who came in 5th place. Since she couldn't be there, they came up with some other excuse to put Jennie on the hot seat.

With any luck, Jennie will get a nice "bottom 2 bounce" next week. The question then becomes who's next?

Here's the order I think people should finish:

5. Marie
4. Cameron
3. Jennie
2. Helio
1. Mel

Here's how I think they will finish:

5. Marie
4. Jennie
3. Helio
2. Cameron
1. Mel

Right now, this competition is Mel's to lose. The wildcard is the SOH crew and how effective they are at swamping the phones/emails/texts with votes for Cameron. Can they carry him the same way they did for Kelly? Will the judges get "the call" from ABC's honchos? We'll know if he suddenly gets a run of 10s because he hasn't been that good.

Of course, I don't think my predictions have ever been right.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 05, 2007

One week later . . .

This week, not once am I going to mention the name of the person who was undeservedly whacked from the show so ABC's soap opera homer (SOH) could advance. I think we're going to see a string of girls get booted because the trio of Jane, Jennie and Marie (along with Cameron) are the weakest of the dancers and I don't think their fanbases can overcome the SOH's cross-over appeal.

While I'm waiting for the show to start (it's 7:55 here), I'd like to say a couple of things about the state of football right now.
  • How about that Colts-Pats game yesterday? We learned that even when they're playing poorly, the Pats will find a way to beat the defending Super Bowl champs. We also learned that even without Marvin Harrison, the Colts were two catches away from winning (Anthony Gonzalez for a TD, Reggie Wayne for a big first down). Peyton Manning is catching some heat for the fumble at the end, but he didn't lose the game for Indy.

  • Where have these Saints been for the past two months?

  • Now that the Pats finally get their bye, their chances of going undefeated just got better. Only the Ravens and the Steelers have any chance of stopping them. No one is going to win in Foxboro in January. I'd really like for them to run the table so I never have to hear about the '72 Dolphins again.

  • One of my fantasy teams lost to a team that started SIX players who didn't set foot on the field this weekend. I am incensed.

  • I was really hoping that Wonder Boy would have won on Sunday, but looks like Jimmy Johnson might repeat this year.

The show's starting now, so I'll hold off on any more football musings.

Each star has two dances and with any luck that will mean less filler.

Despite his bad neck posture, Helio leads off. He gets a nice little message from his folks, then it's tango time. What the hell is that jacket he's wearing. Did the purchasing department at ABC forget to buy the other half of Julienne's dress? (Not a complaint; just sayin') I think of the tango as a sensual, elegant dance and this ain't it. Of course, the music absolutely blows. Technically, it was okay, but it certainly wasn't as good as some others we've seen. Len didn't like it, Bruno had some nitpicks and Carrie Ann says it was good.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

That one singer has something sparkley on her head again and Samantha "If you stare at my boobs, you'll forget about all the stupid things I say" Harris is as inane as ever; all is right with the world.

Marie probably should have been eliminated last week, so as far as I'm concerned, she's on borrowed time. And I think she knows it. At least she has an Army of Osmonds to vote for her. Why would they us the "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" music an dress in Air Force sergeants's stripes? The quickstep is my favourite dance to watch when it's done well and she looks like she's having fun, like John did back in season 1. There were a couple of missed steps and flubs, but it was fun.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Am I just cranky or are the judges inflating scores again this week? Probably both. Carrie Ann is the high scorer this week. Maybe things are not so right with the world.

Next up is Mel who will probably get eliminated this week. For her first dance, she draw the foxtrot and they look good. I think all the drama we see in the filler is manufactured. Either that or they're just so dysfunctional that it works. Her steps are crisp and clean. After Sabrina, Mel is clearly the best dancer and I'm sure it has to do with the amount of dance training she's had as a result of her performance background. The judges are unnecessarily harsh. If they have Marie 9s and 10s, Mel should do better. Maks also needs to gripe in public less. At least Samantha knows that most people don't listen to a word she says.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

I'd really like the Elite Forces of the Republic pack of action figures for Christmas. I'll probably get the Yoda Backpack Buddy instead.

Another person who probably should have gone home last week is Jane and she's back after a bout of sympathy vote getting . . . ahem, food poisoning. She also gets in some home videos before her quickstep. I'm waiting for the Ghost of Johnny Cash to appear and throttle the guy who is singing. I'm sure my friend (and Johnny Cash super-fan) Vince is preparing to hunt this guy down and kill him. The dancing itself is pretty good. Not as good as Marie, but technically okay. Len softballs his critique. Bruno is a little harsher. Unless she blows away her second dance, Jane is serious bottom 2 material.
The Judge's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

In the five spot we have Jennie with her Viennese Waltz. She looks a little stiff, but it's not bad. Of all the celebs, she has improved the most, but she's a solid second tier performer. I saw a couple of problems with her footwork, and she was better than Jane. I don't know that she has the fans to last another week.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

Thief gets the Pimp Spot; apparently the suits at ABC know how going last gets people more votes. Along with Mel, he plays the "I'm so busy" card looking for more votes. Their quickstep starts off like it's Solid Gold. The music is horrid. It's his turn to be counting along in his head. I think he's trying too hard. I'm not as enamoured as the studio audience. I thought in a couple of parts he missed a few steps. Carrie goes easy on him. If the judges got on she-who-won't-be-named for going all out, all the time, are they going to do it to him, too? Apparently not.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Helio kicks off the latin rounds with the samba, which he was made to do. If they don't get at least one 10, it will be a crime. But we expected him to do well in the latin dances, didn't we. It was fun, it was good.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

After the Dubya joke, I'm liking Len more and more. It's too bad his work visa is going to be revoked tomorrow.

Marie also has a cha-cha-cha and I'm not sure it suits her. There are just some dances, 40something moms shouldn't do and this is one of them. When this song first came out, Marie was hawt, but now it's just not age appropriate. I couldn't find any real faults, but nor was there much to rave about.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

I think 8 is the new 7. It seems the judges are highballing the scores.

Mel and Maks are horsing around while Tom babbles nonsensically. After seeing Mel's outfit, someone needs to make sure Len has his heart medication. Clothing aside, these two just solidified their status as the frontrunners. None of the others have the technical skill or the single-minded devotion to winning of this pair. Of course, since I like them, they're going to be eliminated tomorrow. The judges are loving it. They're getting 10s again.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score:

It's good to see the other dancers showing their support for she-who-was-robbed last week. I wonder if Cameron has a cheetah paw.

Following Mel's tour de force, Jane can only be aiiight. And aiiight is. Earlier Carrie Ann said that the dancers have to have to blow the audience away (Randy calls it the Yo!) and Jane just isn't doing it. I'd definitely look for her to be in the bottom 2 tomorrow, and I give even money that she gets canned.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 7

There are 10 minutes left and two dancers. This show is getting more like American Idol every year.

I Jennie needs to make up some ground this week. She had a serviceable if unspectacular dance the first time up tonight, and her rumba needs to be good without making her come off as Mary Kay Letourneau. They were good, if a little slow. She doesn't look comfortable when it's time to face the judges. All of the judges are deservedly nice to her.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 8

Before cutting too commercial, Tom reminds us that the final dancer is also on an ABC soap opera. Then there are about 32 minutes worth of commercials. He's not just counting along in his head, he's actually counting out loud. Aside from that they're okay. A step above "meh" but they didn't blow me away. Of course, maybe I'm just not feeling them because I'm still bitter over last week. Did ABC have to give him the Pimp Spot to artificially inflate his score? (The answer is yes, twice; he's also got a cheetah paw on his wrist).
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 7

The undisputed winner tonight was Mel. If she's in the bottom 2 tomorrow night, I am going to move up my invasion timetable, de-cloak my orbital battlestation and unleash my army of clones to level every ABC TV studio on the planet.

I also think Helio will be safe. Everyone else is in play. If I were picking the bottom 2, it would be Jane and Marie with Jane getting kicked off this week and Marie next week.

However, as we learned last week, it's not a good idea for me to think that you did well. I can only hope that justice will be served and Cameron will get the boot.

High Lord. Out.