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.