I had just about all but decided to lead off my DWTS recap this week by mocking the intensity with which the words “INSTANT DANCE!” were exclaimed over and over throughout the night. It became rather infectious, right? Were you too thrusting your curled fingers into the air in front of you like a cat and ferociously spitting out the words “INSTANT DANCE!” while jumping up and down on the couch cushion the way I was? No need to answer. I’m sure you were.
But eclipsing the power and the fury that was “INSTANT DANCE!” with just a few minutes to spare was the downright snotty exchange between Carrie Ann Inaba and Maksim Chmerkovskiy during the final judge’s panel of the night. I think I rewound and watched it five or six times. Boy, that Maks never knows when to shut up, does he? Just when I think I can’t dislike him more, he starts back-talking to Carrie Ann’s legitimate criticism that he and Brandy dawdled around on the floor for a good ten seconds before actually getting down to the business of dancing in a round that, as we had been reminded nearly a hundred times by this point, was called the INSTANT DANCE! round.
So by throwing attitude back at Carrie Anne, who was looking particularly hot tonight by the way, Maks has either rallied his and Brandy’s fans to call and text like crazy in their defense, or led them all to lie back on their couches with a pronounced “M’eh!” and let ’em fend for themselves. What do you think? (Head to 3:28 for the serious drama and Bergeron’s “uo-oh!”)
And let’s face it, people… the only reason “INSTANT DANCE!” came into play was as a way for the producers to get rid of Waffle-Footed Bristol Palin, who needs more rehearsal than anyone else in order to come off as barely mediocre. If Bristol survives any more weeks on this show, DWTS is going to become a punching bag not just for its cheekiness, its manufactured glamour and the questionable “celebrity” status of some of its competitors, but because its judging formula allows someone as bad as Palin to survive week after week after week in the face of ever stronger and tighter competition.
My guess is that tomorrow night, elimination will come down to two couples: Maks and Brandy and Bristol and Mark. And the way Bristol kind of improved this week (didn’t forget the steps, didn’t roll her eyes, didn’t dress like a gorilla), and with the level of ass-shaking that Mark did on the floor, I wouldn’t be surprised if this week is the last we see of Brandy.
Final note on INSTANT DANCE: the tape package where the three judges presented the possible dangers that awaited the couples in this round (“falling over!” “legs tangled!” “forgetting their routine!”) also slipped in, rather sneakily I thought, that in fact the teams had been assigned their specific dances earlier in the week, and were only going to be getting the songs to which they would be performing last minute – and even that was done with over twenty minutes to spare.
Is that what you thought INSTANT DANCE was going to be? Not me. I thought the couples would just have to shift styles from one moment to the next as the judges screamed out their demands: “Quick Step! Rhumba! Waltz! Now Rumba again! Quick Step again! Back to Rumba! Back to Quick Step! Hokey Pokey! Pee-Wee Herman! Elaine from Seinfeld!”
But that wasn’t really the case now, was it? INSTANT DANCE! was about as instant as I am a muscle-bound former college athlete who has to routinely fight off the ladies with my three Emmys and can’t wait for the day he tries his first vodka.
Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer – Every single episode in his tape package, Kyle exclaims in one way or another that THIS week is his “make or break” week, and tonight was no exception. But this week, Kyle actually “made it” for the first time in the entire competition as far as I’m concerned. His and Lacey’s Viennese waltz was truly impressive. Lacey was barely able to contain herself at the close of the dance. She knew they were headed for some good marks.
Len proclaimed Kyle “a gorgeous orchid.”
Bruno: “THIS is the way to win!”
Carrie Ann: “Brilliant!”
SCORE – 27/30
Kyle and Lacey’s INSTANT DANCE was not to Foreigner, as Bergeron mistakenly announced, but to the song “Good Golly Miss Molly” which Lacey squealed over. How is it Lacey knows “Good Golly Miss Molly” but has never heard of Richard Pryor?
Kyle did was he does best – showboat. But for once, thanks to the song and the jive they were assigned, it was totally appropriate. An avalanche of steps, a shameless courting of the audience and Kyle’s swanky slide through Lacey’s legs was enough to have me standing and cheering, but I was still out of breath from all the INSTANT DANCE! couch-pouncing I’d done earlier, so I didn’t.
Len: “A little wild and wacky, but I really enjoyed it.”
Bruno: “Top of the league for entertainment value!”
Carrie Ann: “It’s like that song was made for you!”
SCORE – 29/30
TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT = 56/60
Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough – if they show Jennifer complaining any more about her assorted body parts letting her down, I’m seriously going to have to re-think not worrying about aging. Jennifer makes me want to have both my legs replaced now as a simple preventative measure.
Luckily, along comes Oscar-winning daddy Joel Grey, who I may never forgive for playing the angel who shows J.R. Ewing what the world would have been without him in the series finale and absolute worst episode of Dallas ever. But here, he was simply loving his concerned daughter and giving her words of encouragement: “Everywhere I go on the street, people talk to me about you!” In a way I can’t quite put my finger on, that sounded kinda weird, but maybe Joel hangs out on more respectable streets than I do.
Anyways, it worked. Jennifer applied that “can do” spirit to her quick step and absolutely tore it up. I’ve never been so close to picking up the phone and voting for someone on this show. And just a mere seven weeks ago, I was quickly searching for a bucket as the references to Patrick Swayze looking down from heaven and giving some sort of ridiculous blessing on Jen were flying around faster and more furiously than the words “INSTANT DANCE!” were tonight.
SCORE = 27/30
And speaking on INSTANT DANCE, how about Jen and Der’s rumba? This is a woman who has problems with her body? How about that move where she threw her leg over Derek’s shoulder and the two just stood there, perfectly balanced, arms extended? I was more tesne than I was watching the murderous zombies last night on AMC’s The Walking Dead. If MG had been here, I would have hidden my face in his shoulder. There was all kinds of disaster written on the wall with that move. Thank God they pulled it off!
Bruno: “Breathtaking… flawless… superb!”
Carrie Ann proclaimed that Jen had “re-claimed” her power
Len: “the speed and then… quiet. The soft, the hard… the big, the small… the fast, the slow! That’s what makes great dancing!”
That’s also what used to make The Z Channel great after midnight, but I’m probably the only one who remembers The Z Channel.
SCORE = 30/30
TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT – 57/60
Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya – there’s not really anything new to say about Kurt. It seems to be all a lark for him anyway, right? I mean, does this guy really have anything left that he needs to prove in life? Is he really demonstrating any interest in actually winning this thing? He’s this season’s Swiffer: you’re not unhappy he’s around, but you could be just as effective with your partner being a regular old broom.
At least Kurt is clean-shaven this week, and he’s in a tux for the waltz. Absolute hotness! BONUS – for the first time, he actually looks at ease on the dance floor and doesn’t seem to be counting steps in his head.
Carrie Ann said she could see the effort with every step Kurt took. That’s not praise.
Len said simply, “beautiful…well done.”
Bruno: “There are people that are bett-uh than you, but you’ve come a-looooong way.”
SCORE = 24/30
Kurt’s INSTANT DANCE was inspired fifty percent by disco and fifty percent by your funny uncle who’s had too much to drink at the wedding reception, thinks he can dance better than he actually can, and ties knots into the linen napkins and starts hurling them at the bride and groom. Fun? Absolutley. A serious contender? See my Swiffer remarks.
SCORE = 24/40
TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT – 48/60 – middle of the pack and no tea party support? Watch your back, Kurt!
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas – Waffle Feet just has no business still in this game, but here she is. It’s not even joyful for me to tease her anymore. Oh, and here’s Mama Girzzly in the tape piece. You know, Sarah Palin seems like a fun kooky kinda mom… the kind who’d be super fun to have at an intimate dinner party and one who’d provide lots of giggling and snappy comebacks after a glass and a half of Chianti. Why oh why does she want to remain in the political world? She’s so much better suited to be the Center Square.
Mark and Bristol did the tango. Her moves had no ambition, but Mark is getting more and more dangerous with each passing week. I think people are voting for him, not her. As for Bristol… she didn’t fall over, she didn’t start insanely hopping up and down when she forgot her moves, and she has progressed to a level that now surpasses last season’s Official Waffle Foot, Kate Gosselin.
SCORE = 24/30 – “How do you feel, Bristol? ” “Good.”
INSTANT DANCE – Mark did a level of booty-shaking here that’s making Beyoncé and Charo gnash their teeth (one for the kids… one for the rest!) I’m really starting to get why Waffle Feet is still alive and kicking.
Len went a long, long way and used a lot of words to basically make the point that Bristol didn’t do so hot.
Bruno: “Sometimes you just lost it a bit.” Mark claimed he screwed up and not her, but watch it again. I defy you to tell me where Mark did anything wrong.
Carrie Ann: “Unfortunately, I don’t think you were that musically connected… sorry.”
SCORE = 23/30
TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT – 47/60 – only one point less that Kurt and Anna? How in the name of God is that possible?
Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke… have been eliminated, but I miss them. Rick really deserved to be around over Bristol. I was really just warming up to him and thought he demonstrated some of his best stuff in his last week. And Cheryl Burke is my favorite professional dancer on this show, hands down. Sorry to see ’em go.
SCORE = 0
INSTANT DANCE SCORE = 0
TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT = 0
Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – I may need another drink before tackling these two. Last season, I found Maks and his bad-boy image curiously appealing. But he was offset by a much more subdued and needy partner in Erin Andrews, and I think the producers found many more opportunities to showcase Maks as also being nurturing and interested more in teaching and less in “the win.”
That hasn’t happened this season.
No matter how good Brandy and Maks are on the floor, I just plain dislike them. Jen and Derek are their only true rivals and they’re week after week coming off like true work horses, fighting to provide the most entertaining television they can. Make and Brandy come off like desperate divas who only care about vanquishing the competition.
Maybe it’s just the editing in the tape pieces. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe that’s just what they continually give the cameras. Maybe I’m confusing their need to be the best with their need to have their egos satisfied. But whatever it is… I just don’t want these two to succeed. I’m actually a little invested in seeing them fail.
And really, it’s unfortunate for Brandy who remained calm and professional as Maks griped and whined in the face of Carrie Ann’s criticism during the INSTANT DANCE! routine. There seemed to be a couple moments where if she knew the camera wasn’t on them, she would have turned around and bitch-slapped the Ukranian mo-fo for being such a hot-head and again making it so easy for the two of them to be disliked, but she kept her cool.
Their first dance, a waltz, was fantastic!
Bruno: “An exquisite interpretation… like a symphony!”
Carrie Ann: “Riveting… I was spellbound.”
Len: “I was overwhelmed by the whole performance
SCORE – 29/30
As for the INSTANT DANCE, Carrie Ann was absolutely right. The two of them wasted a good ten seconds doing nothing more than miming and acting coy. Len agreed with Carre Ann, but the scores didn’t suffer much.
SCORE – 28/30
TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT – 57/60
HIGH SCORES OF THE NIGHT – Brandy and Maks tied with Jennifer and Derek for the second week in a row.
LOW SCORES OF THE NIGHT – Bristol and Mark.
WHO’S GOING HOME? – Brandy and Maks
What did you think? Will we be seeing more of INSTANT DANCE? Do you miss Rick and Cheryl as much as I do? Sarah Palin as the Center Square not as far-fetched as some might think? Still pulling for Randy and Evi Quaid for Season Twelve as much as I am?