Like Critical in her super recap of Monday night’s show, I too feel a little lost now that Kate is gone. With no one to focus all that intensity on, could it be that we finally have an even playing field of competitors? Personally, I don’t think so, because there is still one person in the cast who I don’t consider to be a genuine “star”. Let’s see how tonight’s results affect my dilemma…
The couples are arranged on the floor at the top of the hour, so after a quick greeting, Tom and Brooke waste no time in letting us know that Erin and Maks are safe. Maks goes into his usual spastic fit before hugging his partner at hearing the news. And with that, here is Len’s breakdown of the previous night’s events:
(* Honestly, I could write an entire article about everything that I thought was great about Pam & Damian’s AT [including the music choice], but I’m on a deadline.)
- Len felt that there were some great performances and some great technique displayed, but none of the couples were able to display both last night.
- Nicole’s samba disappointed: “All sizzle, no sausage.” Yes, that was Len talking, not Bruno…
- Evan disappointed even more with the same dance, but who cares? We were all looking at his sculpted chest the entire time. (That was me talking, not Len)
- Len is still forgiving about Jake’s stumble at the foot of the judge’s platform, and admires his commitment on the floor.
- Pamela was smoldering once more in the Argentine Tango, but the lack of precision in the footwork was a real problem*.
- Niecy interrupts Len to ask how she did, and Len is full of compliments. He thought the use of props and comedy in their AT was right and proper.
- Chad and Erin were last night’s breakout stars. Chad & Cheryl’s AT was, for Len, the best dance of the night. Erin finally showed her true potential, even with the distraction of Maks taking off his shirt once again. (That was Len talking, not the rest of the world)
- Finally, the swing dance marathon was a “brilliant” end to an overall “topsy-turvy” night.
Chad & Cheryl get the honors of this week’s encore dance, and Tom comments that it looked even better than last night. Maybe Chad does better when the heat is off and he can just show off for a crowd, who knows. It was a fantastic dance in any case, and why not? Cheryl knows her Anrgentine Tango, as evidenced by the now-classic AT she choreographed for Gilles in season 8. I still go back and rewatch that dance to this day…
fillerentertainment portion of the night belongs to Melissa Etheridge, who performs her new single “Fearless Love” from the album of the same name. Melissa is as great as ever, but the dancing outshines the song, as Tony & Chelsie and Maks & Anna do what they so best. Maks makes sure to keep his shirt open for Len to get a good look. After the song, Tom incredulously makes a plug for a set of DWTS workout videos (is there any other way to pitch for such a thing?), and Brooke introduces a recap of the judges’ scoring from last night (Jake at the bottom, Nicole on top, although the days of couples scoring less than 20 are done for the season).
The couples reassemble on the floor, and Tom lets Chad & Cheryl know that they are safe.
After a break, a Fabio-looking salsa guitar star by the name of Benise plays while his own troupe of dancers takes over the floor. The performance has an earthy, street feel to it, but it’s also kind of a sloppy mess. Benise was introduced as “Emmy-winning”, but it was for costume design for a PBS special that he headlined.
Next on tonight’s uneven entertainment bill, John Brenkus from sister network ESPN’s “Sports Science” (another Emmy winner, but not for costumes) gives us an interesting analysis of the athleticism of ballroom dancers. He uses the show’s formidable technology to capture Dimitry & Edyta’s synchronized movements, and makes some fascinating comparisons between the dancer’s abilities to that of world-class athletes, as well as hummingbirds.
Melissa Etheridge returns to sing her breakout hit “Come to My Window” while Alec & Edyta admirably perform a variation on a rumba. The show fades out the song and hits the applause sign once the dance routine ends, which seems to be a surprise to Melissa as she keeps playing her guitar and looking around, wondering what is going on. Eventually she realizes that she’s been cut off, and she strums a final chord that no one hears, and then promptly calls her agent in order to fire him.
Tom shills for this season’s Design-a-Dance event (really, is anyone looking forward to this?) and Brooke interviews Erin & Maks, who mugs for the camera when asked about the love-hate relationship between his chest and Len. Also, Chad & Cheryl share some positive feelings about how well-received their dance was, and hope to build momentum on it.
Pecs in Jeopardy
Next, the show reverts to last week’s “two couples at a time” method of announcing who is safe and “in jeopardy”, as Derek & Nicole and Jake & Chelsie come downstage to hear their fates. Unsurprisingly, Nicole is safe, and Jake is once again “in jeopardy”.
Brooke puts a blunt question to Jake: even though he has previously talked about feeling safe this week, how does he feel now? Oooh, burn. Jake handles it graciously, saying that he hopes that his bases in Texas and Canada came through with the votes. Brooke then asks Evan how uneasy he feels about his chances this week, and Evan also puts on an upbeat face. Niecy then makes an insightful comment about how all the couples are like a family, meaning they are good at putting on upbeat faces and supporting each other, rather than, y’know, telling the truth. Next, Pam & Damian are looking forward to a “fun” samba next week. Brooke throws it over to Tom, who introduces the cast of ABC’s new show “Happy Town” sitting in the audience. Isn’t it lucky that they scored front-row seats so that they could be easily spotted by the camera?
Next, we get to watch an interview clip package, where all the remaining stars speak with utter seriousness and determination about how challenging the show is, and how surprised they are at how involved they are in the competition, and how nerve-wracking it can get. I’m betting this was also produced by someone over at ESPN, because it comes across like a pre-game segment for the Super Bowl. Lighten up, kids, that trophy is worth about $14.95!
Following this, Pam & Damian are pronounced safe (yay!), and after a break, the remaining couples are still standing in place as Brooke recaps the scores one more time. Then, Jake & Chelsie are confirmed to be in the Bottom 2. Evan & Anna are then pronounced safe, as millions of women hit 'Cancel' on the angry Facebook petitions they were preparing. Sadly, this means that Niecy & Louis are also in the Bottom 2. Len challenges whoever is returning to amp up their game and polish their technique if they want to go further.
Tom then announces that the couple saying a final goodnight will be…Jake & Chelsie. Jake floods the dance floor with his tears as he thanks Texas, Mavericks fans, Canada, as well as “all the Tweets and Facebooks.” He calls Chelsie his best friend, as Vienna shoots a death glance from her seat. Jake then grabs Brooke’s mic to offer more thanks to everyone in the world, and then we are treated to Jake’s edited trip down memory lane before Jake & Chelsie take the floor for their final dance and group hug.
And with that, my dilemma is finally resolved: the last “non-star” star has been eliminated, and the show can reclaim its name for the rest of the season. Now, things get tough.