Also, "The Bachelor...London Calling" follows right behind and we'll be reviewing this new reality show as well.
All with pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.
If nothing else, click in to find the Easter Bunny. It's a hilarious pic of the day.
Pic of the Day
Old People, Chubby People, Deaf People...All "Dancing With the Stars" 2008
Top 12 Contenders Pic Montages "Dancing With the Stars" 2008
So it began on 3/17/08. Which would be ABC's hit series that brought the art of the dance back to social and entertainment importance. At least for the ladies and happening gay fellows across the fruited plains. Also, possibly husbands without a second TV in the house.
The selection of celebrity dancers this year is a hoot but I mean a hoot in the nicest way possible. As a programming note, on Tuesday 3/25/08, the male AND female dancer with the lowest score will be sent home. The highest score which can be given for each performance is 30, 10 from each judge.
Scoring is a rather complicated matter. From ABC's web site:
For example if couple A, B and C receive 38, 26 and 14 points from the judges, we calculate what share these points represent of the total awarded by the judges on the night. In this case the judges gave 78 points in total, and each couples' share of 78 points breaks down as follows: 38= 48.72% of 78, 26= 33.33% of 78, 14= 17.95% of 78. Let's suppose that when the public votes are tallied, each couple has the following shares: A= 20%, B=40%, C=40%. To determine who's eliminated we combine these two shares for the total:
Couple A: 20+48.72%= 68.72%
Couple B: 40+33.33%= 73.33%
Couple C: 40+17.95%= 57.95%
In this case, the bottom two couples would be A and C, and C would be eliminated.
The listing of all the celebrity dancers is further down on this post and their pictures can be seen at the link above. Also, one further comment on the "celebrities" who dance on this reality series: Don't expect to see Tom Cruise any time soon dancing the Cha-Cha all night. For the celebrities featured on this series are often older stars looking for a chance to be in front of the cameras again, actors and actresses who haven't had a movie in a while, beauty queens and that ilk who need to do something beyond being beautiful to make money at it, athletes with a sports career about to end with need of televised exposure to aid a transition and your oddball TV/radio personality seeking an increase in ratings. Mostly chosen contenders can dance or move around the floor a bit although some seem to be picked especially for their awkwardness.
For now, let's begin with the men, who began their challenge on 3/17/08.
Penn Jillette is known far and wide for his magic team featuring his partner, a cute little guy who doesn't speak out loud, Teller. Penn is a very large fellow, which should prove interesting as he dances across the floor with partner, Kym Johnson. On the premiere night, Penn danced a Cha-Cha and my first note was "didn't do much dancing". Folks, moving one's feet in some sort of marching fashion is NOT dancing.
In fact one of the judges said "your problem is your feet". Heh.
I don't suppose Penn thinks he's got a chance to win this thing. He is very funny and personable and goodness knows Marie Osmond hung in there for a long time last season based on not much more but her "girl next door" personality.
Penn received a score of 16.
Next up, Jason Taylor. Jason is a football player with all sorts of impressive football titles. He's played for the Miami Dolphins for over a decade. Jason is handsome, personable and quite the dancer. Look for this fellow to go places, possibly win this thing!
Jason and his partner, Edyta Sliwinska, danced a Foxtrot. On this first dance, Jason appeared a big awkward. He is tall but he was fluid and appeared to be a natural for the art of the dance. Judge Carrie Ann went on and on about Jason's hands but I didn't notice anything odd about them.
Jason received a score of 22.
I have never heard of Christian de la Fuenta but I know now he is from Chile and if good looks were the benchmark for this contest, Christian would be a shoo-in. Christian and his partner, Cheryl Burke, danced a Cha-Cha. On his pre-performance vignette, Christian said he wanted to bring the romance back to dancing, a right tall order. I thought he looked pretty good.
Besides some grumblings about posture, the judges gave Christian a score of 21.
Adam Carolla has teeth. That was my first impression of this fellow, who is allegedly a famous radio personality and has starred in a few films. He is a challenge to Penn Jillette for a sense of humor and would definitely win the biggest teeth award, if such a thing were awardable.
Adam and his partner, Julianne Hough, performed a Foxtrot to the tune of "Mellow Yellow". For all the world Adam came off as a big galoot with nothing but feet and legs on the dance floor.
Judge Carrie Ann gently told Adam to "keep working at it". Adam got the lowest score of the night with a score of 15.
A fellow known simply as MARIO came up next and per his Bio, Mario is an R&B star. At first glance one would think that this fellow, the youngest contender ever on this series at age 21, would win handily.
And, in fact, Mario did look fluid and at ease as he and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, danced a Cha-Cha. I noted that Mario mentioned how Cheetah girl Sabrina got eliminated so quickly and surprisingly last year so we know Mario's a fan of this series.
Frankly I expected better from this young man but he looked good, yes he did, and he'll likely be one to look out for. One judge complained about Mario's poor footwork but Mario got a total of 21 points from the judges.
Finally, actor Steve Guttenberg took the floor. Steve is an actor and while his name might not be a household work, most of us would recognize Steve's face as he's been a star in plenty of movies.
Steve and his partner, Anna Trebunskya, performed a Foxtrot and he did better than I expected what with Guttenberg being a little older, shorter and frankly, Steve doesn't quite look like anyone's idea of a good dancer.
The judges gave Steve an "ok" and he finished with a total of 18 points.
On to the evening of 3/18/08 and the ladies begin their dancing.
Shannon Elizabeth was up first and no, I've never heard of this actress with two first names. She is quite beautiful, has a few movie credits under her belt, and has the odd claim to fame of being a very successful poker player.
Shannon and her partner, Derek Hough, performed a Cha-Cha. This couple looked great to me and, in fact, Shannon was awarded 21 points for the performance.
Next up, Monica Seles. Monica is a famous tennis star of yesteryear and I vaguely remember her. Monica and her partner, Jonathan Roberts, performed a Foxtrot and I thought Monica looked okay.
The judges however, didn't think much of Monica's performance and gave her a mere 15 points for her performance. If nothing else, I give her the prize for prettiest hairstyle of the night.
You gotta love Marissa Winokur if for nothing else because she is, eh, not a size 2.
Indeed Marissa did perform in the Broadway play "Hairspray" and as I recall that musical and Marissa's part as Tracy Turnblad did require some dancing so Marissa would be expected to have some experience with the dance.
On another note, every star of Hairspray, be it the movie, the play, the road show, who had the role of Tracy Turnblad, looks exactly like ME.
Everyone on the planet says so. In fact, a group of co-workers of mine once went on a day trip to New York to see this musical and they all commented how the main character resembled me and they all giggled every time they saw me the day following their trip.
Well I'm used to it and let's establish right now that, yes, Marissa Winokur DOES look like me. Heh.
She seems to have way more hair than me but as a younger woman I too had plenty of hair. Still do, in fact.
Marissa and her partner, Tony Dovolani, performed a Cha-Cha and my first notes indicate that the dance looked like the Jive to me. In fact the judges all complained that the dance was not technically a cha-cha.
Marissa got a score of 18 although if she had danced more of a Cha-cha than a jive I suspect her score would have been higher.
Priscilla Presley was up next and I consider Priscilla this year's Marie Osmond. Priscilla is a bit older than her competitors on this series but she looks very pretty and dances very well with the discipline of age.
I thought her performance of a Foxtrot to be very basic, orderly and impressive to watch.
The Judges too remarked on her fluid dance with "no gimmicks, no props" to distract from the movements.
Priscilla and her partner, Louis van Amstel, received 27 points for the performance.
Okay, here's the one to watch in 2008's "Dancing With the Stars" contest. For Kristi Yamaguchi and her partner, Mark Ballis Jr. received a total of 27 points for their performance of a Foxtrot. My notes indicated that I thought Priscilla performed better but the judges couldn't be more effusive in their praise for Yamaguchi.
Kristi is a gold medal Olympic skater and I would imagine that skating would be a fine practice to a transition to the dance.
She's a contender who's going to be hard to beat.
Finally, Marlee Matlin and her partner, Fabian Sanchez, performed a cha-cha and amazement number one. Marlee is completely deaf and, in fact, her sign language interpreter accompanies her and translate spoken words into sign language.
Which begs the second query as to how on earth the woman can dance when she can't hear the music!
Marlee performed a Cha-Cha and she looked sexy and very pretty. I didn't get some of the jumping the couple did during the dance and I'll put it out there first thing, it's possible Marlee might get higher scores than a non-hearing impaired dancer would get just for the impressive feat of dancing without being able to hear the music.
In fact, the judges awarded Marlee 22 points for her performance.
Below is a remix of the male and female dancers with the highest and lowest scores on Dancing With the Stars premiere week, as well as the male and female dancer that I, a nobody who looks like the star of Hairspray, enjoyed the most.