It’s TV Week, and to celebrate, we got to watch reruns of The Situation jiggling his pecs and video of Kurt & Anna wiggling their noses. And, for good measure, Jennifer stomping off due to Derek’s... temper? What? Brooke Burke (in what we hope is a corset) was even glued into a cute dress! And no opening-scene Stairway of Horror for us: it was straight to the dancing this week.
And, in case you haven’t been watching all along — though why you’d only start tonight was unclear — the judges painstakingly took us through each competitor’s performances thus far. Len recapped Audrina (“a real talent”); Bruno recapped Kyle (“the stage animal”); and Carrie Ann got Brandy (“all the ingredients to make a great dancer.”). With so much time to fill, they didn’t even pause for a dance — but they did pause for a commercial break. Len got Kurt (“a true champion”); Bruno talked Bristol (“she’s got guts”); and then Len went for Florence (“she’s still got it”). Then another commercial break and — you guessed it — two more long-form critiques. Len talked about Rick (“not just eye-candy”); and then Carrie Ann got to talk Jennifer (“hot, hot, hot”). The only not painful part was when we paused to read the side tattoo on shirtless Mark: “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” (Psalm 33.3, if you’re interested.)
The stars then finally walked down the Staircase of Horror at almost ten minutes into the show — and there are probably a couple of peeved advertisers (or there should be) among the disappointed viewers.
Brandy & Maks
Handed the Friends theme song to Quickstep to, Brandy and Maks used their on-camera time to acknowledge their off-camera battles that had become increasingly obvious to the audience and the judges, and pretend like they were BFFs.
In a nod to Derek & Jennifer’s start by the piano last week, Maks & Brandy started sitting in the audience, where he “invited” her to dance. The invitation kicked off a real display of chemistry between the pair that was light-hearted, playful, and thankfully platonic (did anyone else know Maks does “platonic”?). It was fast, Brandy was light on her feet and it was just funky enough to match a little with the music. The audience loved it.
Len said, “I’m so impressed with that.” He loved the energy, the sassiness, and the posture. Bruno told them “you found the right formula,” and noted that Brandy didn’t drop a single step. Carrie Ann noticed “an amazing new bond” between them that took them to “a whole ‘nother level now.”
The judges awarded them unanimous nines, for a total of 27.
Florence & Corky
Of course, the producers asked Florence to dance to the theme from the Brady Bunch. Even funnier: they invited Greg Brady (i.e., Barry Williams) to practice it with her. She refused to confirm or deny whether they ever had a romantic relationship — but they did kiss on the lips with more than a little familiarity.
Familiarity was, it’s fair the say, the only reason the producers chose this nearly-impossible-to-dance-to music for the Tango, though. Props to Corky for trying — it’s sole redeeming value was that they could not have possible gone faster, so the speed played well with Florence’s obvious weaknesses. So, too, did her focus on her footwork and precision. But they threw in a bunch of cutesy little riffs that were not exactly tango-appropriate. The Tango isn’t cutesie.
Bruno did not like the comedic moments much either, telling her she was better than that. Carrie Ann liked it and thought that the dance showed off her elegance and sexiness, though there were some problems with timing. Len said she’d gotten to Week 5 on merit: he said parts were excellent and some were “too frantic.”
The judges awarded them all sevens, for a total of 21.
Kurt & Anna
Anna wasn’t sure what the story behind Bewitched was for their Quickstep, but they worked through their cultural differences to come up with something good.
They, too, started in the audience (was there a memo?), and spent more time there than any couple so far. But the Quickstep did have one benefit for Kurt: his hands had to stay on Anna’s back or around her hand for most of the dance. They cutely incorporated the nose-wiggle into the posture, and the dance was sweet, upbeat and Kurt was all over the footwork. It was another crowd-pleaser.
Carrie Ann saw “the spirit of Gene Kelly” in Kurt. Len agreed that it was great — a few posture problems here and there and heavy in the legs, but it was an improvement. Bruno loved his timing and said he “led with ease” but there were a couple posture moments.
The judges awarded them unanimous eights, for a total of 24.
Audrina & Tony
Stuck with the Rumba, Audrina expressed some concern with the need to be too close to Tony’s face, so Tony suggested she eat some onion or garlic to lessen the emotional intensity of physical contact. She nearly vommed, but it definitely worked.
Audrina, of course, got The Hills theme (“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield — which my roommate said sounded like the worst karaoke of that she’d ever heard). If the idea of having her dance the Rumba was to be sexy, probably having her dance to the song that taught that being blank and pretty was a career path wasn’t a good plan. She couldn’t have looked less interested in Tony if he’d rubbed himself in deer urine and garlic— while the steps themselves were technically good, the longing looks and subtle movements toward one another were completely absent, which (it turns out) makes the dance look stilted. Instead of a dance that screamed “Get a room!,” she turned in a performance that screamed, “Look at me! I’m pretty!”
Len thought it was an excellent Rumba — technically well, a moment of chemistry, but he advised her to “open up just a little bit more.” Bruno said that she had definitely technically improved — but she lacked the passion and was a little “plastic.” Carrie Ann thought the technicality was at a whole other level — from the waist down. But, from the neck up, there was just nothing going on.
Carrie Ann gave then a 7 and Len and Bruno gave them eights, for a total of 23.
Kyle & Lacey
They got the Charlie’s Angels theme for their Foxtrot — and then brought in Kym and Chelsie to assist in her with improving Kyle’s technique. Oh, I’m sure two more girls to flirt with was a total help.
Kyle, of course, started behind the desk... and Lacey popped up, wind in her hair, behind the judges. Ever seen anyone do the hustle in the midst of a Foxtrot with the boom-chicka music going? Well, now you have. It was clever, it was cute, it was, of course, a helluva performance, and it was a really good way to incorporate Kyle’s more natural body movements into a dance that requires a certain kind of posture and footwork. If the judges loved The Situation’s futuristic mess, they would have to not hate this, right? The audience certainly did.
Bruno said watching him was “a joy,” but called it “a Foxtrot possessed by disco theme” that lacked in enough fox trot. Carrie Ann disagreed, loved his leading with full-body contact and thought he’s improved. Len said, “It started bad and it gradually got worse and worse.” Apparently, only The Situation can bring that situation to a ballroom dance.
Carrie Ann gave them an 8, Len a 5 (A FIVE?!!) and Bruno a 7, for a total of 20.
Rick & Cheryl
Only Cheryl Burke would attempt a sexy cop rhumba. And only Rick Fox would introduce Cheryl to Kobe Bryant and his former coach Phil Jackson.
And then they Rumbaed to the theme to Hill Street Blues. It was kind of high energy and, it turns out, a cop unioform, even with sequins, can make sex Rick Fox look a little dumpy. Basically, Cheryl looked hot, Rick looked like a cop and then they danced around. We were too busy screaming, “What?!” to pay really close attention and too horrified to rewind, but it wasn’t as stiff as last week and wasn’t as creepy as Tom Delay was two seasons ago.
Carrie Ann loved the Rumba, and thought it got hotter and hotter. Len liked it because there was “an ease and an elegance” and liked his arms — but thought it lacked passion. Bruno called him “mega-smooth.”
The judges awarded them unanimous eights, for a total of 24.
Bristol & Mark
Of course, given the theme to The Monkees, they dressed up as monkeys for their jive. After last week’s critiques, Mark called in the clown school to help her with her facial expressions. Anything!
Well, that “anything” turned out to be starting out the dance in rip-away gorilla suits straight with masks -- which camouflaged Bristol’s tongue-biting but hurt her ability to look at Mark to remember the steps. Whoops. She dropped a couple and, if her post-rip-away expression was any indication, with it, her confidence. She dropped steps, she missed beats and her facial expression remained near-constant throughout: she was just trying to remember the steps.
Len liked the monkey suits because they were fun, and said he felt like they did get a higher degree of performance from her after the suits came off. Bruno noted that the performance went up, but the technique went down. Carrie Ann loved the performance, but noted that she forgot a lot of moves.
The judges awarded them unanimous sixes for a total score of 18.
Jennifer & Derek
Given the fox trot, Jennifer appreciated the respite for the body but found it hard to get back to Foxtrot. They had a “fight” backstage because she was frustrated with him very frustrated, and he felt like she was taking things too personally. Then they hugged things out.
Their song was “Love And Marriage” — the theme to Married With Children — but they went without the more satirical background of the show and straight back to the '50s. They started on stage in a full '50s set. It was lyrical and tight — a couple teeny missteps along the way, but hardly anything to complain about. Jennifer did look a little off her normal game, but it was one of the top performances of the evening.
Bruno called her “pristine, elegant and beautifully danced.” Carrie Ann called the dance “good, but not nearly your best” and said the pair were out of sync. Len said the actual dance was lovely, but it was “too theatrical” and didn’t care for the acting bit in the beginning.
Carrie Ann and Len gave them eights and Bruno gave them a 9, for a total score of 25.