I was supposed to write this recap yesterday but you might forgive me for being a tad too excited to write on such a historic day. Instead, I did what we all did: I went out to vote. But today is a new day and my thoughts, inevitably filtered through the events of a great election night, turn to Dancing once more.
After Cloris' departure last week, we're in a new phase of the competition. Yeah, just when you thought it was safe to watch again, I have some bad news. Even though there are fewer of them left, the celebs are dancing two dances apiece from now on and the show will not become shorter. Au contraire. They keep coming up with new ways to stretch it to incredible lengths. Aside from tonight's regular dances, two brand new team dances are added to the fun. Let's see how it went, shall we?
Reaching across the expert aisle
With only 6 couples left, and perhaps no real driftwood left to clear out except for poor Susan, the competition is finally looking more dignified and, dare I say, more watchable. Tom and Jerry explain the new team dance format which will involve splitting the celebs into two teams of three. The two teams will be performing a Cha Cha and a Paso Doble in the second half of the show.
First up are Warren and Kym. They have a Foxtrot planned for which Kym thinks Warren could benefit from a bit of perspective. She takes him to a dance class led by Nick Kosovich, former World American Ballroom Champion, who is determined to show Warren how it's really done. After some great pointers, Warren is ready to work it. However, despite of the master class, he suddenly looks a bit too chunky and not terribly smooth doing the Foxtrot, which may be thanks in part to the outfit he's wearing - a taupe colored pants and vest – that makes him look boring and monolithic. The dance is not terribly special either as I detect a lack of flow, halting, lackluster footwork and an occasional lack of synchronization. Len is back and he opines that it wasn't a classic Foxtrot but says it wasn't Warren's best dance. Bruno liked the beginning but says Warren was flat-footed and saw a regression. Carrie thinks he just didn't bring it like he usually does and thinks something was not right. They earn all 7s for a total of 21 points.
Yes you can, Susan!
Susan knows the stakes are high but practicing the Paso Doble is no small feat. Tony is a tough taskmaster and she feels he's a bit too harsh with her. They clash over his style but he explains to her that she needs to find the anger in herself for the Paso Doble and to start believing that she can do better. I'm not sure how much that impassioned speech from Tony really worked as Susan is as wooden and hesitant as she's ever been. I'm waiting to see at least some acting to counteract her lack of technique but all I detect is reserve and almost a fear to let go. Sad really. Bruno praises her, Carrie makes Susan stand up and say “I'm doing good” and Len says it was her best dance to date. Well, I don't know what they were watching. It's all 8s for the bullfighting duo for a total of 24 points.
Overcoming your pain for the common good
Maurice is facing the Cha Cha tonight after a disappointing showing his last time out. Rehearsal is difficult for Maurice as he feels the pressure is getting to him. Cheryl thinks he's holding back and getting discouraged, especially after he hyperextended his leg during team rehearsal. Perhaps the weekend did him good as their Cha Cha is quite decent. Although Maurice leaves the heavy lifting to Cheryl, he throws out some good hip action and respectable footwork in an enjoyable routine. Carrie thought Maurice brought his A-game, Len terms it dazzling and their best dance while Bruno raves about his rhythm and style. Despite the rave reviews, their scores lack some sparkle with 8-9-8 from the judges for a total of 25 points.
Learning to bridge the stylistic gap
Cody the Man has a new woman this week. Older and more experienced, Edyta knows that with Viennese Waltz looming they need to find chemistry quickly if they're going to survive. They visit Julianne after her surgery and she encourages him to do well. Oh, how I missed Edyta's quirky wardrobe decisions and now that she's back, she doesn't disappoint. She's wearing a long flowing dress that's barely more than a skirt and a skimpy top in a patriotic red, white and blue bullseye pattern. Their music is [i]Have you ever really loved a woman” by Bryan Adams and as they glide around the floor they make a real odd couple. The chemistry is not sizzling but they're squeaking by. Len thought they were comfortable but didn't quite buy their Waltz, Bruno makes some asinine analogy with a fledgling bird and flight. Carrie alone thinks they were great and made Julianne proud. Their scores are as mixed as their reviews: 8-7-7 for a total of 22 points.
How reliance on gimmicks could hurt your appeal
Self-proclaimed “edgy” couple Lance and Lacey are taking the edge and making it edgier because that's the kind of edgy people they are. Faced with the Rhumba and fast running out of ideas for decent routines, Lacey wants them to perform barefoot. Lance, who hurt his toe last week, is ambivalent about the idea as he thinks it may hurt to dance. She accuses him of being negative about it. She bitches to him about how she doesn't care what he does and she's done being positive. Waa, waa, waa! What is it with this chick all the time thinking that this show is about her? She walks off in a huff but crawls back next day to apologize. They start off sitting on a park bench, barefoot and wearing extremely loose fitting duds dancing to Wonderland. There're a lot of snaking movements, flowing fabric and generally a sense that they're barefoot. Aside from that the whole thing is barely a Rhumba. Bruno thinks it was refreshing and romantic, Carrie felt it was a good risk to take while Len just didn't get it. He thought Lance was flat footed and urges them to cut out the nonsense. They hoof their way to scores of 9-7-9 for a total of 25 points.
Thoughtful and measured wins the day
Brooke wants to refocus and improve after last week's less than stellar outing. With her foot injury she's having a hard time with such a precision-heavy dance as the Foxtrot, but she is determined. Seems like more than half of the celebs left are injured in some way or another, doesn't it? Rehearsal is smooth and drama free which is a welcome change. They look classy together in their ballroom attire, she in a sexy gold dress and he in a tuxedo. Their dance is lovely and measured, smooth and filled with interesting details. I've seen better on previous seasons, but for tonight I think it was the best. Or maybe I'm just cranky today. Carrie loved their lines, Len thought it was fantastic and Bruno felt it was thrilling and beautiful. The judges raves materialize in their scores too with a row of 10s for a total of 30.
With all the individual dances out of the way, only two group dances stand in our way. ABC could have made this show longer but, I guess, they didn't dare.
Not all grassroots dance efforts pay off
On Team Cha Cha we have Susan, Lance and Cody, while Team Paso Doble is made up of Warren, Maurice and Brooke. Each team will be scored individually and then the scores added to each couple's total to arrive at their grand total score for the day. Got it? Team Cha Cha are up first and they pride themselves on their strengths which are the entertainment angle and apparently the ability to work a cell phone video camera. Group rehearsal is fraught with tension mostly because of Susan who is far behind the others and faltering. Lance and Cody look on nervously as she lags behind as they're running out of time. Dun, dun, dun!
The routine starts off with a bit of a strip show as the women shed their jackets to reveal short gold dresses and the men, wearing black pants and gold shirts, waste no time baring their chests. The couples take turns performing their solo parts with mixed results. Cody and Edyta are mismatched but pull off a halfway decent duet, Lance and Lacey go for a bit more raunch even as Susan and Tony, sandwiched between them, struggle visibly. Susan is still extremely hesitant and slow and not even Tony's impressive chest can make me overlook her weaknesses. In the group parts it's almost painful to watch the way she sticks out and drags down the others. Len is impressed by their cooperative work but felt Lance and Lacey saved them. Bruno says their Cha Cha was “teetering on the brink of disaster” and agrees with Len about Lance and Lacey. Carrie saw no unison, calls the whole spectacle “brutal”. She praises Lance and Lacey as well. They earn 6-7-7 for a total of 20 points.
Marching lockstep towards a better score
Can Team Paso Doble do better? They certainly are off to a better start with a team high five and strategy discussions right off the bat. Cheryl's idea is to start strong and finish strong planting Warren, the weaker link, in the middle. As team captain, Maurice motivates the troops, firing them up for the looming battle as they try to master that elusive unison. Warren and Maurice work respectable solos but it's Brooke and Derek who really shine with the smoothest delivery. In the group portion they manage to synchronize well and due to clever choreography whatever flaws they might have had in this are effectively disguised. By the end, the dance floor has been wiped clean a few times as each couple did at least one floor spin individually and as a group as well. Not surprisingly the audience and the judges are both quite impressed. Bruno praises their unity, Carrie agrees and says they each sparkled individually. Len notes that the Paso Doble lends itself to more precision but thinks they did a really good job. In the end they collect 10-9-10, a total of 29 points.
All in all not a bad night of dancing, if somewhat tedious. But then, it's always somewhat tedious to watch this show even when I'm in a generous mood and today I'm certainly in a generous mood. Note the scarcity of Cloris jokes and my complete avoidance of all things Samantha. Wednesday night will bring a new elimination but I can assure you right now that the show won't get shorter. There's more filler where all this came from! The brave MotherSister will be here to dish on the misfortune of one of these celeb couples. Don't miss it.
See me here next week for more fun with Tom and Jerry on elimination night.
Do you think Len needs more fiber in his diet? PM me.