This telecast, full of little jokes and surprises everywhere, I tell ya! So this week marks the first regular week of the competition; sorry, we’ll have to make do with only three hours of broadcast glitz instead of five. And this is the first time we’ll get to size up all of our marginally famous in marginal areas crew at once. I can feel your excitement through the screen!
Can I Bend Your Ear for a Tick?
Everyone files out and tries to look snazzy in their costumes – most thoroughly failing at that this week are Melissa and Mark in head-to-toe Minnie Mouse polka dots. Minnie knew that polka dots were best as an accent only. Keep that in mind next time, y’all.
Samantha gets the night a-going with an introduction of our guest judge. As you recall from last week, Earl Grump has been called away to London for the week. Sitting in for him is Baz Luhrman, a name you probably know from Moulin Rouge, but which you should instead know from Strictly Ballroom, both because it’s a way better movie and because it has much more to do with ballroom dancing, which is in fact relevant to the show at hand. Take note of that and file it away, Quentin Tarantino. Baz says he’s going to be concentrating most on performance aspects of the dances.
Tina Sparkle Motion
There are still a million couples left, so luckily we’re jumping right into said dances. Up first are Joanna and Derek. By virtue of not pissing off Len, Joanna led the field last week and came away with the highest score, so she and Derek are feeling a bit of pressure to dominate again with the jive. Joanna has a bit trouble keeping up the speed, but she’s determined to come out and have “a blast.”
If by “a blast” she means enough extra hair to outfit a Pussycat Dolls tour, then she is on a roll. The hair is all in service of their wild rocking aesthetic; it’s accompanied by lots of black and white fringe and rhinestones -- the overall effect is something like a naughty mop. Derek participates in the theme with a black pleather jacket. Their jive to “What I Like About You” is really frenetic. The song is super-fast, and Joanna has her mouth open like an idiot the entire time so forgive for running a bit out of breath and getting her kicks tangled sometimes. Or, you know, don’t forgive her. Judgy Judgingness, Mayor of Judgment City.
Our real judges concur: Carrie Ann she went for the dance with gusto, but her feet were sloppy and out of control at times. Bruno says he sees her “thrrrrrriving” on this show, but that her flicks and kicks weren’t precise. The adorable Baz chooses to ignore all of that and comment on the relationship between Joanna, Derek, and the dance and says the connection between them all was lacking.
Backstage, Samantha gets Joanna to say yet again that her nerves were wracked coming in to this week. Scores: 6 from Carrie Ann, 7 from Baz, and 6 from Bruno for a total of 20.
Leave Me Breathless
“Queen of the Chlorine,” as Tom dubs her, Natalie Coughlin is up next with Alec. Natalie didn’t make much a splash last week, so they’re on the lookout for any ways Natalie can shape up her skills. One biggie appears right away in their quickstep rehearsal; Alec discovers Natalie has been holding her breath during the dance because, I don’t know, she’s never lived on land before or something. He teaches her breathing techniques more appropriate for dancing, and now we get to see them in action.
Their quickstep (to an atrocious rendition of “I Want You Back”) starts off a little slow to my eyes; very little quick stepping. But when the quick stepping finally happens, Natalie looks great at it in her long lavender gown. Props to Alec for the white vest and slacks combo too.
The judges are overall pretty please with the performance, while picking pickled peppers. Bruno exclaims, “There’s a buzz! in this room, and you’re part of it!” He is a living, breathing feather boa. He cautions Natalie to let go and relax more. Baz agrees and says he could tell she was tense, but when she relaxed in the second half she lit up the room. CA pronounces Natalie her favorite competitor, and says she should get used to thinking of Alec as an extension of herself. Wow, constructive advice with no nitpicking. I guess Natalie really is Carrie Ann’s favorite. Hard-hitting Backstage Reporter Samantha asks Natalie if she breathed during the dance. No, Samantha. She collapsed and then disintegrated. This is her ghost you see before you. Just like in The Sixth Sense! When that’s over, Natalie gets her scores: triple 7s.
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
Little anecdote. In attempting to get a male friend of mine to watch with me this week, I told him there was a wrestler on. That didn’t do much to convince him, but he watched anyway, and when Chuck came on he said, “Chuck Liddell is not a wrestler. He’s a cage fighter.” “How is that different from wrestling?” I asked. “It’s not fake.” So at this time I’d like to apologize to Chuck.
This week, he and Anna Trebunskaya must dance the tango. Their rehearsal footage is all about Chuck mastering the intensity of the tango. His
wrestlercage fighter snarls and attitude seem tailor made for this dance, and Anna tries to cater to his sensibilities by working some fightery type stuff into their number. Meanwhile Chuck gets new tattoos on his scalp. I think one is a lightning bolt.
And then they dance the tango! To “Seven Nation Army.” And at this time, I’d like Chuck to apologize to me. No, just kidding. It wasn’t that bad. They’re all in black, and Chuck has his game face on, and he really looks like he’s giving it his all, bless him, but he’s just not that graceful. The judges agree with me. Baz says he doesn’t know what Uncle Len would say, but he loved seeing him out there feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Carrie Ann says she was a little frightened during the whole, but their dance had a lot of impact, which is a good thing. Bruno says the tango was “savage and primeval,” and he could tell Chuck worked very hard on the dance. Aw. Everybody’s rooting for him. Me too. Scores: 6 from CA, yet another 7 from the lovely Baz, and 6 from Bruno for 19.
Spot, in the Name of Love
Melissa was guilty of freaking out a tad from nerves last week, and Bruno’s ghoulish giggling didn’t help. This week she’s trying to play it loose, and taking it a little too far as most of the rehearsal footage is her giggling and goofing off. She and Mark are dancing jive to “Having Me Some Fun Tonight” in the aforementioned red and white polka dots, and she manages to pull the moves off a lot better than she did in rehearsal. Which is to say she actually made it through the moves, although her legs were all over the place during the kicks. Her face definitely looks like she’s having her some fun though, so points to her for keeping in the theme of the routine.
Carrie Ann begins; she was worried about Melissa last week because she was so “beige,” but this week she was “bright red in spots.” I don’t know where you got that metaphor from, but nice job Carrie Ann! Baz liked the obvious joy, but cautions her to work on her precision. Bruno, I don’t even know. Backstage Melissa explains (ahaha) that the waltz was a bit stiff, but she felt free to have a lot more fun in the jive. The judges’ approval of her joy doesn’t really show in their scores: 7-6-6 for 19. It is Dancing with the Stars though.
Well, That Was Unexpected
Michael Irving kind of bombed but not as much as you’d think from his scores last week. This week he’s all about making it up to his partner Anna Dimidova. And she’’s all about doing a better job catering to his strengths. So we’re agreed that everybody sucked, but this week’s quickstep will be better.
This week’s costuming certainly is. I love their coordinating hot pinkness and Michael’s sharp gray suit. They quickstep to “Too Darn Hot” and are much better than last week. Michael is still no Jerry Rice, but he’s no slouch either. He moves across the floor pretty well and seems to really be in the dance, which is a pretty big accomplishment for the second week. He finishes with a very adorable thumbs up and grin toward the camera. As for the judges, Bruno gives the thumbs up to the choreography and says he appreciated the additional content this week. Baz calls Michael a natural performer although he does point out that noticeable tic Michael has of sticking his tongue out while dancing. Aw. It just means he’s concentrating really hard.
And it turns out my DVR has swallowed huge chunks of the show, namely Michael’s Carrie Ann’s thoughts on Michael, his scoring session, and backstage interview. Curse you, U-Verse! From what I gathered through alternative means, he and Anna earn 7s from Carrie Ann and Baz, and a 6 from Bruno for a total of 20.
Listen To The Rhythm; Don’t Be Scared
When my recording cuts back in, Debi and Maks are out on the floor doing their tango. (And I am shaking my fist menacingly at AT&T, just so you get the complete visual.) A horrible version of “Roxanne” is their soundtrack, and everything is Moulin Rouge inspired. It also seems very short, but for all I know I missed a full minute. Debi looked a little jerky during the turns, but overall I think the routine went well. Baz of course says he loved the song, and thought that the love/hate story really came across. CA calls Debi a drama queen, and says she worked it on the dance floor. She also notes that Debi’s arms and neck are a little long, which makes them edit their holds sometimes, but it works. Bruno says Debi is a “feisty ball-breaker” (Debi: “What?”), and thinks she was good but can be better when she completely relaxes. Backstage, Samantha says their pre-existing love/hate relationship helped them out, and Debi and Maks agree. Then they get triple 7s for blackjack. Not bad.
A Bit of Musicality, Please!
Oh my Lord, there are still like a million couples left to dance. Next up are people I forgot were even on here: skateboard guy Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower. Louie impressed the judges last week, and he hopes his and Chelsie’s youthful exuberance will be just as impressive as they tackle the jive. They’re not very interesting in rehearsal, but we’ll see.
Turns out that youth is best conveyed by them wearing leather jackets and Louie doing snowboardy flips . They’d better be glad DANCMSTR isn’t here. When it’s finally quickstep time, Louie does all right with the steps, though he seems to be thinking his way through them. He needs to get the music in him.
Carrie Ann loved Louie’s energy, but advises him to listen more to the music, just like I just said! Bruno thinks Louie’s trying to coast on being cute and loveable, but Baz on the other side of the coin thinks that loveableness is appealing and talks about joy some more. He scores 6-7-6 for yet another 19.
Most Sensational, Celebrational, Inspirational, Muppetational
Continuing my personal parade of “Oh yeah, he’s on here too,” is former teen idol Aaron Carter, dancing with Karina. Aaron topped the men’s leader board last week, so he’s also feeling pressure to keep up the pace. That must be leading to those tense moments of frustration during rehearsal. That, or they’re both just seriously frustrating people.
They drew tango this week, and before you can say “I wish I were watching The Muppet Show instead of this,” the camera flashes to Animal, yes, Animal of the Muppets sitting up in the balcony at the drums! Statler and Waldorf really should’ve been up in the balcony with him. But I guess even they have places they won’t go.
Aaron and Karina’s tango I don’t even know about, because Animal is there and I’m thinking about how great entertainment used to be. But from what I can tell, they danced to The Muppet Show theme, and Aaron acquitted himself very well. AND THEN THERE’S GONZO AT THE JUDGES DAIS AT THE END! He is my third favorite Muppet, following Grover and Kermit. Oh, and the judges all thought Aaron rocked. He gets triple 9s for 27, which seems quite a bit much. I think at least 4 of those points belong to Gonzo.
WE LIVED OUR LIVES IN FEAR!
Kelly Osbourne is up now. She and Louis made a very good impression on the public consciousness last week, and are hoping to retain that good opinion through their tango. I guess the goal is to make Sharon Osbourne cry every week. Louis seems like the type to worry more about dancing than crying, so I don’t know how it will work out for them. Out on the floor, Kelly is wearing this awful braided hairpiece across her hair like Heidi only not cute. Kelly’s rehearsal footage shows her getting all cerebral and neurotic, which is a shame, because this might’ve been a nice tango otherwise. As it is she slips up right near the beginning and never quite recovers, spending most of the rest of the routine behind the beat.
The judges handle her with kid gloves and say all manner of supportive things to her, while telling her she kind of blew it tonight. With all this sympathy and empathy going round, Kelly might be better off than if she had rocked this dance. I know I’m really rooting for her now. The judges too, clearly; she earns a 6 from Carrie Ann and 7s from Bruno and Baz. 19 is this week’s 21. Backstage Samantha makes Kelly verbally beat herself up a bit so we can hear it, because that is who Samantha is.
Kathy Ireland didn’t make much of an impressive debut, but she’s here again, still smiling, because she is an attractive, confident, businesswoman. Perennially optimistic, Kathy and her partner Tony are all set to quickstep tonight, although Kathy is still uncomfortable with the “holding” part of the hold. She’s very timid, and she dances as if Tony is a block of old cheese. The number itself is very pretty though, set to “Shall We Dance,” and Tony and Kathy are very elegant if clashing in maroon and light purple. When they’re done Carrie Ann tells Kathy to be less of a cold fish. Bruno says the same and reprimands Tony for not drawing Kathy out more. “I’m trying,” he says with just the merest hint of disgust. After an unenlightening backstage chat with Samantha, they earn triple 6s for 18.
New Steps, New Steps, New Steps!
Last week Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer earned more buzz for their soundtrack than their dancing, so here’s hoping this week there’s something more to talk about. They have quickstep this week, and during rehearsal Mark seems to be having trouble getting all the steps down. This shows out on the floor as he messes up on some steps right at the beginning. His face is clearly disappointed, but he recovers quickly and gets through the rest of the routine quite well. He and Lacey look very Fred and Ginger too, by the way. I love quickstep costumes. Bruno docks Mark for leading too much with his heels, but says he is a good dancer, and is great at selling the dance. At that Mark looks a little confused but happy. Baz gives Mark props for recovering from his errors so well, and not falling apart. Carrie Ann wants him to relax, just like they all want everyone else to do. Speaking of everyone else, Mark and Lacey also earn triple 7s for 21. So I guess 21 is also this week’s 21.
Time After Time
There are three more couples yet to go. Obama, why? Well, at least Mya is finally on. Last week she wowed with an underscored Viennese Waltz and won the salsa relay. This week she and Dmitry have to take on the jive, and Dmitry wants to make sure his choreo is technically unimpeachable, even though Len won’t be around to see it. I admire that, while being glad Len isn’t around to see it.
So their jive. It’s awesome. First off, Dmitry is dressed like Zip Martin from Down With Love, so that’s an automatic win. But, the jive is awesome on its own merits as well; Mya steps the steps wonderfully, and I hope they get the encore.
I think Bruno sums it up well for the judges: “You pumped that jive!” Yeah. Mya and Dmitry score triple 9s too, tying them with Aaron at the top of the chart.
Tom DeLay follows Mya, so talk about your emotional roller coasters. I’m only willing to talk here about how gross I think Tom is as a dancer, so I’ll just say thank goodness I didn’t have to recap last week’s “Wild Thing” experience, but curse my stars for giving me a DeLay tango. Tom is having trouble picking up the dramatic head movements of the dance, and on top of that, he comes down with a “pre-stress fracture” in his foot, which sounds like something I made up to stay home from Field Day in the 4th grade. Seriously, what is that? Anyway, once he’s over the pre-stress, he’s into the tango. It goes pretty smoothly, I mean it doesn’t go horribly, until right up at the end when Tom almost drops Cheryl during their dramatic finish. Whoops!
Carrie Ann is glad Cheryl’s not hurt, but in the most horrifying portion of the evening advises Tom to squeeze his butt cheeks together more. And here I thought he was already too uptight. Shows what I know. Baz thinks it was “graceful,” and Bruno “elegant;” I think they’re both off, but I’m not a judge. Tom gets the mark of the beast for 18.
And the Osmond brings up the rear. So, Donny is a bit of a polarizing figure, but I have to say his willingness to be ridiculous is more endearing than otherwise to me. Yes, I saw College Road Trip. Last week he made a respectable bid for fan support – he was neither so bad as Tom DeLay, nor so ringery as Mya. This week he and partner Kym Johnson (who is another plus in his column in my book) are dealing with Donny being extremely old. Because 51? Why, you’re practically living on broth and Absorbine Jr. by then. Donny’s a miracle, is what he is. Kym somehow convinces Donny that he looks younger when he does their jive moves correctly, and true to her falsehood, he is kind of spry there out on the floor. He overshoots the energy just a tad, but their mod secret agent routine still looks really cool.
All of the judges tell him to continue to
drink Pepsithink young and feel young, because it’s really making him look good while he dances. Good advice, everyone. Donny earns 8s from our regular judges and a 9 from our guest, giving him a score of 25 and a very respectable third place finish for the evening.
And that’s all the dancing and all the stars we have for tonight. They tossed a few little treats to us viewers, and so overall it was a pretty good two hours that otherwise could’ve been 1.5. That’s more than I can usually expect from this show, so I’m happy. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to politely discuss a few things with a few customer service representatives. You I hope will stay tuned, because MsFroggy is on deck to tell you all about this week’s results!
Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias.