on the scene
Nobody -- not even the legion of fans who were keeping Bristol Palin in the competition -- puts Baby in the corner!
Jennifer Grey, who became America's sweetheart back in 1987 as teenager Baby in the film 'Dirty Dancing,' was crowned the season 11 champion of 'Dancing With the Stars' last night.
After the finale, TV Squad spoke to the winner and runners-up Kyle Massey and Bristol Palin; their respective pro partners, Derek Hough, Lacey Schwimmer and Mark Ballas; as well as returning contestants about the rollercoaster that was season 11.
In skating, the men have to lift their female partners, which begs the question: the female celebrities have an advantage in 'SWTS' over their male competitors?
"It's definitely a slight edge," judge Johnny Weir, a U.S Championship skater, acknowledged to TV Squad after the premiere. "But [female celebrities] have to back that up. They have someone who can carry them around for 10 seconds, but they can't look like a rock when they're set down. You have to be able to stand on your own two blades."
They still have a few more dances to complete before the season 11 mirrorball trophy is handed out on 'Dancing With the Stars,' but the three finalist pairs have performed their highly anticipated freestyle routines.
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough paid homage in their freestyle to a song ('Do You Love Me?') from 'Dirty Dancing,' the classic film from 1987 which Grey starred in opposite the late Patrick Swayze.
Teen activist Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas danced to a tune ('Cell Block Tango') from 'Chicago,' while Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer did a hip hop-inspired freestyle to the '69 Boyz' song 'Tootsee Roll.'
Top-notch routines and high scores dominated the season 11 semifinals of 'Dancing With the Stars.'
It was also "cut open a vein night" with video packages that profiled difficult times in the lives of the remaining four celebrity contestants: Bristol Palin re-lived how her unplanned teen pregnancy thrust her into the spotlight after her mother, Sarah Palin, became John McCain's running mate in the last presidential election; Jennifer Grey re-visited the deadly car accident that she was in with then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick in 1987; Brandy Norwood also reflected on a fatal automobile accident in which she was involved in 2006; and Kyle Massey looked back at his difficult road to Hollywood.
The segments aired shortly before each couple did their second dance.
Three of the four remaining couples spoke to TV Squad on the post-show press line and shared their thoughts and feelings about the semifinal episode, including the emotional video packages.
Chmerkovskiy took exception to Inaba critcizing his creative choice to wait until four beats passed before starting his "instant dance," a cha cha cha to Kate Perry's 'Teenage Dream,' with partner Brandy Norwood.
The Ukranian-born dancer didn't feel that Brandy should've been penalized with a lower score for his decision.
Host Tom Bergeron deftly tried to squash the tension by proclaiming, "Welcome to 'Ballroom Smackdown.'"
For the second week in a row (third if you thought Florence Henderson was robbed, which -- let's face it, she was), there's been another shocking elimination on 'Dancing With the Stars.'
Former pro basketball star Rick Fox and partner Cheryl Burke were sent home despite having higher scores (61) than other "in jeopardy" duos actor Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer (59) and teen activist Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas (57.)
"This is the most shocking elimination I've had in 10 seasons," Burke said after the show. "It shows you that nobody's safe and you have to vote. Rick did the best he could. It was our best night. Better to go out on top."
Still, with only six couples remaining in the competition, low-ranking teen activist Bristol Palin and partner Mark Ballas could exit the show tonight.
Ballas' father, Corky Ballas, who was paired with Florence Henderson this season, isn't surprised that his talented son has lasted this long in the competition. Sure, he's biased, but Corky knows Mark's a great teacher.
"Votes play a huge part on the show," Corky said. "Bristol has amazing flow and technical footwork. The voting's keeping her in there. She doesn't get emotional. She's cool as a cucumber."
The dynamic duo of 'Live! With Regis & Kelly' (weekdays, syndicated) pulled out all the stops with this year's "'Live's' Reality Bites Again: Chomped From the Headlines' set of Halloween costumes.
The talk show hosts dressed as the stars of 'Jersey Shore,' 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians,' 'Modern Family,' 'The Rachel Zoe Project' and 'Glee,' as well as tabloid sensations Lady Gaga, Cher, Justin Bieber and Steven Slater.
Philbin also donned a furry red costume along with Ripa in a bright yellow dress to parody one of the most absurd controversies of the year: Katy Perry and Elmo on 'Sesame Street.' The stars closed the show as new 'American Idol' judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
AOL's TV Squad was there to capture all the Halloween fun. Check out our behind-the-scenes video and interview with Philbin and Ripa, plus a look at some of this year's costumes!
In a shocking twist, the duo -- despite being in second place -- were eliminated after failing to get enough viewer votes to remain in the competition.
The pair had every reason to believe they'd be called safe after earning an impressive combined total of 32 points on Monday night's performance episode, which included a dance competition segment. They were well ahead of low-scoring couples Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya and Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas.
For starters, the teen activist and partner Mark Ballas earned their highest score yet with a 23 for their tango Monday night. They also picked up an additional 4 points during a group competition, which gives them a 5 point lead over the show's bottom-scoring couple.
"I realized if I wasn't going to go all out this week, that I'd be going home," Palin told TV Squad after the show's taping. "So I put everything I had into this dance and worked my butt off! Messing up last week could have destroyed me or given me more motivation and it did [the latter.]"
As viewers saw last night, the song was approved. While it wasn't perhaps the best tune to tango to, it did have great sentimental value to Henderson.
"The reason I really wanted to dance to the 'Brady Bunch' theme was because I wanted to dedicate it to Bob," Henderson told TV Squad on the post-show press line, referring to the late Robert Reed (who played her TV husband Mike Brady.)
"To lose him to AIDS [in 1992] broke all of our hearts. The fact that Barry [Williams, Greg] was here and knows how close we all were to Bob ... that was my dedication tonight."
The 'Jersey Shore' star's fellow contestants and pro partner Karina Smirnoff weighed in on The Situation's four-week run on the reality competition series.
"After last night's performance [when we earned 28 out of 60 points], I totally thought it was going to be us," Smirnoff said. "The scores were low and the remarks weren't encouraging. It's okay. I had fun and I got to meet the real Mike."
Low-scoring duo Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel were voted off 'Dancing With the Stars' last night. However, the comedienne felt she achieved a victory in her short time on the show by voicing her support of at-risk gay youths on national television.
"I'm so proud of our dance and that we got to tell our message," Cho told TV Squad immediately after Tuesday night's results "I'm excited we got to wear the rainbow colors and dance about pride. I was honored to be on the show. I had a great time. I'm going to miss hanging out here, watching everyone and the camaraderie."
Cho, who incorporates self-esteem into her stand-up, explained that being told she was a heavy ballerina as a child stuck with her -- and it shouldn't have. "We should never give anyone that power," she said. "That's why I want to reach out to all kids who've been bullied and have been made to feel badly about themselves."
The stars and dancers think so, but not because Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli were trying to make up for being extremely harsh on Michael Bolton last week. (Bolton was ejected after dancing a disappointing jive that Bruno called the worst in 11 seasons of 'DWTS.')
"Last week some of the comments were definitely harsh," said Anna Trebunskaya. "This week everyone got scared of those comments so they worked really hard and we had a great show as a result. We [all] did our absolute best."
"You did it all very, very, very badly," Bruno said.
Even Len Goodman -- normally the most critical of the judges -- found Tonioli's comments to be harsh. Still, he said Bolton's performance "probably needed a pooper scooper at the end."
But was it really "the worst" as Bruno called it? Vote in the AOL TV/Access Hollywood poll.
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