Last week another hopeful young
karaokeartist from Bruno's team bit the dust which narrowed the field down somewhat, but not nearly enough. Did we really need to go another week? Sigh. Carrie's team seems to be on a roll though. I guess all the half a dozen or so people who voted last week must really, really like her and want her team to win that mysterious “contract with Hollywood Records”. Drew says this week is the last week of voting and it will be “the biggest battle the dance floor has ever seen”. All I know is that my Monday nights will get a whole lot better after next week.
Dancing with the enemy
Drew, standing on his usual balcony spot, seems resigned to his fate. He announces that this is Latin Week. We also find out that another super talented individual will be sent home at the end of the show. Which would make me sad if I weren't so happy since this means that next week is the finale and we finally get to stick a fork into this whole Dance War thing. But before we can get to the good stuff, there are some group performances standing in our way.
First up is a collective effort to the tunes of Dance With Me by Debelah Morgan. I must admit this number kept me somewhat awake, which is more than I can say about most of the performances on this show. It had some decent dancing and the singing was good enough but I'm still mystified as to why they call these numbers group numbers. The guys are only there as background singers and to partner the girls. The audience goes wild at the end of their display and because I'm a mean, mean recapper, I choose to think it's because they're happy it's finally over.
Drew reiterates that the winning team will get a recording deal with Hollywood records. He keeps saying that, but what does it really mean? Are they looking for a 21st century co-ed 'Nsync or a completely new, yet to be named pop animal that will revolutionize dance and music as we know it? Either way, couldn't they have just given it to them instead of making us sit through all this? Because wasting our time seems to be of paramount importance to the creators of Dance War, tonight we'll have the pleasure of seeing a High School Musical stage tour performance as well. Yippee. After the obligatory introduction of Bruno and Carrie Ann amid loud audience cheering, we find out that Bruno is in a fighting mood and his team will deliver this week. He promises a steamy Cuban number followed by a “hip young Miami club” performance. Carrie laughs and vows to keep up the “good ole' team Carrie Ann style” but spin it Latin style. I'm not even going to ask a rhetorical question about what exactly is “good ole' team Carrie Ann style”, not even about how 4 weeks of anything can be considered old. No, I'm just going to let this one slide.
Swayed by the Conga
How do you reward a winning team? Carrie takes hers to a spa to relax and recharge. While cucumber eye patches and hand massages are all nice and good, Carrie has supposedly been dreading Latin Week from the get go because of all the hip action and concentration required. They will dance to Conga which is apparently considered a classic by Carrie. I consider it a crime against music, but to each his own. The kids rehearse in the studio, all the while lamenting on the difficulty and the seriousness of this week. Finally, the girls dressed head to toe in white and the boys in white suits with black shirts, they launch into their routine. While the guys dance on top of boxes in the back, the girls carry all the vocals as usual. Praise is effusive from Carrie and even Bruno graciously admits he enjoyed the performance.
After last week's disappointment Team Bruno was left shaken, not understanding why they lost again. I don't know, perhaps it might have had something to do with the fact that Team Carrie Ann was able to scrape up more family members willing to vote for them? Nevertheless, they're undeterred. While Carrie's team got to lounge at a spa, Bruno's kids selflessly donated their time at an LA outreach program for people with Down syndrome. It's a nice segment but a short reprieve for the Bruno team. It's soon back to the studio where they all learn that Bruno wants to tart up the proceedings demanding more sexiness and heat which makes Zach uncomfortable. This being Latin week there's really nowhere to go but the heat route and since the team is in dire straits, they need to use what they've got. Bruno declares that this is their most difficult number. Their routine is to Sway and while the dancing is tight at times the vocals seem week and breathy. Bruno gushes that they're a class act and that they've succesfully combined American Idol with Dancing With The Stars. I would have said it was more like So You Think You Can Dance mixed with Don't Forget The Lyrics, but I was not consulted. Carrie felt Philip was the standout but wanted more from Zach.
But before we can get to even more Latin night hotness, the cast of High School Musical is here to
provide some fillerentertain us with a lively number called We're In This Together. Oddly, their performance is not out of place on this show and finally it dawns on me that maybe Dance War is looking to manufacture its own High School Musical-ish ensemble. I'm still trying to figure out what is it that they're aiming for one week before the finale, which is not a good sign for them. If I'm confused, the other three people watching must be confused too.
You don't really need to know how to whine
Rehearsing for their second number, Carrie Ann's team are shown in the studio practicing their moves. We get to see such silly details as masking tape squares on the floor as visual aids and ballet barres to help the girls keep their turns in a straight line. If' you've ever danced, you know that this is all bordering on the ridiculous, but hey, the explanation is that Carrie only has two trained dancers on her team with the implication being that the others need all the help they can get. Qis, in particular, being a jock, has difficulty with some of the movements. Their number is set to I need to know and the stage is set with three big chain link fences and dramatic lighting. The team dances in couples around the fences and at one point handkerchiefs are used as props. Qis has a bit where he sits on a box and drums on it, thereby missing some of the dancing action. That's one way to solve a problem, Carrie. When it all ends, the audience whoops and hollers excitedly, as prescribed. Carrie feels they did good and they rose to the occasion. Bruno had trouble getting into the number and felt they didn't need the gimmicky handkerchief bit, calling it a Pavarotti-like move. I'm sure Pavarotti would not relish this homage.
In preparation for their last Latin number, Team Bruno's coach brings in a pinata, because nothing screams passion like whacking a paper party prop filled with candy till it breaks. However silly this idea is, the team eagerly smacks away at the shapeless paper mache lama. Or is that a sheep? After the party bit, the quartet is ready to move on to actual rehearsal and Bruno explains that he wants that Miami club flavor to come into their routine. However, before they can move on to the hot Miami flavor, a quick segment is cut in where all the team members wax sweetly about how nice it is to have their families in the audience supporting them. All except Philip whose family lives too far to make a trip affordable. Then lo and behold, Philip's mom is shown flying in to “surprise” him, thanks to some “close friends from church”. That friend's initials wouldn't be ABC by any chance would they? Lovely reunion ensues, but it's soon back to serious dancing business. The team knows that it's down to the wire and this is their last shot at winning.
Their last performance is set to Whine up. With such intelligent lyrics as “whine up, oh yeah, whine up, oh yeah/ let me hear you say whine up, oh yeah” this is a number that will haunt me for a while. The two girls start out dancing inside two big boxes but they soon move to the middle of the stage to show off some of those hot Miami club moves which consist of lots of hopping and skipping. I wonder which part was the hot club part... Philip's mom claps excitedly in the audience and Drew asks Bruno whether his team delivered. Bruno's answer is “We've set out to make a pop group, and this is a pop group”. Aha! So, it's a pop group they're aiming for. Finally an explanation, and not a moment too soon. Bruno chirps that they did everything they had to do. Carrie sweetly congratulates Bruno on his excellent effort.
Finally after a montage showing how hard the contestants work from 8am to 10pm every day, we're down to the elimination. It's about time. The teams are assembled on stage around their leaders and are ready to hear their fate. Drew announces that Team Bruno finally pulled off a win, prompting Bruno himself to kneel down on the stage crying. Carrie tears up as she realizes that she must dispatch somebody from her group. After some tearful praises she finally saves Qis, Mariel, Bradley and Elizabeth, leaving Alyssa and Chris to battle it out in a final performance. They take turns singing Julio Iglesisas' Hero. Alyssa sounds weak and unconvincing and it's a foregone conclusion when Carrie picks Chris who is a much better singer. Hey, I can be generous now that it's all over!
Going into the finale, while the playing field is not quite level, the voting this week has assured that we, I mean you, won't be watching a bloodbath after all. It will be more like a polite skirmish at the end of which Drew has threatened that a new “super group” will be crowned. Be afraid, be very afraid! As an added incentive to watch the finale, Drew quips that at the end of the show the new cast of Dacing With The Stars will finally be unveiled. While I would normally be interested in this kind of news, not even the prospect of finding out which annoying D-list rejects made it on Dacing could entice me to give up my vision of a quiet, Dance War-free Monday evening that has been floating before my eyes for at least two weeks now. The great Lildago will be here to give you all the scoop in a final demonstration of superhuman patience.