DWTS, Season 11, Week 10 – Media Before Showtime

Hi, did you get your texting and phone votes in last night? How was your experience? I had about a 15 minute delay on the phone and then I got through. However, voting on-line was a different story. It was midnight before I could finally get my votes in. If you’ve had the same issues voting on-lne or haven’t done so yet, we want to keep encouraging everyone this morning to vote at ABC.com. It’s really important to get as many votes in as you can for this competition to turn out right.

Speaking of….Tom Bergeron makes a good point about “voting” in a new interview with TV Guide. He also discussses the unpredictable season it’s been, his thoughts on the remaining couples, and more. Here is a take.

“The complaining amuses me to no end,” Bergeron says. “Whenever someone says that Bristol shouldn’t be there to me, I almost inevitably say, ‘Of course, you’re voting for…?’ And they go, ‘Yeah, I didn’t vote.’ I have no sympathy for people who are kvetching about — and this is from a gentile — who’s still there and who’s gone.

“If you want a technical dancer, watch PBS,” he continues. “It’s part dance show, part popularity contest. It always has been and always will be. If you don’t get that by Season 11, I don’t know what I have to say to you.”

Palin and her partner, Mark Ballas, will face off against front-runners Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, and show-stoppers Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer, who twice were one point shy of perfection last week. (Grey and Hough have nabbed three perfect 30s.) While Palin doesn’t have the dubious distinction of earning the lowest score of the season (that goes to Michael Bolton and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, who each got a 12), she’s only averaged, well, an average 21 points.

Still, Bergeron can make the winning case for Sarah Palin’s daughter.

“She’s not the strongest dancer, obviously,” he says. “But she … represents what I think is the best of our show, somebody who comes Day 1 and is completely out of their element and has shown a clear growth as a dancer. And she clearly has a massive or sufficient amount of viewer support to keep her in despite low scores.”

“Is it political? I don’t know,” he says. “But that just speaks to the importance of voting.”

Palin’s run recalls that of Marie Osmond’s in Season 5. Another mediocre, average-scoring dancer, she made it to the final on the strength of votes. She finished third after her bizarre rag-doll freestyle turned more viewers off than anything else. “The freestyle isn’t always the decider, but a lot of times, momentum can stall that close to the finish,” Bergeron says. “You see couples like Drew [Lachey] and Cheryl [Burke], who set the gold standard for what a freestyle can be and, on the other end, you have Marie’s rag-doll! It was like, ‘Oh my God!’ You can make it or break it with that last image that’s burned into your retinas.”

Palin and Ballas have more to worry about than the freestyle. Grey and Hough are arguably the heavy favorites who, Bergeron says, have “rallied back” after a midseason slump. “[Grey] dealt with physical injuries, some emotional uncertainty, but she’s looking as strong as ever the past few weeks.” Massey and Schwimmer, meanwhile, are Mr. and Ms. Consistency, and they seem to be peaking at the right time.

“They haven’t hit the top or the bottom. They have been relentlessly entertaining,” Bergeron says. “My favorite moment … was watching [their] Instant Dance. They blew the roof off the place. I immediately thought, ‘Gee, I’d hate to be any of the other couples back there getting ready!’ It put the spotlight on why they’re so good as a couple. Kyle’s just a fun, charming kid with a great self-aware sense of humor.”

The Instant Dance was one of the new elements, along with new theme weeks, that Bergeron says he loved and made for a strong and, yes, unpredictable season.

But how will it all end? After kicking off the season with a surprise result, will Season 11 wrap with one too?

“I think it’s going to be very dramatic. It’s been a season where you really can’t be sure how it’s going to play out, which I thought was lacking last season. I’ve really enjoyed this season and [the producers] have done a remarkable job of keeping it fresh coming off Season 10,” Bergeron says. “I guess all I can say now is just vote.”

Mark has finally come out. He updated his blog Sunday. Here’s a take from USA Today. He writes about Bristol and what he’s thankful for. He also talks about the hatred surrounding them. (Heidi’s Note – yes, Vogue’s first sentence in this section gave me quite a start as well, if you’re asking. :-) Dude, careful of the word selection. :-) )

We have four dances this week, and you know one of them is the freestyle, which we will dance on Monday night. Another dance is the “Redemption Dance”, which is a dance chosen by the judges that they thought we could have done better at earlier in the season. I’m looking forward to that dance as well, as Bristol has come a long way since the beginning.

Aside from the show finals on Monday and Tuesday, I’m looking forward to an exciting week.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am looking forward to the time I can spend with my family, as I am sure you all are. My mind seems to be rooted in reflection the past few days and this will be a particularly thankful Thanksgiving for me. I’ve always known and treasured the impact my mom has had on my life and during this season of DWTS, she has been my rock. With my move into my new home and the pressures that the season brings, she’s always there to lean on. Thank you, Mom!

I am so thankful to be on a show that millions of people are able to release the pressures of their everyday life while allowing us to entertain them. That really is a performer’s dream and goal, to whisk the audience away on a journey where they lose themselves and their troubles for a moment. Thanks to you all. You are the treasure in our success!

As for Bristol, she knows how thankful I am to call her my partner and friend. What Bris doesn’t know is how thankful I am for what she has taught me this season. It can be summed up in two words: determination and respect. Everyone goes through his or her own version of pain and endurance issues on the show — both the celebs and the dancers. Some pain is physical, for others it’s the pain of stress, and for some it’s the pain of having your life taken away from you as you prepare each week.

Bristol deals with a special pain of having people wanting and hoping for her to fail and dealing with hate issues no one should ever have to encounter. But probably her greatest source of pain is hearing what is said about her son. Fortunately, she has this miraculous way of dealing with it and focusing on getting better each week and proving to herself, that despite all that noise, she is a woman to be respected.

Our country was built on people taking advantage of the basic freedom to do everything in our power to excel with the God-given talents with which we have been blessed. During this season, I’ve seen firsthand how those rights shouldn’t be taken for granted, much less allowing others to take that basic human right away from you. Thank you, Bristol, for helping me understand how important that freedom is.

This season we’ve been challenged physically, most certainly verbally by the haters, questioned whether we are good enough, tough enough, and worthy of staying in the competition. Heading into the finals, I’m proud to say we answered them all. Amongst all the controversy, people have let us know how much they appreciate and respect us for simply doing that and how it has inspired them in their own lives. Thank you to all who have supported us on our journey. I hope you have been as rewarded for it as I have been.

There is a nice interview with Julianne Hough at Teen Television (that she must have given last week before the Final 4 show). She’s going to be starring in the new movie “Burlesque” along with Christina Aguilera and Cher which opens up in theatres this week. She talks about the movie as well as Dancing With The Stars, some thoughts on Bristol, and who she’d like to see win (and of course, that is her brother Derek and Jen). Here is a take.

TeenTelevision: Was doing Burlesque as much work as “Dancing With the Stars”?
Julianne Hough: Yes! The difference is with “Dancing With the Stars”, we choreographed, we danced, we taught it to the partner and then we were like their therapists. Then we were doing dances that, for the star, were hard but not that challenging for me. So coming to do this was like getting back to the grind and really pushing myself to my limit to do as much as I could do keeping up with the other professional girl dancers. It was really fun for me.

TeenTelevision: What did “Dancing With the Stars” exactly do for you?
Julianne:It opened every door imaginable. I moved out to L.A. when I was eighteen to sing and act. But, the dancing was an avenue to get to where I want to be. It was a wonderful opportunity and I just went for it. I never realized the success it was going to have and especially the opportunities it was going to bring for me.

ABC TeenTelevision: When did you first get really noticed and kicked up a notch on the show?
Julianne:It was my first season with Apollo [Anton Ohno, Olympic Gold medalist] and it was our Samba. I came out and was wearing that tiger outfit. That was like the coming out party for Julianne! After that number I felt a little more on the radar. I got calls. For Maxim magazine, I remember, I was like ‘Dad won’t approve of that too much.’ That was the first thing I did after I came out in that outfit.

TeenTelevision: Have you kept up with the show? Who do you think will win?
Julianne:Yeah. I was shooting Footloose so it was very hard to watch each week. But, I would catch it here and there. Now that it’s the last four, I can’t believe it.

TeenTelevision: I can’t believe Bristol Palin is still in it.
Julianne:That’s the thing I was a little confused about. That definitely goes to show what that show is about. It’s not necessarily about the dancing. It’s about the fan base and the people watching. I can definitely testify to that. I would not be where I’m today without the fans of the show. They’ve followed me since day one. I hope my brother (Derek Hough) and Jennifer (Grey) win. I think she’s fantastic. But, Brandy’s pretty good too. I hope my brother wins because I’m biased but, at the same time, I kinda hope he doesn’t because right now we are tied. We both have two. So, maybe he’ll have three. Nah. I’m kidding.

Kym Johnson has something very special planned for The Hoff tonight. Here is a take from Access Hollywood.

“I’ve been working with him all week. We have something very special planned,” Kym told AccessHollywood.com. “We may have been the first ones out, but this routine is gonna blow everyone away.”

While the Hoff’s clunky ballroom moves got him the boot during Week 1 of “DWTS,” all the way back in September, Kym said that during his time away, David’s learned some new moves and that the superstar isn’t afraid to use them.

“Right now, with the routine that we’ve got, he’s coming along really well and I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people,” she said. “He’s having a lot of fun with it. He has me laughing the whole rehearsal.”

Re-teaming with David in preparation for the finale, has brought back thoughts for Kim of what could have been with the former “America’s Got Talent “judge.

“I just had so many fun things I wanted to do [on Season 11 with David] because he’s such a big personality and he’s not afraid to sort of have a laugh and just put himself out there,” she said.

Sunday night, several of our Pros (Maks, Cheryl, Tony, Mark, and Karina) showed up at the American Music Awards. Be sure to see Haveyouheard.net and Getty Images for more pics. Special thanks to PureDWTS fan Sally for the Getty link. ;)

There was a little spread on Good Morning America Monday with Robin Roberts turing 50. In honor of her birthday, she’s decided to take some dance lessons from Maks and his brother Val. Maks and her Cha Cah in this video. There is also a snippet with Jennifer and Derek. More to come for that dance lesson today on GMA.

Speaking of Derek and Jennifer, here they are on E-Online rehearsing for their final dances, “savoring the last moments”, and Derek as humble as ever.

Here is more rehearsal sneak peaks from Good Morning America. Special thanks to PureDWTSfan Maddy for this heads up.

Ok All! That’s it for the media before the show. Backstage interviews from after the show coming up next! ;)