After last week’s surprise elimination, Dancing with the Stars continues its reign of high-stakes terror: it’s a double elimination week! With the first-ever dance marathon! And with this week’s dance styles being on completely different ends of the ballroom spectrum, it’s going to be a another wild ride.
Mya and Dmitry Chaplin – Jitterbug: The couples who have the jitterbug have an almost unfair advantage, because you can do lifts in the jitterbug, and basically – it’s the anti-waltz. As usual, Mya knocked this out of the park – their dancing was super fun, had great character, and captured the spirit of the jitterbug (and heyyyy Dmitry, wanna come sweep my floors? Please?). Predictably, Len hates all the theatrics but doesn’t use his typical phrase, “none of that messing about.” Bruno loves it and raves about Mya’s timing, but Carrie Ann claims it wasn’t wild enough. Personally, I think the judges are continually underrating them so as to add some drama into this season, because right now – there ain’t no competition. These guys are the best. Scores: 8-7-9.
Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas – Waltz: In a Dancing with the Stars tradition, Mark’s adorable British mom comes to visit and whip his partner into shape. And in another Dancing with the Stars tradition, Mark and Melissa are made to dance to a late 80s/early 90s power ballad. Melissa was not great here; she had some unsteady moments and dropped her shoulders occasionally, and overall the waltz was missing the smoothness that defines the style. Bruno said she wasn’t dancing up to par for week 6, Carrie Ann agreed, and Len tried to soften the blow by praising her elegance. Scores: 7-7-6.
Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer – Jitterbug: Things I learned during this show: there is such a thing as a “jitterbug club,” a magical place where couples jitterbug with reckless abandon in extremely close, sweaty quarters. I would be terrified someone would kick me in the face. But for Mark, dancing in da club gave him the jitters in all the right places. This was an explosive, outrageous, insanely difficult jitterbug that solidifies Mark as a real contender in this competition. Carrie Ann did some awkward in-seat break dancing from sheer excitement, Len loved it, and Bruno called it “truly spectacular.” There was apparently a timing oopsie at the end, but I didn’t catch it and I don’t think it matters. Scores: 9-9-8.
Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff - Waltz: Aaron has been in the bottom two weeks in a row, mostly because he is annoying, so he needed a miracle here. Unfortunately, he got the waltz, which, no matter how well he performs, is not the kind of dance that traditionally excites viewers into a phone-dialing frenzy. And oh look, another treacly ballad. This routine had some lovely moments, but was missing a lot of the romance that makes the waltz truly gorgeous. Len called it his best dance so far, Bruno said Aaron lost his footing in places, and Carrie Ann thought it was beautiful. At the end of the day, I don’t think it was particularly memorable and unfortunately for him, I think there’s a good chance he’s once, twice, three times going home tomorrow night. Scores: 8-9-8.
Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova – Waltz: Oh Michael, you’re dancing on borrowed time. Do the producers know that it’s acceptable to perform the waltz to songs other that classic adult contemporary? Seriously, I’m waiting for someone to bust out The Bodyguard soundtrack. Back to Michael – this dance was fine, nothing spectacular. He got creative with his arms at times, but overall he needs to step it up. Bruno agrees and says it wasn’t good enough for week 6, Carrie Ann calls a lift violation, but Len liked it. Scores: 6-8-6.
Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel – Jitterbug: Kelly’s recovered from last week’s injuries and Louis decides to help her heal by making her swing on a trapeze. Their jitterbug was okay, no major mistakes, but the routine paled in comparison to tonight’s other jitterbugs. And Kelly still needs to work on not letting her nerves show in her face. Smile, Kelly! Everyone likes you! Carrie Ann says she sets herself up for the worst, Len called her dancing “a blueberry muffin with no blueberries,” and Bruno says she need to work on her performance and get rid of her fear. Scores: 7-6-7.
Interview montage break! This week and next week, the couples are faced with the possibility of performing in a dance-off. Zomg, scary!
Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower – Jitterbug: These two had lots of rehearsal fails until Chelsie decided to infuse their jitterbug with some snowboarderness. And while I wish I could say they shredded this, it was more of a wipeout. Louie’s standing backflip off the judges table was tremendous, but that was about it. He threw poor Chelsie right onto her butt, the shirt ripping was awkward, and the whole jitterbug was so crazy frantic that it was truly cringe-worthy. Len and Bruno both called it clumsy, and Carrie Ann said she liked it but can’t overlook the mistakes. Scores: 7-7-7.
Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough - Waltz: Derek’s time away from the show has made him cranky. Lots of stomping and bad moods in rehearsal, but they managed not to kill each other on the dance floor. It was a nice waltz, they hit some great lines, but Joanna’s footwork still seems wonky. Bruno called them “butterflies dancing in an alpine meadow,” Carrie Ann said Joanna seemed hestitant, and Len called it the best waltz of the night. Scores: 8-9-9.
Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson – Jitterbug: Donny, put that jittahbug away before you hurt someone. Choo Choo! Here comes the awesome train! Donny’s been great all season, and this dance was no exception. Pure fun. And once again, huge props to Kym for her great choreography that makes the most out of Donny’s strengths. Carrie Ann called out a couple stumbles, Len claimed there was too much choo choo, and Bruno called Donny a steam train, whatever that means. Scores: 8-8-8.
Then: the first-ever competition mambo! Basically, all the couples dance together until they get knocked out. Only one couple will be left standing, and points will be awarded based on how long each couple stays in. It’s an endurance test, and each couple must “own” their space, termed “floor craft.” You know how in figure skating competitions, all the skaters warm up together and sometimes they triple axel into each other? It’s kind of like that. Competition-style dancing is a tough order for TV, because there’s so much going on it’s tough to keep track of the action. Here’s how it went down: Michael and Anna were the first to go, followed by Louie and Chelsie, then Melissa and Mark. Tom Bergeron continued to impersonate a golf announcer, and then Kelly and Louis were tapped out, to be joined shortly by Mark and Lacey. Next out were Donny and Kym, followed by Aaron and Karina. Mya and Dmitry were given second place, awarding Derek and Joanna the top spot despite the fact that they looked like tipsy guests at a wedding, flopping around all over the place. I guess you don’t actually have to dance well in the competition mambo, you just have to keep dancing.
Michael and Anna are almost a lock to go home tomorrow, which other couple do you think will join them?
The Disney Chick can be found choo choo ch-blogging over at www.thedisneychick.com.