It was a bit of an off night for Dancing with the Stars, didn’t you think?
From wrong paddles held up, to last week’s high scorers landing at the bottom of this week’s leader board, Tom Bergeron’s strange tosses to Diane Sawyer reminding us that Osama bin Laden is still dead, the continued inexplicable presence of Kendra Wilkinson, and our regular threesome of judges being joined by Siegfried and Roy’s personal manscaper.
Wait a minute. I could be wrong. That might just be Donnie Burns, professional Scottish ballroom dancer and a prop used in tonight’s “Ballroom Greats” theme night, though I didn’t think there was much great about Donnie’s judging style. Not that it’s ever smooth sailing when DWTS tries to add a celebrity fourth to the judging table. Between Bruno’s histrionics, Len’s crankiness and Carrie Ann’s kindhearted passive-aggressiveness, there’s really no room left for another big Type-A, wouldn’t you agree?
Although, I will give Donnie this… he certainly came prepared. Between the endless quotes from his favorite dancing teachers to those catchy nuggets of wisdom about what ballroom dancing truly is at its heart, Donnie must have memorized the contents of at least eight three-by-five index cards. After all, ya gotta be prepared when you’ve only got one night to make an impression on the American public. You never know when Len might get caught up in a sex scandal with Helen Mirren, Dame Maggie Smith or the old British lady who played the housekeeper on Maude.
Plus… you gotta applaud the hair. Oh… that hair! Let’s all admire that wild, fluffy mane for a moment, shall we? You can practically see it growing right before your very eyes! So lush! So rampant! I hope I’m holding on to that much at 55 years old (sorry, Len gave Donnie’s age away on the air…. and I think he was rounding down, though Donnie still didn’t seem to be too happy about it!)
But we can’t spend the whole night talking about Fluffy Mane. For the love of God, we need to get to Mark Ballas. He actually dressed like a boy tonight!
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas – Tonight, each team received coaching from a ballroom great, and Mark and Chelsea got Mark’s mom, Shirley Ballas, who reminded me of a cross between Sharon Osbourne, the Geico gekko and Lulu .
Shirley warned the forever-beaming Chelsea repeatedly that the paso doble was NOT about smiling, but I’d argue that when you’re partnered with Mark Ballas, how can you help sporting a great big twitterpated grin all day long, just like Thumper did when spring came to the thicket and he went all woozy for that slutty little girl rabbit in Bambi?
And it didn’t hurt that Mark was dressed like some sort of “Bondage Robocop” tonight. Holy Shmangers! And no, shmangers is not a word… it’s just what came out of my mouth when I saw Mark’s outfit.
I couldn’t really pay attention to the dancing from this point forward, but when it comes to Mark’s generally off-the-wall choreography, I was betting on a mixed response from the judges and that’s exactly what I got.
Len groused, “It was too much in my face… it’s got to have a little bit of refinement!” Bruno applauded the range and creativity. Carrie Ann proclaimed, “Out with the old! In with the new!” Fluffy Mane looked confused and asked to borrow Carrie Ann’s diffuser.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson were looking to re-claim the top spot on the leader board after losing it last week to Romeo and Chelsie. They were also looking to hit their first ten of the season. It seems odd that Hines has not hit a ten yet considering his week-to-week impressiveness. The dude just sails across that dance floor.. and the way he man-handles Kym… week after week… like she’s an old car rag, or the female lead in a Joe Eszterhas movie! It leaves my shmanger all wound up in knots.
This wasn’t really the week of the Hines though. Len labeled his and Kym’s tango uneven and called Hines “a pickle” (Don’t worry. It didn’t make any more sense if you saw it.). Bruno bounced up and down in his seat and screamed out, “Big! Strong! Masterful! Determined!” like a dad who wants to get out of being a scout leader. Carrie Anne noted some balance issues. Fluffy Mane just stared at Hines’s bald head, completely puzzled, like a Golden Retriever seeing his first-ever Snausage.
By the way, the twirling towels need to go away now. They were fun the first week, mildly cute the second… but there’s no more juice in that jalopy. It’s like back in 1999 when people threw their arms in the air and proclaimed that they were “living La Vida Loca!” and it was kid of hip and fun for a few days, but by the time you heard Christine Lahti using the expression on the red carpet at the Emmys a year later, it was just embarrassing.
SCORE: 36/40 – and no 10’s from any of them. Better luck next week, HW!
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel – Kendra continues to complain about being under-confident and not feeling able to “expose herself.” What’s that, you say? Yes, I’m talking about the former professional stripper.
I know, I know… dancing ballroom live on television for millions of people who are going to armchair judge like me is a very daunting task, and I want to like Kendra more than I do. But I think I’d rather see an enthusiastic and optimistic “wanting to learn” Kendra – she can even hold on to the bad girl edge – instead of the endlessly complaining Kendra who still finds it necessary to lay all her chips on whatever her next dance is going to be.
Kendra’s ballrom pro was an Italian dancer named Luca Baricchi, who carries an accent that is sexy one moment, and then something decidedly other than sexy the next:
“Let’s touch… Now, let’s find the buh-DEES. Let’s touch the buh-DEES. So… find my buh-DEE. Good! Now… use the buh-DEE.”
The shmanger was not amused. I can’t explain it. The shmanger wants what it wants… and it didn’t want Luca. Like he cares. I’m sure he’s crying all the way home to his villa, his accordion and his VHS copy of The Bicycle Thief.
As for Kendra… what’s left to say? We lost Chris Jericho and still have Kendra? She didn’t jump up on a table and shake her banana bread this week, so what’s left to find interesting… watching her try to keep up with Louis and remembering not to count out loud? I think not. New choice, Dancing with the Stars!
It feels as if Louis designs Kendra’s dances with an “Okay you did that! Now take a lot of repetitive steps and start getting ready to do this” directive. It’s fun for a second, then boring for five, then briefly fun again.
But the judges praised her, and even called the content “exceptionally demanding.”
Did you think it was exceptionally demanding?
I sure didn’t.
And her score didn’t seem to reflect it.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Kirstie cried in rehearsals. Did you see? Normally when someone cries during rehearsal on this show, it seems so fake, but Kirstie really committed! She didn’t dash out of the room. She didn’t drop her face into her waiting handss. She kept listening to the instructions Maks was giving her and tried to please him while letting just let a few tears and a saddened, wobbly voice squeak through. I felt so bad for her. That’s an actress, folks!
I have always loved Kirstie Alley. I love the skinny Kirstie. I love the fat Kirstie. I love the Vulcan Kirstie. I even loved the Pier One commercials! I don’t like the gutter humor Kirstie so much, but can’t we all agree that’s just a sad defense mechanism?
I definitely DID NOT love Kirstie’s dance tonight. The whole “innocent teen fighting off her boyfriend’s advances at the drive-in” theme might have tickled my grandma, but I was hoping for something a little more current. I also was hoping for Dancing being able to go a week without cutting away to Kelly Preston cheering Kirstie on in the crowd, but (un)fortunately, DWTS is proudly all about overkill.
But I beg… can’t someone from Cheers show up for one fucking week and sit in the crowd so I don’t have to look at Kelly Preston anymore? Woody? Rhea? George? Actor who played Gary from Gary’s Old Town Tavern? ANYONE?????
The cheesy teenager shenanigans were not well-received, and neither was the dance. Carrie Ann scolded Kirstie and Maks for being out of sync. Len gave them a thumbs up on performance, but a thumbs down on technique. Fluffy Mane uttered something that made no sense but in the end, said he liked it.
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff – I dig how Ralph makes jokes about how his body is falling apart each week… how he translates Karina’s “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” into “Ow! Ow Ow! And… bend!” I liked Ralph’s comment on the Quick Step: “This dance is a torture chamber!”
Oh Ralph! I relate more and more with each passing day. Seven hours ago, I ran three miles and my head STILL hurts. I have tennis elbow. I have plantar fasciitis. I’m starting to spot hairs growing in places where they shouldn’t grow. But your humor makes it all OK. God bless you, Ralph Macchio!
I like knowing that someone who’s pushing 50 can look as good as Ralph does. And I like that we’ve all agreed that Ralph is totally worthy, talented and charming enough to get that second chance at the spotlight.
But it’s time to say it… Ralph is not a very precise dancer. Even when he woos the crowd, it tends to be more about showmanship than it does about execution. Plus that cute little punim doesn’t hurt, right?
But I don’t think I’ve actually been impressed by Ralph’s dancing since week one. And I think the judges go easy on him. As a personality, he should be on this show through the end of the season. But strictly as a dancer, I would trade him to get Chris and Cheryl back in a heartbeat.
Fluffy Mane gave him A TEN! But he’s the only one who did, so that tells you all you need to know about that. Ralph and Karina didn’t even seem all that thrilled that their only ten came from the guest judge. That’s like when you’re suddenly all excited to watch an episode of The Brady Bunch and it turns out the be one of the “Alice-centric” episodes.
Nevertheless, Len agreed that Ralph and Karina’s Prohibition-inspired Quick Step had footwork that was “clean and crisp.” And Bruno declared Ralph to be “In the zone!” whatever that expression ever truly means.
SCORE: 36/40 – way too high from what I saw. What about you?
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower danced the samba this week. Romeo announced in his tape package that he had learned the difference between “shakin'” and “SHAKIN’,” but Chelsie seemed to be carrying the weight with the tougher footwork this week while Romeo continually squatted and slowly gyrated his hips around endlessly like there were eight overweight bridesmaids salivating in front of him.
The judges were more or less in agreement with Len who called Romeo out: “You talked the talk, but you didn’t dance the dance,” and Romeo and Chelsie tumbled to the bottom of the leader board. Rough, I know, but Romeo demonstrated ZERO samba, and hey, at least scolded the way he was, Romeo didn’t fell inclined to YET AGAIN promote his website, his tour or any upcoming album droppings in his post-dance interview with Brooke. After the death of Osama bin Laden, I think we can all agree that’s what America ought to be most grateful for this week.
AT THE TOP: Ralph and Karina tied with Hines and Kym
AT THE BOTTOM: Romeo and Chelsie tied with Kirstie and Maks
WHO’S GOING HOME: Romeo’s lackluster performance this week might tank him, but if we’re basing it solely on star power, Kendra’s got no one left lower on the totem pole than Kendra. And that dance, despite what the judges said, was not memorable.
My shmanger and I need to go to bed now.
I’ve had family in town this last week and had to miss out on some postings. The good news is my show got canceled, and in two weeks I’ll have nothing to do but judge inconsistent television and share it with all of you out in blogger land. And don’t forget… The next Bachelorette is only three weeks away! I’ve already got my Trader Joe’s pizza crust keeping firm in the freezer and I’m marking the days of my calendar. Hope you’ll drop by then!