4/18 DWTS 12 Recap: Americana Cheese
It’s American Week with all the red, white and blue cheese Production can throw up on the backdrops and out on the dance floor. The songs all have an American theme and never mind that they are more suited to Freestyle than Ballroom or Latin. I, however, refuse to salute the flag sparkled mirror ball. Compared to last week this assault on the eyes and ears is like going from champagne to beer, from a chocolate torte to chemical cream filled cupcakes, from Brie to processed spread. Not that I don’t enjoy American culture, but this over the top display brings it down to its corniest level where even Uncle Sam dances to a song meant to mock the early colonials. But, no matter what Production throws at them, the contestants are dancing to win that mirror ball (the one I won’t salute.)
Tom: Let’s bring out our Stars…and stripes!
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: Samba “Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Tom: Let’s celebrate our salute to Americana with a good old fashion Samba.
Ralph: I’m a New Yorker, Karina is Russian; we’re dancing the Samba about Alabama. It’s perfect. My waltz put me back up at the top. I’m hoping my American Samba Brazilian party dance…it’s about Alabama…keeps me there.
It is a cowboy line dance Samba. Dressed in country-western garb, they open in front of a couple of wagons on the stage then take it to the floor. The line dancing is quite good, but Ralph should have spent more time practicing with the hula hoop because his hip movement is non-existent.
Tom: Ralph and Karina with a good ole Uncle Samba.
Len: This is the point when we start to decide who the contenders are and who are the pretenders; and Ralph, one week you’re there, then another week, not working. It wasn’t terrible, but you are not consistent. Hip and rhythm were lacking. You’ve gotta work on more rhythm throughout the dance.
Tom: By the way…they love it when you boo them. It’s like British Parliament.
Bruno: I kind of disagree. Yes, it’s American night and the line dance and two stepping was very good, though we are looking at a Samba. (He rises from his chair in Bruno fashion) It needs fire down below…you’ve got to get the hips going, get the loins going. You do a character very, very well, but we want to see that kind of Latin feel that is required for the Latin dance…to be sexy. Give me sex, man.
Carrie Ann: Excuse me, you two – it’s Americana week. Yes, it’s sort of a crazy concoction and it’s a tall order, but I think that it was a great entertaining performance.
Ralph to Brooke: It was a challenge to fuse Southern Rock to Brazilian Party, but we gave it our best shot.
Carrie Ann: 8 Len 7 Bruno 7 Total: 22
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke: Viennese Waltz “America the Beautiful” (Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward)
Chris: My ambition this week is to get better than a seven from Len.
Cheryl: The way to do that, especially in the Viennese Waltz, is to show him really good technique.
Chris: (imitating Len) This is a 300 year old dance, Cheryl, make sure you use the technique.
Chris: When you’ve got purple mountain majesties involved, there’s a lot of pressure on you.
Wearing some sort of mock-up military uniform, Chris marches down the stairs to meet Cheryl, who wears a flowing red dress with a plunging neckline. They waltz against a waving flag backdrop and an R&B take on the iconic song. There are some lovely turns and changes down the floor, and he holds frame very well.
Bruno: Big, yet graceful; strong, yet delicate with a sweeping sense of romance. I thought you were wonderful.
Carrie Ann: In some weird way I feel that we’ve underestimated you. You are so good, your technique is so amazing, your lines…Contender, my friend.
Len: It’s so nice to see Cheryl showing off the Rocky Mountains there. (Cheryl – laughing – I feel violated.) When you deserve an eight, I’ll give you one. It was a little bit flat footed. Your hold and your posture were good. I’d like to see you work a little bit more on footwork; but – you’ll get an eight when you deserve it.
Chris (in the celebriquarium) I can’t believe we’re half way through already. Seems like only yesterday that I saw Cheryl and screamed like a 13 year old kid at a Justin Beiber concert…”Cheryl” sqeee.
Carrie Ann: 9 Len 8 Bruno 9 Total: 26
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin: Quickstep “Viva Las Vegas” (Elvis Presley version written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman)
Petra: Being halfway through the competition seems quite surreal.
Dmitry confesses that when he saw her walk through the door, he didn’t think they would still be here. Petra grew up in the Czech Republic under communism and, without western influence, had never heard of Elvis Presley.
Petra: But, that’s the beauty of life and we’ve had a very lucky journey, the both of us.
Petra: With this Quickstep, I would like to say thank you to America for all the incredible opportunities I’ve received.
The dame in gold lame entices the high roller away from craps table…and they’re off. Her long neck takes the “tea-cup” tilt a little far, but her steps are fast and furious. Dmitry shovels some chips from the craps table in his hands and carries them down to the judges (a Vegas bribe, perhaps?) while Petra runs to her husband for a kiss.
Carrie Ann: Petra, I love watching you. You’ve come so far, but tonight there was a bit of a set back. There were a few stumbles and I feel you got ahead of yourself and out of sync which is noticeable in the Quickstep because it is a really fast dance.
Len: It’s a very fast dance and I think you coped very well with the music and the difficulty of the steps. You have a lovely neck, but your head went a bit wanky – too far to the left. I think you’ve got great potential; you’ve just got to work on little things.
Bruno: First, this was very, very difficult and fast and you were like the Golden Goddess of Spain. (Gibberish) Obviously, the hands were sometimes a bit dodgy. There were a couple of footfalls, but the quality was very good.
Carrie Ann 7 Len 7 Bruno 8 Total: 22
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: Foxtrot “New York, New York” (Frank Sinatra written by John Kander and Fred Ebb)
Romeo: I beat my dad! (Master P who lasted four weeks on the show.) I’m not just here to beat my dad; I want to take the title. I want to be number one. Not too many people associate swagger with the Foxtrot, but since I’m the youngest, I’m going to show you can put a little swagger in anything.
With a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Romeo wears top hat and tails and performs the iconic tipping of the hat to welcome Chelsie. The swagger comes in through a few hand gestures and accents, but, overall, a classic Foxtrot.
Len: I think the parts in hold had control and the parts that you weren’t together had a lot of flair about it. There are still bits and pieces that I’m not 100% happy with, but I think you are on the right road because you are a very charming chap.
Bruno: Oh yes, you did have swagger in spades and full flavor. I’ve never seen a Foxtrot so cheeky and so well done, because you contained the style of the dance. Well done.
Carrie Ann: I remember week one when you were so resisting the ballroom and you didn’t want to go there. That was soulful. Great job.
Romeo wants to dedicate this dance to one of his friend’s mother who has cancer and watches him every week.
Carrie Ann 9 Len 8 Bruno 9 Total: 26
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Rumba “God Bless the USA” (Lee Greenwood )
Hines puts on a Ralph inspired headband during rehearsal because he wants his Rumba to be just as impressive.
Kym: The Rumba is sexy, raunchy; but because it’s American Night and we have a patriotic song, we are making our Rumba a little more romantic.
Hines, in a navy inspired costume comes home on leave to greet Kym in all her fringe. Overt hip action is not used (or needed) in this smooth, almost waltz-like dance.
With the transfer of the officer’s cap at the end of the dance, Tom has a perfect opportunity to reference An Officer and a Gentleman, and he takes it.
Bruno: Ease of movement, musicality and just the right amount of sensuality to make all the ladies swoon. Well played.
Carrie Ann: You make it look so easy, I’m getting worried. You have the best hip action I’ve seen in a long time and it was very romantic.
Len: It wasn’t false; it had naturalness about it and elegance, which is charming, and I think, for me, that is probably your best dance.
We find out that Hines and Kym couldn’t find the romance during rehearsals, so he practiced at home with a pillow.
Carrie Ann 9 Len 9 Bruno 9 Total: 27
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot “American Woman” (The Guess Who)
Kirstie: Last week we survived, but I don’t want to have any doubts. I’m in this to win this.
Thinking they need help, Kirstie takes Maks to her home to have a session with The Dance Doctor, John Travolta. With Maks trying to keep a straight face, John tells Kirstie that she can solve her shoe problem by wearing high top sneakers. He then tells them the romantic tension felt by the audience needs to be taken care of, then they can return for a dance critique. Before he leaves, he gives their routine his blessing.
Kirstie: Now that our session with The Dance Doctor is done, we are going to do this dance and create magic.
The first action of the dance has Maks standing on a platform and ripping off his t-shirt while Kirstie sways hips to the rock and roll music. He takes his time finger snapping down the floor before he comes back to collect her. From that point, a shirtless Maks and a genie gowned Kirstie perform some Foxtrot steps mixed in with rock and roll posing. Oh, and Maks sports an American flag painted on the side of his chest.
Carrie Ann: Now that was a different take on a Foxtrot, but it absolutely fitted you. It was bold, it was ambitious. It was a little more like crazy, but putting those elements, you did it. I think it was magical. I think it was your best dance ever.
Len: Well, it had attitude; there were lots of basic steps, which I like to see, but the overall feel of it for one – it wasn’t my cup of tea. There was very little excellence about the whole thing.
Bruno: The American Woman and the Russian Gigolo. The Cold War is technically over. (To Maks) I didn’t know you were so dirty. Are you taking direct bookings, by the way, or do I have to go through an agent? (Maks: I’m expensive.) I can’t afford it.
Kirstie reveals that it was her idea to have Maks go shirtless since the rock stars of the sixties and seventies did it.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 7 Bruno 8 Total: 23
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis van Amstel: Foxtrot “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (James Cagney in the George M. Cohen Broadway Production.) (The ditty is originally credited to British surgeon Richard Schuckburgh and used to mock the Colonials.)
Kendra continues to freak out over being called for her fear of “elegance” last week by Carrie Ann. Louis talks sense to her, and since she now feels emotionally better, she accepts that the criticism was meant for the best.
Uncle Sam and his Sam-ette stand on the stage supposedly to begin their routine when the rafters open and dump tons of red white and blue streamers on the floor. Is this to take notice of Uncle Sam’s Tax Day (April 18th this year)? No…it is the show celebrating the upcoming dance as the 1000th of the show. We go to commercial so they can clean it up.
Tom: We’re nothing if not understated.
Kendra’s face does loosen up as she shows more confidence in this march to a couple of Foxtrot sweeps. It is a cute dance, but a Foxtrot?
Len: Good news – it’s much better than last week; you came out and enjoyed yourself. It was fun and it was entertaining. Well done.
Bruno: Sweet as apple pie and much more in character; but I can still see your thoughts. You have to be in it, on the moment.
Carrie Ann: I know sometimes these comments are hard to hear. I totally appreciate that. Whatever we comment, we are always trying to help you and look what it did. This week you were confident, you were like a fighter.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 7 Bruno 7 Total: 22
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Samba “Party in the USA” (Miley Cyrus version written by Jessica Cornish)
Chelsea: There are three things I like – the USA, partying and Miley Cyrus. She tells Mark that she is okay with breaking every single rule with this dance, and he retorts that this one he is going to keep a straight edge.
Mark: I want to keep this traditional because the competition is so close right now, and I think that good technique is the only way to stand us apart.
The grease jockey and the All American Girl join forces for a Samba that is full of hip movement (finally) and the promised traditional moves.
Bruno (spitting with excitement) You brought the party to America and the excitement of Brazil. You’re so clean. Your dance moves are so good and so tight. You’re a really, really good dancer, my darling.
Carrie Ann: I agree. You guys dance so well together. You match your moves perfectly. It is not easy to match these dances with these songs. This was fantastic.
Len: Yum, yum, what a bum. This was real good fun. Well done.
Carrie Ann 9 Len 8 Bruno 9 Total: 26
Judges Totals for Week 5
(Side Note: Since this show was falsely advertised last week as Patriot’s Day, I did a little research in preparation. I had never heard of Patriot’s Day but a Wiki search turned up the following information. Originating in 1969 it is a local holiday for the states of Massachusetts and Maine (because Maine was once a part of Massachusetts.) It honors the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord, which took place on April 19, 1775.)
The Results Show will continue the Americana theme with Toby Keith as the featured artist. MFWalkoff will serve up all the cheesy fillers you could want plus the one leaving from this very tight field of contestants.
Re: 4/18 DWTS 12 Recap: Americana Cheese
Spot on, as usual!! I thought some of the routines were actually disrespectful to the so-called theme of the evening.
Re: 4/18 DWTS 12 Recap: Americana Cheese
I'm glad you were able to get through this recap in one piece. I should have just skipped the show all together. As my mom told me, what Ralph was dressed like didn't seem like what she'd consider Lynyrd Skinner, and American Woman isn't really the best patriotic song.
Re: 4/18 DWTS 12 Recap: Americana Cheese
Excellent recap of a crap-tastic show. I love that you included all of the exchanges between the judges and contestants. Chris imitating Len was spot-on and soo funny.