It’s Monday night, and you know what that means! Well, actually, it means it’s adult night down at the local roller rink, where I can roller boogie like it’s 1983. But now that I’m home from that, it’s time for Dancing with the Stars!
Tonight the celebrities will be dancing either the Rumba or the Samba, and Tom declares that it’ll be the “sexiest night of the season.” Less than a minute later, Samantha says the same thing. But with more soullessness.
The celebrities come down the stairs, and the costumes are divine. Aaron is wearing what looks like a silky smoking jacket. Chuck has the big frilly Samba sleeves on his shirt. Louie is showing gobs of chest. Tom and Cheryl are like an all-American stars-and-stripes nightmare. Dmitry is gorgeous. Kelly’s wearing a wig. And Trumpet Guy is ROCKING my WORLD. Trumpet Guy, you’re my hero of the season.
We get a warning that Tom’s almost-stress fracture from last week has turned into a full-fledged stress fracture, but we’re not yet going to find out if he’s able to dance. It’s been touch-and-go. More news later. Much later.
Mark & Lacey are up first, and they’re going to do the Rumba. Slowing down is going to be hard for him, since he’s all about the martial arts quickness. Mark starts out schmoozing with a couple of ladies in the audience, then spins around and they approach each other all sexy-like. Their Rumba is faster than I would have expected, and the song is really weird. But he has some very nice moves, and some great extension in his arms. Although in a couple of moves, you can really see his martial arts background. Len calls the dance “The Roomba,” and felt a lack of chemistry and warmth. Bruno calls it an anti-climax. Carrie Ann wants him to stop thinking, and find his sensuality and confidence. She calls the dance “uncomfortable to watch.” In the Samantha babble, we find out that one of the schmooze ladies was Mark’s wife. The scores: 6-6-6, for a devilish 18. Aww, Mark. I still love you.
Joanna & Derek were right in the middle of the pack last week, and hope to do better tonight. They’ll be doing the Samba, and in rehearsal she appears to have a good amount of shake. For their dance, Derek swings onto the stage like so much Tarzan. Joanna’s wearing tons of fake hair and too much makeup (like a ballroom dancing Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous), and the tempo of their song feels a little too slow for the Samba. What’s with that tonight? Anyhoo, they do a decent job, but the dance doesn’t set me on fire. Just like the judges didn’t see a connection between Mark & Lacey, I don’t see a connection between these two. Bruno saw some unsteadiness, and wants her to get stronger. Carrie Ann agrees, and also loves Joanna’s fearlessness. Len enjoyed it and applauded the quality of the content. The scores: 7-8-8 for 23.
Mya & Dmitry did a fabulous Jive last week, tying for first. Tonight it’s all about the Rumba, and Dmitry is making sure to keep the choreography very traditional for Len. To get into the romantic feel of the dance, Mya (and by Mya, I mean “the producers”) decorated the dance studio with candles and roses. Cheeseball city. Dmitry’s dancing shirt is totally see-through and open to the waist, and I have no complaints. There’s a lift near the beginning, and I rewound to check — looks like Mya’s toe was touching the ground. The dance itself is just lovely, a nice slow pace with a great relationship between the two, and a lot of supersexy moves. They get a standing ovation from much of the audience, although seat-neighbors Paula Abdul and Lance Bass stay on their buns. Carrie Ann says she got chills, wonders about the lift, but says she enjoyed it too much to notice if it was legal or not. Len … wants more simplicity? Too many tricks, too much action. Bruno stands up and shakes his finger at them, declaring the dance “fabulous.” The scores: 10-7-10 for 27, and our first 10s of the season. Len, come on. Does somebody need a hug?
Melissa & Mark will be doing the Samba, and I worry for Melissa. Can she shake it the way she needs to? During rehearsal, Mark basically accuses her of being soft and spongy; he can teach her the steps, but she needs to figure out on her own how to punch it with power. For the dance she’s wearing a fringe dress, which adds a little extra motion to all of the shaking, which is good. But shortly into the dance, she gets a little stiff and awkward, and her smile goes away. She has a couple of good parts, but they’re surrounded by moments where she looks like she’s forgotten what comes next. And in their side-by-side moves, Mark is so big and manic, she looks like she’s barely moving at all. Len says parts were excellent, and she performed well, but he wanted more rhythm. Bruno says she lost timing a couple of times, but it’s an improvement from last week. Carrie Ann says she didn’t believe something about it; she still senses the fear. The scores: 6-6-7 for 19, one point above the bottom (so far).
Louie & Chelsie will be dancing the Rumba, and Bergeron wonders if it’ll be the sexiest of the night. They apparently have a boatload of chemistry. And Louie knew in advance what the Rumba was, since he checked out some of the dances on the YouTube. If the pre-dance package is any indication, every move in rehearsal was followed by sexy talk. Oh, these crazy kids. For the dance, Louie’s hair is all slicked back, and his forehead looks eight feet tall. They’re dancing to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, and it’s both awesome and horrifying at the same time. His moves are not as good as previous dances; for me, there’s something weirdly stiff and mechanical throughout a lot of the dance. But there’s a very cool pose near the end where he bends Chelsie’s leg at an unnatural-looking angle. Bruno fans himself and gets all crazy about the chemistry, but notes that Louie is at times “a little bit still quite jerky.” Carrie Ann loves the chemistry, and tells Louie he gives good frame. Len grumps that it was wild, had no finesse, and got hectic. The scores: 8-5-7 for a very mixed and weird 21 (chicken dinner).
Debi & Maks did well with the judges last week, but ended up in the bottom two. She’s going to work harder this week, but if America doesn’t like you, hard work probably won’t change that. Maks brings in former partner Mel B. to inspire Debi to shut up and listen. She starts out with an overcoat on, then reveals a fringe bra and a skirt made of rainbow boas. Once again, their music is a bit too slow and plodding for the Samba. Weirder still, their dance seems freakishly short; maybe it’s because of the wad of acting at the beginning (which Len will hate). I guess it’s technically all right, but there’s nothing exciting going on. They’re more just going through the motions. Carrie Ann calls it a little safe, but warns Debi to watch her worried facial expression. Len says it’s like cooking — it had all the ingredients, but lacked the flavor. Bruno points out two errors that interrupted the flow. As they head backstage, Bergeron gives props to the band (Jewelry Head is wearing one of her smallest head jewels, but is making up for it with a hot pink leopard-print dress). The scores: 6-5-6 for 17, and I’m delighted that Mark isn’t at the bottom anymore.
Donny & Kym are up next, tackling the Rumba. I hate to say it, but he’s winning me over with his charm. Maybe I pre-judged him too quickly, because I didn’t particularly care for Marie. In rehearsal, he’s totally gawky with the romantic stuff. Onstage, he starts out with a nice little solo, and then proceeds to be totally Mr. Smooth. What an unexpected surprise! His moves may not have been as clean as some other dancers, but he turned in a great performance, with a decent connection with Kym. Len points out his flexed legs, but says he did a great job. Bruno calls it “a bit like Swan Lake” and “a little airy fairy.” Donny runs up and kisses Bruno, then there’s a lot of craziness and macho posturing and two men pawing each other. It’s funny, then weird, then funny, then goes on too long and becomes weird again. Carrie Ann says she saw some issues with musicality, but loved the vulnerability. The scores: 7-7-7 for 21. Samantha makes it classy: “Only a seven from Bruno, you should have given him tongue.” Dear ABC: don’t let her talk.
Out in the house, Bergeron talks with Paula Abdul. She’s just as babbly and drunk as she is on Idol. Um … was on Idol. Honestly, I’d love to see her and Samantha sit down and talk with each other. It’d be like My Dinner with Andre, only with a lot more vacuous staring and incomprehensible drunktalk.
Michael & Anna bickered in rehearsal for the Samba until they wrote out goals on a white board. Oh, if only everything were that easy. Right from the beginning of their dance, they seem strangely off the beat. For a lot of Michael’s moves, I get the feeling that he’s holding back. I don’t know if he doesn’t want to be embarrassed or what, but it’s giving a real loose and untidy feel to his dancing. They turn in a performance that I’ll call adequate, but nothing more. Bruno tears it apart — no rhythm, bad steps. Carrie Ann accuses him of dancing too small. Len calls it disappointing. The scores: 5-4-5 for 14, which, if memory serves, is the lowest score of the season so far.
Natalie & Alec are doing the Rumba, and here’s hoping Natalie breathes. The problem with the Rumba is that any attempt at sexiness makes her flushed and giggly. Alec brings in his red-hot wife Edyta to show the impact of eye contact, and Edyta gives Natalie permission to get all sexyfied with Alec. They start the dance with Natalie crouched on the floor, covered with a sheet. There’s a blast of theatrical fog, and they’re off. She looks great, and she’s doing a great impression of a sexy person, although at one point the choreography has her slump with her hands on her sides, and she grimaces like she has a bellyache. But overall, very nice. Carrie Ann loves it, and makes happy little yummy noises. Len has nothing but great things to say about the hips, the moves, the chemistry. Bruno stands up and shouts “SEXY BEAST” at her. He’s so crazy in the most delightful way. The scores: 9-8-9 for 26, putting her in a very respectable second place so far.
Chuck & Anna are clearly doing the Samba, because those totally aren’t Rumba sleeves on his shirt. I fear that this guy has no booty-shaking ability. To get in touch with his feminine side, he went for a pedicure with his adorable teenage daughter. His toes are painted black and pink. They start their dance as so many do, running toward each other from opposite sides of the stage. Then Chuck tears the frilly sleeves off and tosses them away. He appears to be giving it his all, but he’s still a total block of wood. And he’s especially stiff and clompy next to Anna, who looks fabulous and moves beautifully. Len gives Anna props for bringing out the entertainer in Chuck. Bruno sees the work that went into the dance, but calls it the “Samba from Zombietown.” Carrie Ann admits it was rough, but says she enjoyed it anyway. The scores: 6-5-6 for 17.
Aaron & Karina rocked last week with the Quick Step, and will try to keep the top spot with the Rumba. In rehearsal, Karina constantly tells him to stop overdoing his steps. This will be interesting to watch, because I personally don’t see anything sexy at all about this guy. His outfit for the dance doesn’t help; it’s like a cross between a smoking jacket and a silky ladies’ robe. They dance, and … he’s totally overacting. Instead of it being an intimate dance between lovers, he’s put on his sexyface (think “Blue Steel”) and his moves are huge and broad and hey-look-at-me. And I take it back about the smoking jacket — his top is totally silky robe. There’s a stumble in the middle which throws him, and he’s a little bit off until the end. Bruno likes the attack and focus, but feels it lacked fluidity. Carrie Ann loves his lines, but wants him to tone it back; he’s over-exaggerating everything. Len says it lacked musicality, and that Aaron just throws his arms around willy-nilly. The scores: 8-6-7 for 21. “That’s my age,” says Aaron, and immediately it feels like Karina’s in Cougartown.
Tom & Cheryl are still in it? Or no? We’ll have to sit through the rehearsal footage to find out. He’s doing the Samba like a robot, which is about what we all expected. But there are more problems: his left foot hurts now too, and the producers and his doctor want him to withdraw from the competition. Bergeron interviews them out on the stage, where we find out that Tom has stress fractures in both feet. When asked if he’ll dance, Tom says, “What’s a little pain when you can party?” They’re going to dance after the break, because he admits he’s either stupid or crazy. After the break, and before the dance starts, Tom looks in terrible shape. He’s gritting his teeth and his chest is heaving. The music starts, they start dancing, and you can watch Tom counting out one-two-three-four. But they’re dancing a slow Samba to “Why Can’t We Be Friends”, and he has a sparkly elephant on his shirt while she has a sparkly donkey on her dress. Five points for cleverness. He actually has a couple of moves that aren’t terrible, but overall it’s the dance we expected. Carrie Ann likes something about him, but the dance wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. Len calls it careful, but gives him kudos. Bruno applauds him for being a “super trooper,” but reminds Tom that they have to judge on the dance they see, injuries or no. The scores: 6-4-5 for 15, so he’s not quite at the bottom.
Kelly & Louis had issues with mistakes last week; hopefully this week, she’ll relax. She’s lighter on confidence, but is eager to do better. Yes please, adorable Kelly, do better! She starts out a little tentatively, with steps that are a bit smaller than they should be. But by the middle, she’s loosening up and making much bigger moves. There’s not as much booty-shaking as I like in a Samba, but overall it’s a good performance. Miles better than last week. She and Louis end with a big weird smooch, which appears to give her a fit of giggles. Len tells her that her problem is confidence — he knows she’s a good dancer, but she needs to figure that out too. Bruno wants her to get rid of doubt, and acknowledges a couple of beautiful sections. Carrie Ann tells her that when she does it right, her technique is beautiful. Backstage, Samantha mentions the kiss, and Kelly giggles about it while Louis runs his tongue over his teeth in a really disturbing way. I hope I’m not the only one who finds him to be a grody grossball. The scores: 7-6-7 for 20, and they’re happy with it.
Recaps happen. Michael is at the bottom of the leaderboard with 14, but Tom is close behind with a 15. Please, America, put this poor injured guy out of his misery. Tomorrow we’ll get some stars of dance, some music, too much filler, and … a statistics forecasting chimpanzee. I can’t wait.