Last week on Dancing With The Stars, uhmm... So, yeah. Was there a last week? Can't quite remember and I do apologize for my temporary amnesia. Did I forget to write a recap or was it more like I just forgot Dancing even existed? I will plead the fifth on that one but suffice it to say that my level of enthusiasm when it comes to the show has dipped below scientifically measurable levels: On a scale of Super Duper Hot to Chill As Arctic Ice, I'm at about a Martian Winter Several Hundred Sub Zero. Blast me off into interstellar orbit as punishment or read on. Given current fuel prices, I think it's cheaper to keep me here. Just sayin'.
Who left last week? I don't know!! But I'm going to pretend that I do and push this three-wheeled rickety old cart down the country lane anyway.
Just the facts and other filler
Now that I'm done with my mea culpas, we can all move on. It looks like Melissa was dispatched last week – no big loss, if you ask me – and Louie also bit the dust. What? Now that's a surprise although I can't say why. America has been constantly inconsistent at pinpointing people with potential. But they do love their ringers don't they? Last season it was that chick from The Bachelor whose name has now been added to our convenient obscenity filter – I kid, I kid, but just barely – this season it's Mya, the amazing pro. Who will America vote off this week? Probably somebody they shouldn't but that's a whole 'nother recap.
For now, the remaining super couples will be dancing an individual dance apiece followed by a Paso vs. Tango team showdown. Miles better than two dances per couple. I, promise, I'm cutting to the chase now.
Supposedly people are sick, frustrated, stressed and everything else they usually are at this stage of the competition. But they soldier on, brave souls that they are! Did I not say I was going to cut to the chase? Yes, I did, but ABC is foiling my plans and testing my patience.
In an act of supreme hutzpah, the show opens with a pro demo of a Paso team dance to the tune of The Ting Ting's Shut up and let me go. Wonderful. Another song defiled by that Dancing background singer chick that I hate with a passion. Who writes off on this stuff? The Paso demo is very good I'm sure but it has no place on show night. It's pure filler if I've ever seen any. I do like the vaguely S&M hot pink patent pleather boustiers on the women though, so that's something.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the team flows into the Tango demo set to Blondie's Call me. I swear, I couldn't concentrate on the dance at all, not when evil background singer woman was raping Call me on national television. Now that should be a federal offense!
Whatever comes after this can only be stellar. Right? In breaking news, Anna Trebunskaya is subbing for Lacey Schwimmer this week, who is out sick.
Len weighs in before the dancing starts saying that the judges expect great dancing from now on. Hmm. I guess there's no great dancing requirement till we get down to the last half dozen or so contestants. I wish they would have said something a month ago; I would have been happy to skip the early filler shows with those now departed 7937285 couples who sucked.
Michael Irvin is still here. I cannot explain it but there you have it. Oh, wait, it looks like Carrie saved him or something. Pox on her! Anyways, they're dancing the Foxtrot this week. In rehearsal, words like elegant, debonair, Fred Astaire and touch down dance are thrown around. Touch down dance? Yes, I laughed too.
In the end Michael and Anna prance around in pink and burgundy outfits to some song I don't recognize – which is probably a very good thing because I can't make fun of it! - and it all passes in a blur. Hopefully this means that the dances are now shorter. Len loved it, Bruno liked the musicality but he still has an issue with Michael's butt – insert crude joke here! - while Carrie thought he was gracious and fluid. They earn 8-8-7 for a total of 23 points.
The Hunch bar, now with more pluck!
Donnie. Now why can't I just like this cheeseball? Maybe because he's a cheeseball but I must admit some of the dancing he's done was decent. With one eye closed and half my brain on standby. This week his task is to work a passable Quickstep but, goshdarnit, them are tough steps in that bleepin' blippity dance and Donnie has a wee bit of trouble keeping his chassees in order. But that's not even his biggest problem: it's his Hunchback of Notre Dame posture which Kym wants to eradicate. Out comes the the posture bar and Donnie looks horrified. Apparently he's got something called “the Osmond slouch” which is his way of getting down with the beat. You know, that hot, pulsating Osmond dance beat.
After such preliminaries you'd expect absolute excellence but you'd be wrong. Apart from Kym's glammy cave woman attire, this is your typical Quickstep only it's slower, campier and more awkward. Donnie is not bad despite his floor gazing and several hiccups throughout but I still can't take that grin. Bruno thinks he covered up his mistakes with a good performance – this is duly booed by the blind audience – Carrie Ann liked the foot work and noted four to five mistakes and Len appreciated the attack and the pluck. It was a pluck attack! Their scores all 8s for a total of 24 points.
Sick and hairy
Up next: Mark. Lacey is out with some bug or another, Mark is busy imitating Chairman Kaga in NYC and things are not going good. Tony steps in for a bit because no Dancing season is complete without some man-on-man dancing action but since, as Mark so eloquently puts it, he “can't dance with Tony on the show”, Anna shows up to fill in for the sick Lacey and the not female Tony. Mark is also holding a video camera this whole time for some reason I can't quite fathom.
Their Samba looks kind of fun, if slow and a bit jagged, and it's even got some martial arts kicks in there. I realize that's not much of a description but by the time these celebs actually get to dance I often run out of the funny. It's often hard to pin a laugh track to a sad display of ineptitude. Weep for me! Not that Mark did that bad, I'm just generalizing. The judges are sober. Carrie Ann is compassionate but declares the dance a disjointed mess. Len says it wasn't his best but since Mark had a bad week he's indulgent. Bruno says it was like watching Kung Fu Panda doing the Samba on the Planet of the Apes. That makes sense. It was a bit hairy. Scores: 6-7-6 for a total of 19 points.
I may not be a pro dancer but, dammit, I personally laid this parquet floor!
And now for the professional portion of our evening, I give you Mya. This week she's dancing the Foxtrot which is a chance to appear classy. Dimitri wants her to relax and not sweat the steps so much to which end he enlists Cloris Leachman's help. Yes, she's back! She tells stories of Gene and Fred – not your drunk neighbors, the other Gene and Fred! - and offers precious insight to “connect”. She also coaches them in some come-hither eye work to pass time.
Dimitri is dressed in a white pimp suit with a dark cherry shirt and tie and Mya in a matching slinky satin bridesmaid dress and they're Foxtrotting to some old fashioned tune while hitting every possible gimmick in the book including a shadow dance at the beginning, some craziness on the stairs at the end and high drama in between. It's all a big yawn, but a polished yawn. This woman just inspires zero excitement. Len liked some parts but didn't like some of the gimmicky cheese they brought. Bruno thought it was glamorous and perfect. He gushes about Rita Hayworth and such. Carrie Ann thinks Len is on crack and commends Mya on the sophisticated costumes that she designed. I'm waiting for the grand announcement that Mya personally laid down the parquet floor and polished it by hand overnight. Perhaps she also strung up the set lights. Their scores: 9-7-9 for a total of 25 points.
Sister Len and the Twisted Jive
Looks like last week Aaron crawled up from the bottom two so this week the pressure is on. The hair must be spikier, the attitude must be more fake but most of all Aaron must learn to Jive. Karina wants him to be Superman on the floor so she takes him to a private trainer at a gym to do some NFL style drills. Did they help? Karina is wearing a short, pink ombre fringe dress while Aaron is wearing a deep wine colored jacket that looks to be two sizes too big. What is it will all the pink and burgundy tonight? Maybe the fabric store had a special sale on fugly color combos.
It's no secret that I think Karina is technically the best and my favorite female pro on the show – those feet! - and she doesn't disappoint with this Jive, which is insanely fast and fun, set to that Twisted Sister classic We're not gonna take it. As for Aaron, he keeps up with Karina which is no mean feat and makes me forget I want to slap him, which is an even bigger feat. Bruno thought he kicked ass and thought it was his best performance, Carrie Ann thought it was very good while Len thought it was clean, fast, clean and energetic. He was almost tempted to give them a 10, he says. Holy high kick, Len must be in love! In the end the scores are 9-10-10 for a total of 29. Guess Len couldn't help himself after all.
Fringe and booty
Kelly is having a meltdown because the pressure is just too much and because, apparently, Bruno told her last week that she was beige. But Kelly is not into beige. Not when so many shades of black are available out there. Sacrilege! Plus, the Salsa is a pain and Kelly just doesn't get it. Louis is done being Mr. Nice Guy as well because “people with higher scores are going home”. Kelly bawls and falters in practice and this is prime television drama. Can't buy this stuff for a truckload of money!
Will she be able to dance? Was there ever a question? Louis is wearing a pair of fringed turquoise pants and a 70s style print shirt. Kelly is in a matching dress that is only slightly matronly unlike her previous outfits. Oh, and the bottom half comes off midway through their routine. Louis' pants also come off... but he's wearing another pair under the fringe. Bummer! If you're wondering why I'm going on and on about their outfits, it's because the dance is cute but nothing to write a recap about. Carrie Ann thought it was great, Len thought Kelly controlled her nerves finally but needs to step up the technique and Bruno just stands up on the judges' table and works his booty. Yes, you read that right! They get all 8s for a total of 24 points.
Beach blanket Rumba
Before we can get to the group numbers, there's Joanna who is coming off of a good week. Her dance is the Rumba this week and Derek tells her they have to get romantic in order to get into the dance but Joanna supposedly has trouble envisioning things. A little dream sequence with a half naked Joanna on the beach rubbing Derek's shoulders and munching seductively on strawberries elevates this rehearsal bit to late night HBO territory. Or is that Cinemax? So, when did they actually practice? Hard to say. Oops, bad choice of words.
Dressed all in white, these two look elegant and sexy and Joanna can definitely strike a pose but she just gives off such a plastic doll vibe that I can't get into their routine. After numerous slithery moves and gyrations, the whole thing ends with a deep dip right in front of whom I assume to be Joanna's
sugardadyfiance. He gives her a standing ovation while beaming approvingly. Len says he's all about their technique, Bruno declares her a goddess and Carrie Ann says was fantastic. Scores are straight 9s for a total of 27 points.
I hate myself for Paso on you
Now that we're done with the solo portion of our weekly entertainment, the team stuff is up next. Team Paso consists of Aaron/Karina, Mya/Dimitri, Mark/Anna and Michael/Anna and they're ready for action. Team Tango is comprised of Joanna/Derek, Donnie/Kym and Kelly/Louis. Sadly there are only three couples in Team Tango, but do not fret! This means more space on the dance floor for the smaller team. Seeing the glass half full and all that.
After a brief commercial break the two teams triumphantly walk onto the dance floor amid copious amounts of stage smoke, lights and O Fortuna playing dramatically in the background. How, er, fortunate. The face-off is upon us!
Team Paso gets the first performance but before we can get to all that, there's the customary rehearsal footage to slog through. It's got everything a typical group rehearsal has: inane banter, intimate confessionals, frustration, confusion and pep talks. There's also some hard work in there so I'm impressed. Shh, don't tell anyone! The dance itself isn't as interesting as the women's costumes which consist of voluminous tiered skirts, mesh body suits with strategically places sequins and tall black boots. Each couple gets a solo portion to show off those awesome Paso skills which would be okay, but their music is Joan Jett's I hate myself for loving you sung by that insipid singer Dancing is probably grossly overpaying. Joan is probably curled up in a corner somewhere rocking back and forth mumbling “I shouldn't have let them have it, I shouldn't have, I shouldn't have” over rand over. And I'm forced to fast forward.
What did the judges think? Bruno says they lost some synch but thought Mya and Dimitri were best, Carrie Ann thought Mark redeemed himself while Len felt they all did well. Their overall score, which gets added to everyone's scores is all 8s for a total of 24 points.
After the usual rehearsal footage which I'm going to conveniently skip, it's off to the performance. The Team Tango costumes are lacy and black but less slutty than the Team Paso ones which may or may not help with the scores. However, they're just as guilty when it comes to their music. Ladies and gentlemen, this Tango is set to You give love a bad name. However, the only thing getting a bad name here is the bad karaoke band since the dance is actually quite enjoyable and less gimmicky than the previous one. Judging by the noise level in the studio, the audience thinks so too.
Carrie Ann is so ecstatic she goes out to hug the troops but then bitches about some lift which I didn't notice. Len calls their routine superior and Bruno gushes endlessly again. I guess they liked it. Their scores are all 9-9-10 for a total of 28 points.
After two interminable hours, we're finally done. And not a moment too soon!. The good news is that ABC seems to be running out of patience too because two more couples are going to be bounced on elimination night. May I suggest fewer couples for next season? Just sayin'.
See me back here next week when I complain some more about the costumes and the god-awful music. Fun times ahead!
I refuse to accept responsibility for any mistakes I may have made relating to the current number of couples (blame ABC for making it hard to keep track of them) and all the stuff I left out because I don't like listening to Tom or Samantha.