It's still early in the Dancing season. None of the D-listers annoy beyond bearing, the costumes have not reached their ridiculous worst and spray tanner fumes related respiratory problems have not waylaid any Ballroom wannabe. Yet. These are the happy times on Dancing so we might as well enjoy them because this period of relative bliss is about to end. Pretty soon somebody who shows promise will be kicked to the curb ahead of the guy with the rug and the fake teeth, the dumb, mean model, the politician and future Depends spokesman, or whoever it is that you swore to hate with your last dying breath or at least with your last message board post. That's when the fun stops and the real Dancing begins and that's when I always vow never to watch this crap ever again for as long as I live so help me the whole wide Universe. Yeah, so far that's not working but the part about how the fun stops: true every damn time.
But there's reason for all of us to rejoice a bit because 14 celebs will become lucky 13 celebs tonight and if that's not good news then I don't know what is. Let's get to it.
Giving a Baz
Last night I assume the Earth shifted since Len was not present to judge the competition. I have no idea what happened to him but the show cleverly found another white haired dude to take his place. This one is younger, hipper and has an even cooler accent than crusty old Len. Maybe Baz Luhrmann will stick around for a bit and maybe the next guest judge will be Hugh Jackman or Tom Bergeron's third cousin on his mother's side.
Looks like after a heated battle, five couples are locked in a tie and anybody could be going home tonight. Insert unbearably ominous music here. But before all that fun starts, Baz gets the honor of picking tonight's replay performance and he gives it to Mya and Dimitri's Jive. Aside from not having good dancer's legs, Mya pretty much works this one like a pro which raises the question: Is she really a dancing newbie? A quick Google search later the answer is, uhmm, no she is not. Her Wikipedia page proudly details her vast dance experience for anyone with a browser and a will. Do I care anymore? No. Now if this were a real dancing show with celebs who really never danced before then I'd care! But it's not. The reason I know that is because Marie Osmond made it to third place on her season. However, Mickey Rourke is in the audience wearing a glam fedora so it's all good! Moving on.
Like everyone else, I'm just here for the guest appearances but there's some business to attend to first. Three couples are quickly declared safe: Donny and Kym, Mya and Dimitri and Aaron and Karina will be back to don sequins and rhinestones next week. With that out of the way, Joss Stone is here to sing her new single Free Me. The girl has a great voice and very nice hair but her unfortunate insistence on never wearing shoes on stage has gotten pretty old by now. A couple of pros put on a nice interpretive duet while she sings. The most remarkable thing about them, aside from the good dancing is that the female pro is wearing not a lick of spray tanner. Was she a last minute replacement for Edyta or something? Does she not know that without looking baked to a crisp she is only half the dancer? Horrors!
Did you know that the show had a designated training center? Me neither. But don't fret! Since half of Hollywood's D-list throwaways are currently signed up for Dancing, ABC put their money where their ratings are and built them a spiffy new 12,000sq foot space rehearsal space with six studios painted in various candy colors. Supposedly the stars commune in the hallways in between practice sessions and even benevolently help each other out while rehearsing. It's a big commune of loving flower children over there who huddle together and sing Kumbaya while holding hands. They also want you to believe that some of them bothered to spy on Tom DeLay's rehearsals. You have to know when to stop embellishing a story, ABC!
The next wave of safe celebs are Mark and Lacey andNatalie and Alec but that's beside the point because it's now time for Selena Gomez to sing to the pre-teens in the audience. Her song is called Falling down, a deeply contemplative, superbly poignant, lyrically exquisite masterpiece of the standard Disney cheese variety. Derek and Karina do their best to spice it up for the live audience but what exactly do you do with generic bubblegum stuff like this when you're sitting at home recapping? You fast forward past it that's what.
More content to get out of the way of the filler: Joanna and Derek are safe and so are Michael and Anna. After the obligatory commercial break, Chuck and Anna, Melissa and Mark and Kellie and Louishave also been delivered from a fate worse than death.
Men in capes and feathers
Have you ever wondered how the pros approach coaching D-listers with various degrees of dancing experience? First of all, they too have their labels for them like the rest of us. They know about the athlete, the entertainer, the jock and the model and what each of these specimens brings to the table in terms of bad habits that need to be broken. Whether it's too much posing for models, their hyper natures getting in the way of their focus for actors, or an inability to relax from athletes the pros must have a cure for every bad syndrome. One of the worst things they encounter? The faces that the celebs make. Remember Melissa from last season and her constant grinning? Nothing to horrible this season but a few of them know how to make faces that scare small children.
Before we can move on there's another guest performance to get through. What do the USC Trojan Marching Band and their dancers have to do with Dancing With the Stars? Nothing but they come dressed in dorky Roman legionnaire style costumes complete with feathered helmets and capes and they march while playing brass wind instruments. The dude in the front is even wearing a toga and gladiator sandals! I often wonder what aliens from outer space visiting Earth would think of marching bands and how scared they'd be on a scale of land-and-make-friends to omg-who-are-these-creatures-let's-get-the-hell-out-of-here? I think there's a reason we have not made official contact yet. I'm just sayin'...
The dorky looking band is not terrible and they can certainly make a lot of noise but the best part of their act are their high-energy dancers who put on a break-dancing show not seen since Bobby Brown quit the business.
Have we had enough yet? Yes but there're 20 minutes of show time left so Joss Stone is back singing a cover of Preacher Man while some pros demonstrate how the dancing on this show should really look like. I always think of these performances as the look-at-this-losers-'cause-this-is-how-your're-never-going-to-dance messages from the pros to the celebs.
Grin and Tonic
More serious business. Tom and Cheryl are safe. Say what? I demand a recount! Uhm, no I don't, not really, because I know that characters like him always survive due to the sheer perversity of the American voting public and because ABC knows that controversy is where the money's at. I expect to see Tom on the show until we all become ill.
Three couples have not yet heard their fates. Who will be thrown out with the bathwater tonight? Louie and Chelsey which makes Debi and Maks and Kathy and Toni are in the bottom two. Carrie Ann weighs in and says she thinks Debi should not be in the bottom two. But Debi is safe because Kathy Ireland leaving tonight which is slightly sad but she's taking Toni with her which is all sorts of happy news if you still hold an irrational grudge over last season's goings on. And I do! But vengeance is now mine! Hah. In the immortal words of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless... as if.
Come back next week for more Dancing extravaganza from our remaining truckload of celebs and more fabulously selfless reporting from yours truly and my talented partner in crime MotherSister.