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Dancing with the Stars 8-3: Foxtrots and Sambas

Another Monday night, another round of dancing.Shall we see who has it and who doesn’t this week?

They are making a big deal about all the stars having the same rehearsal time. That’s true to a point. 10 of the couples still started dancing weeks ago. That may not help with the Foxtrots and the Sambas specifically, but it has to help with the partners knowing how to work together and the fundamentals of ballroom dance. Either way, all 12 stars are here, so we’ve got a full night ahead of us.

Denise Richards & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Samba – She’s hoping to build on her improvement from last week. Of course, anything they do at this point will be overshadowed by the sight of Maks in the hot pink dress. I laughed so hard when he came out in it. My first reaction to the dance was that the song was a little slow, but then I started getting into it. It didn’t blow me away, but it was certainly acceptable. I couldn’t quite tell what fell during the dance, but they didn’t let it stop them down. Len said she coped with the dance well but it needed a bit more bounce, Latin, and hips. Bruno, on the other hand, said she was going backward. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno and told her to work on her hands for next week. Something tells me that all three judges will still give her the same score.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 5 Len – 6 Bruno – 5 Total – 16
I was wrong; Len gave them a point higher. Still, that seemed a bit low to me.

One reason I love this show so much is the humor. We came back from break to find that Carrie Ann had her bangs in a roller after Tom’s comment about how long they were. I just love how everyone is able to tease each other.

Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough – Foxtrot – Chuck is out to prove that he can dance outside of Julianne’s shadow, so they are taking things much more seriously. And I’d say it is paying off. I’m not sure I’d call it a traditional Fox Trot, but there was lots of dancing. Frankly, I found it a fun routine. I was smiling. But watch for the lift police to say something about that incredible lift they included. Bruno is happy to see Chuck finally in the driver’s seat. Carrie Ann says Chuck could be a contender and didn’t even mention the lift. Len saw it as improved but still not great.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 7 Bruno – 8 Total – 23
About what I expected, although Len sure did sound like he thought it was worse than a 7.

Holly Madison & Dmitry Chaplin – Samba – So instead of giggling Holly this week, we get whiney Holly. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I think I like giggling Holly better. This is more the Latin energy I expect from a Samba. The judges were right about Denise’s dance. Holly is getting some shaking in, but only when they planned it. When she’s doing the rest of the dance, she isn’t shaking at all. Carrie Ann called it rough to watch because her body wasn’t coordinated. And she picked on the lift this time. Len called it hot at the top and wooden on the bottom. Bruno also said that her feet were completely wrong.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 5 Len – 6 Bruno – 6 Total – 17
So far, the Sambas are falling flat.

Steve-O & Lacey Schwimmer – Fox Trot – Steve has had to relax for a few days, so his practices haven’t been as good as he wanted them to be. But he’s looking to make a comeback. I’m not quite sure what the point of his starting in the chair was, but he’s back to suave. However, he also looks stiff. It might be partially nerves, but he looks like he’s in serious pain. In fact, Tom had to ask if he was okay, but he says he is. And Lacey was doing most of the dancing. Even then, it looked like she didn’t get her leg lifted completely at one point. Len considered it a proper Fox Trot and praised him for that but did see moments where he fell apart. Bruno also said he started well but he lost it. Carrie Ann said she was impressed because he tried to improve and danced through the pain. Backstage, Steve says he froze up and forgot the steps. Plus, he tweaked his ankle and hurt his back again. It’s not looking good for him at all.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 5 Len – 5 Bruno – 5 Total – 15
It’s unfortunate, but I do agree with the judges here. I hope he recovers if he makes it through tomorrow night because I can sure tell he wants it.

Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska – Samba – So Lawrence finds the short preparation time to be way too stressful. Just wait until he has to do two dances in a week. Two weeks ago, I wrote Lawrence off as a mid season cast off, but after tonight, that might change. This still isn’t an amazing Samba, but it does seem to be the best one of the night. Could have used more hip, but it had a good Latin flavor. Bruno praised him for being light on his feet and having rhythm. Carrie Ann thinks he can handle more difficulty next time. Len’s only complaint was his shoulders had more action then his hips.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 6 Bruno – 7 Total – 20
Best Samba of the night so far even if the audience booed the 6.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – Fox Trot – Shawn has found that she needs to be fluid. And she did it. This is a smooth, fluid dance. It’s got the elegance we’ve been missing so far tonight, too. Sorry, Chuck, but it blows you out of the water. I really do expect her to make it close to the end if not to the finals. Carrie Ann loved it, saying she has never seen two people glide together on the floor so well before. Len said she was a little bit hunched in the hold but it was her best dance so far. Bruno said it was like watching a beautiful bejeweled hummingbird.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27
Absolutely deserved. And it sets the bar high for the second half of the field.

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – Samba – Okay, I hope the rest of the cast is watching this because this is how a Samba is supposed to look. Everything is working perfectly with plenty of hip action. These two are hot together. Shawn may have put the pressure on, but I’d say Gilles came right back. Len admittedly nit picked his opening steps but went on to say that he made a hard dance look easy. Bruno said Gilles can raise the heat. Carrie Ann said that Gilles and Cheryl look good together and Gilles shook things that she didn’t know guys could shake.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27 Shawn raised the bar but Gilles met the challenge. Anyone else going to get up to this level?

David Alan Grier & Kym Johnson – Fox Trot – David has the spotlight and he has worked hard to make this a breakthrough week. Wow. I didn’t know guys could kick that high. The opening where he was dancing alone was fun, but it lost a little something when they started dancing together. Of course, anyone who had to follow the last two performances is going to seem weak by comparison. I didn’t think it was that much better than his last two, but the judges loved it. Bruno said it was a transformation. Carrie Ann called him a Rockette and praised how well they did the intricate choreography. Len called it his best dance so far. Personally, I thought it was about on par with the others. Then again, I’ve always found him better than the judges.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 8 Total – 24
About time he got a good score. Possibly a tad high, but it makes up for the low scores previously.

Steve Wozniak & Karina Smirnoff – Samba – Oh, this is going to be painful. Especially after he pulled a hamstring on Friday. Yep, it was painful. Karina looked good, but Steve was stiff as a board. Even The Worm didn’t work for me. I’m sorry all you geeks out there, but Steve really is the worst dancer on the show. Carrie Ann says the novelty has worn off. Len says the dances are killing Steve instead of the other way around. Bruno called it the worst Samba he’s ever seen.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 4 Len – 3 Bruno – 3 Total – 10
Steve says he thought they deserved less, but the audience booed long and loud. If it weren’t for the dance off, I’d say Steve was going tomorrow, but that new twist is going to make it harder to get rid of him.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – Fox Trot – So, this is a two month show. Why would Melissa quit a job and clean out her desk? That aside, we’ve got another excellent dance. Smooth and elegant, they are all over the floor and making it look easy. Len praised her musicality but nitpicked on her footwork. Bruno said she was beautiful to look at and easy to love. Carrie Ann said she was an excellent dancer yet said it was missing a little something, not that she knew what it was.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27
So a three way tie for first, at least so far.

Lil’ Kim & Derek Hough – Samba – She’s ready to wow them and telling Derek to push her to the limit. Sizzling hot! Unlike their first Latin dance, this one is very much true to its Latin roots. I did notice a couple times where Kim appeared to be out of sync with Derek and it looked like she was looking to him to remember what she was supposed to be doing. Bruno said it wasn’t perfect, but she sold it. Carrie Ann also said it was great even with a mistake. Len complained that it didn’t have enough classic steps, but it sounds like he still liked it.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 9 Total – 25
Well, it’s not quite up to the level of the leaders, but it is very close.

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – Fox Trot – Ty’s aiming to keep getting better. (Like no one else is?) That top hat was a nice touch. I wish he’d kept it on. Wow, Chelsie just completely slipped. But after a second, they recovered and even look like they are on track. There was another misstep later, but they covered them both like pros. Yes, it will hurt their scores in an otherwise very good dance, but I don’t think it will be fatal. Carrie Ann calls Ty most improved by a mile and even praised him for how solid he was during the slip. Len said it was fantastic. Bruno said Chelsie is a miracle worker for making the changes in him. I certainly agree he is improving greatly each week. The three to beat are obvious, but they’ve got some stiff competition.

Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 7 Total – 23
Even with a fall? Wow, I expected 21 or so. Which I guess means that the audience would have booed me like they did Bruno. Really, I am ready for the audience to stop booing when they disagree.

So, the leader board this week looks like this.

1. Shawn Johnson

1. Gilles Marini

1. Melissa Rycroft

4. Lil’ Kim

5. David Alan Grier

6. Chuck Wicks

6. Ty Murray

8. Lawrence Taylor

9. Holly Madison

10. Denise Richards

11. Steve-O

12. Steve Wozniak

With two musical guests and the dance off, I have a feeling we aren’t going to see the encore this season. Frankly, I’d rather see a fun dance again then something from the worst of the dancers.

Bottom Two:

I am fairly certain in saying that Steve Wozniak will be in the bottom two. But the others are so close it is anyone’s game. It might just be wishful thinking talking, but I think it might be Holly Madison. I’m sure that Steve-O has a big enough fan base to keep him going for a few more weeks at least. Possibly the same with Denise Richards, although I wouldn’t be too surprised is she was there instead of Holly. Either way, if the dance off is a tie, I think Steve stays again. Based on his score, it just might be his week to leave.

To make it clearer:

Steve Wozniak

Holly Madison

Steve leaves.

Tomorrow we’ll find out the answers. Meantime, stop by my blog where I will hopefully find some time to blog about the ultimate Frisbee tournament I was in this weekend and the books I am currently reading.