As I turned off the fireplace and closed the blinds after the end of tonight’s Dancing with the Stars, I wondered if I was a contestant on the show, would I prefer to have an almost impeccable performance obliterated at the end by a really bad fall, or have the stumble right off the top and have the next ninety seconds or so to recover the way Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy did tonight.
The fall happening so close to their starting point did Maks and Kirstie the least amount of damage, I’d say. They recovered quickly and gave the judges – and the entire room for that matter – some time to get past that horrifying communal gasp! moment that makes live television oh so much fun to watch for all the rest of us! But still rough going for sure, and most uncomfortable as the show has been making the most of Kirstie’s weight battles up to this point. I’m guessing that will fall away for a while unless instigated by Kirstie herself.
The judges made the best of the awkward situation. Carrie Ann said, “Sometimes tragedy leads to amazingly beautiful moments,” but quickly fell back on, “By the way… fantastic song choice!” a tell-tale sign that she was out of positive offerings.
Len was direct and succinct: “You overcame it. You dusted yourself off and you came back stronger.”
Bruno: “Once you got up it was better than ever!”
Was Kirstie Alley really better than ever from that point forward?
I rewound and watched it again, and the comments seemed to be more a well-cloaked case of pity praise. Poor Maks did most of the dancing, grimacing through pain, while Kirstie sorta flitted dramatically all around him and threw her arms out a whole lot like she was on the back end of a Disney Princess parade float.
It wasn’t bad, to be sure. But I didn’t think it was worth the SCORE of 21. Rather inflated, wouldn’t you say?
By the way, did you see the way Maks tore off camera once the scores were in, and both Cheryl and Tony quickly ran after him. That didn’t look very promising, did it?
On the plus side, Kirstie will be the one all the morning news shows will be talking about. I’m sure the rest of the cast is gnashing their teeth.
Also not performing at top game tonight was the team of Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff. Ralph came off as laid-back and gosh-darn lovable in week one, a little more scattered and awkward in week two. This week, he was outright gangly, spending more time looking down at his feet than his partner. And I gotta point this out… his poorly cut shirt did him NO FAVORS. Step it up, wardrobe people! You’re failing The Macchio. The guy’s built like a tuning fork. Start thinking less Matthew McConaughey and more Ruth Buzzi!
No, Ralph wasn’t so hot tonight.
But gosh-darn it, look at that sad visage of disappointment in his face.
Look at the puppy dog eyes. He’s like a twelve year old whose dad just told him he didn’t demonstrate enough responsibility so he has to give up the paper route.
Forget what the judges had to say (middle-of-the-road comments and a SCORE of 21), that mopey little punim is gonna generate enough calls to keep Little Ralphy around for some time to come
Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani – Mercifully, the producers decided to get Wendy out of the way first tonight. After two weeks of watching her writhe and re-adjust like a plumber who refuses to admit he’s gotten too big around the middle to fit comfortably under the sink, is there much of a reason to suffer through it anymore?
Hey Look! Wendy’s adopted the Dancing with the Stars “cheetah face” formerly executed to perfection by Bachelor Jake Pavelka.
The best thing to be said about Wendy is that she looks like she’s enjoying her time on the floor, and she’s not easily thrown.
SCORE: 15/30 – lots of booing from the judges, but I thought they were kind.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas – If anyone who reads this knows my man Mark Ballas personally, would you please let him know that he can strike that pose and he can wear that t-shirt, but he can’t do both at the same time.
Mark committed a major faux pas tonight. He strutted around in his and Chelsea’s tape package like the male cheerleader who was born with just a little too much pep to be able to tell when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. In dancer circles, sashay shante all you like, Mark, but for God’s sakes, know your audience. When your own partner tells you you’re more of a girl than she is, it’s time to stop dressing like Punky Brewster.
As for Mark and Chelsea’s cha cha, the two were playing it safe after the judges slapped them down for being too out of control last week. It was pleasant, but I kept waiting for a little of the unexpected that generally characterizes Mark’s choreography. It never happened. They’re both capable of more ambitious dancing, but they went for safety scores this week, and they got them.
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke – Chris is over-dressed for the second week in a row. Who the fuck is dressing the men this season?
Chris danced to “Let It Be” in honor of his mother. I’m not a big fan of “Story Week” on Dancing with the Stars. Can we all be honest here. It’s less “Story Week” and more “Sob Story Week” with the number of dead relatives and crushing personal blows we’re forced to slog our way through.
But you can’t really fault a grown man giving his passed mom some props. Forget the “Let it Be” rhumba. I just liked Chris acknowledging the photo of his mother on top of the 1970s stereo at the beginning of the dance. It walked a nice, gentle line.
Of course, if you need to rip out some hearts through dance, there’s absolutely no one better to be paired with than Cheryl Burke, whose elegance and evocation routinely wow me.
Bruno: “An almost naked vulnerability… overall, I thought it was a good job.
Carrie Ann was in tears and congratulated Chris for being able to experience “what it feels like to tell a story and create a whole emotional response with movement.” She should have given some props to Cheryl right there too, but fell short.
Len was much more on the money in his praise of Cheryl, to the detriment of Chris: “You know, choreography can cover up a multitidue of mistakes and Cheryl did a great job… but it lost fluidity.” The audience predictably booed, like they know better. “No need to boo it. It’s the truth!” Len snapped back plainly. I like Len.
SCORE: a respectable but not overwhelming 21/30
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel – Somewhere in that cloud of paisley pink smoke stands former stripper, Kendra Wilkinson, waiting to be able to see the stage, the band, her hand in front of her… anything so she can just start her damn routine.
“That’s the last time we get a smoke machine at a garage sale,” announced Tom Bergeron. It did seem to throw Kendra a bit in her first few steps, didn’t it? She even went out of her way to mention it to the judges, which she shouldn’t have done since it immediately put me in mind of Tonya Harding crying over her broken shoelace in Lillehammer back in 1992. You remember 1992… when reality shows only existed within other kinds of programming.
Len disliked all the Kendra-Louis grinding, but was impressed by the progress in Kendra’s legwork.
Bruno called the dance “hot and arousing.”
Carrie Ann said, “It wasn’t only the men that were getting excited,” and then made a sound that was akin to the Tarzan yell regularly done by JoAnne Worley (for those of you keeping track, that’s my second Laugh-In reference tonight).
As for the ongoing nods to Kendra being a former stripper, I’m going to lay off the wealth of humor that is right in front of me for one more week. But if Dancing with the Stars plays that card one more time, the tassels are coming off.
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower looked particularly hot performing their rumba, all awash in white. This is the first time I have felt the need to pay these two any amount of attention. They really did look good together… a little hot evenl? I don’t know about you, but I was having impure thoughts about both of them.
Bruno’s review was reverent but critical of Romeo’s footwork.
Carrie Ann excused “funky footwork” and applauded Romeo’s efforts at refining his movements.
Len: “Last week a huge step forward, this week a huge step back.” Time fortunately did not allow Len to elaborate, and Tom whisked the duo off to the “Celebretarium,” where Romeo erased all of the goodwill he may have conjured up from the dance by lamely plugging a charity website he works with. I say that only because he failed to provide a single shred of evidence about what the charity actually does.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson – Hines was looking good during the first of the time I watched this samba.
Hines was looking straight up hot the second time I watched.
The third time I watched, I had to kick the cat off my lap.
The fourth time, I began to wonder whether or not I’d just keep watching it over and over, all night long, and fuck this whole blogging hobby of mine.
I’ve paid attention to Hines in the last two episodes and hadn’t thought much either way.
WHERE DID THIS HINES COME FROM?
Every step seemed like he’d been doing it since he was born. Check out the showcasing of the arms with the nicely cut vest.
And how about the way he so carelessly tossed, yanked and swung Kym Johnson around like a used beach towel? That’s the kind of man I like!
SCORE: 25/30 and the highest score of the night
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin – Awww, sweet little Petra and that adorable accent of hers… makes her sound so precious.
“If there would be one or two eights… we would be very happy.”
Well, who wouldn’t? Every time little Petra opens her mouth, I can’t help but think of that sweet, plump foreign housekeeper from War of the Roses.
Petra and Dimitry performed a waltz that was fluid for the most part, but it looked to me as if Petra wobbled a couple times. Nevertheless, Len applauded the grace and the fluidity. “At this moment, YOU’RE the ONE!” (Geez, how many times a season is Len required to say that?) Bruno called Petra a vision from heaven and was astounded by her improvement. Carrie Ann: “You’ve gone from super model to super inspirational.”
And I liked that when tsunami survivor Petra had the opportunity to pimp herself or a website during her post-interview, and instead took the moment to remind people in their own abilities to persevere. Very desrving of the score.
SCORE: 25/30 “If there would be one or two eights… we would be very happy.” You just want to pet her little cute head and put her in your pocket!
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya – My friend, Twickles reads my Dancing recaps here and routinely points out that as I move from one couple to the next, my reviews get shorter and shorter. And it’s true. It takes a long time for me to write these. Last night I was up to 1:30 in the morning recapping Celebrity Apprentice. So, as the hours creep on, I start short-cutting things a bit.
So, from now on, I will not address the teams in the order of their performance on that night’s show, and the last team I tackle will be the team for which I have the least amount to say.
This week Sugar Ray and Anna performed an ill-conceived boxing-themed dance, complete with ring announcer and punching bag for Sugar Ray to jab at the end.
It was accompanied by Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.”
There was much red.
HIGH SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Hines Ward and Kym Johnson tied with Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin
LOW SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Wendy and Tony
WHO’S GOING HOME: I’m a fan of Tony, but Wendy’s the only one I actively DO NOT want to see even one more time, so hopefully she’ll be packing it in tomorrow.
Now it’s closing in on one in the morning. I have a day job you know. I’ve got to hit the sack.
Well, I’ll watch Hines one more time, and then I’ll hit the sack.