May 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Season 16 has come to a close. I have to admit I had no idea who would take the mirror ball trophy home this season. The race was the tightest its been in a long time. I thought with Zendaya’s 2.7 million twitter followers, she was a shoo-in for the title. But Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough worked some magic on their freestyle routine and created a very profound moment of television. I ran into Derek backstage right after they won and he told me that he was inspired by my call to Kellie to find more expression and connect more to the emotions of the dance. I think he said it haunted him as he was putting the freestyle routine together. I’m so glad that he understood what I was going for when I made those comments. That’s what makes a winner to me—someone who can take on the challenges we give them instead of taking offense to them. Dancing With the Stars is a challenge that takes stamina, strategy and a willingness to face parts of yourself that you don’t want to. In order to win you have to find a way to incorporate our critiques and comments into your dances. When I gave Kellie feedback about the emotional quality of her dance, I was trying to help her grow.
I had a feeling that this season was going to be a tight race to the finish line. I know that the key to winning this competition is having breakthroughs and growth on top of the fantastic dances we expect in the finals. But magic is made when you push yourself to do something that’s really not a “sure thing.” When you accomplish that goal, there’s nothing like it.
A lot of shows out there will fake moments to create dramatic television, but I think the audience has become savvy to that and our audience is smarter than that. Kellie and Derek’s win is proof. I’m not saying that Zendaya and Val did anything fake or anything like that. Not at all. She is a phenomenal performer and Val’s choreography showcased her beautifully. She’s been outstanding the whole way and she has a special quality when she performs that will take her career very far. But Kellie hadn’t been completely connecting on an emotional level to her dances. She hadn’t really let go until that moment. She made progress, but in her final freestyle she discovered something new about herself and we all witnessed it. Derek created a piece of choreography that allowed her this discovery; in fact, it pushed her right into it. There was nowhere to hide. The movements lent themselves to vulnerability and heart connection. Kellie stepped right up to the plate and swung a home run.
I’m so happy for her success. As a dancer it is this heart-centered and honest type of performance that touches your audience’s core and creates loyal fans and supporters. I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’ve seen talent come and go and I’ve seen amazingly talented people never find themselves in their performances and get lost in the shuffle of the entertainment industry. Eventually they fade out, but every once in a while someone is able to push themselves past their own limits and dig so deep that they find a whole new layer. But this applies to anyone. You have to continue to push yourself. Just when you get comfortable, I think it is imperative that you push and see what else there is and what else you have to offer this world. This courage is what creates a satisfying life and that’s something we all crave.
This was a big season for all of us at DWTS. We hit our 300th episode and it was the end of our two-episodes-a-week run. That part is bittersweet. I love having all of the production numbers and I think we did some amazing work with the DWTS Troupe. They were brilliant and truly a highlight of the season. They gave our show a fresh energy and I think it’s a good time to give thanks. Who knows what will happen in the future for the show, but I know our talented producers will come up with some great ideas to ensure that the show is even better. Now we’re pushing ourselves out of our own comfort zone. We’re heading into the unknown with courage and excitement, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Change can be a bit scary, but it’s good and a very important part of life. I know I speak for everyone when I say we’re so grateful to all of our viewers and fans that have tuned in for our 300+ episodes and we look forward the next 300.
What’s next for me? I’ll be busy producing my gala for The CAI Animal Project which is on October 18th, 2013 at the Century Plaza Hotel Ballroom in Los Angeles. There will be dancing, and everyone asks me when I’ll dance; well I’ll be dancing in this show for sure! And so will a lot of familiar faces. It’s going to be exciting. Raising money for animals in need is going to be my focus for the next few months and if you’d like to help, please check out our website, www.caiap.org, or if you’d like to help with our fundraising by buying some of the looks I’ve worn on the show, go to www.fashionproject.com. I have a closet there and I’ll be adding even more clothes so check back often. You can have a part of DWTS fashion history and do something good for the animals. It’s a win-win!
Congratulations to our Season 16 winners, Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough! And congratulations to our runners-up, Zendaya Coleman and Val Chermkovskiy. Both duos were fantastic and really wowed us with their talent and fortitude. I thought this was our best season ever and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Now it’s time for a mini-staycation! I’ll see you soon, and if you miss me, just follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/carrieanninaba.
Take care and God bless.
May 22, 2013 at 9:32 am , by Maggie Niemiec
Shorts weather is finally here, and we can’t wait to wear a trendy shorts suit. A minimal black and white print like this one ensures the match-matchy look doesn’t overwhelm you. Three rules apply when picking out your suit. First make sure the shorts are shorter than Bermudas (which can look dowdy), but longer than cutoffs (which only work if you’re 16). Then go for simple accessories. We paired basic earrings with a magenta tote for daytime and a canary yellow clutch at night. The bags add subtle pops of color without competing with the patterned suit. Lastly, avoid sky-high stilettos! Mid-level pumps or flats keep the outfit classy and chic.
May 16, 2013 at 11:51 am , by Amelia Harnish
When activist and author Letty Cottin Pogrebin was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, she was surprised at how not sick she felt—until word spread among her friends. Some loved ones avoided her completely. Others seemed tongue-tied or awkwardly danced around the issue in conversation. “Instead of, ‘Hey, how are you?’ everyone started asking ‘Oh, how are you?’ in that tone that says they’re painfully worried about you,” she says. She realized that many people have no idea how to act around someone who’s dealing with an illness. At the time of her diagnosis, Pogrebin was working on a novel but decided to shift gears and instead write her latest book, How To Be A Friend To A Friend Who’s Sick.
Based on her own experience as well as interviews with 80 other patients, the book covers what to say in response to bad news, how to help and even what to bring to the hospital when you visit. I had the pleasure of meeting Pogrebin and collecting a few dos and don’ts.
Do ask her what she wants. “Everybody wants different things. Some people want to be treated as though they’re not even sick. Some people want you to sit and listen,” Pogrebin explains. You may feel like you shouldn’t ask, you should just act. But it can be liberating, not to mention extremely helpful, to give the sick person the opportunity to tell you exactly what she needs.
Do keep your good fortune to yourself. You should be honest if she asks how things are going in your life, but she doesn’t need to hear every detail about your promotion or the great vacation you’re planning. Keep it vague, and start conversations about current events or other interests you share, like movies, sports or politics, Pogrebin suggests.
Don’t ask, “How are you?” at all. If you’re someone dealing with chronic pain or chemotherapy, that’s a very awkward question to answer, says Pogrebin. “It’s the most basic opening line in human conversation, and it’s the most problematic for a sick person.” Instead, ask her, what’s new? This way, the conversation doesn’t begin with her having to acknowledge she’s not doing so well, and it’s open-ended. She can say “Not much,” or she can tell you about her treatment if she wants, or she can tell you her mother called.
Don’t tell her about that miracle treatment you heard about. It’s natural for you to feel like you should offer advice, but fight the urge. “Part of why disease makes us so uncomfortable is that we feel powerless,” says Pogrebin. “But so much advice is dizzying. She has a doctor for that. She needs you to be her friend.”
May 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Three hundred episodes! Wow. It’s an incredible feeling to celebrate our 300th episode. Back in the day, Mash was a very popular show that went on for quite a while. It felt like it was on the air my whole life, and they made 251 episodes. It was a breakthrough. I remember how America tuned in when it went off the air. It was such a big moment in my television history and now, to be a part of a show that has completed 300 episodes completed is an honor to say the least. I want to point out that there are three people who have been on every single episode since day one: myself, Tom Bergeron, and Bruno Tonioli.
It’s been a wonderful ride with extraordinary choreography, beautiful costumes and incredible production value. I’m really proud of our team. It takes so many people to make a show happen.
Here’s a list (in chronological order) of my top 10 dance performances on Dancing with the Stars in honor of our 300th episode.
1. Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke
Freestyle (Season 2)
This piece was such an inventive and entertaining way to approach the finale. Cheryl really created a great number here and their performance brought the house down. It was so exciting. Magic!
2. Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough
Quickstep (Season 5)
This performance was vibrant and lively, and it showcased Helio at his best.
3. Mel B. and Maksim Chermkovskiy
Paso Doble (Season 6)
It was powerful, and her costume was brilliant and very aggressive. She set a whole new standard for costumes and performance in this showstopper!
4. Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke
Argentine Tango (Season 8)
Wow. This was such a work of art and passion. Their partnership was such a sensual one. They just had chemistry that wouldn’t quit. Gilles had this wonderful way of adding a suave debonair touch to all the dances he did. He was like a character from a romance novel that’s come to life. This was smoldering at it’s best.
5. Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
Quickstep (Season 10)
This one was such a classic. It was a tribute to the musicals that inspired so many of us to be where we are today. They danced in harmony and really made all of us feel good!
6. Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
Bollywood (Season 15)
I loved this dance. We’d never had a Bollywood performance on the show before and it was just so energetic and lively. It really showcased the vibrancy of the Bollywood cultural phenomenon.
7. Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess
Vienesse Waltz (Season 16)
This was one of the most emotionally charged moments we’ve ever had on the show. He dedicated this dance to his daughter, Meg, and it touched our hearts in a very special way. He made an impact on all of us. He was celebrating his sobriety and his love for his daughter. It was a moment that had us all in tears.
8. Derek Hough
Macy’s Stars of Dance (Season 16)
Wow—this was such a great tribute to Fred Astaire’s Dancing on the Ceiling number but with a cool and modern twist. It was really innovative and pushed all understanding of gravity. But I think if you really want to appreciate the number and choreography and performances by Jaimie Goodwin and Derek, you have to see it while the “box” is moving. It was really something to behold.
9. Zendaya and Val Chermkovskiy
Samba (Season 16)
While it may not have gotten the best scores, I just loved this cool fusion samba. Her Beyonce-like presence on the dance floor blew us all away. The stylings of her movements and the way her body sung the dance made this a cool number not to be forgotten.
10. Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough
Argentine Tango (Season 16)
They started the dance in silhouette showcasing her beautiful lines, and her lines were perfection. Kellie delivered an impeccable and passionate performance.
Truly, there are too many great memories to mention. Being a part of the dance revival on television has been a great honor and achievement. I’ve been fortunate enough to see two generations of dance—back in the early 90s when the Fly Girls brought hip hop to mainstream television, and now again, as we see ballroom and Latin dances in our living rooms. I celebrate the great mind that really championed our show when we were just a pitch for a pilot. I have to give credit to Andrea Wong who really gave DWTS a shot in America. Here’s to you Andrea, and to the BBC and ABC for all you’ve done for dance in television. We’ve seen so many boundaries broken down and creative visions actualized; we are a lucky generation to have so much dance on the tube. It wasn’t always like this, but I’m sure glad it is now and I’m happy to be a part of all of it.
Until next week, keep dancing!
May 15, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Bethany Porter
At the LHJ offices, all the fashion buzz lately has been about pants. What was once just a boring closet staple that you used to show off all your pretty tops has morphed into a fashion category all its own. This season we’re seeing more options for your bottom half than ever before–from patterned slouchy varieties to wide-leg trousers in look-at-me-colors. One of our favorite styles is the almost-pajama pant. These wardrobe workhorses pair with all your basics and come in breezy, summer-friendly fabrics. The gorgeous pair above is only $10!!! We’ve had some fun with pattern mixing our looks but pair these pants with any slightly flowy top and a jacket and you’re set.
May 8, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Maggie Niemiec
Yes, you can do leather! It’s one of the biggest trends this spring and surprisingly accessible. The scalloped hemline and fun cutouts on this (faux) leather skirt make it flirty and feminine. Pair it with an of-the-moment chambray shirt for a casual style you can wear anywhere, from running errands on the weekend to a romantic dinner out with your husband. The denim acts as a neutral, so feel free to incorporate pops of color with your jewelry and shoes.
May 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm , by Julie Bain
Look out, pink: Here comes orange. We saw a lot of this hot color on Melanoma Monday this week. It’s part of the American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT orange campaign to raise awareness and promote early detection of skin cancer. “Unlike other types of cancer, skin cancer provides visual warning signs that can be detected on the surface of the skin in the form of a spot that changes, itches or bleeds,” says AAD president Dirk M. Elston, M.D. “When caught early, skin cancer has a 98 percent cure rate, which is why it is so important for people to know the warning signs and see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis.”
The AAD even sent out packages of orange m&ms imprinted with their logo and the #SPOT orange hashtag. That led some melanoma advocates to cry foul, saying the disease that kills one person every hour is not sweet or fun and should be taken more seriously. Some also say that black is the color of melanoma awareness and feel offended by orange, the color of “fake tans.” We understand how serious and deadly melanoma can be but we also say, whatever works!
Something needs to be done—and now. Melanoma is on the rise among young people, especially young women who have done indoor tanning. In fact, the FDA is considering really cracking down on this dangerous habit. Meanwhile, it’s proven to be carcinogenic, so steer clear.
There are lots of helpful tools and links on the AAD site to motivate you. My favorite is this downloadable Body Mole Map, which can help you keep track of spots that may be changing—and includes photos of what to look for. I’m using mine! You still have to see a dermatologist regularly, though, for a professional skin check. (See my video on what to expect here.)
Another must-read (okay, I wrote it) is our story in the June issue of the Journal: “Freckle, Mole or Skin Cancer?” In it, a woman who was seven months pregnant saw a small black spot on her leg and thought it was a tick. It wasn’t.
Our story also has great advice on what you need to know about getting a biopsy, and how to trust your instincts about any suspicious spot on your body. Plus the latest on sunscreens, which are getting better all the time. Remember: You have the power to prevent skin cancer.
Addendum: Read the AAD’s response to the color controversy on its Facebook page.