Not even the thrills and danger of “Rock Week” on Dancing with the Stars is enough to overcome the head cold that is threatening to overtake me at the moment. Do you know what happens to the insides of the human body when said body has had six giant cups of cayenne pepper tea with lemon in the span of one evening? Let’s just say the cat slept in the other room.Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy – Tango – This week, Sherri made a critical error: she wiped out all exuberance and vivacity from her performance in exchange for a stoic, icy glare she held on to for the entire dance. This is not what we expect from her. And as Sherri isn’t much when it comes to precision or fluidity, turning her back on sassiness, the biggest card in her deck, was a major mistake. I think she was trying for steely, fierce and intense. But it didn’t work. It just reminded me of the nasty look I got from a woman that time I scooped up the last of the “Buy Three, Get One Free” Snuggle fabric softeners from the display at Rite-Aid.
Len – “There was a little incident with your feet, but overall a great job!”
Bruno – “It needed to be a bit sharper… but I liked it.”
Carrie Ann – “Your face was expressionless, which I’ve never seen before. There wasn’t any sparkle. Bring that back.” Hey, I just said that.
SCORE: 21/30 – Expect happy, slappy, booby-bouncing Sherri to return next week.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas – Paso Doble – First off, did we all catch sleeveless, sweaty, huffing Mark Ballas throwing around those punches in the muay thai boxing ring during Katherine’s tape package? Holy cow! This might be a terrific time for me to take back that comment I made about him sounding like Rainbow Brite whenever he talks. It’s always the little ones you least suspect of being able to grind you into powder like a Bayer aspirin.
I’m still rooting for these two. They look great together, but Katherine missed the fierceness mark she was going for. She was having trouble with her step work, and things looked awkward and out of sync. See for yourself. But don’t tell Mark I showed you. I’m pretty sure he could knock the fillings right out of my head.
Bruno – “You’re a great dancer, but it wasn’t as clean and precise and defined as a paso doble should be.”
Carrie Ann – “I kept seeing you re-adjust your feet. It was still pretty”
Len – “It had promise but it didn’t quite deliver. That’s the bottom line.”
SCORE: 24/30 – Mark and Katherine weren’t really thrilled about it, and they shouldn’t be. 24 is the score that says, “You didn’t let mom and dad down completely, but they want you to know they expected better.”
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson – Tango – I’m still trying to figure out Jaleel’s Mickey Mouse comment from last week. The one that led him to break into tears. It had something to do with the fact that he occasionally got to play “Stefan Urquelle” on Family Matters. You remember Stefan Urquelle, right? It’s the super-suave, ultra-hip alternate personality that emerged from Steve Urkel whenever he drank that “cool juice” he invented to suppress all his nerd genes. Yes, Family Matters certainly was the All in the Family of its generation, wasn’t it?
I personally prefer to see Jaleel here. He was definitely pumped from the get-go. Plus, I’d like to think I’d be able to pull off a red sport coat with epulets and safari print scarf as well as Jaleel does, but I suspect for me it would end as badly as when I was a kid and I tried to start the trend of khaki shorts, penny loafers, and no socks. I won’t go into details, but there were a lot of dirt clots thrown.
Jaleel had the energy we’d normally expect from Sherri, but this dance was clearly not something he was comfortable with. The smile said one thing, but the feet said another.
Chaz Bono was not overly-fond of it either.
Carrie Ann – “There was something funky and weird about it.”
Len – “I liked the humor you put into it. It needed more attack and a little bit more aggression. But as a performance it was great.”
Bruno – “It’s not just in the face. It’s got to be in the feet.” Hey that’s what I just said!
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Paso Doble – Well, you’ve got Maks dressed as a bull fighter. When Maks is dressed as a bullfighter, he could be paired with an ostrich suffering from postpartum depression and he’s still gonna get votes.
Little Melissa does not seem very happy that she signed up for Dancing with the Stars, does she? Whenever she’s dancing, her face reminds me of the time I tricked my grandma into going on Space Mountain by telling her it was an “educational trip through our fanciful solar system!” From the second it began until the second it ended, her expression said three things:
1 – “I want this to be over.”
2 – “When this is over, I never want to think of it again.”
3 – “I hope to God there’s a Seconal in my pocketbook.”
Len – “I’m looking forward to seeing you in one of the slower, more lyrical dances. I think you’re gonna be great” Me too, Len. Me too!
Bruno – “At times, I feel you’re still running for it instead of being on top of it”
Carrie Ann – “You’re so good when you’re out of hold, and as soon as you get into hold, it’s like you’re holding on for dear life.” Hey, didn’t I just kinda say that too?
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd – Paso Doble – Who exactly determines which celebrities are allowed to have pyrotechnics behind them during a performance, and which ones get stuck with a boring old colored spotlight? Not that Donald wasn’t great this week, but giant flames make everything look better. If you don’t believe me, just imagine Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting on Somalia with his hair on fire.
Donald went shirtless, held a fierce, bossy scowl on his face, threw Peta around like an old gym towel, and stuck out his tongue a lot, which normally I would not be into. But it is Rock Week, and I’ll take anyone making that gesture over Gene Simmons.
Bruno – “Grrrrrreaaat guns, Donald!”
Carrie Ann – “What the heck did I just see?! Sexy Raunchy Hot… Damn!”
Len – “No one can accuse you of holding back. You frightened the life out of me.”
This woman, however, was not impressed.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus – Tango – Why is it so bad to admit that Gladys Knight is not a very good ballroom dancer? It’s not like she’s looking at this as her last chance to prove herself. I’d be happy with a hundredth of the professional success she’s had. Plus, she sang a Bond theme, so she’s A-OK in my book.
Yet, here everyone is – judges, fellow competitors, hosts – bending over backwards to find glowing things to say about what’s probably the safest, dullest, least ambitious performance of the night. Remember when your kid played “Carrot #2” in the third grade production of “The Lonelist Lima Bean” and you talked them up so much they started prepping their own answers to that Inside the Actors Studio questionnaire?
SCORE – 20/30
William Levy and Cheryl Burke – Jive – William screwed up big time when it came to executing that move where he picks Cheryl up from behind and tries to swing her around and under his legs. I don’t know what the move is called, and unfortunately that’s the best I can do describing it. Dancers do it all the time, and it looks great. Non-dancers do it too, but usually only by accident while they’re trying to re-position their poodle in the sink.
Anyway, William screwed it up, and then he didn’t quite know what to do next. But really, who cares? The guy could sit on the floor for three minutes in a giant bunny suit playing “Jeepers Creepers” on the kazoo, and he’s still gonna get the most votes.
Len – “Well, it is what it is. The show it live. You can’t do it again.”
Len – “You cannot be complacent.”
Carrie Ann – “Not much else to say.”
SCORE: 22/30 – I’d say the judges were being kind, wouldn’t you?
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower – Viennese Waltz –
Fluid, smooth, fog machine, pink tuxedo shirt, all accompanied by David Cook’s “The Time of My Life,” which I guess qualifies for “Rock Week.” It was like watching a prom episode from something that airs on The CW, only this is ABC so no one gave birth at the end.
Bruno – “Beautiful flowing movement!”
Carrie Ann – “It’s like watching the climax of a Disney movie. You, I think out of the men, are the best dancer.”
Len: “I thought you performed it with style, I thought you performed it with panache.”
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough – Tango – Ah, look at little Derek Hough with the mohawk and the spray can. He’s so ready to be in one of those eighties movies where rival street gangs looking to protect their turf come to blows in a drag-down-winner-takes-all break dancing contest at the nearest mini golf course. Remember those?
The tango was pretty tight – good enough to merit high scores, not good enough to earn an adverb overdose from me. Plus, Maria and Derek benefitted from performing to “School’s Out for the Sumer,” a rock song that actually carried a consistent beat. Poor Gladys and Tristan got stuck with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which has about seven different tempos and no bass line. They might as well have been dancing to the sounds of a squeaky cot occupied by two lonely prison inmates.
And it looks like Sherri Shepherd’s son will not grow up to dig that crazy rock and roll sound all the kids are going in for these days. (Sorry, Jeffrey. I think it’s here to stay).
Carrie Ann – “I cannot take my eyes off any move that you do.”
Len – “It was pretty good, not right up there.”
Bruno – “Beauty, attitude and sex appeal by the truckload!”
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff – Tango – Bringing up the rear of the mule pack this week are Gavin and Karina. The end of the show is never a good place to be when you’re the team already getting called out for not bringing in many votes. At this point in the evening, everyone’s done hating Dancing with the Stars anyway. They’re all re-filling their martini glasses so they can switch over to NBC and start hating Smash.
I think I liked Gavin and Karina’s make-up/wardrobe combination better than anyone other team’s tonight. I could see myself going out dressed as either one of them… studly goth-alt rocker, or C-string gypsy villainess from a 1960s Batman comic. I thought it was the best dance Gavin’s done yet, and I’d certainly like to see him survive to next week over Melissa or Gladys. Unfortunetly, I think Gavin’s “celebrity caboose” status this week is going to seal his fate.
Len – “I liked it (crowd cheers). Don’t go crazy, I didn’t like it that much.”
Bruno – “Your frame was bad, and your shoulders kept going up and up. I felt like I was watching a turtle at times.”
Carrie Ann – “I felt like I was watching Johnny Depp on stage. You were so in character.”
HICH SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Donald and Peta
LOW SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Gladys and Tristan
WHO’S GOING HOME? Tristan’s pecs will pull Gladys through to another week. Unless Melissa’s concussion takes her out permanently, America will be showing Gavin his hat tonight.