Tuesday, November 25, 2008

DWTS: Championship Edition

I hope everyone has an exciting and happy Thanksgiving holiday. We're having some family in and we went out for dinner late tonight, so I'm not blogging DWTS live.

In fact, I'm only watching the last 15 minutes to see who wins, then I'm going to go back and blog the show when I get some free time. Probably Thursday morning or so.

I've missed the first 75 minutes of filler and tune in just in time to see Miley Cyrus. That would be a mute for the TV.

MSNBC had a good recap of the last performance show and they think Brooke is going to win. Given a 5 points jump on the guys from the judges, that's a hard point to argue.

After Billy Ray's daughter, I see that Lance got whacked first, leaving the title between Brooke & Derek and Warren & Kym.

Mathematically speaking, it would take a Herculean effort for Warren to overcome the hole left by the judges. I wonder how he scored tonight?

ABC pays some bills, Samantha Harris says something incoherent and then it's time for the final results.

(false drama)

(scary music)

(cat calls from the audience)

. . . And Brooke & Derek are declared the champs!

Who didn't see that one coming?

You there, in the back . . . put your hand down.

Brooke has basically been the wire-to-wire leader. Some other viewers found her to be robotic and emotionless, but I think her technical prowess was just far above everyone else, she couldn't help but win.

I am surprised that they weren't up against Lance & Lacey in the final two, but Warren has the whole football player thing going for him. I will also say that he had the best freestyle of the night, maybe not the best technique, but Kym choreographed a near-perfect dance that highlighted his strengths, covered his weaknesses and wasn't simply a collection of tricks thrown together.

That leaves the girls 3 of 7. Coincidentally, the Houghs are 3 of 7, too. If Derek doesn't get shafted by the "draw" of celeb partners next year, he could be a repeat winner, too. Of course, I think Cheryl is due for a partner with above-average talent and I think she's hungry to get back in the winner's circle.

I'll do a full write-up of the show when I get a quiet moment with the DVR.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's time for the finale

Here we are with ten celebs gone and three left. Of the trio, someone over at MSNBC thinks Lance is going to win. At the same time, Warren appears to be a fan fave.

Personally, I think Brooke is going to win. She's the best dancer, hands down. Lance has come on strong and the judges (especially Grumpy Len) haven't been as harsh of late. Warren is there because he's managed to be the last one standing each week. His technique is clumsy and inconsistent and he's trading on his smile.

So who is going to be done in by their pro partner's bad choreography this year? Derek and Kym are seasoned pros and there's nary Maks or Edyta among them. Lacey is the wild card and she's made a couple of choreographical mis-steps in the past. This week would be a bad time for another one.

I've gone no-filler tonight, which means I just watched The Big Bang Theory and am now switching over to DWTS and forwarding through all the crap.

As with other seasons, everyone is doing the vaunted freestyle along with a samba group dance and presumably one other dance that they've done once this year.

We get the obligatory introductions and I hadn't realised that Brooke was the only one to score a perfect 30 all season. Quite a contrast to season 4 when they were passing out 10s like they were candy, huh? By the way, I FF'd through the remainder of the intros as well as the kids dancing.

With Julianne gone, who will I anoint as the next "Future Mrs. High Lord"? Please make your submissions in the comments below? (And if anyone says Samantha Harris, I will hack your email and subscribe you to every mortgage refinancing and penis enlargement list serv I can find).

Opening the group samba are Brooke and Derek. She's clearly over the badness of last week's jive. Her hips are working overtime and Derek has done a good job not throwing the kitchen sink into the choreography.

Lance and Lacey are next and it's a good thing for everyone that they're doing a group samba and not a group jitterbug or group quickstep. The dance seems to play to everyone's strengths. The guys in particular should do well since they don't have to do as much hip-shaking as the girls.

Wrapping up the solos are Warren and Kym. The latin styles cover his flat-footedness and show him having fun. Technically, he's the least adroit, but that's covered nicely by Miss Kym's (non-existent) yellow outfit.

I even like the group ending. It was so much better than last year's Idol group sings. (Blasphemy, I know.)

The judges all say nice things about the group dance. If this show is similar to past seasons, the scores for all three will be close, if not equal, leaving the fortunes of the dancers up to the audience. I think that is in response to the debacle of season 1 when Kelly Monaco was handed the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Here's the scoring:

Brooke and Derek
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

Lance and Lacey
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

Warren and Kym
The Judges's Scores: 9-7-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Len has apparently fully embraced his role as the East German Judge.

I think the dancers really like the freestyle, but it can turn into a minefield instead of being a showcase for their talent. Sometimes it works (Helio, Drew) and sometimes it's just a collection of tricks that implodes (Mel B, Marie).

Brooke and Derek start with some Grease!. It looks like they're trying to make up the jive. Of course any excuse to show her in a bathing suit and then a sparkling bikini top is always good. The opening part of the dance had some good content, but then devolved into a bunch of tricks, many of which just had Brooke bouncing around (not a complaint). I like to think of Derek as a good choreographer, but I didn't think he did as good a job on this as he has in the past. The judges fawn, which means there will probably be 10s all around. Len says it was the best freestyle he'd ever seen. I disagree; that would be Drew & Cheryl.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score:

Right now, Brooke cannot be unseated from the top spot. Statistically, I think this means Lance's legions need to start voting in overdrive in order for her not to win.

I see lots of hip hop in Lance and Lacey's freestyle, which should be good. I never thought I'd enjoy seeing white people dance to Run-DMC, but this isn't bad. They're in full velveeta mode, but they have a surprising amount of content, even if they know Len won't like it. Losing the shoe at the end was a nice touch. The technique wasn't great, but it certainly was fun.
The Judges's Score: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Through the luck of the draw, Warren and Kym end up in the Pimp Spot. After the first round of scores, they need every advantage they can get to finish second to L&L. Kym has shown that she can compete, but I fear she may not be able to overcome his sheer size. Like Brooke & Derek, they start off with a coherent dance. Let's see if they just start doing a bunch of tricks . . . And not so much. Yes, they do a lot of lifts, but of all the choreography in the freestyles this is the best. Warren's technique wasn't as good as Brooke or Lance's, but I liked that it was good from beginning to end. They didn't stop the dance halfway through and just start throwing each other around.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-9
The High Lord's Score:

Starting three points behind Brooke and two back from Lance will handicap him. That 10 will help him make up some ground on Lance, but I think the finishing order will be:

Third Place
Warren & Kym

Second Place
Lance & Lacey

Winner
Brooke & Derek

The judges have basically handed the trophy to Brooke, but who knows, stranger things have happened.

See you tomorrow for the results!

High Lord. Out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm devastated . . . absolutely devastated . . .

In case you hadn't heard, the object of my cyber-stalk . . . er, cyber-affections, the lovely Miss Julianne Hough, announced that she is not returning to Dancing With the Stars next season.

She wants to focus on her blossoming music career. While I can't blame her, I am going to miss her very, very much. Not only for the eye-candy factor, but the fact that she made people into better dancers and always at least tried to field a competitive celeb, even when she got shafted (Adam Carolla).

Who am I to shower my attention on now?

You'll excuse me if I go into mourning now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The ultimate no-filler results show

Since I am protesting the insanely-long results shows that have pervaded contest-style reality TV, I have decided to go absolutely no-filler again this week. In fact, I'm only going to watch the only part of the show that matters: the last 10 minutes.

Let's face it, the first 50 minutes are nothing but an excuse to sell advertising time, use up otherwise empty programming space and cross-promote other ABC/Disney/ESPN products. To this I say (in the spirit of the upcoming season): Bah, humbug!

As I said last night, I believe Cody will be the one sent home tonight, although he might get "the call" if TPTB desire a Hough sibling shootout in the finale. Still, if you believe the votes do count and the results aren't rigged, I don't see how the survives until next week.

Warren is a fan fave and Lance had a tremendous show when he needed it most. Brooke had a bad first dance, but there's still no way the finale is going to be all-guys. I've gone on record as saying that this season is Brooke's to lose and even after her jive, that doesn't change.

She's simply too good. Yes, she had half of a bad night, but if you look at her season, she's been the best week in and week out. People who have more free time than me (yes, they're out there) have calculated that Brooke & Derek's average score is almost two full points ahead of the next closest couple (Warren & Kym). And before last night's 21, it was almost two and a half points.

By comparison, the difference between Brooke & Derek's average score (26.4) and Warren & Kym's (24.3) is 2.1 points. Tony & Alex had an average score of 22.3 (2.1 points lower than Warren & Kym. However in between Warren & Kym and Tony & Alex are Lance, Maurice and Cody. Brooke's lead in the judges's scores isn't just big, it's huge (with a silent h sound).

Okay, it's 9:50 and I tune in just in time to see Lance & Lacey installed into the finale. As are Brooke & Derek. Duh.

After last night, it was basically mathematically impossible for L&L to be eliminated. And Brooke has too many fans.

I noticed that Tom didn't say that Warren and Cody were the bottom 2, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.

Hey, how about that bailout being championed by the "conservative" administration of Dubya and his cronies? I find it curious that they're willing to borrow $700 billion from our children and grandchildren to give to Wall Street for running the mortgage and credit industries into the ground with no strings or oversight, but they can't find $25 billion in there to loan to the "American" car names so they can continue to build gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks.

I guess throwing money at poorly managed industries is only a bad idea when the Democrats want to do it.

For the record, there is no one in the world who wants to see Ford and/or GM declare bankruptcy more than me, but it seems terribly hypocritical for Dubya and Paulson to want to socialise the banking industry, but not loan money to the automakers. Maybe if the banks were union, Dubya would oppose bailing them out, too.

We're back to the results and Warren is sweating under the lights.

I would be really sad to see either Julianne or Kym go, but I just can't stand to think that Cody would advance.

. . . And he doesn't.

No three-time champ this year.

I'm not surprised. He's come far as a dancer this season, but having to switch partners twice is what did him in. I think if he didn't have to dance with Edyta for two weeks in the middle of the season, he may have stood a chance at making the finale, but the interruption of the chemistry he had with Julianne was too much for him to overcome.

I think Karina may have been a better placeholder than Edyta, who has problems as a choreographer. But, alas, that's how things go sometimes.

It looks like I'll have to settle for seeing Julianne at the American Music Awards instead of the finale.

As the credits roll, all I can think is, "Hey, Disney-boy, get your paws off my future Mrs. High Lord!!" (Would that be Future High Lady?)

That leaves us with a strong Top 3.

Lance has made a strong charge over the past few weeks and Warren has gained some consistently of late, but they're still playing catch-up to Brooke. If you don't think that, please tell me why.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Semi-final

I guess that's what this week is. We're down to four couples. That means there will be one more elimination before the finale. Who will be left standing?

The way I see it, the clear frontrunner is Brooke Burke. Despite Grumpy Len's faulty insistence that she be judged as a pro, she's the best of the celebrity dancers.

The second tier is a three-way tie for scraps. Each of the guys has strengths and weaknesses. After a couple of strong weeks, Cody was side-tracked when his partner went down with an appendectomy. Warren has often been strong, but he's had a stumble or two, but he plays well with the fans. Starting the strongest of the men, Lance has cooled of late, mostly because the judges (especially Grumpy Len) don't seem to like him. Or maybe they don't like Lacey and they're taking it out on him.

What makes this interesting is that we don't know how the fans are voting. ABC has been very evasive about revealing the Bottom 2, so we don't know who's getting the votes. On one level that's good because it keeps fans from getting complacent (remember Rueben's trip to the bottom 3?). It also feeds the drama of the show.

If I were laying odds on who was going to win the show, here's how I would break things down, as our friend Jennifer would say, from worst to first:

Lance, 15-1
Cody, 6-1
Warren, 5-1
Brooke, 2-1

Note that I do not endorse gambling. Nor do I know any bookies who are taking bets on this show.

I put Lance as the longshot because his partner is new to the show. That's apparent in some of the choreography, as Lacey doesn't always quite know what to do with Lance.

On the flip side, Cody is paired with a two-time champ, Warren has a former runner-up (who may have been competitive in other seasons if not for being stuck with the likes of Jerry Springer, Penn Jillette and Mark Cuban), and Brooke's partner has done more with less in the persons of Jennie "Low Dancing Self-Esteem" Garth and Shannon "No Hip Action" Elizabeth.

If you doubt how important the pro partner is, look no further than Cheryl Burke who is not only a two-time champ, but got more out of Maurice, Ian, Cristián and even Wayne than she had any right to. If she had gotten some better partners, she would have been a three or four-time champ.

Because Derek has taken a page out of Cheryl and his sister's playbooks, he plays to his celeb's strengths and covers for her weaknesses. In Brooke's case, he has had to do very little covering because she's so good. If you don't believe Brooke and Derek are the couple to beat, you just started watching this week.

The wild card is Grumpy Len. Both Carrie Ann and Bruno know that this thing is Brooke's to lose, and are going along for the ride with the rest of us. Len apparently thinks he has to make things interesting (or perhaps he got a memo from TPTB at ABC) and is unfairly applying a two-tier scoring system.

Of course, all of this is moot if the fans keep voting Brooke into the top spot because the fan votes trump the judges's scores. That's how Kelly was able to beat John back in season 1 even before someone at ABC made "The Call". With ABC's soap opera homer gone, the only one who would be on the receiving end of a friendly intervention would be Disney Boy Cody, which I don't see happening.

They're doing two dances again tonight, so let's get it on!

The dancers come out and Brooke and Kym are falling out of their dresses (Yea!).

Drawing the lead-off spot are Brooke and Derek who get the jive and the salsa. They should do well at both. Unlike Idol, going first isn't always the kiss of death, so this bodes well for her chances to make it to next week. Opening with the jive, they miss a couple of holds early but they cover it well. It's high-energy and fun, but for the first time this season, Brooke looks like she's counting along in her head. Their ending move was off.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

The judges rightfully pan them, although the Lift Nazi is a little harsh. I hope the salsa is better. That's going to bring their average down. Of course, this could also mean that their voters are going to go crazy to keep her around.

Next up are Cody and The Future Mrs. High Lord. Welcome back, Julianne!!!! Cody still annoys me to no end. I'm not sure who dressed them (blech!) and the dance starts off a little robotic (not in the good way). Similarly, I'm not sure who picked the music (double blech!). They're okay. I still have problems taking Cody seriously in the ballroom dances and this doesn't make me like him any more. It was better than Brooke (something I never thought I'd say), but I'm still meh on him.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Warren and Kym are in the three-hole. They're doing the mambo and the jitterbug tonight. I thought his jive would be awful, but it was actually pretty good. They start with the mambo. His hips don't quite move the ways hers do. It seems everyone is nervous this week. Or is it the two dances in one night are killing people (again). Warren is better than the other two, but not by much. Kym's cleavage makes me want to say nice things about them.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

This is definitely not the show from about three seasons ago when everyone would have had 9s or 10s.

Closing the first half of the show are Lance and Lacey. Grandpa (not Munster) shows up to pander for some votes. They start with the mambo, which only has to be very good to qualify as "excellent" for tonight. Where the other couples have stumbled, L&L comes out with the jugular shot. I'm not sure about the thing hanging off Lacey's butt, but they're good when okay would put them at the top of the heap. The judges rightfully tell them that they're the class of the night. I see 9s and maybe a 10.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

In this week's Bizzarro World where Brooke is in last place, she needs a strong showing in the latin rounds. I could do without the Len Goodman filler, though. And the salsa world champions (more filler). Is Carrie Ann going to get them for a lift, or is it permissible in the salsa style? I like the frills. This is much better than their jive. They're in sync, and having fun. I don't think this gets them into first place for the night, but I think it lifts them out of last place.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-9
The High Lord's Score:

Was that score Len's make up for last week?

Cody and Julianne come to us almost immediately (too much filler at the beginning leaves you rushed at the end; you'd think they'd have learned from Idol . . . I guess not). I heartily approve of Julianne's outfit. They're kind of goofy, which makes him that much more palpable. Plus, they're also good, even without them hamming things up. I was hoping for a wardrobe malfunction, but alas, I'll have to settle for an entertaining and spicy dance.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

There's some more filler, then it's time for Warren & Kym's jitterbug. She does more dancing than he, but he's pretty good. Unlike a lot of other big guys, Warren doesn't come off as awkward (Clyde) or just clumsy (Penn). This wasn't their best, but it was respectable enough to probably land them in the top spot for the night. What the hell was Bruno's "Starship Troopers" reference?
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

With only 12 minutes left in the show, Lance & Lacy do the jitterbug to wrap things up. I think Lance is in a good spot: that Zen place where he just lets it all hang out and doesn't worry about what the judges or the audience things. Even when he loses a shoe. Their routine is fun and while a little trick-heavy, it doesn't seem as forced as some of the other dances tonight. I think they may sneak into first place for the night. Even Grump Len like them.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

I think Cody is on the chopping block tomorrow night. Like Brooke, he stumbled early, but unlike Brooke, he didn't knock 'em dead on his second dance. Warren ended the night in first place, which means that in all likelihood, he's safe. Lance finished in first by a wide margin, which should ought to leave Cody as the one without a chair when the music stops.

Going into next week, the remaining couples need to go all out. The freestyles can either be fantastic (Drew, Emmitt) or they can be awful (Stacy, Marie). If you don't think Cody will be eliminated tomorrow, please tell me why.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So who will it be?

I'm thinking that tonight Maurice will get booted off. He's been inconsistent all season and I don't think he's got a terribly large fanbase out there to keep him around.

Brooke is safe because she was in first place in the judges's voting. Mathematically, it would be a near impossibility for her to get booted. Same goes for Warren since he finished only one point behind (he should have been three points back, but Len decided to be a fuddy-duddy; more on that later).

That leaves Cody, Lance and Maurice in play. I think Cody can count on the ABC/Disney crowd as well as a lot of sympathy votes since his regular partner has been gone. Lance was third in scoring and he's got the gays on his side. That leaves Maurice without a clear fanbase to keep him around in a week when he tied for last place in the judges's scoring.

I just don't know who's voting for the Olympian. I also keep wondering when he's going to use a fire extinguisher as a prop. If he was saving it, he may have held on for too long because if I were laying odds (I do not endorse gambling, by the way), I'd say he his chances are no better than 50-50 that he survives tonight.

I'm not watching the show right now (it's 9:38 EST); Mrs. High Lord is watching Fringe on the big TV and I'm going to watch the whole thing on DVR--less the filler--once she's done.

In the mean time, go vote over at MSNBC on the five remaining dancers and three judges. Be sure to give Len a big fat 0 for being such a jackass to Brooke last night.

I don't know what his deal is. Are they trying to turn him into and old Simon Cowell or super-crotchity Piers Morgan? If so, it's working. I appreciate good honest commentary, but for him to tell Brooke that he's going to hold her to the same standards as the pros is patently absurd.

She's a celeb. Yes, she's got more natural talent than everyone else, but each season we've seen one of those. Some have won (Drew, Kristi) and some have not won (Stacy). But for him to give Warren Sapp a better score than Brooke Burke is ludicrous. And it wasn't like he dropped them a point like he habitually does for Lance, he dropped them two, which is unconscionable.

I thought Michael Flatley's outright lust for Brooke to be unprofessional and mildly disturbing, but I'd rather see him in the center seat than Len Goodman next year. Hell, I'd even take Carrie Ann elevated to the center seat and installing Mary Murphy in her chair (making for three dancing queens on the judging panel).

You should also check out MSNBC's guide to the tricks used by the DWTS pros to hide the shortcomings of their celeb partner. We could make a drinking game out of this. Every time Karina leads for her partner, you take a sip. When you see the Electric Worm, you drink. And when Kym spills out of her dress, you chug. I think that idea has some real legs.

I've actually skipped the filler and turned on the results with 10 minutes to go. Warren and Lance are safe, leaving Brooke, Cody and Maurice in possible danger. They're passing results out and if Brooke is not declared safe, that sound you hear will be me screaming.

Maurice and Cheryl are put in the bottom 2 and Brooke and Derek are declared safe. Whew!

Did I miss much in the 50 minutes of the show that I'm skipping?

Remember, if you will amend the Constitution to allow me to be president, I promise to limit the length of reality TV results shows to half an hour. That and the balanced budget thing.

If you look to your right, under my picture, you'll notice that I'm leaving for my cruise two months from today. That's right, it's the eastern Caribbean for me and Mrs. High Lord. I'll think about you all as I'm sailing away to all-you-can-eat buffets, steak and lobster night and European-style sunbathers. Okay, I made that last part up . . . but I can hope, can't I?

I really hope Cody gets to stick around and give me at least one more week of the Future Mrs. High Lord.

Scary music? Check.

False drama? Check.

Fake shock on Edyta's face? Check.

. . . And Maurice gets booted. Into the arms of Samantha Harris's awe-inspiring unintentional comedy.

I feel sorry for Cheryl Burke, who has deserved so much better than some of her past partners (Ian and Wayne). Maurice truly did try, but he just didn't have the ballroom chops to cut it for the semis. However, with a little bit of work, he could probably hit a few latin competitions and turn in respectable performances.

Anyone surprised by tonight's results? Anyone catch the first 50 minutes of the show and want to fill me in?

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DWTS: The Final Five

This week, each couple is doing two dances. Who's fighting for scraps? Can anything other than a lead pipe stop either Brooke or Jimmie Johnson?

How's everyone's fantasy football season going? In my five leagues, I'm winning all five games. One thing that sucks is that pretty much everyone who helps me, also hurts me. I've got Kurt Warner in one league, but am playing against him in another (and I really need a good week out of him or I'll feel like a tool for playing him instead of Jay Cutler).

Check out this picture Mrs. High Lord took of me and my granddaughter. We were watching the NASCAR race. At least we were until ABC pre-empted the end of the race for Heidi . . . er, America's Funniest Home Videos. How's that for a slap in the face of NASCAR fans everywhere? I know the Chase sucks, but please . . . America's Funniest Home Videos? If I were Bill France, I'd be seriously re-considering the TV contract if they're going to skip from your sport's playoffs to a show that's all about watching adult men "accidentally" getting smacked in the balls by their kids.



Look at my forehead. Why hasn't anyone told me that it's frickin' huge!?!?!?! Seriously . . . Kim Jong Ill ain't got nothing on me. If my hairline recedes any more, it's going to become a fivehead.

OMG . . . Kym is definitely trying to vault Julianne into the much-coveted spot of the Future Mrs. High Lord.

Tom asks Len what he's hoping to see tonight. I'm hoping to see less Len next year because he's been grumpier than usual of late.

Going first are Cody and Edyta. I think they're in danger because of the chemistry issue. They start with the foxtrot. For me, Cody's problem is that I have a hard time taking him seriously. They have some sync problems. He looks stiff and does the counting thing. The two dances thing often messes with the celebs and I think Cody is the first victim this year.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

I thought Carrie Ann was going to take off a point for the lift.

The second couple to go are Brooke and Derek. If they win, the Houghs will collectively be 3 of 7. How's that for domination? From a technical standpoint they're lightyears ahead of everyone else, and she's not afraid to dance around him; usually it's the pro who does all the moves to try and draw attention away from the less-talented celeb. It wasn't a [Mortal Kombat voice=on]flawless victory[/Mortal Kombat voice], but it definitely put the other four couples on notice. Bruno and Carrie Ann rave on; Len needs to take a valium.
The Judges's Scores: 10-8-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

It's kind of crappy for Len to be applying a pro standard to a celeb dancer, no matter how good she is. I give him a 4. There's no way Cody was a good as Brooke (as Len's score would indicate).

Taking the midpoint are Maurice and Cheryl. Early on, they're off. His quickstep isn't very good. He's going to need a phenomenal latin round to make up for the crappy ballroom round. Maurice just doesn't look comfortable in the tux and tails. If Len is going to knock two points off of Brooke, he needs to take about five off of Maurice.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Hey, Len, was Maurice as good as Brooke? That's what I thought. I'd rather have Mary Murphy in his seat.

Batting clean up are Lance and Lacey. Their foxtrot is fun and light. They're not as technically solid as Brooke and Derek, but they've got a lot of good flow. The dance doesn't seem forced, as Maurice does. I think they've got great chemistry for a scary white girl and her gay boyfriend. I think they'll finish with a batch of 9s.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

I think this is Warren and Kym's first trip into the Pimp Spot. He needs to make a strong charge and Maurice's earlier stumble could be his "in". Is Kym dressed in next to nothing just for me, or is it to pander for votes? Either way, I'm good. Their tango is passable, if unremarkable. Kym's clearly doing more dancing than Warren. I don't hate it, but it's definitely middle-of-the-pack.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Len, I'd like for you to explain to me how Warren was better than Brooke. Please . . . I'm waiting . . That's what I thought.

Cycling through again, Cody and Edyta draw the mambo. Her choreography isn't very age-appropriate, considering that Cody's fifteen (or something like that). I'm unimpressed both at the mambo and his solo. I'm happy to hear that Julianne will be back next week.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Someone please get Samantha off the television. And while we're at it, would Len please explain to me how Cody was as good as Brooke.

Brooke and Derek opens with her solo. Derek is one helluva choreographer. He knows how to bring out Brooke's strength and mask her (few) weaknesses. Len nitpicks; do you think he's going to give them a make-up score? If she's not at the top of the heap at the end of the night, it will be a high crime.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

I never thought of the paso doble as a latin dance, but for Maurice and Cheryl it is. Using a prop for the the solo is a bit of a cop-out, especially since he mostly just stood there and twirled his cape. I give it a big aiiiiight. It wasn't anything to write home about, but it was okay. I think he's another victim of the two-dances-in-one-week thing. He looked a little overwhelmed.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

With only 15 minutes left, they get right to Lance and Lacey. I expected his solo to be the best of the night because he strikes me as the one who is most used to it. This isn't as good as their first dance, but it's not bad either. That outfit makes Lacey look tubby, which she's not, but if I were her, I'd be beating the crap out of someone down in wardrobe.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

Wrapping up the show, Warren and Kym hit us with a jive. I forsee a trainwreck. Despite the big guy being surprisingly light on his feet, he's just not built for the jive, especially when it has a solo in it. It's not as bad as I anticipated, and in fact, it was actually pretty good. Not the class of the evening, and this should solidify Brooke's spot on top, but I think this definitely puts him solidly in the second tier.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 8

My prediction is that Maurice will be the one left without a chair once the music stops. Brooke is damn near unstoppable and once Cody gets Julianne back he should be back in the hunt.

We've got one more couple to be eliminated before the finale and I think it's still too close to call.

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Originally known as Armistice Day, it now celebrates everyone who has served our country in uniform. Whether you're working tomorrow or not, please take a moment to thank a veteran.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What will you tell your children?

Seriously, what will you tell your children about the election of '08? No matter who you supported or why, you were a part of history. For a country that has been so caught up with issues of race, this marks a historic moment.

Does it mean we're "there"? Of course not. We, as a nation, still have a ways to go. Blacks make up 13.4% of the general population, but over 30% of the death row population. One third of young black men are either in prison or on probation. Racial violence is still prevalent.

But look how far we've come. Maybe in your lifetime you know that blacks had to pay a "poll tax" in order to vote. My 8th grade social studies teacher told us about going to middle school and having National Guardsmen in the back of her classroom with his M1 Garand to make sure the black children also attending her school were not harassed. I was bussed from one side of Tallahassee, FL clear across town to attend W.T. Moore Elementary School to bring Leon County into compliance with court-ordered desegregation.

Buck up, America, be proud, but also know that we've still got a lot of work to do.

In election news, I spent last night watching Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 broadcast rather than CNN's Voter Analysis Board and holographic reporting.

Mrs. High Lord watched it all. I went to bed before McCain's concession speech and Obama's rally, but she stayed up through it all. The only person who's happier than Mrs. High Lord and my very own Obama Mama about the election is this girl:


I did find it interesting that over on Fox "News", none of their usual talking heads/windbags/pompus jackasses were on. Every other network brought their A Team (not to be confused with The A-Team or a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha). On Fox "News", all of their lead yappers: Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity; there was nary a sighting all night.

Where were they? Sharpening their knives? Skulking around and being sore losers? The only right-wing blowhard on TV last night was Colbert (who was funny as hell, by the way).

Speaking of puzzling things, what's up with Ted Stevens getting re-elected in Alaska? Are people's brains in Alaska so frozen they don't know that he's a convicted felon? What are the odds that the new Democratic Senate doesn't vote to expel him? Seriously, if a vote comes up on this, how do you vote against booting him out of the Senate? It's not like he chained himself to a tree to stop de-forestation or took some principled stand on an issue; he's guilty of using his position as a government official to receive gifts, and lying to investigators. If you're a Republican who wanted to see Bill Clinton impeached for lying under oath, you have to want this guy's head on a stick.

I'm just happy that this election is over. Is it just me or has the election season gone on waaaaaayyyyy too long? I think the first primaries should start about April Fool's Day (apropos if you ask me). Who cares about New Hampshire and Iowa getting to go first. We need to stop this madness so the election season isn't so long and costs so much money.

My hope for the incoming government is that the President and the new Congress get a good head on their shoulders, get the debt under control, do something about health care and end DirecTV's monopoly on the NFL Sunday Ticket.

One thing that scares me is this: What country do you think Dubya is going to invade on his way out the door?

North Korea? Iran? The Duchy of Grand Fenwick?

Before you think I'm crazy in thinking this, remember that Dubya's dad--in what was one of the few spiteful, low-class moments of his career--sent American troops overseas right before leaving office and setting up the Clinton Administration with a mess they couldn't (and didn't) get out of gracefully. If a guy like the elder George Bush (who I have an immense amount of personal respect for) can stoop to that level, it scares me to think what his kid will do.

I think I'm done talking politics, so let's get back to the dancing.

At this point in the show, here's how I rank the celebs:

It's Hers to Loose
Brooke

Fighting for Scraps
Cody
Lance

Up and Down
Maurice
Warren

Just Stab My Eyes Out With a Spork
Susan

I would very much like Susan to be gone. She's taking up Toni Braxton's spot. I think we're going to see a Brooke, Cody and Lance finale. Maurice and Warren are too inconsistent to win, Cody is making a strong charge and Lance's stock is on the rise (except in Grumpy Len's eyes).

Susan is clearly the weak link. I think she will be gone by 9:02 (EST) tonight. Warren needs to watch out, although his low scores were somewhat offset by the group dance.

Surprisingly, Cody and Edyta had the lowest combined scores for this week. It's a chemistry issue and he had the unfortunate happenstance to be on the crappy side of the team dances. I don't think he's in danger, but if Susan's fans came through, he could be this year's shocker. It would be a shame if this is how the Future Mrs. High Lord's season ends, but it also would not be completely unexpectedly.

I'm going no-filler tonight, which means I'm going to waiting until about 8:30 before turning on the show via my DVR and then watch through to the end.

After the intro, Tom and UCG tell us that Lionel Richie is this week's guest. I've got the safety off the FF button on the remote. We get the recap and Len only continues to look grumpy and out of touch. If ABC is inclined to make any changes to the show (and they're probably not), I'd like to see Samantha gone, followed by Len.

Then we get the recaps of the group dances. The cha-cha was even worse the second time. And the paso was even better. I hope they're not doing both. And they're not . . . thank heavens.

Now it's time for Lionel. Why isn't he singing "Dancing on the Ceiling"? WTF, Lionel?!?! Or at least "All Night Long"? C'mon, Lionel, sing something we all know!

Tom bo li de say de moi ya. Yeah, jambo, jumbo!

After the scoreboard recap, we find out that Maurice and Cheryl are safe. I'm happy for them, but he needs to do better in the ballroom rounds. He's very hot-and-cold; if he's going to make a charge, he needs more consistency.

The DanceCenter segment is funny, if a little over the top. The "magic" dance was [GRE word alert!!!] superflous.

Next, Brooke and Derek are declared safe, as are Warren and Kym. I think Susan just crapped her panties. Cody's heartrate just doubled. Lance wants to get back to California and get married while he still can.

Now Lionel's back on and it's time to dance on the ceiling. Wouldn't it be great if they put the stage on a giant gimbal and actually danced on the ceiling?

ABC pays a bunch of bills . . . I FF through all the commercials . . . and then it's time for more results.

Lance and Lacey are declared safe.

If Cody gets canned, it will be due to the new partner and Susan's massive SOH fanbase.

More false drama/suspense.

. . . And it's Susan and Tony who get booted. Although by consensus she is the weakest celeb still on the show, if it weren't for Cloris Leachman, we would be singing her praises for being 62 years old and still doing this. At the same time, to pretend that she had a shot at winning is just plain crazy.

I'm happy to see that Cody didn't get eliminated despite his poor showing. I hope he and Edyta either work together a bunch or that Julianne is feeling 100% soon because it would be a shame if her surgery costs him a legitimate chance to win.

That's it for me tonight. If you're an American citizen and you voted, thank you for participating in the political process. If you're old enough to, not a convicted felon and you didn't vote, shame on you!

High Lord. Out.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Who says The Onion isn't news?

Check out this article from The Onion's archive. I guess even when you're only trying to be funny, you can be right.

You should also read this article at MSNBC which calls for the same thing I do with regards to DWTS: Samantha Harris being booted off the show. I submitted a comment, but it has yet to post.

There's no political rant tonight except this:

VOTE!!!!!!!!

I don't care who you like or what your political persuasions are, if you live in the United States, it is your civic responsibility to show up at the polls and cast a ballot. If you don't like anyone who is running for office, write in "Mickey Mouse" (or better yet, "The High Lord") to every race. The basic principles of this country are predicated on a participatory electorate and if you are able (ie-not a convicted felon), you have a voice that should be heard.

Every time I hear someone say, "My vote doesn't matter", I get steamed. Individually, that's probably true. But collectively, your voice adds to a chorus that makes America great. When you cast a vote (early and often in the great state of West Virginia), you are helping to determine the direction your city, your county, your state and your nation takes.

In the presidential election, I don't expect my individual vote to make much of a difference. West Virginia has gone solidly Republican for the past few elections, and I expect that to stay the same. The congressmen running for office in my district are solidly entrenched and there's little hope of them being ousted. Still, I'm going to the polls. First of all, I can only hope that my vote contributes to making a difference nationally. Second, there are all sorts of local elections up for grabs that may very well come down to a handful of votes.

Don't tell me that the county EMS levee doesn't need every vote it can get. Or the Parks and Recreation levee. I'm sure that in your district there are a host of issues up for a vote that could very well be decided by your vote.

So exercise the right you have as an American citizen because it's also your responsibility.

In non-election related stuff, a fan at this weekend's NASCAR race was struck by a stray bullet which was apparently fired into the air in some sort of pre-race celebratory gunfire. Only in Texas . . .

Here is the funniest office prank evah.



Two weeks ago, I mentioned that the US Constitution is one of the two greatest documents in the history of the world. The other is, of course, The Declaration of Independence.

With this document, the paradigm of the Divine Right of Kings is turned on its side. We take many of the principles contained within these documents for granted today, but in their day, they were radical and even heretical. We should all be thankful for the visionaries who drafted these documents because without them, we would still be living under kings.

Are they doing two dances this week? Or one dance per couple and then the "team" dance?

After starting strong, Warren and Kym open the show with a foxtrot. Not to be confused with Foxtrot. Warren wants a 10 and they're certainly dressed the part; she's got too much on. He's surprisingly light on his feet, but he still has a few clunky steps, and he's obviously counting along in his head. Going first might put him in the bottom 2, but it's a good effort.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Did Bruno just "come out" on national TV?

The one thing I don't like about DWTS is that it's on at the same time as The Big Bang Theory. I lurve the DVR.

Needing a good week, Susan and Tony are doing the paso. As of right now, she's the show's weak link. I'd have canned her about three weeks ago, but she's stuck around (in my opinion) due to the SOH votes. They're better than I thought they'd be. It's better than Warren's foxtrot. Her moves were crisp and had just enough desperation in them to hit mostly high marks.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

Did Tony break his razor shaving his chest?

Maurice and Cheryl wrap up the first half of the solo dances. I think he's also a possible candidate for the bottom 2. He's the inverse of Susan; he's got a fair amount of talent, but I think he has fan-base problems. The latin dances are definitely his strength. He also misses a couple of steps, but it seems he's having fun this week (unlike Warren). I didn't think it was a good as the judges, but he came up when he needed to.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

With The Future Mrs. High Lord convalescing from an appendectomy, Edyta is taking her place as Cody's partner. How will this shake out? Edyta is a good dancer, but her choreography has been suspect at times. They're doing the Viennese Waltz, but first they visit Julianne, who's obviously high on the painkillers. Six weeks into the show is not the time to have chemistry problems. Fortunately, he's got enough natural talent to carry him if his ADD doesn't kick in. Edyta is uncharacteristically over-dressed. From a technical standpoint, they do a very good job. However, they're missing that little element of romance that Cody would have had with Julianne. I think the judges will softball them given the circumstances.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

I guess the judges aren't throwing softballs anymore. With any luck, he'll get loads of sympathy votes.

My fave couple, Lance and Lacey, found themselves in first place last week for the first time. Their taped segment is full of false drama and backstage tension. They're fighting like an old married couple . . . Or a gay guy and his fag-hag. Their rumba is sensual and playful. The music selection ("Your Body is a Wonderland") is very ironic. I don't know that they'll capture first place again, but they're at least #2 for tonight, if not tied for #1 with Maurice.
The Judges's Scores: 9-7-9
The High Lords Score:

And Grumpy Len shows back up. Can someone bring him into the 20th Century?

It's 3 November, and I just saw a commercial featuring a Christmas carol. I feel like slapping someone in the face.

Brooke and Derek drew the Pimp Spot, which bodes well for them. The scores this week are decidedly low, which means if they have a typical night, they'll finish at the top of the hill. I hope her foot has healed. And that she has a "wardrobe malfunction". They get the foxtrot, which should be good for them. I don't like her hair (you say: "She has hair?"), but I like the dance. They have a couple of sync problems, but nothing fatal. They're easily the best of the night. We're going to see a 10 or two.
The Judges's Scores: 10-10-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

And they get three! The first 30 of the season. I don't know that I'd have scored it that high, but if a dance was going to get a perfect score this year, that was the one that deserved it.

We're an hour into a 90 minute show and now they're doing the team dance. I'm still not sure how the scoring is going to work.

Did you notice how they squeezed in some product placement (the AT&T phone)? It was much more subtle than Idol.

My browser crapped out at the beginning of the performance so I'll sum it up in one word: Blech. Team Cha-Cha-Cha is Lance/Lacey, Susan/Tony and Cody/Edyta. They start off out of sync and it doesn't get much better. The judges are rightfully harsh, and I don't know that it's fair that this count for half of their total score. This will pretty much wrap up Brooke's spot at the top.
The Judges's Scores: 6-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

Warren/Kym, Brooke/Derek and Maurie/Cheryl are Team Paso and they're stacked (both literally and figuratively). They've got one two-time champ and two other dancers who could have been champs if not for bad luck-of-the-draw partners. I see them crushing the other team. They have some problems, but not as many as the other team. I think the worst part about the team dance is that they obviously didn't have a lot of practice time (that goes for both teams). Kym and Brooke both show up with a six pack of Whoop-ass and Cheryl's brought her lead pipe, too. And the guys weren't bad either. Compared to the Cha-Cha team, this deserves at least 9s.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

The team dance was good for a first time outing; I think next year they need to give them some more practice time.

That's it for tonight. There are no DWTS results tomorrow; much more is at stake in the real world. I'll see you all back here on Wednesday, if not before.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We can hope can't we?

The answer is, of course, "Yes, we can!"

As you may suspect, I am speaking of DWTS finally getting rid of Cloris Leachman. While I appreciate her as an entertainer, her welcome as a dancer has long since been worn out. For the last two weeks, she seemed to be coming along nicely. Not great, mind you, but fairly well especially considering that she's 82 years old. However, I think everyone (except the VFTW crowd) would agree that it's time for her to go and stop holding a spot for celeb dancers who are clearly better than she.

Last night, Carrie Ann pointedly reminded us that Toni Braxton was eliminated to keep Cloris around. While that drew a round of boos from the studio audience, she was right on. Toni was not going to win, but she deserved to stick around longer than Cloris and probably Susan.

So who's it going to be this week?

I'm going no-filler, which means I'm going to start watching the show at about 9:25 and FF through the crap.

While we're waiting for the show to get to that point, check out this YouTube video.


It's now 9:25 and I've starting watching the show. Please tell me they're not going to do the hip hop routine again . . .

We get the recap and are reminded that for the first time, Brooke didn't finish at the top of the heap. I think she was sandbagging. I treat the next few minutes like I'm watching the Transformers movie: If there's talking, it's time to fast-forward. Now if only, the band would turn into giant robots and start fighting over a cube.

I also FF through the group hip hop at 5x speed.

Now they're lined up for the first batch of results. The first two of the safe couples are Lancy & Lacey and Cody & Julianne (please come back soon, Future Mrs. High Lord!).

I'm happy for Lance who has deserved better than he's gotten from the judges in the past. We also find out that Edyta will be returning to the show next week to fill in for Julianne. If they win, does that mean the girls have to share the Mirror Ball Trophy? Or will there be a catfight for it?

Then it's time for more kids dancing. I'm so glad I didn't lose the last 30 minutes of my life watching that live.

Earlier tonight, I went out and bought some candy for trick-or-treat. Although Halloween isn't until Friday, we're having trick-or-treat on Thursday so not to interfere with high school football. We always get a lot of kids in our neighbourhood. We live in a sub-division that has one way in and one way out, so there's no through traffic and it's very safe. In fact, a lot of kids come up to our hill just to trick-or-treat. They park at the bottom of the hill and walk through the neighbourhood.

I can't wait for the baby to be old enough for me to take out.

ABC pays some bills and then it's time for the very flexible Pussycat Dolls. Missy Elliott is not as flexible.

We get an update on Julianne and then Warren & Kym are declared safe.

Is Michael Flatley on to fill in for Len or shill for his new show?

It's time for more results. Susan & Tony are put in the bottom 2. Brooke & Derek are declared safe. Cloris & Corky are also in the bottom 2, which leaves Maurice & Cheryl as safe. Which means it's time for more commercials.

How 'bout that Jimmie Johnson? He's basically won the Cup with three races to go? Wasn't this what the Chase was supposed to fix? I think NASCAR should try this: Go back to the old points system, but give out a 50 point bonus for each win. Then get rid of the COT. Give every team a common roll cage, common safety requirements and a maximum engine displacement. Then let them build their own cars from the ground up. Bring back the days of "run what you brung." (Yes, that is how they say it in NASCARland.) That would fix all of stock car racing's ills.

The commercials end and I'll bet it's Cloris who get whacked. They need to go.

. . . And they're gone.

Don't get me wrong: Cloris was an asset to the show this season. She brought an element of entertainment that was lacking as the others learned the ropes and she was certainly very fun. However, as the weeks have worn on, she has shown that she is clearly an inferior dancer. I think if she were even thirty years younger, she'd still deserve to be around.

But right now, she is so obviously bad that she needed to go.

That leaves Susan as the weak link, Maurice as the wild card, and Warren in the second tier. Lance is peaking at the right time and Cody has come on strong lately; if he can adapt to a new partner mid-season, he could make a strong charge into the finale. Otherwise, this thing is Brooke's to lose.

Remember to vote early if that's available in your precinct.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

DWTS: Hitting the half-way point

Of the 13 stars to start this season, 6 are now gone, making this week the hump week for the show. Who will be this week's sacrificial lamb at the Altar of Clorky?

This week's serious subject of discussion is gas prices. In case you haven't noticed, the price of gas at the pump has been steadily dropping. Here in the great state of West Virginia, we're paying something in the neighbourhood of $2.79 a gallon for regular unleaded, down from a high of $4.19.

The reasons are many, but mostly revolve around the tanking economy causing a drop in demand. In addition, the worldwide recession has led to speculators pulling out of the oil futures market, thereby reducing the artificially-high price of a barrel of oil. Did you know that before Dubya was president, oil futures were never traded and on his first inauguration day, a barrel of oil cost something like $30. Dubya's family made all their money on oil. Coincidence?

At any rate, I wonder if high gas prices are ultimately good for us all.

Consider this: Every politician promises three things with regard to oil:

1. They are for independence from foreign oil.

2. They want to protect the environment.

3. They want low gas prices.

Those three goals are absolutely, completely and irrefutably 100% incompatible.

There is not enough oil in the reserves controlled by the United States to make us independent of foreign oil. Even if we drilled in Alaska and along the Gulf Coast, we would still have to import oil from other countries. Some of these would be friendly, and some would not. But they would still be getting our money. Burning oil creates greenhouse gases. It's bad for the environment.

If gas is cheap, people will only use more, harming the environment. Cheap gas is the reason why there are so many SUVs on the road. It's why people drive and drive and drive. We move out of the city and commute an hour each way because gas is cheap. Even today, cheap gas means that we send money overseas and harm the environment.

So what's the solution?

In my opinion, we need to curb demand and develop alternative fuels in the long term. Not overnight, but we need to up the CAFE standards. CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy and it requires automakers to average a certain mileage across their product line. We need to 1) up the number (which is something like 27 right now) and 2) include trucks and SUVs in the number.

Cars in Europe are more fuel efficient than they are in the US. It's not because Europeans are inherently more environmentally conscious; it's because they pay more taxes. Gas costs considerably more in Europe. Consequently, they use less gas, have better public transportation and are further along in alternative fuel technology.

Our cars are over-powered gas guzzlers. We need to cut horsepower, up mileage requirements and extend tax breaks for alternative fuel (hybrid, electric, natural gas and hydrogen) vehicles. I drive a 250 horsepower car that's pretty and very, very fast. It's also a fuel hog. Do I need it? Of course not. I like it, but unless cars like mine are made prohibitively expensive to buy, our roads are going to be clogged with vehicles that only encourage our dependence on foreign oil, and cough out greenhouse gases.

I know that having cheap gas is good for our immediate bottom line, but it's detrimental for our long-term future. The planet will run out of oil. The only question is whether it will be in 20 years or 50. As long as we are dependent on oil as a fuel source, we are only harming the planet and stifling technology that could help us out sooner rather than later.

As you go to vote next week (because I know all of you are going to vote), please pick the candidate you think will look out for the long-term good of our country, not the one who can't think further than the next election cycle.

Now that my weekly rant is out of the way, let's get on with the dancing. This week's Big Bang Theory is a re-run; I guess they didn't want to put a new episode up against the World Series. Speaking of . . . how 'bout them Phillies. Does this mean we don't have to hear any more about how championship-starved Philadelphia is any more? Or are fans there going to be jackasses anyway?

Each couple is performing two dances. I think Susan and Cloris really need to step it up because they are the clear second and third tier (respectively) on the show. Both are undoubtedly being saved by the fans because the judges's scores are doing them no favours. Sitting in the center seat is Michael Flatley; does anyone know what Len was doing? Is he at the World Series or something?

Leading off are Maurice and Cheryl. They get the Viennese Waltz. His feet are heavy as he turns. Cheryl is clearly out-dancing him. It's not bad, but his ballroom skillz are being exposed. They're not going to be 6-6-6 again, but they won't be getting 9s again either. Cheryl's non-lift is excellent.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

After going first, Lance and Lacey get another crappy draw. Going early is starting to hurt the dancers more and more, almost like Idol. They get the jive, which should help him out. Taking last week's comments to heart, they start off with Lance doing a solo. They look like they're having fun, although I think getting crappy scores last week has him a little gunshy and more nervous than he should be. I liked it and they should get markedly better scores than last week.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Hoping to milk the "injured" storyline, Susan and Tony need a big week. They were in the bottom 2 in the previous results show, and that's not good for her. I find her to be kind of cold, and given my pre-disposition against ABC's soap opera stars, I really don't care for her. They're doing the mambo and she tries to get some hip action in. She's better than I thought she'd be. I think Maurice is in danger; Susan's not spectacular but she's a step ahead of the remaining Olympian and Cloris. The cat claw thing at the end reminded me (in a bad way) of Priscilla.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-7
The High Lord's Score:

This season's leaders are Brooke and Derek. She's taking the injury angle. I think they're sandbagging with the intro piece. They're doing the rumba, which shouldn't be too hard on her ankle. She seems a little shaky on that right foot, but it's not fatal. It would be better if Jordin were actually singing this. The dance is very sensual, which is kind of creepy since she's my age and he's 14. I think they were lying when they said she was hurt. You wonder if they got an easy dance knowing she wouldn't be able to do say, the jive or the quickstep. Just sayin'.
The Judges's Scores: 8-10-8
The High Lord's Score:

I think Michael was scoring with his balls, not his brain.

Cloris and Corky are playing with house money, so every week is a bonus. Their dance is the cha-cha-cha. Everyone knows they're bad. But that's not why people vote for them. They're moving at about 60% and she seems to have regressed after two weeks of progress. The fast dances just aren't good for her. I think if she survives this week, it should qualify as a minor miracle.
The Judge's Scores: 5-5-5
The High Lord's Score:

It seems that the producers and judges have finally tired of her schtick.

Doing the samba are Cody and Julianne. She's also "injured"; even sick she's hawt as hell. Don't tell Mrs. High Lord I said that. Have I mentioned that Cody annoys the dickens out of me? Her outfit doesn't, though. She is one helluva dance coach. They lose sync a time or two, but he's passable as a latin dancer. In a week when they only need to be above average, they did pretty good (as opposed to "very good" or "excellent").
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-7
The High Lord's Score: 8

Why is Julianne having surgery tomorrow? Oh, appendix. I hope she feels better soon!

I thought Warren and Kym got the shaft with the scores last week, so he's blessed with the pimp spot. Let's see how he does with the rumba. They say this is the sexiest of the dances,a and Kym is certainly dressed for the part. It should help Warren that he's dancing to a Beyonce song. Even with the crappy arrangement. This is not a good dance for big guys. He's trying, but his body just isn't built for this dance. It's not awful, but if he thought he was going to make up some ground on Brooke or Cody, he drew the wrong dance.
The Judges's Scores: 8-9-8
The High Lord's Score:

With ten minutes left, we get the first group dance and they're doing a hip hop routine. This is the real reason why Len is gone, right?

My eyes and ears are bleeding.

Susan gets lost. Lance and Lacey are clearly better than everyone else. As are Cody and Julianne.

Warren is having fun. Cloris is trying not to need knee replacement surgery on Thursday. Tony is surprisingly good. Susan is not.

Everyone else is painfully out of their element. I hope I never have to witness anything like that again. Lance's mullett is horrendous.

Bruno is obviously high.

For about the fifth week in a row, Cloris was the worst dancer, but this was probably the first time when she actually deserves to get canned. Even at 70%, Brooke is the class of the show, although Lance and Cody made up some ground tonight.

If Frau Blücher doesn't get the boot, my money is on Susan or Maurice to be next. I seriously hope it's Cloris.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dancing results: No filler edition

After last night's show, I wonder if the producers are doing a little vote engineering. While not as insidious as the way Idol works, it seems to me that some couples have been talked up and others have been talked down more than usual this year.

Lance and Lacey, for example, have been above-average dancers all year, yet they get mediocre to bad scores. Meanwhile, others perform at a comparable level, and they get raves. I'm not saying there's an exec at ABC making "the call" like they did for Kelly Monaco in the final week of dancing in season 1, but in terms of music, dance selection and judges's comments, some couples are getting softballs and others are being hammered.

This week, we were introduced to four new dances: West Coast Swing, salsa, the hustle and the jitterbug. That was way too much new dancing for one show. While I don't mind seeing new styles, I wonder why they had to unload in one week, especially since some were easier than others.

From a technical standpoint, West Coast Swing and salsa are harder than the hustle and the jitterbug. The first two require actual effort and technique, the latter are just plain fun, and their steps are easier. So it should be no surprise that the people doing the hustle and the jitterbug scored better.

Of course, they're also the better dancers (except for Susan), so I wonder if the selection was "random" or if it was designed to get the faves better numbers from the judges. Only the execs at ABC know for sure, but if it seems like there's obvious collusion, the show will only become a bigger joke, one that they're not in on this time.

By the way, yesterday I mentioned the Constitution as one of the two greatest documents in the history of the world. Anyone want to guess what the other one is? Leave me a comment and defend your submission. The correct answer will be given next Monday.

I skipped the 1 hour filler . . . er, recap. And now that the actual results show has started, I'm only half paying attention to it. After all, the only part of this show that matters is the last five minutes.

If you all will amend the Constitution to allow me to be president, I promise two things and then I will abdicate office for someone immensely more qualified: First, I will pass a balanced budget amendment and then implement a plan to pay off the national debt within 15 years. Second, I will Constitutionally limit the length of reality show results shows to 30 minutes. Not 32 or 60 or 61 minutes (why do they do that?!?!?) . . . 30 minutes of false drama and filler for every reality show.

That is my platform, please write your Senator and Congressman/woman and allow me to be come President of the United States.

I will say, though, that watching Julianne and Cody perform the encore showed off just how good they were. I still thought Brooke and Derek were better but they were F. A. B. FAB.

Brian Setzer comes on in what is a breath of fresh air. After lots of young "stars", it's good to see a guy who is an actual musician with talent. I had a flashback to middle school. Louis and Karina are pretty good, too.

Then we find out two couples to be declared safe: Warren & Kym and Cloris & Corky. I think this means either Lance or Susan will get whacked. Probably Susan.

Going into tonight, it's pretty much automatic that the top 3 couples (in terms of the judges's scoring) will be safe. Mathematically, that's pretty much a given. If Cloris and Corky weren't the lowest vote-getters (notice that there's no bottom 2), then they were probably second to last.

While we're waiting for the rest of the results in this indeterminably-long results show, check out me and my granddaughter.



Between her cuteness and my orbital battlestation with its army of clones, we're going to rule the world.

I could do without the kids dancing and their accompanying filler. And the robot dancing. And the trash-talking.

Just give me the results, dammit!!!!

Okay . . . here we go: Cody/Julianne, safe. So are Maurice and Cheryl.

That leaves Lance, Susan, Toni and Brooke as the possible eliminatees. We all know that Brooke and Derek are safe. So who's it going to be? I'm guessing Lance is going to be this season's shocker. Susan certainly deserves to get whacked, but then again, so does Cloris. I think the soap opera voters will keep her around and that leaves the Boy Bander as the one getting kicked off. Toni is the wild card because I think she might have a fan base problem.

We get some more false drama and then we find out that . . .

Brooke and Derek are safe. Duh.

Then we find out there is an actual bottom 2 this week. And Toni and Alec are put in it.

Lance and Lacey are (surprising me) safe.

So will it be Toni and Alex or Susan and Tony?

I'll bet one of the Toni/ys gets canned.

Toni gets kicked to the curb. I didn't see that coming. I thought she was coming along strong while Susan has plateaued. That just goes to show what I know.

One the way out, UCG tells us that Michael Flatley will be taking the center seat at the judges's table. What's that about?

Oh, well . . . we'll find out in a week.

Meanwhile, let me know what you think the second greatest document in the history of the world is (Hint: It's not The Unabomber Manifesto).

High Lord. Out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Will this be the week Cloris finally gets whacked?

Hullo, dear readers (all five of you). The above is the big question facing reality TV right now. Has Frau Blücher worn out her welcome yet?

I guess we'll find out in about 26 hours.

The subject of my weekly political rant is on separation of powers. The forefathers of the United States were very smart in one regard: they feared one person or group having all the power. In what is one of the two greatest documents in the history of the world, the Constitution of the United States was designed to spread power out among the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government. In addition, the Congress was built to divide its power among various voting blocs to keep one group from having too much power.

During the first six years of the current administration, a single political party (one of the things George Washington warned against in his farewell address) controlled both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency. In addition, due to the hysteria following 9/11, the Judiciary pretty much went along with whatever Dubya wanted, too. So that left no checks on the power of the President.

That has left us with an executive branch of government that has usurped so much power, getting them to give it up will be tough. In addition, it led to rampant and out of control spending, which was one contributing factor in the financial mess we have right now (massive de-regulation is another). Without the two parties keeping each other in check, the party in power has a tendency to promote its own agendas without fear of recrimination.

For the Democrats, this means expansion of social justice programs. For the Republicans, that means taxes, often without reductions in social justice programs and that leads to deficit spending.

No matter what your political leanings, it is in our collective best interests for one party not to have control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency. However, with the economic mess and an unpopular war, this is a very bad year to be a Republican and I fear that that Democrats will run amok.

The one reason why the Clinton administration was so effective in reducing the debt is that they had to work together with the Republican Congress to fix the mess that was left by Reagan and Bush the Elder. We need a disciplined fiscal policy and I hope the incoming administration will do something about out of control spending, too many tax cuts and the mounting debt.

We're mortgaging our grandchildrens' futures right now and we need to get that under control. We have to find a way to fix social security, cut health care costs and pay for all the services we want/enjoy/need without borrowing money from the Chinese or Saudis to pay for them. Please write to your Senators and Congressmen/women and urge them to pass a balanced budget amendment.

Rant over.

We're getting four new dances tonight and I wonder why hip hop isn't one of the styles. We get a quick primer on what each dance is about and then we get down to business.

Lance and Lacey are up first and they're doing the West Coast Swing, which should be good because she's a West Coast Swing champ. As was her brother. And by the way, her dad invented it. Harold Wheeler, you suck. The dancing is hot, though. L&L start the show off with a 2x4 of whoopass . . . and then Lance falls while sliding. It's still not fatal because they finally look like they're having fun. They'll lose a point for the slip, but it was still good.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 8

The judges are unnecessarily harsh, especially towards Lacey. I thought it was better than 21.

Next to go are Toni and Alec. I hope she's wearing the same-sized outfit as last week. They're also doing a West Coast Swing routine and Roxy wants her legwarmers back. I don't know what to look for in a West Coast Swing dance but apparently lifts are okay. As are backless dresses that fall off the shoulder. And moonwalking in high heels. I liked it. Even the music. There was a little bit of "counting along", but all in all they did a good job.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

In the three-hole, Susan and Tony are hoping to tap into the rabid soap opera vote and they're doing the hustle. Isn't that the same as disco? They build up the "injury" angle to hand her some votes. At least the music is appropriate. She seems to be moving at less than full speed. Tony did a good job with the choreography; it's not overwhelming, but not is it particularly difficult. Overall, it was a good solid effort, if a little vanilla. The judges are going to rave at them playing it safe.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score:

It looks like Bruno is the East German Judge this week.

Also doing the hustle are Warren and Kym. I think he really wants to win that stupid Mirror Ball Trophy; don't ask me why. I'm blinded by Kym's dress. They pull out all the stops, including that gawd-awful suit Warren's wearing. One word for this dance: FAB. They just put the other three couples to shame. After a set of disappointing scores last week, we'd better see 9s and maybe a 10 for this. They get in all the tricks and even look good doing it.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

8s and a 9? What the hell? The judges are definitely low-balling everyone this week.

After appearing in the first bottom 2 of the season, Cloris and Corky draw a hip-breaker dance (ie-Latin), the salsa. She starts off dancing solo and it's more of the same. Her schtick is again toned down as she tries the dance. Corky's dancing around her a lot. She's gotten better as the show has gone on, but clearly, Cloris is the weakest dancer in the bunch. Of course, to the people who are voting for her, that doesn't really matter.
The Judges's Score: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

There's no way that was as good as Lance. They're softballing her. Because of this, I'd look for Lance to be in the bottom 2 tomorrow because she's getting lot of votes based on her personality. When are the Corky/Cloris romance rumours going to start?

Also doing the salsa are Maurice and Cheryl. They start out fine, but once they leave the stage, they get shaky for the between-the-legs move. She's obviously uncomfortable with some of the stunts, which is odd considering that she's usually fully in command of the dance. It was fast-paced, but I think the couple of flubs early will cost them.
The Judges's Scores: 9-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

Have you noticed that as the shows gone on, the scores have gone up?

The fourth new style is the jitterbug. How's that different from swing? Brooke and Derek are the odds-on faves right now and he knows that they can't get complacent. Hey, Derek, Tasslehoff Burrfoot called and he wants his topknot back. We also find out he knows how to use the Interweb. Is she really the mother of 4 or is she 17? They're right out of Grease (apropos since almost everyone in the cast was 30 and playing someone in high school) and it's good. The stunts aren't too outrageous and the steps are actually pretty good. You wouldn't know that he learned it from The Google.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-10
The High Lord's Score: 9

It's not a 30, but then again, the scores are down for everyone this season.

Getting the Pimp Spot are Cody and the Future Mrs. High Lord who are right out of I Love Lucy. As she is known to do, Julianne goes for broke with her choreography. It has enough stunts to be entertaining, but also enough moves to be a good routine. she also doesn't ask her partner to do anything that he can't, while at the same time pushing him to be better. I don't think they'll score as high as Brooke/Derek, but they'll be close.
The Judges's Scores: 10-9-9
The High Lord's Score:

With the exception of Lance and Lacey, the music tonight has been very genre-appropriate. Harold Wheeler, who has been known to kill dances with craptastic song selection, did pretty well tonight.

I'd look for Cloris be in the bottom 2 tomorrow, perhaps with Maurice and maybe even Lance. My pick to go home is Cloris, although stranger things have been known to happen.

Warren got the shaft in terms of the judges's scoring; he was better than his number, as was Lance. But we'll see how the voting shakes out.

Remember, if you're not registered to vote, go do it now.

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rocco's out

I didn't watch the results show last night. I don't know what it is about the DWTS Tuesday night shows, but this is the second time I haven't felt good enough to stay up and watch it. Maybe I'm having a psychosomatic allergic reaction to the hour long results shows.

In what has been the second biggest non-shocker of the year (Jeffrey getting booted on night #2 being the first), Rocco was eliminated last night. While this means no more Karina (boo!) it also means that Rocco won't be there for any fake cooking-leads-to-dancing moments.

MSNBC has a nice recap in which they call Paula Abul "lucidity-impaired". You should check it out just for that.

At this point, Cloris should be next and then things get tricky. Susan has been on the way up while Cody is treading water. Maurice is hot and cold which means that all things being equal, Susan will probably stick around due to her SOH votes. I'd say Cody will probably be felling the heat next week unless he can tap the Hannah Montana votes. Maurice might have fan-base problems, but if he has a strong dance next week, I see him sticking around for a few more rounds.

I guess we'll all find out soon.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who's going to be the next person to get hurt?

After this year's spate of injuries, who's going to be the next person to get hurt? We've had Jeffrey's eye injury, Karina's twisted ankle, Misty's Achilles, and Rocco shooting himself in the foot. What's next?

With four people gone, here's how I see the field:

Inside Track

Brooke
Warren

On the Rise

Toni

In the Judges's Dog House, But Should Be Doing Better

Lance

Wild Cards

Cody
Maurice

Put Them Out of My Misery

Cloris
Rocco
Susan

As things stand, this season is Brooke's to lose, although Warren is making a strong charge and Toni is quietly getting better. For some reason, Lance has gotten on Grumpy Len's bad side and his scores are inordinately low. Is it Lance or Lacey's choreography? Or is it Len being a jackass? (I'm going with option 2)

Cody and Maurice are in play, although neither has a realistic chance to win. Of the other three, the order doesn't matter, they just need to go home.

In my weekly political commentary, I don't know what the laws are in your state, but if you are not registered to vote, please go down to your county courthouse and see if you still eligible for the November elections. I don't care what your political persuasion is, but this is one of those years where the elections are going to make a big, big difference.

The next president has to deal with two wars, issues with regimes in Iran and North Korea, a tanking economy and a generation's worth of debt that needs to be cleared. Plus, he may have the opportunity to put up to three justices on the Supreme Court. So go get registered to vote and on Election Day, go to the polls (or do early/absentee voting).

Back to the dancing.

We've only got an hour and a half tonight, then it's the season premiere of Samantha Who?, one of the more underrated shows on TV. I'm also stewing because my fantasy football teams are 1-4 this week. For some reason I played Brett Favre instead of Philip Rivers in one league. In another, I played Darren Sproles instead of Maurice Jones- Drew. If I were drinker, I'd be heavy into the the sauce after this week.

The cast is introduced and both the Future Mrs. High Lord and Brooke Burke are showing off the girls (woo-hoo!). And what the hell is Karina wearing?

Tonight's dances are the samba and the tango. First up are Maurice and Cheryl. His kids show up to help him pander for votes. Is he doing the samba or disco? I can't get past the sheer badness of the hair. Cheryl's outfit helps, though. He definitely excels in the Latin rounds. He's still counting along a little; it's not great, but nor is it bad.
The Judges's Scores: 6-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

Next up are Cody and Julianne with their tango. He apparently has ADD. I'd step on him. He's too young for this dance. I just can't take him seriously. As much as I want Julianne to stick around all season, I just can't warm up to him. The music selection is not helping them and the Lift Police are going to have something to say.
The Judges's Scores: 7-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

There's no way he was better than Maurice.

Toni is having a good year. She and Alec haven't peaked but she's got a lot of talent. Unlike Brooke, she doesn't have to fight high expectations and she doesn't have a big mouth like Warren. If she's lurking around in the Top 3, I'd look for her to be in the mix to win. Mrs. High Lord wants to know what happened to the rest of Toni's outfit. I want to know if Mrs. High Lord can borrow it some time. She seems a little off tonight. Either she was missing steps or she and Alec were half a beat off.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

Continuing to wear out her welcome is Frau Blücher along with Corky. She may be the weakest dancer, but at least she's trying (Master P, I'm looking at you). They're doing the tango and she's stiff (not in the good way). She tries to be hammy, but she's also dancing. Her technique is improved, if unspectacular. This is overlooked this season, but Corky has been a really, really good sport about all this. He's got to know that he's playing the straight man to Cloris's schtick. He plays to her (few) strengths and knows that he's part of a novelty act. The judges will score them (relatively) high which almost assures the Rocco will get the boot tomorrow.
The Judges's Score: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

Hoping to stave off elimination, Rocco and Karina pull out all the stops. Hey, Rocco, Barry Manilow called and he wants his shirt back. They're bad. And not in the good way. I appreciate that he's trying, but he just needs to go. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but he obviously doesn't have any natural dancing skillz (much like me). I think he's a shoo-in to get whacked tomorrow.
The Judges's Score: The Satan Score
The High Lord's Score:

In the six-spot are Susan and Tony. She's getting better, but I just don't think she can keep up with the other dancers. They're doing the tango (probably not as well as Tia, though). She misses a couple of steps early. I'm not wowed. Didn't hate it, though. The judges loved it, which bodes well for her.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Last week, Brooke and Derek set the bar high. It gets even higher when Brooke goes to a Brazilian club and comes out looking super-hawt. If there are any 14 year-old boys watching the show tonight, they just became men when Brooke started dancing. Derek is underrated as a choreographer. He doesn't keep the spotlight on himself (like Edyta does) and he really makes his partner shine. It helps when his partner is Brooke Burke. Grumpy Len didn't like them which means he's either gay or dead. It's a good thing Bruno and Carrie Ann are on the ball. I can't pay attention to Samantha's interview segments; all I can see are the twins.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score: 9

Going second to last are Lance and Lacey. They're also doing the tango. He's got good posture; like quickstep posture. She's doing more dancing than he is. The goth thing doesn't work for me, but that's probably Harold Wheeler's fault (damn you, Harold!). Grumpy Len should like this one. They look like they should be working on the Tower of Terror. It was good; solid but not great.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

Right now, that leaves them tied for the lead tonight.

Warren and Kym finish off the night with the samba. She has whipped him into shape and we haven't heard any man-diva stories in about two weeks. I never understood the charm of the Aussie accent until I heard Kym talking the first time. Now I get it. Or maybe it's the fact that she's not wearing any clothes. Other "big guys" have had problems on this show (Clyde and Evander to name two), but Warren is surprisingly agile. Especially considering that a lot of football players leave the game with their bodies in shambles. I liked the dance, it was fun and playful without being too hammy. The judges are a little harsh.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 8

Rocco will be going home tomorrow. Period.

Cloris may have the lowest combined score, but the fans will keep her around for at least one more week. Rocco and Cloris are tied for the lowest combined scores over the past two weeks, and since Rocco would have been whacked last week if not for Misty's injury, I think there's no question that he's getting the boot.

Next week, Cloris should be going home. After that, I think it's a free-for-all. Susan's star is on the rise, but I don't know that she can make up all the ground she needs in order to catch up to the leaders.

Tomorrow, it's the results and then we're getting ready for Halloween.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

DWTS Results . . . maybe

I'm only half-watching the DTWS results show. I still think there should be a Constitutional amendment that reality show results shows should only be 30 minutes long. That and the balanced budget thing.

Earlier tonight, I watched The Big Bang Theory on the DVR. In case I haven't mentioned this before, but I lurve that show. Anytime someone can work in a good "What the frak?" on a show that's not BSG, my opinion goes up.

I tuned in to see the last part of the Rockettes and then I watched J-Hud singing while Julianne did a kind of creepy dance with her brother. I didn't mind her outfit, nor did I mind seeing Jennifer again, but Julianne and Derek should only dance together in the great state of West Virginia, or perhaps eastern Kentucky.

We see some (more) filler. The segment on injuries is meant to draw out some sympathy, but it also highlights just what a dangerous sport ballroom dancing is. I know some people make fun of it, but the fact of the matter is that if ribbon dancing is an Olympic sport and bass fishing, race car driving and poker are on ESPN, then there should be no doubt that ballroom dancing is a sport.

No, it's not soccer or football, but let's face it, baseball players spend more time standing around than doing anything really athletic. Is bowling a sport? What about billiards? Australian Rules Football? Definitely a sport.

I missed the first 20 minutes of the show. Are they actually going to kick someone off the show tonight? If they do, does that mean they're going to cut the show a week short?

After a commercial break, Tom predictably tells us no one is getting the boot tonight, but they do reveal that Rocco and Karina would have gotten canned. No surprise there. Nor are we surprised to learn that all the scores will carry over to next week. Meaning that Rocco is basically a dead man walking because I don't see him improving enough to dig himself out of the bottom of the barrel.

Cloris might crash the going-home party, but since we don't know if she was in the bottom 2, she might actually be safe for another week or two.

My money is on the following results for the next three weeks. In order, I'm calling for Rocco, Cloris and Susan to get kicked off. After that, it's anyone's game.

All predictions guaranteed correct or your money back.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Is there any suspense left for this week?

It seems that DWTS should change it's name to ERWTS. Apparently, Misty blew out her achilles tendon and Derek fell and hit his head. Is this a dancing show or survivor?

If Misty is indeed out, how will they score this week? You know they're not going to cut the show a week short. I'll bet they combine this week's and next week's scores (judges and voting) to eliminate one person next week, but everyone's safe tomorrow.

While we're waiting on the show to start, I like to begin by asking "what's up with gas prices?" I'm not complaining, but over the past few days, the price here in the great state of West Virginia has dropped from about $3.85 two weeks ago to $3.39 today. Mrs. High Lord and I were in Columbus, OH shopping over the weekend and paid the "bargain" price of $3.22 for regular unleaded.

(As a side not, it's a sad, sad day when I pay $3.22 for regular unleaded and feel like I hit a $100 scratch-off lottery ticket. [sarcasm=on]Thanks, Dubya! Your energy policy is the best! I like you so much better now than when you were elected and gas cost $1.28 a gallon![/sarcasm])

In opening montage shows Misty blowing out her foot. It's kind of amazing that an athlete in such great shape could have an accident like this, but when you think about it, she plays mostly on sand, not on hardwood. Plus, she's probably not used to wearing heels.

Tonight's dances are the jive and the Viennese Waltz. I sure hope Cloris didn't draw the jive because she might break a hip. Tom and UCG (Unintentional Comedy Girl; I'm starting with the nicknames for this show, look out!) get right to it.

Susan and Tony are first; I thought she was doing the Viennese Waltz last week and this week they get the jive. They stage some fake drama and go see the Rockettes. Their timing starts off out of sync. I'm giving them a big aiiiiight. I'm just not feeling it from them tonight. It's like she's moving at ¾ speed and their timing doesn't get much better as the dance goes on. Is she showing off her boob job for Bruno's benefit or for mine?
The Judges's Scores: Lucky 7s
The High Lord's Score: 7

Ballroom rebels Lance and Lacey unveil their Viennese Waltz at a nursing home, which turns into a pretty funny segment. The dance starts with Lance feeling up Lacey, which is okay because he's gay (for those you who didn't know). If this doesn't get them 8s and 9s, something is definitely wrong with the judges tonight. They are elegant and have beautiful, flowing movements. When the season started, I had Lance penciled into the finale and I think this just solidifies his position at the top of the leaderboard.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

The judges are a tough crowd this year. If I were Len, I wouldn't say too many nasty things about Lance because his straight girlfriend might shank him in the parking lot after the show one night.

Going in the three-hole are Maurice and Cheryl with their jive. For the first time this year, he looks like he's having fun. She's dancing more than he is, but it's still pretty good. They don't have amazing chemistry (not Cheryl/Drew or Julianne/Apolo chemistry), but they're still good together. I think Maurice is the main beneficiary of a pro's job as a teacher and choreographer because Cheryl's got some mad skillz.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

What do the judges have against Lance? There's no way Cheryl and Maurice were better than Lance and Lacey this week.

I hope everyone had a great weekend; Mrs. High Lord and I did our patriotic duty and spent money. We drove up to Columbus where we like to shop. We went to a Japanese market, ate lunch at a place called Akai Hana then went over to Easton Town Center for some hardcore bargain hunting. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of bargains at Easton, but there is The Melting Pot. Unfortunately, they were out of Swiss cheese. What the hell?!?!?!? How is a fondue restaurant out of Swiss cheese?

On Sunday, we drove down to the Prime Outlets shopping mall in Jeffersonville where we knocked out a good chunk of our Christmas shopping. We spent way too much, but got some good deals. I even bought some new shoes.

In the clean up spot are Rocco and Karina. They're the big beneficiaries of Misty's accident; without an elimination this week, he ought to be the next one to get the boot. To his credit, I think Rocco is trying, but he's just not a good dancer. The music doesn't help him; a polka arrangement of "What's New, Pussycat?" is almost painful. I think he's one of those dancers who benefits from low expectations at the beginning of the season, but I just don't see him lasting more than one or two more weeks.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-6
The High Lord's Score:

If Len is going to wear those glasses, he has no business telling Lance to be more traditional.

Wrapping up the first hour are Warren and Kym, who came out with a 2x4 last week. They're doing the Viennese Waltz and Kym is spilling out of her dress in the rehearsal (not a complaint; if not for Mrs. High Lord, I would soooooooo make out with her). I think this is one of the most boring dances on the slate, so I wonder they they pair it with the jive. As the judges have mentioned before, Warren is surprisingly light on his feet. It wasn't as good as last weeks paso, but it's definitely good, even if they miss a hold or two. The spins at the end are nearly flawless.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

Cody and Julianne are next with the jive. He really annoys me; I don't know if he's really like that or if he's mugging for the cameras, but his interview segments are awful. I like Julianne with longer hair. A lot of tall people have problems with the jive because they have to move their legs so fast and Cody is no exception. They get in a lot of stunts, but I'm not wowed. Carrie Ann says he was counting along in his head and she's right.
The Judges's Scores: Blackjack!
The High Lord's Score:

Looking like she stepped right out of Dangerous Liaisons are Toni and Alec who are doing the Vietnamese . . . er, Viennese Waltz. I'd like to see them dancing in the black pajamas and lampshades. It's good to see that Schroeder can get work, even if it's as techno-Schroeder. Len will probably be grumpy about the music (not Toni's fault) but the dance is very nice. They have a couple of timing problems, and she has the counting-along problem. They should get a bonus point for that thing not falling off her head.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

I had forgotten Toni was Belle on Broadway; Belle is my favourite of the Disney Princesses. Not only is she a book-nerd, but she is the most under-rated in terms of hotness (Esmeralda is a close second).

If you had asked me which of the dancers was the most likely to get injured this season, the even money would have been on 82 year-old Cloris and Corky. Every time she dances, I'm worried about her rupturing a disc or falling flat on her head. That's she's still standing is either a testament to her athleticism or a minor miracle. The actual dance is awful. Even if you like her, you have to admit that. But that's not what Frau Blücher is about, though. (Unintentionally) losing the wig was pretty funny. Watching them dance is like the giant rolling head you just can't look away from. She should be the one going home, but she won't for another week or so.
The Judges's Scores: 6-5-5
The High Lord's Score: 6

The final couple to dance are the odds-on faves, Brooke and Derek. Do you think he forgot the dance as part of the head injury? They're shown fighting (Can't we all just get along?) and then they do their Viennese Waltz. Mrs. High Lord says Brooke has a nice--and not fake-looking--smile. Brooke smiles? Again, I think this is a terribly boring dance; so much that not even Brooke Burke can get me excited about it. I think the panel will fawn all over them. Giving her daughter a kiss at the end is a nice way of pandering for votes.
The Judges's Scores: 9-10-9
The Judges's Scores: 8

I had a feeling we'd see the first 10 of the season on that one. They're clearly the class of the show this season and as I've said before, she has to avoid peaking too early. If she performs at a high level all year, she can't slip up or an off night of voting might land her in the bottom 2 for an early ouster.

Then we get a sit-down with Misty who will be lost for the season with her Achilles injury. I hope she's got insurance on her leg because this not only ends her DWTS run, but could also end her volleyball career.

What does this mean for the show? I'm guessing no one goes home tomorrow. We get the obligatory recap anyway.

The two weakest dancers are Rocco and Cloris, both of whom are on borrowed time. I think they'll be the next two to go and I have a feeling that they'll be gone in some order with Susan following soon afterward.

I'll be back tomorrow for a no-filler recap.

High Lord. Out.