Remember how, for the past eight weeks, there’s been this intense, dramatic battle happening on the dance floor, with couple after couple burning the floor in a race to their destiny as champions? Me either! But Tom says that’s been going on all season long, and I haven’t been taking my gingko so I’ll go with him on that metaphor: Last night the battlefield was torn apart! In the judges’ eyes two leaders emerged in the form of a charming Brazilian and a cheeky Brit, but as we know from having it drilled into us Pavlov style, anything can happen. So just who did our votes send home this week? Well, I’ll give you this one hint. It wasn’t Sabrina.
Week 8: A Retrospective
Our couples and our hosts are all looking pretty chipper tonight, bar Edyta. She must’ve heard that Jimmy Kimmel is back this week. I know that news brought me down. What can make me smile again? Why, reliving things I’ve already seen, of course. Into the clip show we go. Last night we once again had two dances from each, and the judges actually got a little salty with their judging, making a lot of the couples squirm in their averageness. Until they gave everybody above average scores anyway. Jenny (looking entirely too much like Tina Sparkle doing the Fruity Rumba) turned in a middling jive, but blotted it out with a better foxtrot that dazzled everybody but Bruno. Marie returned with a rumba and a cowboy themed jive that made Len say “fun” like six times in quick succession and allowed Marie to say backstage that she doesn’t “want to get the boot.” *ba dump tsss* Cameron and Edyta had a glorious Viennese waltz and a stiff cha cha; Mel and Maks started off with an aggressive tango and then cleaned up with a super sultry mambo. But the real standouts of the night were Helio and Julianne, with a dramatic paso doble and a freaking joyous quickstep that earned them their first ever perfect score. Julianne is thrilled to finally have Helio in tune with all the details and polish and whatnot; Helio thinks he’s had it all along, but Julianne shuts that down. Sucks to your asmar, Helio.
Of course they get the encore for the quickstep. It’s a little looser than last night’s but still wonderful to watch; at the end Helio goes in for the kiss again and gets denied. What’s that all about? Somebody forget to brush?
One Good Turn and the Drive Off the Cliff
Gloria Estefan! I’m so happy she could make the show this time, because she is truly awesome. She looks great and sounds great singing her new hit single “A Bailar,” while two couple of dancers come out with a fantastically chill mambo full of slick dips, spins, and lifts. Gloria even joins them for a few of the moves, ending the performance with a little shimmy-shake because she rules.
The backstage chats are on a couch now, but that doesn’t make Samantha any more comfortable in front of the camera. She jumps right in and asks Helio how many more dances he has left in him. He of course answers that he hopes they have all the dances left, because just staring back at her blankly would be kind of rude. Samantha then goes on to do a little pot-stirring, asking Cameron if Helio is more an ally or threat since they are the only two guys left in the game. Cam lives up to his on-air training (try it, Samantha, you might like it) by complimenting Helio and saying that he feels no antagonism, just friendship. Samantha then starts to ask Cam who he voted for, like a big ninny, and then quickly changes the subject like a big ninny who realized she was being a big ninny. So at least she’s getting a bit self-aware as the weeks go by.
Time to check in with our studio audience. Everybody’s keen to guess which couples will make the semi-finals. Plenty of votes go Helio’s way, and Mel get some support as well, but a shrill little man thinks Jennie won’t make the cut unless she stops acting like a dancer and starts dancing. I’m sure that didn’t even make sense to him as he said it. A couple of folks think the judges were too harsh on Jennie, and one guy hypothesizes that Bruno had a nip or two of Len’s special grumpy tea. Made with a heady mix of eye of newt, hemlock, mandrake, and a bit of lemon for zing. Patent pending. A kind woman takes care to call Marie is a fantastic person before saying there’s no way in the wide world she should still be in this, and some young thing says Cameron has to do more than unbutton his shirt to stay in the running, and a trio of young things answer that with a wish to have him unbuttoned, out of the running, and in their arms. Oh my.
Results. The first couple safe is
SanjayaMarie and Jonathan; no one looks as shocked as they, and I think I even catch Marie in an unguarded moment of expletive. Awesome.
Hey, Chi McBride’s in the audience getting much applause. Way to get over that whole Desmond Pfeiffer thing.
Samantha is standing backstage now, this time with Jennie and Mel. She grills Mel about slipping out of the top spot and goads her into saying something aggressive because she’s “Scary Spice.” She then asks Jennie if she can be the woman to win, and Jennie says sure. Duh.
Jimmy Kimmel is back. Hooray. His friend Guillermo is now sporting a cone collar to go with his arm sling because he’s not afraid to humiliate himself on national television. I am afraid of going into why this bothers me so much, because if I start I probably will never stop and that’s not what we’re here for. So. This week’s mail is all about that dishy Tom; a viewer in Connecticut wants to know how Tom multitasks as the host of two ridiculously cheesy shows at once. Cut to the both of them hanging out with Tom in his dressing room as Tom demonstrates the difference with a bit of video. On AFV, there are clips of fathers being hit in the nads with baseball bats, on Dancing With the Stars, it’s the dancer who takes the bat to the groin. Aha ha! That was totally worth my time.
Next we’re treated to a performance choreographed by Fatima; it’s a hip hop routine that probably would’ve been really fun if it wasn’t so boring.
Once back from commercials, Tom segues us into a package of thoughts on the pro dancers still dancing. We begin with Maks, who started his career as a ballroom king at 4 years old, complete with a photo of him as a tiny Russian gentleman. Julianne interviews that Maks is not so cocky, only passionate. Julianne is up now; we learn that she begin dancing hardcore at 10. Her brother Derek basically compliments her as the be-all end-all of dance, and Len says he knew when she was young(er) that she was a real talent. He further says that her mere presence has made all the other pros up-step their game to new heights. Yeah, so basically calling her the be-all end-all of dance, again. Jonathan, we find, was way into sports and not that yucky, girly dance stuff, until at 20 years old he saw a film that instantly made him want to be a dancer. I bet it was Beat Street. Maks compliments his teaching techniques, and Len calls him a caring soul and says he is the best at bringing out the nest in his partners.
Meanwhile Edyta wanted to be a ballroom dancer forever and ever. She started her first class at 10 and fell in love. Derek on the other hand fell in love with Edyta’s body first and her dancing second. How did that make the show? Len praises Edyta for always pushing her partner to be his best and then calls her a sexy thing, which really shouldn’t have made the show. Derek now. He also started dancing at ten, imagine that, but he hated it. We don’t get to find out what exactly changed his mind (…Beat Street? Just saying, it’s an excellent film.), but we do find out that Edyta is super impressed by his dancing and choreography, and Len admires the freshness he’s bringing to the show.
Gloria Estefan again! This time she’s working it on the song that never fails to make you look silly at parties, “Conga.” I am an unabashed lover of this song, so even if I was doing my own private Conga line in my apartment as I felt the rhythm of the music getting stronger, it’s really not for you to judge. Beat! Maks, Mark, Kym, and Julianne accompany Gloria and her Sound Machine with a fierce cha cha.
And Now … Deep Thoughts
Samantha is once again backstage with all of the stars yet to learn their fates. She asks about nerves and Jennie answers that she doesn’t worry; she loves elimination night. Samantha suggests therapy. I have similar suggestions for Samantha, but sadly they keep going unheeded. She next asks Cameron why it’s bad to have one good dance and one bad, and this is all so worthless. Helio gets a question about being in the lead again, and then asks Mel how she feels being knocked out of the top spot. Mel answers that it has always been anyone’s game to win, and this well-reasoned answer shorts out Samantha’s circuits so she throws it back to Tom, who throws it to a new exercise in time-wasting: tips from some motivational gurus on how any of these kids can pull off a win. We get Tony Robbins and the guy from The Secret spouting platitudes about believing in oneself, maximizing opportunities, using the tools within, having the will to win, and so on. Hey, I think I just saved you from buying two books.
Results again. Our last four standing are anointed with their spotlights. Tom says last night the judges called their dancing limp, but the low scores might have stiffened their support. I’m not sure, but I think somebody owes some money to the cuss box. Samantha says something corny about Cam and Edyta having a good waltz and possibly waltzing into Safety, and Tom quips that we can all tell there’s a writers strike going on. Not so much when you’re talking, Tom. He reminds Helio and Julianne that their perfect score is no guarantee into the next round, and Samantha says that Mel and Maks are versatile but maybe no one cares. Mel looks like she could burst into tears any minute. She’s really taking this thing seriously, which is kind of amazing to me. I mean, you win a disco ball as a trophy. I could whip one of those up with a balloon and a mirror and some glue. But anyway. Tom informs us that Helio and Julianne are also safe this week, and I do a quick Conga of joy. Once again, we’re not getting the dirt on the bottom two, only the definitive losers. Tom asks Len if Jennie is the dark horse here, and Len says yes indeedy they could swan off with the win while no one’s paying attention. Carrie Ann gets to say that she is proud of Cameron’s improvement and drive, and Bruno gets to rave about the importance of seeing M&M’s “animal magnetism” on display again. Now for Jennie’s favorite part – out comes the red light of doom. Mel and Maks quickly escape it, followed by Jennie and Derek, meaning that Cameron and Edyta are eliminated. Shucks. No more chances to guess the percentage of clothing they’ll sport each week.
Tom cuts right in and reminds us that no one has traveled so much and so on to participate. This time Cameron’s red-eye is about holding back the tears. He says he’s not sure what he’ll do with all this free time, and he totally did not want to go home this week, and then he graciously and genuinely thanks Edyta for bringing him so far and helping him so much. Mel’s crying. Edyta says this has been an amazing journey (Drink! Oh no, wrong ABC show.), and she is so proud of Cameron because she never thought he’d come so far. It’s meant to be a compliment. They get to watch a little montage of triumph, wherein he says he owes this experience and his new life as a dancer all to Edyta, and she says she couldn’t wish for a better partner. The audience jumps up to send them off with an ovation, and Cam and Edyta sway in time to “All Out of Love.” Way to go out with class.
Next week is the semi-finals. Once again they’re coming at us with two dances each – their favorite ballroom and Latin varieties. Here’s hoping someone picks up the dental floss/popped button torch from our departed. The wonderful MsFroggy will be on hand to let you know how it all works out.