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The good news first: two third-rate celebs were kicked to the curb on last week's interminable elimination show, which, by the way, I did not watch. That leaves us with ten people, eight of whom could go home tomorrow and I'd hardly notice. This field of F-listers is somewhat less than exciting. Oh, yeah, and I'm still bummed about Maks not being on the show. What can I say? I sweat the small stuff. The bad news is of course that there are still ten people on the show, eight of whom could go home tomorrow... but won't. The best we can hope for is a few more double eliminations, however, this show is known for cruel and unusual punishment. I bet they'll stretch out the pain as much as they can. I predict four hour competition nights and three hour elimination shows by the time we're down to six people. Let's hope I'm wrong.
Tonight, it's either the Tango or the Jive for the ten remaining starlets and neither dance can be phoned in. Let's get to it.
Maybe more than right
To start things off tonight we have Marlee, who was really excited by the praise she received last week. Despite silly times in the ballroom joking around and trading digs through Marlee's interpreter, they both take rehearsal seriously. Marlee knows the Jive is the hardest dance she's had to learn thus far. They're dancing to an anemic cover of You may be right by Billy Joel, but their skills are far from anemic. Marlee, wearing a dress made entirely of big purple sequins, shines as she more than gets through the dance. They have a bit of a speed problem and I detect a few halting steps here and there, but over all, they do a great job. Len is amazed by the great job she did despite not being able to hear the beat. Bruno feels she lost her timing a bit and needs to work on passes but liked it. Carrie wants her to watch her hands. They earn all 7s for a total of 21 points.
Is Steve on some kind of crusade to prove that he is a serious guy? I don't know but he's got his game face on in the studio. Anna is sick and leaves him to fend for himself some of the time, which could either send Steve straight out the door next week or earn him sympathy votes. But all is not lost! Jonathan shows up to help Steve out instead of his sick wife. This being Tango week for Steve, I'm looking forward to some good manly Tango action and I'm not disappointed. Jonathan plays the girl and Steve leads, saying he loves dancing the Tango with Jonathan. This is fun! Maybe they could ditch Anna and go full time. I think this competition needs a man-Tango. Sadly, it was not meant to be. Anna is back in the rink as they launch into their routine set to a piece called Jalousie. It's not bad but next to the manly version, it's just, well, a Tango. Steve maintains a stone face throughout and despite a lack of technical prowess on his part, they put on a good show. Before the judges can weigh in, Steve runs to the side of the stage and puts on goggles and a bowl over his head in anticipation of the judge's opinions. Carrie thought it was his best dance, snappy and sharp. Len liked the footwork and saw improvement. Bruno thought it was mean and manly. They earn all manly 7s for a total of 21 points.
I'm sorry, we're not really together!
Resident hunk, Cristian, was traumatized by his near-elimination last week. He says that's not a spot he wants to be in again. Will the Jive win him some more fans? Maybe it will if he's dancing it shirtless. I'm just sayin'. Studio work is not going smoothly though. Cristian is tense and has trouble picking up steps. So, what does a good dance pro do when things are looking down? Why she plans a field trip to Sea World to meet with Clyde the sea lion! Makes perfect sense to me. Cristian has a deep conversation with the sea lion, they practice butt shaking and jumping and Cristian knows that he's received the best Jive instruction a Sea World admission ticket can buy. Oddly enough their music is Don't stop me now by Queen. Poor Freddie, I bet he never envisioned this. They do have speed and lots of energy in their routine and I must say I liked it. Something must be wrong with me. The audience is on their feet and Bruno thought this was their best. Len saw a few technical things that could have been more polished but still liked it and Carrie saw the improvement, the energy and the flexibility. All in all they earn 8-8-9 for a total of 25 points.
Stopped at the red light
It's one of those weeks. Every “star” on this show has them. You know the one where they're so incredibly eager to show how busy they are that studio rehearsal is out of the question. Mario takes Karina and they jet off to exotic Providence, RI, Charlotte, NC and Miami and West Palm Beach, Fl and back to LA, where they rehearse in between Mario's serious tour of high school gyms and college auditoriums. Practice is rushed and Karina frets that they won't be ready. Has she not seen the previous seasons? Just when you think someone will bomb, they look like they've been polishing their routines for months. Although Mario may be the exception. They Tango to Roxanne, which sounds as if it's sung by a vampire high on cough syrup. Mario's footwork is not terribly precise and despite the gimmicky interpretation they fall a bit short, even messing up badly somewhere in a corner. Len didn't get it, thought it was a mess. He didn't like their hold, posture and frame. Carrie wanted style but saw a lot of messed up steps. Bruno liked the drama but thinks Mario can do better. Their scores are 7-6-8 for a total of 21 points.
Getting her kicks
Shannon had a great second week, with a decent showing that pleased the judges. Now all she needs to do is meet heightened expectations. Unfortunately the extremely technical and fast paced Jive might prove to be a hurdle. Shannon's limbs, while long and lovely, are not dancer's limbs. Arms and legs need to be in harmony on the dance floor, and she can't feel them working together. Derek tries to whip her into shape by having her do some kickboxing moves which are similar to the Jive kicks. They step out to a piece called Goody to shoes with Shannon dressed in an extra short gold flapper dress and looking like her legs should be holding up door jambs. At times the proceedings are awkward and she looks like she's concentrating on breathing too much and kicking without falling over. Bruno felt she went all the way but wanted more control and precision. Len thought it was a good Jive. Carrie thought she did great and was fun to watch. For their efforts Shannon and Derek get all 8s for a total of 24 points.
Here we are, about six hours into the show, with barely an end in sight. I'm getting myself another drink 'cause I need all the help I can get if I'm to survive this night with my sanity. At least I managed to avoid talking about both Tom and Samantha. I'm sure you're all grateful for that at least.
Fun with Argentinian prostitutes
When Adam says the Tango is difficult for him he is not kidding. To me it looks like he's got two left feet and he's tripping over both. They practice hard because Adam feels that Julianne deserves better than someone like him. They go over the whole Tango concept and Adam says it's all prostitutes and pimps and guess which one she is. Oy. Maybe all the tough talk will translate into a credible Tango. Stranger things have happened. Their piece of music is appropriately enough entitled I can't tell a Waltz from a Tango. Well, the way Adam does it neither can I. Oh, okay, it's really not that bad and I'm entertained. Their effort is not going to win any awards despite Julianne's wig and low cut dress, but on a scale of horrible to appalling, it was more like a respectable so-so. Carrie thought he was sexy! Bruno thought if he squinted he could almost see him as Antonio Banderas, even though the technique was not there. Does Banderas have technique? Len commends Julianne for making Adam look like a dancer. They earn 7-7-7 for a total of 21. Adam is relieved. There is some backstage banter involving Mormons, Jews and Argentinian prostitutes but I'll spare you the details.
Schoolgirl on autopilot
Tony and Marissa are match made in ballroom heaven. They joke, they laugh, they joke some more and finally they rehearse a bit. Marissa is not convinced Tony is a ballroom bad boy despite Tony's assertions because how bad can you be in ballroom? Finally they are off doing their Jive, dancing to, of all things, Girlfriend. I always thought of this song as a Mambo myself. Marissa is wearing an outfit that looks like it was stolen from a shy striper's Catholic schoolgirl uniform collection. It's got checks, sequins, dangling ties and pleats enough to give you a massive headache. Their dance is perky and jumpy, energetic but boring at the same time. Len thought it was careful and lacked attack. He wanted more. Carrie was bored and thought she can do better. Bruno thought it was a “Jive on cruise control”. Marissa is close to tears backstage and the scores don't help. They get 6-7-6 for a total of 19 points.
Hot cougar action
Cougarific Priscilla knows that she needs to do more to get better scores. With the Tango she has a chance to dig deep, right back to her soap actress days of 30 years ago, and unleash her talent for drama. She goofs around in the studio but still aims for perfection. Dancing to something called El Cochlo, they come out looking appropriate for a Tango. She wears an elegant red dress and Louis is decked out in a dark tuxedo. They set the stage with a passionate fake kiss and off they go into a routine that's dramatically convincing but technically a bit weak. For her age and all the silicone she's got under every inch of skin on her body, she moves quite well. Bruno calls it the “hot cougar Tango” full of passion, and thinks it was well acted with a nice choreography. Len liked their back and forth and their drama. Carrie agrees. She bought their portrayal. Their scores reflect the judges' accolades with 8-9-9, a total of 26 points.
Jason acquitted himself quite well last week, but he's got more to deliver with the increased pressure. In five days he needs to become a Jive dancer. He feels he lacks the coordination for it and his perfectionism gets in the way at times. To maximize their assets, Edyta is wearing a dress made completely out of fringe and beads over a backless bathing suit of sorts. They're dancing to I got a woman and look quite smooth together. Carrie wanted a more open upper body, Bruno saw some restraint but loved his lines. Len agrees about the lines but felt the kicks were sloppy and didn't like it too much. Their scores are 8-7-8 for a total of 23 points.
Squeaky clean and politely angry
Finally, at the end of a never-ending night, we have Kristi who was a critical darling the previous two weeks. While fast paced dances test stamina, something like the Tango needs passion and a talent for drama. Mark thinks Kristi needs help in that department and enlists the help of Cindera Che, a performance coach. After a host of relaxation exercises and anger coaching, they're ready to pour what they learned into their Tango. Kristi wants to get over her reserve. Their music is a very bad cover of Duran Duran's Rio that makes me cringe but they do what they can with such a weird choice of music. Kristi maintains a mask of seriousness throughout, although maybe the fiery anger was still missing. Len liked it, Carrie loved the technique but felt the anger was flat. Bruno thought it was sharp and clean but wanted more lust and a “dirty girl”. Their scores are all 9s for a total of 27 points.
After what seems like a dozen solid hours of show, we finally reach the end. Somebody is getting booted again this week, narrowing the field and bringing me more happiness. Who will bite the dust? Will I be happy? I don't know and absolutely yes! See me next week for another dose of so-so dancing and the usual sequin and bead parade.
Sequins or beads? The debate rages on. PM me with your side.