That’s right, folks…the Instant Dance or the Insta-dance has reared its head again this season. You might recall that the couples practice a dance style at rehearsals without knowing the music. When they receive the scores for their first dance, they discover the music for the second by pulling a CD in an envelope from a velvet-lined mirror ball bowl. They then must scurry off to practice rooms and quick costume changes as they have only twenty minutes to try to match their steps to the beat of this instant music. Did they succeed?
Tom introduces himself (but not Brooke standing next to him) “Once again you watched the most watched show in America, so once again thanks.”
Thank you, Tom. I’m sure Brooke thanks you as well for not telling America who she is. The celebrities make their grand entrance down the stairs, and we begin the first round, dances rehearsed to music.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Waltz "My Love" Sia Furler for the third installment of The Twilight Saga pentalogy
In the Kiss and Cry booth after last week’s show, Mark expressed his disappointment with the judges’ scoring, “Credit should be given where credit is due.” Chelsea smiled and said, “But, I’m happy.”
During rehearsal this week, Chelsea told Mark that his actions, as seen by the judges and the audience, reflect on her, too. She doesn’t want to be seen as cocky or over-confident, or that she is owed perfect scores. It should be fun.
What Mark got from this is that they have a close relationship and he wants to celebrate it with an emotionally connected waltz. He wants to tell a story to keep the dance from becoming boring.
Mark: I want the focus to be on Chelsea. I will be the frame and she will be the art.
In the dance, Mark crafts a story of young lovers asleep on the beach as waves wash over them. A sweeping graphic overlay of waves foaming on sand gives this away…anyway, he wakes her with a kiss and they float through their dance. There aren’t any wild, Mark antics so he keeps his word on framing her. To complete the story, they kiss and slide back to the floor to finish their hangover naps. The dance, itself, is very lovely and romantic.
Len: This is NOT a criticism. (After Mark’s reaction to criticism, he probably felt the need to make that statement right off the top.) It’s just an observation. I think you put too much emphasis on the story, and not enough on the dance. It becomes a little bit theatrical for my taste. But, it was very musical; it had a lyrical feel to it; in hold you had great posture; and those all I liked.
Bruno: Mark – finally you found the perfect setting for Chelsea to shine like a precious jewel. The contemporary touches were absolutely exquisite, yet it was a timeless waltz.
Carrie Ann: Chelsea, I think you’re right in that you have to earn perfection. Tonight you brought out a mature sophistication. You finished every move. You earned perfection.
Carrie Ann 10 Len 9 Bruno 10 Total 29
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Foxtrot "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" Natalie Cole
Hines: This week our theme is me proposing to Kym in Central Park. (Ring provided by Kym.) That’s pretty much it, America, the woman makes you propose.
They analyze Ralph’s Foxtrot as if he were a football opponent. Kym spots Ralph’s enjoyment of the dance and wants to bring his “loving it” expression into their dance.
Hines: Kym says this dance is super cheesy – over-exaggerating the smile to tell the story. If that’s what it takes…
Kym then changes the focus from the story to technique and Hines carries that as well as the ring box out onto the floor. He has an awkward moment placing box in his vest pocket, but sweeps her off her feet with cheesy smile in place. However, I noticed his feet remain somewhat flat-footed, especially in the turns at the beginning. He finishes, though, with a flourish, presenting the ring to Kym.
Bruno: Hines – yes, yes, yes! That was a performance beaming with a blissful sense of happiness. (Bruno appreciates a classic Cyd Charisse/Fred Astaire move Kym choreographed into the dance.)
Carrie Ann: I disagree. (Bruno leaps up to argue.) I don’t think Fred Astaire…I think, Gene Kelly. (Bruno settles down.) You’re such a guy’s guy. You don’t try to frill it up, you just dance; great job.
Len: Your dancing has such great appeal. Your personality is radiant. It’s just a joyful experience to watch you dance. Unfortunately, your feet were a little bit…(boos took over the end of his sentence.) But if that’s cheesy, I loved it.
Carrie Ann: 9 Len 9 Bruno 10 Total 28
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: Tango "Hold It Against Me" Britney Spears
Chelsie (addressing their fall to the bottom of the leader board last week): We have to treat this as if it is the ballroom Olympics.
Romeo: I’m going to give it everything I have. The Tango has a lot of passion, aggression. I want to show the judges that I deserve to be here and I feel this is the dance to do that. Chelsie is stressing, but we’re in this together. We’re a team and we’re not going out without a fight.
They dance a straight Tango with intensity and power. Romeo looks to be in charge on the floor, though his steps could be a little crisper in parts.
Carrie Ann: Boy, that was amazing; you were dancing like you really meant it. Your intensity with Chelsie is incredible. Your movement was sharp; you were totally in sync. There was one little stray thing with your feet somewhere along the way, but that was your best routine ever.
Len: Last week I said to you, ‘up your game’, and that’s just what you have done. So far the teams that have come out have been fantastic, and you’re right up there with them; well done.
Bruno: Romeo – you danced like a real man out there; strong, dark, handsome. Believe me; leading the Tango is very, very difficult. Keep getting better.
Carrie Ann 9 Len 9 Bruno 9 Total: 27
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: Viennese Waltz "Maybe I, Maybe You" The Scorpions
Tom: Injury forced Ralph to miss most of his rehearsals; and it actually wasn’t known whether he would be able to dance until just before Showtime tonight.
Wednesday morning (at rehearsal)
Karina: We’re going to turn the Viennese Waltz upside down and make it dark, dramatic, passionate and feisty.
Thursday afternoon (at rehearsal)
Ralph backs away from a move and tells Karina of an intense pain behind his right knee. Karina wants to call the doctor in order to be safe rather than sorry.
Friday afternoon (at a medical facility)
Ralph goes for an MRI scan to see what they’re dealing with. He says he feels at a disadvantage because of missing rehearsal time, and is behind because of the double amount of work.
Karina: There is no way we can be dancing on Monday.
Dr. Paresa: Got some good news. You ruptured a Baker’s cyst, which some people have behind their knee, but there is no ligament damage or other damage.
Saturday afternoon (at rehearsal)
Karina: We were practicing the waltz and then the injury flared up even worse than before. (Shot of a grimacing Ralph seated on the floor.)
Ralph: This can’t end this way – no way.
Sunday stage rehearsal
Karina: We’ve only had nine out of forty hours normal rehearsal time because of Ralph’s injury. We’re screwed.
After this very dramatic package, the fog machine works overtime rolling white stuff across the dance floor. Dressed in black, they take this Viennese Waltz dark and passionate. It is almost like a Tango to a waltz beat. In his extensions and moves, the knee pain is not visible in either his body or his face. They even include two small lifts before they finish in a male power pose dominating the woman.
Len: For someone who has had limited time to practice, you did a great job. You had good hold and posture, nice movements. It did lack polish, but that comes with time; but well done.
Bruno: Fascinating, mesmerizing, dangerous creature of the night. (Bruno takes off into his fantasy world much to Len’s dismay as he must duck Bruno’s flailing arms.) Credit to Karina for what you were able to do, especially with the injury.
Tom (to Ralph): Your injury didn’t improve his overacting at all.
Carrie Ann: It’s the hardest thing to dance when you’re in pain. It takes all the joy and beauty. You had a few moments when it took away and, unfortunately, we have to judge based on what we see.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 8 Bruno 9 Total: 25
The plan for their Cha-Cha is to use some of the elements from last week’s group dance and throw other stuff into it.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango "Cite Tango" Ástor Piazzolla
Kirstie: You don’t want to be at the bottom of the leader board, so this week, more than ever, the pressure is on.
Maks: The Argentine Tango is very passionate, very emotional and it’s very (he speaks into her ear) it’s very technical. Your feet are very slow, so move you’re a**; by a**, I mean your feet.
Maks: I’m stopping this rehearsal because your body is telling you we’re done.
He worries about her not having control after two falls and feeling faint. He wants her to increase her calorie intake to more than 1400 calories as her restriction to less than 1000 is affecting her strength and health on the dance floor.
The fog machine rolls once more. Red and black rule the dance as Maks places Kirstie on his shoulder and carries her from the stage to the floor. Her flicks are a tad slow, but the mood of the dance holds tight throughout.
A standing ovation from the audience leads into Bruno’s dramatics.
Bruno: Lavish, sensual, sultry, a hint of aggression; just the right amount of passion leading to the ultimate seduction. (Maks slaps his head and laughs.) Plus, your footwork was brilliant. Your body is shrinking, your talent is huge.
Carrie Ann: Dance is supposed to be inspired from real life. I loved that I felt like I was watching real life acted out in front of me. Your movement quality has grown from day one.
Len: You captured the feeling of the Argentine Tango. In addition, it was hot. I’m surprised Maks only took his hat off.
Carrie Ann 9 Len 9 Bruno 10 Total: 28
ROUND TWO – INSTA-DANCE
Except for a few inane interruptions by Brooke, the couples have changed costumes and rehearsed their dances to the music they pulled out of the mirror ball bowl. Before they hit the floor, though, the producers put together packages on how they created dances and rehearsed without music.
Kyle Massey, Chelsea’s Disney co-star and Insta-dance success story from last season, joins Chelsea and Mark to help Chelsea get over her nerves. He tells her it’s how you sell the dance. Romeo explains to Chelsie that it is like being in a club; you just have to get your groove down. They go to a Salsa club to practice. Ralph notes that with no time to practice, this is a real Insta-dance, both music and routine. His biggest fear is showing the pain on television. Hines worries about learning the Jive (which he was excited to do) without hearing the music to pick up the beat. Finally, Kirstie feels as ready as anyone else. Maks, though, tells her that she has the biggest hips in the show, so move it.
And so shall we…moving right along to the dances.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Insta-Dance - Salsa "Get Busy" by Sean Paul
Chelsea in white fringe pants can’t keep up with Mark’s high leg kicks and at times, in comparison to her partner, appears to be standing still. Mark may have put her in the spotlight during their first dance, but frantic Mark is back for this Salsa. They do find the song’s rhythm and do end on the final note.
Len: The opening cue was off, but it kicked in and you were off. I thought your waltz was cool, that was hot.
Bruno: You managed to put so many steps in there, what are you going to do next week? You’re setting the bar very, very high.
Carrie Ann: You did very well with the choreography, but I did not feel the connection to the music. I felt like you were rushing at times.
Carrie Ann: 8 Len 9 Bruno 9 Total: 26
Combined Total: 55
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Insta-Dance – Jive “Chantilly Lace” The Big Bopper (though the disc listed Jerry Lee Lewis)
A huge smile stays on Hines’ face through all the jumping and leg flicks. The choreography picked up the music’s highlights and they brought it home with fun and sass.
Bruno: It was like watching Mr. Happy Feet. It really made me fun all the way through. Your flicks were from a flat foot – you’ve really got to bring it up, but you did an incredible job.
Carrie Ann: You did an amazing job. It was really fantastic. A jive is very hard and you were on every beat. I loved it.
Len: All work and no play make a good dancer, and I can tell you have worked hard this week. You’ve done a fantastic job.
Carrie Ann 9 Len 9 Bruno 8 Total: 26
Combined Total: 54
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: Insta-Dance – Salsa “Tequilla” The Champs (Xavier Cugat is the name on the disc)
Romeo slides half the length of the floor to meet up with Chelsie. There is a nice in sync moment, though they lose the beat another moment. The tricks are fantastic with slides, dips and twirls.
Carrie Ann: I definitely felt like we were in a club, but there was something a little off at the end when you were out of sync.
Len: You got it right – it’s a club dance. You’re the cool dude, she’s the hot chick and you dance. Okay, there was a tiny incident that no one would notice, but I loved it.
Bruno: When you lose your fluidity, we have to point that out.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 9 Bruno 8 Total: 25
Combined Total: 52
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: Insta-Dance - Cha-Cha "Stuck In The Middle" by Stealers Wheel
Karina, in red fringe pants, tries to entice Ralph onto the dance floor even to the point of laying hands on his sore knee hoping to heal it. The reprise of their solo in the team dance went very well; and while not as energetic as it could have been, they kept the beat and I thought it was nicely put together.
Len: Ralph, I admire your perseverance and your dedication; but, when you have to do two dances when you’re not 100% fit, something has to give and, unfortunately, it was this double dance.
Bruno: The Cha Cha is all about hip action and because of the situation, you couldn’t do any. You did very well being able to cope with circumstances, let alone, doing it.
Carrie Ann: It’s amazing you were able to pull that off without any rehearsal and I’m impressed…but, it’s true, the hip action wasn’t there. There was something good, but there was something a little lost.
The judges show their respect for his effort by standing to applaud as Ralph and Karina head off the floor.
Carrie Ann 7 Len 7 Bruno 7 Total: 21
Combined Total: 46
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Insta-Dance – Salsa "Cobrastyle" Teddybears featuring Mad Cobra
Kirstie vamps Maks from the judges’ platform, but Bruno seems to be scared. She wears yet another pair of fringed Latin pants only this time they are black. She shimmies, but her hips don’t shake as much as maybe they should, although I learn from Bruno that this slower style is more traditional, so maybe fast hips aren’t the thing.
Bruno: You flirtatious vixen. You did a classic, traditional Salsa, which is smooth and slow, but lost sync three or four times.
Carrie Ann: I thought they were totally in sync. I enjoy your chemistry.
Len: This was a slower, more rhythmic which neither of the other Salsas really showed. It lacked a bit of impact because it was a slower dance. But, for me, your hips were moving, it was oily. I thought it was fabulous – well done.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 9 Bruno 8 Total: 25
Combined Total: 53
Judges Leader Board Week 8
I hope you enjoyed the sturm and drang along with all the angst and hype for the second season of the Insta-dance. Will it make it onto the theme lineup next season? Maybe the Dance Center Crew will have an answer when they review this season on Results Night; maybe not, probably not; but they will have lots of snark to dish.