Dancing With the Stars (2/16): Four Out of Five People Prefer Hip Action
I went to junior high school in an era where there were separate gym classes for boys and girls until I was in the ninth grade. I’m pretty sure the integrated gym classes were the result of some lawsuit. Why am I babbling about my junior high gym experience? Because there was one exception. That exception was the painful dance portion of gym class during which one of the three boys groups was paired with our gym section. Mind you, the boys were divided by supposed athletic skill while the girls were just put into three random groups. My group got paired with the supposedly least athletic group. In other words, my ability to enjoy organized dancing is impaired by memories of learning The Bus Stop to Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way” with nervous boys who had a feeling of self worth equivalent to a gnat after being put in the “special” gym group. Speaking of Peter, I’d prefer to be placed in a room where Frampton Comes Alive is piped in for a solid twenty-four hours to having to listen to the Dancing With the Stars Band. Exactly how much in royalty fees does ABC save by using that band? I’m considering trying to take out a loan to cover the difference. Enough about me though. Let’s get on with the semifinals!
The End Draws Nigh
We open with a review of George and Edyta’s dismissal last week. The Tanned One and his partner really were gracious. Now, there’s a week left in the show and we are down to the final four. This week the pairs have to learn two dances in a week for the first time. Despite the fact that the only thing at stake is that ugly trophy, everyone seems to be really invested in making it to the finals. All four remaining couples are on the stage at the beginning of the show and it’s apparent that ABC is really into saving money because they’re borrowed some dresses from The Bachelor for the female stars.
First up are Tony and Stacy who have had perfect scores the last two weeks. They are clearly feeling the pressure of trying to live up to their past performances. As Tony says, “Where do you go from there?” The two are going to be dancing the cha cha and the quick step and tempers quickly flare. Tony is having a hard time dealing with Stacy’s need to be perfect. Me thinks Tony would prefer to be soaking up the sun on the beach somewhere with an umbrella in his drink as opposed to meeting Stacy’s practice schedule. Tony is a bit worried about the need to switch characters between the two dances because the song they’ve chosen for the cha cha is angry.
They’ve apparently decided to name Stacy’s “characters” in the two dances. “Elegant and refined Priscilla” will be dancing the quick step while “fiery, sexy Lola” will appear in the cha cha. Tony is worried because Len called Stacy a cold fish and Tony thinks she has some trouble expressing herself. Therefore, he calls in actress Lisa Ann Walter who is given a caption of being from Shall We Dance, but whom I remember from the remake of The Parent Trap, to coach Stacy on how to emote. I swear Lisa Ann has lost fifty pounds since the last time I saw her on screen. She looks great and does her best to coach Stacy on how to be loud and angry for the cha cha.
Tony and Stacy open the actual dancing with a quick step to “You Can’t Hurry Love.” He’s wearing a tux and tails and she has on a pink dress. They display a lot of hand gestures and some intricate footwork and look very formal at first. Eventually, they seem to get into the fun of it and communicate that they are having a blast.
Len opens the judges’ comments by saying that he expects that the couples will have a hard time producing the same level of quality for both dances but that he expects them to come out all guns blazing in their first dances to make the final. He thinks that’s exactly what Stacy and Tony did. Carrie Ann adds that she likes to watch Stacy’s feet and the way she extends her hands but wishes she’d take more risks. My jaw drops because Tom Bergeron actually says something funny. He can’t get past the fact that Carrie Ann is actually watching Stacy’s feet. Bruno does his usual shtick and says that it was a symphony of beauty and stunning.
Backstage, Stacy comments that this was the most stressful week she’s ever had but somehow the magic was there when they went to dance. The two of them admit that they butted heads all week but they think it’s healthy.
Their ballroom scores are:
Carrie Ann- 9
For a total of 27 out of a possible 30.
Shall We Talk Instead of Dance?
After the commercial, it’s time for a little more filler. Tom Bergeron says again that the greatest challenge this week is producing two great dances when faced with Latin and ballroom. Cheryl thinks Latin will be more of a challenge for Drew because he’s going to have to move his hips which he’s just not comfortable with. Drew says that due to the hip action component of rumba and my love of the music for the foxtrot, our foxtrot is going to shine. I’d make another joke about Drew’s lack of interest in hip action, but it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel.
Lisa decides to go for confident and tells us that her power of positive thinking tells her she is going to do well at both dances. Lips does ask Louis what the secret of learning two dances at once is. He tells her basically that it’s concentrating on one at a time.
Jerry thinks ballroom suits his character because he’s always been a gentleman. I think football suits his character a lot better. Anna, his increasingly feisty partner, says that when he picks up his frame nobody looks better than Jerry.
Stacy prefers the Latin dances because she gets to show more personality. Tony, on the other hand, thinks both are her strengths. Lisa informs us that ballroom and Latin aren’t just two dances, they are two opposites. Drew feels like he’s being hit by a tidal wave and it is going to be tough.
Anna tells us that she’s so proud of Jerry and she thinks he’s definitely the most improved dancer in the competition. In other words, he sucked at the beginning. She is getting angry that they can’t please the judges not matter what they do but feels like as long as they please the public, it’s okay. Jerry is definitely feeling the pressure of having to learn both the tango and rumba. I’m betting those two a day drills don’t seem so bad now. Anna comes up with a special master plan which includes her husband, Jonathan helping Jerry with his technique, and her mother working on his performance skills. Dancing technique and performance skills, people. Dancing. In the end, Jerry is really, really confused, tired, and frustrated because he feels like it’s not all coming together.
The two of them channel their inner Tanned Man for the tango. Jerry’s props include a raincoat he whips off part way through the performance and a broom. They dance to “One Way or Another” and the fact that Jerry looks like the broomstick ends up his ass after he discards it makes just how good a dancer Anna is stand out.
After they are done, Bruno gets in touch with his inner nice guy and tells them that he really respects the effort and commitment Jerry has put into this (I’m pretty sure his inner voice is saying see P. Miller), but, and you could hear the but coming a mile away, this is the semi-final. He then asks them if there is a shortage of brooms in America. Bruno thought their posture was weak and that it just wasn’t good enough at this point in the competition. When Len tells them that Jerry is not Tanned Man and that he needs to get his own personality Anna gets defensive. It gets worse when Len calls him Jerry Springer. Carrie Ann says that they all know this doesn’t come easy for Jerry. She then adds that he took a huge risk and congratulates him on trying to be theatrical. As they head backstage, Anna looks in need of the bottle of wine Jerry wouldn’t let her drink while they were practicing.
Talk of the Town
After the break, Jerry and Anna get the judges’ verdict:
Carrie Ann- 7
For a total score of 20 after their ballroom performance. Jerry is gracious about the scoring but Anna looks like she wants to take that bottle of wine and break it over Len’s head.
Next up are Louis and Lips. She’s feeling backed into a corner because they ended up in the bottom two last week. She decides that the two of them need to get away from LA so she takes Louis to visit her parents in Medford, Oregon. I had no idea that Lisa was from Medford or that Ginger Rogers lived there for the last twenty-five years of her life and I was a Days of Our Lives fan when Lisa was first on the show. See, watching reality shows is educational. When they first arrive, Louis jokingly asks her if they are going to practice in a barn, but after her parents turn out to be really gracious and they get to practice on the stage of Ginger Rogers’ theater which has a good luck message on the marquee outside, he changes his tune. Lisa tells her parents that she’s going to dedicate her semifinal performance to them. It’s really sweet actually. Her parents do have suspiciously thin lips though. Lisa’s hope is that they’ll earn a ten this time.
Their first performance is the foxtrot. Lips is wearing a blue backless dress while Louis is decked out in a white tux and tails. They dance to a version of “Fever” which actually doesn’t make my ears bleed and look great together. Overall, the performance is elegant with an edge. They share a kiss at the end, and Harry Hamlin again leads their cheering section.
The judges are impressed. Carrie Ann tells them that it was a really strong performance despite a few mistakes. Bruno calls it a foxy, delicious foxtrot. He thought there were beautiful musical nuances. Len says it was a treat to see and a joy to behold. Lisa really seems to take delight in the judges’ compliments.
Duck, Duck, Mouse
The scores from the judges are much better than what Jerry and Anna received.
Carrie Ann- 8
Their total ballroom score is 26 and the two of them are excited. Lisa admits that she always feels vulnerable, but she’s a fighter and she keeps listening to Louis. Louis then talks about looking forward to the Latin dance because he feels like they have to wear too much clothing for ballroom. I check to see if I’ve accidentally switched the channel to Skinemax. Tom Bergeron, not knowing when to leave well enough alone, asks which of them will be wearing less clothing during their next dance.
Drew and Cheryl are the last to perform their ballroom dance. Drew acknowledges that he’s wondering what’s going to happen since they got a perfect score last time and informs us that they are going to Disneyland. I think he’s joking. I’m wrong. Drew and Cheryl perform before a huge crowd at Disneyland and Cheryl actually sounds a little overwhelmed by all the attention. Afterwards, the two of them resolve to get back down to work, and Drew admits that he’s driving himself crazy and isn’t sure he’s going to sleep at all during the week. The two of them are dancing the foxtrot and the rumba. Drew is not happy about the rumba because apparently he’s not a big fan of
the hippy movementhip movement. The point is punctuated by a loud cracking sound as he practices moving his hips. Drew also tells us that Cheryl’s nervousness has gotten progressively worse as the show has gone on. At this point, Drew says that you are either in the finals or you are aufedgoing home.
Drew and Cheryl seem to fall into that annoying category of couples who feel the need to dress in matching outfits. Her dress is pink so he’s wearing a pink tie and sporting a pink kerchief as they dance the foxtrot. The song they dance to is “It Had to Be You.” They are elegant, smooth, and a little fun. At this point, it’s clear that it will be a crime if anyone other than Drew or Stacy wins this competition.
Len tells them that they never cease to amaze him. He thought Drew lost the character a bit but that they interpreted the music well. Carrie Ann says simply that she loved it and that what’s wonderful about them is their partnership. Bruno bucks the trend and imparts the information that he thought Drew sometimes lapsed into paso doble mode. The three judges then talk over each other.
Madly, Deeply Ballroom
Despite the mild criticism, the scores reflect the performance.
Carrie Ann- 9
They have no perfect tens this time, but the 26 is a good score. Drew jokes that he’s scared for Bruno because Drew’s pregnant wife is sitting across from the judges.
After the ballroom round, the standings are:
Stacy and Tony- 27
Lips and Louis- 26
Drew and Cheryl- 26
Jerry and Anna- 20
Stacy and Tony’s cha cha is danced to “Since You’ve Been Gone.” She looks fierce during the performance and, wow, those legs. I’m relieved that they are both wearing clothes although she’s got about as little on as possible.
Bruno again gushes over Stacy and tells her she’s the best girl. He says that the most important thing for the cha cha is getting the right hip and leg action and he thinks they did. Take that Drew! It’s Len’s turn to be a little critical and he says that it was a wee bit stiff but still a great routine. Carrie Ann criticizes Stacy’s angry face during the routine. As we go to commercial, the judges once again are arguing.
The Blue Screen of Death
Stacy and Tony learn their scores when the show resumes.
Carrie Ann- 9
The score of 28 clearly pleases them both. Stacy and Tony try to plead for people not to be complacent and to be sure to vote for them.
Jerry and Anna bust out the props again and dance a rumba to “Unbreak My Heart.” Basically, Anna does everything and Jerry tries to stand tall.
Len tells him he’s the worst one left which gets Jerry’s competitive goat. I’d tell you what the other judges said but my cable skipped out for about ten minutes. In the end, the two of them get a total of 21 from the judges for the performance.
When Comcast gets their heads out of their asses, I see about ten seconds of Lisa and Louis’ second performance to Material World. The judges apparently liked it because they get straight 9’s. Lisa says that she feels like she’s come so far and she wants to show all women over forty with kids that they can do anything they want in life.
Drew and Cheryl decked out in red garanimals this time dance a rumba to Total Eclipse of the Heart. Let me say I wish this is where my cable went out. Not that I didn’t think they did a magnificent job. It’s just that I haaaaate the song. Just having the knowledge that Bonnie Tyler did the original version pop into my mind ticks me off. They give a very intense performance which they punctuate with some weird finger pointing crap.
Bruno loves it and says it was powerful and passionate. Len thinks it was beautiful but too hard. To him, it was far too aggressive. Carrie Ann tells them that she has a different point of view and thought it was sexy and powerful.
Len must not have thought it was that bad:
Carrie Ann- 10
Drew makes a little dig at Len saying sex sells. He then gets a little more diplomatic and compliments Cheryl.
At the end of the night, the standings based on the judges scores are:
Stacy and Tony 55
Drew and Cheryl 55
Lisa and Louis 53
Jerry and Anna 41
Which one of these things doesn’t belong? Apparently, the show is back next Thursday and then the finale is Sunday the 26th.
Line dancing is evil but then so was junior high. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org