Tonight, the six remaining couples dance two routines for scores for the first time. Of course, the second set of scores comes from the team dance. This is only the second time they’ve done the team dance thing, and it really made things interesting last year. I’m curious to see how it will play out tonight when we get Team Tango and Team Mambo.
Well, things are off to an interesting start. Tony came down the stairs by himself. Melissa has suffered a compilation of some kind, and they promise to fill us in later tonight. Meanwhile, we got started with the individual dances.
Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – Lindy Hop – Gilles is also dancing injured. His shoulder is hurting. I can identify with that; I’ve seen nursing a hurt shoulder for six months. But he got a cortisone injection. This is a dance where they can do lifts, but he had trouble getting them in rehearsal. He’s sporting an Elvis like pompadour tonight. The bit on the stairs was fun. And the high energy has kept up now that they’ve gotten into the dance. The lifts are looking good, although I’m thinking he paused a bit too long before the first one. However, he didn’t drop Cheryl on her head. And the silliness at the end made me smile. Len says that the French can add another thing to the list of things they are famous for. Bruno praises them for showing us Gilles’ comedy side, although he did point out a small mistake. And Carrie Ann says he has no reason to worry about viewers voting for him.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27
Lil’ Kim & Derek Hough – Paso Doble – Kim was having a serious problem getting the proper hip movement (or lack there of) down for this dance. And she’s going to put her personality into it. I’m not normally a fan of the Paso, and the talk about putting Kim’s personality into the dance had me worried. (I worry any time the stars wants to put their stamp on a dance.) But I loved this from the beginning with her skirt as the cape at the beginning to every dramatic moment all the way through. Every movement was sharp and precise. The ending was back to dramatic as well. Bruno praised the passion as well as saying it was classic Paso. Carrie Ann said this was a perfect showcase for Kim’s style, but it also showed how good a dancer Kim has become. Len expected it to be a disaster, saying he went from “Oh no” to Ole!”
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 10 Total – 28 (First 9 from Len. Frankly, I expected better than that.)
Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough – Cha Cha – Chuck isn’t sure what they did to get a good score last week, but he wants to do it again. Heck, they’ve even gone down to the same outfit for Chuck. Okay, so it’s blue instead of red, but it looks pretty similar. He really seems to have broken out. This is as good as last week. I’m not convinced that it is winner material, but it is darn close. His hips are moving well, he’s dancing almost as much as Julianne, and he looks like he’s having fun. They definitely seemed pleased with it when they were done. Carrie Ann says he has hit his stride, although she did say he needed to watch his chin. And if that’s the kind of thing she’s picking on, you know you’re doing well. Len says he is getting stronger, but he needs to work on his arms (and pulls a Bruno almost hitting Carrie Ann demonstrating). Bruno also picked on the arms. But all three of them did say how much they liked it.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 8 Total – 26
Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – Samba – Mark tried to show Shawn how a girl should do this, which was pretty funny. When it didn’t work, he brought in his mom to help out. I think for the first time, I’m not quite impressed. Yes, it is proficient and looks technically correct to my untrained eye. But I really do feel like it is missing some personality and pizzazz. The most they showed was in the spinning end. Len thought it was good but not great, saying it lacked hip action and had too many running promenades. Bruno thought it was good for her personality. Carrie Ann saw what she was looking for, good technique and no missing steps. This should be interesting.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 8 Bruno – 9 Total – 27
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – Jive – 45 minutes into the show, we finally get word on Melissa. She has a hairline fracture in her rib. She thinks she can continue on, but she can’t dance tonight. So for the second time in the history of the show, we are watching the rehearsal dance instead of a live dance. That was some outfit, with Melissa in a tight, skimpy top and blue jeans. You know me and my love of the Jive, and I did enjoy this one. I do think that at times Melissa’s injury changed her actions. I’m not sure she was fully into it, especially when raising her arms was involved. The judges said that they were “marking,” meaning they were working more on placement on the floor and the kicks and arms weren’t fully out there. They are sounding apologetic, but they do have to score based on what they saw.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 7 Total – 21 (And you could see how crushed Tony was even before he saw the scores. But he also agreed with them.)
Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – Salsa – He’s going way outside his comfort zone with the Salsa, and that included getting a spray tan. Wow, he’s been working hard. I don’t recognize him as the dancer from the beginning of the season, much less the last couple of weeks. He’s got hip action and Latin heat. I never thought I’d be saying that about Ty when the season started. I’d dismissed him as being the one to go this week, but now I’m not so sure. Carrie Ann loved it, saying he is the most inconsistent dancer. But said this was definitely a Salsa and she loved it. Len said he thought Ty would be gone in week two, but he’s held on. However, he said unless Ty really performed well in his group dance, it was time for him to hit the trail. Um, were we watching the same dance? Everyone, including Carrie Ann booed. Bruno said it wasn’t a perfect Salsa because the “hip action” came from knees and not the hips, but he enjoyed it. Tom’s just upset because he’s the whitest guy on the show again.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 7 Bruno – 8 Total – 24
And now we come down to the team dances.
Team Mambo – Melissa, Shawn, Chuck – Lacey is filling in for Melissa, the judging will be based on the other two couples, and Melissa will get the score the rest of them got just as if she had danced. I was wondering what they were going to do about that. These three couples were the top three last week, and the idea was to go with everyone’s strengths for their solo moments. I did love how all three couples started out dancing in a circle trading partners. Of course, the first solo was Tony and Lacey, which was obviously wonderful. There’s a reason she’s a pro. The transition from Tony and Lacey to Shawn and Mark was fun, as is their solo moment. It’s got a nice Latin flavor. Finally come Chuck and Julianne. That trick with lowering Julianne’s head on Chuck’s ankle at the beginning was pretty impressive. Their dancing is also fun, but it lacks something. Then they all come back together. For the big finish, the guys reveal they are wearing black leotards and white tights under their other clothes. Okay, a bit over the top but a funny moment that had the judges laughing. Len called it fun and entertaining with the group dancing. He did praise Lacey for how well she did stepping in at the last possible minute even if they couldn’t judge that part of the dance. Bruno only talked about the men’s costumes at the end and how much he liked them. Carrie Ann actually found the end fun but distracting. And she said the music overpowered the dancing.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 9 Total – 25
Team Tango – Gilles, Lil’ Kim, and Ty – They are pinning their hopes on having sexy men to help them pull it off. And talk about relying on the guys – Gilles and Ty started out shirtless. But I do have to give them credit for this – they started out with only the three stars on the floor. The first time a pro showed up was Derek for his solo with Lil’ Kim. They may have been the last one to get their solo together, but it looked great with good form and dramatic moments. I thought I saw one moment when Lil’ Kim was off, but I wasn’t sure. Ty and Chelsie came next (sorry ladies, the guys put on shirts during this time). I’m not sure if Ty was trying to show Len up or not, but this was strong. Hardly any surprise, but Gilles and Cheryl’s solo was strong as well. And the ending looked perfectly synced to me. These may have been the bottom three last week, but they totally rocked the team dance. Bruno praised it, especially the end sequence. Carrie Ann announced that she thought “Team Tango takes it.” She did mention Kim’s mistake, but praised their unison work at the end. Len mentioned Kim’s mistake and also said Gilles’ footwork was wrong. But he was man enough to eat his words, saying that Ty nailed it.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 10 Total – 28
So, combining the two scores together gives us a leader board that looks like this:
1. Lil’ Kim – 56
2. Gilles – 55
3. Ty – 52
3. Shawn – 52
5. Chuck – 51
6. Melissa – 46
Ten points separate the top and the bottom.
So, my predictions for tomorrow night.
The encore is pretty obvious to me. I think it will be Team Tango. (Which is the fourth encore of the season Lil’ Kim has been in. I think we need to rethink who the front runner is.)
As to who is going home, that’s a tough call. Melissa is quite obviously at the bottom when it comes to points, but she could easily get the sympathy vote. Will it be enough? Or will people say her injury is enough to send her home? If it’s not Melissa, the next few spots are rather tight. But my guess is if it isn’t Melissa, it will be Chuck.
We’ll find out tomorrow. Meanwhile, find out which ABC star we’ve talk about on this blog I got to meet ever so briefly this weekend (like two seconds). (I could have met two with Tom Bergeron being the second, actually. Kinda regret not getting his book, now.) Anyway, the answer is on my blog.