Monday, September 29, 2008

Eleven is the new 12

After one week of competition, we're down from thirteen couples to eleven.

I hope everyone has a fixed rate mortgage and that your car gets at least 30 miles per gallon (city/highway combined) because mine does not. I'm happy to hear that our grandchildren are not going to get saddled with $700 billion worth of debt. Is it no wonder that the American public can't stay out of debt when our government is addicted to spending?

Why is it again that Congress refuses to pass a balanced budged amendment to the Constitution? It seems to me that a lot of this mess could have been averted with just a little bit of fiscal responsibility (the alleged cornerstone of the Republican Party). It's time to either raise taxes or cut spending (preferably both) and get the economy back under control rather than just spend and spend and spend. Or, if we're going to go in the hole anyway, shouldn't we be spending $12 billion a month on rebuilding our own country and not Iraq? Just sayin'.

This week, I look for Rocco, Cody or Susan to get the boot. Of course, they're all in play and any of them could get ousted at any time (Sabrina being Exhibit A). I'd like to say that Cloris will rightfully get booted, but I think she'll be around at least until Columbus Day.

What am I going to do this week since there's not 5 hours of DWTS on the tube?

Each couple only has to do one dance this week, either the rumba or the paso doble.

First up are Toni and Alec who show that he cannot karoake. My ears are bleeding as we speak; was that William Hung singing? They get the rumba and she looks fantasitc. Is that a dress or a bathing suit? Oops . . . a lift; alter the Lift Nazis. And another one. It's slow and sensual, but I have a feeling they're going to lose a couple of points for the dancing faux paus. Tom judges Alec's singing. Wait, they have a 2 paddle? Why can't they give scores on Idol?
The Judges's Scores: 7-8-8
The High Lord's Score:

Pretty good for all the lifting.

After two strong performances last week, Brooke is nearly spilling out of her dress (not a complaint) and Derek is there to catch them . . . um, her. For a young guy, Derek is a pretty good choreographer. He doesn't try too much and he doesn't make the dance about him (Edyta, I'm talking to you). They miss a couple of marks, but it was a strong dance. I see 8s and 9s in their future.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

I wonder if Rocco and Karina will make some lasagna to buy votes . . . cuz, I could go for some right about now. They need to do away with the gimmicks and just dance (that goes for everyone!). Watch Rocco count along in his head. He's not moving much and that's bad. I'm meh on him. The judges rightfully pan his (lack of) hip action.
The Judges's Scores: 5-6-5
The High Lord's Score: 6

Look, Samantha can add!

Batting clean up are Lance and Lacey. I think they're the couple to beat, even if Grumpy Len doesn't. He's going to hate their paso, too. I'd comment more on the dancing, but WCHS cut out for a few seconds on me. I like it; they're not the blatant rebels that Mario (Lopez) was, but they're out on the edge. If I was Lacey's partner and I wasn't gay (or married), I'd be kissing all over her. But then again, she'd probably beat the crap out of me. I'm right about Grumpy Len. Carrie Ann and Bruno don't know what to make of them.
The Judges's Scores: 7-6-7
The High Lord's Score:

Kim and defending champ Mark are next. She looks like she's about three collagen injections away from becoming Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. They draw the rumba and she doesn't move much. After their opening foxtrot, I thought she'd be better. Mrs. High Lord thinks Mark is one of those T.O. (me-me-me!) dancers. They were serviceable, but not great. For a girl who has a sex tape available for download on the Interweb, she seems cold on the dance floor (even Mrs. High Lord thinks that). Is it just my TV or is the sound off for the judges?
The Judges's Scores: 6-6-5
The High Lord's Score: 7

It's always good to follow a below-average performance. That bodes well for Misty and Maks. I like Misty, but being out in the sun all the time is going to take its toll on her skin (it's already started). Of course, it's also left the rest of her in incredible shape, so that's the trade-off. I can tell she really wants to win this thing and she'd probably stab several of the other dancers if given the opportunity. The hard work this week paid off. They have a couple of timing glitches, but otherwise, it was great. And if this dancing thing doesn't work out for her, I'm sure she could find work in the S&M scene.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 8

They must be running short of time because they go from M&M straight to Maurice and Cheryl. She gets him to work his hips. A little bit. Maybe once or twice. I'm not seeing it in Mo's rumba. Aside from the (no) hip action, it's not bad. What's with turning the camera 45° to the side? Are they trying to make me ill?
The Judges's Scores: 7-6-6
The High Lord's Score:

With four couples left, Cloris and Corky are playing to the crowd. It seems they're dressed for the paso, which is a good thing since if she tries the rumba, she's liable to break a hip. Are we sure Corky is Mark's dad and not his big brother? She's looking much more Frau Blücher this week and less cooky old grandma. They wisely go for a good dance rather than hammy performance. She has all sorts of technical issues (where do I begin?), but that's not what these two are about. I think she'll advance as long as there are weak dancers out there, but once it gets to the good dancers, she'll be gone. I'd look for her to outlast Rocco, Kim and maybe Cody.
The Judges's Scores: The fake area code
The High Lord's Score: 6

This year's SOH (soap opera homer) is the way-too-thin-for-her-own-good Susan and Tony. I'm not a fan of the soap stars who have been on the show, but she's okay. They have the best rumba of the night, even if her hips aren't all that. She would have a good Viennese Waltz, but it wasn't as good as it should have been. I think the two dances last week and the short week are killing the couples this year. I hope next year they either eliminate one person in week one or go for a double elimination in week 2.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

After reports of being a man-diva, Warren and Kym are hitting the paso. if Julianne and Mrs. High Lord ever cheat on me, I'm running to Kym for comfort. Especially if she's wearing that outfit. I think he really wants to win and Kym just might get over the hump this year; all of the past champions have drawn second tier partners. They miss a couple of holds, but I liked it. I don't know that they were the best of the night, but they were close.
The Judges's Scores: 8-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

In other news, how great was it that USC, Florida and Miami got assassinated this past weekend? I was ecstatic.

If this were another show, going early would have hurt the people who danced well early (Toni and Brooke), but on this show, getting to go late is less of an advantage. As a result Cody and Julianne in the Pimp Spot is no guarantee. I'm not sold on him yet. It's a good thing he can tap into the massive ABC/Hannah Montana machine, but how far will it take him? How'd it work out for Billy Ray? Did he just grab her ass? He reminds me of Nick Simmons (as in Gene's son) only not as smart or funny. I really hate this song (damn you, Harold Wheeler!), but I'll try not to hold it against them. The pasos tonight were much better than the rumbas, and Cody is victimised by the dance selection tonight, too. It was aiiiiiight, but not special. He also needs to work on his hips. Julianne does not.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score: 7

I think the people in danger this week are Rocco and Kim. Cloris should be in danger, but she'll make another couple of weeks.

Everyone else ought to be safe, although I would also say that Cody, Maurice, Susan and maybe Warren are in play. I'd say Brooke, Lance, Misty and Toni should be safe, although stranger things have happened.

One thing about this season is that there are no obvious ringers. No one is head and shoulders above the rest and the scores are much more down to earth than they've been in the past (which is a good thing).

Tomorrow, I'm going to watch the Big Bang Theory on my DVR and go no-filler for the DWTS results show. See you then!

High Lord. Out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Second elimination

Last year, the show opened with a double elimination. This year, they're doing it over two nights, but still whacking two celebs in the first week seems a little cruel.

I appreciate that a part of these shows is watching people get booted off, but it hardly seems representative of someone's potential to see them eliminated after one dance. Even Idol manages to milk the prep shows to the auditions and Hollywood rounds. Maybe they should have a DWTS boot camp showing everyone trying to get into shape for the competition shows.

I'm going all no-filler tonight thanks to the wonders of DVR.

Jeff Ross was given the boot last night and he was truly the weakest of the dancers this year. Think Tucker Carlson with less rhythm and worse facial hair. Who will it be tonight.

If not for the hawtness of the Future Mr. Jennifer, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, I'm sure Freddie Mercury would be rolling in his grave.

We get the obligatory recap of last night and I still can't figure out how Susan Lucci got a higher score than Ted McGinley.

I'm forwarding through the filler.

Now it's time to find out who is safe. In no particular order, Brooke and Derek are declared safe. As are Kim and Mark. There's a shocker; I guess the money-maker shake really does work. And then we see a shot of the Jonas Brothers. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

There's a quick commercial break and then Jeffrey and Edyta show up to perform their quickstep. He's still heavy-footed, and much to my dismay, she's actually wearing a dress.

Then it's more results. Cloris and Corky are safe. And now I'm FFing through Jessie McCartney. I would like to be the first to propose a Constitutional Amendment that requires all reality TV results shows to be limited to 30 minutes. I know this would have broad bipartisan support and should pass easily. Please write your Senators and Congressmen/women and help me get this passed. In an election year when the electorate is divided over many issues, let us all unite over this issue that threatens us all.

It was good to see Ashly Del Grosso again. Please come back, Ashly! I promise you'll get first pick of celebs this time around!

Then it's time for Adam and some street interviews. "Who's your favourite judge?"



Next to be declared safe are Maurice and Cheryl. And then it's commercial time. Followed by the Jonas Brothers. And more filler.

Misty and Maks are moving on, much to the delight of Jennifer. Warren and Kym will be moving on. On PTI, LeBatard gave them something like a 20% chance to win this thing and I think Tony said they were 25% favourites.

Some of the early faves are still under the lights, but let's face it, Lance isn't going anywhere. If you read through the scoring system, it's virtually impossible for anyone in the top 6 or so in judges scoring to be kicked off at this point.

We're seven minutes to go before the elimination.

Lance and Lacey: safe. Duh.

Cody and Julienne are also safe. Whew.

That means either Toni or Ted are getting whacked. Hey, wait a minute . . . when did Rocco get sent to safety? I guess I was a little FF-happy.

Ted and Inna get whacked. I certainly didn't see that one coming. Don't get me wrong; Ted wasn't going to win, but he was much better than the judges's scores last night. I thought he at least deserved to go further than Cody, Susan or Rocco. I guess that's what I get for not voting.

So after three shows, we're two celebs lighter. There are some bottom feeders still around and a top tier that is poised to lay a beat down on all comers.

I think this is going to be a great season, so stick with me and we'll coast through the dancing and go right into Idol.

High Lord. Out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Night of dancing #2

I love The Big Bang Theory. Everyone should watch it. Even if you're not a nerd. But especially if you are.

The even money is on Jeffrey and Edyta to be eliminated tonight. Then I'd say it's a toss-up on whether Cody, Susan or Rocco gets the boot tomorrow. After those four, things ought to get cooking.

In looking back at last night and seeing everyone dance once, here's my breakdown of the celebs:

Pencil him into the finale:


Watch out if they get hot


In dire need of the fans to keep them around


The order doesn't matter, they're going home


Susan should be in the bottom tier, but I think if she gets better the soap opera fans will keep her around for a couple of weeks beyond her due date. Same thing for Cloris; 82 year-old people just aren't built for ballroom dancing, but at least she's moderately entertaining and if she were even twenty years younger, she could make a strong charge into the top 5 or 6 (think Jane and Marie).

With that said, the charm of these shows is that sometimes people stick around longer than they should (Master P) and sometimes they get sent packing early (Sabrina).

So with that in mind, let's see who gets whacked first and who advances to the second elimination.

After the introductions, they get right to the results. Lance and Lacey are predictably declared safe. Raise your hand if you didn't see that coming. You there . . . in the back . . . sit down. They open with a nice quickstep that's technically very good. They seem a little nervous. I'm really liking Lacey; it's good to see some new blood on this show. Len starts the show off cranky; the other two are tepid. Lance and Lacey can phone in the next four or five weeks and be fine. Let's just hope they don't peak too early.
The Judges's Scores: 7-6-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

I wonder about the elimination technique here tonight. Wouldn't it be better to do the elimination first and then make them dance?

The second couple to dance are Misty and the future Mr. Jennifer. They're doing the mambo and Misty's legs could either be a tremendous asset or an tremendous liability. Maks compares her to Stacy; let's hope he's a better choreographer than Tony. She has the same problem Clyde had a couple of years ago: she's too tall. Her movements are a little awkward. Once she figures out how to make her body go the way she wants it to go, she'll be fine, but the next few weeks are going to be a little painful for her.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7 (next door neighbour of the Beast)
The High Lord's Score: 7

After some more fake suspense, Maurice and Cheryl are brought out to dance. If Cheryl were my dance partner, there would be a 50/50 chance that I would either win, or she'd kill me. Their mambo is also pretty good. They have some early timing issues, but they work themselves out nicely. The electric worm is nice. I'm not ready to put them in the top tier, but they've had two solid performances. He certainly gives her a better chance for that third title than Ian or Wayne ever did.
The Judges's Scores: Blackjack!
The High Lord's Score: 7

Brooke and Boy Wonder get to go next. I'm ready to officially declare him insane; proper or not, if Brooke Burke's boobies are anywhere near me, there's no way I'm putting a baby between them and me. Er . . . don't tell Mrs. High Lord I said that. Love you, honey. Dancing with a Baby Bjorn is pretty cool, though. I think she's one of the sleepers this season. Aside from people who watched Rock Star or Wild On!, there aren't a lot of people out there who know her, so she might have fan base problems. But she's hot and a pretty good dancer. She's also lucky to have drawn a great partner in Derek. If there's anyone who can give him a run into the finals, it's her; she's much more confident than Jennie and unlike Shannon, her hips actually work. I was watching them purely out of journalistic interest, mind you.
The Judges's Scores: 9-8-9
The High Lord's Score:

I'd really like a love-it sized Oreo Overload right about now. Just sayin'.

Next up are Cloris and Corky. When I'm 82, I can only hope to be moving half as well as she does. Granted that her mambo is very, very stiff. It's very entertaining, but the dancing is not very good (and that's being kind). If it were anyone else, she'd be getting 3's and 4's. I think she'll survive for a few weeks, but if she makes it past 13 October, I'd be shocked. If this were purely a ballroom dancing show, she would do better, but she's liable to break a hip in the latin dances.
The Judges's Scores: 6-5-5
The High Lord's Score: 5

Following Cloris is probably a good place to go; you can only be better. This week, it's Toni and Alec. They also have some timing/chemistry issues, but that could be due to the show still being young. Her music/dancing background will help her out, but she's still counting along too much. I give it a big aiiiiiiight.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-8
The High Lord's Score:

The remaining dancers on the stage are doing the math and Jeffrey, Rocco and Cody know that's not a good thing for them.

After getting the Pimp Spot last night, Warren and Kym are next. She can't even get her arms around his shoulders. And he has a potty mouth. Their foxtrot could either be really good or it could be a trainwreck. Warren is not Emmitt or Helio, but for a big guy, he moves well. His posture isn't the greatest, but his feet are surprisingly light. I give him an A for effort.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

The judges are certainly being more generous tonight. Just FYI: I will not be watching the lame David Blaine stunt tomorrow night. Alert CNN.

Back to the dancing.

Ted and Inna get a predictable reprieve. I like Our Cruise Photographer, and not just because he's the patron saint of Jump the Shark. I think he really wants to win. He's funny like George without the hip replacement. And only a fraction of the tanning. Inna is clearly doing more moving than him, but he's not all that bad. And he looks like he's having fun. Ted certainly has a ways to go if he wants to make the finale, but he could crash the party. Carrie gets in a little bit of good coaching. Even Len has nice things to say.
The Judges's Scores: 6-6-7 (living in the apartment above Satan's garage)
The High Lord's Score:

The next couple to take the floor are Cody and Julienne. She politely calls him immature. If he wants to win, he needs to get over at how hawt she is and just dance. He can cover technical deficiencies with sheer athleticism that comes with youth. I'm not sold on him; he's counting too much and seems stiff (and not because of Julienne. They're not nearly as cute as she and Apolo.
The Judges's Scores: 8-7-8
The High Lord's Score: 7

That was also very generous.

With three couples left to dance, Rocco and Karina go next. If not for Jeffrey, theirs was the first 4 we saw outside of Master P's obvious non-effort. They're relying solely on Karina's sheer (and considerable) hawtness to carry them. He's not awful, but clearly outclassed by the people who have gone earlier in the night. Their dance looked like it may have been fun, but it was also borderline painful to watch.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-7
The High Lord's Score:

The judges must be getting like Katie and Bob during hour 8 of the Parade of Nations; they're a little punchy and the scores are coming up. I know Tom and I-Wish-She-Had-Her-Baby-Boobies-Back Samantha say the results are "in no particular order" but do you also wonder if the highest scores went first and the lowest are still standing?

That leaves us with Kim, Susan and Jeffrey as the remaining celebs. Susan and Tony get "the call", meaning that Jeffrey is officially a dead man walking. She needs to loosed up and rid herself of the plastic ballroom dancer's smile. When John did the quickstep back in season 1, he was clearly having fun; she's thinking too much about hitting her marks. Their technique is okay, but the performance was a little blank for me.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score:

I can't believe she got 7's and 8's and Ted got 6's and 7's.

Following a quick break, Jeffrey and Edyta get whacked, meaning Dave (not me) at work will be a little ticked off. Oh, and don't drink any of his coffee, either. Maybe next year she can dance with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

That leaves Kim and Mark as the last couple to dance. Were they in the bottom 2 or were they "in no particular order"? I should have been paying attention, but I'm going no-filler tonight (love the DVR). Hey, Harold Wheeler, Sir Mix-A-Lot called and he wants to press charges for murdering his song. Kim has problems, no the least of which is the fact that she has no chemistry with Mark. Was that really a mambo? Or was that just an excuse for us to be distracted by some gawd-awful music. I'm speechless. And not for the right reasons. I will say, though, if Kim gets canned tomorrow, it will not really be due to her dancing; she can rightly blame the music selection and the choreography. It was too gimmickey.
The Judges's Scores: The Satan Score
The High Lord's Score: 6

Purely on merit, Cloris deserves to go home tomorrow. However, I think she might survive another week or two. I'd say the people in the hot seat will be Rocco, Kim and Cody. Their dances tonight weren't very good and I think they are going to have fan base and voting problems.

If I were laying odds, I'm going to make Rocco my call, but any of those three could get the axe.

Tomorrow, I'm going all no-filler because I don't think I can stomach the thought of another hour-long results show.

See you then.

High Lord. Out.

A new season means clearing the sidebar

With a new season of DWTS underway, it can only mean that Idol is around the corner.

So I bid a fond adieu to last year's glossary and the other stuff that inhabited the sidebar. Don't worry, though, a new one will be appearing shortly.


AHG - Acoustic Hippy Girl Brooke White

ATCO - Aussie TCO Michael Johns

CBV - Crying Baby Voice girl, Syesha Mercado

CCS - Crappy Coronation Song

Dead Man's Spot - The lead-off spot in the order, statistically a dangerous place to have to sing

FGB - Flaming Gay Boy Danny Noriega

IBG - Interchangeable Blonde Girl

ISMH - I Sold My Horse girl, Kristy Lee Cook

JTG - Jen the Gelfling: Jason Castro because he looks like Jen from The Dark Crystal

O1NS - Obligatory One-Named Singer in the tradition of Trenyce, Mandisa, and Vonzell. This year it's Chikezie

OTP - One Trick Pony

Pimp Spot - Getting to sing last, statistically a very good place to sing

SHBORS - Should Have Been On Rock Star boy, David Cook

SSKIM - Star Search Kid and Interview Moron David Archuleta

TCO - The Chosen One

TIG - Tattooed Irish Girl Carly Smithson

WDB - White Dreadlock Boy Jason Castro

XSG - Ex-Stripper Guy David Hernandez

1. Thou shalt not sing Whitney, Mariah or Celine unless thou art actually Whitney, Mariah or Celine.

1A. Remember the words to the song you're singing.

2. Just sing the song. Leave runs, vocal tricks, vibrato et al at home.

3. If a song "belongs" to another American Idol performer, don't even try it. "Summertime" is Fantasia's. "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" is Clay's. You will only be a pale imitation, so don't bother.

4. Listen to what Simon has to say and ignore the way he says it; he's a pompous idiot, but he's also usually right.

5. Don't argue with the judges; it just makes you look whiney and ungrateful.

6. Be mentally tough or the show will chew you up and spit you out, no matter how good a singer you are.

7. Sing every song like it's going to be your last and don't take any week for granted because every year someone unexpectedly gets whacked.

8. Any falsetto is too much falsetto.

9. If you didn't get on TV during the audition rounds and Hollywood, you got hosed. Don't complain about it. Thank American Idol for the opportunity and be grateful you don't have to shill for Fox/Freemantle/19E for the rest of your life.

10. Don't read silly blogs and message boards. Do your best because no matter what you do, some hack with a website will write things about you you don't believe and you don't think are true. Suck it up, ignore the blather and prove them wrong!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Howdy! Let's go dancing . . . again.

Here we are for another season of DWTS. It seems like an exciting season with lots of people who should do well. I know, I know . . . I've said that before so we'll have to see how things actually turn out.

In other news, I hope everyone had a good summer, post-Idol. From the High Lord's newsroom, I got one of the new iPod Nanos, ordered the day they came out. It took a while to get here from Shenzhen, China, but it seems to work very well. It's red, of course, and I got the 16 GB version. I like the way the screen image rotates when you turn it on its side (like the iPhone and iPod Touch) and the "shake to shuffle" feature is really cool, although it also has a habit of tripping when I'm just walking around with it in my pocket. I highly recommend it.

Mrs. High Lord started a new job. She's been away at training for the last two weeks and won't be back until Friday. The good news is that I've still got clean underwear and food in the fridge. The bad news is that I haven't even made a dent in the list she left for me. Guess what I'll be doing on Thursday night.

Hey, how about the government bailing out the mortgage lenders, AIG insurance and the US automakers? Four years ago, remember when we were told that if we voted for John Kerry, we'd get socialism? Well, Dubya got elected and guess what we've got now? Socialism. With no way to pay for any of this.

So much for a "conservative" administration. At least with the Democrats, we wouldn't have had a gazillion tax cuts for the wealthy and we would have a way to pay for all this debt. It's funny that for a party that prides itself on "fiscal responsibility", the last three Republican administrations have brought us two recessions, the savings & loan scandal, the mortgage crisis, record oil prices and a mounting debt for the Saudis, Chinese and Japanese to buy. Oh, yeah, and they started three wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq again . . . plus the debacle that was Somalia). I hope Republicans everywhere are proud of the debt they've pawned off on their grandchildren.

Sorry for the rant . . . back to the dancing.

They're starting this season with a three-night extravaganza featuring our old friend Tom, the queen of unintentional comedy Samantha and 13 new stars. I'm giddy at the prospect of seeing Warren Sapp dance and I'm dismayed at the thoughts of Kim Kardashian wearing clothes.

Thanks to the joys of DVR, I'm going to go no-filler every night, especially during the results shows.

After the obligatory introductions, they get right to the dancing. First up are Cody and the Future Mrs. High Lord. Cody is a dork. He had better not screw up and get eliminated early. If you'll remember, I was depressed most of last year when my favourite two-time champion got whacked. He's not bad; a little stiff, but that could be due to going first. I can't keep my eyes off Julienne's frills. They weren't spectacular (the dancers), but it was pretty good for going lead-off.
The Judges's Scores: The Satan Score
The High Lord's Score:

I thought the scores were a little tough, but maybe the judges are going to actually judge instead of just rubber stamp every mediocre performance with a 30 like they did a couple of seasons ago.

Going in the two-hole are Rocco and Karina. Tom sets them up for low scores by showing some injury footage from earlier today. I like Karina's outfit in the interview segment. If he gets rid of the goofy smile and relaxes, he might be okay. His head is bobbing a little too much and he misses a few marks. If they gave Cody 6s, Rocco is going to get 5s. He also wasn't bad, but he has a long way to go in order to be competitive. Karina tells us she's feeling much better which could just be the drugs talking.
The Judges's Scores: 5-4-5
The High Lord's Score: 6

I didn't think they'd give out less than 5 for people actually making some effort. Weren't those supposed to be reserved for Master P?

Four of my five fantasy football teams are winning. The one that's not still has Philip Rivers, Quentin Jammer and the San Diego defense to play. I'm down by 30, so I'm hoping that they can bring me back and win the quinfecta.

Going third are Toni and Alex, who was the only winner to have the results fixed for him. Once the dancing starts, I immediately think, "Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana are on the phone and they want someone's head on a platter." At least they're not getting the Hungry-Like-the-Wolf treatment. Toni is good, but it seems she's moving at about 60% speed; that could just be the music, though. Didn't hate it, didn't love it.
The Judges's Scores: 7-7-8
The High Lord's Score:

My, that was generous.

Batting clean up are Maurice and Cheryl. At what point this season does he bring out the fire extinguisher? All he has to do is be good and Cheryl will (figuratively speaking) light him on fire and give him a chance to win. They start off slow. He needs a little more bounce in his step. Their timing is a little off, but not as bad as Rocco. I wish they had moved a little faster. They're going to get a mix of 6s and 7s. Bruno gets in some good coaching.
The Judges's Scores: The Score of the Beast
The High Lord's Score: 7

In the five-spot are Brooke and Derek. What is it with Derek and hawt 30-something women? During the interview segment, you can tell that all he's thinking is, "Yeah, I'd hit that." No, wait, that was me. Is this a cha-cha-cha or disco? She's pretty good and you can't really tell that she's counting along in her head. Len and Bruno are going to fawn all over her and she might even turn Carrie Ann. They're going to get 8s and 9s. Len says it was the best so far, and he's right.
The Judges's Scores: 7-8-8
The High Lord's Score: 8

It does seem that they're low-balling the scores, which is good. It means they're leaving lots of room for improvement in the future.

Next up are Jefferson D'Arcy and one of the new dancers, Inna. Like all the other guys, he spends the interview segment wondering how good a kisser his partner is. They certainly look elegant for their foxtrot. His posture starts off a little bent, but he gets better. So far, he's the best of the men. I think they brought him on to be this year's George, only less tan and not quite so old. Their first dance was serviceable, if a little safe. The judges's comments lead me to believe he's one of this year's sleepers, but their scores don't reflect that. He did come off more as Mark Gottfried than Stanley Gable.
The Judges's Scores: Satan . . . Again
The High Lord's Score:

OMG! The Joans Brothers are going to be on this Wednesday!?!?! I'm going to be FFing through everything except the last ten minutes of that show.

Marking the halfway point are Lance and Lacey. He's gay and she almost won SYTYCD. He starts off by sandbagging and saying that he was the worst dancer of the N'Sync crew. I think she's either going to be a wild card or she's going to be the kind of taskmistress that can actually win this thing. As a boy-bander, Lance has a leg up on everyone else. Plus, as Kathy Griffin says, "Those gays can dance!" He just passed Brooke as the class of the night. He'll be a frontrunner throughout the competition and has a good chance at breaking the athletes's winning streak.
The Judges's Scores: 8-6-8
The High Lord's Score:

Cranky Len makes his first appearance.

This year's sentimental favourite is Frau Blücher along with Corky. They seem to be very fun together. Of course, they don't have a shot in hell at winning, but they could go far as long as they don't have to do a jive. I wish he had been Marie's partner; she may actually have won. Cloris moves slowly, but then again, she's eighty-freaking-two years old. The judges are going to say nice things and probably give them inflated scores, but in truth, she was better than Rocco. Plus, she is funny as hell sucking up to the judges.
The Judges's Scores: 6-5-5
The High Lord's Score:

Rounding out the batting order are Jeffrey and Edyta. You know what they say: It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye . . . and then they get to wear a patch! It's a little late for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but he still looks swashbuckling enough (read: gay . . . not that there's anything wrong with that). Edyta says she's known for bringing out the best in her partners; funny, I thought she was known for wearing so few clothes there's a line in Vegas on whether her pasties are going to come off or not. Jeffrey has three left feet and will be gone faster than Carolla, with or without the eye injury. He's all that I expect: clumsy and heavy-footed. The pants don't help him either. He's my #1 candidate to get whacked tomorrow.
The Judges's Scores: 4-4-4
The High Lord's Score:

In the ten-spot, we have Kim and defending champion Mark. Kim says she has terrible balance; probably because she's top-heavy (not a complaint; just sayin'). I'll be she did ballet and/or tap as a child. She's not the best of the night (that's still Lance) but she was good enough to move into the early top tier. And she doesn't come off as vapid and shallow either. The judges called her technically cold, which is true, but she also had some of the best (not quite mad) skillz of the celebs. I think she had some night one nerves.
The Judges's Scores: 6-7-6
The High Lord's Score:

This years SOH (soap opera homer) is Susan along with Tony. Let's just hope his choreography doesn't kill her like it did to Stacy. Susan is counting in her head and not hiding it very well. She has happy feet, too . . . and not like Mumble's. I think she'll get a lot of the soap opera voters, but unless she brings out her inner showwoman like Marie did, she'll get sent packing early.
The Judges's Scores: 5-5-5
The High Lord's Score:

I know a lot of the fans are probably shocked to see scores this low, but given the score inflation of the past, it's good to see them getting back to actual competitive dance scoring. I'd look for it to be a while for anyone in this crew to bring home a 30 this season.

Over on ESPN, I'm happy to see that Rivers has 2 TDs and the San Diego defense with a score of its own. Unfortunately, Antonio Cromartie has a TD and that's not good for me. I'm also going to have to watch The Big Bang theory on the DVR after the show tonight.

If this were last season, Misty and Maks would be going last, but instead they'll settle for the next-to-the-Pimp-Spot. Whoever wrote the "queen of the court/belle of the ball" line should be fired. Their foxtrot starts out strong; does she have an ounce of body fat on her? I'll be she could bench press half of the people in my village at once. And if Maks messes too much with the choreography, she could probably snap his neck. I think she had a case of the nerves, too. Misty has a ways to go, but she could become a very strong dancer this season.
The Judges's Scores: 6-8-7
The High Lord's Score:

Rounding out the baker's dozen are Warren and Kym. If not for Mrs. High Lord and the future Mrs. High Lord, I'd hit that. And I don't mean Warren. In the promos, Kym reminds him that the other football players to be on the show have either won or been the runner-up. He does turn out to be closer to Emmitt than Clyde in terms of his dancing. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's trying and you can tell that he really wants to win. They had a few little timing issues, but they were actually very good.
The Judges's Scores: Blackjack
The High Lord's Score: 8

With the first round of dancing over, we're reminded that one couple will get canned tomorrow (probably Jeffrey/Edyta) and that a second will be on the chopping block on Wednesday (probably Rocco/Karina).

As with all of the reality competitions/popularity contests out there, there is a clear top tier, an emerging middle group and a handful of bottom feeders. This year, there are a bunch of folks who have yet to get past the nerves and that's good for the show. I think the field is more level this year than in seasons past.

We'll find out tomorrow when people show us their second dance.

High Lord. Out.