We have reached the point in the season where the more susceptible among us have to start reminding ourselves, “It’s just a TV show. It’s just a TV show. It’s just a TV show…” We must be crazy to invest so much time and energy and emotion into following a dancing show. A dancing show! Crazy indeed. But are we as crazy as the bruised and battered celebrity cast, who seem to care so much about staying to be battered some more? Or the overly self-aware and mathematically non-linear judges? Or Tom and Samantha, who would smile through a root canal? Or the fiendish producers, whose casual brutality to cast and viewers alike can make Gig Young from They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? look like Cap’n Andy from Show Boat? (Oh, go look it up, you should learn something new every day!)
As the music swells and the BBC clouds part, we find out that on top of the individual dances, there will also be a team dance that will count toward tonight's scores! Smiling Tom and Smiling Sam greet us and introduce the remaining couples. The dancers smile as descend the stairs, but then Sam introduces Melissa and Tony, and Tony descends the stairs alone. And he’s not smiling! Tom cryptically teases by using the minimum number of words possible to get him through the segment and keep us confused:
“As you can see, Melissa is not with us tonight, she suffered an injury this week, complications following, uh, which made her unable to dance tonight, we’ll explain what that means to the competition a little bit later MEANWHILE—“
Before anyone can grill him further, Tom shoves Gilles and Cheryl out onto the floor, hoping that we will be mollified by pecs, shoulders and come-hither basset-hound eyes. That Tom’s a smart guy…
Before rehearsing the Lindy Hop, Gilles visits the doctor for his weekly proclamation of shoulder-doom, and the doctor somberly gives him a cortisone shot, wags his finger and sends him on his way. Apparently Melissa wasn’t the only patient to suffer complications this week, for the shot has a bizarre side-effect of its own:
It caused his hair to swell, and made him run around and confront the judges like a crazy alpha chimp. The dance was much like Gilles himself: lively but aloof. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but the judges were: Len said something about French kissing Gilles, Bruno sang some Barbra and glared at Len for moving in on his dreamboat, and Carrie babbled something about something. 9 + 9 + 9 = 27 points
Meanwhile, Back on the Raunch
Lil’ Kim has learned her lesson about trying to tame her act to please Len (since it’s all everyone around her has talked about for a week, sheesh), and she is determined to get Derek to bring out her ghetto sassiness through the Paso Doble. (Could there be a more perfect dance to do that? Her stars are in alignment this week.) Derek comes up with yet another killer routine that powerfully showcases both of them. I think it’s the best paso this season, and the judges aren’t too far astray from my belief. (Crazy Bruno: “Da BEETCH eez BACK!”) Kim is truly overwhelmed by their gushing praise, and Derek beams with precocious pride. 9 + 9 + 10 = 28
A Guy Could Get Used to This…
Chuck seems to be leading Julianne through the rehearsals for their Cha Cha Cha instead of the other way around. This could be for one of two reasons: 1) Last week the judges finally stopped treating him like someone who was standing around, waiting for his girlfriend to get off work, or 2) He really liked wearing those red silk pajamas.
Yeah, it was the silk pajamas. As you can see, this time his hands missed last week’s “OOPS!” targets completely. There’s something about Chuck that has always bugged me: this week, he swiveled his hips and shuffled his feet with abandon. It’s not that he can’t dance, it’s that (until last week, anyway) he wouldn’t dance. Now, he’s finally getting it and doing what he’s told. Unfortunately, Julianne reverted to her old ways, and choreographed a dance for herself while Chuck holds her hand. The judges were full of encouraging words for Chuck; hey, if he doesn’t win this year, maybe he can come back next season with another partner! (Ouch!) 9 + 9 + 8 = 26
Just Like Mom Used to Dance
Shawn seems to be getting the steps to the Samba that Mark shows her, but he can’t seem to communicate to her how to make the steps more “special”, more “feminine” (I know, I’m shocked too). What’s a man to do? Why, call his Mom of course! (OK, not shocked anymore) Mom is three-time World Latin Dance Champion Shirley Ballas, which suddenly makes things a lot less eepy-cray. Mom sizes up Shawn, and does her best to turn a GMC into Gigi, and then sends them on their way with a hug and kiss.
We Enjoy Being a Girl
The dance is nice, and once every few steps or so, Shawn remembers to keep her limbs loose, just like Mom told her. But the samba and rhumba seem more like freestyle dances to me; it all looks so Solid Gold that I can never tell if they’ve done the required steps or not. The judges are split about how special and feminine it was (or as Bruno says, how much Lady Gaga they put into it), and the scores are all over the place. 10 + 8 + 9 = 27
Paging Victoria Page!
And now, the moment everyone (but me) is waiting for: what will happen to Melissa & Tony this week?? Tom tells us about 2% more than he did at the top of the show: Melissa suffered a painful injury this week (on top of last week’s painful injury), but complications from it prevented her from dancing tonight. (The media has reported that it was a reaction to her pain meds, but the show probably didn’t want to take the chance that a pharmaceutical company is one of the sponsors, so they skipped that detail on-air). Tom directs us to clips of little kids kicking their dads in the crotch. Oops, sorry, wrong show. Tom directs us to clips of Melissa rehearsing this week’s routine and doubling over in excruciating pain. This is followed by a trip to the doctor, who advises that Mel can dance this week, as long as Tony doesn’t throw her in the air. Oh, did I mention that they are dancing the Jive? Looks like all her stars are in Kim’s alignment, too.
As with Steve-O several weeks earlier, since Melissa can’t dance live, the judges will look at a taped rehearsal of the dance from earlier that day. But unlike Steve-O, who injured himself at the end of his dress rehearsal version, Mel only made it as far as the morning band rehearsal. She is marking the routine rather than fully dancing it, while dressed in a sports bra and jeans. Tom and Tony stand somberly before the judges awaiting their comments, and the judges can't even look Tony in the eyes. This will be pain of a different kind. They all say how unfortunate it is that they only have the taped practice to judge, and generally throw their hands up in despair. Wow, this is going to be Woz-awful! Tony is sent back to Samantha to receive his pitiful scores...and they are all 7’s! What? Even if they had done it live, there wasn’t a flip or a toss in the entire routine, and they get three 7’s? That’s just, well, crazy. Nobody wants to see a star go out this way, but there’s something to be said for overcompensation. Pity is something that Mel's previous show specializes in, not this one. 7 + 7 + 7 = 21
Chelsie Calls In a Specialist
Ty was thrilled with last week’s showing, and with Len’s analogy to their waltz having more rise and fall than a bride’s nightie. Backstage he tries to explain it to an oblivious Chelsie, and we’re back in eepy-cray territory:
Chels, if he offers you a ride home on his bull, keep walking! Anyway, the Salsa is in their sights this week, which means Ty is going to actually have to move his upper body as if it weren’t made of plaster. And who better (according to the network’s Q ratings) to teach Ty how to be sassy and sensual than Dmitry! He tries to loosen up the reserved Ty, but it doesn’t seem to be enough, so Chelsie tries a trick from her bag: she takes beached whale Ty for his first spray-tan!
Somehow, one of those tricks seemed to work, for Ty, while still stiff, shows signs of life (and some cracks in the plaster) as he navigates Chelsie’s impressive routine. It must be good because Carrie-Anne is hooting. But all the judges, while complimenting tonight’s dance, add a backhanded comment that they are still surprised he’s on the show. Len is particularly blunt: he says unless Ty redeems himself in the upcoming team challenge, he should get the boot (as if that were really up to you, Len). Prepared for the worst, the couple receives the same mixed score that so many others have tonight. 9 + 7 + 8 = 24
The Jets vs. the Sharks, or Something Fishy Is in the Air
This season, for the first time, the judges will be scoring the team challenge and combining the results with tonight’s individual scores. Team Mambo (Chuck/Julianne, Shawn/Mark, Tony/Melissa) take on Team Tango (Gilles/Cheryl, Ty/Chelsie, Kim/Derek). However, Melissa can’t dance, which sends this inaugural concept right down the toilet before it ever hits the floor. After what must have been much brow-beating and hand-wringing, the producers decide to have Lacey Schwimmer step in for Melissa (but not be counted in the judging), and Tony & Melissa will be awarded the same team points that the other two couples earn.
(Note: There are strong arguments for and against this decision, and I’m not going to rehash them here. That can all be found in the forum, where all the real fun happens! Also, see the above chant about it only being a TV show.)
First up is Team Mambo, who choreograph and costume a routine based on the video for the Beyoncé song “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, and the rehearsal footage is narrated by Melissa, whose injuries suddenly get the knife twist of irony, as she is a single lady who got the ring took OFF of it. Ba-dum-chee-OW.
The routine starts out innocently enough, but then Tony and Lacey do their solo, and incorporate the actual moves from the Beyoncé video into their samba. Suddenly, there is the danger that this will be less an homage to Beyoncé’s video than a bad copy of the parody version of it from Saturday Night Live. As the other couples do their thing, the danger is rising. And then, as an extra-special added surprise at the end of the routine, the men jump on the judges table and strip, revealing the same dance tights worn by Beyoncé’s male dancers (and by Andy Samberg and an over-endowed Justin Timberlake in the parody). Is that the sound of a second toilet flushing I hear?
The judges are mixed in their reaction. Len praises Lacey for being such an eleventh-hour trooper, and pretty much leaves it at that. Bruno asks the men to step forward so he can stare at their crotches. Carrie-Anne whines that the music seemed more fun than the dancing. Samantha actually gets the punchline to the whole affair by making a crack about the men forgetting to shave their legs before donning their tights. Lemme tellya folks, that itches. Don’t ask me how I know, but I know…moving on! 8 + 8 + 9 = 25 (Bruno liked the crotches)
Team Tango is pumped, especially since they are comprised of the three lower-scoring couples from last week. In rehearsal, Chelsie and Cheryl both seem exasperated with their partners, but Derek and Kim seem to perform like a well-oiled machine. A moment later, Cheryl is complaining to us that Kim and Derek haven’t finished their solo routine yet, and Kim is having a minor fit. Which is it, Mr. Editor!? Their choice of song is a potential disaster: Britney Spears’ “Womanizer”. One does not think “tango” when one thinks of Super-Crazy Britney.
When in doubt, have the men flash Bruno as much as possible.
But on the dance floor, things seem to have come together: Team Tango gets things right from the start by leading with their strengths: Kim is flanked by the shirtless Gilles (of course) and Ty (yee-haw!); she flirts with them and pushes them away, as Derek approaches for their solo. It’s amazing how he manages to bend and stretch her, and they are a pleasure to watch as always (although Kim has a noticeable misstep, as always). Next up is Ty and Chelsie, who tear a page from Julianne’s book by having Ty do more spinning and leading, while Chelsie does the hard part. Then Gilles & Cheryl take the floor and play to their strengths, by concentrating on the sensuality, doing half of their steps in seeming slow-motion. It works, and then all three couples come together for a finish in unison which goes rather well.
The crowd goes crazy. Bruno is on his feet, spitting his usual poetry of love and lust. Carrie-Anne declares them the winner (well, no need for the paddles then). Len points out everything that went wrong, but then singles out Ty to address the threat he made earlier this evening about sending the cowboy packing: not to worry, he loved Ty’s moves, now go get an ice cream you big lug! (Or words to that effect)
The team slowly makes its way to Samantha with seconds left to the show, and as she tries to hurry them along with the banter and the scores, Derek decides to fake-faint. Or was it real? There’s something to debate all week… 9 + 9 + 10 = 28
Team Tango wins, and Lil’ Kim and Derek find themselves back on top of the leader board, while Melissa and Tony are understandably at the bottom. How will the fan votes affect these scores on such a crazy night? Find out in iguanachocolate’s recap, coming soon to a forum near you!
Should I keep selling crazy, or are we all stocked up here?