Shandi Finnessey



April 3, 2007: American Pie

Shandi, we hardly knew ye. And that was probably the main reason Shandi Finnessey was the second person to leave the competition: the lack of a large fan base. Add to that her OK but not great performances and a professional dancer who’s so new to Dancing with the Stars that he didn’t have a following of his own, and her early departure really didn’t come as a surprise. It’s a bit ironic that the pair the judges deemed the “all-American couple” did the classic American jive, and yet America did not vote to keep them on the show. I never really felt that all-American vibe the judges kept forcing upon them — if anything, I got more of a plastic vibe from them. So maybe that other nickname of “Barbie and Ken” was more appropriate, albeit not in a good way. I was even trying to muster up some hometown pride and get behind Brian since he was getting a lot of “local boy” coverage here in the Philadelphia area, but that didn’t wo... read more

April 2, 2007: Movie Magic

I can’t go so far as to say it was an all-out theme night, but about half of last night’s celebrities got inspiration for their dances from movies. First Edyta took John Ratzenberger to a Valentino movie to get inspired for the tango. This seemed to work in terms of him getting into character for the dance. I was impressed with his facial expressions and intensity, but I think that was the strongest part of his dance. The judges pointed out that he needs to make some technical improvements, and it did seem like Edyta was working extra hard making big movements around him. He deservedly got one of the lowest scores of the evening.Movie inspiration proved far more successful for one of the top scorers of the night (there was a four-way tie), Joey Fatone. While I wasn’t crazy about the Stars Wars theme music (I found it and the lights a bit distracting), I have to acknowledge that it was a really good tango. The fact that Joey is so into Star Wars gave his performance ex... read more

Dancing with the Stars: This Week's Backstage Buzz!

Dancing with the Stars' Laila Ali

At Monday night's Dancing with the Stars, the fun began even before the big band blasted its first notes. But to get the whole picture, you need to understand a few logistics: ABC's Dancing is shot live at CBS Television City (which rents out its popular Los Angeles sound studios) and in the very same building as Fox's American Idol. What that means is that in the corridors, washrooms and elevators, stars can collide.  Which they did, tonight, when Idol's beat-boxing contestant Blake Lewis stepped out of an elevator, only to be greeted by Dancing pro Tony Dovolani. "Hey, man, how're you doing?" asked Dovolani. Dovolani congratulated Lewis on la read more

March 26, 2007: Second Chances

Last night our stars had a sort of second chance to make a first impression. Initially, I was against not having an elimination last week, but the judges commented that they were grateful for the chance to see everyone do both Latin and ballroom dances, and that is a good point — some people are simply better at one style than the other. OK, so they won me over with this new wait-a-week system.So who benefited from this extra week? First and foremost, Billy Ray Cyrus. Wow, did he step it up. The judges crowned him “most improved” performer and it was a well deserved title. I enjoyed watching his performance; he was actually doing the quick step, and moving at a fast pace. Taking into account this turnaround and adding in his huge Hannah fanbase, I don’t think this cowboy will be exiting the dance floor just yet.In addition to Billy Ray, Heather Mills also gained a lot from this part-two performance. Love her or hate her (she seems to inspire impassioned responses... read more

March 19, 2007: Are You Ready for Some Dancing?

And they’re off! The 11 latest celebrities to put on their dancing shoes hit the ballroom live last night. It was step one of their quest for that fabulous, sparkling Dancing with the Stars trophy. Throughout the show, the hosts pointed out that this is “the most remarkable cast ever” and that we were watching “history-making” television. It’s good to know that they’re keeping this fun, lighthearted dance show in perspective.OK, while they may have overstated things a bit, there were some firsts last night that did indeed set it apart from past seasons: their tallest contestant ever, NBA star Clyde Drexler, standing at 6-foot-7; their first contestant with an artificial limb, Heather Mills; and their youngest competitor, professional dancer Julianne Hough, who is all of 18.Another big difference from last season was that, overall, most of the celebrities participating this year are pretty well known. There’s much less of the “Who’s t... read more

Dancing with the Stars: Your Inside Guide to Season 4!

Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke, Dancing with the Stars

Who's the youngest? The most surprisingly fit? The tallest toe-tapper in the show's history? As the Monday, 8 pm/ET premiere of the new season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars nears, TV Guide invites you to step right up and meet the new line of celebrity hoofers. Billy Ray Cyrus, 45Best known for: His country-music career and playing Dad on Disney's Hannah MontanaLives in: Los Ange­les and NashvilleDancing for: daughter Noah, who told her first-grade teacher that Daddy was "scared" to sign on for DWTS. "The teacher told my little girl to go home and tell me, ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game,'" he says.Partner: Last sea­son's runner-up, read more

Steve Sanders, Supermodel Go Dancing with the Stars

Who'll be hoofing it this time in the name of winning that garish trophy? Onetime Dancing with the Stars competitor Jerry Springer unveiled the new season's contenders on Wednesday's Good Morning America, and they are:• Laila Ali, the daughter of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali• Country music star Billy Ray Cyrus • Paul McCartney's soon-to-be ex, Heather Mills • Former NBA star Clyde Drexler • 'N Sync alum Joey Fatone • Miss USA-turned-GSN hostess Shandi Finnessey • Entertainment reporter Leeza Gibbons • Former supermodel Paulina Porizkova • 90120's Ian Ziering• Sopranos alum/Sirius Satellite Radio host Vincent Pastore • Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno Dancing with the Stars returns Mar. 19, on ABC. read more

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