I must confess that since we're finally down to the last five couples in the competition, I am growing increasingly giddy over the prospect of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Since John was shown the door last week in a thoroughly unexciting finish that even a blind man would have seen coming, we're left with four good couples and one stray. This week, it's finally time to either take this lost puppy to the animal shelter or find him a good home somewhere away from this show.
Following last week's formula, everyone will perform one Ballroom and one Latin dance, and hopefully I'll be awake till the end of the show to report on it all for you. However, to tell you the truth, I cannot, in all fairness, be held accountable if the show grows dull and I start making up stuff to keep you from falling asleep. I'd look at it as a free public service.
Hopping and skipping with Mrs. Claus
Tasked with tackling both the Rumba and the Foxtrot in one week, Ian and Cheryl must be able to capture both their chemistry and demonstrate subtlety and elegance. While a few weeks ago, pretending an attraction would have been awkward and maybe even impossible, Ian feels that they've grown enough together so that their Rumba won't look forced and fake. It's also Cheryl's birthday this week so Ian gives her balloons and a cake with the number 10 on it. I could go on but I'm mighty tired of describing these rehearsal sessions. I have a sneaking suspicion that there's some sort of script they follow every week, where they play up a theme just to amass enough footage to fill the show in between dances. That's how you make a half hour show into a 90 minute monster. But enough of that.
Ian and Cheryl's first dance is the Foxtrot and their music is “Baby it's cold outside”. It's not cold, it's like 83F today and I'd rather be warm outside sipping a frappuccino but instead I'm watching Cheryl dressed in some white feathery concoction that makes her look like Mrs. Claus would look after a trip to a Frederick's of Hollywood store, and Ian in a penguin suit, gliding around the floor rather boringly. The lyrics to this song say “it's hard to follow” and I'd have to agree. Len didn't think it was smooth enough, it was more “skippy and hoppy”. Bruno says Ian was like a goat jumping from rock to rock and Ian didn't get the dance. Carrie, always the one to find the slightest shred of a compliment even in the worst dance, says Ian was full of exuberance. I'm ecstatic also, because they're done dancing and that means I can fast forward to their score which is an unimpressive 22.
Your grandfather's Waltz special
What do the Waltz and the Mambo have in common? Nothing except that Joey needs to do a good job with both of those dances this week, if his dreams of that shiny mirror ball trophy are to be realized. He is pretty confident right now, confident enough to make a field trip to the Kentucky Derby with Kym, to ogle the Queen and cheer on some horse. Let's hope that all this equestrian inspiration will not adversely affect their Waltz which should be a gentle glide as opposed to a choppy canter. Joey claims there will be no tricks and gimmicks tonight, we will get a “straight-up Waltz”. That's good to hear. We wouldn't want any kind of shenanigans distracting us and keeping us awake. Kym is wearing some sort of pink, frothy dress that makes her look like a cupcake with sugary pink frosting. The cupcake is gliding elegantly across the floor and it looks okay but now I need toothpicks to keep my eyelids open. Bruno didn't like the prim and proper Joey, but it looked like rehearsal. Carrie also missed the “Joey special” but felt it was technically correct. Len enjoyed it and appreciated the properness of the dance. I guess he was awake. They get a prim and proper 26 points.
How much jail time should one get for murdering the Foxtrot?
As ultimate goals in life go, getting an 8 on a dancing competition pretty much ranks down there with being able to butter a bagel with my toes. But who am I to dismiss other people's dreams and desires? Billy Ray is determined to get that 8 and he'll do anything for it. When Karina informs him that butt wiggling will play a major role this week in keeping them out of the bottom two, Billy agrees to give his all and shake his behind like there's no tomorrow. Their first dance is the Foxtrot, which requires zero butt shaking, but it may just be a dance that could help Billy claw his way up from the bottom. When hell freezes over, but that's beside the point. Their music is “Stand by your man”. Billy is also wearing a cowboy hat and some godawful hillbilly suit while doing the Foxtrot. Can you spell disaster because that's what this thing is. I hesitate to call it a dance, really since all Billy does is walk back and forth somewhat in tune to the music, although even that's only thanks to Karina.
Carrie is amazed he is still in the competition, and she says this with a straight face after taking the time every weak to heap undeserved praise upon this guy and thereby keeping him from being eliminated. I'm beginning to realize that if they ever want to replace Carrie, Paula from American Idol would probably be an excellent choice. Even now she has the gall to say that Billy has “improved so much”, never mind that he has zero technique but he still did a good job. Len can't find too many good things to say either but manages to scrape up a “nice job” anyways. Another blind puppet. Bruno say Billy is always “deliciously awful” and this was “the Foxtrot in the temple of doom” and pretty much utter crap. Hell did not freeze over so they only get 18 points.
One way to get high scores: bring daddy along.
If I never see a Waltz for the next decade it will be too soon but Laila and Maks are also dancing the Waltz tonight and I can't look away now. I would put a strict limit of one Waltz per show if it were up to me in order to save people from falling into a stupor, but amazingly enough nobody from ABC is consulting my wishes. Since her daddy is in attendance for the live show, Laila wants no spiciness, no sexiness, no heat; instead she wants a classy, classic Waltz. Hmm. I'm thinking that if she wants a classic Waltz, she shouldn't be wearing a red sating dress slit up to there with red satin Opera gloves. Their routine starts and ends with Laila sleeping on a pillow for some unexplained reason. Len thought it was good but wasn't wild about the posture, while Bruno gushes that Laila was “the lady in red with the look of love”. Yeah, I don't know what he means either. It's not really important; I think half the time he just says stuff because it sounds good. Carrie can see an incredible transformation no matter who is dancing and she thinks Laila brought emotion to the dance that was true and profound. I guess they find it hard to critique a number in which Laila paid tribute to her father, sort of. Take it from me, it wasn't great by any means. Lots of walking from here to there and little content. Anyway, they earn 27 points which will keep them out of the bottom two and make daddy proud.
Tangoing to a different tune
The Ballroom round mercifully concludes with Apolo and Julianne's Tango. Finally something worth staying awake for! Apolo was not happy with some of the judges' comments last week, therefore he knows that he's got something to prove. Not only does he want to make it to the final two, but he wants to belong there and make sure everyone knows it. I really like their rehearsal sessions; the cuteness factor is off the charts and they have this sweet chemistry going that translates into a smooth partnership between them. They serve up their Tango hot and spicy and fresh to the tune of “Jesse's girl”. Bruno is finally excited and has nothing but glowing things to say. Carrie loved it all and thought their choreography was inventive and even Apolo's posture was spot on. Len, the consummate grouch, did not like their dance at all because it was too busy, with too much going on and didn't have enough drama and passion. Their earn 27 points and we finally reach the midpoint in the show.
This is where I start making up stuff
My main goal is to keep you entertained long enough that you'd want to read this thing all the way through, so I feel I now need to provide you with an extra
bribeincentive for hanging in there. You know that we have an amazing connection on this journey and I feel we're all here for the right reasons. Taking a page out of that cheesiest of cheesy shows, The Bachelor, I will offer a fake imaginary 3 carat diamond ring to whomever stays awake the longest tonight. Please PM me all your entries, with time stamps, properly signed and notarized before the end of business tomorrow. The winner will be announced in my last recap. Thank you.
Imagine dancing the Rumba
There should be a very special place reserved in Hades for defilers of John Lennon's “Imagine” and the guy singing it tonight, as a backdrop to Ian and Cheryl's Rumba, should go there and take whomever came up with this idea with him. I'm sure Lennon is spinning in his grave. Frankly, I'm so disturbed by this choice of music that I can't be impartial, which normally is not a problem for me. I am scrupulously fair when it comes to worshiping Maks's dancing. So they sway left and right and try to pretend being sexy to lyrics like “Imagine there's no countries/ It isn't hard to do/ Nothing to kill or die for/ And no religion too”. No wonder Carrie didn't buy it, felt it was sort of fake. Yeah, no kidding. I've seen three dollar bills that were more real. Len liked it but felt it wasn't natural, looked rehearsed. Bruno thought it was a great improvement and gives Ian lots of credit. Trying not to further offend Lennon, the judges give them 25 points which brings them to a total of 47 for the night.
Spending time between each other's legs
Would it occur to you to Mambo to anything by the Blackeyed Peas. No? I didn't think so but apparently we all lack imagination. Not only do Joey and Kym manage to clobber together something resembling a Mambo, but it's even watchable in a raunchy, non-PG13 sort of way. Kym is wearing a dress best described as golden hooker chic, complete with long curly blond wig and a tan you can buy at the local spa for $39.99. Len commends them for dancing on the second beat but doesn't understand why they spent so much time between each other's legs. I swear, I didn't make that up, although I wish I had. Bruno liked it too, said Joey gave people a good time “and Kym as well”. Suddenly I feel that this show is taking a different turn. The second half seems to go by in a flash of insults to legends mixed with risque comments not meant for your tween's ears. This may finally be the perfect formula for ensuring that nobody falls off into a boredom induced coma before the show is over. Carrie appreciates how Joey stepped it up and the fact that he is working his butt off. His butt? She's just too polite for this segment. All that time down under was well spent, because they earn 29 points which makes 55 for them.
Screw one up bad enough, the second one is free
Billy is up next trying to shake his butt away from the bottom two. They call this a Mambo, but I call it Billy line dancing while Karina does the Mambo. Sort of. The song they picked goes something like “I'm gonna do it my way” and if the object was to convey the spirit of the song, then I'd say Billy succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dreams. However, if the object was to Mambo, then this is an abject failure. Not that that's anything new, but I feel I should report this important fact nevertheless. Bruno calls him “a wild beast that cannot be tamed” and says that if by some miracle Billy stays in the competition Karina will need serious rehab. Do you really want to know what Carrie said? Just use your imagination here. Would she tell the truth and say that Billy sucked worse than a root canal would suck on tax day, or would she say that Billy is wonderful? You get two chocolate chip cookies if you guessed the latter. Len says Billy always does his best but this is not a “do one get one free situation”, you need to work both times. 20 points is what doing nothing apparently gets you on this show, which brings them to 38 points. Samantha says that people should vote and keep them in the competition because... well, she can't exactly come up with a logical reason but she needs to parrot whatever's on the teleprompter. Don't listen to her. I beg of you. I haven't asked anything of you for at least three paragraphs now. You can do me this one little favor, can't you?
Knight in white pinstripe
Imagine, if you will, Maks decked out in a white '50s style pinstripe vest and pants, black shirt and Laila in a black dress with a red belt dancing their Jive to a song that according to Google is called “Bad, bad Leroy Brown”. My goodness, Maks can sure Jive. This is one high energy dance and now that all the double entendres have woken me up, I can appreciate how good this performance is. I'm assuming Laila did well, although I can't be sure. Honestly, I couldn't concentrate on her moves, what with Maks in that white suit and all. Carrie thought it was clever with great footwork. Len says he liked what Laila did but feels he needs to admonish Maks for introducing the bit with the handkerchief at the beginning where Laila picked it up. He wants Maks to come out and not rely on props next week, wants to see more content because this is a dancing competition. I wish I could push a button and that would send Len a few jolts of something or a big boxing glove could come out from under his desk and punch him. Bruno thinks Laila can really dance and Maks needs to use her better, not embellish with filler as if she was less competent. All in all it's 26 with a total of 53 points.
Skirt on, skirt off
Apolo and Julianne start out their Paso Doble with a bit of weird striptease, where Apolo yanks off Julianne's skirt then flings it about a bit, only to finally tie it around her waist yet again. Talk about useless props and pointless theatrics. If you can believe it, they're dancing to a stylized version of “Clementine” that amazingly makes for a decent Paso music. Even if this dance sucked to high haven, which given the music, it might have, I would have praised it shamelessly simply for being the last dance of the night and therefore the bringer of the great big end. However, this performance was really great. These two just have that extra little somethin' somethin' that makes you want to sit up and pay attention, no matter what they dance. The audience, which I normally scrupulously avoid mentioning, is on their feet screaming at the top of their lungs, probably just as glad for Apolo as they are to finally be able to stretch their legs. Len and Bruno both rave that this was excellent and a champion's dance. Carrie thought it was wonderful. I think it's fantastic that the show is finally over. They earn the maximum 30 points and walk off in a haze of happiness with a total of 57 points.
I'm not going to drag this out any longer, so I'll just tell you that rankings are Apolo, Joey, Laila, Ian and about five light years behind them is Billy Ray. Tune in for the results show to see Nelly Furtado, Jimmy Kimmel and some sort of dance-off between Maks and his little brother. Critical will dish the dirt and hopefully report on the best final four this show has ever seen.
I'm still waiting for pictures of Maks. What? Nobody has any they'd like to share? Stop jealously hoarding them, people!