Those of you under thirty may not get that reference to a famous mint commercial, but that’s what YouTube is for.
Well, I’ve been MIA for a few weeks, and I would explain, however, I realize you don’t log on to TVGasm to read about my personal woes. Sufficeth to say, when they said “writers’ strike,” I thought I was included. But I will spare you the details, and instead give you the Readers’ Digest version of the last three weeks of Dancing With The Stars. What excitement did you miss? I’ll give you the first part via pictures…
First, Julianne tried to frighten Helio into submission by wearing an unfortunate peacock.
Peta picketed shortly thereafter.
Then Maks and Old Spice pretended they were on Phenomenon
Tony sported a suspicious tattoo…
…while Edyta wore only the bottom half of her costume.
A group of Homies ruined their street cred.
And LeAnn Rimes made an appearance, looking pretty good for a 45 year-old.
The Trailer Trash Dancers performed…
…and Jane and Tony were sent packing,
presumably as a penalty for wearing a dress made out of toilet paper.
The following week yielded just as many…um…thrills.
Jonathon and Marie got things started with a live commercial for Pepto Bismol.
Maks and Mel B. demonstrated a Russian variation on the Vulcan Mind Meld.
Julianne practiced her sleight of hand…
…while, try as he might, Helio couldn’t make Julianne disappear.
Nope…she’s still there.
Jennie dressed up as Sigmund the Seamonster
Gloria Estefan checked her datebook and discovered she was
more than a month late for her appearance on DWTS
And, lastly, Cameron and Edyta shared a touching, albeit overly dramatic,
goodbye as they were voted off.
Now, don’t feel shortchanged. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I actually just produced a really long column.
That brings us to this past week: The Semi-Finals! Four couples remain: Jennie Garth and Derek…Mel B. and Maks…Helio Castroneves and Julianne…and Marie Osmond and Jonathon. The producers had stated emphatically from this season’s outset that they wanted a woman to win, and the deck has now been stacked, with only one man remaining in the competition. I’m just tingling with what I’ll presume is anticipation…although it might be some kind of an allergic reaction. Maybe I should take some Benadryl just in case.
Marie and Jonathon get things started with a quick step, and as we’re shown the practice footage, it is apparent what great shape Marie is in these days. It’s also clear she must be a lot of fun. We’re two months into this show, and I still can’t bring myself to dislike her. Damn Osmond charm. It’s in full force during the performance, and Marie’s technique has improved, as well. The cameraman pans the audience, and it appears to be made up entirely of Osmonds. Who’s left in Utah?
Just a note here, before the judges’ scores. Band conductor Harold Wheeler has returned, and may I just say, Thank God. The guy who filled in while Wheeler was unavailable was…shall we say…AWFUL. It was like the musicians were underwater…or heavily sedated. And by the time they were done playing, I was wishing I was the one who was heavily sedated. Or under water. Whatever. TempGuy is out, and Wheeler is back behind the baton where he belongs. Now at least everyone is playing up to tempo…and the same tempo, which was not the case last week.
Okay…time now to hear from the judges. Len says Marie brings joy and entertainment to the stage, and the dance was perfect. Bruno praises the content, and describes Marie as having the glamour of Ann Miller. Carrie Ann describes it as wonderful. Looks like we’ve all been sucked in to the vortex that is Osmania. 29 points…Bruno awarded the “9,” and earned the wrath of the Osmond-packed crowd.
Mel B. and Maks, who have become the frontrunners, decided to do the Viennese waltz. The pre-performance video includes a gratuitous appearance by the rest of the Spice Girls. It pays off, though, when one of them (I can’t tell them apart) tells Maks he has “Girl Power.” I’m betting he doesn’t define having “Girl Power” quite the way they do.
Then I have to take back everything nice I just said about the band, as the singer’s rendition of Queen’s Somebody to Love causes my ears to bleed. And somewhere poor Freddie Mercury is spinning like a radiometer on a clear summer day. After I mute the sound, the dance is fine. Smooth, fluid, and elegant. Bruno begins gesticulating wildly, which is always a good sign, and I picked out the words “driven to maximum impact, fast, precise, and sexy.” All good. Carrie Ann is not as verbose, saying it gave her chills. I’m hoping she meant in the “thrilling” way, not the “I’ve got the Asian Flu” way. Len liked the clever choreography and the movement, and deemed it fabulous. 30 points for Mel and Maks.
Looking serene…because they’re wearing ear plugs.
Jennie and her boy, Derek, are next. Their video shows a stop at Disneyland. Oh…that’s right. I’d almost forgotten ABC is Disney owned, because I hadn’t been reminded for at least ten minutes. You know, if you cut the cross promotions out of this show, it would only be 20 minutes each week, including the results? Anyway, back on stage, the two present a tango while garbed in pseudo band uniforms. I. Don’t. Get it. The dance is alright, but something isn’t clicking with this pair, and it feels forced, as it has for a few weeks now. Carrie Ann comments about the absent chemistry, but says she appreciated the focus. Len disagrees, and describes the pair as vibrant. Bruno calls her “Jennie the Red Menace.” I think he meant it as a compliment. The score: 28 points.
Jennie and Derek marching to the beat of their own drum.
As Helio and Julianne prepare to complete the first round, their video is shown, and Helio felt it necessary to express his appreciation to his instructor with balloons and Rascal Flatts…who I’m betting record on a label owned by Disney. I wish they had all inhaled some of the helium. It would have improved this segment immeasurably. And Rascal Flatts is a nice trio, but they’re a lot harder to listen to in the car when they are carrying their instruments with them, as opposed to being pressed into a nice portable disc. The rehearsal makes Helio out to be the underdog, but we know his only problem is he’s a guy. If this was any other season, he’d be a shoe in, but TPTB want a woman to win this time. The appealing pair perform a fox trot, and I note the costumers got lazy this week. All the skirts so far have been exactly the same, except for the color. Ankle length, gauzy, split panels. Apparently budget cuts have forced them to use only one pattern. The dancers’ foot work isn’t as crisp as it should be, but their faults are outweighed by their charisma. Len says Helio and Julianne were beautiful, except for Helio’s suit, which reminds Len of a pickle. Bruno calls Helio a wizard. Carrie Ann loved the technique, and says Helio reminded her of a little leprechaun. A leprechaun with a Brazilian accent. I wonder if the country of origin changes what’s in the pot-o-gold. A perfect 30.
Talented dancers or tasty gherkins?
Round two brings us Marie and Jonathon, and a saucy mambo. They give it their all, with the final move finding Marie sprawled across the lap of her brothers. And, kids, that’s just weird. Ignoring the awkward moment, it was an okay performance. Lots of tricky moves, but it wasn’t Marie’s best effort. Bruno sputters about it being a dizzily madcap, frenetic mambo. Carrie Ann says all it needed was confetti cannons. Len comments her hips were working, and he loved the energy. 27 points.
Mel and Maks decide to take another crack at the paso doble, and Mel…what the hell is she wearing?
Dominatrix meets the fabric from Grandma’s old couch.
I’m too distracted by the bizarre outfit to know if the dance was any good, or even to stare at Maks, like I normally do. We’ll have to rely on the judges. Carrie Ann enjoyed the whip. What does that tell us about her? She also termed the dance “perfection.” Len exclaimed they met the high expectations…but then starts singing – and I really wish I was making this up – “You can whip me if I misbehave.” Yeah. I didn’t need that mental image. After Bruno recovers from Len’s unusual lack of decorum, he effervesces about the precise footwork and the sharp Spanish lines. A perfect 30 for the second time tonight for M&M.
Jennie and Derek have their work cut out for them as they do the cha-cha. Sadly, this dance looks a lot like everything else they’ve done lately, and Jennie displays about as much enthusiasm for the performance as I have for listening to Len sing. I hate it, but the judges like it. Len comments on how much she’s progressed since the first week. Bruno refers to her as “yummy” and says she has star power. And Carrie Ann gives it three snaps, as she has an In Living Color flashback. The trio, who are becoming more lenient as we go, give them a 30.
Helio and Julianne have one more dance, and they, too, will do a cha-cha. This time they’re garbed in bright red, like tomatoes, continuing their vegetable-themed outfits. This presentation has all the spark and spice the previous cha-cha was missing, and far superior choreography…but there may have been a lift. Bruno nearly bursts as he calls it eye-popping and vibrant. Carrie Ann is at a loss for words. See what happens when the writers strike? She finally settles on “ridiculous.” Len says it would be a tragedy if they don’t make it to the finals. 30 points. Was there any doubt?
That puts Maks and Mel tied with Helio and Julianne for the lead with 60 points each, Jennie and Derek have 58 points, and Marie and Jonathon are in last with 56 points.
And now…The results.
We all know they have to drag it out for an hour. After all, ABC doesn’t have much going on its schedule right now, so they have to stretch the success as long as they can.
In deference to that, they’ve booked what should have been some good entertainment: Avril Lavigne. I normally enjoy this girl, but she was…bad. Someone needs to tell her to stop drinking before she performs. Or maybe she should drink more. I’m not sure what the problem was.
She was followed by Michael Flatley, shilling his Celtic Tiger tour. I know the guy has talent, and once upon a time I was impressed. But Flately’s style of dancing has about as much variety as my landlord’s selection of paint. Would you like ecru or pale wheat? And he always looks just a little too pleased with himself…smug little bastard.
Avril came out again to murder her own hit Complicated, and with her, the audience was “treated” to the return of the Cheater Girl, Sabrina Bryan, and her wind-up toy, Mark. It only served to remind me why I’m glad they were voted off.
And – finally – they announce which three couples are headed to the finale. Helio and Julianne are in…Mel and Maks made the cut…and Marie and Jonathon had plenty of support. That means Jennie and Derek won’t be around for final Jeopardy. No disco ball trophy for them.
“Woo-hoo!! We’re goin’ to the finals!!”
Hmmm…Marie stays, and Jennie goes. Guess Jennie needs to produce a few more Garths before entering another competition where she needs votes.