James Massone and Pip are instantly eliminated
Saving the best for last? Hey, that's the way I saw it. I waited the entire two hours for the Juliet Simms performance, which wound up being the last one of the night. There was a lot of stuff I could have done without (Cee Lo's gas, for starters), and that includes the coaches performing with their teams. That said, Cee Lo's new tune with Goodie Mob is killer.
As was the number that opened the show. So, without further ado...
Jamar Rogers "It's My Life": The beauty is in the arrangement more often than not on "The Voice," and that certainly was the case here. Rogers gave a cathartic performance of the Bon Jovi hit, and proved he's in this for the long haul. Cee Lo assigned the right song again.
Katrina Parker "Jar of Hearts": I have to admit, I needed to flip through my notes to even remember this gal. And Levine handing her this ho-hum hit of Christina Perri's didn't make her any more memorable.
Mathai "I'm Like a Bird": Back-to-back Levine performances, and here was another who has caused shouldershrugging for this blogger from the very beginning. It began promisingly: Mathai soaring with Nelly Furtado's breakthrough song, but she ultimately smacked into a window.
James Massone "Just the Way You Are": Cee Lo's typically successful record of matching his singers with song missed the mark here. Billy Joel's contribution to wedding band catalogues across the country was lost on boy-band understudy Massone. Maybe he can perfect it in time for Snooki's wedding.
Tony Lucca "Baby One More Time": After a verbal lashing from former "Mouse"-mate Xtina last time around, Lucca stared his past in the face and did a rock version of Britney's first hit. Gritty, growling ... and groovy. Christina suggested a reunion right there on the "Voice" stage (Spears and Timberlake, too). How cool would that be?
Cheesa "I Have Nothing": Tackling the so recently deceased Whitney Houston was a questionable and bold move. "That's a big song," Aguilera declared. But, Cheesa brought her A-game.
Pip "Somewhere Only We Know": Eschewing the trademark bowtie for tickling some ivories, at least initially, Pip showed some real promise during the first half of the song. He lost his way towards the end there, and Levine all but said goodbye during his critique of his wayward son.
Juliet Simms "Cryin'": Cee Lo got back on track in a big way by handing the fierce and formidable Simms this Aerosmith power ballad. The wings grew on me but, in my opinion, my beloved Juliet couldn't seem to get a grip on the "Get a Grip" single.
I am still fairly certain that in the end it will be my two favorites puking it ... I mean duking it out, and they are Simms and Lucca. But there are some dark horses coming up the rear. It's just not James Massone or Pip.
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"The Voice" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Don't think Motown music and ballroom dancing go together? Week 6 aims to prove you wrong
By Laurel Brown
Hey, it's Smokey Robinson! That's actually kind of awesome. Good choice, "Dancing With the Stars." Even if he looks terrified to the point of paralysis. The singing is still nice. And ... Smokey Robinson!
And then it's Martha Reeves (sans Vandellas)! And the Temptations! Holy crap, this is an incredible lineup for a "DWTS" airing! Of course, an opening-of-show medley seems a little less than these legends deserve. Oh, they are going to keep performing? That's a little better.
Now that the singing is done for now, it's time to move on to the silly costumes. Mark Ballas looks like someone wrapped him in gold-colored tin foil. And Tristan MacManus has glasses. Actually, after last week's insanity, this isn't so over-the-top.
Appropriately, considering the theme of the night, Gladys and Tristan are up first.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Dancing the rumba
My Comments: I know it doesn't actually affect the dancing, but it almost seems unfair that Gladys is friends with all of these Motown people. It's also really, really cool.
It's fortunate that the Temptations aren't being judged on dancing. They weren't all in sync at the beginning. And hey! Gladys and Tristan sneaked onto the floor there. I have to say, Gladys has never looked more natural on the dance floor than she does tonight. There may be a couple of steps that are a little bit off, but not by much. And the performance is, quite frankly, lovely. She's just sort of radiating happiness. Probably having a live performance of "My Girl" going on in the background doesn't hurt.
Len: "If I could judge purely with my heart, you would be top of my leader board." "You are the most charismatic dancer... It is so appealing. It's just easy like Sunday morning." "If I was at home, I'd be on the phone now."
Bruno: "It's undeniable, you have star quality." "I like my rumba a bit steamier. I don't expect you to turn into Lady Gaga!"
Carrie Ann: "If any night is going to belong to anyone, tonight is going to belong to you." "The truth is, there was a lot of forgetful moments."
Scores: 7+7+7 = 21
Who are the singers going crazy in the balcony? Apparently they're a band called Human Nature. Is Motown revival a thing?
Whatever. Barry Gordy is in the audience!!! I honestly didn't know he was still alive. He is.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Dancing the foxtrot
My Comments: Maria and Derek get Martha Reeves for their dance. I don't know if it's the lighting or the camera filters, but things have gone semi black and white in the ballroom. But the color came back for the dancing. Maria and Derek seem to be having fun as usual out there. There is a sort of "skipping" quality to this dance. Only partially because there is actual skipping. Other than a few slightly off bits, the dance is pure loveliness.
As an aside, Maria totally looks like Jane Sterling on "Mad Men" dressed like that.
Len: "This was a joy to my eyes, and, listening to Martha, a joy to my ears."
Bruno: "It was a gleaming blend of sophistication with elegance." "You caught up brilliantly."
Carrie Ann: "You're so precise, you're like the edge of a diamond." "Your shoulders came up for the second half of the dance."
Scores: 8+9+9 = 26
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower
Dancing the rumba
My Comments: I have trouble hearing the name "Smokey Robinson" without saying "and the Miracles" in my head. Oh well.
Roshon is maybe a little too aggressive to be "sensual," but it does work for sexual. So that's probably close enough. He looks very good out there overall. A couple of the arm movements feel a little false somehow, but that's a minor problem. This doesn't have the emotional impact of the previous dances, but it's a technically excellent performance.
Len: "The movement was clipped and jerky, it was like painting-by-numbers."
Bruno: "What you lack in size, you make up in fire."
Carrie Ann: "You definitely got a little sexy there at the end." "In general, I felt your moves were a bit over-exaggerated."
Scores: 7+8+8 = 23
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Dancing the samba
My Comments: The Temptations are back up for this one. I really like the Temptations ... They've aged well.
Katherine and Mark start out fast. It's not the most Latin-looking of dances, which might be a problem. Katherine doesn't look quite as comfortable in this as in some others, but that doesn't mean the dancing isn't good. It is. The funky, bizarre sections in the middle are especially impressive. There might be an upper limit to the Latin feel possible when dancing to the Temptations. Not her best dance but better than most still for Katherine.
Len: "Was there an earthquake, or did Katherine just shake this place?" "I'm going to call you the midwife, you keep delivering every week."
Bruno: "You can bounce, you can funk -- the both of you!"
Carrie Ann: "Tonight, you let it loose! Amazing!"
Scores: 10+9+10 = 29
Len is not giving up that 10, is he?
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Dancing the foxtrot
My Comments: They're making the Temptations sing twice in a row? No complaints here ...
These are very blue costumes. Very. That was a very dynamic beginning to the dance. It doesn't really match the rest of the dance, but still kind of cool. Speaking of the rest of the dance, it looks pretty good. Donald is having a small amount of trouble with the standard men-doing-the-foxtrot-look-silly thing. But only slightly. Mostly he just looks elegant. He also has managed to keep a nice smile on his face throughout most of the performance. That's impressive in itself.
Len: "I thought you were going to come out and show me some fireworks. You didn't. You came out and exploded on this floor!"
Bruno: "Donald, you are a showman! Pizazz! Confidence! Power!" "You put so much into it, you nearly fell over at the end."
Carrie Ann: "I didn't mind dancing with you ..."
Scores: 9+9+9 = 27
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the Viennese waltz
My Comments: Ah, Maks is back to normal! I'd been getting worried that he was going soft this season. Nope!
Smokey Robinson is back for this one. He does have the smoothness to go well with a waltz. Hey, he's smiling now! Smokey doesn't look quite so terrified with a smile.
Melissa and Maks begin with a very pretty spin. And then give us a whole bunch more, since this is a Viennese waltz and all. This is actually a very lovely dance. Melissa looks to be hitting her steps and isn't being overshadowed by Maks the way she has in the past. It's not as exciting a dance as some, but it was pretty and well done.
Len: "I saw rotation, I saw romance, I saw control." "You lost a bit of energy as you got near the end..."
Bruno: "Wonderful rotation!" "Towards the end you got a little bit kind of passed out, but I think you're going in the right direction."
Carrie Ann: "You work so hard, and it is finally paying off. I see artistry blossoming in you." "Watch those shoulders, too ..."
Scores: 8+8+8 = 24
Is it just me, or does the "DWTS" announcer sound like he has laryngitis?
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Dancing the cha cha
My Comments: And it's more Temptations! Have I mentioned that I like these guys? Because I do.
Like with that earlier samba, it's kind of hard to see the Latin in a Motown beat. But they're doing their best with it. Jaleel even manages a crazy, splits-like trick that we'd normally expect out of a pro. The rest of the dance looks like fun, and Jaleel seems to have gotten back into his groove. Overall, this is a very, very impressive dance from a performer who's been struggling lately.
Len: "You're back."
Bruno: "You burned that floor! That was the biggest sizzler of the season!" "You've come back big time!"
Carrie Ann: "Consider the A-game brought to the table!"
Scores: 10+9+10 = 29
Yep. That's a comeback.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the rumba
My Comments: Smokey Robinson is back for this. Did Martha Reeves go home? We only heard from her that one time. Speaking of smoky, that could not have been up-to-code when William and Cheryl filled the rehearsal space with smoke.
It kind of looked like William and Cheryl weren't actually going to dance, just nuzzle. But then they started. Which is good, because passion is definitely on display here. It's actually hard to tell if this is a good dance or not. Not when the sexiness is coming on like this. Basically, we're watching vertical, rhythmic sex. Yay for family entertainment! Questionable messages aside, this is really a good dance. And you cannot argue that it's not entertaining. It's very, very entertaining.
Len: "It was a little bit on the raunchy side." "I wanna see the forward and backward hip action -- that wasn't there at all." "It was good, but I can't go into ecstasy like some people here." (Bruno: "He needs Viagra...")
Bruno: "Absolute and utter filth. And I loved every minute of it." "Please don't jump off the balcony! You two are wired for sex."
Carrie Ann: "On behalf of all of the women out there, I thank you." "I don't think that was your best dance."
Scores: 9+8+10 = 27
Bruno likes the sex.
And now going the other way, Smokey Robinson is filling the pre-Marathon time with "Tears of a Clown." This is an incredibly good song. One of the greats.
Now for the final dance -- in the Motown Marathon, each of the couples will dance a simultaneous cha cha. The last couple standing gets the most points. Keep reading to see who goes out when.
8. Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus -- 3 points
7. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough -- 4 points
6. Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower -- 5 points
5. Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- 6 points
4. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd -- 7 points
3. Jaleel White and Kym Johnson -- 8 points
2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke -- 9 points
1. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas -- 10 points
This totally made me think of the dance shows of bygone eras. Or maybe those crazy dance interludes on "Laugh-In" ... Of course, the only actual dance show I ever watch was "Dance Fever" in my early years. But still.
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
It's a Bollywood dance show-turned-horror film for best friends Mark and Bopper
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Previously: After two U Turns and a season's worth of belly-aching from the disgruntled border patrol agents, the undercover feds, Jamie and Nary, failed to make up enough time to survive.
We're still in Tanzania as this week's episode opens, with a few final shots of galloping wildebeests and crazy zebras rolling in the dirt, scratching its back. But we're not here for long: Within minutes, we're off to "to the densely populated chaotic streets of Cochin, India," Phil tells us. Bopper, unfortunately, is not well -- he aggravated his knee two episodes ago. A Tanzanian doctor says it should be okay, with a brace, and not very convincingly. "If I have to do most of the work, I'm gonna do it," Mark says. "Despite however much I have to throw up," he does not add, but might as well have. One minute behind Mark and Bopper is Rachel and Dave, who are well aware of the state of their former alliance with the border patrol agents -- which soured after the husband and wife bailed on their agreement to U Turn Team Big Brother if possible: "Our relationship with Art and J.J. seems to be severed at this point," Dave says. In case anyone was wondering: "We're done with Major Dave," as J.J. says to Art. "Take your Army ass and get out of my face." Everyone goes to Rickshaw Travel, which is booking the tickets for Cochin -- on a flight leaving at 7:40 a.m. "Art and J.J. are babies," Bopper says to Mark on their way out. Rachel and Brendon follow the leaders onto this flight, but Vanessa and Ralph, remarkably, look through alternate flights on a computer and get an earlier one -- connecting in Nairobi, while everyone else goes through Dar Es Salaam.
That lead doesn't last long -- just long enough for Vanessa and Ralph to see the other four teams come running off the second flight. ("Our little dose of luck just stopped," Vanessa says, accurately.) Dave and Rachel are the first to find a bus to the Roadblock, and each team, it seems, is on their own bus. Much is made of Mark and Bopper's long wait for a final bus, Mark's car- and bus-sickness, and Bopper's ongoing problem with walking. It is very stressful for fans of the team. The comment that sums the general environment up best is probably Mark's "There better be a barf bag around."
At the Roadblock, teams discover a Bollywood-inspired challenge, in which they have to dance alongside a Bollywood troupe to the satisfaction of a sadistic-looking, sunglassed choreographer. "Thank God that [clue] alluded to dancing, and I didn't inadvertently select it," Dave says. He's right: Rachel (who apparently danced all through high school) whips the challenge -- one and done, and she and Dave are off. The rest of the teams have more trouble, giving Art the opportunity to sit around and make approximately 1,000 "chick" comments. (For example: "Dudes just can't dance like chicks.") It's too lame to be offensive -- anyway, as Rachel says, "[J.J.] is a clumsy oaf." Most ominously, Mark is shown heaving in the hot sun and struggling with his dance moves.
Moving on to the Detour, Dave and Rachel face the choice of Cricket or Clutch It: Play cricket (India's favorite sport) or drive an auto-rickshaw through an obstacle course. When Rachel opts for the latter, saying they don't have any talent for cricket, Dave is quick to respond, "I have skill and ability in nearly every sport." It's actually kind of funny. At least he -- unless the border patrol agents -- has a sense of humor about being an arrogant mess. Back at the Bollywood challenge, Art's commentary hasn't slowed down: "[J.J.] looks like a gorilla in a chiffon suit." Vanessa gets it on her third attempt, with Rachel moving on soon after. J.J. passes next. Things are still looking dire for Mark and Bopper, who are now solidly in last place. "We're Kentucky boys -- we ain't Las Vegas dancers," Bopper says to Mark, and then to us: "He's never been much of a dancer." Dave and Rachel finish their rickshaw task and head for the Pitstop, at the Bolgatty Palace, but most of the attention is still on Mark and Bopper: "I want to do this or die, right on this spot," says Mark, who's clearly thinking that death-by-heatstroke is really one of the available options. Bopper seems to concur: "Listen, man, the hell with this money -- let's go home." It’s all extremely touching.
At the cricket challenge, each team member needs to hit a cricket ball beyond a certain boundary -- and Brendon and J.J. are the first to do it, pitting Rachel versus Art in a battle royale...that is, unbelievably, won by Rachel. "It was a good feeling to know they both got beat by a girl," Rachel says. In a following interview, Art says: "Rachel hit that stupid cricket ball before I did...." "Which strips you of all your manhood," J.J. finishes for him.
Back with Bopper and Mark, the pair are coming to painful conclusion that they're going home: "We was given an awesome chance," Bopper says. "We came here friends, we're going to leave here friends." Mark is wavering: "I mean, I'm that close." His dancing trainer doesn't want him to give up and is basically grabbing Mark’s Bollywood outfit so Mark can’t take them off. But Mark is convinced that this task is literally going to kill him: "Is a million dollars worth not going to my youngest's ballgames?" he asks. "I just came to the conclusion that it wasn't." Back at the Pitstop, teams are filing in: Rachel and Dave are first, followed by Brendon and Rachel, and then the almost simultaneous arrival of Art and J.J. and Vanessa and Ralph.
We go, again, back to Bopper and Mark, who seems to have taken a rest and perked up a bit -- and changed his mind about continuing. "Our kids would be proud that we at least finished the leg and didn't quit on them," Mark says. "I hope it proves to my kids that their daddy loves them more than anything in this world." And at that, after 12 attempts, Mark passes the dance test. His dancing coach and fellow performers rush him on the stage, cheering. It's much like the moment, also in India, from Unfinished Business when Luke, of Luke and Margie, after a failing to identify a million cups of tea, finally identifies the correct one, and all the tea servers go insane.
Of course, they're still in last place, and after appearing to quickly dispatch with the auto-rickshaw challenge, they take their place on the mat, as their supposedly season-ending montage plays. Remember when they just seemed like sort of loud, annoying dudes, and now, nine legs later, they're one of the most believable, and affecting, best buddies to appear on the show? "It's been an honor," Bopper says. But it's not over yet: It's the season's third non-elimination leg. Some divine power must be pulling for these guys.
Next week: Mark and Bopper have a Speed Bump, Vanessa goes splat, and Rachel says something about $500 extensions.
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Another castaway from the men's team gets the boot this week
Network to document divorce lawyers, Long Islanders and more
- One that instantly pops out is "The Gold Coast," which essentially takes "The Hills" east to Long Island and gives it a recession-era spin by following post-grad girlfriends living with their parents.
- "Splitsville" should divide audiences with its portrayal of competing divorce lawyers, a subject that roughly 50 percent of America's adult population can relate to.
- There's an as-yet-untitled project that will square its gaze on male models trying to stay relevant in front of the camera. Piling on the vanity with a TV show should help.
- In a similar-ish vein, the dubiously titled "Tone It Up" (sounds more like an ESPN morning-workout series from the early '90s) will track the ups and downs of two buddies pouring their hopes into a fitness website. They probably just signed on with Bravo for the bandwidth.
- On the flipside, there's "Shop with Stella," which focuses on three women trying to make it big with a fashion website. These people do know online publishing isn't spectacularly lucrative, right?
- Lastly, "Heirs of Palm Beach" is the logical counterpart to "Gold Coast," exploiting the lives of yet more privileged teens. But, ah, who's really exploiting who? Mwahaha.
Report: Tyra Banks fires Nigel Barker, J. Alexander and Jay Manuel
The three were told their contracts would not be renewed for Season 19, and according to the Post, it was none other than host and executive producer Tyra Banks who "swung the ax."
Barker and Manuel have been with the show since its first season in 2003, Alexander
since the second. Manual has also been Banks' longtime make-up artist.
Banks confirmed all three departures, tweeting that the show "turned us in2 a family" and that she's "excited for what the future holds" for her friends.
On his blog, Barker wrote Thursday night: “Many of you have come to know me over the past eight years on the show, during which we have shared numerous amazing adventures. It has been an exciting chapter in my life.”
Low ratings are most likely culprit, with the most recent episode drawing only 1.3 million viewers.
"America's Next Top Model" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
Rocker Colton Dixon voted off in yet another surprise elimination
By Carla Patton
Kicking things off with a terrible, bucket-drummer laden group number are the top 7 singing "Dancing in the Street." This song is wrong for all seven of them, and the background vocals are just way too loud. In a possible homage to "Flashdance," or just dancing in the street in general, a guy spun on his head behind the contestants.
Poor Elise. She is really trying so hard to smile and "have fun." It's too little too late. We already know she hates this.
Balloon drop! I don't care what anyone says. Anything can be saved by a well-timed balloon drop! I love the group number now.
Ryan says we find out who will go home on this night as we "inch closer" to the finale -- "inch" being the operative verb here! The Ford music video was typically strange and useless. Was this one some kind of homage to "Xanadu" and/or "Clash of the Titans"?
Joshua and Hollie go center stage first, and everyone goes, "Aww!" because they are totally buddies! What will Jimmy say? The crazy person inside me wonders. Jimmy thinks that Joshua was great and that Hollie was good but not safe from the bottom three. She is not finale material in Jimmy's mind.
Ryan tells Joshua that he "didn't get the right number of votes ... to put you in the bottom three!" You're safe? Yes, Joshua is safe. And without any teasing, Ryan puts Hollie in the bottom three.
Skylar and Elise are Ryan Seacrest's next victims. Will anyone tell us why Elise changed back into the orange dress at the end of last night, though? Jimmy thinks Skylar delivered and Elise fell flat. Jimmy thinks Elise will be "at her vacation home" in the bottom three for her performance of "Let's Get It On." He thinks Skylar is the best performer they've got! Ryan asks Skylar and Elise some questions, and Elise takes it as an opportunity to show off that camera-ready personality (hmmph!) yet again. Elise is in the bottom three. Skylar is safe.
Phillip, Colton and Jessica get their results last. But I thought we loved them all? My gut says it will be Colton, but only for a moment. I think Jessica's Save bought her another two weeks here, including this one, and people just love Phillip "Fifty Shades" Phillips. But what of Colton and his jacket that was "too weird" for my parents? Backstage, Colton said, "I don't want to sound cocky, but I don't care." Not cute, Colton. Not caring got Elise where she is on this night -- in the bottom three practically permanently until she is eliminated (later in this episode, perhaps).
Jimmy apologizes not only for party rocking, but also for mentoring Jessica and failing to see that she was choosing songs that were not age-appropriate. He thought Phillip just had a pass and Colton's "Bad Romance" was all wrong. "I'm disappointed about that," Jimmy says of Colton's jacket. Jimmy says Phillip should be in the finale (and probably will be!) because he is picking the best songs for himself. Yeah.
Jessica is safe (after some typical Ryan Seacrest drama), and on this night Colton will take his first trip to the bottom three. Phillip is safe. Ryan asks Randy if the voters got it right, and he can't really say yes. But they pretty much did.
Ryan creepily holds Elise's hand and calls her "baby." He tells her she is safe. Well, I was wrong! Hollie and Colton remain. Who will it be? Do you mean to scare the teenage girl within all of us into voting for Colton like crazy next week? Oh, but remember how Colton doesn't care? I bet he does.
Are you OK? Can you breathe?
What do you think of Thursday night's results? Did America and the judges get it right?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
'Atlanta' cast member confirms that she's exiting series after four seasons
What was revealed Tuesday via Wetpaint, Bravo officialy confirmed Wednesday -- that Sheree Whitfield is leaving "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast after four seasons.
The ex-wife of former NFL player Bob Whitfield and frequent sparring partner of fellow castmate NeNe Leakes took to the web on Tuesday to explain her decision. She stated, "After four solid seasons of helping Bravo build the show into its most successful 'Housewives' franchise, I have decided to leave. The direction the show is going in is no longer a fit for my lifestyle. I’m tired of the fighting and the cattiness."
Perhaps this will give her more time to complete the many projects she so famously began on camera during her four-year run on the show, including her clothing line, She by Sheree. "I want to be part of something that empowers and inspires women to not only be healthy, but to treat themselves with respect," Whitfield continued. "I wish the rest of the women the best of luck. I’m thrilled to say I’m now a free agent and am already fielding offers." Wetpaint reports that Whitfield is also focusing on a new fitness venture.
Bravo released confimation of her departure on Wednesday: "We have enjoyed working with Sheree as part of 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,'" it read. "We wish her all the best in the future."
To remember one of Whitfield's more memorable contributions to "Real Housewives" lore, check out this clip of a remixed version of her classic line, "Who gon check me, boo?":
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion continues Thursday, April 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.