March 31, 2009
March 30, 2009
2 new dances! 2 "stars" eliminated 2morrow night! Samantha Harris is sick! And oh dear, based on the opening entrances, it's going to be an interesting night for ballroom fashion. Blinders are on, dancing can now commence!
David and Kym: The lindy hop, by definition, is not a pretty dance. It's not clean, or technical, or precise. This routine looked a little messy, but I think they did a decent job and Carrie-Ann was spot-on with her praise for their high energy level.
Lil Kim and Derek: Oh dear, Derek doesn't know how to do an Argentine tango - didn't this happen last year with the jitterbug? Shouldn't he - I dunno - review these things before the season starts? As much as I have been hard on these two, this was a fantastic routine. She hit some amazing lines and I thought the choreography was great. I'll admit when I'm wrong, and I was really wrong about this couple. And whoa, first 10 of the season! Bravo.
Chuck and Julianne: Chuck, you are a BABY. Julianne, stop giving into his whining! Geez. But okay, whatever, they're adorable. I agree with the judges that they need to kick their performances into the next gear. They're good, but they could be great.
Lawrence and Edyta: The Argentine tango is really the woman's showcase, so there wasn't a whole lot for Lawrence to do. The dance seemed a little blah - I was hoping for more fire, more passion. I think they're safe for tomorrow night, despite the mediocrity.
Ty and Chelsie: Whoopsie, what's Steve and Karina's package intro package doing here? Someone's getting fired! Did I mention how much I like these two? So. Much. Fun. And Ty is definitely Most Improved - he has a real chance of getting into the finals if he keeps this up.
Steve and Karina: The Woz doing the Argentine tango? Oh my. And ahaha, segways. I'll admit I laughed a lot during this - he just means so well, he's so likeable. The judges are so desperately trying to get rid of him, and I'll be interested to see whether the fans can pull him through again.
Melissa and Tony: Tony must be so excited to have a partner who's actually good. He's been on this show forever; he kind of deserves it. This was a fun number, although some of the lifts were a little clumsy. Not sure it was deserving of two 10s, but it was good. Also, does anyone know what Melissa has on her lower back that gets covered up with sequins every week? Unfortunate tattoo?
Holly and Dmitry: Whiiiiine, Holly pulled a muscle. Wow, she's such a trooper dancing through the pain. This was an improvement over her earlier dances, although she forgot the routine and just stopped completely (awkward) and didn't point her toes once. She is most definitely going home, which is too bad - Dmitry is a great choreographer.
Steve-O and Lacey: Yay, he's back! Sort of. This wasn't the strongest lindy hop, but at least it was injury-free. I think they could be in trouble tomorrow night.
Gilles and Cheryl: Of course they would assign Gilles the Argentine tango. Of course. He was predictably great here - the dance had a very quiet power to it that I really liked. Bruno calls Gilles a Latin lover; Gilles is French. No matter, Gilles is a great dancer. No shock - they get the first perfect score of the season.
Shawn and Mark: Yay, Mark brought his nerd glasses back. And seriously - I cannot handle the cute. I really liked this routine - it was fun, adorable, and youthful. The judges are lame.
So who's going home? I think it's between Holly, The Woz, and Steve-O.
March 24, 2009
March 23, 2009
For the first time this season, all the contestants are on a level playing field - no one is absent from injuries, no one is a last-minute replacement. Let's see how this affects the QOD (quality of dance), shall we?
Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Dear heavens, Maks is dressed as the Chiquita Banana girl. Make it stop! This was pretty terrible, but there are a few things to note here: 1. Filter is not appropriate music for the samba, 2. something was lost on the dance floor (a boob insert?), 3. it's ridiculous to yell at them for not doing a party dance given the music they were assigned.
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough: Seriously, who is in charge of selecting the music? FAIL. However, costume department - high five. They are undoubtably the best looking couple here. I thought this was a huge improvement over last week - lovely and graceful, hideous music selection notwithstanding.
Holly Madison and Dmitry Chaplin: Whiiiiiine .... Holly is annoying. Dmitry did a good job with what he was given, although it looked like Holly was being dragged around through most of it. As much as I love Dmitry, I will not miss them when they are inevitably kicked off.
Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer: Steve-O doesn't really need to dance to stick around, as evidenced by last week. And then he hurt himself again! But I actually thought this was quite good (minus the obvious mistakes), and for the first time this evening, they had a decent song to work with. I think they should be safe tomorrow night.
Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska: This choreography was pretty blah, but Lawrence definitely has some moves. I think he's definitely becoming increasingly confident and should continue to improve in the coming weeks. Len's 6 seemed a little low, but I think they're safe for next week.
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas: Seriously, could they be more adorable? (No. No they could not.) This dance was, in a word, gorgeous. I loved the ebb and flow of the choreography - they are far and away the best couple here and 100% the couple to beat. A well-deserved 27.
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: I love Gilles' mom. I do not love his Christmas pajamas and matching slippers. Setting that aside, Gilles can definitely shake it. And the producers are clearly trying to push him into the finals - hello, butt close-up. Not that I'm complaining.
David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson: Honestly, I forgot these two were still here, but I thought this was a fun routine. They were amazingly in sync throughout, and I loved Kym's choreography. Definitely their best dance thus far - they might make a fan out of me yet!
Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff: Oh dear, the Woz and sexy dancing do not mix. Annnd, we have our umpteenth injury of the season. Also, he did the worm. The WORM. Steve is kind of like the drunk uncle at a wedding who bogarts the dance floor after a few too many gimlets, but I do kind of love him. The judges obviously want him gone, but I think that's kind of crap after praising Cloris Leachman all last season.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Melissa has become a definite contender in this thing, so I give her all the credit in the world. I never thought I would support Tony, but here we are. Stranger things have happened.
Lil' Kim and Derek Hough: Uh, no. This was so awkward and clumsy, complete with forgotten steps and a very non-ladylike skank face during the raunchy bits. I don't know why on earth the judges continue to lavish undeserved praise on her, but ... no. Just .... no.
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower: Well well well ... Ty has become quite the dancer. I felt bad that Chelsie fell (twice!) but they didn't miss a beat. These two have become one of my favorite couples - a true class act.
It's a tough call, but I think Holly or, sadly, Steve Wozniak is going home tomorrow.
March 18, 2009
My family's trip to Disney is months away, and I can't help getting excited about all the things I can't wait to do and the new attractions I'll be checking out, but I am feeling a little bit wistful about the rides and attractions that are no longer there. And no, I'm not specifically talking about Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (Gah! Curse my terrible timing!), but more of the things I loved as a kid that have been phased out to make way for splashier "improvements" and jazzier replacements.
My Top 5 Most Missed Former Disney Attractions:
1. Journey into Imagination with Figment, EPCOT - Yes, the ride still exists, but it's a shell of its former self. Gone is the cuteness, the song, the Dreamfinder - and instead we get Eric Idle and some skunk spray. Of course, the current version is the 3rd reinvention of this attraction - some of you may remember version 2, which had no Figment at all and was about as exciting as watching paint dry. In response to guest complaints, Disney combined versions 1 and 2 to give us the current, better-but-still-unsatisfying version.
2. Cranium Command, EPCOT - The preshow was always what made this for me - General Knowledge tells his young recruits they're about to embark on the most difficult mission imaginable - piloting the human brain. It was clever, funny, ("What are you doing now, Fuzzy? Taking a nap?!), and full of inside jokes. The show continued as you saw what happens inside a 12 year old's body on any given day. Although Cranium Command became dated very quickly (thanks to a cast of 80s stars), it was always one of my favorites. And when things get stressful, I find myself repeating "Keep your systems in check and your cranium under command!"
3. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Magic Kingdom - Yes, I understand Winnie the Pooh is a much more recognizable and kid-friendly character for a ride in Fantasyland. But Mr. Toad was way better. Period.
4. Backlot Tour, Disney MGM (Hollywood) Studios - Today, the Backlot Tour takes you through some Pearl Harbor effects before the tram ride, where you then empty into the AFI exhibit space. Originally, you started with the water tank (then touting Crimson Tide), then had (and I'm probably confusing the order here): the tram ride, a look at the Home Improvement sets, a peek at the animatronics and set pieces for 101 Dalmatians, then a glimpse into the TV studios, ending with the AFI exhibit space. The original version took about 2 hours to complete, which is too much time by Disney standards - if you keep attractions short, people have more time to eat, shop, and see other attractions. And while today's version is okay (if a little stale), the original Backlot Tour was in-depth, informative, and got this wee one interested in pursuing film as a career path.
5. The Living Seas, EPCOT - I have nothing against Nemo, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends is cute and all, but the original pavillion focused on what's actually the point of the whole thing - the fish. You learned, you explored, and you got to see marine life up close and personal. Fish and marine life are cool to begin with - they don't need a character tie-in to get kids interested. The updated pavillion is more about cute theme songs and fancy special effects (although Turtle Talk with Crush is fully awesome), and less about marine conservation. And while there's nothing explicitly wrong with the new version, the commercialization of my once-favorite pavillion just makes me sad.
Do you have any rides/attractions that make you yearn for simpler times? Share your thoughts below!
Labels: best of disney
March 17, 2009
It's the first results show of the season, and guess what? It's 1997, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is here! A cool way to kick off the show, if somewhat dated. Samantha Harris has the scoop from this week's cripple, Steve-O, who is apparently coming back from his injury next week.
March 16, 2009
March 14, 2009
To the uninitiated, Downtown Disney seems like a distraction, a non-theme park Disney "attraction" designed to lure out of towners into adding another day onto their stay, a place where the whole point is to - surprise - spend more money. And this is perhaps not entirely untrue, but it's also one of my favorite places in Walt Disney World. And so, I proudly present:
The Top 10 Best Things About Downtown Disney:
1. On any vacation, there will be one day where it rains incessantly. This is especially true in Florida, where the 4 PM Thunderstorm Parade makes daily appearances. Downtown Disney is a great place to ride out the rain (and the mad dashing between stores is kind of fun).
2. The Art of Disney. Hands down, the coolest store in Downtown Disney. Granted, we can't afford anything in there, but it makes for great "look but don't touch" shopping.
3. DisneyQuest! Yes, the admission is kind of absurd ($40 per adult, $34 for kids 9 and under), but it's amazing how much time you can spend in here. Highlights include: writing and mixing your own song (it's hilarious, trust me) and CyberSpace Mountain, where you design and then ride your own roller coaster. For the recap, let's turn to boy band sensation NSync (fast forward to 3:40):
By the way, that makes me laugh as much today as it did when I watched that special when it premiered back in my teenybopper days.
5. Wetzels Pretzels - Obviously, these exist elsewhere, but sometimes you just need an afternoon snack. And this quick service location is nicely positioned on the water, so it's a good place to take a breather.
6. Basin - Amazingly, Basin only has two stores (in WDW and Disneyland), so every time we go, I stock up on a year's worth of soap - the caffeine one is particularly amazing. And who can resist smelling every single soap/salt on display? Not me, because by the time I've checked out my olfactory system has shut down from overstimulation.
March 9, 2009
Liiiiiiive! From Hollywood! It's season Who Cares I Lost Count of Dancing with the Stars! Well ladies and gents, the new cast is finally here, minus two couples that were supposed to be present. But wait! There's more! Replacement stars! With no training! The world. has. gone. crazy.
Lil' Kim and Derek Hough: Lil' Kim first watched Dancing with the Stars in prison. Um. And yes, they would be dancing to "Nasty Boys." But yet, no chemistry and lots of awkwardness ... yawn. A well-deserved score of 21.
Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts: Flat-footedness and sparkly gloves?! No no no no no. Also, these routines are 15 seconds long - useless.
Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska: Yay Edyta! BOOO GIANTS NOOOOO! In all fairness, Lawrence got most of the steps correctly, even if he didn't show the panache of past football players on the show. I think he could be one to watch in the coming weeks.
Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer: Whoa whoa whoa, Wee-man is in the audience? What? Steve-O claims being Caucasian and in rehab counts as a disability on this show. I am inclined to agree, but color me surprised - he actually has some potential. Technically meh, but I honestly liked their routine. And has Lacey ever looked better? Loving the peacock dress, seriously.
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: I am still unsure as to who Gilles Marini is, so it is a bit weird that I have seen his man parts. (Cheryl has apparently not seen the Sex and the City movie, because she keeps calling him a girl in rehearsals.) The producers seem to be having their own love affair with Gilles (was it 100% necessary to close-up on the ass-grab?), and it seems like Cheryl might have a fighting chance this season. Another couple to watch.
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough: Oooo, they're dating in real life omg scandal! I gotta say, in addition to being the best looking couple out there, they're pretty damn good (is anyone surprised?). I really liked the choreography here, and I think they could go pretty far on the basis of being adorable. Small demerit for invoking the Lift Police, but whatever.
Holly Madison and Dmitry Chaplin: Ugh, Holly is replacing Jewel. Do. Not. Want. But Dmitry - Yes. Want. Please. But I do give them credit for completely winging this on live television. That being said, Holly apparently took classes from the Susan Lucci School for Fledgling Birds. I will continue to root for them (though the feminist in me is crying out in pain) simply because I am forced to remain loyal to my other favorite dance show.
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower: Full disclosure: Chelsie was one of my favorites on So You Think You Can Dance last season. I find Ty's goofiness and reluctance to actually dance kind of adorable, and while forgetting the dance was pretty bad, I still want to see them go through to the next round.
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas: These guys were my favorites going into this season, and I still think they're the ones to beat. Perfectly lovely, and easily the best couple of the night - I'm so excited to see what else they do this season.
Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff: Oh dear. On the plus side, I didn't watch Steve at all because I was so flabbergasted at Karina's outfit - I think that might be the raciest costume ever on DWTS. Bruno called Steve a Teletubbie, which is kind of hilarious, but again - did no one else notice Karina was more or less naked?
David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson: David is on DWTS because he wants "free dance shoes and sexual favors." 1 out of 2 ain't bad. David is one of those unfortunate people who thinks he is funny but is in fact quite tragic. Poor Kym - I'm over them already.
Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Oh, the tears have already started. That didn't take long. Denise looks kind of awkward, but hopefully Maks can work that out in the coming weeks.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Uh, "star"? I'll refrain from my usual snarkiness here, because Melissa has been through enough recently. (Side note: Is Melissa smoking hot or what? Jason, you're an idiot in addition to being a jerk). Since DWTS had no injury footage to show, it only makes sense they would show the cringe-inducing replay of Melissa being dumped on national television. But amazingly, they were one of the best couples of the night, despite having only 30 seconds of rehearsal. Good for her.
All in all, a promising start to the season. Looking forward to next week's show, which will be complete with an elimination. And now, to bed.
March 8, 2009
As you've probably heard by now, the new season of Dancing with the Stars is falling apart before it's even begun. Jewel and Nancy O'Dell, felled by various injuries that I can only guess we'll be seeing footage of tomorrow, have withdrawn from the competition. Rumors are swirling that Holly Madison will serve as a replacement for both of them. This concerns me for a few reasons:
1. Two highly successful, strong women have a combined worth of one Playboy bunny? That's some fuzzy math.
2. If Holly does join the cast, she'll have had less than a week to rehearse and is at a serious disadvantage to the point of "why bother?"
3. If Holly joins, who will be her partner? Tooth whitening spokesperson Tony Dovolani or new guy Dmitry Martin? I'm hoping/praying/conducting ritual sacrifices that Dmitry will get to stay, but I doubt it.
So much is up in the air! I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night's show to see how this pans out. And be sure to come back here for the recap!
March 4, 2009
March 3, 2009
The new installment will be lacking HSM's biggest asset - its tweenbop superstar cast - but I have a feeling there will still be plenty of squealing girls to go around.
Labels: disney news
Something momentous happened today. Birds sang, the heavens opened, and sunshine found its way through the snowstorm to warm my heart.
We booked our trip to Disney.
The dates: late July - early August (note to self: pack sunscreen). And despite our original intentions to stay in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we are on a waitlist for a one bedroom there and booked into our standard Saratoga Springs digs. I'm sort of disappointed, but not terribly so. Let's break it down:
Pros: less kids, less noise, walking distance to Downtown Disney, random otter sightings
Cons: been there, done that (twice). lack of interesting restaurants.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Pros: Jiko, Sanaa (I'm going to go ahead and assume it's yum), animal sightings while you are still in your jammies, beginning each day by watching the sunrise from the balcony and yelling "Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba"
Cons: kids, screaming, zoo smell
If it works out, cool, if not - twas meant to be. Either way, I'm so excited to have something to look forward to!
March 2, 2009
"Yes, it is true I have had a minor setback in my training... but I am dedicated to getting better and showing the judges and America that I can cha-cha with the best of them. Don't count me out."