Thursday, January 28, 2010


Dancing With the Stars will return to delight fans in late March, but with four fewer professional dancers than last season. And rumors are flying that former American Idol judge Paula Abdul may slide into a new fourth DWTS judging chair.

Last year DWTS opened the season with a highly touted largest number of celebrity and professional pairings ever, but this year dancing couples will be sliced back from 16 to a dozen couples. The math computes that that four fewer couples means that four of the professional dancers will not be gliding across the shows stage this season.

The professional dancers are all anxiously waiting to see who wins and who loses in the executive decision of which dancers will be back and which will not.

Professionals signed for last season were, for the men, Derek Hough, Alec Mazo, Dmitry Chaplin, Louis Van Amstel, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Jonathan Roberts, Mark Ballas and Tony Dovdani -- and ladies, Anna Trebunskaya, Edyta Sliwinska, Anna Demidova, Chelsie Hightower, Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke, Kym Johnson and Lacey Schwimmer.

The pro dancers expect to learn their fate on February 8th -- and, in keeping with tradition, in early March the names of celebrity dancers will be revealed to the public.

And amid the anxiety surrounding the fate of favorite pro dancers is the return of rumors, which also circulated last season, that Paula Abdul will join the show as a dancer or judge. It has been reported that Abdul has been offered a $1 million deal to accept a judging stint -- and last year Abdul met with show execs to discuss joining the show at that time.

However, it has also been reported that Abdul may be slated for a spot on Simon Cowell's new The X Factor show, which will begin next year, -- and there seems to be no chatter addressing whether a regular appearance on one show might affect a contract to appear on a second show. So folks are questioning where Paula will actually show up -- on DWTS, So You Think You Can Dance, The X Factor or possibly even on more than one of the shows.

So fans of DWTS have lots of questions on their minds -- which professional dancers will return, who will be the new celebrity hoofers and will Paula actually sit as a judge this season? The waiting and wondering turns a reality entertainment show into a "mystery" show as well, at least for the moment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009



Who will take home the Dancing With The Stars mirrored trophy? All three finalists -- entertainer Donny Osmond, singer Mya and reality star Kelly Obourne -- made it crystal clear that they want to win and urged their fans to call in votes.

Guessing who will win this season seems a bit like flipping a coin. Mya and her partner Dmitry Chaplin have dominated all season. And they performed at the top of their game on Monday night -- until the all-important free-style round. Chaplin wanted to perform a Broadway number from Hairspray, but Mya thought that was playing it too safe. She wanted to dazzle the judges and fans with a riskier show-stopper routine. But in the end Mya relented, and it seemed that Chaplin let her down by choreographing a performance that was ordinary and in no way stood out as their Hallmark dance. Fortunately, though, prior to the freestyle, Mya had been on fire.

Also, in a number with all three couples competing at the same time, the judges chose Mya as the best dancer, Osmond second and Osbourne third.

While Donny Osmond, with partner Kym Johnson, never displayed Mya's high level of dance talent, he always danced well enough that his out-going personality propelled him into a fan favorite. And he gained the advantage in the final of having a stand-out, showpiece free-style routine. Where Chaplin had failed Mya, Johnson really came through for Osmond -- and they did a smart version of "Back in Business" that had showmanship and flair.

So while the most talented dancer is clearly Mya, the freestyle and most outgoing personality goes to Osmond.

The third couple, Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel, seemed to expect to finish third. They gave each number the old "college try" -- and Osbourne showed both determination and spunk. But it is expected that she simply lacks the fan base of Osmond and Mya -- and some mistakes in the freestyle seemed likely to seal the couple's fate for third place.

So, while the show's judges placed Mya first, the dance final left the ultimate fate of the contestants in the hands of the fans. Will the best dancer win? If so, expect Mya to collect the trophy. Or will popular Osmond, with the spectacular freestyle, win largely on his personality? It will be interesting to see what ultimately counts most -- because this is likely a battle between dancing talent and popularity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Without eliminations, Dancing With The Stars would not be a dancing competition reality show. But that doesn't mean that eliminations are anything except agonizing for fans, especially after weeks of following the dancers and phoning in votes to help favorites in their quest for the DWTS trophy!

Football great Michael Irvin impressed not only with his dance moves with partner Anna Demidova, but also with his competitive spirit and ever-present sense of humor. No doubt, he will forever be remembered as the DWTS celebrity dancer who wanted to win so badly that he actually placed a coin between his cheers -- yes, those cheeks -- to help maintain his correct posture.

But this week Irvin received the lowest score -- which meant that he was eliminated from DSTW.

After his elimination, Irvin admitted that after the first week, he actually thought that he would be gone. "At this point, when you look at the five people who are left, these are great dancers," he said. "I'm very happy for the seven weeks. We had a good time." And Irvin thanked all of his fans for their votes.

In a dance-off between actor Aaron Carter and Mark Dacascos, of "Iron Chef" fame, Dacascos and his partner were chosen by the judges to leave the competition.

Dacascos had been at a disadvantage this week because his assigned partner Lacey Schwimmer was out sick with the flu -- and at the last minute he had to learn a new routine to perform with professional Anna Trebunskaya.

So to many of Dacascos' fans, it seemed a bit unfair that he should be eliminated since he was a victim of circumstance -- having to mesh with a new partner and learn a new and intricate routine in almost no time at all.

"Forty-eight hours prior to Monday night's show, I didn't have a dance routine," Dacascos explained. But he said that he had enjoyed his time on the Dancing With The Stars show, working with everyone -- and also thanked his fans.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


During every Dancing With The Stars season, there comes a point when some celebrity dancers begin to look almost as good as the pros -- and to expect to stay around, the competitors need to take their hoofing game to the highest level.

It seems that this point is "now" for the current season.

Actor Aaron Carter and his partner Karina Smirnoff performed an energetic jive that their speedy footwork almost created a blur. Judge Bruno Tonioli exclaimed that they had gone "to the galaxy and beyond!" Judges Len Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba agreed -- and together the trio gave the dancers a leaderboard topping score of 29 points.

But also stepping up their game were Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough who performed a very romantic rumba that also had judges singing praise and awarding 27 points.

After team competition -- Team Tango was awarded the highest points, 28, by the judges. Celebrities on the team were Kelly Osborne, Donny Osmond and Joanna Krupa. The points from this group dance shot Krupa and Hough to the top of the leaderboard.

Finishing behind Team Tango was Team Paso Doble -- Mya, Mark Dacascos, Michael Irvin and Aaron Carter.

Finishing with the least points of the evening was Iron Chef star Mark Dacascos.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

As the Dancing With the Stars weeks roll by, viewers become more acquainted with the celebrity and professional dancers so that saying good-bye tends to get tough. This week it was former UFC champion Chuck Liddell and his partner Anna Trebunskaya who got KO'd from the dance show.

During the elimination show host Tom Bergeron initially announced that singer Mya and Dmitry Chaplin, along with actress Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas were safe -- but actor Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff, who had received a score of 18 from the show's judges the previous night, were in danger of being sent home.

Later Bergeron added to the list of safe couples -- Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel; swimmer Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo, Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough, along with "Iron Chef" star Mark Dacasos and Lacey Schwimmer, football great Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova and Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson.

So after guest star Shakira performed "Did It Again" and "Hips Don't Lie," it was time to reveal the celebrity dancer who would be gracing the DWTS stage for the final time.

With the in-danger field narrowed to Chuck and Anna, Aaron and Karina and showboarder Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower, Bergerson called Vito and Hightower safe.

So after voting from fans at home, the two lowest scoring couples were Chuck and Anna, along with Aaron and Karina -- with Chuck and Anna announced as the couple who had reached the end of their DWTS line.

Liddell, though, said that he enjoyed his time on the show -- and learned that dancing is "hard to do." Trebunskaya said that she will miss her "gentle giant," but that he had done well and made her feel proud.

Now the field is narrowed from 16 couples to only 10 couples -- and next week the dancers will perform in tribute to singer Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


What was supposed to be a one-couple Dancing With The Stars elimination in the end saw two of the competing pairs taking their final bows on the DWTS stage.

During the previous night's competition of Latin-style dances, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay proved that he has guts and courage when he completed his entire routine despite suffering from stress fractures in both feet.

DeLay said that while the adrenaline was flowing, he was able to "dance" through the pain, but that later his feet told him that it was time to leave. Even icing them could not alleviate the hurt. So upon the advice of his doctor, the show's producers and his feet -- along with the fact that he did not want to cause his incredibly talented dance partner, Cheryl Burke, to falter, he announced that was leaving.

"If you can't practice," said DeLay, "you make a fool of yourself out there. And I don't want to do that to Cheryl."

Intertwined with songs performed by Queen Latifah, host Tom Bergeron revealed the couples who were safe and those who were not.

After announcing that DeLay and Burke were safe, he said that Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova were in jeopardy, but that Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunsaya were also safe.

In Bergeron's next announcement, singer Mya and Dmitry Chaplin and swimmer Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo were called safe, but model Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough were disclosed to be in danger of elimination.

In the third set, actor Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff were placed on the "in jeopardy" list after Bergeron sent entertainer Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson to safety, along with snowboarder Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower and 'Iron Chef' star Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer.

And finally, actress Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were placed "in danger" after Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel and Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas were sent to safety.

As all four "in danger" couples lined on the stage, the judges' comments on each celebrity's performance were read -- and Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough, along with Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff were deemed safe.

So -- drum roll, please -- it was down to former Cowboys star Michael Irvin and Debi Mazar as the celebrities in danger of being sent home.

Mazar, who was no stranger to the "bottom two," smiled, but looked incredibly nervous -- while Irvin explained that he did not want to leave, but looked as if he could handle the outcome whichever way it went for him.

Mazar's samba the prior evening had failed to impress the judges. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called her performance "a little too safe." And judge Bruno Tpnioli thought that it was "disconnected," although judge Len Goodman said, "What you did, you did well." She and her partner had garnered scores of 6, 5, and 6 for a total of 17 points -- 3 points higher than that of Irvin and his partner.

When Mazar's name was called, she instinctively said, "Oh, no." Clearly, Mazar wanted more time to improve in her dancing -- but she graciously continued to smile and said that she was grateful to have learned the dance steps and had the opportunity to form friendships, especially with her partner Maks. "I definitely have a few more steps," Mazar said, "and I've had a great time."

So Mazar joined the list of previously voted-off celebrities: actor Ashley Hamilton -- son of previous contestant, George Hamilton; model Kathy Ireland and singer Macy Gray. And, of course, Tom DeLay will no longer perform, although he did enthusiastically welcome Bergeron's offer to come back to perform the Texas two-step on the Dancing With The Stars finale.