Now this is more like it! Grinding down to the final handful, our dance contestants have been all too serious of late. Thankfully (thank you, Recap Powers That Be!) Dancing With The Stars: Halloween edition scared up some cheez factor and a few laughs! So follow me, Guys and Ghouls, for this week’s performance episode of Dancing With the
Assorted zombies, vampires and ghouls filter in. And that’s just the studio audience! No, I’m kidding - it’s our Dancing With The Stars cast, and I’m thrilled they have all suited up for this shockingly special occasion. After all, DWTS falling on Halloween night is pretty rare! I wholly expected some respect shown for this Dia de los Muertos spectacular...and DWTS did not disappoint. There’s Joey and Edyta, dressed as Vampire and Vamp...Mo and Lo in goth gear, Cheryl and Emmitt are purple-tastic, and Mario and Karina as...bride and groom? Now that costume’s not fooling anybody! No matter though...our Scarrry judges more than make up for it! Even Tomantha are decked out Goth style. They could’ve been attendants at the My Fair Brady wedding, in black and deep, blood red. Samantha looks quite lovely. Her new, softer, curlier hairstyle and softer necklines suit her quite well. Tom does Goth proud in a black suit with blood-red silk cravat. Ghoulishly Great job all around, costumers.
So let’s start the fitful, frightful proceedings, shall we? Sam announces that this week, the four dance teams must each perform a ballroom and a Latin dance. Sam seizes upon the chance to howl and cackle like Lady Dracula (thanks, sound department, for the reverb). Tom just stands there, nearly comatose. Oh, I would’ve paid money to see his Renfield. Count and Countess Joeyta are up first. They vogue vampire-style for the closeup camera. I’m not sure if a guy can be scary when he’s from Studio City. I half expect his vampire impression to include (with Transylvanian accent) “I lahk bizzzkits...” but funny is more than OK too. After the last few overly serious weeks (exception: Jerry) funny is more than welcome.
Whoa! It’s the Addams Family
A short review of last week’s Singing in the Rain, with Joey in classic Gene Kelly inspired attire, and Eddy in one of her bikini togas. Then, they rehearse their Tango. It’s looking good even in rehearsal togs. This week’s human interest segment for Joeyta is: Surprise Guests! (We’re only missing a sitcom ‘ding dong’ doorbell) No, not Lenny and Squiggy. It’s Joey’s brothers (I know, because the caption says!) Matt & Andy. Both seem younger than Joey, and both have hair, so none of them really look alike. Actually, one of them looks and acts a lot like pre-bald (what’s with all the shaved heads these days? Mousse isn’t that expensive...) Howie Mandel. Eddy tries to take Matt or Andy through a Tango but he finds it too complex. Oh, it’s Andy. Okay. All too soon, Andy and Matt (who had no lines, not even a “Whoa!”) leave, and Joeyta continue with the serious business of dancing. I’m not sure what the preceding segment was about - but I guess if they do a sequel to Blossom, I can easily imagine Andy taking up the Whoas where big bro Joey left off.
Back in the live studio: Joey and Edyta begin their Tango posed back to back. Joey’s milking this vampire getup for all it’s worth already - one eyebrow raised. The studio orchestra begins the theme to “The Addams Family”. Perfect! Oh, except - does that make Joey, Uncle Fester? No matter - Joey and Edyta begin creeping along in a monsterlike way. Edyta makes sure to get in one of her
male audience favoritespatented Leg Raises (TM) and Joey gets in a lot of creepy crawly monstery hand movements. Hey, I’ll take Vamp Hands over Jazz Hands any day! Their routine has barely begun, and I’m loving it already. Very cute! Edyta could stand a bit more ‘acting’ in her routine...and she’s a tad limber for the snappish rhythm of this song. But Joey’s playing the H - E - double hockey sticks out of this routine. Edyta is working the heck out of her Morticia-length wig and vampish gown (remember Angelina Jolie winning her Oscar? Similar). Now they are Tangoing all over the stage. Joey’s leading well. His posture is also very good, which ought to please Len. Joey is also clearly having a blast, which is the advice he said Edyta gave him - “Monday night the work is done. Tuesday morning, wake up and think about having fun”. Whoa-y is creeping and crawling and showing his fangs all over the stage. The dance ends with Count Joey poised to sink his fangs into Edyta - upside down over his knee, cleavage showing...Perhaps reading the minds of every male audience member, Count goes in for the kill. The audience applauds. Well done, you two. Oh, and well done, orchestra and singers - great rendition of this campy classic.
Scores? Vampire Len tells Joey “Fanastic”. Goth Tom notes that Joey isn’t licking his lips - they agree it’s impossible with fangs (a good thing - Dracula would seem undignified, acting as if he just ate some KFC). Bone Rattler Bruno rolls out superlative after superlative, telling Fester and Morticia that they did a superb job of hitting all the staccatos of the “totally convincing” Tango, picked up all the musical nuances, and had great fun with the dance. I hope I didn’t miss anything, but I’m finding it hard to understand Bruno, speaking so rapidly with that Transylvanian accent of his. How nice was it of Bruno to unveil that little surprise for us all on Halloween? He sounds just like Count Count from Sesame Street. Matter of fact, he resembles him also. Well if he’s going to work that hard, on the accent, suit, and hairstyle, someone should have at least given him a cape. Oh, well. Bruno calls Joeyta the “King and Queen of Pastiche”. Hey, my favorite flavor of ice cream. Countess of Darkness Carrie Ann Inaba drools that Joey has always been “the best in ballroom” and has proven his worth tonight. Joey’s shoulders relax as he sighs in relief. (Do vampires sigh?) Countess Carrie says this Tango was the best she’s seen Joey perform, the most fun he’s had, and he “did a fantastic job”. Edyta looks elated, and Joey seems thankful almost to tears. This dance is one I’m already pegging for audience favorite and I hope it’s the one judges choose for a repeat performance on results night.
Only Geeks Eat Glass, Tom
Tombstone Tom cracks that Joey should have had a lightbulb in his mouth. “That would’ve sold it to me” says Tom. Was that a Nosferatu reference? Cool. Tommy Gun reminds us to tune in tomorrow for voting results. As Samantha Skellington interviews Joeyta backstage, not only Joey’s eagerness, but the way he unconsciously is still trying to lick his lips with such verve, is endearing. There’s something about the way this guy wants that disco ball trophy so badly, that brings out the Mama in me. But what would a Mama cook for a vampire? I’m O Positive it would not be a legal cookbook. But enough with the batty banter...let’s hear some score-age, shall we? Carrie Ann gives a 10, and Len and Bruno a 9, for a total of 28. Joeyta give each other an elated hug. A nervous Karina paces backstage behind Joeyta. Hey, that’s distracting, girlfriend! But then she is in a bridal gown next to Mario. I’d be nervous, too.
Mariolina are up next, and we see clips from last week. I’m not sure why they didn’t save the Marilyn Monroe costume for this week. Anyway, in rehearsal, Mario is talking about “mourning his love and saying goodbye for the last time” in this week’s dance. I have to hand it to Karina, who isn’t shy about giving Mario grief with some blunt appraisals. Mario pleads that he is not a professional and she should go easier with him. I don’t know who’s justified more so than the other, but it’s fun to watch them argue. Their weekly segment is always the most like a TeleNovela.
At one point, Karina is laid out on the rehearsal floor like a corpse - having just said “There is nothing left”.
Way to illustrate a point. Then again maybe she was just getting in the Halloween spirit of things? Karina has a mini-meltdown, and Mario comforts her. Save some drama for the performance, guys!
The main thing is sincerity. And if you can fake that...
In the studio, their Waltz begins with Mario placing a rose on the dance floor. Winsome strings play as the two slowly walk toward one another. Their waltz, complete with Karina’s costume - a cross between a wedding gown and Swan Lake - is romantic and graceful.A gentle female vocalist sings “We Are the Lucky Ones”. Mario and Karina dance, turn, twirl, in total sync. This isn’t just ballroom - it is a winsome, wistful ballet. Mario’s leading man is sad, and resolute. Karina, the petite swan, has great control and her motions are fluid. Mario is faring very well, showing her off without pulling all the attention. Perhaps Karina’s offstage theatrics have taught Mario to focus more on her? It works on stage, I’ll say that - this is the most blended and equal performance the two have shown, to date. Bruno deems it “a true fairy tale waltz” and says up until now, Mario has been “fiery and cheeky” but “tonight, you really were a romantic leading man, a total Prince Charming”. I concur - with dimples like those, perhaps Mario’s become too reliant on ‘being cheeky’. Toned down, he is so much more watchable - and a better dancer, I think, as well. In any case, Bruno loved it and that’s what Counts. Countess Carrie Ann is next, and as soberly as Bruno, sums up that “There was something very different about tonight’s performance. You felt very connected to your emotions, and you moved us all tonight - good job”. High praise from Carrie. Len continues the raves, “I never knew this side of you existed. I was so used to the Big Macho Mario, and this was so poignant, and beautiful. Well done Mario”. Karina is beaming so fiercely at Mario I’m surprised her smile isn’t cutting a laser-like hole through his head. She’s one happy dancer. Mario is oddly reserved, and I’m unsure whether he views these as backhanded compliments “What’s wrong with dimples and machismo?” or if he’s just been through the mill and is exhausted. In any case, this was a Waltz to be proud of.
Samantha asks Mario backstage about the softer side he showed tonight. Mario says he approached this dance “like an acting exercise” and “it’s easy to mourn, if you pretend Karina’s left your life”. Karina’s eye roll is priceless. Samantha praises the softness of the performance again, evoking a fear response in Mario. Mario, you’re macho, don’t sweat it. You can’t shake that off. What you need is contrast, not parody. Tonight’s judges’ raves ought to be a lesson. Yet, Samantha changes the word soft to “touching” and Mario smiles. Karina is still beaming from the judges’ comments...and blushingly agrees that “it’s very soft”. That’s not the way Samantha asked it, but moving along...Again, if Mario can stop working at being macho and handsome, and let those shine through on their own, he can work more on other attributes and the total result will have a much better impact on viewers. Trust me, Mario. I’m a Recapper. I know all. (hee) Anyhow - Let’s see how Soft the judges’ scores are. Mariolina receive a 9 from Carrie, 9 from Len, and a 10 from Bruno, the Fan of Prince Charming. This ties Mariolina thus far with Joeyta, with 28 each.
Monouis are up next, and after a quick review of last week’s performance (but not the part where Louis dropped Mo on her head - chivalrous, ain’t he?) we see Kenny Ortega drop by the rehearsal studio. Mo explains that Kenny choreographed and directed High School Musical (a film Monique starred in), he’s won an Emmy and he choreographed Dirty Dancing. Kenny brings Mo one of those cheap mixed bouquets supermarkets offer, and wishes her good luck. “We’re watching and voting” Kenny says. It’s unclear who “we” are. Either Kenny has a voting contingent we have yet to hear about or he has multiple personalities. I’m hoping for everyone’s sake it’s the former. Naw, I’m only joshing, Kenny. Mr. Ortega says that Monique not only has a lot of talent but a large humanity as well. DWTS lays this human interest segment on a bit thick by having Mo stop by Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. This isn’t even a performance appearance. Monique smiles and kneels. Children give her handmade drawings. I love that Mo’s doing something to cheer up those who need it most - but I have mixed feelings about serious segments on a frothy entertainment show such as this one. It could be construed as a cynical ploy for viewer votes. Really, I wish the show would do away with the human interest segments altogether, and let the stars be judged on their dance performances only. I also have a hunch that many people tune in to forget their troubles and the sad things of the world. There’s probably a reason we never saw hospital scenes in a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie. What’s wrong with wanting one’s heart to be light for 90 minutes a week? Nothing, I’d say.
The Story of Mo
In rehearsals, Monique seems to have two left feet. Louis says he would like to see judges reward Monique “For the difficulty level that I make her do”. I have the opposite opinion - rather than showcasing Monique’s strengths as a performer, Louis is showcasing his choreography. A very risky and foolhardy move, in my opinion - and also a somewhat selfish one. Monique’s challenge is already greater, since she has to do, in Ginger Rogers’ famous words “Everything he does, only backwards and in high heels”. The male stars must also perform, but in ballroom dance it’s usually the female whose steps are the most intricate, while the male basically shows her off. I’m not underestimating the skill involved on either side - but for Louis to add even more hardship to Monique’s already full dance card seems unwise or possibly cruel. It could also very well cost them the competition.
Regardless - it’s performance time. Lonique are decked out in goth glory. To Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” (raise your hand if you actually remember this song debuting on MTV), the undead duo prowl the stage with a Terrifying Tango. Mo & Lo circle one another, then join up for a very, I hate to say, unremarkable series of steps. The house band is doing a very nice job with the song, but it’s probably not a good sign for Lonouis that I’ve already begun to pay more attention to the background music than to the dance. At one point, Louis shakes Monique vigorously - what, he didn’t get in enough violence last week, with the head-drop? The studio audience cheers some quick-paced fancy footwork on LoMo’s part as they chug across the floor - but I fear it’s not enough. The prior two pairs have raised the Stakes pretty high (Vampire humor - har! Nevermind...).
A tactful Carrie Ann Inaba tells Monique that she “respects” her “ambition” and calls Mo the ‘gutsiest’ dancer in the competition. However, Carrie Ann says, “I think tonight you overreached yourself. I think the choreography was beyond your capabilities”. Carrie also said that the short dress Mo wore allowed her to see all of Mo’s footwork and “there were a few stumbles”. Well, Louis, you may have just choreographed your way into a Gutsy Graveyard. Judge Len praises the passion in the dance and said “It was an extremely difficult routine”. Len, in a wise analogy, educates Mo and Lo that “It’s not like diving. If you do one spin great, that’s good. If you do two spins and fall over, that’s bad”. Len seems genuinely heartbroken to have to tell Monique this. Louis possibly looks a bit chastened...as the teacher and choreographer, and the professional between the two, he very well should. Len finishes his comments by telling Monique to take her foot off the gas a bit (by now Louis is nearly in tears, so I think Len stepped off blaming him, perhaps) because “it’s not about how difficult it is, it’s how you look”. Bruno notes the “aggression and arrogance” that were visible on stage (of course - Louis was there) but agrees with “the other judges, sometimes less is more”. “If it had been slightly easier, it would’ve been better”. Then, Carrie and Bruno say in unison “We want to see more of you”. Well, Louis, I’d say the judges have spoken loud and clear. If you two are still around next week, I hope the routine reflects this lesson. And by the way, I have to hand it to the judges (using a hand left over from Joeyta’s ‘Addams Family’ routine? Thing?? Where are you?) for actually giving constructive criticisms to every pair this week. The audience being more civil may have allowed this, as now they don’t have to feel compelled to pander or be drowned out by Boos. (Although if there were ever an appropriate night for Booing, I guess Halloween would be it.) It’s really good to hear the judges’ forthrightness, and so, for the audience to possibly learn something about dance and performance from them all. The scores come in: 8 from Carrie, Len and Bruno, for a 24 total.
Even Gone With The Wind had an intermission
Almost halfway, readers! Emmitt and Cheryl are up next. This week, the secret about Cheryl’s family background is revealed - she’s an heiress! Emmitt shows his shock as Cheryl ushers him to a rehearsal space “at home” - this rehearsal studio just happens to be a ballroom, complete with inlaid floor and huge chandeliers. Cheryl is nonchalant about all these trappings. She has been fairly laid back about her family’s wealth all these weeks, as well. As it should be - that wasn’t what was important in this competition. Still, I can think of heiresses who make a living flaunting family wealth and background and who do little else. Let’s just say Cheryl’s humility is the anti-Paris Hilton. They rehearse this week’s Fox Trot and Rumba in Cheryl’s enormous mirrored ballroom. Next, we see the two perform last week’s dance, in costume, for a charity event. I’ve been saying that stars should use their dance abilities for charity and this is the type of thing I had in mind - Emmitt and Cheryl perform at a fundraiser. This type of segment is more in keeping with the entertainment aspect of Dancing With The Stars, and I’m all for it. It’s also more than nice to know that Emmitt is joining this show somehow to raising funds for charity. The socialite crowd loves Chermitt’s performance just as much as judges and viewers did last week, and they cheer. “Charity work is something I enjoy doing, plus, I get a chance to see my old buddy Jerry Rice.” Emmitt says that Jerry inspired Emmitt to try for DWTS.
Bam! Kicking Witchcraft up a notch
Okay, still here? Emmitt and Cheryl begin their Fox Trot to a Sinatra-esque rendition of the song “Witchcraft”. Cheryl is in a lovely purple gown with a slightly flamenco feel. Emmitt is in a tux with tails, adorned with matching purple shirt and tie. Em’s having a lot of fun with this Fox Trot. Cheryl is partnering him well - she is graceful and buoyant and allows Emmitt to take center stage with his little wiggles, and quirks. However, Len criticises Emmitt that he should not confuse Latin dance with ballroom, and there were only about four bars where his technique was right. This provokes the audience to Boo loudly. Well, as I said, it’s Halloween. Boo away. Bruno immediately falls back into his bad habit of catering to the audience (was he a gladiator in a past life and fears the thumbs-down?) and disagrees emphatically with Len. “You can’t disagree with the facts! There was no hold!” Len rebuts. Bruno praises Emryl’s performance as “a creative interpretation” and “bewitching, perfect for tonight”. Len and Bruno bicker over their different opinions until Carrie Ann is forced to wave her hand between them and urge “Stop”. Carrie Ann then says that since it’s so close to the finals, “I’m gonna get nitpicky”. Bruno apparently tries to throw something at her, prompting Tom the Terrorised to say “Bruno, be good”. “Halloween’s got the better of him” Carrie Ann graciously allows. As Emmitt grits his teeth for the criticism, Carrie warns him to watch his arms, and to pop his moves more. She says he was amazing last week and has already proven himself, but to watch and be careful. “I wanna see it go up a notch” Carrie concludes. The judges scores wing their batty way - Carrie and Len give Cheryl and Emmitt an 8, and Bruno saucily announces a 9. Chermitt’s total is 25 - so far based on judges’ scores alone (which of course, is not the way this show works - audience votes equal half of the final sums) Emryl are among the bottom two teams.
And all this time we thought she was a hoofer
Tom’s joke bears repeating: “What you don’t realise is, we do the show every week from Cheryl’s guest house.” Cheryl’s mansion, what we saw of it, really was stunning. A dancing heiress - now that is right out of a classic Hollywood musical. Nice job, Central Casting! There just isn’t enough Busby Berkeley in the world any more. Actually a movie along those lines might be a good idea. I’m betting the upcoming Dancing With The Stars live tour will be a hit. People really do crave light entertainment these days. In Hollywood’s Golden Age, they had nationwide financial ruin and later, a World War to cheer people up about. But I’ll venture that modern times have nothing less than an existential crisis to pull people away from. A tall order for a few dancers, but why else is this Tv show such a hit? In my opinion, people are craving an escape - via sequins and capezios is perfectly allowable .
To fill some time (why is this show still 90 minutes, with four teams left?) a mini documentary about a photo shoot...well...shows us the stars having their photos taken. “I love a photo shoot” Monique admits. DWTS, this isn’t what I meant when I said light entertainment. There’s light and there is a Twinkie with the filling missing. But, okay, we get to see some more pretty costumes, and people having their makeup done. Still, this is probably where many viewers took a bathroom break. Feel free to do the same here. But then you might miss reading about Mario guesting on Extra! or Joey, wife and baby shopping for Halloween pumpkins. “We also have lives” Emmitt says. We assumed so, but again, I’d rather just see the tinsel and leave the rest to the press coverage. Mo and Lo are making an appearance at a benefit for pediatric AIDS, a great cause. But, at least Monique is mixing entertainment with her appearance (if they’re putting it on this show, I just want it to be entertaining - not too much to ask, right?), as she is going in a black cat costume, as well as performing (which, oddly, we’re not shown). We see Mario downing a sandwich while memorising lines (for some other show) in the dance rehearsal studio. Well, if the show is trying to tell us the stars do fit charity work in while maintaining a hectic schedule, point well taken. I am glad to hear this is the case. But I still hope in future we get to sit back and be dazzled (or bewitched, bothered and bewildered, in honor of tonight’s Halloween episode) by fluff.
So, These Two Vampires Creep Into a Leather Bar...
Can a vampire Paso Doble? We’re about to find out! Joey and Edyta, in strange costumes that can best be summed up as biker leather vampire gear, pose vampily on top of the mini staircase. Edyta’s skirt and Joey’s cape are quickly turned with flamenco-type flair, as The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” is sung by the house band. Joeyta whirls and twirls around each other. Joey takes Edyta’s hand, and she sits on the floor for - yes! - a Vampire Swiffer Swirl. Oh, Joeyta. I love you. Biker Goth Vamp Joey struts away from floorbound Edyta, and she grabs hold of the leather cape trailing behind him. Vampire biker Eddy grovels and crawls after him. This is a very strange routine. Joey is camping it up though, which I appreciate (would I watch reality Tv if I didn’t?) and Edyta’s grin shows she’s having a great time onstage also. Team Joeyta’s scores may suffer from several moves being similar to their first dance - but my bet is that many audience members won’t care - they’ll be too entranced with staring at Edyta’s costume. Leather bustier, hot pants and thigh-high boots - enough said. Joey and Edyta dance toward their home stretch, each dragging themselves by alternating knees across the dance floor. It’s Swiffer move, kneecap version. The audience loves it, or the men are cheering Edyta’s legs, I’m not sure which. Their Devilish Doble finishes with Joey gently pushing Edy onto the ground, where she tumbles and turns and twists on her backside. Good, the floor is nice and clean now. Joey poses with a flourish, and that’s it for this pair this evening. Bruno’s first judge comment is for Edyta’s appearance - “Drop dead gorgeous”. Bruno also praises that these two are having fun onstage together. Carrie echoes this and adds that Joey should be careful about his posture; he’s leading with his chest, and forgetting about his hip placement. Len didn’t like Joey’s arms and thought the beginning of the Doble was “a little messy” - but Len also can’t resist praising Edyta’s costume. “You should wear that every week” he almost pleads. I’m sure most of the male audience agrees. Now for the scores - Carrie gives Joeyta a 9, Len an 8, and Bruno a 9, for 26 points total on their second dance. This brings them to a total of 54 out of a possible 60. Backstage, Sam asks Eddy if she felt sexy onstage in that costume. Ed says “No; I just tried to have fun, and do something different”, prompting Joey to lightly mock her: “This old thing?”. Joey also says he found the Doble difficult. He says he wants to “go all the way” - even says it twice. I think the men at home are thinking the same thing - but not about the dance contest.
Someone teach her how to Drag
Mario and Karina’s second performance is a Samba. Not learning from last week’s bad wig experience, Karina is in a cheap-looking light brown short bob. She’s also wearing a glittery, gold Harlequin mask with a hot pink dance costume. I’m not sure what Karina’s Halloween costume is supposed to be. A cruise ship dancer? Mario is in Emmitt’s basic outfit: black pants, brown shirt (he’s only missing the vest). So where does the hot pink fringe come into it? This costume choice is very confused - even discordant (the color combo hurts my eyes). It even distracts somewhat from their dance. Their Samba is perfectly capable, and the band’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” is also. Maybe I’m tiring out (as you must be, if you’ve read this far!) but their Samba is putting me to sleep. The Samba is known (I expertly looked it up on the show’s website) as “the party dance”, and they don’t have much party pop left in them. Perhaps it’s the somber nature of their first dance (Mario in mourning for an imaginary lost love), or perhaps they’re even more exhausted dancing these things than I am writing about them...(ya think?) but these two are too pooped to pop. So their fizzle has momentarily ran out. Mariolina hit all the dance requirements, and their final pose is saucy, but, it suffers by comparison to their earlier, stellar round. Carrie Ann definitely doesn’t think the same way: Her Wooooot! is so loud and long that Len glares aghast at her, and Bruno chuckles. Carrie praises their changeover from the earlier tone, and rates this Samba “Wonderful. Perfect”. Len agrees somewhat with Carrie - he says they sold it, and the “lovely choreography” had the basic steps in abundance, which he enjoyed. However, he pins down the fact that while the individual steps were accurate, the dance ‘all together’ lacked something - spontaneity and naturalness. Upon hearing Len’s critique, Bruno waves his arms wildly in an “Oh No He Di’n’t” and the audience roars its disapproval. Poor Len-da Blair. He’s only doing his job.
Bruno loudly disagrees (or continues disagreeing), but Carrie backs up Len’s assessment and says that usually Mario is spontaneous, but “not tonight”. Ooh, judges throwing down! Maybe Karina’s awful costume is what has agitating them? Tom the Terrible tattles, “To all you kids sucking down Halloween candy - that’s what a sugar crash looks like.” This effectively breaks the tension and the judges all giggle. Bruno imposes his opinion over the silence (after politely asking permission, I admit) and shouts: “Supersonic! Supercharged! Super Mario is at it again!”. Either Bruno is trying to become Mario’s new Best Friend Forever, or Nintendo just found a new ad slogan. Bruno’s overpraising just a tad, but maybe he’s lonely. Long distance charges home to Karpathia must be a bear.
After an hour long or so commercial break, the scores are in: Cackling Carrie Ann and Baneful Bruno shout out a 10, and Len Chaney a 9, for a 29 total. Amazingly, this is the best score tonight. Samantha and Mario attribute the high score to Karina’s wig. Oh, say it isn’t so. Next week she’ll show up as ‘Little Orphan Annie’. Anyway, this high score means this pair is tonight’s judges’ darlings with a two-dance total of 57 out of a possible 60. Monique and Louis are up next, and I think I spoke too soon about horrid costumes making my eyes hurt and distracting from a performance. Team Lonique are standing on stage in appalling, blah-grey mechanics’ overalls. Huh?? The fabric is the color of the armadillo groom’s cake from Steel Magnolias. A camera closeup reveals that Mo is even chewing gum. Huh?? again. Adding to the confusion, Louis removes Mo’s coverall as if he’s unveiling a work of art. Lo, there’s nothing sexy about a grey coverall. Mo’s costume underneath is a chartreuse satin one-piece shorts outfit with silver accents. This may well be the worst costume of the season.
Pardon Me Ma’am, is there a ghoul in your carburetor?
More confusion: They are Cha Cha-ing to the theme from Ghostbusters. Okay, I get that it’s a Halloween theme night, but still. If the song makes no sense and the costumes are confused, it’ll be an uphill battle; and these two are already up to their ears in mountain climbing equipment, if you know what I mean. Lo and Mo aptly perform the individual steps, but my thought here is the same as with Mariolina’s second dance: The oomph is missing. You know what else? Louis is a bit creepy - and not in that fun “It’s Halloween” way. I can’t quite put my finger on it - and I don’t think I want to. He’s just off-putting in some intangible way. As for Monique, maybe it’s the show’s grinding schedule, or maybe it’s the four inch heels she has to perform in - but she seems so tired she’s practically stumbling out some of her steps. My hunch is that Louis may have overworked her, overchoreographed her, or perhaps he read her some of his inspirational haikus before the show and put her to sleep. Whatever the case, it looks like Tense SloMo and soon,Time OhNo for Team LoMo. This bizarre “Cha Cha” has a fittingly creepy ending (because it’s Louis, not because it’s Halloween) with Louis nearly throwing Mo down, then wrapping his leg around her and sitting on top of her hip. Many of tonight’s dance duos ended with a vampire bite, but Louis’ version is more of a mugging. I expected more from a man whose namesake is the lead figure in an Anne Rice novel.
Something must not have translated by camera, because the studio audience and judges seem to have loved it. Huh?? again...but Len says this Cha Cha had “flair, speed, rhythm...I loved that New Yorker section over there” (MoLo drew a Roz Chast cartoon on stage?). “It was fantastic” Jack O’ Lantern Len concludes. Louis nudges Monique like a high school boy with a crush. Bruno is next: “That was cha-cha-charming, Monique!”. (Were these two watching the dance, or her hot pants?) “Cheeky, happy, and bright” Bruno concludes. Well, I guess that answers that. Carrie offers half hearted praise: “You usually are so stomping and fierce; tonight there was something gentle in your footwork. Good job.” My personal feeling is that the judges know Mo is on her way out and want to send her off with some respect. I’m beginning to wonder whether a female amateur can ever win this competition, but I’m getting ahead of myself there. For now: the judges say this: Carrie a 9, and Len and Bruno give Mo’s
hotpantsCha Cha a perfect 10. Louis is happy: It’s the first 10 he has received on the show in three seasons, he says. Louis bows to the audience, and Mo does a type of celebratory Crunking. “Nice comeback”, Thomas Tarantula says sincerely.
Well, it’s not quite the shower scene from Carrie, but...
Emmitt and Cheryl have apparently given up on the Halloween theme for the evening (not me - I may have a few more bad puns up my keyboard!), at least costume wise - as they appear all in white at the top of the mini-stairs. Cheryl has a white lace form fitting gown and Emmitt is in a casual white shirt, white pants, brown belt (?) outfit. They begin a Rumba with a slow, snaky walk down the steps. Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” is their song. Cheryl spins into Em while also going into a kneel, miscalculates and ends up with her hand squarely on Emmitt’s crotch. Someone in the audience whoops, but to Emryl’s credit they just cooly keep going. The Rumba is supposed to be flirty but I doubt that’s part of the dance manual. Cheryl incorporates a few Edyta-ish leg lifts, but not as conspicuously. The back slit on Cheryl’s costume serves this type of step well, however. The gown also has a cut-out back which extends to one side, again giving Cheryl more of a waist curve than she normally has. I’m only trying to say that this type of cut is more flattering on her than a very bulky, solid line. The cut-out back also lends an earthy sensuality to the dance, especially every time Emmitt puts his hand on her bare back. In fact, the dance is so hot, both Cheryl’s earrings pop off at the end! That’s some Rumba that can accomplish telekinesis. Call Tobe Hooper! Well, it is Halloween - a performance Poltergeist would not be so out of the ordinary. And Cheryl, if that was a planned special effect - brilliant. (Why do I feel like now, the male audience will be rooting for the same to happen to Edyta’s bikini toga (TM)?)
Judges’ comments: Bruno, the self-styled (re: his DWTS blog) “nice judge” gives Emmitt kudos for his “Hip action” and says “The women at home must all be fainting”. Well, only if they’ve lasted through tonight’s show without a snack break, Bruno. Even watching this thing requires carbing up. “You really know how to play a woman; no one can teach you a thing” Bust A Move Bruno admires. I’ll agree the Rumba was steamy - once Chermitt had their subtle giggle over the inadvertent crotch grab. And yes, Em did give those hip wiggles his all, come to think of it. Hmm. Yes, not bad for an end of the evening performance. Carrie Ann must’ve felt the heat wave also, because she offers to “switch positions” with Cheryl. Cheryl and Emmitt, holding hands until now, look in opposite directions like two embarrassed school kids. It’s kind of cute. Carnivorous Carrie goes on to praise the pair’s chemistry, telling Emmitt “The men want to dance like you, the women want to dance with you”. That’s a cleaner version of an old show-biz test for stardom (Does a performer have it all?). Len praises the duo also: “The whole routine had class written over it”. Yes it did. And now that we know Cheryl’s a bona fide heiress, we know why! Although money does not equal class, it must be said. In her case, she brings the poise and sensibility that old Hollywood films cherished in her social circles (unless it was a Marx Brothers movie, but Cheryl in no way resembles Margaret Dumont). “Fantastic,” Len concludes. Sam asks Emmitt if he’s ready to go home (nice pall to cast over things, Sam - oh, I get it! Halloween - pall - you did it on purpose. Okay). Emmitt replies that he’d be extremely disappointed, after having spent 14 days away from his family, and taking time away from his job and putting so much work in to this show. Continuing her tactless tack, Sam asks Emmitt which other two teams he’d like to compete with in the finals. Emmitt demurs, saying all the teams worked hard and are deserving. Sam wisely cuts to the judges, and their scores are: Carrie = 9; Len = 10 (“I wish I could give an 11” he says as the audience erupts in cheers); and Bruno = 10. Bruno shouts out his score triumphantly. Oh, playa playa. Cheryl and Emmitt are of course very happy; Cheryl gives Care Bear a big hug. Team Emryl’s combined score for tonight is a 54 out of 60.
Even the Undead Don’t Last as Long as this Recap
“Closing the lid on this coffin full of fun” to quote Tom, let’s have a look at the “leader board of doom” (I think I’ll stop writing recaps and just steal all of Tom’s lines).
1st Place - Mario and Karina with 57
2nd Place (Tie) - Joey and Edyta
Emmitt and Cheryl - both with 54
3rd Place - Monique and Louis one point short with 53
And that’s it - stick a stake in this Recap, before the ghosts of bad puns past return to haunt us! Tune instead to tomorrow night’s show - or Recap, if you missed the Wednesday results episode - when this show’s very special guests will include Il Divo (a group of male opera singers - think “if Pavarotti were buff, and managed by Simon Cowell”) and a surprise former DWTS castmate. And now if you’ll pardon me, I have pumpkins to smash. But thanks for reading this far...it’s been frightfully fun covering this edition of Zombie Line Dancing with the Stars. So long until tomorrow, dance fans, and so long until next year, Halloween. See ya!
I wrote this Recap in a Wonder Woman costume. Is that so wrong? Brandy@fansofrealitytv.com