Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dancing With the Stars: One! More! Time!

It's Monday, which means it's time for another episode of "Dancing With the Stars!" This week, Kel was unavailable (and I swear she wasn't just being lazy ... this time!), so it's just poor sweet me, Jen, who doesn't know anything about ballroom dancing.

But I will soldier on and persevere!

In a bit of a new twist this season, all the dancers got a second chance to impress the judges - and the viewers - before the unfortunate first dancer is eliminated. This was a good thing for several of those who did a bad job last week, but it also made the fates of some of last week's favorites a little less certain.

In performance order, here are your alleged stars!
Roshon & Chelsea did a quickstep to the song "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous" by Good Charlotte. I was worried that Roshon, a hip-hop guy, would have trouble with the smooth, traditional ballroom dances, but he did a very good job. Now, he did lose his feet a few times, and he wasn't quite as smooth as he needed to be, but overall he was light on his feet and made most of the dance look effortless. Best of all, he has personality when he dances!
Judges' Opinions: Len liked it and found the dance young and fresh. Bruno was impressed with how precise he was, and enjoyed the fact that, though he danced a traditional dance, he also had "cheeky swagger." Carrie Ann thought the dance was "amazing" and sophisticated.

Score: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 8; Bruno, 9. Total: 26.

Sherri & Val did a jive to "Proud Mary." Sherri was having some problems with stamina in practice, so the choreography Val gave her was not terribly tough. However, what Sherri lacked in stamina and dancing talent, she more than made up for in personality! Sherri works hard, but, better than that, she works the audience! It was a joyful, enjoyable performance.
Judges' Opinions: All three judges were absolutely in love with Sherri, even though they acknowledged that she missed some things.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 7; Bruno: 8. Total: 23.

Melissa & Maks danced the quickstep to "Dancing With Myself." Melissa definitely knew more of her steps than Sherri before her, but she just didn't shine. I have to admit, Melissa was a little better than last week - she had a little bit of snap and personality at moments - but her nerves really get the best of her as she dances.
Judges' Opinions: Carrie Ann saw some bright moments, but warned her to be careful of her shoulders. She added that she showed her nerves on her face. Len said he found the dance hectic and loose, especially as she lost energy later in the dance. Bruno encouraged her to relax.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 6; Bruno, 7. Total: 20

Jack & Anna danced a jive to "Gimme Some Lovin'." Jack is really worked at having a good personality, but he kind of comes across as a dork because his dancing is a little wild. It was an OK dance overall and he kept up OK, but overall it was just OK.
Judges' Opinions: Len liked the energy, but thought he lost control. Bruno said he wasn't quite precisely on the beat. Carrie Ann thought he overdanced, which threw his dancing out of sync.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 7; Bruno, 7. Total: 21.

Gladys & Tristan danced a quickstep to "Sir Duke." Gladys is very good on her feet and clearly is having fun. However, her dance wasn't quite as thrilling as last week.
Judges' Opinion: Bruno urged Gladys to be careful of her frame. Carrie Ann said that Gladys and Tristan had a great connection, but thought she was too casual and spent too much time "gazing into Tristan's eyes." Len didn't appreciate the dance tonight, and said she needed to keep her posture.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 5; Bruno, 7. Total: 19.

Katherine & Mark did a jive to "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That. It was a super sassy jive that Katherine said required her to "shake my naughty things." She committed to the dance fully and did a great job both with the dancing and with her personality.
Judges' Opinions: Carrie Ann was very impressed with the choreography and with Katherine's style of dancing. Len loved the start and the casino setting, but though the middle section was "a little bit wild and wacky." Bruno was glad that Katherine unleashed her sexy side.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 8; Bruno, 9. Total: 26.
CA: 9; L: 8; B:9. T: 26.

Jaleel & Kym danced a jive to "I Think I Wanna Marry You." They told a cute little story about a soda jerk and a girl through their dance. Jaleel is incredibly light on his feet and is a wonderful dancer. He is cute, and has a wonderful personality when he dances. I definitely still have that crush on him from last week!
Judges' Opinions: Len was disappointed, because he thought the dance lacked speed and crispness, and thought the dance needed more attack and punch. Bruno loved the feel and thought it was a well-done performance. Carrie Ann thought it was good, but lacked the sparkle from the week before.
Score: Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 7; Bruno, 8. Total: 22.

Maria & Derek danced a quickstep to "Sexy, Sexy." They had a cute Bonnie & Clyde-style story they were telling, and did a very traditional, big-band quickstep. I wasn't super impressed with Maria, though, as much as I liked the feel, because even though she had energy, she was stiff and messed up her feet several times.
Judges' Opinions: Bruno thought the dance was a step in right direction, and even though she lost a step, it was brilliant. Carrie Ann was impressed with her frame and hold, but said she got out of sync in the middle. Len would have liked more body contact. However, all three agreed it was an improvement from last week.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 8; Len, 8; Bruno, 9. Total: 25.

Martina & Tony danced a jive to "Tell Her About It." Martina was totally lost at the beginning of the dance, and several times throughout it, but as she relaxed and got back on the beat, she really did a good job. Overall, I think she's just still nervous and unsure about ballroom dancing. Her dancing just sort of reminded me of what it would be like if I danced on "Dancing with the Stars." It was a cute idea, but it wasn't a great dance. However, I admire her for trying!
Judges' Opinions: Carrie Ann liked the attitude, but said that she was missing several things. Len thought it was too neat and careful, and that she needs to come out and "attack" the dances. Bruno said she couldn't keep up, but that she did well when she let her hair down and relaxed.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 6; Len, 5; Bruno, 6. Total: 17.

Donald & Peta danced a quickstep to "Stay the Night." Donald is sexy and cute and smooth. He moved extremely well. After watching Hines Ward do so well on "Dancing With the Stars," I know I shouldn't be surprised when football players are elegant dancers, but I still am!
Judges' Opinions: Len thought it was one of the best dances of the week, and he admitted that he watched last week's dance and undermarked him. Bruno and Carrie Ann both praised his elegance.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 8; Len, 8; Bruno, 8. Total: 24.

Gavin & Karina danced a jive to "Real Wild Child." I loved the feel of it, and even though Gavin isn't a great dancer - he loses his feet and sort of stumbles around the dance floor a bit - he is a wonderful performer who clearly loves to be goofy and have a great time. Gavin is absolutely adorable!
Judges' Opinions: Bruno said he messed up a lot, but loved his performance. Carrie Ann praised him for pushing his boundaries, but said his posture was funky. Len loved his attitude and energy, and said it was an improvement from last week.
Scores: Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 7; Bruno, 7. Total: 21.

William & Cheryl danced a quickstep to "Nice Work If You Can Get It." William, as much as I'm not thrilled with him, is a good dancer overall. He's pretty light on his feet, although on some of the jumpy steps, he came across clunky. However, I don't feel like he has a lot of personality, and I think he uses his nice body as a substitute for actually having some personality. Overall, he left me a little cold, even though his steps were pretty good.
Judges' Opinions: Carrie Ann was just panting over him, and loved his technique, posture and form. She called him "the Harry Connick Jr. of the ballroom." Len thought he needed to work on cleaning up his footwork, and that the dance was good, but not great. Bruno said he had "dazzle," and reminded him of Jean Dujardin in "The Artist. 
Scores: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 7; Bruno, 9. Total: 25.

Jen's Take: Overall, there are two distinct groups emerging in this competition - the people who can dance but don't have great personality, and the people who have great personality, but can't dance. The only dancers who really have both right now are Roshon, Katherine, Jaleel and Donald. Thankfully, early on, the judges respond to dancers like Sherri, who aren't great at the dancing part but really work the personality, and I think that the voters at home will respond to that too, so I think Sherri, Jack and Gavin are safe, even though they didn't dance as well. Gladys had an off week this week, but I think she's enough of a legend and a favorite that people will at least keep her on a few more weeks. The people who can really dance well also will be safe, because a good chunk of people listen to the judges and vote for people who dance well.

The "star" I'm worried the most about is Martina Navratilova, who has just been so nervous and uncomfortable the first two weeks. I think that she has a lot of promise and could be a fun dancer if she'd just relax, but it's been a little uncomfortable to watch her struggle on the dance floor. If it's not Martina, I also think that Maria and Melissa are in trouble, because they were just sort of mediocre overall.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hunger Games: Team Peeta? Team Gale? How About Team Not Dying!?

"The Hunger Games" movie comes out in less than 2 days (side note: OH MY GOSH! I CAN'T WAIT!), but one of the main things I keep reading about is whether people are "Team Peeta" or "Team Gale."

When did an excellent dystopian novel about a 16-year-old girl forced by the government to fight to the death against 23 other teenagers turn into a discussion about which cute boy she should date?

The thing is, there is very little romance in the "Hunger Games" trilogy, because the main character, Katniss, is concentrating so hard on feeding her family, surviving her tough life trapped in District 12 and, oh, not getting killed by the 23 other teenagers she's fighting in a government-sponsored deathmatch.

Now, at the end of "Mockingjay," the final novel in the trilogy, Katniss does end up with a boy (I won't say who, for all you fools lovely people haven't read it yet), but one of the things I appreciate about the books is that romance is secondary to the horrible things happening in the world. Throughout most of the three books, Katniss can't even think about falling in love because she's too busy handling everything else. In fact, in the first book, she is pretty crafty and cunning about using a romantic attachment to keep herself alive.

Don't misunderstand me: I'm perfectly OK with romantic novels for young adults. While the problems with the most popular teen romance novels, the "Twilight" series, could fill several blog entries, in general I think it's fine to get into romance.

But here's what I don't understand: Why does romance have to be front and center when the story doesn't call for it? I would argue that "The Hunger Games" doesn't call for a real discussion about Katniss' romantic attachments because, spoiler alert, throughout most of the books, Katniss doesn't really feel romantic feelings for Peeta or Gale. She spends some time dissecting their feelings for her, but that is mostly because she is concerned how it will affect her life, the Games and her family.

I admire author Suzanne Collins for the way she treats romance in her books. It was an uncommon, but inspired, choice to have two characters whose romantic feelings for each other are so unbalanced, and I especially like that the male character is the one who is more in love. So often, the female character is the more romantic one of the pair.

By the end of the trilogy, there are definitely romantic feelings that both cause issues and are fun to experience along with Katniss, but it takes a long time for the romantic payoff, and it's still secondary to the main plot. And that's the way I like it.

My biggest concern as I anxiously await the film version of the books is that it will try to be the next "Twilight," in the sense that it tries to set up a romantic triangle that is central to the story. Thankfully, the trailers, early reviews and interviews seem to indicate that's not so, but until I see the movie, I'll harbor a little bit of doubt. (Kel keeps telling me to "stop being a freak about it," but I can't help myself ... I've been burned before!)

What do you think of the romance, or lack thereof, in "The Hunger Games"?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dancing With the Stars: The Saga Begins!

Welcome back to the land of mirror ball trophies, sequins and D-list celebrities! That's right ... "Dancing With the Stars" is back!

OK, we have to admit that Monday's premiere was a pretty dang good episode. There were several very good dancers, although the judges had a major case of score inflation. Now, listen, Carrie Ann, Bruno and Len: If you give people mostly 7s and 8s with a few 6s and 9s on the VERY FIRST NIGHT, you don't give them anywhere to go. Let's give them some lower scores the first week and let them work up to it.

Anyway, there are a lot of d-list celebrities to mock critique. Let's get to it:

  • Maria Menounus & Derek Hough - ChaCha
    Kel's Take: Thoughts from their rehearsal...I love her and her laugh. I want her on my tv every week! Also, Derek only has four chest hairs. Their dance...for a first effort, she has decent footwork though she needs to tighten up her steps. However, she definitely looked like she was having lots of fun and you can already see the connection between Maria and Derek. Is she married? Because if not, cue the romance rumors!
    Jen's Take: She does well on remembering her steps, and she definitely looks happy to be there, but she's very restrained with her steps and her arm movements. She needs to loosen up.
    Judges' Take: All three judges thought she needed to work on her hip action, and Carrie Ann said that she also needs to work on fluidity of her movement.
    Score: Sevens all around, for a total of 21.
  • Jack (Not Robert) Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya - Foxtrot
    Kel's Take: Rehearsal...Jack is a little whiny, but Anna is awesome and badass and I love her! Their Dance...was fine. Jack, not Robert, performs well because he is an actor, but I was not overly impressed with his footwork. He looked very flatfooted in parts. Also, that was super duper easy choreography. And Len totally agreed with my judging. I hate when Len is the judge who makes sense.
    Jen's Take: It was a very dorky, corny dance, which sort of worked for the foxtrot. It was cute but not terribly well-executed. His feet were definitely a mess, and there was no excuse because it was an easy dance. Overall, Not Robert was just "meh."
    Judges' Take: Carrie Ann loved it, as usual, but Len, while he liked the lightness Not Robert brought, he was not impressed with his footwork.
    Score: 8s from Carrie Ann and Bruno and a 7 from Len, for a total of 23.
  • Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd - ChaCha
    Kel's Take: Rehearsal...Donald seems to really want to win, which is awesome. Enthusiasm goes a long way in the ballroom. He is rather hot, yet has bizarrely skinny legs. Dance...I am going to ignore any technique problems because his enthusiasm overshadowed any problems he may have had. Also, I kept getting distracted by Peta because Damn, girl is hot. Also, he stuck out his tongue, which is one of my favorite things to do in Latin dance. I need them around for a long while.
    Jen's Take: Another football player whose name I'll learn! Donald was pretty light on his feet, especially for being a football dude. I also really liked his flashiness and winning smile, and I appreciated that he got into the hip action. Even if he had a few technique flaws, his performance wins out.
    Judges' Take: The judges thought he got overexcited but was hot on the dance floor.
    Score: 7s all around for a total of 21.
  • Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff - Foxtrot
    Kel's Take: Rehearsal...is he going to wear a hat the whole time? Also, I love him. He is funny, but I think Karina is going to be good for him. Dance...That is really great choreography from Karina. Gavin looked happy to be dancing, which is always nice to see. His foot technique looked ok, but his top half was a bit off and maybe a touch stiff. I'm not sure how long he will last on the show, but you can tell that he is going to enjoy every second of being on the show.
    Jen's Take: I liked the romantic feel to the dance. He over-exaggerated his movements a bit too much, but I can tell he was trying to be flowing. When he got into the meat of the dancing, though, he stiffened back up. He's cute, though, so I liked him!
    Judges' Take: They liked his musicality but said he was too stiff.
    Score: 7s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, and a 6 from Len, for a total of 20.
  • Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower - Chacha
    Kel's Take: Rehearsal...he has the best name known to man. It is part hip hop dancer, part Dicken's character. He is kinda goofy and seems to be embracing the silly. Dance...Dancing The Wanted! Awesome! With those long legs he really needs to straighten his legs when he steps. He also needs to work on his turnout and did I see a heel step? However, he had high energy and did a perfect moonwalk!
    Jen's Take: That Disney Channel kid's got the moves! His biggest issue is going to be staying ballroom instead of going hip-hop. However, I like his young vibe (helped by Chelsie's good choreography) and he has great musicality.
    Judges' Take: Bruno and Carrie Ann really loved him - Carrie Ann liked his flavor and Bruno liked the way he stayed on the beat. However, Old Man Len thought it was all just too much.
    Score: A pair of 8s from Carrie Ann & Bruno, and a 7 from Len, for a total of 23.
  • Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy - Foxtrot
    Kel's Take: Rehearsal...I'm sorry Val, you are adorable, but you are not better looking than Maks. I think Sherri is going to eat Val alive. I feel like she was put with the wrong Chemerkovsky brother. Dance...Val's choreography really showed her off well. And damn, you can tell that she worked really really hard on her dancing. And holy crap does she look so happy to be dancing. I tell you what, being happy will get you far on this show. Val looks so proud of his girl!
    Jen's Take: I love her personality and joy above everything else! Sherri is super happy to be out there (and super happy to be dancing with Val because, well, who wouldn't?). Her dancing is good, but not great - she was a little stiff - but her bubbly personality won me over!
    Judges' Take: Even though they noted some problems, all three judges loved her joy and Len praised her for being "Fun fun fun!"
    Score: 8s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, with a 7 from Len, for a total of 23.
  • Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Chacha 
  • Kel's Take: Rehearsal...Slightly longer hair and facial hair on Maks is super hot. She seems to be really embracing Maks, which means that she could go far. Dance...She has a fringe catsuit! What up! She is also the only women who has had appropriate heel height. Ok, so I kept getting distracted by Maks' open shirt and abs and chest and what was I talking about again? Her arms were not great. But Maks looks great!
    Jen's Take: Melissa who? Maks looked fantastic with his open shirt! Seriously, though, y'all, Melissa lost her feet several places, and that drained the energy that she had at the beginning of the dance. Overall, she was sort of "meh," but I think we can chalk that up to a mix of nerves and being next to Maks with an open shirt.
    Judges' Take: The judges saw both potential and ambition, but they thought she looked nervous and needed more hip action.
    Score: 7s from the Sparkle Twins and a 6 from Old Man Len, for a total of 20.
  • William Levy & Cheryl Burke - Chacha 
  • Kel's Take: Rehearsal...I mean, he's hot and all, but I have no clue who the hell he is. Cheryl is definitely my favorite female pro! I hate when boys whine about their latin shoes. Because I've danced in men's latin shoes and they are amazingly comfortable! Hot boy is really whiny. Dance...This song does not sound great with the live singers. He has some good hip movement, but mostly he seems to be just standing there. Really ballroom, he wasn't that great. I know he's hot or whatever, but take it down a notch. He's not even the hottest guy on the show. Especially when you include pros.
    Jen's Take: I'm pretty sure the band was killing a cat during that song. Not nice, band! They're resting on William's sex appeal - he's good at the hip action - but he really doesn't dance well at all. He was mostly just walking, and he was behind the beat to boot. However, he does have moves and, therefore, potential.
    Judges' Take: Bruno praised his open shirt, while Carrie Ann praised the way he moved. Even Len liked that he "got into the spirit" and "kept control." What were they watching?
    Score: Three 8s, for a total of 24.
  • Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani - Foxtrot 
  • Kel's Take: Rehearsal...OMG I love her! Tony totally is the badboy of ballroom. Own it, Tony! Martina and her heels...I knew that was going to be a problem. Dance...She is super duper stiff. It is OK, Martina, you can relax a bit! That was awkward and she looked uncomfortable. But I still liked it. Mostly because I like her and I love Tony.
    Jen's Take: Martina is adorable, but she was so incredibly nervous! She definitely was stiff, but the stiffness worked somewhat because she translated it into elegance. It wasn't the best dance I've seen, but I really kind of like her!
    Judges' Take: They thought she was close, but not quite as good as she could be. However, they praised her more elegant, feminine side.
    Score: A pair of 7s (Sparkles) and a 6 (Old Man), for a total of 20.
  • Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas - FoxtrotKel's Take: Rehearsal...She is all sorts of adorable. I hope she has high energy because Mark definitely does. Dance...Her smile looks fake and she looks slightly terrified. She has really nice quality to her movements. I couldn't see much of her feet due to her dress, but she probably has the most natural ballroom talent so far this season.
    Jen's Take: I really like her poise. She's not super excitin, but she has a nice sense of rhythm. I didn't get too much of a terrified vibe off her. She wasn't natural, but she did seem very happy and sunny. She's definitely one to watch!
    Judges' Take: The judges loved her style and quality of movement, and only had quibbles, like that she needs to lift her ribcage more.
    Score: Two 9s, from Carrie Ann and Bruno, and an 8 from Len, for a total of 26.
  • Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus - Chacha 
  • Kel's Take: Rehearsal...She introduced herself as a legend! Because she is a fucking legend. Tristan...oh my Irish hottie! I love her so much! Dance...Tristan has Red spats! I am in love. Also...Gladys fucking Knight is above judging. Don't even. She was amazing. I don't care if her technique wasn't great. Everyone else can suck it. I love her. Also, I really like Tristan's flair to his dancing. I hope her level of fame keeps her around for a long time because she loves it so much.
    Jen's Take: YOU GO GIRL! Gladys has an easy movement to her, and she really just seems to enjoy being on the dance floor and performing. She isn't the flashiest or the one with the best technique, but you can't go wrong with this living legend!
    Judges' Take: They loved her! Carrie Ann wanted to get up and dance, and Len praised the fact that she "oozes rhythm."
    Scores: 8s from the Sparkle Twins and a 7 from Len, for 23 total points.
  • Jaleel White & Kym Johnson - Foxtrot 
  • Kel's Take: Rehearsal...I love Jaleel so much. He is much hot! And I love Kym. Dance...I literally just sat and smiled during that entire dance. His shoulders may have been a touch high, but besides that...butter. Also, I totally called his skill in my introduction blog about it. He did not disappoint! Part of my love may be due to his vest...I love a guy in a vest!
    Jen's Take: A classic, great foxtrot, and SO smooth. Jaleel moves very, very well and I can see him going very, very far in the competition. I can't even accurately describe how great he was ... he was just wonderful! He's definitely one to watch.
    Judges' Take: Elegant and fantastic, and a perfect end to "the best first show of any season," according to Len.
    Scores: 9s from the Sparkle Twins and an 8 from Len, for 26 points.
So ... nobody goes home this week. Everyone gets another week to impress us and garner points and votes before they send someone home. However, snap judgment-wise ...

Favorites: Sherri Shepherd, Gladys Knight and Jaleel White
Least Favorites:  Let's get rid of Not Robert Wagner and go from there, shall we? If nothing else, it sucks that he's not Robert Wagner!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dancing With The Stars: Kel's preview

It is that time of year again. There is no more Bachelor to try to find reasons to avoid watching. The weather is getting nicer and Daylight Savings Time has started which means that everyone wants to be outside and not watching shitty tv shows. Which means that it is time for everyone's favorite shit-show Dancing With The Stars!

I was unable to recap last season because I worked on Monday nights. However, I don't have that pleasure anymore. So I will be back critiquing the dance technique of celebrities with very little experience at dance. Bitchy fun will follow! Jen and I will both be recapping for your viewing pleasure, so sit back, relax, and let the sparkles take over!

Your top twelve dancing monkeys (in the order of my excitement):

Gavin DeGraw, partnered with Karina Smirnoff: I must admit that I am legit excited about DeGraw being on the show. I have enjoyed his music since I first heard it when I watched season one of One Tree Hill. Being a musician should give him a bit of an edge as far as feeling the music goes. The only acting he has done was in an episode of Dead Like Me, so his performance remains to be seen. I think he stands a good chance of doing well, especially with Karina as his partner. She will whip him into shape, but good.

Jaleel White, partnered with Kym Johnson: I think this will be a really nice, sweet team. Everyone knows Jaleel White from Family matters, but I have seen him on tv more recently in Psych. And he is a really great actor and singer. I think he will get a lot of voter support, but I also think that he has some dance ability hidden in him.

Melissa Gilbert, partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Ok, so I'm just excited to watch Maks dance. Is that so wrong? I think this team could go either way depending on how receptive Gilbert is to his style of teaching. Maks is very hands on and aggressive and really expects his partner to pay attention and work hard. He does well with strong personalities as long as they, at the end of the day, listen to him (see Mel B and Kirtie Alley).

Marie Menounus, partnered with Derek Hough: I like Marie Menounus. She is definitely going to be the female hottie this season. And she is paired with perpetual hottie, Derek. Team Hot! I have no idea how Marie will do with performance or dance technique, but I know that Derek will take whatever she has and choreograph interesting dances to it.

Katherine Jenkins, partnered with Mark Ballas: Along the same lines as most of the cast, I have no idea who she is, but I know that Mark is awesome. He is always entertaining when he dances and he has thoughtful and inventive choreography, regardless of if the judges like it. He is like old school Derek, when he used to mouth off to the judges. What can I say, I like my ballroom boys a little bit saucy (see: Maks).

Gladys Knight, partnered with Tristan MacManus: This partnership seems silly. But in the best possible way. I haven't seen Tristan as a pro since I didn't watch last season. But from the clips and interviews I've seen he just seems really nice. Which is probably why he is partnered with Knight. I think that as long as she gets into it and acts the part, this could be a sweet team. Not sure they can go all the way, but I think they might do well.

Martina Navratilova, partnered with Tony Dovolani: This will probably be team tough! Navratilova is arguably the best female tennis player ever. And even though she is not in her athletic prime, she still looks fit. I think her biggest problem will be acting the part. Athletes tend to have issues with performance and form. Tony is a great partner for her to have because he will force her to use good technique, but he is also really nice.

Sherri Shepherd, partnered with Val Chmerkovskiy: This is a bit of a wild card. Shepherd is definitely a hard personality. But I have no idea what Val is like. I know that he is a fantastic dancer and a good choreographer, but Jen remembers that he may have been slightly timid? That could be bad with a strong willed partner like Shepherd. I am excited to see him on my tv screen because there can never be enough Chmerkovskiy in my life.

Roshon Fegan, partnered with Chelsie Hightower: I have no idea who he is, but I like Chelsie. She is adorable and always does really nice, age appropriate choreography. What I think of her, I think fun and cute, which is exactly what a Disney Star's choreo should be. So, sure. I can go along for that ride.

William Levy, partnered with Cheryl Burke: No idea who he is, but I love Cheryl. She is pocket sized, but bursting with personality and energy. She doesn't let her partners get away with anything and she has a reputation of doing well. I am always glad to see her dancing on my tv. And apparently Levy is hot, so he has that going for him.

Jack Wagner, partnered with Anna Trebunskaya: Not sure about them. I like Anna, but I don't recall much about her style of teaching. And I have no idea who Wagner is. Every time I hear Jack Wagner, I want it to be Robert Wagner, so he always makes me vaguely upset. Also, how great would it be if Robert Wagner was on DWTS?

Donald Driver, partnered with Peta Murgatroyd: Again, I don't know who either of these people are. He is sporty and that usually seems to work well on the show (see: Hines Ward, Warren Sapp, Emmitt Smith, Apolo Ohno). She is still new since she got voted off first last time. Hopefully she makes it further so we can see what she has to offer.

There you have the partnerships. A fairly low level of "Star" seems to be represented this season. I really only know who five of the twelve are. Usually I've at least heard of most of the people. Even though I will probably end up hating the show by about half way through, I am currently very excited to watch! Depending on what drugs the judges are on this season I may or may not skip them completely. Now, prepare yourself for the fringe and sequins that will be starting next week!

Trashelor Recap: Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Snore

Last night's finale may have been the "most controversial finale in 'Bachelor' history," but we agree that it was also the most boring. Part of it is that we've read in all the tabloids that Ben picks Courtney. Also, the fact that it's "controversial" means that he obviously picks the bitch nobody likes, and the bitch nobody likes is Courtney. We think he should have picked Lindzi so she can ride him like a horse.

Most of the two hour (TWO HOUR) finale showed Ben, against impressive backdrops of the Swiss Alps, agonizing about which girl will win get the honor of being his blushing bride. His mom and sister show up to help him out with making "the biggest decision of my life."

The family ends up liking both girls, although they do talk with Courtney about the allegations of her being a ginormous bitchzilla. She claims that her being a model made the other girls nervous and judgy, which feels like she's spinning history. Also, it feels like she's trying to win, rather than fall in love! UNACCEPTABLE.

Ben goes on the traditional Last Chance Dates with both girls - skiing with Lindzi, if skiing means eating fondue and drinking wine in a gondala, and a helicopter ride/picnic with Courtney. He ends up in both girls' hotel rooms at the end of their dates and they talk some more. (Sadly, no riding Ben like a horse, and, since it's not the Fantasy Suite, no dragons to slay either.) There is entirely too much talk on this show! It's doubly painful when it gets to Courtney because she talks in horrific babytalk to Ben. Also she gives him a scrapbook about their relationship. *eyeroll*

After that, it's the typical Bachelor tradition: Ben plays eenie meenie minie moe, chooses the traditional Tacky Ring of Gaudiness and takes his place on the Mountaintop of Love. Lindzi shows up wearing a dress with an over-ruffled skirt and a cape. A HOODED CAPE. She looks like a LARPer. Anyway, Ben rejects her, and she's sad, of course. Then, Courtney shows up in a black gown with black opera gloves and a white cape. Do these women realize they're in the mountains, and they look absolutely ridiculous in formalwear? Ben proposes, Courtney accepts, America screams, "YOU DUMBASS" at their TV screen, Ben gives Courtney The Final Rose and they smile. The end. A love story for the ages.

OK, maybe not ... we'll find out when Kel recaps the "After the Final Rose" special tonight!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Trashlor: The Losers Bitch Back

I will be ignoring anything that does not involve drama and tears. Or I was going to. They first have a "where are they now" feature thing. And Sunshine, aka Ryan from Ashley's season, is on! I love Sunshine!

There are lots of women there, but I'm not naming them all because I don't remember most of them.

First drama: Fakeley! No one liked her the first night because she was mean to Rachel. And her goal was to meet Ben and "not to make friends". Some blond girl is going crazy on Blakeley. Though some brunette girl makes the point that Blakeley is not the only person who was rude to people...all the bitches were. Blakeley does not regret anything she did, but wishes her guard wasn't up.

Girl who left: She had not connection to Ben. But crazy blond girl is now bringing it back to Blakeley. And now girl who left called crazy blond girl a chihuahua who won't shut up. Which really cracks Chris Harrison up. Yay!

That girl from a previous season who showed up randomly: Strangely enough, it seems that she finds it uncomfortable to watch herself get rejected and criticized. Again, she wasn't going on to "make best friends" (drink). Overly tanned brunette girl apologized to being rude to That girl from a previous season.

Emily: Honey, you are really cute, but your dress is not flattering. I am also distracted by your boobs. Wear a bra!

**I interrupt this blog to make a public service announcement: Dear women, wear bras. All the time. I don't care if you have fake tits or small boobs or whatever. Your boobs look awkward and slightly slutty. Embrace a bra. Especially on tv. You may now resume your normal blog viewing**

Emily seems to have her shit together. She points out that she wouldn't have wanted to end up with Ben if he likes Courtney. And she really seems like she used this experience to grow as a person. She also doesn't seem like she put her worth on if a boy likes her. Which is the way to go about it. You go girl. Now put on a damn bra!

Nicki: Even when she is on my screen, I still don't know who she is. At least she acknowledges that she didn't do anything wrong. Because someone not liking you does not equal you did something wrong.

Kacie B.: I think Kasey's reaction to being kicked off really shows her age, immaturity, and lack of self-confidence. Honey, I know we've been over this before, but you really must not judge your worth on what anyone thinks of you. None of this "what did I do wrong" "why an I not good enough" bullshit. You can be upset and heartbroken. But questioning your own worth is not ok. You are a strong, pretty, sweet woman. Do we need another public service announcement?

**Dear everyone, don't judge your own worth based on what someone else thinks of you.**

I think the Bachelor really brings up some confusion in me because I can never understand the need to have a boyfriend. I have never felt like I needed a significant other in order to be happy or satisfied or feel good about myself. I'm not opposed to a relationship, but actively pursuing a relationship to the point of going on tv, or even to any sort of online dating, is so foreign to me. Perhaps this is why I don't like the Bachelor as much as I want to. Because I cannot relate to that "I am not a whole person without a boyfriend" or "I must have a boyfriend" or whatever it is. It just seems weird to me. Can someone explain to me why they want a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Courtney: "She's a liar, vapid, manipulative", she was in it to win it. She really did act differently around Ben and the women. Blond Casey apparently was friends with Courtney and thinks that she is nice and sweet. Emily pointed out that on a group date, Courtney was really nice to her, but then threw her apology back in her face. The women seem to think that Courtney's turn around in the final 4 was fake. And would accept an apology that was genuine.

And now we get to hear Courtney's side of the story! This has been teased to high heaven, so it best be full of drama! Apparently Courtney has regrets about how she treated the women and what she did. Courtney apologized to Ben at some point, but the women wanted her to apologize to them. Courtney really seems to be playing the victim instead of truly owning up to all the things she said and did.

Here is the thing. I don't think Courtney is a bad person. In real life, I would probably get along with her. I think what it comes down to is that she is very insecure about herself, which turns her into a bully. I'm sure it is a stressful situation and if you are insecure, you might turn to being mean to compensate. My problem at the moment is that instead of saying "you know, I shouldn't have handled it that way. I'm sorry. I was feeling very insecure and I don't handle that well", it would go over better. Instead of playing the victim card. You are not a victim of the other girls not liking you. Grow from this and learn to be more secure in yourself.

This is like a final tribal council. Courtney is not going to win the million!

I feel bad for Courtney that she is this emotional about it. It cannot be easy to go up against all those women. But I think it is very telling that when Blakeley was trying to talk calmly and seriously with her, she kept looking away. If you really feel bad and sincerely are apologizing, you should be willing to face it. I'm torn. But I also don't really care that much.

Ben: "Welcome to my nightmare". Most of these questions are about why each girl went home. Which is boring. Awkward Jamie is still Awkward. Ben looks super uncomfortable.

I really enjoyed "The Lighter Moments" montage. It is like fun bloopers! I want more of that!

And that is really all the drama there is. My prediction for the ending...I think Ben is going to pick Courtney, but it isn't going to work out. And then he is going to be on Bachelor Pad. And he is going to make out with everyone.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

The occasional whispers, the hushed confessions, the apologetic looks...you are talking about your Guilty Pleasures. American Idol, Dance Moms, The Real Housewives, Janet Evanovich, The Proposal, Hanson. Whatever it is, I know that you like something that you don't want to admit to people in normal conversation. But here is the thing...I don't believe in Guilty Pleasures.

This is not to say that I don't like Guilty Pleasure tv shows, movies, books, and music. In fact, I like almost exclusively Guilty Pleasure things. But I don't know why I should feel guilty about them. My grandma watches a lot of PBS shows, reads a ton of great books, used to be a teacher, does puzzles and crosswords. Over Christmas she admitted that she loves the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. It was her dirty little secret. I find that to be about the funniest thing I've ever heard. Mostly because once I started reading those books I became obsessed and talked about them non-stop to other people who have read them. Also, they are really quite tame compared to the books that I normally read.

It really seems a societal thing. Feeling bad about enjoying something fun rather than something important. I think the Oscars really exemplify that. I did not see any of the Oscar nominated movies this year. There were a couple that I thought looked good, but when it comes right down to it, if I am going to spend my money on a movie, I'm going to choose Fright Night over The Help and Thor over War Horse. Now, this isn't to say that things that are "good" shouldn't be consumed. I actually really enjoy watching pretentious films and reading the occasional piece of good fiction. And if that is what you enjoy, go forth and consume. But if your tastes swing more to Dance Moms than The Good Wife, don't feel bad about it. Embrace your personal tastes and don't apologize for enjoying sometime.

My favorite "Guilty Pleasures" that I freely admit to:

TV Shows: Dance Moms, Say Yes To The Dress, MTVs The Challenge, Survivor, Toddlers & Tiaras, Hawaii Five-0, Legend of the Seeker

Movies: One For The Money, Thor, Bring It On (1 & 3), Leap Year, 27 Dresses, Troy, 300

Books: Janet Evanovich, Lisa Kleypas (trashy romance novels), Karen Marie Moning (trashier romance novels), Joanne Fluke

Music: Hanson (I've seen them in concert three times since college and each time was better than the last. What!), Music from Glee, Justin Bieber (he has fun songs)

Share your Guilty Pleasures. Feel guilty no more!