This week Dancing With The F-List was touched by an epidemic. Yes, that one too, but mostly I'm talking about the bad dancing and even worse singing epidemic for which there is no known cure except a channel change. Making matters worse this week is one of those awkward group dance routines that's good for one thing, and one thing only: killing some time. So, naturally, I'm a fan.
Tom says “we're at the halfway point of the competition” which is definitely good news. The light at the end of the tunnel is microscopic, but it's there. In addition to the group cheese time-waster – the Hustle, no less - two other dances will be killed dead and buried tonight: the Paso Doble and the Argentine Tango. In other news, Maks is filling in for Derek who is out with the flu. Too bad for Derek, but lucky for me! On with the show.
Natalie is not worried about the Paso Doble because it's about being powerful and aggressive as opposed to being romantic. During rehearsal she focuses on the technical minutiae of the dance to the point where Alec has to tell her to let go and “just do it”. As for the performance, it's set to American Woman and Natalie is wearing some sort of patriotic red, white and blue belly dancer slash cheerleader Wonder Woman-ish outfit while Alec looks like the second coming of a third rate Travolta in Grease. I'm not quite getting the concept of the dance and it's messing with my ability to focus on whether this is a good Paso or a bad one. Len thinks she was precise but bemoans a lack of aggression in the performance. Bruno liked the Wonder Woman angle but felt the dance lacked some wonder and conviction. Carrie Ann, the anal lift Nazi, spied a lift at the end of their performance, liked the way Natalie moved but wanted more polish. They earn 7-8-7 = 22
Twilight by way of C3PO
Can Aaron lift himself up from the bottom two this week? Looking like a West Point refugee in a military style jacket he bites back big crocodile tears as he confesses that he was hurt by Carrie Ann's criticism the week before. Personally, I think he's secretly auditioning for a role in a Lifetime weeper-of-the-week. As for rehearsal, Karina wants a turn on which immature Aaron apparently cannot do so she is bringing in reinforcements in the form of two dancing friends who demonstrate how the grown-up Argentine Tango should really look like. Well, that and how a man should be dancing it. In the end, Aaron looks like a robot who wants to pretend really badly that he's a man. He stares off into space, he serves as prop for Karina and generally just stands around in one spot with a pained look on his face, seemingly waiting for the music to be over. You can dance this thing in a two by two foot broom closet but that doesn't mean it has to look like you're doing that. Just sayin'. What did the judges think? Bruno is full of praise uttering words like magnetism and comparing him to RPatz Tangoing in Twilight. Carrie Ann pulls Aaron over for a makeup kiss and says he was great. Len feels Aaron has come back to daddy Len. I don't even want to take a stab at analyzing that comment. After all this praise, they get all 8s for a total of 24 points.
The luck of the bull
As dancing football heroes go, Michael ranks near the bottom of the list ability-wise but he makes up for a lack of rhythm with charisma. It's the usual fall-back option of the dancing challenged. How is he still around? Blame the hirsute jersey wearing crowd, a demographic that I'm sure secretly watches Dancing with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other. Michael claims the Paso is right up his alley and he takes all instruction very seriously. When Anna tells him to walk as if he's got a coin wedged between his butt cheeks, he proceeds to put this advice into practice. And it looks like it was a quarter. Gives a whole new meaning to the term quarterback.
The performance itself is set to Carmen which is always a nice and traditional choice, I guess. Michael is not exactly the nimble toreador but he tries hard and the costumes help in all their black and gold glory. There's even some cape manipulation there towards the end which is all good and takes up a solid 10 seconds. The audience gives them a standing ovation. Carrie Ann says it was her favorite dance so far, Len thought his posture was great and the knee work while Bruno exclaims that his stock is rising again. Michael pays him for that nice compliment with the famous butt cheek quarter. They earn all 7s for a total of 21 points.
Putting the pro in Promethean effort
to distract from the fact that she's a pro
Professional dancerMya is doing well on the show. Last week she sent Bruno into spasms of delight that caused Len to look a bit scared. This week she must tackle the Argentine Tango which Dimitri plans to be full of lifts and tricks that carry a decided danger for Dimitri's boy parts. For some odd reason, instead of dutifully practicing their lusty moves in the studio, the two make a field trip to a Habitat for Humanity construction site. Who needs practice? They are shown earnestly hammering away at the lumber. I'd like to take a hammer to something to and it's not lumber. Their dance is about as close to a pro exhibition you're going to get on show night so I won't even talk about it except to say that if we thought last season that a certain annoying reality show reject was bad – as in too pro for this show – then Mya is the epitome of bad. She gets fawning reviews from all three judges. Words like intricate, glowing are thrown around and the only criticism from both Bruno and Carrie Ann is that Mya was too distant. More like a block of ice, but whatevs. They get all 9s for a total of 27 points.
Side note: The flu is attacking Dancing With The Stars! Mark is under the weather and dances with a face mask while Derek is also too sick to rehearse.
No mo' hawk!
I missed Mark's yeehaw Two Step last week, for which I'm not sorry in the least, but since he wasn't eliminated, this time I get the change to see the Chairman Kaga wannabe tough it up for the Paso. He and Lacey practice aggression and even a solo bit for Mark. This is a scary thing for Mark so when the time comes to perform, I'm glad he can pull it off. Dressed head to toe in red, shirtless and more than a little bit angry looking he does a good imitation of what a bullfighter should be. Lacey on the other hand shows up in a red dress wearing an inexplicable wild mohawk. Is she still trying for that fake alterna chick routine 'cause it ain't working anymore. Not that it ever did, but I'm just sayin'. This all would be fierce looking if I weren't too mesmerized by that mohawk to pay attention to the routine. The ending is dramatical though with Lacey sprawled on the floor. Bruno says something about Mephisto, red devils and shock; Carrie Ann loved the power and the Flamenco bits at the beginning while Len says Mark hit all the right highs of performance, passion and power. They earn 9-9-8 for a total of 26 points.
Less Donnie more bunny
I'm not the biggest Donny fan but I like Kym so if his ineptitude gets her booted off the show, I'll set the hounds (that I don't have) loose on his ass. Oh, and if he mentions his lame Vegas sideshow act with his annoying sister one more time, I'll bring the full force of my recap wrath (which I do have) down upon his head. You decide which is scarier. This week, Donny needs to nail the Argentine Tango but there are just tons of details to learn because, you know, they have little time since Donny is so busy with his cheesy sideshow in Vegas! I just released the hounds and sent out same hate email. I'm a woman of my word. As far as their Argentine Tango goes, I'm on board with Kym's sexy black vixen lace dress and Donny's clean dark tux look. The choreography is sharp and, I hate to say it, but the Donnster is good albeit I'm still not a fan of the whole cheeseball aura he projects. However, this was none too shabby. See, I can be impartial! The judges fawn over his Tango. Carrie Ann fell in love with his sexy interpretation, Len loved the intensity and passion and says it was his best dance while Bruno thinks he's turning into Donnie Darko. Donny looks a bit perplexed by that comparison – perhaps Donnie Darko is not his cup of tea - before launching into another attention whore routine, pointing at Bruno and dramatically exclaming “You took me there!”. And just when I almost started to like the guy. Back to hating his guts now. Their scores are 10-9-10 for a total of 29 points.
Walk on by
Country week was not good to Louie so the pressure is on for him to deliver a good Argentine Tango. Chelsey coaches him on the sexy look, the macho stance and everything in between. Louie is game because he doesn't want to let his fans down. They promise a hot Tango, so I'm ready with my popcorn and a glass of water – alcohol is reserved for when I hate the top 3 – so when their routine turns out to be less than steamy I feel my efforts were wasted. Louie is not too convincing as the macho seducer and he is largely a less-than-animated prop for Chelsey. Len is surprised and says it was their best dance. Bruno liked the story they presented but didn't see much dancing from him. Carrie Ann felt it was a bit “pedestrian” which is what Bruno said too. They earn 7-8-7 for a total of 22 points.
Having the grumpy down cold
Yay! Stana Kanic and Nathan Fillion from Castle are in the audience! Yay! Thought I'd get the fangirling out of the way before I move on to Melissa Joan Hart and her Argentine Tango. Hope you don't mind.
After last week, Melissa is riding high at the top of the leaderboard but she wisely knows that the way down is just one bad routine away. Unfortunately, Mark is under the weather so Anna Trebunskaya stops by to fill in for him. Mark recovers enough to perform though. Their Argentine Tango is a bit on the stiff side and I detect little passion and some awkward footwork to boot. But they look good in matching black and red outfits. Bruno says she got lost in the choreography and she looked grumpy. Carrie Ann liked the character she portrayed but had a few stumbles. Len liked the music, the difficult choreography and the speed and says they did well. Len must be in a good mood tonight. They earn 8-8-7 for a total of 23 points.
Paso the torch
I'm all for high flying concepts and out-there interpretations of song and dance but what Louis has in mind for the Paso for Kelly this week seems a tad bizarre. He wants her to act the role of a cape, yes, you heard it right, a cape, in the bull fight. Is it any wonder she succumbs to fits of giggling all throughout rehearsals? I'd laugh too if I were required to enact a piece of old fashioned outerwear. So things are a bit on the silly side on the one hand, on the other hand their song is Crazy Train one of daddy Ozzy's big hits. This will either be a total hit or a crazy crash and burn. Before they can start, the camera moves in for a wide shot revealing a huge black skull projected onto the floor which, I guess, sets the mood for a heavy metal Paso. Kelly and Louis are dressed head to toe in black and Kelly is wearing a voluminous cape-like skirt. She is the skirt, I mean, the cape. Her shock of a blonde hair is teased and flat ironed into an impressing jumble of spikiness and I think she's never looked better. Daddy certainly approves as he gives his daughter a standing ovation. Carrie Ann thought loved it but she noted some nervousness from Kelly. Len sensed more authority from her but wanted more character. Bruno felt she was very good. They get all 8s and take away 24 points.
One false move
One more to go before we can feast our eyes on all that 70s retro group dance cheesiness that Tom has been teasing all night. Oh, didn't I tell you about that? Sorry, I was just trying to spare you.
Since Derek is out of commission this week with the flu – no word on whether it was the dreaded H1N1 kind or just your regular miserable seasonal flu type – Maks is here to lead Joanna in the Argentine Tango. He had to step in midweek when Derek could no longer hold his own in rehearsals. Maks is impressed that Joanna can pick up steps like a champ but I'm less than impressed with the voters for letting Maks slip off the show. What the hell were you thinking, voting peeps? In any case, the show must go on and it does. They move easily enough around the floor for most of the dance but midway through Maks uncharacteristically messes up a step right in front of the judges' table. I rewound a few times and it's actually Joanna who steps out first causing Maks to stumble a second later. Bruno was disappointed by the stumble while Len thought that given their one-off partnership it was a good performance. Carrie Ann concurs but says she needs to work on loosening her hips. They get all 8s for a total of 24 points.
Now that the solo dances are over, we can finally move on to the much heralded Hustle group routine. Given the build-up I'm expecting some bombastic Disco down awesomeness but I've been disappointed before. All throughout the show I've been wondering why Samantha's hair is teased up into a show poodle hairstyle that's reminiscent of Diana Ross in her hair heyday but it suddenly dawns on me that she's just teased up in honor of the Hustle. Not too quick today, I guess. Kelly, who has injured her foot, will be dancing barefoot and the judges won't be scoring the routine. What good is it then, I ask? Don't mind me I'm just grumbling because two hour shows like this one tend to have that effect on me. And worse.
Present for rehearsal is Corky Ballas, all decked out in the best and most flammable polyester horror outfit that three bucks can buy at your neighborhood thrift store. Add a quarter and you get a shiny sateen overall for his partner and there goes your Studio 54 Halloween outfit idea. Every season's favorite prop, the crash pad, makes a brief but memorable appearance as everyone gets down to practicing their lift crazy solo bits.
In the end, the group dance is set to that super classic called Do the Hustle, everyone gets their turn hamming it up on the dance floor. There are some scary man-wigs and plenty of hideous fashions that any pimp would be proud to flaunt. There are awkward lifts and throws galore and more retro style booty shaking than any human should have to see. Ever. Bruno calls the whole thing sublime and ridiculous at the same time. Carrie Ann has fun commenting on the scary outfits and Len says Donny and Mark were standouts.
Who will survive the elimination? Who cares? It's all a hustle anyways.
See me back here next week for more world class expert Ballroom dancing analysis. PM me for my impeccable credentials and copies of all my illustrious industry awards. I'm very proud of my