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Hi everyone…I have decided to discontinue this blog…as I think most things have a cycle and I think this blog has run it’s course.

I have been writing about DWTS in one fashion or another for most of its seventeen seasons. I started with bugging some of my friends with unsolicited emails, then got the opportunity to blog for Carrie Ann Inaba and then chose to develop my own site.   It’s been a bit of work and a lot of fun! In my opinion, there are a couple of reasons to write a blog in the first place.  Some writers just want to get their thoughts out there and want to be heard.  Others want to provide information or educate.  Others, like me, enjoy the interaction with the readers.  After all, I already KNOW what I think…I like to hear from you. :-)

I think people’s viewing habits change and their interest waxes and wanes as to different ways that they choose to spend their time.  I know mine does. For many seasons we had a robust forum here and for that, I am very grateful.   Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to check into the blog here and there, or signed up to get it e-mailed directly, or to those who added your opinion to mine with a comment.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

So I’m signing off for now, but if I ever decide to write another blog about a different subject, such as , “How I Brokered World Peace”, or “How I Went Through A FaceLift” or “The True Story About Retiring to Arizona”,…you will be the first to know.

When the cast of this season’s DWTS was first announced, many DWTS fans were shocked (including me)  at how many of the dancers had dancing experience or who were almost dancing professionals…meaning their dancing talents have helped them earn a living.  Amber Riley is one of these.

Amber has always wanted to be in show business and had the talent and drive to get herself there.  When she was 17, she tried out for American Idol  during the show’s second season.  She was turned down by the show’s producers and never got to audition on camera. After that rejection, she redoubled her efforts to make a name for herself.  She succeeded when she was chosen to become a cast member of the hit TV series “Glee”.  She’s been on the show since it’s pilot, but as of 2013 will no longer be a regular on the show.  It was nothing she, or the other cast members that were let go did…except grow older.  I mean, you can only be in high school for so long.  Even though she won’t be on every week, she and some of the others will return from “college” often.  In fact, she just got done filming a tribute to the late Cory Monteith, who recently took his own life.  “I actually sing a song on it and I finished that the day before my first DWTS rehearsal.  It’s been hard of course, but it was also therapeutic to remember someone who we loved so much.”

Her singing voice is powerful but she loves to dance as well.  “I’m nervous about being on DWTS, but I’m excited nervous. I mean…there are no second takes!  But I love dancing…it’s a different kind of expression than singing.”  Although she routinely performs on “Glee” she is always part of an ensemble and never “out there on her own.” I’m used to eleven other people camouflaging my bad dancing.  Now it’s just Derek and Me!”  But she says she’s ready.  “This year I decided to  completely change my eating habits because of health issues that I’ve had.  But maybe, really, I was getting ready for this opportunity.  Maybe God knew I was going to do DWTS and then had me change my eating habits to get ready.”

Amber donates a considerable amount of her time.  She knows that her show has a mostly younger following and realizes that she’s somewhat of a role model. She has been a spokesperson for VH1 Save The Music campaign and has engaged fans through social media in a drive to keep music education alive in public schools. She has also donated time to the “Celebrate My Drive” campaign to advocate safe awareness for beginner drivers. She says that getting fit is a motivating force behind her competing on the show. ” I really do want to put my money where my mouth is. I’m supposed to be a role model and I want to get healthy and one way is to get my body moving.”

She’s thrilled to have four-time champ Derek Hough as her partner. As for Derek, he recently told Access Hollywood, ” She’s inspiring me as far as her attitude and her performance already, so now I just have to make sure that I give her choreography that’s going to accentuate that.”  “He’s so cute and so sweet” says Amber of Derek, “Being with him has boosted my confidence a little bit.”  Lady, with Derek as your partner that should have boosted your confidence a LOT!  It’s been interesting to see Derek work with someone who doesn’t have a perfect body, yet who can dance her butt off and knows how to sell a performance.

It felt somewhat uncomfortable having Valerie Harper on the show this season…and maybe that was a good thing.  We don’t often see people who have been given a death sentence strutting their stuff in the public eye like she did. She was a huge testament to the power of the human spirit. Though her lack of dancing ability gave her deservedly low scores, I think everyone watching her wishes her lots more time to enjoy the other things in life that make her happy.

As for the rest of the group:

Let’s talk about the “Semi-pros” first.  I may be a little harsh in calling them that, but I feel there really are two distinct classes of dancers on the show this season: Those who have earned their living in some way by virtue of their dancing ability and the “Novices” who don’t have a clue.

Elizabeth and Val did a sensual yet elegant Argentine Tango that I absolutely loved !( Val started off and ended the routine playing a few notes on the violin…as I have mentioned before, he is an excellent violin player.) For sheer artistry, this was my favorite routine of the night.  Score of 27.  By the way, I have never seen a couple who could not keep their hands off each other as much as these two. It felt like Elizabeth kept wanting to kiss Val on the lips but he would turn slightly and they would “do cheeks.” Interesting…

Corbin and Karina’s Paso Doble was incredible!  I can remember a lot of wonderful female Paso Performances but this was my favorite by a male. Their routine made me feel like I was sitting in a cantina in Spain and watching dancers who had done this all their lives. Score of 29.

While having a newly minted Emmy Award winner for choreography as your partner is a terrific asset, it also must add to the pressure of your own performance.  Amber did a fabulous Tango and Derek demonstrated his strength as he worked the dance floor with a woman who clearly outweighs him.  I loved it.  Score of 27.

Christina and Mark did an okay Foxtrot.  To me…it felt like it lacked something and I’m not sure what.  Not my favorite and perhaps not the judge’s either.  Score of 24. (Christina is a tough one to put into a dancing category, but because she has done some hip-hop and other dance style to enhance her singing career, I’m plopping her in the “semipro’s” section.)

Now for the “Novices”….

I was happy to see Jack and Cheryl’s energetic Quick Step.  I’ve always thought that if he could gain just a bit more confidence in himself, he could come out with guns blazing.  Waiting for his breakthrough moment…still one of my favs. Score of: 24

Brant and Pita did an okay Salsa, but he looked slightly deranged in his movements and Carrie Ann was right…having his shirt off only magnified his dancing shortcomings. Sad for him…as he had top score last week and only got a 21 this week. That’s got to sting.

Leah and Tony did a serviceable Cha Cha Cha.  You can just feel how hard she is trying and the judges were right when they said her “acting the part” overshadowed her dancing a bit.  She has a great partner and has some skill, but she, like Jack, just needs to relax a bit.  (I can’t believe how easy I say that…I would be PETRIFIED!) Sore of 24.

Nicole (Snooki) and Sasha did a really cute jive that called upon Snooki’s cheer-leading background.  Like I’ve said before, I don’t WANT to like the woman but there is a certain charm about her and she’s working hard.  Score of 24.

Christina and Mark did an okay Foxtrot.  To me…it felt like it lacked something and I’m not sure what.  Not my favorite and perhaps not the judge’s either.  Score of 24.

Bill and Emma did a Samba of sorts..but he’s SO much fun to watch.  Right after their scores were given, Tom told them that they would live to dance again next week.  Bill’s reaction was priceless.  He teared up, threw his hat in the air and scooped up Emma into his arms.  Pretty obvious that he’s loving being on the show.  Score of 21.

As to Valerie and Tristan’s dance…she tried very hard and Tristan did the best he could with her.  My new goal for DWTS is to see Tristan get someone REALLY good as a partner and take it all the way to the top!

In an interview Jack Osbourne gave MTV a few years ago, he actually said those words. “I had a fairly normal childhood.”  Perhaps since then, things have come into clearer focus for him…let’s hope so.  While I do believe that he comes from a very loving family, there is no way in the world that they are the LEAST bit normal. (Then again…who IS I suppose?)

Jack was born in England 27 years ago to the “Prince of Darkness”, Black Sabbath lead vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, who managed rock bands. Sharon and Ozzy moved the family back and forth from England to the U.S continually for the first 10-11 years of Jack’s life. Moving so many times, from L.A. to Buckinghamshire and then back to Beverly Hills and then back to St. John’s Wood and then back to Beverly Hills, made it tough on the kids to do well in school.  Especially Jack…who was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was eight and with having ADD at the age of ten. Meanwhile, his father was a loose cannon who continued to tour and make songs like, “Crazy Train”, “Paranoid”, “Let Me Hear You Scream” and “Diary of a Madman.” Not the most stable of influences.

Parental guidance was there..some what, but Jack was allowed to do many things before he was emotionally prepared for them. At 13-14, Jack was working an internship at Virgin Records and later started scouting for Epic Records.  He also helped his mother manage his father’s annual touring festival, Ozzfest.  He says that he never really hung around with people his own age…always with adults and mostly those connected with the entertainment industry. By the time he was 14, he was drinking and drugging heavily. ( Gee…I couldn’t see that coming! ) He says, “I think I should have died four times…I was depressed and out of control. My Mum was like, “What’s wrong?  What’s wrong” And I would say “I need help” and she was really sick at the time fighting cancer, so she really had to focus on herself, you know?…she was just trying to survive. And Dad was just an emotional  wreck. He was drinking a lot of the time , he was smoking a lot of pot. And because he takes certain medications, the drinking was making him…you know…  He wasn’t really even present, really.” When he was 17, Jack’s mother was recovering, had found her strength and forced him into treatment.  He was admitted to a child psychiatric ward for an addiction to Oxycontin. He told MTV,” It was interesting, because when I was in rehab I wasn’t Jack Osbourne, Ozzy and Sharon’s son…I was a normal 17-year-old kid who had problems like everyone else there.  It was great. I got to be who I was and made friends my own age.” Sharon also got Ozzy back into rehab and Ozzy began the long road of on again, off again, rehabilitation.  For Jack though, it seemed he had turned a corner.

He became obsessed with fitness and with challenging his own endurance. He desperately wanted to carve out his own niche away from the Rock and Roll Life. He has been a fitness and travel reporter for the Travel Channel, as well as starring in Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie, which ran for four seasons.  On the show, Jack climbed El Capitan, competed in serious boxing matches and did solo treks through the Bolivian Jungle.

Jack married his wife, Lisa, in April of 2012.  They have one daughter, Pearl, and Lisa was pregnant with their son when she lost the baby just a few weeks ago and at a very late stage.  Understandably, the family has been devastated.  The loss took place right as Jack was beginning rehearsal for DWTS…so perhaps the distraction has been good for him, although it must have been hard for him to be away from Lisa.

Prior to that, in 2012, Jack was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He says he has experienced symptoms for years…like blindness in one eye and trouble with his bladder, bowel and stomach.  He takes medication daily now and says he has had to make some life style changes, like eating differently and reducing stress.  For him to compete on DTWS is, much like Valerie Harper,  a sheer act of bravery and a testament to being alive and living life to the fullest. His doctors have urged him to “stop participating in highly intensive physical workouts”…and Jack has spoken about fearing a “rapid decline.” But his desire to shine light on the sufferers of MS and the need for more research far outweighs the risks he feels he’s taking. “It’s a hell of a disease and it really doesn’t end pretty so I want people to donate time and money to help fight this thing.”

But for right now, he says he looks forward to surpassing his sister Kelly, who went through a major metamorphosis from Goth to Glam when she was on the show five years ago. Kelly made it all the way to 3rd place…when no one originally gave her a chance.  Will Jack be able to do better than his sister did?  Only time will tell…but you just know that he will give it everything he has.  Normal childhood?  No. Impressive adult?  Absolutely.

First things first.  We all admire Valerie Harper and we hope and pray for her further recovery.  But she truly looked lost last night and I felt for her.  Tristan was there by her side doing everything he could to escort her around the dance floor but… just wasn’t working. Score of 16

Amber and Derek’s Charleston was really entertaining.  That woman can move!  The judges saw flaws that I didn’t and gave her a score of 24.

Jack and Cheryl’s Cha Cha was okay but Jack looked far less sure of himself than he did last week.  It didn’t look like any Charleston I’ve ever seen.  I want him to do well but I didn’t like that dance.   Score of 22.

Corbin and Karina’s quick step was unbelievable!  Kudos to them for their hard work. BUT…he is practically a professional dancer in real life and I can’t help it….I  deduct points for that. Plus, I was annoyed by his constant, “I’m nervous.  I’ve never done THIS dance before.”  Obviously he wants us to think this all so new to him.  Not buying it. Score of 26.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have someone like Leah Remini, who really IS a novice dancer. I was thrilled with Tony and Leah’s rumba.  She had tons more confidence this week and the dance demonstrated how masterful Tony’s lead is…they were beautiful together. Score of 24.

Val and Elizabeth did a Foxtrot with Val dressed as a pilot.  Great job, but AGAIN (are you getting sick of me saying this?), the woman has had years and years of dance training. Score of 25. ” Hashtag Not My Favorite.”.

Now for another huge contrast.  Brant and Peta’s quick step was AMAZING for a non-dancer with an injury. The audience and the judges loved it and gave them a score of 27. ( I thought Peta’s eyes would bug out of her head when she heard their scores.)  For a guy who had a crappy week…losing his phone, getting robbed at gun point and having an injury, this score must have tasted very sweet.

Bill and Emma’s Paso Doble was sort of weird to me.  They danced to the theme from the Lone Ranger. I  really disliked the choreography and thought his dance didn’t have much content. HOWEVER, the judges loved it and it was a real crowd pleaser,  so what do I know?  Plus, I like the guy and hope he stays. Score of 24.

Christina and Mark did a Charleston that was good but just didn’t do it for me.  The judges loved it though and gave them a 26.

I don’t want to like Nicole alias Snooki.  But I have to say that she’s working her butt off and really impressed me last night. Even though she might not be the brightest bulb in the place, I must give credit where credit is due and the judges felt the same way.  Score of 25.

Bill and Tye did the best they could with the hand they were dealt. Tye’s choreography was really cute and a masterful attempt at trying to mask Bill’s serious injury.  And so…they were the ones that left the show, but if ever there were a blessing in disguise for a contestant, being voted off was one for Bill Nye. He was a great addition to the show and will be missed. You could just feel his disappointment…and ours.

Leah Remini was born in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Los Angeles with her mother at the age of 13 to pursue an acting career. I’m beginning to believe that if you want a career in show biz, you HAVE to head to the Golden State…which makes sense, as the auditions are unlikely to come to you. Still, I’m amazed at how many of the celebs that I research moved to L.A. for the sole purpose of making it in the entertainment industry.  Imagine how many thousands never got a break?  But Leah Remini did…

Early on, she was cast in the series Who’s The Boss as Charlie Briscoe and that led to a spin-off called Living Dolls with Halle Berry. (The latter one only ran for 12 episodes) She even auditioned for the part of Monica Geller in Friends, but as we all know, the part went to Courtney Cox.  She then starred in Saved  By the Bell, as did one of her competitors on DWTS, Elizabeth Berkley.  But her big break came when she was cast in the hit series The King of Queens, which ran for nine seasons.  After that show was put out to pasture, she starred in a nine epsiode “webisode” called In the Motherhood, alongside comedians Chelsea Handler and Jenny McCarthy.

In October of 2010, Leah Remini began a stint as a co-host on the chat show brilliantly entitled, The Talk, alongside Julie Chen, (who has no talent but keeps getting jobs because her husband is president of CBS), Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete and Sharon Osbourne. After the first season ended, Leah was told that her contract would not be renewed. Unfortunately, the network would not discuss why she and Holly had both been terminated.  The network drew huge criticism and protests from their fans. But it was Sharon Osbourne, their former co-host, who talked about the firings when asked about it by Howard Stern on his talk show. Sharon replied, ” Some people really don’t know who they are. And you have to know who you are when you’re in something like this. You can’t pretend to be something you’re not.  You have to know your brand.” When asked why they weren’t talked to when they were let go, Sharon said, ” Why should we call them to discuss?”  WELLLLLLLL…that went over like a lead balloon with Leah.  She tweeted, ” Sharon had us fired. She thought me and Holly were too “ghetto” (her words), we “didn’t know ourselves.”  She had us fired while all the while calling us her friends, heartbreaking. Yes, she told Howard Stern she had us fired…explains why she never called us back.” So…. there’s really bad blood between Sharon Obsourne and Leah Remini….I can’t help but wonder how that will affect Leah’s relationship with Jack Osbourne, or how Leah will feel with Sharon sitting in the audience glaring at her?  Warm up the heating pad…could be pretty frosty on the dance floor at times.

Even before Leah’s name was announced in September as a contestant on DWTS, her name had been showing up on talk shows and chat lines all summer long.  Why?  Because she was the latest celebrity to make a very dramatic exit from The Church Of Scientology.  She says that she had been a member of the church since childhood, when her mother got the family involved in the church.  It’s all she had ever known.  The past few years, she became disillusioned with what she claims is the religion’s intolerance for any kind of questioning of it’s practices. She also vocally disagreed with the church’s practice of forcing members to “disconnect” from family members who chose to leave the church. She says that all her family members left with her so that they could stay together. Leah appeared recently on The Ellen Show and Ellen said, “How are you?  I hear that it’s different than leaving another religion, so are you okay?” Leah replied, ” I’m OK. It’s hard.  We lost friends that no longer talk to us who are still in the organization. These are friends that we’ve had for dozens of years. But we have other friends outside the church that have stood by us”.
Ellen said,” You have me. I’m your friend!” Leah then said, ” I will not shut up. No one is going to tell me how I need to think, or who I can or cannot talk to.” Leah joins other well known celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Jerry Seinfeld  and Demi Moore who have left the church.  It’s widely reported that Kirstie Alley is furious with Leah…but one never knows if that’s in fact true, or true Hollywood hype.

So, amongst this back-drop of life changing drama, Leah is accepting the challenge of DWTS.  For a woman who has been emotionally battered and bruised lately, who better to make her feel safe than my boyfriend, Tony Dovolani?  When asked how it’s going, Leah said, “It’s so much harder than I thought. Everybody says that but it’s true. I thought I would surprise everyone by keeping on saying,’ Oh, I can’t dance, I can’t dance……’, and then TADA! But that didn’t happen, as a matter of fact I keep holding on to Tony’s arm for dear life and I don’t even know I’m doing it. What have I gotten into?” Well keep holding on to Tony, Leah, because I don’t want him off the show early (like when he danced with  Wynona Judd,  Kate Gosselin or Wendy Williams…)…so it’s ALL up to you! No pressure here…..

Sometimes I don’t have much to write about someone… and this is one of those times.  It happens.  But hey, I’ll give you what I’ve got.

Brant was born in Ohio and he moved to Los Angeles (doesn’t everybody?)  right after earning a film degree from Columbia College in Chicago. His star has started to rise for sure…as he has had a recurring role as Noel in the ABC family series, Pretty Little Liars.  He also has a recurring role in the long running NBC soap Days of Our Lives.  This year, he became a regular in the cast of Lifetime Network’s Army Wives in the role of Patrick Clark.  Hopefully, some of you watch these shows and will give us some feedback on his talent up to now.

It also sounds like his big screen career is getting ready to take off.  Besides two other films due out later, he is cast in the motion picture comedy “The Starving Games” that is due out shortly.  As we all know, DWTS is all about becoming known to millions of people and as I’ve said a bizillion times, your just can’t buy this type of publicity.( Plus, you don’t pay for it, they pay YOU!)

So here he is on DWTS and he says that he “couldn’t be happier to be paired with Peta Murgatroyd.” He’s said that his friends think he really lucked out to be dancing with one of the sexiest dancers on the show.  Look, he’s only 28…he and his friends have got to be greatly impressed by that.  Wait…my husband is almost 58 and HE and his friends would be impressed by that.  Never mind.

The main question is:  Can he dance?  I have to say that I could find no indication that he has any kind of dance instruction in his past, so he, my friends, may be an actual dancing virgin.  So far, he has held his own.  When asked by Access Hollywood if he had any moves, he said “I’m working on it” but Peta added, “He’s got moves, believe me!”  Hmmm…that could be taken a number of ways….  Brant does say that there is lots of room for improvement.  “I gotta work on my hips” he explained. “I grew up on a farm in Ohio and the hip’s don’t move there.”

The only negative thing I could find out about the guy is that he told Seventeen Magazine that he’s “addicted to In-N-Out Burgers. It’s sort of a problem”. I’m sorry, but I love In-N-Out too (just ate there yesterday actually)…and all I can say is that even if Brant can’t dance that well, he’s MY kind of man.


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