Last week, our stars learned an important lesson: the judges’ votes alone will not save you, and this is anyone’s game. It’s critical that each couple connect with the audience and get viewers to pick up the phone and vote. This week, each couple was tasked with telling a story through their dance. Because this is apparently a difficult concept to grasp, the show opened with a group of DWTS professionals demonstrating the same story told through different styles of dance.
So, to recap: each couple will be dancing the waltz, the paso doble, or the quickstep, and each dance must tell a story. Was it the best of times, or the worst of times? Let’s find out ….
Evan and Anna – Quickstep: Their story was about a husband and wife, and the wife is late, so they fight. Like an episode of I Love Lucy, but with the music of Chicago. Nebulous concept aside, this was an adorable routine. Evan is naturally charming, and his charisma played out beautifully here. His technique was solid, he kept pace with the music, and it was great fun to watch. Len said he was cheered up but Evan needs to work on his footwork, Bruno agreed with Len, and Carrie Ann called it “twinkling.” Also, Evan is dancing on broken toes, so keep that in mind. Whatta guy. Scores: 9-8-9.
Buzz and Ashly – Waltz: I’m glad Buzz was given the waltz, something nice and slow. The story: Buzz is returning home from war to his daughter (all together: awwww). Questionable technique aside, it was difficult to not be moved by this performance. They had a great story, a great song, and even though it was far, far from perfect, I think this routine will strike a chord with voters. Bruno said the dance never went anywhere, Carrie Ann connected with their story, and Len said it had an innocent charm but the technique was poor. Scores: 5-4-4.
Jake and Chelsie – Quickstep: Before their rehearsal footage started, I was worried their story was going to be about Jake being the Bachelor. For serious. As it turns out, they were dancing to “Walk Like an Egyptian” and Jake has been cast as a “safari guy” (Chelsie’s words) who awakens Cleopatra. There was a brief moment of drama as Jake acts like a woman during rehearsal and storms out when Chelsie tries to correct him. While the rehearsal footage was playing, DWTS magicians turned the set into a recreation of WDW’s Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, and this dance was an example of a clever theme hiding a lot of flaws. Jake’s footwork was sloppy at times, and his dancing was nowhere near as good as Evan’s, but Chelsie’s choreography kept things so interesting that it didn’t really matter. Carrie Ann loved the storytelling but said Jake’s legs were soft, Len said his dancing looked heavy, and Bruno said the production value was incredible and their performance was good. Scores: 7-7-7.
Niecy and Louis – Waltz: These two were portraying an interracial couple in the 1960s, which is pretty heavy stuff for DWTS, and serious drama is wayyyy outside Niecy’s wheelhouse, and honestly … meh. I understand that the producers were trying to push Niecy outside her comfort zone, but it feels too early in the season for that. America doesn’t want to see sad, serious Niecy – we want to see sassy, silly Niecy. As for the dancing, there were some awkward moments at the beginning, but they hit their stride in the middle and the rest of the dance was lovely. Len said she needs to work on her technique, Bruno said the dance was acted well but she stumbled over the beginning, and Carrie Ann said she didn’t understand the ending of their dance. Scores: 7-7-7.
Chad and Cheryl – Paso Doble: Finally, a paso doble, and one that Chad claims is “art imitating life.” Their story is a classic Latin one – Chad is trying to seduce Cheryl, who wants nothing to do with him. And because the sarcophagus earlier wasn’t enough, this routine’s props included decorating the interview suite to look like a margarita bar, and enlisting Tony Dovolani and Jonathan Roberts to dress as a mariachi band. Chad’s technique still leaves a lot to be desired and he was making weird faces throughout the routine, but he definitely captured the spirit of the paso doble. Bruno, in what might be the weirdest reference I’ve ever heard on this show, yelled “You released the Kraken!” and then said Chad danced like a Kraken, which is officially my new favorite insult. Carrie Ann said he was miles improved over last week, and Len said he needs to work on his posture. Scores: 7-6-7.
Pam and Damian – Paso Doble: Pamela is playing a gypsy dancer in love with a matador, but she is totally against what he stands for. Get it? Because Pam is the face of PETA and matadors senselessly kill bulls for sport? Offhand, it sounds like a complicated thing to translate into dance, and then Charo stopped by rehearsals to help with some of the flamenco elements and make jokes about maracas. Right off the bat, their opening move went awry when Pam couldn’t stand up from a slide. Pam looked crazed through most of this routine – either she was getting carried away with the acting or carried away trying to remember the steps. As much as I like Pam, this was messy, and I didn’t get the animal rights piece of this at all. Carrie Ann said Pam has an artistry about her, Len said she needs to be more refined, and Bruno said he would like to see her come back and prove to everyone there’s more to her than the bombshell exterior. Scores: 7-7-7.
Aiden and Edyta – Quickstep: This story was cool – Aidan was playing a painter who is painting the woman of his dreams when she suddenly comes to life. Mannequin + Weird Science + ballroom dancing. I like it. This was a slower quickstep but it was frothy and fun. Aiden is steadily improving, although he still has a long way to go on his technique. Len said the dance felt too careful, Bruno said it looked a little too skippy at times, and Carrie Ann praised Aiden’s newfound confidence but said he’s dancing too light on his feet. Scores: 7-6-7.
Erin and Maks – Waltz: I wish they had been given a paso doble, but alas – their story was about trust, and Erin danced blindfolded. Not much of a story, but this was a heckuva dance. Erin has a natural grace that flows through everything she does, and the result was a sexy, sultry waltz. And she gets major kudos for dancing blindfolded – a DWTS first. Bruno said she’s a great dancer who needs to finish her moves, Carrie Ann praised their storytelling and loved the use of the blindfold, and Len said there wasn’t enough waltz in their waltz. Scores: 8-7-8.
Kate and Tony – Paso Doble: Boooo, Kate Gosselin’s life is hard. She has paparazzi following her all day and needs to express her frustration through ballroom dance. (A thought: if you don’t want paparazzi to follow you, don’t go on reality shows.) Tony brought in an acting coach, and then Kate tried to appeal to all the mom voters by saying she’s busy thinking about cooking dinner. Because I’m sure Kate is cooking her own dinners these days. You’re not fooling anyone, Gosselin. And then, sigh, the dance. In a word, Kate is clunky. There’s no other way to say it. She’s clunky, it’s uncomfortable. Also, the dance ended with Kate clutching Tony’s leg, so the point is … Kate cannot live without the paparazzi? No disagreements here, but is that really the message she was trying to send? Carrie Ann said it was hard to watch, Len said it was pedestrian, and Bruno said her character didn’t translate into dancing. Scores: 5-5-5.
Nicole and Derek – Quickstep: The story was cute from the start - two sailors slacking off. And let’s just say there was a reason these two were picked to close the show. This was, in the truest sense, a showstopping routine. Fun, relaxed, and technically solid – what more can you as for? Len said they broke the rules of the quickstep and disrespected the judges, Bruno said it was an incredible performance but they shouldn’t have broken the hold, and Carrie Ann called foul on the lift and the hold-breaking but wants a front-row seat at the encore performance. Scores: 8-6-9.
Who will be sent home? I’m wishing on my lucky star that Kate is sent packing, but she survived last week, so maybe she’ll stick around to dance another dance. After Kate, I think Buzz and possibly Niecy may be in trouble.
The Disney Chick does not tell stories on the dance floor, but she does tell them on her blog at www.thedisneychick.com.