Melissa Gilbert and Roshon Fegan are both sent packing
As promised, we said goodbye to two stars this week. Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower were the first couple eliminated – it was tough to watch, since they finished near the top of the leaderboard in this round. Never forget that life is a popularity contest, kids. Roshon said he was happy to be able to add ballroom dancing to his skill set, and Chelsie praised Roshon's upbeat attitude throughout the competition.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were the second couple to head home – and it was poor Melissa's birthday. She called Maks "an incredible teacher and an incredible friend." Maks said he was proud of Melissa, and referred to her as "the comeback kid."
As tough as it was to say goodbye to two worthy contenders, the show must go on. Here's a quick look at how the semifinalists did in the last round:
Donald had his best week ever! His large-and-in-charge tango was a hit with the crowd and his "trio" jive was the judges' pick for the encore dance. I can't wait to see what Donald does in the semifinals next week.
William's foxtrot had a perfect balance of sexiness and dueling tension and earned him his first perfect 30 of the season. Bruno called him a heartbreaker and praised him as a debonair, suave dancer. The paso doble William danced with Cheryl and Tony was flawless, aside from some timing errors. After two great performances he finished the week at the top of the judges' leaderboard.
Maria's Viennese waltz was simply gorgeous. Bruno praised her seamless transitions and emotional involvement and Carrie Ann commented on the (always on!) connection between Maria and Derek. Maria's eye-popping harem-themed samba with Derek and Henry Byalikov from the "DWTS" troupe split the judges' votes. Len gave the routine a 7 due to lack of samba content and Maria's score took a nosedive. Good thing her fans voted her through to the semifinals!
Katherine's lyrical Viennese waltz never let up on thrilling choreography – lots of spins, including one that almost left her on the floor. Bruno called Katherine's technique superb but wanted to see more focus in this particular routine. Katherine's Victor/Victoria cha-cha showed us her fun side. The routine was classy and comical – like when she got her discarded slacks stuck to her stiletto pump and just kept dancing. Katherine is a beautiful dancer, but so are her competitors. This is anyone's game.
Who won the week: William
Who needs to step it up: Maria
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The show's most successful team ever on how they won the prize, even with all the fighting
Special to MSN TV
Rachel and Dave Brown, a combat pilot and Army wife, destroyed the competition on this season's "Amazing Race, " ultimately winning a record-setting eight legs as well as a million-dollar prize. They were, in fact, so dominant that not even skipping a task -- and having to backtrack to finish it in an "Amazing Race" finale first -- kept them from the prize.
We spoke to them about bickering their way through the race (they say it just motivates them to be better), Rachel's domination on the sled challenge, and picking up clues just like Katniss.
When did you first realize that something was wrong when you hit the mat the first time last night?
Rachel: We had no clue [something was wrong] until Phil said, "However … "
Dave: The other racers were just as astonished as we were. But then there was the "However," and Phil's eyebrow raised.
What went through your mind when you heard that?
Rachel: My first thought was, "He's just kidding."
Dave: I was absolutely baffled. I had no idea what had happened. Phil alluded to the fact that Roadblock had not been completed, so we left the mat and just thought about it briefly. Strangely enough, we're on the main thoroughfare and there's a woman having a cigarette, and we asked her if she recognized [the place in the clue] and she said, "Yeah, it's about a quarter mile down the road." We ran the whole way, and then saw a mud road with a small "Amazing Race" banner. Then we followed it and I spotted fresh footprints.
That was kind of an amazing moment when you knew you were on the right path because of the print. It was like something out of "The Hunger Games."
Dave: We just knew there had been teams running around with their crews.
When you got to the sled challenge, what place did you think you were in?
Rachel: We thought [Rachel and Brendon] were definitely ahead of us. They had been right behind us at ice shaving.
Dave: I was talking to J.J., and he mentioned that Big Brother hadn't arrived yet, and that's when I realized we were contending for first place again. When we left, though, I noticed that there were ATV tracks, and I thought maybe J.J. threw us off. Your mind is just completely racing at this point. That's why, when we were crossing the pond again, I was, like, "I'm proud of you either way" because we really didn't know.
Every team comes off the "Race" saying that communication is the most important element. But it seemed like you guys actually didn't communicate very well. What were you doing right that we couldn't see from at home?
Rachel: We can have little spats, but we let them go. It's not something that holds us back.
Dave: Believe me, they incorporated every argument Rachel and I had. We are both very competitive people and very controlling. Rachel pushes my buttons, and that motivates me. And I push her buttons, and that motivates her. I think what most people would perceive as bickering or arguing, we used it to motivate each other. But ultimately, above and beyond [what we did right was] our attention to detail, and our detailed analysis of the Detours and Roadblocks. We really took time to assess which would be better for us.
Rachel: I think it's something you saw in the last episode, with the sumo wrestlers or the sushi. We said, sushi sounds like it's something out of our control, and we don't want things to be left to chance. We'd rather be able to drive our own success.
Dave, what do you think was Rachel's best moment on the race?
Dave: The sled. Art and J.J. are both very competitive, and they were attempting it like 50 times. She was actually able to complete it within two attempts.
How'd you do it, Rachel?
Rachel: It was a complete balance thing. I just squeezed my core and tried to stay on for my life. The first time I went down, it felt like I had rug burn all over my body. The second time, I was just not going to have to do it again.
What will you guys use the money for?
Dave: Rachel and I are both very sensible, frugal people, and we're going to use this money to pay off our mortgage and provide financial stability, and we'll invest quite a bit of it.
Rachel: And I think I'm just going to really splurge and buy something [small] in one of those Skymall magazines we saw all the time.
Trio round leaves William Levy and Roshon Fegan ahead of the pack
One round to go until the semifinals, and that means our stars are now dancing two full routines. This week saw the debut of the Trio Round, where they were paired with an additional professional dancer for the Latin dances. This was ... about as weird as Classical Week for me, but it produced some pretty amazing dances as well as a leaderboard upset.
Maria, Derek and Henry Byalikov from the "DWTS" troupe really got creative and it cost them big time when the scores came out. Roshon, on the other hand, absolutely nailed the Trio Round and is second on the leaderboard just a week after he was almost sent home. Oh, how the new rules have messed with the scoring this season. There will be two eliminations this week, so it's really anyone's guess to whom we'll be saying goodbye.
Here's a quick look at how the stars did this week:
Donald's aggressive tango was a hit with the crowd – the whole audience seemed to be clapping along to the music. He and Peta moved beautifully together both in and out of hold, and Donald really had fun with the dance. Len called the routine a "knockout" and Carrie Ann praised his focus and dynamic shapes, though wished Donald would bring more drama along with his intensity.
Donald's jive with Peta and Karina was a lot of fun, but there was a definite creep factor in seeing a dude flanked by two ladies in short skirts. Donald quickly evened the score by ripping off his jacket to reveal his arms? The lighthearted, fast-moving dance highlighted his perfect timing, and a literal leap over the ladies at the end was nothing short of amazing. Len called it "fun, fun, fun," and Bruno praised him for keeping up with his partners.
Maria's Viennese waltz was simply gorgeous. She and Derek had amazing body contact in hold – that sounds so dirty, but this was a chaste waltz, believe me – and Maria pulled off some breathtaking turns and spins. Bruno praised her seamless transitions and emotional involvement, and Carrie Ann commented on the connection between Maria and Derek. Len thought the choreography of the routine didn't allow for enough time in hold, which immediately set the other judges off. He grouched and then he stood in the way of another perfect score.
Maria's harem-themed samba with Derek and Henry Byalikov from the "DWTS" troupe really seemed to poke fun at the "dance trio" concept. Kudos to Derek for thinking outside the box, because this thing was really different, but a ton of fun. His choreography really took advantage of an extra set of hands and Maria did all sorts of inventive spins and falls. Bruno was a fan, but Len felt the routine lacked samba content. When he gave the routine a 7 there was an actual gasp ... both in the studio and in my living room.
Viennese waltz: 28/30
I had high hopes for Melissa in this round if only because the foxtrot and samba are slower dances and the judges were so critical of the frenetic pace of last week's Argentine tango. Unfortunately, this foxtrot started out choppy – the ending was better, but we're approaching the semifinals and there's no room for error. Carrie Ann called this Melissa's best dance ever, mistakes aside. Bruno thought her lines were better and her presentation downright excellent, again allowing for the fact that the first 30 seconds of the dance were chaotic. Not a great dance for Melissa overall.
I can't even bring myself to narrow it down to just one Chmerkovskiy brothers sandwich joke, so we'll skip it. Melissa was right at her limit, but not frenzied. Len and Carrie Ann both agreed that it was Melissa's best dance and Bruno compared her to Rita Hayworth! I guess it takes three to make a thing go right?
Katherine's Viennese waltz was sweet and lyrical. The routine never let up on thrilling choreography – lots of spins. One at the end went a little out-of-bounds however. Len liked the content of the routine but thought the ill-fated twirl 'n spin at the end was unnecessary. Bruno called Katherine's technique superb but wanted to see more focus in this particular routine. Carrie Ann pointed out that Katherine lost her footing, only to rouse both Len and Bruno's ire. A difficult routine for Katherine.
Katherine's Victor/Victoria cha-cha showed us her fun side. The routine was classy and comical – like when Katherine got her discarded slacks stuck to her stiletto pump. Her timing was excellent, her lines were gorgeous and she really sold the routine. Len called the routine "clean and clear," and he really summed it up. A gorgeous performance from Katherine, Derek and Tristan.
Viennese waltz: 26/30
Roshon's happy-go-lucky foxtrot really showed off his personality and great sense of rhythm. He and Chelsie moved well together in hold and Roshon's footwork was top-notch. His knees were still a tiny bit wobbly, but Bruno raved about the improvement to his lines.
His futuristic paso doble was intense. As usual, Roshon's rhythm was excellent, and he, Sasha and Chelsie moved well together. Roshon was as good as he's ever been in this routine, and Bruno praised his artistry and lines. He did point out that Roshon and Sasha weren't in sync a few times, and Carrie Ann agreed that there were problems. Len ... praised Roshon's buttocks and said the routine was "two skinny fries chasing the ketchup." Yes, that happened.
Paso doble: 27/30
William's foxtrot had true 1940s glamor. He and Cheryl were stunning together – the routine had a perfect balance of sexiness and dueling. The applause didn't stop until halfway through Carrie Ann's critique. All I could hear above the din was "hot" and "sexy." Len praised William's technique and the flair in his movement. Bruno called him a heartbreaker, and praised him as a debonair, suave dancer. The perfect score was no surprise at all.
The paso doble William danced with Cheryl and Tony absolutely sizzled. He was commanding, both in hold and when dancing with Tony, and the choreography really made good use of a third dancer. This routine was flawless aside from some timing errors. Carrie Ann called William's lines incredible, but pointed out that he fell out of sync once. Len thought the routine held together perfectly and Bruno said he "couldn't ask for more" in terms of performance value.
Paso doble: 27/30
Who won over the judges: William and Roshon
Who won over the crowd: William and Maria
Who needs to step it up: Melissa and Maria
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The final four sing their last solos and America will now decide on the winner
I wrote in one of my earliest recaps that it would be Juliet vs. Tony in the end. For me (and I sincerely believe most of America), it is.
During a two-hour second-to-last episode that was as all over the place as it was in your face, the episode went from rockin' to schmaltz to camp and back again, and threw some real discomfort in, too.
And could that discomfort sway America, making the outcome more a product of outrage? That's my question.
Here's how it went:
Jermaine Paul: His song choice was R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," which didn't exactly open the show raucously. His runs at the end reeked of desperation and his behavior afterwards, in the Sprint lounge with Christina Milian, bordered on unwatchable. His duet with Shelton, "Soul Man," hit the camp mark, and most interesting of all, his finest moment Monday night came when he sang a Shelton ditty, "God Gave Me You." Yep, country fit him best.
Juliet Simms: Her first number was Cee Lo's "Crazy." She had fun with it, but didn't seem all that invested. Her duet with Cee Lo, "Born to Be Wild," was more camp. But none of it mattered. While I wish she'd ditch the witch hats, her song choice, "Free Bird," was nothing short of a checkmate. It had to take place during the last five minutes of the episode, folks -- otherwise once it was over we'd have all changed the channel.
Chris Mann: More opera ("Prayer," alongside Xtina). With a coach who called another competitor "one-dimensional," Mann hasn't exactly strayed from his roots, like, ever. Then came his "thank-you" to Aguilera (remember I mentioned schmaltz?), and finally a note-for-note "You Raise Me Up," which was far from unpredictable considering he emulates Josh Groban.
Tony Lucca: Lucca's "99 Problems" was the second most exhilarating performance of the night (his Maroon 5 cover "Harder to Breathe" sizzled, although the Beatles duet with Adam was a letdown). To go into Aguilera's utterly bizarre behavior towards this guy she worked with as a teenager is actually difficult for me. Did she pass him a note in "The Club" and he didn't write back? She acknowledges his wife and child in the crowd, deems the Jay-Z hit he covered derogatory, and after Mann performs declares him a "real man who respects women"... in front of the wife and child she acknowledged less than five minutes earlier?? Kinda hoping this is all stuff the producers asked them to run with; otherwise, Xtina's mean-spiritedness is disconcerting to say the least. If anything, her haters are just going to vote for Tony now.
Juliet won this handily, but Christina's cattiness could cause an upset ... in Lucca's favor.
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"The Voice" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
The 'Big Brother' crossover team discuss how they lost one million dollars
Special to MSN TV
Though they fought some of the worst battles on this season's "Amazing Race," former "Big Brother" contestants and "The Amazing Race 20" third-place finishers Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly are actually both completely engaging and engaged. Here are their thoughts on the nail-biter of a season finale, which saw them make what Rachel termed "a million-dollar mistake."
What was it like going straight from the Big Brother house to "The Amazing Race"?
Rachel: That was the craziest part. We only had a month between the two shows. And after you finish "Big Brother," you need a year-long vacation. But I was coming in from the house -- which I was in for 76 days -- on such a high [after winning].
Brendon: It's just such a different ball game. "Big Brother" is a mentally challenging game, even when you're not [directly] competing with somebody else. "Amazing Race" is really just about your partner and how well you communicate.
Rachel: That's the biggest thing. On the "Race," you are your own biggest enemy.
Brendon: We learned a lot about each other. You see how you act, and sometimes you're proud, and sometimes you're not so proud.
And are you still together?
Rachel: Oh, of course. We're going to get married soon. We're going from "The Amazing Race" to planning a wedding. We're shooting for September. We're house hunting right now.
Where did the fights with Vanessa start?
Brendon: I had animosity toward both of them the whole race. But it was really stuff Vanessa was saying. It wasn't really Ralph. She was just not a nice girl. Vanessa's very attractive, but she's threatened by other girls who are pretty.
Do you regret not taking advantage of the Fast Forward that would have meant shaving your head?
Rachel: I don't really have any regrets about the race. If I'd known the prize [for winning the leg] was $10,000 each, maybe! But I'm getting married.
Brendon: It was going to be up to her. As a guy, I can't know what it would be like to shave her head. I understood it when she said, "The wedding" -- and I thought, "Let's move on."
And what about that final error last night, when you guys misread a clue leading to the helicopters?
Rachel: That one is so hard. You guys saw our reaction, when you realize you just made a million-dollar mistake that ultimately cost us the race. We were neck and neck with Dave and Rachel. And if we'd continued racing the way we had been ... they had made a mistake. I completely lost it. I was mad at Brendon; I was mad at myself. It was my fault. It wasn't like a taxi driver. That was the worst.
Will we see you back on another reality TV show?
Rachel: I guess never say never. But I think Brendon and I are really focused on our wedding and buying a home.
Brendon: I'm doing my Ph.D., so I'm focused on that. But if Rachel wanted to, I wouldn't get in her way.
So what's better:"The Amazing Race" or "Big Brother"?
Rachel: They're so different!
Brendon: You're asking us to choose between our children.
The former couple talks Team 'Big Brother,' that crazy chicken challenge and more
Special to MSN TV
Fourth-place finishers Ralph Kelley and Vanessa Macias didn't fight as much as some of the other coupled-up teams. But the freelance writer and bar owner are, nonetheless, no longer together. After a gritty final episode in which Vanessa, with a sprained ankle, took on one of the season’s most challenging tasks, we talked to them about watching the finale last night, paying their respects in Hiroshima, and the start of the battles with Rachel and Brendon.
What it like watching Sunday night's episode?
Vanessa: It was the one episode I couldn't sit down and watch. It's like watching the sinking of the Titanic. If you're on the Titanic, you don't want to see it go down. After a couple glasses of wine, I did watch it on the DVR.
Still, Vanessa, it seems like you should be proud of how hard you went after that challenge.
Ralph: It says a lot about her character that she left it all out there. She'll be the first one to tell you, though, that she should have listened to me and gone to the gym.
Vanessa: I don't know if that would have changed anything.
Ralph: It might have. But it doesn't matter. She was a bad ass. She showed a lot of heart. And it was heartbreaking watching it.
Was there anything you could have done differently?
Vanessa: No. We were going tit-for-tat on the Roadblocks, and when I had to do it, we were joking in the cab about if it'd be a physical challenge, like, "Leap this building" or something ridiculous.
Ralph: We tried to strategize where I was doing the more physical ones, but this couldn't be avoided.
Vanessa: The one thing we would have done differently, overall, is the Fast Forward [in India.] I knew there was a reason Rachel was crying [when she and Brendon failed to take the Fast Forward because Rachel didn’t want to shave her head], and she was, like, "Why don't you go try the Fast Forward?" I knew there was something behind it. But she didn't know that I totally would have cut my hair. But still, our position in the race wasn’t in jeopardy because Mark and Bopper were so totally behind. So I’m not sure it would have mattered.
What was your favorite moment on the race?
Ralph: My grandmother's Japanese, so going to Japan was really special. And I'm a history nut, so being able to stop at the memorial [in Hiroshima] for a minute was incredible.
Did they actually make you stay there?
Ralph: Yeah, it was written into the clue that you had to be there for so many minutes. It was hard because you’re racing, and the other teams are standing right there. And it was awesome that the show made us take a few minutes to stand there and take it in.
Why do you think you and Rachel had such tension all the way throughout the race, Vanessa?
Vanessa: At the very first airport, there was a conversation where she attacked my personal and political views, and then one comment led to another. It was really just a lot of personalities. We would probably never get along in the real world. I tend to deal really well with difficult personalities. But if we'd been in a country where they don't extradite …
Ralph: Everything was left where it was.
Vanessa: I apologized for the nose [job] comments. That was below the belt. And after [the race], we were humans to each other. But we're not having tea and crumpets.
Are you guys still together?
Ralph: We're not.
It seemed like the race was really hard on everyone's relationships, even Rachel and Dave. And they’re married.
Vanessa: We were actually building our tent [in Tanzania] next to Dave and Rachel, and I was like, Wow, they aren't getting along very well. There was just sort of a major and soldier relationship there. More like cold -- not abrasive. But they're still together, so they're doing something right.
The border patrol agents walk us through their calamitous race conclusion
Special to MSN TV
Art Velez and J.J. Carroll suffered an excruciating second-place finish in last night's finale of "The Amazing Race." Believing they were in second place, the border patrol agents had difficulty with a challenge that saw Art careening down a hill on a narrow sled. But things got much, much worse when they realized that they were actually squandering what had been a fairly substantial lead over eventual winners Rachel and Dave.
We spoke with the pair about that final leg, interrogating Jamie and Nary, and their Pit Stop promise to Mark and Bopper.
Was that sledding challenge as tough as it looked?
Art: That didn't even come to close to showing how grueling that was. I give props to Rachel; she hopped on that thing and on the second time down, she was done.
How many times, Art, did you go down the hill?
Art: I'd say 40?
J.J.: I think it was closer to 50.
What was it like figuring out that you'd actually been in first place the whole time?
J.J.: I actually heard their voices first. Then we knew. We'd thought we were second.
J.J., what was it like for you watching Art have such a tough time?
J.J.: It was tough. I knew how he has the same competitive desire that I do. What people don't understand is the anxiety and the frustration that goes into it, every time. Then you start getting the attitude that “I'm not going to be able to do it.” I think a lesser man would have said, "This isn't worth it" or given up. He knew he had to get down there. If I took him up on the hill right now, I'm sure he'd get it on the first try. It was just one of those things that didn't work out. But that's just how life is.
Art: When we walked up there, they were holding three sleds, and I was like, "This is going to be a piece of cake. I want to get a sled that's the quickest." So I chose the sled with the thinnest rails. Once you got it, that's the one. I never thought about not being able to balance. I just wanted to get down fast. I was looking at the sled with thick rails and thought, I need something faster. It's was as different as an ice skate to something pretty thick.
Was it torture watching Sunday night's episode?
Art: It was fun! We had close to 300 people watching it with us last night, and it was a blast. Of course we wanted to win, but our goal was to race to the end, and we did that.
When you saw the fight you had with Dave and Rachel over the U Turn. Do you wish you'd been a little less aggressive about it?
Art: To me, we're men of our word. We're men of integrity. You hear Dave and Rachel, like, "It wasn't this and that … " We had a plan -- to take the strongest teams to the finals, Ralph and Vanessa, Mark and Bopper, and Rachel and Dave, and it'd be all bets off to the final. If they'd done what they said they would do … If Dave and Rachel had been in [our] position, they would have been just as mad.
How did you guys know Jamie and Nary were lying about being teachers?
Art: My wife's a teacher. My mom's a teacher. My whole family's a family of educators. When you talk to them, they talk about kids or teachers or parents or administrators. We were like, "They say they're teachers, but they're not talking like teachers." People lie to us in our job every day, and our job is to figure out who's lying. But it didn't really matter because it was actually kind of funny. It's just part of the game. Personally, I could have cared less.
How did the race change your relationship?
Art: With J.J.? I hate him. [Laughs.] You know what, we became friends when we started working together, but now we're brothers. This is something I'll cherish for the rest of my life. He's an awesome, great man of integrity and value and conviction, and it's a good thing to have those kinds of people in your life.
J.J. We'll be friends for life. One thing that sticks out in my mind: Art comes off as sometimes very direct and harsh in his professional life, but in his own life, he's a good, strong and Christian family man. When I got done Bollywood dancing, we got back in the rickshaw. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Instead of railing on me, he goes, "You know, you did really good. We're in good shape." I remember sitting in that rickshaw, and I hoped if that had happened to Art I would be that good of a man. That was a poignant moment for me.
As to that Bollywood challenge, were the judges too strict?
J.J. No, I'm just a horrible dancers. I think the judges gave me the okay out of straight mercy. I have fond memories of those judges.
And what about your promise to share your leg winnings of $10,000 with Bopper's daughter, who's been seriously ill?
J.J. Absolutely. As far as we're concerned, we're considering those proceeds to be distributed by CBS.