Dancing With The Stars 09/13/2006 Recap: The Ballroom Can Be So Cruel
Welcome to the first results show of the season! Tonight we bid adieu to the least talented dancing star – I mean, of course, the least talented dancer who also happens to be a C-list celebrity. Come to think of it, it would be a much tighter race if we were just eliminating the least talented, period. Whoops, shouldn’t give Mark Burnett any ideas, huh? Let’s get to it!
Hosts Tom and Samantha introduce the expected recap of last night’s performances, along with some tidbits from the dancers about their respective foxtrots and cha-cha-chas. Joey Lawrence displays the wardrobe malfunction he managed to hide from us last night – apparently his trousers split right up the backside. Thank you very, very much for that shot of Joey from behind, DWTS producers. Tucker Carlson tells us he & his partner are running “a campaign of fun” – if fun is watching a chubby political pundit stumble his way through a ballroom dance, then yeah, I guess that could work. Kym (partner to talk show host Jerry Springer) tells us she hopes to last through to next week. Jerry responds with “Fine! Reach for the stars!” No doubt about it, you need a sense of humor to play host to transvestite hillbillies who want to marry their sisters for the past 16 years and counting. Mario Lopez is still squirming uncomfortably over judge Bruno’s comment about the batteries in the pocket (as are we all, Mario).
Next up we get to see the leaderboard, with all 11 couples listed, the top point-getters from the judges on top. You know, I’ve spent the summer watching Rockstar, where the number of votes just don’t matter that much, and I’m finding it quite taxing to keep track of all these points and whatnot. Fortunately, I have my trusty VCR with its handy pause button, so without further ado, here are the judges’ picks:
1st place – Mario & Karina
2nd – Emmitt & Cheryl
3rd – Vivica & Nick
3rd - Willa & Maksim (tied)
5th – Joey & Edyta
6th – Monique & Louis
7th – Shanna & Jesse
8th – Harry & Ashly
9th – Jerry & Kym
10th – Sara & Tony
11th – Tucker & Elena
But the judges’ results are only half the story here…your votes matter! The judges, however, do get to pick what they felt was the most entertaining performance last night, and their pick is…Emmitt Smith and his partner, last year’s champ Cheryl Burke. The chosen pair give an encore of their cha-cha-cha from last night, and you just know that there’s a bunch of Emmitt’s former teammates sitting in a bar somewhere laughing their asses off.
It’s time to introduce tonight’s special guest, and it’s the Welsh womanizer himself, Mr. Tom Jones, sporting a goatee and fresh Botox. Tom belts out one of his big hits, It’s Not Unusual, while Louis Van Amstel and Karina Smirnoff show us what ballroom dancing is supposed to look like. I’ve never seen the real thing before and I have to admit, it’s pretty impressive. It also serves to remind us how big an oaf some of the stars are on the dance floor (I’m looking at you, Tucker Carlson). We’re promised more Tom later, and the results, which I see will come much, much later.
So what will Tom & Samantha be doing to entertain us for the next 40 minutes or so before the couple with the lowest number of votes is revealed? We’re going to kill a little time by going backstage once again with Samantha, who chats with Sara & Tony. Sara is disappointed with their poor showing and vows to work harder. One of their fellow bottom 3 couples, Tucker & Elena, reveal that their future strategy will include more actual dancing. Anyone who saw Tucker dance last night knows that’s probably not a good thing. Mario & Karina get a few moments to bask in their first place finish, though Mario says the announcement of the scores was a surreal moment for him and he didn’t get to enjoy it much. I’m wondering how much Mario is really enjoying this whole deal, as he hints that Karina is quite the taskmaster and that he’s
easily bullied very hard on himself. Or maybe he really likes domineering, ambitious Russian women.
And what do the fans think of last night’s performances? Vivica, Mario, Jerry and Emmitt get the thumbs-up from audience members, while Tucker, Sara & Harry fail to impress.
Finally, we get to the results…sort of. Host Tom ends the suspense for some by announcing the first 4 safe couples:
Harry & Ashly (obviously Lisa Rinna – who I spot lurking in the background behind Tom Bergeron – and her buds were burning up the phone lines last night)
Emmitt & Cheryl (duh)
Jerry & Kym (astonishment combined with regret on Jerry’s face)
Vivica & Nick (fortunate, because I don’t think anyone wants to see Vivica get angry)
Lest we spend too much time on the results portion of the results show, the powers that be decided that this season would be ever so much more fun if there was more viewer involvement, and a few more advertising dollars wouldn’t hurt either. Hence the creation of the Slim Fast Dance Challenge. A lucky – yeah, they said “lucky” – viewer, by the name of Tysonia Sichinga (try to say that five times really fast), mom of 2 with no dance experience, will spend the next 10 weeks being trained by ballroom champ (how many of these dance titles are there, anyway? They seem to give ‘em out like mail-order degrees in graphic design) Christian Perry. Tysonia’s main goal is to drop some junk from her trunk, but instead of just quietly joining her local Weight Watchers, she’s opted to perform a new dance in front of an audience each and every week. We see her doing the mambo in front of some friends and family. Next week we’ll watch her take on the tango. And there goes my last hope of the results show being trimmed down to a half hour.
We’re then treated to a mambo performance by the pros, so we can see what it looks like before the stars take their turn with it next week. It looks not that much different from whatever Karina & Louis danced earlier in the show – lots of whirling skirts and open-necked shirts – but it looks good, I guess. Soooo…how about those results, Tom & Sam? No? More backstage interviews, you say? Well, okay…as long as you promise these are the last ones tonight. Samantha chats a little with the “safe” stars – Jerry tells her that he’d already checked out of the hotel (really, it’s all I can do to not break into the Springer audience chant every time he delivers another one-liner), Harry is hopeful next week’s quick-step will help him loosen up, Emmitt attributes all his dance success to partner Cheryl, and Vivica admits that her hardest competition is herself, as she’s a pretty driven person. I visualize partner Nick cowering in a corner somewhere.
The judges, who have pretty much been ignored thus far, are asked who should go tonight. You won’t find the waffling and ego-stroking here that you get with those wussy American Idol judges. Len immediately calls out Shanna & Jesse, Bruno’s pick is Tucker & Elena, and Carrie Ann – who is slightly apologetic, but firm nonetheless – thinks Sara & Tony should go home. Is this possibly our bottom three tonight? We’ll find out – but not until we hear another tune from Tom Jones. Tom is singing without any accompanying dancers this time, and as he croons She’s A Lady, he busts a few moves of his own. This is my personal favorite part of the show, not least because I know all the words to Tom’s hits (my mom may have a record or two of his at home). And I think Tom could teach the guys on this show a little something about hip action.
A couple more minutes of the stars’ kvetching about how hard the training is, how difficult it is to juggle their families and careers AND learn how to ballroom dance (I’m guessing this is only a problem for the ones with actual jobs, and not such a difficulty for some others– and I’m looking at you this time, Shanna Moakler). The only star not complaining is our diva Vivica, who is confident that she’s going to the next round. It so happens we already know she’s right, but her fierce determination has sent me to cower in the corner with Nick.
Are we there yet? Why…yes. Wake up, everyone! It’s time to announce the bottom three, but for maximum dramatic effect, each couple will learn their fate in turn:
Tucker & Elena – the first couple in the bottom 3. Anyone surprised? That’s what I thought.
Monique & Louis – safe
Joey & Edyta – safe
Shanna & Jesse – the second couple in the bottom 3
Mario & Karina – safe
It’s down to Sara & Tony, and Willa & Maksim.
Sara & Tony – safe (gasp!)
Willa & Maksim – the third and final bottom 3 couple
I’ve got to hand it to host Tom, once he starts this elimination stuff, there’s no more dilly-dallying. After a quick commercial break, he lets Shanna & Jesse off the hook by pronouncing them safe. And the first eliminated couple is…Tucker & Elena. And that’s definitely a sigh of relief I hear coming from the studio audience.
Tom congratulates Tucker on coming out of his comfort zone – I don’t agree here, as I’m pretty sure that Tucker is used to looking like a dork on TV. Tucker tells us he’ll be rooting for fellow TV host Jerry (guess he forgot that Jerry is a Democrat) and is planning on meeting last season’s first-ousted dance star Kenny Mayne for drinks afterwards. And if you needed further proof that Tucker’s usual TV persona is that of a total douchebag, he compliments his partner Elena by saying that teaching him to dance is akin to Einstein teaching addition to a slow child. Thanks for coming out, Tucker.
With no pretense of regret, we watch Tucker & Elena dance off into the sunset as host Tom tells us that the remaining stars have less than a week to learn the quick-step or the mambo for next week’s show. I won’t be here to see it, as my own dance partner Brandy will be covering next week’s performance and results show. Guess I’ll have to find out what the hell a “quick-step” is another time. Vive la dance!
I’ll be your Delilah, Tom Jones! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.