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Dancing With The Stars

Dancing with the Stars Recap for Season 11, Week 8: Performance

As the show opened, Tom Bergeron reminded us — as though we could ever forget — that “Bulletproof” Bristol had outlasted, but not outdanced, two judges’ favorites. Wonder why that is? He didn’t say, but he did let us know that this week, Bristol would be surviving both a classic ballroom round and an instant dance round.

At least the producers stopped messing with the audience, since the voters wouldn’t, and allowed the stars to descend the Staircase Of Horror at a normal time. And as they panned group on the floor, Bristol & Mark looked terrified while everyone else smiled and mugged for the cameras.

Kyle & Lacey

If Lacey had patience before, she acted as though she lost it this week, yelling at Kyle to get his butt in gear — and Kyle found it both motivating and somewhat hilarious. Lacey knew, too, that Kyle didn’t take it personally: she just didn’t want Len to call his footwork in the Viennese Waltz “atrocious,” as he did last time.

With Lacey looking very '50s and the band convincing us never to try our hand at karaoke singing to Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 AM),” they looked quite cute and very appropriate to start. Kyle’s posture was amazing, his arms were in control, he stayed pretty on rhythm and if a few of his steps weren’t quite executed at the top of his tippy-tip-toes, well, at least he had the steps there and the turnout correct. Plus he looked beautiful and graceful and, at the end, Lacey was laughing at how well he executed it. Or just because it was Kyle, it was hard to tell.

Len loved his posture, his frame and his arms. Bruno said “we are all totally charmed by you,” and noted that Kyle had taken all the criticisms to heart and worked on them. Carrie Ann loved “the new elegance” of Kyle and said “it was like watching a fairy tale come to life.”

The judges awarded them unanimous nines for a total of 27.

After a long interlude discussing the instant dance portion of the evening, Kyle picked his mystery song: “Good Golly, Miss Molly” by Little Richard for their "instant dance" Jive.

Jennifer & Derek

Jennifer’s knee began acting up on the first day of Quick Step rehearsals, and Derek stopped rehearsals to bring in the doctor. It turned out she had a severely inflamed tendon. But her dad, Joel, came to rehearsals to tell her he was “knocked out” by her performance and convinced her to go on with the show.

Then it was light’s up and music go for Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face The Music And Dance.” Choreographed in a very old-school way (with a few Charleston-esque flourishes to please the crowd), Jennifer’s footwork was apt, her performance effervescent and she nailed the whole thing — and she knew it, from the smile on her face at the end of it.

Bruno said it was like watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, though he noticed one misstep and told her a bit more body contact would be better. Carrie Ann noticed the same misstep, but said it was beautiful and amazing. Len said it was a perfect song for them, and the dance was great.

The judges awarded them unanimous nines for a total of 27.

Their “instant dance” song was “Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner, which neither actually had heard of before. Yikes!

Kurt & Anna

Kurt seemed somewhat intimidated by the need to do a Waltz this week, because of the technicality that the speed of the dance required. But, he said, he’d never expected to get quite this far.

Given the audience-friendly “Take It To The Limit” by the Eagles should have helped Kurt out — we mean, Irving Berlin, really? — but he was right to be intimidated by the Waltz. His hands showed definite improvement, but he missed a few steps here and there, had trouble keeping his head in the right place and — what’s worse was — every time he made a small error, it showed in his face. It was, as ever, sweet and charming — but they knew.

Carrie Ann called him “a Ken doll for mature people,” and said she had seen the effort he put into dancing. Len called him graceful and said he moved around the floor well, despite the fact that he had some technical things to work on. Bruno said that, when Kurt relaxed, he lit up the room but noticed him thinking a few times.

The judges awarded them unanimous eights for a total of 24.

Their “instant dance” song was No Doubt’s “Hella Good,” which the pair was also completely unfamiliar with.

Bristol & Mark

Backstage last week, Bristol broke down because of the low scores and, according to Mark, because her son went to stay with relatives last week. So up to Alaska they went to see her son and, of course, her mom. Mark then had the somewhat dubious honor of performing the Argentine Tango with Bristol for the viewing pleasure of her mom and her dad. Bristol warned them it was “scandalous,” and Sarah Palin asked, “Is it lap dancin’ scandalous?” to giggles between her and Todd. Mark whined, like a typical teenager, “No is no-ot,” and now we know he’s one of the fam. Then Bristol got embarrassed about shaking her butt to the audience (again) and Sarah told her, “Just dominate! Just take over!” She said that the whole family was proud of Bristol, guaranteeing her daughter yet another week.

Dancing the Argentine tango to the Pussycat Doll’s “Buttons” -— which, we can all admit it, Bristol does need hers loosened — she came out strong but faltered, strangely enough, during the partnered bits. Her footwork was not very sharp, the way it needs to be, and she led with her chin rather than her core, meaning her posture, for the first time, was off. She definitely looked sexy and projected the dominance the dance required, but the squishyness in her feet and her posture detracted from the dance somewhat.

Len thought the lifts were good and it was “clean, well-placed and well-rehearsed,” but it lacked a bit of intensity. Bruno noted that he lost the expression in the midst of some sequences but that the dance was executed well. Carrie Ann said it was the most intensity they’d ever seen from her, but that she needed more energy in her legs, saying that her “flicks were lackluster.”

The judges awarded them unanimous eights for a total of 24.

For their instant dance, Bristol picked “Mas Que Nada” by Sergio Mendes featuring the Black Eyed Peas. They, too, had no idea what the song was.

Brandy & Maks

Brandy & Maks said they worked through their issues and Brandy said she has learned to work with him and him with her. He was seen, of course, telling her not to obsess about the steps and move her way through it.

Given “Dark Waltz” by Hayle Westerna — which sounded like something from Phantom of the Opera to us — just friggin’ fuhgeddaboutit. They looked amazing. Brandy was fantastic, Maks’ choreography was to die for, the performance was something unto itself and the whole thing was just insane.

Bruno called it “an exquisite interpretation of the song.” Carrie Ann called herself “spellbound” and said she needed to watch her neck and get it elongated. Len said he wouldn’t make a point about her neck because he was “overwhelmed by the performance.”

Carrie Ann gave them a nine and Bruno and Len gave them tens for a total of 29.

Brandy pulled out “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry for her "instant dance" song, which she appeared to know, but Maks didn’t.

Kyle & Lacey, Instant Dance

If there’s a high-energy song made just for Kyle, it’s the Jive, and Little Richard was the perfect musical companion for this dance. It was high energy but not over-the-top, cute, polished and really great for no rehearsal.

Len said he came out fun, but would have liked a little more finesse on the toe-heel swivels. Bruno thought it was high-energy, loved Kyle’s timing and said the side-kicks were great. Carrie Ann agreed the song was made for him.

Carrie Ann and Bruno gave them tens and Len gave them a 9, for a total of 29. Their overall score was 56.

Jennifer & Derek, Instant Dance

Their instant dance was the Rumba, and Jennifer said she really had to trust Derek because it was sexy and intimate.

Well, so, Foreigner wasn’t as bad a choice as the theme from the Hill Street Blues, but it wasn’t that sexy a song choice. And while Derek & Jennifer can more convincingly fake almost any emotion than anyone else left in the cast other than Brandy & Maks, their chemistry was definitely more platonic than hot. But the dance itself was technically great, well-connected and very sharp.

Bruno called it “breathtaking... sensual, sexy” and “flawless.” Carrie Ann loved the off-balance bit and said “there’s nothing more beautiful for me than watching someone reclaim their power.” Len says he loves the variations in dance, and loved that their dance had it.

The judges awarded them unanimous tens, for a total of 30. And their overall score was 57.

Kurt & Anna, Instant Dance

Kurt & Anna were stuck doing a Cha-Cha-Cha, so he brought his kids in for some help: they played DJ to try to teach him musicality. It actually helped, according to Anna.

Aw, it’s so hard not to love those guys. Kurt was loose and having a good time, the choreography was cute, and, man, he can do a few hip shakes. It probably won’t be enough to save him from the Palin tsunami, but it was a high-energy, high-quality dance to go out on.

Carrie Ann said his musicality was totally perfect tonight. Len called it “well done” and said he performed well. Bruno said he came out and “went for it,” but acknowledged that Len was right that Kurt’s foot placement wasn’t perfect.

The judges awarded them unanimous eights, for a total of 24 and an overall total of 48.

Bristol & Mark, Instant Dance

Bristol got stuck with a Samba, and had a lot of trouble figuring out the steps without the words to connect them to. Mark tried to tell her that she could do it, but she wasn’t convinced.

And... rightly so. Latin dances are, as we know, not Bristol’s thing: the number of steps, the need to connect movements together and the need to connect facial expressions to what her body is doing have always been difficult for her. And her instant dance was an expression of that: she missed steps, she missed sequences, she had difficulty connecting movements and she was really, really off-rhythm at points. Does it matter? We doubt it. But she knew it.

Len thought that the Samba was the most difficult to cope with because of the timing changes and he would have liked to have seen more movement through her hips. Bruno said she did his favorite steps; but he said she’d lost the movement at moments. Carrie Ann said “this was the true test of musicality” and she’d failed; she did think Bristol showed the most of her own personality, though.

Carrie Ann gave them a 7, and Len and Bruno gave them eights for a total of 23 and an overall score of 47.

Brandy & Maks, Instant Dance

Brandy and Maks decided to put together a similar dance to their marathon dance: one minute of dance that is repeatable and a bunch of fun moves. One of those moves — a rump-shaking competition that Maks, on the first try, won. Brandy was convinced her musicality would take her through.

The minute of choreography really showed, though: that minute was tight, ballroom-y and totally appropriate. The other part, though, is everything that Len would hate: rump-shaking, ballroom-cheering and something you would normally see at a wedding rather than a competition. Yikes, Maks! The crowd loved it, of course.

Bruno loved the performance. Carrie Ann hated the choreography because it took them a while to get into the actual dance. Len said their Cha-Cha-Cha was “full of flair, full of rhythm and full of performance,” but that Carrie Ann was right about the lack of instant-ness.

Carrie Ann and Len awarded them nines and Bruno a 10, for a total of 29. Their overall score was 57, which tied them for the top of the leaderboard with Jennifer and Derek.