From a dance and performance perspective, Tuesday’s Results Show was one of the best in a long time. From a results perspective, it was another in a series of wig-snatching fiascos. Go figure!
Follow the Script!
The Conventional Wisdom from last night’s judging was that Jake, Chad and Kate had breakthrough nights, even though their overall performances this season have ranged from inconsistent to unacceptable. But, even though I didn’t see the same breakthrough dances from these three that the judges did, the old saying is true: never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
The couples are lined up onstage as the show opens, ready to hear some immediate results: The first couple of the night to stop sweating are Chad & Cheryl. Chad erupts with joy, but instead of sharing it with his
stalkeepartner Cheryl, he runs over and gives Jake a big hug and near-kiss, before they both twitch and remember they’re on TV, and give manly back pats before Chad runs back to momma. The next couple pronounced safe are former cellar-dwellers Jake & Chelsie. Jake remembers to hug his partner first, but then responds in kind by running and jumping into Chad’s arms (yes, literally). Now you know the reason that they turn off a couple’s spotlight after they are safe: some things just don’t need to be seen on TV.
Tom and Brooke quickly introduce Len’s weekly breakdown of the previous night’s action:
- Overall, Len loved the “topsy-turviness” of the night, mostly brought on by the spectre of the double scoring.
- Erin’s wrong footwork was mostly due to unconquered fear, and pressure that she put on herself. Maks shares his confusion with the low scores.
- Evan & Anna danced a great tango, but Len is still preoccupied with Evan’s butt. No, seriously.
- Once again, a very personal dance by Niecy was full of great ideas, but poorly executed. Len was bored.
- Aiden & Edyta's rumba was really Edyta's rumba. Think early Chuck & Julianne.
- Nicole was tentative in an otherwise high-scoring rumba. Derek spent the evening talking her off the ledge.*
- Len couldn't help but notice Jake tripping over himself about three times as much as Erin did.
- Len called Kate’s dancing a “mini-breakthrough”, because this time, she moved her limbs and smiled. Next week, she may even look at Tony!
- Chad was comfortable and confident in his rumba with Cheryl, and the judges agreed it was his best work so far. Chad celebrates by making Cheryl cringe, as usual.
- Pamela & Damian’s rumba was sophisticated and full of quality. Len is entranced.
- In summary, Len is happy to finally see Evan and Nicole get some real competition.
* I have to interject here to stick up for something Nicole said in the Kiss & Cry area, “I’m an artist, I’m not like other people.” First of all, she obviously had more to say before and after that sentence, but ABC decided to go just with that soundbite. Second, I think that this was a blatant use of editing to paint her as an ice queen, like Mya last season. Here’s the thing: Nicole is not Mya. I can understand what she meant about being an artist. When you excel at something you love to do, you put your all into it and you don't release it to the world until it, and you, are ready. Now she’s in a position where she's being asked to perform in a way she isn't familiar with, and when she doesn't feel she's done her best, she gets frustrated, because it was beyond her control, yet the world saw it anyway. Even though she's in the same boat as the other contestants, she sees it as something that gets added to her legacy. Sure, it's a little self-indulgent, but it's part of what creative people are concerned with. And calling her an artist isn't a stretch, because anyone who makes a living creating original work in the arts is an artist. You don’t have to be Shakespeare, just self-sustaining.
Still With Me?
Thanks for hanging in there! After Len has his taped moment, he announces liiiiive that this week, Pam & Damian have the honor of the encore performance, and it dazzles again. I mean, the woman is 43 and she ended the dance with a split most teenagers can’t do. Give her some props!
Before the break, we are treated to the first in a series of gag movie trailers, since next week’s theme will be dances that are inspired by films. The first, “Tuesday the 13th” (because, that was indeed the date), featured Bruno walking around in a hockey mask, terrorizing the cast with the disco ball trophy. In other words, just another day on the set.
At least two of these people act for a living. Can you spot them?
Some real commercials cleanse our palettes for the first guest performer of the night, the silky and sensual Sade. She performs her current hit “Baby Father” while Damian returns to the floor, this time with Chelsie, as he repeatedly attempts to stretch her limbs into different zip codes. They make a great couple on the floor.
“Let’s take ‘er out for a spin and see what she can do!”
Next, Tom and Brooke recap the combined judges’ scores for us (Evan, Nicole, Pam good; Kate, Niecy, Aiden bad), as the couples take their places once more, hoping to hear their names called sooner than later. This is when the least surprising news of the night is shared, that Evan & Anna are safe. Phew!
The hour picks up some steam when a montage is shown featuring baby pictures and early performance video of the current pro dancers. Apparently, working on TV is a walk in the park compared to the cut-throat world of professional ballroom dancing. It’s like Rollerball in tuxes and taffeta! I may have to buy a ticket to see that…
These clips serve the purpose of introducing a performance featuring several up-and-coming young ballroom professionals, some of whom may be lugging around Valerie Harper, Richard Kind and Alice Cooper in distant-future seasons of DWTS. Chances are, Edyta will still be there too, partnered with a fresh-from-rehab Justin Bieber.
The performance is choreographed by Mark Ballas, once again contributing to the show from behind the scenes in a great way. The teens and young adults are fierce, pounding their way through a routine best described as a militant Moulin Rouge meets “The Dance at the Gym” from West Side Story. They take no prisoners in the impressive (and aggressive) routine.
We're coming for ya, Derek!
That high is followed by two lows: more mock movie trailers featuring bad acting and bad puns. This time, Evan and Niecy make an unlikely Rick and Ilsa in “ChaChablanca”, while Tony dons a headband and runs around the studio lot screaming in “Glambo: First Dance”. Tony’s clip wins, because he is shirtless and spreads oil on himself.
Time for some more unsurprising news: Nicole & Derek are safe, as are Pam & Damian. Brooke interviews Nicole & Derek and Jake & Chelsie backstage: Former Bottom Twoboy Jake’s heart goes out to the remaining couples, and Chelsie agrees that it’s the worst feeling to still be left out there at five minutes to Lost. Nicole tries to set the record straight that she’s been so upset at herself, not the judges, since she let her nerves get the best of her last night. Derek continues to smile and smirk at her, since he seems to be the only one who remembers that this supposedly awful performance was good enough for 2nd place on the leaderboard. As Cher would say, “Snap out of it!”
This week’s Macy’s Stars of Dance performance brings an interesting mash-up of hip-hop and ballet. Prima ballerina Tiler Peck and Danny Tidwell, along with classical/hip-hop fusion violion duo Nuttin' But Stringz, provide a number that defies description.
Whatever this is, I like it.
Sade returns with the classic “Sweetest Taboo”, sounding just as great as she did 20 years ago. We then return backstage where Brooke has corralled Kate & Tony and Chad & Cheryl. Kate shares her born-again experience of actually having fun on the dance floor last night. She gets it now, she wants to stay and have more fun getting 4s and 5s! I’m so happy for her. As for Chad & Cheryl, Chad continues to imply that he is getting closer and closer to bagging his partner. Tom can’t help but comment on how desperate he’s beginning to sound.
This just in: Erin can crawl in off the ledge, because she and Maks are safe.
Before someone’s head hits the chopping block, another movie trailer shows up, featuring Chad as Agent Double-O-chocinco in the prophetically titled “Dance Another Day.” Aiden shows up in an eyepatch, and Pam makes a cameo as Blonde, Jaymes Blonde. Yeesh.
This leaves Kate & Tony, Aiden & Edyta and Niecy & Louis on the floor with the clock ticking. Tom gives Kate & Tony the good news that her crazy fanbase has saved them once again, and then reminds Aiden and Niecy that even though one of them is about to leave, they are “not necessarily the bottom two.” Ouch, zing. Len offers his usual eulogy for whoever is about to go, and in this case, jiggly parts win over smoldering soap opera, as Aiden & Edyta are given the boot. It’s an emotional moment, with Aiden in tears, proclaiming that he was just getting started, and Tom noting that seldom has the audience erupted in a standing ovation for someone leaving in Week 4. It’s clear that nobody wants him to go, especially while some people who can barely lift their limbs are still on the show. Which brings me to my final thought…
Why It’s Still Great to Hate on Kate
At some point between last week’s results show and tonight, either Kate hired a new manager, or someone at ABC sat her down. Gone are the rolling eyes and the stunned-cow stares at the camera. The New Improved Supermom now displays a freshly plastered smile and a cheery attitude, 24/7. Well, maybe not 24/7, but at least every Tuesday from 5:00-6:00pm Pacific. Gone is the feckless astonishment with the judges’ admonishments; now we get pearly white teeth and platitudes of gratitude. Well Kate, here’s a memo: Buzz is gone. Shannen is gone. And now Aiden is gone. You’re running out of sandbags, honey. Even people who like you will soon start resenting you if any too many other contestants take the hit for you.
Oh, and if Niecy goes next, don’t expect any more cushy interviews on The Insider. You can tell your story walking, much like the way you did through your paso doble. I’m just sayin’.