Dancing with the Stars 9/19/06 Recap: Quick Steps Through Mambo-lasses
Hello, dance fans! As you know, AJane and I are switching off in this Recapper's Tango. The great thing about that is that we can take turns dancing "backwards and in high heels". That's not an analogy - in the spirit of the show, I decided to suit up. Want to dance along? Well, grab your tiaras and your leg warmers... this week's episode (and my sashay into some bad puns) is just beginning! We've got quite the Marathon ahead of us. And I'm not just talking about this Recap! Dance along through this recap with me, if you please; maybe you can even assist in lifting this prose off the ground. And if nothing else, we'll have burned a few calories.
This week's leg of the competition begins with a reminder that Tucker Carlson went home last week - "nice guys finish last", Tom Bergeron announces. It's hard to tell if he's being facetious. We see video snippets of the 10 remaining teams practising the Mambo and Quick Step to the point of sweat, exhaustion, even bruises. Jerry promptly drops his dance partner almost on her head. Vivica, working on her Mambo, barely misses kicking her partner in his face. I'm not sure if that's part of the dance or just the Diva asserting a little control.
Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris splutter out their intro and the band begins to play.
Sporting Hot Topic's newest line of Halloween costumes Arrayed in all their ballroom finery, the teams descend the double stairway one pair at a time. A few of them seem dressed to fit the part: Harry Hamlin and his partner Ashly look divine. (Who'd expect less from the son of Zeus?) Emmitt is puttin' on the Riiiitz (well, he's tall enough) in a dapper black tuxedo with white accents, and Mario is Rico Suavé in all black with a purple tie. The women's outfits vary by dreadfuls, with Willa seeming to channel Christina Aguilera in her Drrrty days, or a peppermint candy - just add a belly button and 4" heels. Jerry's partner Kym is sporting a bandage on one knee. What fresh intrigue is this? Has there been mischief afoot?
Tom B (I think the cast each deserves nicknames; help me come up with some, won't you?) says with a straight face that "these are ten of the best dressed stars in Hollywood". Do they give Academy Awards to reality Tv hosts? Samantha announces that the women will "get to" dance the Mambo while the male stars will have to dance the "exhausting Quick Step". I'm thinking the only one panting for breath might be Jerry, but we'll see.
Mama Loves Mambo
Tombee explains that the Mambo is "an erotic Cuban dance named after a voodoo priestess". Well, some of these teams will need all the magic they can muster. He explains that the judging will be based upon: "Clever arm movements; fast steps; rhythmic hip action; and 'body rocks'". Samantha describes the Quick Step: it's the "ultimate physical test" with dancers often making "100 steps a minute". Okay, I'm thinking we can say goodbye to Jerry right now. I just hope the show has EMTs backstage! Sam says the judges hope to see: "Sharp, synchronised trick steps; the Charleston; chassés (two or three quick sideways steps, 'one foot chasing the other'); and powerful, precise runs".
Willa and Maksim are introduced, and the show sets the pace for each segment here - we see a quick montage clip of last week's performance, plus rehearsal and interview clips between show dates. Willa recounts that she went from the top three last week to 'in the gutter'. That might explain her look this week... While we watch her rehearse the Mambo, she voices-over that she is "Rough, Dirrrrty, Raw". Maybe that Aguilera comparison wasn't so off. Maksim looks exasperated, even making the 'Dr. Evil' "Shhh!" gesture at Willa. But then their Mambo begins taking shape.
Now on live Tv, Willa and Maksim's Mambo begins to the tune of "Shake That Thing". Well, who's Willa to ignore a musical mandate? Her moves seem borrowed from the Drrrty One's video collection. Maksim proves to be a very muscular, sinuous dancer, and his timing is spot-on. As a couple, though, they miss their timing once or twice. The performance ends with Maksim assisting Willa twice in a row with backbends over his knee. The audience cheers.
Time for judging: Len Goodman tells Willa her Mambo was "fantastic". Willa shrugs and gives an aw-shucks giggle. Len says he "loved the turns, great choreography, first class dancing - occasionally clumsy footwork, but great". Bruno tells her "you are almost too hot to handle!". Not sure if he means her outfit or her dance ability, but Bruno terms it "Fast and Furious!". Somewhere Vin Diesel's collecting a royalty check. Carrie Ann says Willa is her "favorite girl by far" but that sometimes "you got a bit out of control, and were dancing ahead of the music". The audience Boos. Carrie said that Willa probably just went for it too much, and missed the dip a lttle bit. Willa nods in agreement, and Tommers points out that the stars take criticism better than the audience.
The scores are: Carrie Ann gives a 7; Len an 8; and Bruno also an 8, for a total of 23. Willa asks viewers to vote for her (from here out you can assume all but one team does this). Samantha informs us (the viewers - by the way, are you doing your warmups? Everybody get into fifth position, annnd...hold.) that each person gets 10 votes per phone line and 10 votes (on ABC's website) per email address. Willa holds up 10 fingers, indicating that you can spend all 10 (or more) votes on one couple.
As last week, Lisa Rinna is in the audience to cheer her husband, Dancin' Harry Hamlin. Lisa seems up for ballroom dancing herself, in a dark sequined gown with plunging neckline. Hmm, thinking back to Kym's newly injured knee: that would be one less competitor, wouldn't it? Hmmm. And just where is the rest of "Team Harry" this week. Why am I thinking of Nancy Kerrigan here? (Why, why, why?) Or perhaps my suspicion is misplaced. Maybe I've just played too many games of Clue. (Or watched too much Soap Talk.) Nah, Lisa Rinna looks nothing like Miss Scarlett. Moving along...
During Harry's last-week's-video-clip montage, Tom B's voiceover accuses Harry of being a "Tin Man". The judges call Harry "stiff and awkward". (It can't be easy to hear this, on live, national Tv.) Harry vows "I'm gonna conquer this!". (Would you expect anything less, from an Olympian? No, not the five-rings kind...) Harry says he wants to dance from his heart, not his head. It looks like Harry's dancing 'from' a steel rod, but that's another story. "I seem like a stick" Harry grrs. Well, he's perceptive. Taking a page from Celebrity Fit Club, the show sends team Hashly on a field trip to a 'laugh yoga' instructor.
The idea behind laugh yoga is that laughing uses as many muscles as jogging does, plus uplifts the spirit and even helps the immune system. (For today I'm sure they're just hoping to dislodge that stick.) Harry admits it's hard for him to as much as smile, or laugh naturally. He demonstrates this with some of the most fake ha-ha-ha's on record since the last person on The View was interviewed. Seeing this, the in-studio audience laughs along with him.
Showtime! Harry, negating his reputation as a Tin Man, begins the dance with a perfect impression of The Scarecrow. He's stiff as a board but not light as a feather (well maybe later). He's not moving at all. In fact, he's grimacing as well. That steel rod must be aching. Harry begins with a solo Charleston, but a variation: he kicks his heels up sideways. Ashly runs down a few stairs to greet him; they begin dancing in duet to "Lust for Life". Harry's posture is ramrod straight, but his legs are flying every which way. You know: The Scarecrow's dance with Dorothy in The Wizard? Yep.
The audience cheers wildly after the finish - Hashly have trotted all over the stage, trailing dapper dust as they go. Catching their breath, they have to hear Tombee's crack that he worried Harry had "gone into rigor mortis at the beginning". Oh, Tom. You don't make fun of them to their face.
The judging: Bruno smiles and says Harry's coming out of his shell and maintained his 'hold' very well throughout, which is difficult (but somehow, I think it's a gift with Harry). Bruno notes that Harry "messed up his footwork" a few times. Len reiterates that the hold is difficult and Harry "did great". Harry bows gratefully to Len for this compliment; Lisa screams wildly in the audience (did Team Harry hit a knee?). Carrie Ann gives Harry's posture another kudo (lap it up while you can, dancing broom!) and Harry bows to her as well. Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno all give team Hashly a 7, for a total of 21. Team Hashly are very happy.
Monique and Louis are next, back after being scolded for lack of "chemistry". Meaning they are dull as dishwater on stage. Since the show sent Hashly on a trip to a laugh yogi to loosen up onstage, I'm a bit nervous what producers might do to up the sizzle factor for MoLo. Lucky for us it's just a gondola ride. Unluckily for them, it seems to be manned by Slim Whitman, who treats them to some yodeling. As a result the pair just giggle.
We're back live, and MoLo are having trouble finding their rhythm. Frankly, I can't blame them - the show's band is sounding like a Holiday Inn lounge band at half past closing time. (I'm... guessing) Monique seems to be dancing by numbers. Louis' dance style is light and smooth... but he needs a partner who'll add a little heat. Katharine Hepburn said of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, "She gives him sex, and he gives her class". Suprisingly, Monique isn't giving her half of that formula.
But the judges are impressed (which has me cleaning my glasses), with Carrie Ann using words like charisma, chemistry and hot. Len calls their dance a knockout. Bruno says Monique is "bringing sexy back bigtime" and that she is "like a kitten, purring around the dance floor". Is that sweat on his upper lip? "Gorgeous", he sums up. Host master T warns Bruno "we're gonna start charging you to be here". Hmm, is this DWTS or the Kit Kat Club? Bruno quickly assures Tom he'd be happy to pay. Guess that answers that.
The judges must be picking up on the flying pheromones: Carrie Ann gives an incredible 9; Len an 8; and Besotted Bruno also a 9, for a total of 26. Samantha must share my surprise - she asks backstage whether Monique can keep up with Louis' "professional level of dance". It's a bit rude, but Mo stutters out a polite response. Lo jokes that "if she doesn't I'll just make her cry". It defuses the tension. Lo's a class act.
Caution: Dimples At Work
Mario and Karina are up next and I doubt we'll be hearing the phrase "lack of chemistry" applied to either of them. Restraint may be more their worry. Mario's video clips show him stating "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" (which I'm not touching with Harry Hamlin's steel pole) and then literally - I kid not - practising dancing with a steel pole strapped to his back. (It was nice of Har to lend it!) Mario is actually TOO loosey-goosey for ballroom. If we could somehow genetically splice Harry and Mario that would be one incredible dancer. (Someone page Jeff Goldblum)
Team Mariorina (OK, I give up) takes a field trip to a boxing ring but it's not that interesting unless you like seeing Mario pummeled, so moving along - Their live dance begins with Mario's Dimple Display®. Mario begins the dance alone, moving almost gymnastically. Karina keeps up; but he seems to have more energy than she does (not necessarily a good thing in this form of dance). He's practically leaping up and down. The pair do a bit of hop-hop-hop together (actually I think those are the chassés) and a bit of tandem Charleston. Mario works in a bit of modern dance with a sliding up and down split. They do a few quick runs across the floor. Then Mario does a move on Karina that reminds me of a clip I keep seeing on America's Funniest Animals, only this time it's not a schnauser. He basically spins her in a circle, wiping the floor with her. The dance ends with Mario pushing Karina across the floor on her backside. Mario's parents give them an ovation.
Bruno calls Dimple Dan "Super Mario" and calls this the "Quick Step gone berserk". Bruno says Mario's version is "impressionistic" and the audience Boos that loudly. Carrie Ann asks, "Why! Why! Why! Why!" (or is that another kneecap victim yelling from backstage?). Len somewhat more tactfully (which isn't hard to do following the others) says this was more a Latin dance than a Quick Step. He says there was "no hold, no posture". Len even wags his finger at them, scolding, "do proper dancing!". This team's scores are 7, 6, and 8, for a sum of 21. Karina says she is very happy with this score.
Betcha Make a Great Dance-cicle
Shanna and Jesse. Her recap video has her being called an "Ice Queen", and she's having trouble moving her hips much in rehearsal. No, she's not injured (Do I see Team Harry sneaking away??) She says that she has trouble being sexy. Jesse says that she isn't good at going fast, but he can get her to go faster. Grrr! "Work it, you sexy beast!" he encourages.
Shanna's opening moves look more stripper than stepper. Their song choice, strangely, is Kris Kross' "Jump!". (That would have fit Mario better) Hearing DWTS' house band attempt hip-hop is just painful. This Mambo is tame, tepid; as beige as their costumes. But Len and Bruno offer gentle encouragement, saying Shanna's "ice" is beginning to melt just a little, and that she's a "great looking girl". Carrie Ann calls it a "good solid Mambo". Carrie Ann gives an 8, Len a 7, Bruno also a 7. Shanna and Jesse's Numb-o nailed them a 22 total.
Wheeze! Wheeze! Wheeze!
As we go to commercial, Jerry (up next) is breathing into an oxygen mask. Jer-RY! As we come back, we see a video clip of JerKym. (Hey - I didn't name them, I just mix 'em up) Kym bravely
lies about the lead pipe says that her knee mysteriously "snapped back" while dancing elsewhere last week. No fun field trips for this pair - they go to the hospital for an MRI, where the Orthopedist tells Kym she has a lot of fluid on her knee. The doctor says that "with a lot of medication" she may be able to dance. Well, "lots of medication" might explain that feather headband she's wearing this week... I keed.
Jerry and Kym, dressed as gangster and gun moll, begin with the timpani beat from their song choice - "Sing! Sing! Sing!". It's a perfect beat and choice - for one, it's actually from the dance's era; if you've watched many old movies you've surely heard this song. It's a rollicking tune and they do a great job moving to it. Kym's knee injury shows mainly when she has to bend or dip, because she can't hold the position long. But this is a keep-moving type of dance anyway. She keeps a big smile during the entire dance, as well. Like last week, they add a bit of comedy, with Kym kneeing Jerry in the groin (an homage to his own show?). The dance ends with Kym pretending to 'shoot' Jerry - who sprawls flat on the floor (or maybe Jerry just needs oxygen?).
The crowd chants "Jer-RY!" (will the man ever stop hearing that?) and cheers. Oh good, he's upright again; the crowd's vocal support has revived him. Kind of like Tinkerbell being brought back to life through applause. "Come on kids, chant if you believe in Jerrys!".
Judge Bruno excitedly jabbers on in an accent so thick I truly can't understand him. Watching Jerry faint and come back to life has brought out the Transylvanian in him. I think he says that JerKym compensated for a lack of "down here" by doing more "up there". Well who can argue with that type of eloquence? But he says "I can't help but have fun watching". Carrie "praises the older man" (Huh?) and calls their teamwork excellent. She didn't notice Kym's injury at all. Len says Kym's injury shouldn't matter; there is no 20 yard lead in the Olympics. He goes further out on a linguistic limb, saying "Sing! Sing! Sing!" is "Fun! Fun! Fun!". I don't think Variety's hiring, Len. He then makes more with the funny by telling Jerry "I always looked up to you as a father figure". Does Len hope for a hosting gig out of this? Maybe he's hoping the Lawrence Welk show will come back.
Bruno derides Len's fit of jocularity, calling him "Judge Dread". Whatever, Count Smackula. Len gets back to the judging and advises Jerry to work on his hold, posture, etc., "things you can do better than the younger dancers". TB jokes that "the only father figure Len can look up to is Methuselah" (the 1,000 yr old man in the Bible). Oh, you kids. Len turns red, Bruno laughs loudly, and Carrie Ann gives Tom T-riffic the stinkeye. Anyway, the scores for Jer and Kym are 7 and two sixes, making a pretty good day in Vegas... no, a total of 19.
Wait! Vivica's still to go? I thought this recap was almost over! Okay, I liked her in Soul Food, so I won't slight the Fox. Nor will I make any jokes about Len hunting her down with a red cap and bugle if she dances badly. Or maybe I just did. Sorry. This episode's pretty dry, folks! Where's Tom Jones when you need him??
Diva Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry
During Vivica and Nick's rehash clips, we hear the word Foxy and Diva a lot. We see Vivica trying to control the rehearsal, telling Nick what to do. She admits it's hard for her to hold her tongue and listen to her teacher. I don't really care about that though - what I want to know is, why didn't she buy a dance bra - her bra's on display fully in back. And will the show cover her tattoos? Somehow I can't imagine Ginger Rogers with a big sailor tat on her back.
Their dance begins in tandem. I don't know the name of their song but I do know that the band singer nearly split my eardrum. Vivica seems to be focusing on the Foxy half of her reputation during the performance. Basically, it's a lot of wiggling, with a cartwheel thrown in. The cartwheel gets a cheer. Look, there's Team Vivi in the audience, wearing bright orange "Vote for Vivica & Nick" T-shirts. Wait - is that Tempestt Bledsoe and Tisha Campbell? I do believe it is. Now those are three fierce Divas. (I'm starting to wonder if this isn't the team to watch, kneecapping style. Vivi, Tempestt and Tisha could take down any one of these cakewalking dancers with a rat tail comb - if they wanted to. Nevermind - back to our barre warm-ups.)
Len begins another metaphor, comparing Vivi and Nick's dance to a pizza. An
English professor audience member Boos so loudly that reserved, British Len is forced to growl, "Shut up". What are producers feeding audience members, anyway? Testoster-O's? Len continues that the "top action was hot and spicy, but the leg action was a little doughy". If Len's pizza has legs, he should call Orkin. Bruno tells Nick he has "taught Vivica how to be sexy". Vivica doesn't seem insulted by that but then maybe she can't understand a word Count Bruno said. Carrie tells team Nickica their beginning was very weak, but when they suddenly shot diagonally across the floor and Vivica did a fan kick, she "worked it". But Carrie recommends Vivi attend ballet classes. Team ViviNick gets three 8s, equaling 24. Not bad.
Joey and Edyta are next. A line from Gosford Park pops to mind: "Difficult color, green". Joey looks like a house plant dressed as a Victorian shopkeeper. But once they begin their dance to "I Got Rhythm" they blow the judges' socks off. They speed through all their moves, ending with taking turns sliding around or across the floor. I'm sure the cleaning crew appreciates. They get wild cheers from the crowd; Lisa Rinna is cheering as well.
The judges rave: Carrie Ann calls the dance "impeccable and amazing" with "fantastic hold, posture and footwork". Len calls it the "performance of the night". Bruno takes up Len's discarded flights of verbal fancy and compares it to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly. High praise indeed - but Kelly was a notorious perfectionist who disliked working with amateurs and when forced to, spent months in daily rehearsals training them, before letting cameras anywhere near. But OK, fair enough. Team Joeyta did well. Back from commercial, TB points out "the lovely and talented Ted Danson" and the cast of "Help Me Help You", a new series premiering next week right after DWTS on this same channel. Coincidence? I bet Danson's agents fought like wildcats to keep this appearance out of his contract. Worse - an ad in a later break ties him in to DWTS with a homophonic pun (Dancin - Danson!). Poor Ted.
Anyway, Carrie gives Team Whoa-y the first TEN of the evening, with Len close behind with a 9, and Bruno bookending with another TEN. Joey's mouth hangs open, but no sound comes out. Not even a Whoa. He looks unsure if this is a dream or a nightmare. Edyta looks frankly surprised. Joey stammers out some "Fer suuure man"s, blowing his Golden Age image, but oh well. Joey mimics his wife's Georgia accent (proving this really is Accents of the Stars) telling him to just have fun out there: Joey says, apparently it worked.
Next, we see country singer Sara Evans visiting her home in Franklin, Tennessee. She is rallied by hometown support. In the rehearsal space, Tony's manner is gentle but he says Sara knows who her teacher is. Sara says her emphasis this week will be to show her personality. In a Spanish-inspired dress, Sara and Tony (in a gangster suit) dance to "Papa Loves Mambo". I love when the tunes are relevant. Sara's showing more 'personality' - her mambo wiggles and coy and demure yet not overly restrained. More 'cute'. She's defintely more Cinderella than Stripperella, unlike Willa and Shanna.
Len, having given up metaphors after Tom's teasing, advises Sara to give it a "welling" next time. He emphasizes this with a punch motion with his fist. He's replaced his metaphors with inscrutable British slang, but, with 90% of the cast in thick accents of one kind or another, what does it matter. Anyway Len thinks Sara danced too carefully. Carrie Ann agrees that Sara's Mambo was a bit "safe" and recommends a jazz class, although she says, Sara was sexy this week. Bruno
hits on yet another contestant offers up his critique, saying Sara is a 'very enticing, very alluring, beautiful girl". (Would someone fix him up with a date?) He then says "Please kill me on the dance floor". I think he shouldn't say that too loudly - he's not an audience favorite.
Sara says resiliently, that the judges' low scores last week spurred her to work harder. She's rewarded with three 7s, for a 21 out of 30. Emmitt's up next. I'm hoping he'll bring the house down. The sound might wake me up!
Team Emryl's (Chermitt? You tell me) worry in rehearsal is Emmitt's posture. He says his football background has trained him to "run bent forward". Cheryl calls Emmitt a perfectionist and Emmitt concedes he wants the judges to declare them "the team to beat". Their live performance begins to the song "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall. A very odd choice for an old fashioned ballroom dance, but at least the beat is on. Cheryl saunters toward Emmitt. They are doing well but there is not a lot of "quick" in their Quick Step. Actually nearly all the pairs tonight suffer from this. Perhaps someone stuck their dance shoes in molasses backstage. (Lisa Rinna? I'm looking at you! Wait... where's Tempestt?)
However, Team Emrytt moves very fluidly together, and their rhythm matches the band's beat (I think the house band is half of all the amateur dancers' problems). Also, Emmitt is the very definition of 'comfortable in one's own skin'. Bruno picks up on this and his assessment focuses on Bruno's "natural charisma" and "license to thrill". Oh, please, leave some bad jokes for the recappers, would you, Brun? Bruno then tells Em he's light on his feet but should go to ballet classes with Vivica to help his hand lines. And Emmitt thought the NFL was tough!
Carrie Ann asks Emmitt if she can call him "Twinkletoes". She says he is a fantastic performer, and it was a good, solid Quick Step. Len doesn't like this dance as well as he liked the cha-cha last week, but still deems it a great performance. Team Chermitt scores a triple 8, totaling 24. Backstage, Emmitt is the only star who doesn't beg fans to call in and vote for him, using that time instead to mention a charity - he's playing for the Nick Buonoconti Foundation. This is a spinal cord research fund began by a former football player, whose son suffered a severe spinal cord injury. This is a good reminder: the winner of DWTS gets a fat check for their favorite charity. I hope Emmitt continues to do well in this contest.
Now, it's time for the Leader Board. For the first time on Dancing with the Stars, we're all able to see where each team ranks before vote-out night. Here's how it stacks up:
Joey and Edyta are in first place, with 29 out of 30; Monique and Louis are in 2nd with 26. Tied for third place with a 24 score are Vivica and Nick, and Emmitt and Cheryl. Willa and Maksim garnered 23 for fifth place; Shanna and Jesse's 22 score places them sixth. A humiliating three-way tie for 7th place goes to Harry and Ashly, Mario and Karina, and Sarah and Tony, all with 21 points. Jerry and Kym limp along in last place with a paltry 19 points. If Jer-RY's audience doesn't start dialing soon, he may be heading back to Chicago. Do Jerry's audience members have telephones?
...And who really injured Kym's knee? Was it Team Harry in the Green Room with a steel poker? Team Vivi in the rehearsal studio with a lead stiletto? Send your clues to: Brandy@fansofrealitytv.com