Cue that theme music for the Final Four

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 by Travis Cody in

Before we get to the Dancing, please allow me to pay my respects to Pete Newell, who died yesterday at the age of 93. Coach Newell won the National Invitation Tournament with USF, the NCAA Tournament Championship with Cal, and an Olympic Gold Medal. He was the first to accomplish that triple and he did it in only 14 years of competitive coaching.

Beyond these achievements at the college level, his influence extended into the NBA where he engineered the trade that sent Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Milwaukee to Los Angeles. He also started his big man camp to tutor centers in the basic skills of the position. Few coaches have had as large an impact on the center position. He emphasized fundamentals and footwork, and the fine art of establishing position in the low block without fouling.

Legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden had a 7-8 record against Coach Newell's teams. Coach Wooden has said, "I learned from him."

When I coached youth basketball, I used many of the basic fundamental drills that Coach Newell pioneered. There was no need to re-invent the wheel. Coach Newell forgot more than most people know about how to play and teach the game of basketball.

Pete Newell, 3 Aug 1915 - 17 Nov 2008

OK. Let's cue that theme music now because it's live from Hollywood!

The finals are one week away! We're down to our final four celebrities now.

Brooke Burke with Derek Hough
Lance Bass with Lacey Schwimmer
Warren Sapp with Kym Johnson
Cody Linley with Julianne Hough

I can't believe we're almost finished. We've got two dances tonight. Each pair will perform a style that they haven't yet danced this season, as well as one of the four new styles performed for the first time this year.

First up is the style that each pair has not yet danced.

Brooke and Derek dance Jive. She's got fantastic LEGS, but she was so unsure during that dance. She wasn't tight and her musicality was off. She got really flustered toward the end as well and just lost her steps. That choreography may have been just a bit too ambitious for her. It was a poor performance and that's a shame. They went for so much content that they missed on the basics. We applaud them for really going for it, but if you go for it you better hit it. That was Brooke's worst dance of the season. Judges say 7's across for a total of 21. Ouch!

Cody and Julianne dance Paso Doble. The stiffness and aggression Cody has shown in his dancing could be good for Paso. But we don't understand the music or the costuming. It makes it very difficult to follow what the dance is supposed to look like. We did not care for that dance at all. It was too jerky and disconnected. We appreciated what Julianne tried, but the performance missed for us. The innovation didn't make any sense and the musicality was way off. It might have been ok if Cody had danced it well, but we don't think he did. It just didn't seem like a proper Paso. Not good enough at this stage. Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22.

Warren and Kym dance Mambo. We're doing the Mambo to Tequila! It was a very slow Mambo with some gimmicks in place of real Mambo steps. It was an ok performance but really not up to semi-final quality. It really looked like he didn't have enough time to practice this week, as the rehearsal footage seemed to indicate. The crowd enjoyed it, but the dance just wasn't very good. He continues to rely on his charm, and that's fine. But at this stage, his lack of technique needs to be addressed in the be fair to the others who were nailed for issues with their dances. Judges say 8's across for a total of 24. The judges talk about his flat feet, but they just don't seem to want to hold them to the proper standard when it comes to scoring.

Lance and Lacey dance Mambo. Now we've got a dance that is living up to semi-final night. The choreography was ambitious and the dance was well-designed from move to move. They were right on their game. The performance was controlled but still fun with plenty of energy. Lance spent some time on his footwork and his posture this week and it really showed. Very well done That was great! Judges say 10,9,9 for a total of 28. And Len finally gives them credit for an excellent performance.

Here's our leader board after the first round:

28 Lance and Lacey
24 Warren and Kym
22 Cody and Linley
21 Brooke and Derek

Now it's time for one of the four never-before-performed styles...Disco, Salsa, Jitterbug, or West Coast Swing. The couples get to choose from the styles they did not dance earlier, and each pair will get a master class lesson from Len Goodman.

Len worked on Lance's pidgeon toes, Cody's stiff hips, Brooke's flexed LEGS, and Warren's flat feet.

Brooke and Derek dance Salsa. She seems off to us tonight. This is better than the first dance, but we're still not liking it. There were a bunch of tricks in the choreography that were well performed. She definitely finished strong. We just didn't care for the performance, even though technically it was very good. Judges say 9,10,9 for a total of 28. Based on her entire body of work this season, Brooke definitely deserves a spot in the finals. We really want to see what Derek comes up with as a show dance.

Cody and Julianne dance Salsa. Again, stiff body posture and jerky exchanges from move to move. And limited hip action. The performance was fun and cheeky, and we enjoyed the energy they had. He's done about as well as he can do. Judges say 8's across for a total of 24. It would be great to see what Julianne could come up with for a show dance, and we'd love to see her compete against her brother. Cody's young fanbase could get them over the top and into the final, but it won't be on the strength of his dancing.

Warren and Kym dance Jitterbug. The music was way too slow for Jitterbug. It just didn't have that fun and out of control flavor of a classic Jitterbug. They tried, but they were really hamstrung by the slower tempo of the music. There were the same issues with flat feet, but Warren seems to get a pass on his scores for the bad feet because of the way he works the crowd. Judges say 9,8,8 for a total of 25. Warren's advantage is his charming personality. Fans overlook lots of issues with technique, and that could be what gets him to the final. If he does make the final, watch out because the show dance is all about performance and nothing to do with technique.

Lance and Lacey dance Jitterbug. Now we're up tempo. And Lance danced right out of his shoe! Now we watched his feet specifically...and he followed Len's advice and kept them turned out. That had all the classic Jitterbug elements and they were incredibly well performed. That was fantastic! Lance and Lacey were the couple of the night! Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29. Lance has overcome whatever lack of confidence he's been carrying all season, and Lacey is taking full advantage by giving him difficult choreography. The two together have developed great chemistry, and they are both performing so well to the crowd. He has the fanbase, and if Brooke continues to falter, L&L could be the pair to beat.

Here's the leader board after both dances:

57 Lance and Lacey
49 Warren and Kym
49 Brooke and Derek
46 Cody and Julianne

No changes in our voting this week. I went for Lance and Lacey while Pam went for Brooke and Derek.

Check it gang...Aretha Franklin is in the ballroom for results!


  1. Marsha says:

    It was an interesting show wasn't it. I didn't care for the music, costume or routine of Cody's Paso...just too strange. But honestly, he made it further than I thought he would. Final two should be down to Lance and Brooke. Brooke has done well all season, but I'm pulling for Lance, you can see where he's gotten better...and their routines are entertaining to me. (But I do love Derek!)

  1. DrillerAA says:

    I told my wife the same thing about Warren's jitterbug. That could have been a foxtrot.
    Did not like Cody's first number at all and Brooke just had a bad night. Not real good timing for an off night, but it happens. I still think that Warren and Cody are the ones in trouble tonight. Who's got the larger fan base, Cody's Disney crowd or Warren and the NFL? This is going to be interesting.

  1. Bond says:

    Sue me...I went for Warren again..I would love to see Lance, Warren and Brooke in the finale..

    Mr. Newell was a great man who cared about the game and loved his players....

    Nice job honoring him.

  1. Anndi says:

    Excellent tribute, bro... well done.

    Lance and Lacey had a stellar night!

    I watched Brooke and thought "what happened?". That was not the Brooke we saw all season, and I don't care what the body of work was like the rest of the season... as someone once said: when you get to the championship, it's all about how you do in the last games.

    She did not bring her best, nowhere near it.

    Lance and Lacey brought their best game and left the others in the dust.

    My votes went to them also.

    Warren has gone as far as he can but no way were his dances worthy of a spot in the "playoffs". Personality just isn't enough.

  1. I heard cloris Leachman was sick.

  1. Dianne says:

    It sure was Lance and Lacey's night!! I really enjoyed their dances more so than anything they did all season.

    I'm not a big fan of Brooke at all from the start. I know she is a fantastic dancer I just don't care for her.

    I split my votes between Warren and for the first time ever Lance.

    Leona Lewis tonight!!

    I read that Cloris has a resp. infection, was taken to the ER but antibiotics seem to be working.

  1. My problem with the bumper stickers was Impeach Nixon, he has been dead since 1994, give me a break. You did not object to a group of people invading a church shouting and disrupting the service, sorry Trev, that is not dissent, and laws were broken, they set of a fire alarm in the church, these people were attending a service that they obviously believe is worship. Do you think that was ok?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Happy Tuesday Travis!
    Big hugs!


    Seriously, the owned everyone last night. I think Brooke will be safe. And I voted for Lance and Lacey =)

  1. TopChamp says:

    This time I'm resisting youtubing.

    Coach Newell certainly reached a good age! I don't understand the terms but it is lovely to hear that he has left a legacy that will endure.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Too bad I could not get through the line. I was dialing for an half an hour and did not get anywhere... I would vote for Lance & Brooke as well. They should be in the grand finale :o)

  1. Cherie says:

    What a wonderful memorial for Coach Newell.

    And for some reason, I'm not able to get ABC at the moment. This is the part of the season that I really like. Thanks for the great recap.

  1. Linda says:

    I like the way you put it - "there's no need to reinvent the wheel" and yet it seems that's what so many people, coaches included, try to do rather than stick to the basic fundamentals of life or even a game. That was a lovely tribute you wrote for Coach Newell, just lovely.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Our 'Strictly Come Dancing' show has turned into a farce! John Sergeant who cannot dance for toffee keeps being voted back by the public and the good dancers are voted off!

  1. Bond says:

    So, it appears you leave comments on other blogs and they insist on bringing the fight to yours!
    That bumper sticker has been on the car since 1974...LOL


  1. Travis says:

    Marsha: It's a shame that Brooke was off last night.

    Drilleraa: I think you've summed it up quite well.

    V: Warren definitely entertains, no matter that he has totally thrown technique aside.

    Ann: Well, sometimes you have an off night. Of course we know with this show that the fans will stick with their favorites even when they don't dance well.

    Charles: I hadn't heard that.

    Dianne: I've enjoyed watching Brooke, but I'm on board with Lance and Lacey until the end.

  1. Julie says:

    Interesting night of DANCE! But no where near semi-final status. I'm not sure what's up.

    Lance and Lacey are definitely the top guns! But I really enjoyed Cody and Julianne!

  1. Travis says:


    I thought my comment on your post clearly indicated that I did not condone violence. I do not condone violence of any kind. Nor do I condone hate speech of any kind. Nor do I condone any behavior that incites fear or discimination. My apologies if that was unclear.

    To the bumper sticker, I say so what? I was only a child during Mr Nixon's presidency, but if I recall my history clearly, the call for his impeachment was pretty strong from both sides of the aisle. The result of his illegal activities was his resignation, as well as the indictment and ultimate conviction of several of his aides.

    I'm not naive here Sir. There is ugliness on both sides. But I'm not going in search of these incidents in some kind of effort to call out one side or the other as being more or less ugly.

    I choose to join in the effort to be part of the solution. You can call that hero worship if you must. But don't think for a moment that I don't understand the real problems that are in front of this country. And don't confuse my idealism with blind devotion.

    Thanks as always for your thoughts.

  1. Travis says:

    Lois: Thank you dear!

    Starr: If L&L dance that well next week, then we could possibly have the upset.

    TC: Coach Newell definitely left that legacy.

    Ivanhoe: I confess I voted early!

    Cherie: Hopefully you get a break with ABC next Monday for the finale!

    Linda: Innovation is nice, but it doesn't replace fundamentals.

    Akelamalu: Oh I hate it when that happens!

    V: I didn't notice what kind of car that was either! But I don't mind the discussion. It's better than ignoring each other.

    Mike: And a job done well it was.

    Julie: Julianne has done a great job with Cody this season and it would be fun to watch her go up against Derek in the finale!

  1. Kanani says:

    Don't laugh.
    But I've never watched this show.

  1. Travis says:

    Kanani: No laughing here.

  1. Kanani says:

    By the way.... I like how you and Sarge go back and forth. He has a lot of lurkers watching as though it were a ping pong match!

  1. Coach Newell was a giant.

  1. Travis says:

    Kanani: LOL.

    Songbird: Indeed he was.

  1. what a team God