Seven F-list luminaries remain in the game after the last elimination and instead of cutting the fat to make this show more watchable, Dancing consistently opts to pain and annoy us for
ratingstheir own nefarious reasons, giving us another 90 minutes of who knows how much filler, lots of horrid half-baked jokes and a bit of butt shaking that passes for dancing. Tonight each couple will tackle a dance they've so far managed to dodge and then they'll perform a group country number, because what would Ballroom be without some hay and manure in it? Tom claims again that this is the halfway point in the show, but he's said that before, most notably when there were 9 couples still left, so I'm not falling for that shtick this time. No, siree! Put on your cowboy boots and let's stomp forward, shall we?
Hip to it
After swaying to the top last week, Jason is on board to try the Cha Cha this week. Not like he has a choice or anything. More hip action, less connection and less opportunity to use Edyta as a crutch are difficult things indeed, but all part and parcel of the Cha Cha. Jason tries but Edyta feels he needs a push, so she takes him to see Sho Tyme, acclaimed choreographer to the muy hip hip-hop crowd and owner of more bitchin' moves than half a dozen Beyonce and Rihanna videos combined. Jason picks up the good stuff in record time, probably because he didn't have too much trouble with this whole solo thing in the first place, and they're finally ready to show off what they learned on the dance floor. Their music is Best of my love which is hardly a Cha Cha but on this show, that's not a hindrance. Their moves are hot and Jason acquits himself well, pumping out hip gyrations as if his life depended on it. His life on the show at least. Len saw the rich content, noted a few lapses but was happy with the dance. Bruno liked the cheeky flamboyance but felt a lack of footwork and saw loss of timing in places. Carrie liked the lines, but felt the arms should have been more controlled. They get all 8s for a total of 24 points.
Dancemance or realmance? Who mance...
Following last week's so-so Samba, Shannon almost bit the dust. Her biggest worry? If eliminated she wouldn't get to see Derek anymore. Derek, clued in, brings her a big bouquet and gets the requisite oohing an aahing befitting a trip to the florist. Flowers or not, neck rubs notwithstanding, Shannon is not quite getting the hang of the Rumba. They need an infusion of sea water! In the long-held Dancing tradition of trying to get romantic for a tough routine, the couple takes a field trip to the beach to practice their moves in the surf and sand. Fun with hoola hoops ensues, followed by an opportunity for Derek to remove his shirt and cuddle romantically with Shannon in the sunset. They frolic in the sand and all that's missing is some “bow chica bow wow” music. After this sandy encounter, can their Rumba deliver the heat? Dancing to True Colors, they slither and glide on the floor in a good imitation of a romance, but there's more bombast than heat. Shannon's hip just aren't doing any talking whatsoever. I guess she didn't get the memo about the Rumba and the hip thing. The audience loves it though and Bruno felt the romance, however he notes the lack of hip action which is a fatal flaw. Carrie likes her potential, but was looking for a bit more. Len liked the start, their chemistry, but wanted more fluidity and hip action. Backstage, Samantha – aren't you surprised I'm even mentioning her? - wants to know about the showmance and how close they've become. They claim they're just serious about the competition. Sure. They earn all 8s for their romantic efforts, for a total of 24 points.
I told you to lay off the hairgel! Eww!
Marlee has slipped a bit last week, and the week before, but maybe this week will give her a break. The Mambo might help as Fabian just happens to be the 2006 Mambo World Champion, thank you very much. He won't be slipping, that's for sure. Whether Marlee can keep up with him is another question. She finds the kick steps difficult, but wait! Help is here in the form of Harry Winkler. Harry Winkler? Looks like he's Marlee's friend and has some advice about picking up when one is down, dusting off and spirit and such. The pep talk is helping because Marlee is rehearsing with renewed energy. Showing off a buff dancer's body in a barely there jungle print outfit consisting of strips of material in strategic places, sequins and not much else, Marlee delves into the Mambo. Their music is Mi Tierra, which is just right. While in previous weeks I may have been blinded by my amazement that Marlee can even dance at all, this dance highlights a lot of weaknesses. The visual clues her partner gives her, the way Fabian sometimes drags her along, a lack of fluid transitions in places, the loss of rhythm are all noticeable enough to bother me. While the audience cheers, Carrie sighs. She saw the struggle they went through. Len, while inspired and thought she did well, he felt they were uncomfortable with this dance. Bruno noticed the stumbles and the loss of timing but praises her perseverance. They earn all 7s for a total of 21 points.
I thought you said you were only a B cup!
Just call him Fred
Cristian needs a comeback from the bottom two. Can the Foxtrot help him or will it spell his doom? Cristian is not really a slow dancing kind of guy and he has trouble grasping the smoothness and flow of such an elegant dance. He dubs himself Frederico Astaire but Cheryl has her doubts. They practice soft, controlled arm movements in the pool, naturally, but I'm not seeing a lot of improvement. However, Cristian looks good wet, which I suspect was the whole point of this, er, rehearsal. Dancing to Come fly with me they're both elegant, Cheryl in a pink feathery dress and Cristian in a suit with a matching pink shirt and tie. He looks a bit scared and measured, and not in a good way. He is a bit stiff but passable. Cheryl does most of the work, flitting by with her huge pink dress, effectively obscuring some of Cristian's shortcoming. The judges, however, must have been watching something else. Len thinks it was their best dance so far and threatens to bare his bottom in a supermarket if Cristian is in the bottom two after this. Bruno felt Cristian was at his dashing best and loved the footwork, calls the whole thing an “unexpected treat”. Carrie, thinks he was refined. She felt everything was fantastic tonight. With scores of all 9s and a total of 27 they're back at the top this week with Cristian's best score to date.
Frederico, eat your heart out.
Now with 50% more annoying perkiness!
Marissa, bubbly and excited after her success last week, needs to switch gears and focus on the Viennese Waltz. While the Samba may cover a multitude of sins, the slow and elegant Waltz is less forgiving. Rehearsal consists of dizzying spins, curtsies and Marissa falling over. To help her get into the spin, Tony takes her to an aerial arts class where Marissa hangs from a ring and they spin her around. Hopefully there'll be some benefit to all this time-wasting hoopla. Finally on the dance floor, Marissa and Tony dance to Delilah. She is wearing a white halter dress with black beads at the waist, making her look like one giant inside out Oreo cookie in two inch heels. Tony is elegant in white tie. They glide around to a simple choreography and Tony seems to ham it up at times, using weird exaggerated arm movements and silly facial expressions. He makes me totally forget that Marissa is even there, which I suspect was the whole point. Bruno thought Marissa was light and frothy, he liked the technical side of the dance. Carrie saw a new sexy, smooth side to her. Len noted confidence and a princess-like demeanor. What? Nothing about Tony's theatrical stylings? Their scores are 9-8-9 for a total of 26 points. Backstage, Marissa squeals horribly upon getting her scores and I'm forced to mute the sound on my TV. Next week, I'm skipping her entire routine. Life is too short.
Did I step on your foot, Tony?
A swell little buffet
So close to that elusive score of 30 after performing a tantalizing Rumba last week, Kristi wants to win favor again with the judges. She receives help from Tiger Woods who invited her to perform with Mark at his annual Tiger Jam charity event. Pumped up after a good showing, they return to the studio to take on the Jive, which is a different ball of wax. Quick kicks, attitude and strength are needed to do well with this dance, but Kristi has some trouble with feet positions. We find out that Kristi was born with club feet and had to undergo lots of operations as a little kid. Mark finds it remarkable that she was able to overcome her difficulties while Kristi just hopes that she'll “come alive” this week with the Jive. Their music is Rip it up and they're wearing black and white outfits. There's a lot of theater in their performance and perhaps not enough Jive kicks, but all in all, an entertaining routine. Carrie gives them a standing ovation and says it was a fantastic dance and her favorite performed this far. Len likens it all to a buffet of tasty morsels of moves and delicious choreography. Bruno thought it was top notch and agrees with Carrie about this being his favorite dance of the season. The judges scores reflect their raves with three perfect 10s for a total of 30 points.
Getting it on
The last couple to dance tonight are Karina and Mario, who scored high with a winning Samba. This week Mario wants to bring sexy back with the Rumba while injecting some of that R&B vibe into his performance. To take a break, and plug AT&T's mobile service, Mario calls his little brother and we all get to marvel at the awesome video call feature on his cool AT&T phone. See, now I plugged it too! I assume that my check is in the mail. Ready to steam it up, Mario unbuttons his shirt as Let's get it on is starting and he plucks Karina off of the judges' podium. She is wearing a shimmery bed sheet, I mean, white fabric draped cleverly around her. They slither and snake around the floor suggestively and it looks like Mario is in his element with this sizzling dance. The audience hollers loudly and while Len thought they did a good job, but saw too much strumpet and gigolo in their interpretation for his taste. Too much raunch for him, he says. Bruno felt it was fabulous, savage and primeval. Then he says something that's bleeped by the show because this is prime time. Carrie thought it was better than good sex. She did see one of those pesky lifts though. They earn 9-9-10 for a total of 28 points.
A bit lower, Mario, no, lower... oooh, right there! Aaah!
The hay day of ballroom villainy
Now that the individual dances are finally out of the way, all that remains is the yee haw part of the competition where the stars get to country down for a group number. While the judges won't be judging this dance, the audience will hopefully take note of it and vote accordingly. Rehearsing the big hat routine was part hoedown heaven, part country fried hilarity. Aided by a country choreographer who divides the throng into Outlaws and Sheriffs, they get their roles. The women will play the strong arm of the law while the men will be leading a life of crime. Additionally, Kristi gets deputized while Jason gets to be head Outlaw. Mock bar fights, outlaw style illegal lifts practiced on a trusty crash mat and general mayhem combine with fun to get the stars into that wild lawless country spirit. They all try to outdo each other with more and more insane lifts and moves, but will all this flamboyant competition yield an arresting performance? Set appropriately enough to Cotton Eye Joe, the group routine is a cavalcade of limbs and twirls marinated in a thick brew of Wild West theatricality, peppered with a healthy dose of outlandish lifts. Bruno liked it although it wasn't always in sync, Carrie liked the female Sheriffs and Len enjoyed the lifts and the entertainment.
The long legs of the law.
Leading tonight are Kristi and Mark with 30 points while Marlee and Fabian with 21 points are languishing at the bottom of the list. Who will be flushed away this week? Check in with my new partner in crime lildago whom I managed to rope into this gig, and find out who gets thrown out with the bathwater. See me here next week when Tom will talk about the next halfway point in the show.