With all the make-up and extreme costuming that was coming down the double staircase off the top of last night’s Dancing with the Stars, I was terribly worried we were in for one the show’s tragic theme nights, where the teams feel the need to indulge in an obscene amount of pantomiming and propping (“Story Night” ) or are forced to trot around the stage to music that was in no way conceived to ever, EVER accompany ballroom dancing (I’m talking to you, last season’s woefully under-impressive TV Theme Night).
Luckily, there turned out to be no theme at all last night. The excessive bangles, baubles and blushes are a common occurrence in Week Two of Dancing, as the celebrities who emerged victorious in Week One foolishly try to top themselves in an effort to cement their front-runner status, while the ones that crashed and burned desperately try to conjure up anything that might distract the judges from noticing they display about as much gracefulness as a group hula lesson at the senior park.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya led off the night with a Jive, and for a second week in a row… this guy just looks incredible! Trim, muscled, not a bit of wear on his face. Are we sure he was a boxer? Does he have a twin none of us knew about?
And I gotta say… while marveling at Sugar Ray’s upkeep and that chin-length super-mod magenta wig wrapped around Anna’s head that put me in mind of a Nancy Sinatra video… I sorta forgot to pay attention to the dancing. I don’t think that says as much about me as it does about Sugar Ray’s dancing. Turned out the judges agreed.
Len shocked the room by claiming the dance lacked refinement and any apparent dance quality, though he at least praised the entertainment value.
Bruno said it needed to be more “compact and strong,” which I think translated out of “Tonioli” and into English as, “more focused and precise.”
Carrie Ann said watching Sugar Ray’s face alone was enough for her to almost give them a “borderline ten,” but what exactly did that mean? Is she remarking about his phenomenal preservation, or some level of high-energy fun that swept across the champ’s mug during the performance? I was baffled by the comment, and since Carrie Ann ended up not giving them a “borderline ten” but rather a “straight-up sucky six,” I’m guessing she’s not entirely sure what she meant either.
It’s never fun to go first when there’s still eleven teams in the competition. The audience isn’t warmed up. The band isn’t warmed up. Brooke’s “How do you feel?” isn’t warmed up. I think this very unmemorable performace paired with its placement in the show could lead to a rare loss etched into the champ’s professional column.
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel – Kendra went out of her way to point out what a tomboy she is. “Being a lady is just so stressful for me,” she declared, lip quivering in the rehearsal package. I don’t know exactly what she thinks it means to be a lady, but instead of trying to clarifying her point, she simply cried.
Louis and Kendra’s Quickstep was repetitive and dull. You could just about see Kendra silently counting, “One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four,” as she wobbled across the dance floor, assuming you weren’t completely distracted by the rapid advance Louis’ forehead seems to making on his hairline. I think the poor guy is suffering advanced follicle depletion from never being paired with a front runner on this show.
Kendra claimed she couldn’t convey the concept of being a lady, but in truth, she didn’t really convey a concept of anything. The comments from the judges were all conservatively positive but overall unimpressive.
In her post-performance interview, Kendra continued to belabor the point she apparently thought was such a hook for her from the top. “This is the first time in my life I’m really becoming a lady, so it is emotional,” as Brooke nodded empathetically. “It IS! It IS!” Kendra went on to earnestly plead much the same way a seven year old might while trying to convince his parents that nightly teeth brushing attracts the boogeyman living inside his clothes hamper.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas – Even dressed as an androgynous Mad Hatter mime that would get along fabulously with a band of 1990s New York City club kids doing lines of coke off Liza Minelli’s lower back, Mark Ballas is still my hero.
There was a typhoon of energy released during Mark and Chelsea’s Jive, but apparently as Carrie Ann pointed out, “There was was zero Jive in that Jive.” She blamed the choreography, which means that the failure falls squarely at the feet of the lovely psychotic killer dance clown I idolioze so. Len agreed that the dance was entertaining, but not a Jive. Bruno said he liked “the weird and wonderful side of it,” but with the bad taste of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland still lingering on my palate, I can’t say I agree.
SCORE: 18/30 – Didn’t you think Mark handily defended his Jive in the post-interview: “There were changes of place from left to right, stop-and-go’s, various kicks and flicks, coco-rollers, drunken sailors, an American spin.” I’m certain I didn’t understand all of it, but it’s always nice to hear his voice. He really doesn’t need a partner on this show, you know. And if there is in fact a dance move called “drunken sailor,” sign me up!
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke – It seems like last week would have been a more appropriate time for Bruno to gush over Chris Jericho’s “chesticles,” a term that almost puts me off of the male form altogether. The leather-clad Chris of week one has evolved into a well-framed, well-dressed man whose good looks, to my eyes anyway, were being severely dampened during his shaggy-haired wrestler years. Proving that he’s no slouch, even faced with mega-legged Cheryl Burke as his partner, Chris delivered enough confidence and spark to earn a tri-fecta of love from the judges. But I do hope he heads back to the leater in the weeks to come.
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin – We learn that the Jive is hard for tall people, but Petra Nemcova is a woman who survived a tsunami and a pelvis broken in multiple places, so how threatening could anything Dancing with the Stars throws her way possibly be? This chick is a super woman! Her body is harder, longer, and sleaker than one of those circus hammer-sledge highstrikers with a bell at the top, and she’s got the stomach of a trampoline.
Petra looked better solo than she did when she was in Dimitry’s arms, and while the judges all professed love, they also all admitted Petra was having some issues with her “core.” Len put it best with, “Fatal combination. Short skirt, long legs, bad technique… but I must say she did it beautifully!”
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – No “official” fat jokes from Kirstie this week. She did, however, declare that she intended to lose forty pounds if she remains on the show all the way to the finals. Wouldn’t that be something to see? After Jenny Craig, after Fat Actress, after Big Life, after the endless Oprah appearances, I’m ready to welcome once again, the Kirstie of yesteryear… if not exactly the featherweight of Cheers, than at least what she was still hanging on to when she made the movie where the dogs could talk.
She’s got the attention of a big audience once again. Let’s see what she can do with it.
A Twitter friend of mine said that pink was the wrong color for Kirstie, as it looked like she was “smuggling hams” (thanks @forthenonce!), but I didn’t notice as Maks chose to show himself off him formalwear. Damn, those bachelorettes in The Ukraine are not gonna know what to do with themselves!
Kirstie didn’t pack the heat or the precision she had last week, as this week’s Jive was much more about the footwork. Nevertheless, she got another standing o from the audience. You could almost not even hear what the judges had to say, which seems about right. This is Kirstie Alley, folks. She’s been judged so much I don’t she gives a crap anymore.
Carrie Ann: “You are so in your element!”
Len: “You lost energy near the end… posture went… it was good, but it wasn’t great.”
Bruno: “Don’t worry about the weight… because talent you have.”
Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer After last week’s pitiful score, Mike needed to really make an impression tonight. I can’t imagine all of the stoners who listen to him on Loveline are gonna follow him over to Dancing, much less actually pick up a phone and vote, so I think Mike is most likely to depart tonight, free to join the ranks of a traveling Chippendales troupe, which is where he more or less ranks in terms of dancing talent. Sorry, Mike.
Len: “It’s better than last week, but don’t get excited.”
Bruno: “Some moments… were very very good… but you looked like a fly stuck on flypaper.”
Carrie Ann: “Side by side, I was really impressed… but you’ve got to think about the whole routine.”
SCORE: 17/30 – Start picking out that battery operated neon thong, pretty boy!
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower – Chelsie was looking for Romeo to be sophisticated but Romeo claims he doesn’t know what “charming” means. “I was born in the 90s, not the 1900s,” Hear that, Romeo? It’s the sound of everyone over the age of 22 leaving their phone-dialing hands firmly placed in their laps.
Romeo and Chelsie’s Quickstep got an awful lot of praise from the judges:
Bruno: “You are THE ONE TO WATCH! Ease of move, great musicality!”
Carrie Ann: “Work on your posture.”
Len: “THAT was the BEST DANCE of the night!”
I didn’t see anything that stood out all that much. The best I can see is that it was one of the few weeks Chelsie was on the floor that my eyes weren’t glued to her booty. She’s got enough power in that thing to circumnavigate the globe.
Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani – the judges wanted to see more personality from Wendy, so it makes sense that Wendy and Tony would mis-interpret that to mean “shenanigans galore!”
It wasn’t clear until Wendy explained it in her post-mortem that the premise was a harried housewife frustrated to watch her husband flirt with other gals while she’s forced to hang laundry to dry.
The two of them tried to set this all up before the dancing actually began, but in order for this trick to work, the dancing then has to tell the rest of the story, and unfortunately it didn’t.
Had they just done the set-up and then cut immediately to the end where Wendy throws a bucket of glitter on Tony as punishment, it would have been a lot better. No showmanship that way, you say? Well, Wendy could have winked at the camera and given the “OK” sign or honk a Harpo Marx horn.
Or we could invent a snappy catch phrase for Wendy so the audience actually has something to applaud when she’s on stage. How about, “That bag d0n’t fit this produce!”
Or “As seen on TV, bitch!”
Or “To avoid physical harm, keep ME out of reach!”
Come on, Wendy! Give us something to hang our hats on!
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff – Ageless Ralph blew the room apart last week with his Foxtrot, so the pressure is on. During his rehearsal, his kids showed up. They look older than he does.
How was the Jive? Very ambitious and very fast. Ralph didn’t let the moves get totally away from him, but he did seem to be exhibiting a little bit of stress in order to keep up. But clearly, this guy’s got it in him to win this thing.
Len agreed with me: “It was just all a little too much… over-stuffed with movement and animation.”
Bruno celebrated Ralph’s likability but dismissed the flimsy kicks and the lack of timing.
Carrie Ann: “You have to be sharper… but you are just so much fun to watch!”
Someone I know speculated that The Macchio wears a rug. I’d never heard that rumor before, so I paid extra attention to his head, and saw nothing suspicious, so I’m just going to continue to believe the man is a robot.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson – The Superbowl MVP who finished third last week deserved to close the show. Though concerned about being able to maintain posture because of his shoulder injuries, Hines managed not only to maintain, but glide across the stage like it was the grid iron and Hines was a… I’m reaching for some sort of football metaphor here which clearly isn’t going to come. I’m seriously wasting time trying to pull something out of my head that just ain’t there.
Hines and Kyn performed very well.
HIGHEST SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Hines Ward and Kym Johnson
LOWEST SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer tied with Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya and Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani
WHO’S LEAVING?: Ralph and Karina are still tops with combined totals of this week and last. I don’t think Psycho Mike has a leg to stand on. I also don’t think anyone is going to vote to keep him around. He better hope his biceps manage to prove me wrong.