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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Helio Castroneves is dance champion

Ay caramba!

Racecar driver Helio Castroneves and his partner Julianne Hough claimed the checkered flag - so to speak - to bring home the mirror-ball trophy Tuesday night.

Castroneves, aka Mr. Charisma, whose smile never seemed to leave his face during the competition, won over America to edge out Spice Girl Mel B and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Did America get it right? I say you did.

No, Helio wasn’t the best dancer. That honor went to Mel B. But, the facts are these. Helio is a racecar driver who had never danced before. And by end of this journey, he looked like a pro. Every time he stepped on the floor, he and Julianne lit up the audience. If you watched the audience during any one of their routines, it was wall-to-wall smiles. The bottom line: They were the most entertaining couple, consistently, in part due to Julianne’s inspired unique choreography and in part due to Helio’s loveable personality and sense of humor. During Monday’s finale, both of their routines energized the audience so much that they got two well-deserved standing ovations, despite a harsh criticism from the judges on their first routine.

That said, I am sad for the M&M team. This was the first finale in the history of the show, where I was truly torn on who I thought deserved to win. I would have been equally as pleased if Mel and Maks had won. But, Mel did have prior dance and performing experience. And frankly, their performance in the finale Monday was disappointing. I had high hopes for their freestyle that it would wow us, but frankly, that hip-hop routine wasn’t worthy of them.

Did Maks drop the ball with the choreography? Did they not have enough practice time due to her Spice Girls schedule? Did Maks’ back injury interfere? I’m not sure. Yes, their freestyle had death-defying lifts, but I agree with Len that it was too disjointed. It had some great moments, but as a whole, it was just OK.

In contrast, Julianne and Helio’s freestyle was everything a freestyle should be. Playing on the racing theme, in the beginning they dressed as race car drivers and by the end, they were both seated at the wheel. Julianne’s choreography was beyond creative. It was at another level. I think they should give a choreographer award each year, and this year it would belong to her.

I do feel bad for poor Maks. This is the second time he’s gotten close to claiming the mirror-ball trophy, but failed to make it all the way. It’s a good thing he’s got a healthy ego and a pretty face to help him get through the disappointment.

I’d like to take a moment to thank you, America, for not giving Marie Osmond the dancing title. I knew you’d come around. We all know this is a popularity contest; that was evident when Emmitt Smith took the title over Mario Lopez, but thankfully, it isn’t just about popularity.

Marie’s wind-up baby doll themed freestyle was so bizarre that judge Bruno sat stupefied, saying it wasn’t a dance. “It defies criticism,” he told Marie and Jonathan. “It’s like Baby Jane and the bride of Chucky.” I agree. That routine was fun, but it wasn’t ballroom dancing. The routine earned two sevens and an eight, the lowest score ever in a finale.

Then, Marie got sassy with the judges. My pet peeve with Marie was that she constantly talked back to the judges. And my rant against the judges is that they always told her she was a great entertainer, even when her footwork was faulty, but they didn’t extend that same compliment to Helio, when he had the crowd on its feet at almost every dance.

In short, Monday’s finale was an overall disappointment. With the exception of Helio’s freestyle, it was simply not up to the past season’s finale in terms of entertainment and talent. I was longing for the days of “Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy.”

Here’s a rundown of some other musings from this season and Tuesday’s show:

--Sabrina and Mark were the most missed couple. When they danced the cha-cha Tuesday, the crowd erupted in to such ovation that host Tom Bergeron gave up and said, “The hell with it, let them cheer!” Even judge Bruno held up his “10” paddle.
--Best line ever from Dancing With the Stars: When Mel yelled “God” in frustration during a rehearsal and her cocky partner jokingly quipped, “Just call me Maks.” Priceless.
--Maks may have lost the trophy, but he wins the award for hottest dancer. That push-up move on top of Mel in their final dance when he kissed her, inspired female fantasies all across the nation.
--I always thought Albert Reed went home too soon, and it was so good to see him and his gyrating hips back in action for his reprieve dance. A “little less conversation and a little more action” indeed.
--Cameron Mathison kept his promise that if he made it to the finale, he’d shed his shirt. After his final reprieve dance, he ripped it off to reveal a perfect six-pack. (Eat your heart out Maks.) This then prompted Bruno and guest Drew Lachey to reach for their belts and start their strip teases. If you ever doubted it, skin is in on Dancing With the Stars.
--Note to ABC, the constant plugging of Bruno and Carrie Ann’s new dance show was annoying after about the third time. By the end of the two-hour finale, it was positively unbearable. Not even the show’s host, the always-entertaining Drew Lachey, could get me to watch.
--Speaking of hosts, I’m so disappointed that Lachey can’t be Tom Bergeron’s co-host. I mean no disrespect to Samantha Harris, but the hosting thing just doesn’t seem like a good fit for her. Sorry. She cuts off the dancers constantly in the interviews, and she rattles on incessantly about the voting. We’ve been watching this show for years, Samantha, we understand that we have to vote. Geesh. And she doesn’t have Lachey’s humor or easy-going chemistry with Bergeron. In Tuesday’s show, Harris cut off Helio three times and turned the mic back to the other contestants, after she asked Helio a question. Clearly frustrated, Helio pleaded, “Can I please talk now?” She returned the mic to him just in time to pull it away again and throw it back to Tom. Thankfully, the cameraman stayed on Helio, as he threw down his hat and walked away, smiling of course, as everyone, including him, erupted in laughter.
--I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Florence Henderson has been in the audience constantly. I’m guessing she’ll be a contestant next year.
--Does Celine Dion have some kind of deal with ABC? She’s been all over the tube this week, from Oprah, to All My Children to the Dancing With the Stars finale.
--Now that Julianne is a two-time champion, like Cheryl Burke, expect her to get saddled with a Master P or a Kenny Mayne next season.

So, what did you think of the finale? Are you happy? Do you think the best dancer should always win or the hardest working, most improved?

Discuss among yourselves.


Anonymous said...

Yesssss! Helio and Julianne, definitely deserved to Win! They had our family vote every week. They were great together, so great that my family wondered if Helio and Julianne had gotten a little closer than just good friends? The kisses on the lips seemed be increasing in passion and intensity?? We also noticed that Helio's fiance was absent all of the sudden??? Do get me wrong I would Love to see them as a couple!!!

Becky said...

I noticed to that Helio's fiance was absent????

I have loved Helio and Julianne from the first dance, I think she is an awesome dancer and he has such an awesome personality that you can't help but smile along with him.

Now onto my opinion about Marie (of course I have one). I was so thrilled that she didnt get into the finale 2 BUT she shouldn't even of been in the finale 3. Did anyone notice that she basically made a mockery out of the freestyle dance and had the nerve to talk back to the judges, her dance SUCKED!!!! I felt bad for Jonathan. and did anyone notice that after she was eliminated she was visibly absent until the very end AFTER eveyone else come down to hug Helio and Julianne?

With that being said I think that after the performances last night, it was sooo obvious that she should have went home in week 1 or 2. I mean even Josie danced better.

One last note, even though I am a devoted Maks fan and he is just the epitomy of hottness, I could never get enough of looking at Cam's butt. That alone made a somewhat lackluster finale enjoyable!

Becky said...

please excuse my grammatical errors, I forgot to edit. ;)

Becky said...

Jen I heard that Florence was going to be paired up with Derek. Who would you like to see on the show?

Bethany said...

YEA!!!! Helio won!!! Did anyone notice that Maries face before the elimination? I think she really thought she would pull through!

Tera said...

I am glad that Mel and Helio were the final 2. Both deserved the win.

Thank god Marie didnt win. I think she thoght she was winning too, and I also noticed her absence with the rest of the "cast" in the audience.

tube talk girl said...

I didn't notice Marie's absence. Thanks for pointing that out guys.

I don't think Julianne and Helio are dating. Yes, he planted that kiss on her,which I'm sure wasn't a chore for him, but I don't think they are a couple. Now, Sabrina and Mark, that's a different story. Those two sizzle.

Did you guys notice that Maks did a triple kiss on Mel at the end of their routine? The camera man cut to her husband. Too funny.

I wonder why Marie went missing.

I just heard that Derek and Florence are going to be paried up. I don't mind Mama Brady, but I thought she used to be a dancer years ago. Maybe I'm wrong.

I wouldn't mind seeing some more TV people. I'm sure the cast of Saved by the Bell needs something to do. Or how about some Melrose Place alumni? I'd love to see Heather Locklear shake her booty. Or even Jack Wagner? I think they're dating, so that could be fun.

stephanie said...

I was rooting for Mel and Maks, but I don't mind that Helio and Julianne won.

It ticks me off though because I think if Mel and Maks would have done a better job with their freestyle dance, then they would have taken home the trophy.

Kara said...

I liked Marie Osmond until she sassed the judges. You just don't do that. They're telling the truth, Ms. Thang.

OBXrulz said...

I'm so happy Helio won. His enthusiasm is so contagious. I love to watch he and Julianne dance. They just did their jive on The View. I loved it, despite that the judges were hard on it.

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad Marie wasn't the final two so we didn't have to sit through an Osmond family interview package. I think we've seen enough of Donnie and the gang these past few weeks.

miz behavin said...

I wanted Mel to win. She was the best dancer. The show is supposed to reward dancing, not popularity. But, you're right Tube Talk Girl, it doesn't. I was absolutely shocked too when Emmitt beat Mario, who had been the best male dancer to ever compete on that show, and still is. It seems a popularity/dance combo that always wins. Emmitt was more popular than Mario and a decent dancer, same with Helio. I'm just happy Marie didn't win.

Jessica NC said...

You pose an intersting question. I do think the winner should be the person who is the best dancer. Even better if that person is also the hardest worker and most improved, but that rarely happens.

It seems like that the people with the most talent, like Mel or Mario don't have to work as hard as the Emmitts and the Helios. Should they be punished for that? I don't think so. But they should bring that talent to the floor in every performance. Mario did it, but I don't Mel did.

I also think the choreography has a lot to do with it. You're right Tube Talk Girl, Maks' choreography of the freestyle was disappointing. It was way too much hip-hop. He did something similar last year with Layla. And Mario and Karina did a hip-hop routine, too. I was just happy to see Marie and Helio do something different, even if it backfired in Marie's case.

Becky said...

I would like to see Sebastion Bach from Skid Row, I think that would be funny also, maybe John Shnyder, from Dukes of Hazard, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oh Jim Belushi would be hilarious too.
I also like the thought of Andrew Cooper from CNN, Glenn Beck, Ty Pennington or maybe Deidre Hall from Days(she's got way more class than Marie, Tina Fey from 30 Rock or Faith Hill (I have seen her in concert and she could sure use some dancing lessons)....ok I'm weird but thats my thoughts on who should go on!!

tube talk girl said...

Yes, Bo Duke!!! You know I enjoy John Schneider. Anderson Cooper would be cool, but I don't see him giving up his news credibility to do it.

I saw Sebastian a few years ago on Broadway as the lead of Jekyll and Hyde. He has an amazing voice, but I don't know about the dance moves.

I love your Ty and Deirdre suggestions. Or how about Anthony Geary from General Hospital? He's always fun.

tube talk girl said...

I just read where Helio and his fiancee have split and have been for a few weeks now. (TMZ is reporting it.) Poor Julianne. I think she's proably going to get blamed for this!

Becky said...

I bet Helio and Julianne are hooking up!!!!!

I say go for it, she is so cute and they seemed perfect for each other. Of course she seemed so perfect with Apolo too.

Hmmmm, I guess a girls gotta have a little fun too right?

Anthony Geary would be cool too, what about Noah Wylie, I always liked him. I think Tootie from the facts of life would be neat to see too!

tube talk girl said...

Tootie! LOL

Or how about Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains or Candace Cameron from Full House? Ah, so many former TV stars, so few slots.

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