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June 7, 2011

Scottish singer Jai McDowall wins fifth Britain\’s Got Talent series

Scottish singer Jai McDowall wins fifth Britain’s Got Talent series

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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Jai McDowall, a Scottish man who works as an assistant to disabled individuals and performs a singing act, has been declared as the winner of the fifth series of televised talent competition Britain’s Got Talent, broadcast on ITV1 in the United Kingdom. The final took place on Saturday night. As the winner of the show, McDowall will receive a prize of £100,000 (US$164,270, 112,252), as well being able to participate at the Royal Variety Performance – which will be attended by British Royal Family senior members – later this year.

In the final, McDowall – who lives in the South Ayrshire village of Tarbolton – had sung To Where You Are, which was originally performed by Josh Groban. McDowall’s victory was calculated via a public telephone voting system. The number of votes he received was a margin of under three per cent greater than the act who achieved second place: a 12-year-old male singer named Ronan Parke. According to BBC News Online, Parke had been considered the most likely act to win this series by bookmakers. A short time after his victory was announced, McDowall commented that he was feeling “absolutely amazing, fantastic…it’s so much more, absolutely so much more”. When interviewed afterwards, Parke said he “loved it, thank you to everyone who voted. Congratulations, Jai.” Simon Cowell acknowledged “there was going to be a shock result” and that McDowall “wasn’t one of the favourites coming in but tonight we could feel he nailed the song. He came in believing that he could win and I think he’s a worthy winner.” Meanwhile, on-air, judge Amanda Holden admitted that she “really, really wanted Ronan to win.”

Cquote1.svg [I feel] absolutely amazing, fantastic … it’s so much more, absolutely so much more. Cquote2.svg

Jai McDowall

The finale consisted of one programme featuring the finalists performing, which was broadcast from 1900 – 2100 BST (1800 – 2000 UTC) and a second programme, announcing the positions of the finalists; the latter was broadcast later in the night, from 2130 – 2200 BST (2030 – 2100 UTC). The programme also featured performances from two guests. Jackie Evancho, who achieved second place in the fifth season of America’s Got Talent, performed Nessun dorma on the first programme. US singer-songwriter Nicole Scherzinger, scheduled to appear as a judge on The X Factor (U.S.), appeared in the second show and performed Right There, the latest single to be released from her.

In the run-up to the final, five semi-finals were broadcast live on ITV1 each night from Monday to Friday. A total of 41 acts appeared between them. British stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre and American actor David Hasselhoff made their debut appearances on the show’s panel, alongside British actress Amanda Holden, who has judged for all the series so far, and British music executive Simon Cowell, who only judged for the semi-finals and the final.

Earlier in the week, an unidentified Internet blogger, who stated that they were an employee of music corporation Sony Music UK, claimed that the programme had been unfairly pre-arranged due to Parke allegedly being familiar with Cowell and Syco for two years, already having a record contract, as well as prior arrangements being made for his appearance, including his clothing, hairstyle and behaviour. Parke achieved the largest number of public votes in the semi-final he appeared in on Monday, allowing him to earn his place in Saturday’s final.

On the fifth Britain’s Got Talent semi-final on Friday, Cowell addressed these allegations and publicly denied them, stating: “There has been an allegation made in the papers – not in the papers actually, on the internet by somebody – that Ronan Parke had a previous recording contract with my record label, that I’d met him beforehand, both of which are complete and utter lies. The first time I met Ronan was the first time he appeared on this show. He entered the show of his own accord. He’s 12 years old. This is a deliberate smear campaign.”

In a statement, Syco – a British entertainment company which Cowell is the chief executive officer of – responded by claiming that “[t]here is no truth in this story whatsoever. Ronan first came to Syco/Sony’s attention when he entered this year’s competition. Syco/Sony Music will not hesitate to take whatever legal action is appropriate to prevent further publication of these unfounded allegations.” The Metropolitan Police Service have also reported that “[a]n allegation of malicious communications was made to Kensington and Chelsea police on Thursday 2 June” and that “[t]he allegation is being considered.” In an interview with BBC Radio Norfolk, Maggie Parke – Ronan’s mother – called the allegations “laughable” as there “couldn’t be further from the truth”. “There’s no foundation in it whatsoever,” said Maggie.

In the final, Parke performed a cover of the Kelly Clarkson song Because of You and placed second in the contest, behind McDowall. However, British tabloid newspaper News of the World has reported the intentions of Sony Music Entertainment to provide a record contract for the 12-year-old singer, allegedly valued at £1,000,000 (US$1,641,681, €1,123,711). Speaking to the paper, a source familiar with Cowell commented: “We are not going to let malicious claims about Ronan impact his entire career. That would not be fair. The fact is, he is a little star. He’s like our Justin Bieber. He launched his career on the internet. He is self-made.” Musical manager Jonathan Shalit claimed that Parke “will be the most successful BGT winner ever, bigger than Bieber. I’d take him to Hollywood, straight to Disney.” A source related to Britain’s Got Talent cited the aforementioned fix allegations for Parke’s failure to win the series, mentioning: “Sadly, the result had nothing to do with Ronan’s talent. A lot of people believed the completely false smears on the internet and wanted to punish Simon as a result. The public are against him at the moment. This was their revenge.”

A London-based act named New Bounce achieved third place in the competition. Their act consists of four male singers: Mitchell, aged 16, 12-year-old MJ, Kuan, aged 13 and James, aged 12. In the final, the group performed a cover of the Bill Withers song Ain’t No Sunshine. Simon Cowell subsequently compared their potential to that of JLS, who have achieved number 1 on music charts, claiming that “[t]his is a group that would work in the real world”.

Other acts who appeared in the final included Michael Collings, who is also a singer and plays a guitar for his act. Razy Gogonea performed a form of breakdancing known as body-popping. James Hobley was also an act who danced, performing contemporary dance routines. Steven Hall was another dancer, albeit one who performed for comedic effect, dancing to the sounds of various famous pop music tracks and lip-syncing the lyrics. Les Gibson performed a comedy act involving him making impressions of various celebrities, with Cowell, McIntyre and Hasselhoff amongst them, as well as Ant & Dec, who host the programme. Paul Gbegbaje and Jean Martyn were both musical acts, with the former playing the piano and the latter using an organ to make music. Gbegbaje played piano music which he had composed himself, while Martyn performed a medley of songs, amongst which was the John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John song You’re the One That I Want. Martyn sang along to the song but was not clearly audible due to the absence of a microphone during her performance. She later explained that her performance had been previously rehearsed without the singing included.

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Below is a table addressing the rank the finalists of the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent achieved in Saturday’s final.


Rank Artist Act
1 Jai McDowall Singer
2 Ronan Parke Singer
3 New Bounce Singers
4 Razy Gogonea Breakdancer (body-popping)
5 Michael Collings Singer / guitarist
6 Paul Gbegbaje Pianist
7 Steven Hall Comedic dancer
8 James Hobley Dancer
9 Les Gibson Impressionist
10 Jean Martyn Organist

This map illustrates the location of South Ayrshire, where McDowall lives. Image: Ordnance Survey OpenData.

This map illustrates the location of South Ayrshire, where McDowall lives.
Image: Ordnance Survey OpenData.

Stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre, seen here in April 2009, judged Britain's Got Talent for the first time this series. Image: Damien Everett.

Stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre, seen here in April 2009, judged Britain’s Got Talent for the first time this series.
Image: Damien Everett.

File:Hoff Wiki.jpg
American actor David Hasselhoff, seen here in November 2006, also became a permanent judge from this series. Image: Tylermiller805.(Image missing from commons: image; log)

American actor David Hasselhoff, seen here in November 2006, also became a permanent judge from this series.
Image: Tylermiller805.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

British music executive Simon Cowell (left), seen here in June 2010, judged only for the semi-finals and the final for this series. Image: Alison Martin.

Simon Cowell, seen here in June 2010, judged only for the semi-finals and the final for this series.
Image: Alison Martin.

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Britain’s Got Talent (series 5)

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June 3, 2011

Gay couple elected prom king and queen in Maine\’s Sanford High School

Gay couple elected prom king and queen in Maine’s Sanford High School

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Friday, June 3, 2011

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Although prom may have taken place over two weeks ago at Maine’s Sanford High School, the fact that students elected a gay couple as prom king and queen remains the talk of the local community.

Sanford, Maine (2003)
Image: Kaelus Primus.

During the May 14 event, 17-year-old Christian Nelsen was named prom queen, running as a write-in candidate. One of Nelsen’s friends, Holly Smith, spoke of the help they provided in getting him elected: “The day of prom, we went downstairs, and he was yelling ‘Vote for Christian Nelsen!’ And I was helping people spell his name, or telling them how to write it on the ballot”.

Cquote1.svg Anyone can win, and on that same notion any type of person can win. Cquote2.svg

—Christian Nelsen

Nelsen’s boyfriend, Caleb Jett, was elected prom king. “I kinda got voted in because he got queen, and it was like ‘Who do we vote for king?’ and it was like ‘Oh, well, his boyfriend, obviously, because that makes sense,'” he said. The two young men wore suits, shirts, and ties to the prom. When the results of the election were announced, they danced the king-queen dance together, Jett wearing his crown and Nelsen his tiara.

Maine is one of only two states in New England that have not recognized same-sex marriages. Though they are aware that not everyone supports them, the couple ran to combat high school stereotypes and to encourage more tolerance. Nelsen commented, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl who wins prom king or prom queen from now on. Anyone can win, and on that same notion any type of person can win. And I’m talking about the tolerance level of all people when I talk about that, so anyone who is bullied or even just under the radar can win this type of thing.”

Minister of a parish of the United Church of Christ Reverend Diane Wendorf supported the couple, citing her church’s values of tolerance and diversity. “I’m glad, too, that they were crowned king and queen, because there are all different kinds of people in this world.” Some Sanford residents a local news agency interviewed did not approve of the gay couple’s crowning, though none agreed to go on camera — out of concerns that their comments might offend someone.

The matter is expected to be brought up by interested citizens at an upcoming school committee meeting. Committee Chair Mark Lucier stated that the school is gathering information on the election, and that the committee may decide if it needs to address the future selection of prom kings and queens.



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March 18, 2011

British electronica band Faithless to separate

British electronica band Faithless to separate

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Friday, March 18, 2011

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Faithless, an electronica band from the United Kingdom, have made the announcement that they are to separate at the end of their current tour. Their current tour is expected to conclude at the O2 Academy, Brixton on April 8, 2011.

Cquote1.svg After 15 years and six albums I think we’ve probably made our collective point by now and that it’s time to close the book and return to the library. Cquote2.svg

Maxi Jazz

In a statement, Maxi Jazz, a singer from the group said that “[a]fter 15 years and six albums I think we’ve probably made our collective point by now and that it’s time to close the book and return to the library.” The rapper commented explained that “[w]e’ve had, with our fans, the most unbelievable, epic and moving experience, stretching over years and tens of thousands of miles. Joyful, exhilarating and empowering, we never for a moment thought an affair could last this long.”

The group launched fifteen years ago. It consisted of three members, known as Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo Armstrong. Insomnia, God Is a DJ and We Come 1 are amongst the most famous muscial works that have been released from Faithless.



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December 20, 2010

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev win UK Strictly Come Dancing

Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev win UK Strictly Come Dancing

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Monday, December 20, 2010

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British actress Kara Tointon and her Russian dance partner Artem Chigvintsev have become the winners of the latest series of the BBC Television programme Strictly Come Dancing. The pair won the dancing show on Saturday, leaving British television presenter Matt Baker and his Kazakhstani dance partner Aliona Vilani in second place.

Cquote1.svg It’s just the most special thing that I’ve ever achieved. Cquote2.svg

Kara Tointon

Bookmakers had considered this dancing duo to be the most likely to win the series. Meanwhile, Australian actress Pamela Stephenson finished in third place along with her British dance partner, James Jordan. It was ultimately a public vote that determined the results.

Upon winning, Tointon proclaimed: “It’s just the most special thing that I’ve ever achieved.” In reference to Chigvintsev, she exclaimed: “I want to thank this man, he’s been absolutely wonderful.” Talking about the experience, she commented: “I’ve met the most fantastic friends in my life and this has been the most special experience for me.” Chigvintsev then declared to Tointon: “You’re amazing.” Baker described the dancing pair as “worthy winners, without any doubt”, saying: “If I was at home I’d be voting for you, too.”

Earlier in the final programme, Tointon and Chigvintsev had danced to the tune of Cry Me a River; the dance received the acclaim of the judges. “I would kill to be able to dance like that, I thought it was amazing,” Craig Revel Horwood exclaimed. Alesha Dixon commented: “I’m quite sad that that is the last dance we are going to see you do”. In reference to the pair, she added: “Together you are first class.” Bruno Tonioli remarked: “You danced to a level that we hardly ever see here. Whatever happens, this was incredible.”

Bruno Tonioli described Matt Baker as “very dashing and elegant”. Len Goodman believed that he was “an excellent ballroom dancer”. At one point, Palema Stephenson received a perfect score of 40 from the four judges for her Viennese Waltz. Tonioli branded the dance as “simply brilliant”. Revel Horwood used the word “remarkable” to describe that performance.



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September 7, 2008

Poland wins the 2008 Eurovision Dance Contest

Poland wins the 2008 Eurovision Dance Contest

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Edyta Herbuś, one of the winners

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Polish team of Edyta Herbuś and Marcin Mroczek have won the Eurovision Dance Contest 2008. The pair performed a version of the Rumba, Cha-Cha and Jazz Dance.

The pair were given 20 points by the jury and 134 points from the voting public with a total of 154. They were given the maximum 12 points by Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Russia came second with 121 points and Ukraine with 119 points.

This years contest was held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, Scotland. This is only the second Eurovision Dance Contest. The first contest was held at the BBC Television Centre, London. Three countries withdrew from the competition Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Azerbaijan debuted and came in 5th.



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September 1, 2007

Finland win first ever Eurovision Dance Contest 2007 held in London

Finland win first ever Eurovision Dance Contest 2007 held in London

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

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Tonight the first Eurovision Dance Contest was held in London. Sixteen countries entered with most of the participants coming from the regional versions of Strictly Come Dancing.

The participants and countries, listed in winning order, are:

Placed Country Dancers UK Voting Number Points
1 Flag of Finland
Finland || Jussi Väänänen & Katja Koukkula || 0901 522 20 16 || 132
2 Flag of Ukraine
Ukraine || Yulia Okropiridze & Illya Sydorenko || 0901 522 20 14 || 121
3 Flag of Ireland
Ireland || Nicola Byrne & Mick Donegan || 0901 522 20 10 || 95
4 Flag of Poland
Poland || Katarzyna Cichopek & Marcin Hakiel || 0901 522 20 11 || 84
5 Flag of Austria
Austria || Kelly & Andy Kainz || 0901 522 20 05 || 74
6 Flag of Portugal
Portugal || Sónia Araújo & Ricardo Silva || 0901 522 20 13 || 74
7 Flag of Russia
Russia || Mariya Sittel & Vladislav Borodinov || 0901 522 20 02 || 72
8 Flag of Germany
Germany || Wolke Hegenbarth & Oliver Seefeldt || 0901 522 20 06 || 59
9 Flag of Denmark
Denmark || Mette Elkjær & David Jørgensen || 0901 522 20 12 || 38
10 Flag of Spain
Spain || Amagoya Benlloch & Abraham Martinez || 0901 522 20 09 || 38
11 Flag of Lithuania
Lithuania || Gabrielė Valiukaitė & Gintaras Svistunavičius || 0901 522 20 08 || 35
12 Flag of the Netherlands

The Netherlands || Alexandra Matteman & Redmond Valk || 0901 522 20 03 || 34

13 Flag of Greece
Greece || Ourania Kolliou & Spiros Pavlidis || 0901 522 20 07 || 31
14 Flag of Sweden
Sweden || Cecilia Ehrling & Martin Lidberg || 0901 522 20 15 || 23
15 Flag of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom || Camilla Dallerup & Brendan Cole || 0901 522 20 04 || 18
16 Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland || Denise Biellmann & Sven Ninnemann || 0901 522 20 01 || 0

Greece didn’t air the show live, and the points given out were decided by a jury of Greek experts. Despite France not taking part, the show was broadcast in English and French. Graham Norton and Claudia Winkleman hosted at BBC Television Centre. Graham Norton kept the audience laughing throughout the show and also sent sent his consolations to both Greece, for their forest fires, and to Switzerland as they were heading for nil-points, which, in the end, they finished with. Despite Finland winning the 2008 Eurovision Dance Contest will also be held in London. If next year’s show is popular, the winning country will host the following year’s contest, Song Contest style!

See also

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February 20, 2007

Founder of the National Ballet of Canada dies at age 85

Founder of the National Ballet of Canada dies at age 85

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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Celia Franca, founder of the National Ballet of Canada and its training ground, the National Ballet School of Canada, died at age 85 Monday in Ottawa, Ontario.

She is reported to have died in an Ottawa Hospital and her cause of death is not known. She went to the hospital last week and stayed there until she had died.

“Celia was more than the National Ballet’s founder. She was its presiding spirit, its most stalwart supporter and the embodiment of its ideals and values,” said Karen Kain, the National Ballet of Canada’s current artistic director. “She inspired generations of dancers by her example and her devotion to the art of ballet. And most importantly, she made us believe in ourselves and that no goal was ever out of reach.”

Franca, born 1921 in London, England, came to Canada in 1951 to found the National Ballet of Canada. Franca choreographed ballets in Canada such as the famous “Cinderella” and “The Nutcracker.” She was artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada for 24 years.

In 1967, Franca was named an officer of the Order of Canada, then named a Companion of the order in 1985.

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November 11, 2006

Toronto and Rockettes kick into the records book

Toronto and Rockettes kick into the records book

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

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Starting at 5:00 a.m., nearly two-thousand Torontonians started gathering to kick up their heels.

A promotion for The Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which will be playing in Toronto throughout the holiday season, a chorus line of either 1,681 or 1,715 Toronto residents was formed. To break the record, the group successfully danced for five minutes non-stop.

The media has had conflicting reports about the number of kickers. The events organizers, Citytv program Breakfast Television, reported 1,249, while the Canadian Press suggested 1,681, and the Toronto Star counted 1,715. No matter the number, it beat the previous record of 1,151.

Carey Low of Guinness certified the record, and says it is very likely the record attempt will be included in the next publication of the Guinness World Records book.

Among those participating were Toronto mayoral candidate Steven LeDrew, 71-year-old Jack McKay and 72-year-old Dorothy McKay, both tap dancers, and Mississauga-resident Suresh Joachim, who personally holds 21 other Guinness records. Participant Jeanette Heller, 95-years-old, is the oldest living Rockette.

The record’s official title is “Longest Single Line of Dancers”.

Rockettes do 800 high kicks during every show, sometimes performing four shows a day.

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September 2, 2006

Wikinews interview with America\’s Got Talent finalists At Last

Wikinews interview with America’s Got Talent finalists At Last

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Saturday, September 2, 2006

Singing group At Last was recently a finalist in America’s Got Talent, covering songs like “Let’s Stay Together” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Talent was a NBC television series search for America’s next big talent, featuring singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other talents of all ages. The series was hosted by Regis Philbin, and judged by former tabloid editor Piers Morgan, singer Brandy, and actor/singer David Hasselhoff.

They talked to Wikinews about their group’s performances and the America’s Got Talent experience.

Interviews

Q: At Last performs “hip-hopapella” (hip hop a cappella). For those who didn’t see you on America’s Got Talent, how would you describe this sound?

A: Hip-hopapella was born out of a rehearsal when we were just messing around between songs. We were singing “Killing Me Softly” and harmonizing when Mike decided to throw in a beatbox, and it was like WOW… it was just magical and we knew right away we had discovered a new sound for us. Our producer came up with the name. Since then it’s really evolved into fat layers of harmonies over a hip hop style bassline and beatbox. We like taking old school songs and flipping it hip-hopapella style to create something recognizable yet fresh.

Q: The band has sung at concerts with many noted names, and on quite a few television series. Where in America have audiences been most enthusiastic?

A: We think we get the most enthusiastic responses in areas where there aren’t a lot of Asian people. For example, in the midwest or the south. At first, they have their typical stereotypes of what we are. All they see is William Hung. But then they hear these four Asian guys sing R&B, and they’re shocked. After the shock wears off, they realize they just like what they hear, regardless of the faces.

Q: How did At Last first form?

A: We all met at an audition, held by actress Ming-Na, and have been together for five years. Together with her, we have the goal of showing America and the world that Asian Americans love music too.

Q: Of your competitors, who was your personal favorite? (Any point in the competition, not just among the finalists.)

A: We loved Bobby Badfingers. He just had an incredible energy and has flat out the best showman in the competition. Backstage, he was so personable too. Actually everyone on the show was very friendly and open… we made a lot of new friends on that show.

Q: Who was your favourite judge?

A: It’s hard not to answer Brandy, because she had so much love for us, especially early on. But we have to go with Piers because of his honesty. Ultimately, his comments are the ones America respects the most.

Q: Overall, are you satisfied with the experience “America’s Got Talent” provided?

A: We’re very happy with our experience on the show. We got more exposure than we ever have before and we’ve made some great new friends and contacts. We got to show America who we are and what we can do, and even though we didn’t win, we’ve gained so much.

Q: What’s next for At Last?

A: We finished an album just before we started doing AGT, so we’re going to get back to promoting that and start touring.

External links

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

To find out more about At Last, visit their official site, www.atlastmusic.com/. You can “friend” them at MySpace: At Last, or keep current with their biweekly webcast on Youtube.

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September 1, 2006

Mario Lopez favored to win Dancing with the Stars

Mario Lopez favored to win Dancing with the Stars

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Friday, September 1, 2006

Mario López is favored to win the third season of American television series Dancing with the Stars, with 3:1 odds of winning, but close on his heels is actress Vivica Fox, with four-to-one odds. López is perhaps best known for his role on Saved by the Bell, and currently stars on soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Gambling site BetBet released odds on its website recently.

Monique Coleman (High School Musical), Joey Lawrence (Blossom), and Harry Hamlin (Clash of the Titans), each with six-to-one odds. Hamlin’s wife, Lisa Rinna, was a contestant in the second season of the series. Singers Willa Ford and Sara Evans each rank 8:1.

It is unknown how the firm decided the competitor’s odds; none of this year’s dancing has been previewed publicly, let alone for the press.

Dancing with the Stars enters its third season on September 12, at 8pm, with a two-hour season premiere. The series was a surprise hit for ABC, who added the program as a summer filler, with no large hopes for its success. Based on the British series Strictly Come Dancing, the series has been produced in 20 countries.

ODDS

  • 7:2 – Mario Lopez
  • 4:1 – Vivica Fox
  • 6:1 – Monique Coleman
  • 6:1 – Joey Lawrence
  • 6:1 – Harry Hamlin
  • 8:1 – Willa Ford
  • 8:1 – Sara Evans
  • 15:1 – Shanna Moakler
  • 15:1 – Tucker Carlson
  • 15:1 – Emmitt Smith
  • 30:1 – Jerry Springer

Sources

Wikinews
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