It’s story night again, people. And, as Tom Bergeron reminds us, it is the week that last year brought us Kate Gosselin’s infamous Fembot Paso Doble that made Lady Gaga regret selling the rights to “Paparazzi.” So, basically, whatever happens tonight, just remember how much that made your soul whimper, and you’ll feel better! Not exactly an auspicious start — not that Corky dressed in Lederhosen and Kurt playing tea party (political reference, anyone?) was really any better.
At this point, we would normally whine about the semi-sheer faux-Grecian horror that was Brooke Burke’s dress, but then Margaret descended the stairs in a 3-foot yellow feathered headdress and a rainbow fringed dress (Go Pride!) and we gave up and just stared. There were probably other people there and they walked down the stairs, but we were blinded by the headdress.
Brooke then informed us that — to what we can only assume was Len’s horror — that the use of props was encouraged for the contestants’ Foxtrots, Sambas, or Waltzes. After some dance idea previews, three unknown pros danced with Kym and two unknown female pros to waste some time.
Jennifer & Derek
Derek decided to push the choreography yet again — and Jennifer and he found it frustrating because, as she said, “Nicole could have gotten it right away.” But they — of course — persevered: I mean, they can’t make winning look easy.
They Samba’d to Erasure’s “A Little Respect” which, along with Jennifer’s fringed pants and the schoolboy/sexy schoolteacher outfits didn’t seem to match with the dance that well. It was tight — albeit there was one mistaken spin early on — and the Samba roll about which they worried in rehearsals seemed to go fine, but it wasn’t quite as sexy as it seemed like it should have been..
Len enjoyed story night when the story continues through the dance — which he said they’d managed quite well. But he, like us, caught the bump in the spin. Bruno called her “the sexy mistress of Cougartown’s Academy of Samba.” He, too, commented on the error. Carrie Ann dinged them for the same mistake but said she, too, enjoyed the story — so, to prove themselves, Derek and Jennifer preformed the messed-up bit as initially intended. Sadly, it didn’t count for the scores.
For all the dings, though, they got all eights from the judges for a total of 24.
Florence & Corky
The producers awarded Florence and Corky “Edelweiss” for their Waltz and it turned out that Florence played Maria for 15 months in a traveling company in 1960. Florence said that it reminded her of her husband, John, to whom she was married for 20 years and who died 8 years ago. Screw “no one puts Baby in a corner,” no one should make Mrs. Brady cry.
Florence looked about to cry again within the first four bars, then brought out the smile and we got a shiver. She messed up a few steps around the time that Corky choreographed in for her to pick up her skirt (mostly because the satin was a little too slippery to execute that move, as any woman would know) and there were a few halting moments in the spins, but Mrs. Brady teared up, people, and they ended with a kiss. She stays.
Bruno called it, “simple, effective and very, very sweet,” but he dinged her on the halting moments. Carrie Ann said, “I definitely think John was smiling down on you,” and Florence broke character for a moment of sadness, again — she said it was a little on the simple side and she needs to be pushed next week. Len said, “it was poignant, emotional and sweet,” but said she lacked technique in her feet.
Carrie Ann and Bruno gave them sevens and Len gave them a six for a total of 20.
Kurt & Anna
They decided to take their Foxtrot and the Daniel Powter song “Bad Day” and make their story about having a good day, because no one likes a sad football player. To teach Kurt delicacy, Anna made him have a tea party with his daughters.
Daringly, they opened with a solo by Kurt and, despite the judges lack of affection for his dancing, it was hard to argue with his improvement this week. He could use with some more articulation in his hands and his skipping steps weren’t quite right, but there was a continuation of the movement as he danced, he still seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself and the dance was utterly cute to watch.
Carrie Ann called it charming, and said they were totally in sync, the chemistry was fantastic and the hold was beautiful. Len said he lacked musicality all the way through his arms but “everything else was fantastic.” Bruno said the story worked and Kurt was like Gene Kelly in his performance, but his arms were a little too wild and felt he nearly dropped Anna. Anna bit some of the petals off her rose at the criticism.
Carrie Ann and Len gave them eights and Bruno gave them a 7, for a total of 23 — which Brooke Burke called “the highest score yet” despite the fact that Jennifer and Derek got a 24. Really, Brooke Burke?
Margaret & Louis
Margaret was on tour this week, so to rehearse their Samba to “Copa Cabana” — with, yes, a Pride theme — Louis packed up and went with her to Canada. But they both were shown complaining that the stress of touring and rehearsals was just a little too much.
Sadly, that stress showed in the dance, despite Margaret’s obvious enjoyment of the outfit and the theme. By the middle, she looked winded and started dropping steps — something she didn’t do much of in last week’s energetic Jive — and her smile definitely started to flag. They ended in a deep dip, followed by streamer cannons — which Margaret thereafter called “the gayest thing ever.”
Len was encouraged in the start with the rhythm and hip action, and then noticed that, as the dance wore one, she lost the timing and got a big heavy in the legs — plus, he didn’t get the story of it. Bruno praised her for “waving the rainbow flag,” but said she lost her way because the footwork and timing went away. Carrie Ann loved the story, but noticed that she lost control in the middle, but told her to watch her arms and try for more grace in her upper carriage.
Before their scores, Margaret called for an end to gay suicide. Then the judges gave them all sixes for a unanimous 18. Yikes.
Audrina & Tony
Tony tried to get Audrina to show her emotions in their Waltz to allow the audience to connect with her — which is why Tony was planning on portraying a man who died at war, but came back for one last dance.
It was hard to go wrong with Ray LaMontagne’s “Let It Be Me,” let alone a fog machine, a short solo from Audrina and some technically good dancing. She didn’t quite get all the way to fully expressing her emotions throughout the dance, but it was beautifully danced and quite lyrical and she definitely went further than ever in connecting with both Tony and the audience.
Bruno called it “compelling and emotional storytelling,” adding that “every move was connected to an emotional journey.” Carrie Ann said it was beautifully acted and dance, though she needed to point her toes more. Len said she “walked with [her] feet and danced with [her] heart.”
Naturally, they dedicated their dance to the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Bruno and Len gave them nines and Carrie Ann gave them an eight for a total of 26.
Then, they showed Tony getting his legs waxed, because that was the appropriate emotional arc for their dance. It looked gooey and painful.
Bristol & Mark
Given Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” for a Foxtrot should have been a boon — but Bristol’s orders to act this week (and Mark’s definitive storyline) nonetheless made her nervous and brought on multiple cases of the giggles when Bristol should have been intense and serious. I mean — which one of us when we were 19 wouldn’t have had a little trouble not giggling if Mark was trying to teach us sexyface and make us touch him?
The intensity of concentration might have been there in the end, but the dance and the song were far from intense and the magical performance wasn’t there. It was well danced and lyrical, but a shade to slow for the song and nearly as simple at Florence and Corky’s choreography. Bristol looked very proper, but she lacked her normal connection with Mark (and she needed to be more up on her toes).
Carrie Ann said it was hard — her movement quality was great but the performance wasn’t quite there. Len didn’t like the chance they took this week, but found it too contemporary for his taste. Bruno said he execution of the dance was “neat and clean,” but that she lacked the expressiveness they were looking for.
Carrie Ann and Len gave her sixes and Bruno gave her a 7 for a total of 19.
Brandy & Maks
Chastened by the package which she thought made her look like a diva, Brandy taped her mouth shut with black tape that said “I love Maks.” Maks decided to go with a “Bodyguard” performance. Brandy was feeling slightly bullied by Maks but kept on going because, she said, “I am sensitive, not weak.”
Dancing — and initially lip syncing — to Alicia Keys’ “Put It In A Love Song,” it was hard to tell if it was the tape, the couple of butt-slaps or the ugly producer-package from last week that made Brancy step up her game, but her Samba was by far the sexiest of the night, as well as close to the tightest. She and Maks seemed to have a sexiness back and, although her smile seemed more pasted-on than average, she seemed to actually be enjoying the way her body moved this week — and, if their post-dance hug was any indication, so did Maks.
Len said it had energy and punch, but he didn’t quite get it because Maks didn’t seem protective enough (and Len didn’t like the rehearsal butt-slaps). Bruno felt the performance was a comeback, he loved her placement this week and the clean aspect of her performance. Carrie Ann dinged him for his butt-slap, too, but said that it had worked because Brandy was on fire this week.
The judges awarded them unanimous eights for a total of 24.
Kyle & Lacey
This week, Kyle was handed the Waltz and The Eagles’ “Take It To The Limit” — not that they knew who The Eagles were — so they traded it in for “Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop” by Landon Pigg. Soft and delicate were not Kyle’s strong suit, so Lacey seemed just a little worried.
She shouldn’t have been quite so worried — having been dinged about his wild arms last week and his posture all along, Kyle was definitely sucking in and watching out for his arms. He even did a really good jobs connecting his movements (orphan hands? What orphan hands?) and played the dance into his natural nice-guy-made-good charm. Even Lacey seemed pretty impressed.
Bruno loved the story and thought he had the likability factor sewn up — but noticed his arms had gotten better, though is feet needed work. Carrie Ann, too, enjoyed watching him dance and noticed his arm movement and the connectedness through his arms. Len loved the performance but called his footwork atrocious.
Carrie Ann and Bruno gave them eights and Len gave them a seven for a total of 23.
The Situation & Karina
Karina decided to make the storyline of their Foxtrot to the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” something having to do with a time machine — which confused both us and The Situation. He tried to buckle down all week to avoid, as he put it, “an elimination situation,” but he seemed to enjoy flirting with Karina more than learning from her.
If the producers were trying to help The Situation find his musicality, giving him “Boom Boom Pow” to attempt to fox trot to was an inspired choice. He definitely was able to get the rhythm of it more easily than any song to date. If Karina was trying to get him to connect to her, the judges or the audience on any performative level, well, that’s another story. It was stilted, in keeping with the song and the story, it was weird, it didn’t help him and his orphan hands find one another and we’re just not sure how Karina’s crimped hair belongs in 3008 rather than 1988, bur we’re sorta glad we won’t live long enough to find out.
Carrie Ann said he was “baby-stepping your way to becoming a dancer” and appreciated that he lead with his heel and had some musicality. Len agreed he was happier living in the past — he found it admirable, though, because he was listening to Karina and trying to improve, but “it was a bizarre performance.” Bruno called it, “in a very, very weird way,” entertaining.
Carrie Ann and Bruno gave them sevens and Len gave them a six, for a total of 20.
Rick & Cheryl
Cheryl decided to make their Samba story about losing a game and heading to a bar to drink it off. In changing up some of the choreography, Rick expressed concern that she was dumbing it down for him, while Cheryl told the cameras that she was adjusting for his size. But when Rick asked her to help him understand why, she shushed him and told him just to trust her.
Dancing the Samba to Kat Deluna’s “Whine Up” would be perfect even without Cheryl stripping off Rick Fox’s shirt little by little to reveal that, as much as the Cheryl had more than she bargained for in dancing with such a tall man, the costumers got more than they bargained for in trying to fit tight pants onto, um, a large man. It was probably the most unintentionally revealing outfit in many a season and made it hard to focus on the dancing. It seemed less sharp than last week, but, we admit, it was darn sexy.
Rick’s girlfriend, Eliza Dushku, seemed to agree. Len felt he had gone up a notch tonight. Bruno felt it was hot and he should “let it go” more often. Carrie Ann thought it was sexy and his performance left her without much to say.
Apparently, Cheryl didn’t tell him she’d be ripping his shirt off until the last minute — but it worked. Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno awarded them all eights for a total of 24.