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After last week’s premiere episode of Skating With the Stars, Rebecca and Jonny were at the top of the leader board, while Vince and Bethenny were at the bottom. We met our judges, skating star Johnny Weir, skating legend Dick Button and Laurie Ann Gibson, whose only credentials are, well, she has no skating credentials. She does seem to like bizarre hairstyles and the word “magical.” We also met host Vernon Kay and “color commentator” and former skating star Tanith Belbin.
After last week’s episode, the producers have changed Tanith’s role a bit. Now, she’s also doing the backstage interviews in addition to the color commentary, which really is, largely un-useful. Thank God they’re doing more with her now. She’s much better than Vernon at interviewing. Plus, I bet no one will mind if Tanith makes slightly inappropriate sexual jokes. Honestly though, producers of Dancing With the Stars take note. Give Brooke the boot and hire Tanith.
At the end of the show tonight, after all of the pairs perform and get scores from the judges, one of the pairs will be eliminated. The judges’ scores and viewer votes from last week will be combined with the judges’ scores from tonight to determine who goes home.
What You Need to Know
This week, the pairs will perform either a Tango or Swing. As they did last week, the pairs have two required elements they must perform in this week’s routine. This week’s elements are a step sequence and a pairs lift. In the lift, the pair must travel across ice and the woman must release her hold during the lift. I’ll bet those female pros were thrilled about that lift. I wonder if they all practiced in crash helmets.
Johnny Weir will tell us later what the judges are looking for, but let’s just do that here. With the step sequence, the judges (i.e. Dick and Johnny, since Laurie Ann has no clue what she’s doing) will be looking for a change in levels, from standing to lunging, and a full range of motion. There should be intricate steps that aren’t just toe picking. In the lift, the judges will look for the ladies to lift themselves (vs, looking like a sack of potatoes) and hold a gorgeous position. For the guys, the judges want to see strength and trust from their partners
Jonny and Brooke
Last week, the judges told Jonny to work on his dancing. Brooke says feeling comfortable dancing is the difference between coming in first and second. Jonny says he really wants to be first now. After all, why would he want a silver medal instead of the gold? He definitely doesn’t want to come in second to Rebecca again. Brooke says that, as long as Jonny listens to her, they’ll be fine. In practice, the lift – in which Jonny holds Brooke upside down – is making her a bit nervous. Her last skating partner dropped her during a lift and she fractured her heel, effectively ending her skating career. Jonny could drop her and pile drive her right into the ice.
Jonny and Brooke skate to “Jump Jive and Wail” and, although he’s still a bit wooden, he definitely does better than last week. He still needs to work on the dancing, but he's obviously having fun. As a plus, Jonny doesn’t drop Brooke in the lift and he gets through the routine without falling.
Johnny Weir was blown away by Jonny’s performance. It’s amazing how much he’s improved in just one week. Jonny’s hold in the lift, and his rotation, was good and the footwork was real footwork. He urges Jonny to look up more so everyone can see his face.
Dick Button says the routine was especially good. He liked the lift and the straight-line steps. Brooke really took her life into her hands with that life.
Laurie Ann Gibson flirts awkwardly with Jonny, telling him he looks very handsome on the ice. Swing is about rhythm and syncopation, she says, and Jonny had so much funk in his trunk. He also showed a lot of athleticism and nailed the required elements. She urges him to keep it up with the dancing and feel the music.
Laurie Ann: 8 / 7
Johnny: 8 /6
Dick: 8/ 7…although he holds up the 7 paddle, he says “8”
Two Week Total: 84/120
Vince and Jennifer
In his introduction, Vernon lets fly with the Motley Crue puns: “Last week, the lead singer of Motley Crue ended up in theater of pain as he sat at the bottom of the leader board. This week, will he be Dr. Feelgood?” Har. Then he calls Jennifer “Brooke.”
Vince says the judges were right; he did look stiff last week, but it was because he was nervous. For their tango to "El Tango de Roxanne,” Vince looks a bit like Huggy Bear…and not the one that sells fabric softener. You know, for such a great performer as a singer, he’s pretty wooden as a skater. Luckily for Brooke, the pairs lift is basically him skating with her across his arms like a baby. I say “luckily” because he trips and falls, going down to his knees, although he manages to protect Jennifer and then gets back up and keeps skating. Like she did last week, Jennifer is channeling a Varga girl. That may just be her look.
Dick urges Vince to not ever worry about making a mistake. He hopes Vince will spend the next week working on his skating skills. Because Dick was so focused on Vince’s skating skills, the Tango got a bit lost. Still, Dick enjoys watching Vince skate and that’s half the battle.
Laurie Ann, who has no skating background at all, disagrees with Dick. She says she’s impressed with Vince’s tango. It was masculine and full of drama. She says Vince showed a lot of musicality and was “at one” with the music. Is she like an old Motley Crue fan or something? She’s going all Swimfan on him.
Johnny Weir says Vince has an aura of intensity on the ice. He praises Vince for recovering after his fall, but urges him to work on the basics. They do have required elements every week, but they can’t do them without the basics.
Vince tells Tanith that he really doesn’t want to be the first person voted out of the competition.
Laurie Ann: 6 / 6
Johnny: 3 / 6
Dick: 4 / 5
Again, Vince is circumspect. He did fall. That’s just the way it is.
Bethenny and Ethan
In practice, Bethenny slams Johnny Weir for his judging comments last week: she’s working her tail off. Traveling between the east and west coasts for this show is taking its toll on both Bethenny and Ethan. She whines that she comes to the rink every day on NO sleep. Ethan tells us that he wants people to see that she’s a good person and a hard worker and a good skater. Well, two out of three…
Bethenny and Ethan skate their Swing to "The Boy Does Nothing." She spends most of the routine with this wide-open mouthed expression that she probably thinks makes her look surprised. Instead, she looks like a blow-up sex doll. As with their routine last week, there’s a lot of her dancing with her upper body while standing still and dancing on toe picks vs. actually skating. Again, the hardest moves are done by Ethan.
Laurie Ann thinks that it was overall, very good. She says that Swing is about rhythm and musicality and joyfulness, but Bethenny was still a little stiff. Dancing on ice is challenging (not that she would know), but Bethenny need to work on getting through it without showing that moves are coming.
Johnny thought Bethenny kept up with Ethan much better this week. Still, she has so much more work to do on her basic skating skills. He notes the bizarre facial expression frozen on her face throughout the routine and then says he was expecting more sass and sex than he got.
Dick calls Bethenny “Polka Dot Polly” and then throws out some of his patented Buttonisms, finishing with urging Bethenny to make crème brulee.
Laurie Ann: 6 / 6
Johnny: 5 / 5
Dick: 6 / 5
Two Week Total: 62/120
Brandon and Keauna
I’m sure I will type Keauna’s name “Keanu” in a recap at least once this season. Brandon vows to work harder this week: he wants to break away and lead the pack. Keauna tells us that Brandon is working so hard in spite of both mental and physical stress. In order for Brandon to feel a bit better about himself and, let’s face it, to show off a bit, he and Keauna head to a roller rink. Honestly, isn’t this going to hurt his ice training, since he need to be focusing on the different skills needed on ice? Keauna isn’t so great on roller skates and is duly impressed with Brandon, which was probably his goal in the first place.
Tangoing to "Shut Up," which is a song I hate, Brandon skates with lots of authority and looks really comfortable on the ice. The lift he and Keauna do is similar to Vince’s, but Brandon stays on his skates. While he looks good, his posture is a little too Hip Hop and his shoulders are a bit high too. Still, compared to the last few pairs, it’s really good.
“YES!” Johnny crows. He says it was amazing, ferocious, passionate and sexy. Keauna trusted him 100%. It was incredible, especially considering that Brandon is just starting out.
Dick thinks everything was spectacular. He really enjoyed it, but urges Brandon to straighten up – he was hovering over her and all hunched up.
Laurie Ann calls Brandon a matador…which is the wrong dance. It’s the Tango, honey, not the Paso Doble. She thinks Brandon had a connection with Keauna and maintained the story. Tango is about rhythm and music, she says, and Brandon showed that.
Laurie Ann: 8 / 9
Johnny: 8 / 8
Dick: 8 / 8
Two Week Total: 85/120
Sean and Denis
Sean admits that Dick Button was right about her being tentative last week: she feels very insecure on the ice. Denis tells us she’s a great actress, but he knows that inside, she’s terrified. As a surprise – and as a way to help her conquer her fears – Denis takes Sean indoor skydiving. How hovering on a column of air applies to her getting over her fear of falling on the ice, I have no idea. Sean says that she is afraid of falling, but she knows that she has to fall in order to get better.
Denis and Sean’s Swing – skated to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" – is very 1940’s….sort of a sailor girl/Charles Lindberg thing. Sean’s definitely got the acting part down, but it still looks like Denis is pushing her around the ice like, dare I say, a shopping cart. She has a few falls, but recovers and keeps going. That’s got to suck.
Throughout the judges’ comments, Vernon holds his mic under Sean’s mouth, so we hear her heavy breathing through the whole thing. It makes it the whole thing a little perverse.
Dick tells Sean not to worry about falling and says it’s nice to see her getting some jiggle in her jiggle. It’s not as pervy as the girdle comment last week, but it’s right up there.
Laurie Ann says Sean came out strong. It’s unfortunate that she fell. She showed good rhythm and, although her scores will reflect the falls, the beginning of the routine was amazing. Johnny was so hoping the falls wouldn’t happen. Sean fought for every moment and, aside from the falls, she did great.
Sean decides she may go back to her no-fall policy.
Laurie Ann: 5/ 5
Johnny: 3 / 7
Dick: 4 / 6
Two Week Total: 64/120
Rebecca and Fred
Rebecca and Fred claim they don’t feel comfortable being at the top of the leader board and know they still have to work hard. Rebecca is worried because she’s never tangoed, so she and Fred head to the dance studio to work with Dmitri Chaplin from DWTS. Rebecca squeals like a fangirl. It’s actually really endearing that she gets so excited. After some time in the studio, Rebecca feels better; Dmitri really helped her, although she knows she has very little time to get this down. She’s especially scared about the lift, but is going to go for it.
Rebecca and Fred skate their Tango to "Whatever Lola Wants." Unlike several other skaters, she really is skating vs. dancing on her toe picks. The lift is the most difficult of the ones we’ve seen today. She has a few little balance checks, but it’s overall much better than the others and more like a tango than the other Tangos tonight.
Cut to Dmitri in the audience, along with Rebecca’s All My Children co-star (and former DWTS contestant) Cameron Mathison.
Laurie Ann says it was hot and intense and she praises Rebecca’s musicality “We have a competition!” she exclaims.
The lifts were amazing and she did the steps Johnny says, but he wanted more impact. Rebecca’s facial expressions were a bit bored. Great skating – she’s one of the best in the competition – but she needed to act the part.
Dick thinks Rebecca’s Tango was a bit square. Everything was very good technically and she followed all the rules, but rules are made to be broken. He wants more passion and more focus on Ethan next time.
Laurie Ann: 8 / 8
Johnny: 7 / 6
Dick: 8 / 7
Two Week Total: 89/120
Now that all scores are in, so here’s what the leader board looks like:
Rebecca and Fred: 89/120
Brandon and Keauna: 85/120
Jonny and Brooke: 84/120
Sean and Denis: 64/120
Bethenny and Ethan: 62/120
Vince and Jennifer: 58/120
Now it’s time for the first elimination. No filler-laden results show here! The pairs who are safe, in what Vernon claims is random order, are:
Rebecca and Fred – “in no random order,” but top pair is called first
Jonny and Brooke
Brandon and Keauna
Bethenny and Ethan
Vince and Jennifer
That means that Sean is out. Hallelujah! Still, I’ll miss watching her try to keep the crazy in check. Sean says she completely enjoyed her time on the ice. She thanks Denis for everything he’s done. Denis says he’s impressed with everything Sean achieved in a short time. Sean says she’ll take away a very worn pair of skates and a unique experience. She says that Denis is the greatest and she’s enjoyed the whole thing. Sean and Denis skate one more time. It’s sort of like on American Idol when the eliminated contestant sings, as if to show us why they got the boot.
Next week it’s more of the same – skating, falling, sequins and either Vince or Bethenny will be going home.