Three D-listers have been sent back into obscurity so far but there are still plenty of them left to battle for that cheesy mirror ball trophy. Thirteen, to be precise. There was a time in the distant past, like, you know, a year or so ago, when the show started out with 13 celebs and we all gasped in horror at so many couples. I know, hard to believe. I always thought that was at least 6 too many, but now I look back at those seasons with some nostalgia. If the trend continues, by 2011 Dancing will have featured the entire Osmond family, every retired NFL “legend” in the NFL Hall of Fame, the full 2008 Beijing Olympic team and every washed-up has been this side of Pee Wee Herman.
Tom says it's Latin night tonight and people will be butchering either the Samba or the Rumba. Either way, it should we a good and proper Dancing style train wreck. In other news, Len is back. Also, Samantha announces that Tom DeLay suffered a “pre-stress fracture” in his foot which has now reached the status of “full stress fracture”. Pre-stress fracture? That's creative!
Iron man, Tarzan and the girl who is not Mel B
The night's first victim is Mark whose task this week is to get through the Rumba without messing up. Another task for him is to be slow and sexy which means checking all the hyper, martial artsy behavior at the door. But, I ask, how can anyone get into the proper frame of mind while rehearsing in a studio with pink and purple painted walls? In the end, their performance is neither bad not terribly good . Mark has potential but needs to think less and dance more. Their dance felt a little clinical to me, possessing some good ingredients but with little heat between the two of them. Len didn't feel the chemistry either but thought it was well done. Bruno felt it was a no-go as well, terming the whole thing “staccato” which is a good way of saying it was robotic. Carrie Ann was confused because Mark is technically good but is overthinking things which made the performance uncomfortable to watch. Cue predictably enraged boos from the dilettantes audience. Their scores are all 6s for a total of 18 points.
Joanna and Derek are doing the Samba this week and the goal is to break away again from the middle of the pack. They even practice difficult shadow rolls which Derek is confident will win over the judges. How is this all going meld into something other than the performance equivalent of a dartboard for Len? They start off with a showy move in which Derek swings Tarzan-like from a rope and lands straight on the dance floor in front of Joanna who looks exactly like a human Barbie with probably as many plastic as a real one. The rest is a strange, mixed bag of decent steps but so-so delivery. Joanna is strangely awkward, too stiff in the hips and takes huge inelegant steps. The whole thing seems slow, plastic and boring. As for the shadow rolls, they just looked stilted and graceless to me. Bruno thought they were full of excitement but thought the footwork was shaky. Carrie Ann says it was “super sexy” and Len gushes that it all had “quality stamped all over it”. Theis scores are 7-8-8 for a total of 23.
Dimitri and Mya want to stick to old school sexy and romantic for their Rumba and to get in the mood, so to speak, Mya dresses up their studio to look like a sexy lounge complete with red curtains, chandeliers and red rose petals strewn on the floor. As gimmicky as their practice session sounds, the performance is a straight-up Rumba which is technically decent, packed with action, perhaps even too much of it, but lacking in the believable romantic connection department. But, hey, Paula Abdul is in the audience, so that's more fun right there! Carrie Ann says she had chills through the whole thing and wasn't sure whether there was a lift right at the start of the dance. I rewound and, yes, there was. Len thought they had chemistry but he thought there was a bit too much going on. Bruno gushes about how they put “all America in the mood for love”. Well, perhaps the part of America that gets their thrills only from watching this show. Scores: 10-7-10 for a total of 27. Two tens? Sigh.
The showmance illusion
Mark and Melissa are doing the Samba this week. Rehearsal consists of Melissa being awkward, Melissa being funny and awkward and Melissa being frustrated by too much technique and not enough understanding of the dance. Dressed in a fringed red dress, wearing tight blonde curls and flower in her hair, Melissa looks the part of a Samba dancer but that's the best thing about their performance. The pace seems a bit slow, the shadow rolls are definitely slow and there's a lack of energy and abandon in the way she dances. In other words, she's about as loose as the security at Fort Knox. Or maybe I'm just not seeing it. It's possible. There are half a million couples left and that's depressing me. Len felt it was excellent in parts, she had strong legs but wanted more rhythm all over. Bruno thinks she “switched it on” but she was off the beat a couple of time. Carrie felt there was improvement over last week but didn't quite believe the performance. They earn 6-6-7 for a total of 19 points.
Every season there is one celeb hook-up on this show. Or at least the appearance of it. It's practically a time-honored ratings grabbing tradition. This year it seems the lucky couple may be Chelsie and Louie. Their brand of showmance is of the cute and cuter variety which can get old pretty fast. Rehearsal is cute. Their Rumba is a cute but tepid affair with the most interesting thing about it being Louie's slicked back pimp hair. Still, Bruno finds something to gush about as he says that they did have chemistry. Still, he wanted more fluidity and precision. Carrie Ann thinks they were cute and that their chemistry worked well. Len felt it was a bit rough and wild, too syncopated and hectic. He was let down by their performance. They rake in 8-5-7 for a total of 20 points.
Last week was rough for Debi Mazar who found herself in the bottom two after a fairly decent Tango so the pressure is on to deliver a Samba that will keep them afloat. Maks brings in Mel B as reinforcement to show Debi that she can make a comeback after a bad week. Mel B chats and offers some support making me wish she'd just come back to dance with Maks especially after Debi and Maks' Samba. To say it's a hot mess would be kind. Debi's outfit is comprised of a rainbow colored feather skirt and a rhinestone encrusted bra and Maks is his usual suave, gracefully sexy self. Even though all the elements are there for a good Samba, Debi is wooden, hesitant and utterly devoid of rhythm. Carrie Ann calls it safe, Len thought it was neat but flavorless while Bruno felt a disconnect between them. He says Debi just didn't paw Maks enough. Their scores are 6-5-6 for a total of 17 points.
In which Donnie gets a TV boyfriend
Donnie's dance this week is the Rumba, a dance traditionally associated with G-rated family entertainment, the kind he specializes in. Or, not. Rehearsal is all about Kym trying to teach Donnie to be seductive and show emotion with his body. Is that what that pirouette Donnie does at the start of their routine is all about? And what about those hurt puppy dog eyes he makes throughout the entire routine? The Rumba is supposed to be sultry not schmaltzy. Len thought Donnie did a great job aside from the not quite correct hip positions. When Bruno declares the whole thing was a bit “airy fairy Swan Lake like” Donnie, proving once and for all that he is a worse attention whore than even his pathetically desperate attention whore of a sister, rushes forward, bends Bruno over his arm and plants a mock big kiss on him. Then he does it again facing the camera after which Donnie says they might not let him back into Utah anymore. Carrie Ann says she liked the solo at the start but didn't feel the musicality. With 7s all around they earn 21 points.
I may not have the strength to report on Donnie's bits anymore, I'm sorry. Next week all he'll get is a screencap. Or a subtitle. Or nothing. Back to the show.
Anna and Michael are not communicating too well mostly because Michael is a perfectionist who is too hung up on the details. What's a pro to do? Anna makes a checklist for Michael because that's the thing to do when you have an ex-NFL player as your partner. So they check things off the list one buy one. Very businesslike! After this, things seem to go smoothly and according to script. Their Samba is technically very weak, Michael is stiff and lacks coordination, his arm and hip movements are stilted and sluggish. However he is charismatic and the audience loves their dance. Bruno says he had no rhythm, the steps were all wrong, Carrie Ann says he dances too small and Len thinks it was a disappointing dance. They earn 5-4-5 for a total of 14 points.
Natalie has trouble with the sexiness of the Rumba which is why Alec brings in his wife, Edyta, who can definitely give her some pointers in that area, especially when it comes to all important eye contact. In the end, they deliver a good, convincing Rumba full of nice positions that showcase Natalie's grace and flexibility. Some of the eye contact seems a bit forced and not as hot as it should be but this is the first dance of the night I didn't have the urge to fast forward. Carrie Ann thought it was intense and gorgeous, Len felt is was expressive and they had very good chemistry while Bruno says Natalie has gone stratospheric into sexy beast territory. Bruno has such trouble with communicating his feelings! They earn 9-8-9 for a total of 26 points.
A fighter, a lover and an elephant in the room
Can the tough guy fighter go from dead serious to party happy? I don't think anybody thinks Samba when they look at Chuck but we've seen these meathead types before deliver on this front. Right? By way of preparation, Chuck makes a trip to a beauty salon where he and his daughter get matching pedicures. Black nail polish with pink tips can do wonders for a person's soft side, don't you know. Their costumes are traditional Samba, complete with the ruffled shirt on Chuck and coordinating ruffles on Anna's skirt. One more couple that nails all the trimmings but undercooks the turkey. Len thinks Anna did a great crowd-pleasing choreography, Bruno thought they delivered a “Samba from Zombie town” while Carrie Ann felt it was rough but entertaining. Their scores are 6-5-6 for a total of 17 points.
When you're sitting at the top, there are certain expectations that you need to meet and supposedly this is Aaron's problem right now. Well, that and his regrettable tendency to overdo things such as facial expressions and movements. However, he is determined to make this Rumba believable. I don't know what the deal is with the weird pajama top Aaron wears for the performance but instead of looking like a hot Latin lover he looks like a Russian folk dancer. They muddle through but at one point Aaron stumbles and almost falls. Bruno saw attack and determination but missed some fluidity. Carrie Ann liked Aaron's lines but Len thought the whole thing lacked musicality. He says Aaron just flings his arms around without much artfulness. They earn 8-6-7 for a total of 21 points.
Did I mention that Tom DeLay now has a full fledged stress fracture in his foot? Yes, he does but he is determined to make it a go with the Samba. First order of the day is shaking the booty which is no small task and not a sight I recommend for the faint of heart. Cheryl thinks he is too robotic for the Samba. Even though he has to ice his foot, Tom wants to forge ahead. He now has stress fractures in both of his feet but that won't stop him! Besides, they're wearing bizarre, cheesy Republican and Democrat themed Samba red, white and blue outfits. Who wouldn't want to wear those while shaking their ass on national television? Their Samba itself is set to Why can't we be friends and it's bad in every way however the guy did dance through it with injured feet so I guess that's something. Suddenly I notice the judges' table is also decorated with patriotic ruffles which makes this whole thing even more bizarre. Carrie Ann thought Tom was sweet but felt the performance lacked bounce. Len thinks he's a hero for dancing and Bruno felt that while he was a trooper the performance lacked. They're all so diplomatic. However the scores reflect reality: 6-4-5 for a total of 15 points.
Last but not least, Kelly dances the Samba to Lady Gaga's Love Game as sung by the show's anemic singer. I'm so distracted by the fact that this song is being used for a Samba that I can barely pay attention their routine. However, amid the blur it seems to be a bit of a rushed performance with Kelly's arms flailing about and not enough of a party feel. Len thinks she lacks confidence, Bruno thinks she made a comeback from last week despite a couple of stumbles while Carrie Ann liked their technique. They end the night with 7-6-7 for a total of 20 points.
Who will be eliminated after this interminable night of truly sub-par dancing? My choice would be to bounce at least half of them but since I'm not going to get my wish, I'll just read about it like everybody else from the talented MotherSister.