It’s “Classical Week” on Dancing with the Stars. And that means three things…
1.) A great big, impressive string section that makes you wish you could go back in time and take those musical instrument lessons your mother insisted you’d really thank her for one day.
2.) An inordinate amount of bare chests on the men, because if left on your own, ABC is afraid you’d equate “Classical Week” with portly fops in powdered wigs applauding ever-so-politely at the virtuous daughter of the town squire as she performs on the clavichord only days before she comes down with dysentery.
3.) Special appearances from a variety of elegant and world-renowned musical talents like Joshua Bell, Jackie Evancho, Vittorio Grigolo, and other people I only ever see when they appear on Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent or the ninety-second commercials for their cd’s that air at three in the morning or right around Christmas time.
Yes, it’s true, I’m probably not the classiest guy you’ll ever meet, but as Mark Ballas put it so eloquently tonight, “You can’t spell ‘Classical’ without ‘ass.'”
…and I’m definitely one of those.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas – Rumba – Mark and Katherine kicked off the night the way all 8pm network programs should: with a rousing Caligula-inspired seduction fest. Mark took off his shirt and achingly gyrated his upper body the way a worm with an S&M fetish might after getting pierced by the hook. I followed my primary Catholic instinct and immediately changed the channel. Then I followed my secondary Cathlolic instinct and changed it right back, turned down the volume, pulled my chair right up next to the tv, and promised myself anything that happened from that point forward would go with me to the grave.
Mark and Katherine’s lusty start to the evening reminded me of two very important things: As a team they have no equal this season, and never watch Game of Thrones with your parents in the rom.
You can check out their performance after the jump:
Len: “You kept it elegant. It was totally in keeping with the music.”
Bruno: “You could have gone a bit further to get my juices flowing.”
Carrie Ann: “I felt that your passion was a little placed. I felt you could have generated more chemistry, more heat.”
Sadly, Katherine and Mark go another week denied the perfect 30 they should have been awarded weeks ago.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Tango – This week, Melissa started her dance paired with a mannequin, which I think is appropriate, because, try as she may, Melissa comes off week after week as the most lifeless person in the ballroom. Which doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for her to improve. I am. But secretly, I kinda wish the producers of Dancing with the Stars had booked Nellie Olsen instead. That donkey-bow-wearing prairie bitch would be tearing this shit up.
This week, Maks had a stressed foot, so his brother Val was on standby in case Maks wasn’t able to compete. But in the end, Maks came through the way we all knew he would (Maks miss an appearance on national television? That’ll be the day). And poor Val was left behind in the rehearsal space, scratching his head and wondering what he did wrong in life to always get paired with the anchor-footed celebrities who get booted from the competition first.
Did anyone else feel that Maks and Melissa actually really delivered this week? I’d say it was the first of their performances that held my attention and didn’t have me looking at the clock on my microwave, trying to calculate exactly how many minutes until Smash got underway.
They even did this move. I don’t know what it’s called. I think it’s something like, “Help! The Thanksgiving blimp’s getting away!”
Despite all the hard work and super-duper moves clearly designed to impress, the judges were not kind. And somewhere backstage near the carrot and hummus plate, Val is doing a fist-pump and secretly praying they don’t pair him next season with Emmanuel Lewis.
Bruno: “At times it looked like you were riding The Cyclone at Coney Island.”
Carrie Ann: “It’s sort of like Cirque du Soliel went horribly wrong. You went for quantity, not quality.”
Len: “There was so much intensity that it did lose a bit of quality through the dance.”
I didn’t agree. Melissa and Maks didn’t agree. The audience definitely didn’t agree.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke – Vienese Waltz – This week, William again tried to play the “out of my league” card for home audience sympathy. He whined that he wasn’t a”classical man” and that, “I was born and raised in Cuba on the streets,” which is right up there with other pathetic excuses like, “Well, I’m sorry! I didn’t get no highfalutin’ education!” and “What do I know? I’m just a butcher from New Jersey.”
William and Cheryl’s performance was enhanced by a fog machine and a live performance by Jackie Evancho, who many are convinced is not actually human, but rather an animatronic escapee from It’s a Small World.
In any case, I don’t think it’s fair that William and Cheryl got Jackie Evancho AND fog, when all Melissa and Maks got was a store dummy ripped off from a JC Penney window display. But maybe I’m not the best one to judge fairness as I regularly re-arrange the cards in my favor whenever I play Candy Land with my three-year old nephew.
Carrie Ann: “THAT is true content! THAT is true dancing!”
Len: “I wasn’t exactly transported to Vienna. But it was close. I was in Austria.”
Bruno: “William, you have captured the purity and ethereal quality of the song.”
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower – Argentine Tango.
Roshon cleans up nice, but he’s still, sadly, the one innocent in a jungle otherwise teeming with heaving-chested, chino-clad sex tigers. Remember when Eddie Fisher left Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, and the entire world said, “That’s too bad… but yeah, I kinda get it.” Expect that sentiment to sweep across the country when Roshon is finally tucked in for the night on this show. If it wasn’t for the new “Dance Duel” element, he would have been out last week for sure.
And I like Roshon’s dancing. His footwork definitely pleases the crowd. But not in that “I MUST get off the couch and vote for him” way. More in that “Is he going to ask us to buy a candy bar when he’s done?” kinda way.
And did anyone else notice they finished long before the music ended? Something fishy there, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what.
Bruno: “Most of the times, very very clean. Size is not everything.”
Len: “I’d like to have seen a little more tension through your feet. Overall, I thought it was clean and confident.”
Carrie Ann actually got up from her seat and delivered a hug, proclaiming, “Welcome back to the competition!”
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd – Vienese Waltz
I liked Donald a little more after he admitted tonight that he was so competitive he didn’t like to let his kids win at marbles and video games. But I also wondered… kids still play marbles? I thought they went out with The New Deal, Alfalfa, and people getting diagnosed with “the dropsy.”
Donald was a man made to waltz. He had the posture. He held the chin up with confidence. He strutted like a cocky dance machine who was only reluctantly dragging Peta around with him because she was magnetized to his hip bone.
Poor Peta. It’s totally unfair of me to not like her as much as the rest of the professional dancers on this show just because she found her way there after being promoted out of that back-stabbing pack of scene-stealers known as “The Troupe.” I’m sure my attitude towards her will soften in the seasons to come, but for now, Peta’s still the sweet little almond cookie I’ll order only after I find out the restaurant has run out of cheesecake.
Carrie Ann: “You are so pristine and you are so sharp! And I loved the regal qualities to this dance.”
Len: “I thought it was terrific. Your footwork was spot-on!”
Bruno: “You’ve got the sweeping drive and passion of Giuseppe Verdi’s music.”
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough – Paso Doble
We need to talk about Maria and Derek. Despite the judges swooning over their Bram Stoker-inspired Paso Doble, they are not my favorites, First off, I don’t watch Extra, so I know nothing about Maria. Secondly, it’s nice to finally see “Golden Boy” Derek having to sweat it out just to score lousy 8s from the judges. I don’t think Super Twink has ever seen an 8 in his life. Third, the vampire craze is officially over. The trailer for Dark Shadows saw to that. Fourth, vampire teeth are not an amazing prop. You can get them for 99 cents at the Halloween store, or you can just coat two pieces of candy corn in white paint and jam them up over your canines.
And I guess there’s nothing to be said for consistency, because Mark and Katherine have been delivering like pros every week, but these two get the first perfect score of the season.
Carrie Ann: “That didn’t suck, my friend. That was amazing. Katherine better watch her back.”
Len: “More tension than my grandmother’s knicker elastic. You lived it and I loved it.”
Bruno: “It was absolutely spellbinding!”
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson – Vienese Waltz
Here’s a sentence you never thought you’d see: Jaleel White performed a waltz to the theme song from PBS’s Downton Abbey. And yes, it was as odd and confusing to the senses as you might have guessed. The choreography wasn’t particularly ambitious, and Jaleel looked uncomfortable, reigned in by the requirements of a closed-position dance that allowed no room for hip swivels, or “Check me out, Holla!” facial expressions. The best that can be said about it was that mercifully, it was last.
Len: “I liked it enough not to be cruel, but I didn’t like it enough to be really kind.”
Bruno: “As a number, as a story… it was very nice.”
Carrie Ann: “The story-telling was elegant, but watch the hands.”
HICH SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Maria and Derek
LOW SCORE OF THE NIGHT: Melissa and Maks
WHO’S GOING HOME? It will be another predictable Dance Duel, between Roshon & Chelsie and Melissa & Maks. As Roshon was getting across the board “most improved” tonight, expect Melissa and Maks to finally pack it in tomorrow, two or three weeks overdue for my taste, though personally I wouldn’t mind losing both of them.