Credit: Michael Bolton's Twitter Photo: Chelsie Hightower & Michael Bolton Take a Break

Tom Bergeron declared at the start of this week that The Hoff’s elimination was “a surprise.” Are we going to have to start a “Really, Tom Bergeron?” moment count, or did his simply miss The Hoff’s horrifying “dance” routine in week one? Tom told us that it meant “no star was safe!” and then showed us Florence and Brandy cursing, Audrina crying (or attempting to, anyway), Jennifer sweating, The Situation falling, and Michael removing his face mask to talk to Chelsie. When did he become Michael Jackson? That’s the real surprise of this week — unless you count the producers getting Sarah Palin on camera.

Before the walk down the Staircase of Horrors, Brooke Burke and her glitter-and-pointy-satin chest told us that they were the most-watched show last week. The pointy triangular bits, however, made her dress look as though it was trying to fly away from her (poor dress! We understand). Audrina managed not to bounce too much in her spiderweb-meets-cobalt-blue-glitter dress and Chelsie managed to smile while being escorted by Michael in a fuzzy leopard print jacket, for some unknown reason. Kyle brought one finger, Rick brought sequined pleather and Margaret managed not to trip this week in her zebra-print-and-sequins dress. Who told the designers that it was animal print week? Brandy went for a schoolgirl look (why are we not surprised Maks would suggest that?), Bristol went for something “modest” and ugly and Kurt went for something that would have looked great if he had a wig and was singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy From Company B” and wearing a skirt. Florence, thankfully, was all class and so, surprisingly, was The Situation? Jennifer went with gold fringe and seemingly enjoyed every second of it — so we did, too.

Bristol’s dress was actually more horrible from far away than close up. It is was a cheap primrose satin with matching opera gloves — horrible for her upper arms! — and then was accented on the bottom by some sort of royal purple tulle monstrosity to cover her ankles. She must have raided her old Halloween princess costumes when she went back to Alaska last week.


Rick & Cheryl

They were tasked with the Jive — and Rick was worried both about the speed and his ability to do the Jive with his injured tendon that ended his career.

Stuck in pants with way too many zippers, half a bum foot, and Z.Z. Tops “Tush,” we were fully expecting Rick to mess this one up — and super pleasantly surprised when he didn’t. It might not have been the most high-energy Jive of the evening, but his feet were tight, his arms were great and the man looked like he was having a ton of fun. They executed a stepover move that looked like Cheryl got tangled in Rick’s legs — but it turned out to be a piece of choreography designed to take advantage of his height. The cheekiness of the choreography included one butt-slap, one exposure of Cheryl’s costume panties labeled (of course) “Tush” and Rick doing air guitar with Cheryl’s leg at the final dip. Whatever happened during this week’s rehearsal, it obviously went really well. We'd suggest foul play, but GF Eliza Dushku looked excited as ever in the audience.

Len was concerned about Rick's height, but called it “compact, fun and full of energy” and named him a contender. Bruno agreed the Jive was the hardest dance for week too and Rick killed it. Carrie Ann thought last week was better and that his posture wasn’t as good this week, but encouraged him to work harder on his Latin dances.

The got unanimous sevens, for a total of 21.

Florence & Corky

Florence told the cameras that after watching the show from the beginning and being in the audience, the first moment dancing had been surreal. And, of course, she doesn’t just want to be a joke: she wants to be a contender. Her chances, however, weren’t improved by the need to perform a Quickstep this week. She called the dance “like running” and managed to, of course, work one flip of the bird to the cameras (and presumably the producers).

She took the stage in her classy sequined gown with a heretofore unnoticed red train and gave Corky the bedroom eyes from across the stage. Dancing to an extremely slowed-down version of KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See,” the audience suddenly saw that Florence, sadly, wasn’t quite as sassy this week, nor as light on her feet. The slowed down Quickstep crawled along, with Corky sticking in just enough of the required moves to qualify but not nearly enough of them fast enough. He did speed it up some about halfway through, but slowed down again as Florence forgot some of the steps. Her posture was great, her smile fantastic and the two comedic moves they executed quite cute — but a step without the quick was hardly a Quickstep.

Bruno loved her entrance, but said, at times, she looked like “Driving Ms. Daisy.” (Corky is nowhere near the performer Morgan Freeman is.)  He noticed the hesitance of the footwork and said it was “lovely at time.” Carrie Ann said it was incredible for a 76-year-old and the dance suited her: she was light on her feet, her carriage was fantastic and the dance was elegant. Len said he judges the dancing, not her age. And, for that performance, he said, “I’ll see you next week!” They earned themselves kisses from Mrs. Brady.

Bruno and Len gave them sixes and Carrie Ann gave them a 7 for a total of 19.

Brandy & Maks


This week was the week, of course, for Maks and Brandy to argue. After days of fighting, Brandy finally told him that his approach was “a**holey” some times which, we can all agree, he is. Maks was hurt that she called him that, and he said he was trying not to be one. Brandy said he was succeeding in being passive-aggressive instead. Again, we had to agree with Brandy.

The couple, however, got the worst song of the night, a terrible rendition of “Magic” by B.o.B. featuring Rivers Cuomo, for their Jive. It wasn’t helped by Brandy’s someone off facial expressions or her hyper-articulated hands that didn’t match the dance. Her and Maks’ energy levels and attitudes were completely off, even if the choreography itself had a ton of potential — and Brandy the ability to keep up with it. But their arguments off-stage definitely translated to their dance on-stage.

Carrie Ann called her very cute and said she seemed happy to be doing the Jive, but her energy was all over the place and she didn’t point her toes. Len said she’ll never dance badly because she is coordinated, but she took a step back this week. He said she didn’t dance with full intent and he didn’t like her solo part in the middle. Bruno said, “Okay from you is not good enough,” and that she wasn’t sharp or precise enough.

They were awarded all sevens, for a total of 21.

Michael & Chelsie

For their Jive, they got “You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog” — but on Day 2, Michael was down with laryngitis and he was told to take it easy. Chelsie said Michael was having trouble retaining information and learning the steps — not that the facemask totally helped.

Chelsie made him sit and actually crawl on all fours out of a giant doghouse. Her metaphorical punishment for a partner she seemed in rehearsal to be pretty sick of was about as painful to watch as it sounded, but once he got upright and stripped off the horrific leopard print rug coat, the dance seemed to have the potential not to suck. That potential faded faster than Bolton’s hair. He danced like a man high on antihistamines (or something stronger): all lethargy, old-man “sexyface” and so little rhythm that we finally understood why he sang strictly ballads all those years. It was difficult to tell if he was forgetting steps, unable to perform them or just really didn’t care. We sort of think he didn’t actually care.

Len started with, “I don’t think the world’s quite ready for your interpretation of the Jive,” which was possibly the kindest way to start the critique. Len said he saw many of the basic steps that were supposed to be there, but the dance didn’t fit him. Bruno said “it was a mess of a Jive” and that he turned in the worst Jive in 11 seasons — and then Len scolded him for being unfair. Carrie Ann said that she found it difficult to judge, because he’d poured his heart and soul into the dance to please Chelsie and “You’re Michael Bolton.” That might have been the worst critique of all.

Bolton seemed stunned by the critique, and Brooke Burke offered him a hug to make him feel better before the scores came in. Carrie Ann gave them a 4; Len and 5; and Bruno an unexpected 3 for a total 12. The crowd booed.

Audrina & Tony

For their Quickstep, Tony said, “Bruno called you a show pony. We’re going to make you a racehorse.” Audrina said the schedule is so hard for her, since she has to go to the studio and rehearse, and Tony said “The people in her life are not used to sharing her.” Apparently, going to the studio is taking a roll on Audrina’s relationship with her boyfriend — quite the charmer, that one — and she turned on the waterworks.

For their Quickstep, Audrina and Tony got Girls Aloud’s “Love Machine,” an odd choice that they nonetheless made the best of. Audrina’s vacant expression is perfect for the quick footwork of the Quickstep and posture of the waltz, so she looked great — except when the camera moved to her feet to watch her screw up the footwork. At that point, it turns out that she can actually change expressions — and she looked like someone who’d just messed up a step. So, miracles! But, following Michael, well, she was going to look fantastic no matter what, and the dance was actually quite well suited to her style and energy level.

Bruno said, “The show pony is turning into Secretariat!” He said the movement was lovely but he noticed a few of the misses. Carrie Ann said it was a huge improvement and was fantastic  and loved her form and posture. Len called it the best dance to that point.

Tony offered to wax his legs if they don’t get three eights, in a moment he didn’t expect to be shown on television. The judges almost obliged him: Carrie Ann and Len gave them eights, but Bruno gave them a 7, for a total of 23. Tony apologized to his wife: “I’m coming home with waxed legs,” he said.

Jennifer & Derek

Jennifer found out in a routine exam for the show that she had cancer and her spinal cord was compressed: the cancer’s gone, but she’s got a plate and four screws in her neck. Since they can’t use tricks because of the neck, they decided to ramp up the energy level. She found is exhausted.

Jennifer, in by far the best dress of the night, got Metro Station’s “Shake It” — and they did for their Jive. Last week’s worries that Jennifer couldn’t pull off a fast dance? Gone. Great hands, great posture, great energy level, great articulation in the feet. Heck, we wanted to get up and dance with them. And she seemed to be having fun the entire time. No one puts Baby in a corner, not even cancer.

Even Derek was tired after the dance — they lay down for the judge’s table, and Tom sat down with them. Carrie Ann called her “a sexy hot energizing bionic bunny,” and said their energy level never let up. Len called it great and colorful. Bruno called it a killer Jive and said the choreography was difficult beyond belief and she nailed it.

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

Then Tom joined Sarah and Piper Palin in the audience. She was super enthusiastic about everyone — and she refused to pick a favorite.

Margaret & Louis

Margaret felt confident in the Jive and enjoyed it — but she, too, was feeling vulnerable and turned on the waterworks during rehearsals.

There probably couldn’t have been a better choice for Margaret than Blondie’s “Dreaming” — and the Jive suited her pretty well, too! While it lacked the complexity of Derek’s choreography and the sheer bound of Jennifer’s dance, it was peppy, it was tight and it was high energy. Margaret could have used a little more attention to her free hand, and she definitely messed up the footwork once, but, for tonight, it was a huge improvement over last week — and she seemed to actually enjoy her time on the floor.

Len said it was a proper Jive, full-on and it had a lot of energy. He told her to work on the kicks. Bruno told her to keep it tight and sharp — but when she relaxes and smiles, it changes everything. Carrie Ann saw the improvement, and told her to watch her shoulders and tone down her facial expressions a little.

The judges gave them all sixes for a total of 18 — which was a little lower than we thought they deserved.

Kyle & Lacey

Lacey had Kyle working out before rehearsals to build his endurance and improve his flexibility. But they did try to fit his personality to the Quickstep.

For their Quickstep, Kyle and Lacey got Weezer’s “(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” and if you thought the cuteness of that couple was a fluke last week, you were wrong. They did the cutest Quickstep of the week, they did it up to speed and they tossed in some funky elements to match with Kyle’s personality that actually worked for both the song and dance. He definitely kept his energy up, he kept the dance pretty tight and it was totally adorbs.

Bruno told him he was a powerhouse performer but that he needs more control over his energy to keep his footwork and frame in check. Carrie Ann loved it despite the fact that he was slightly flat-footed. Len said it was hardly a classic Quickstep, but he said he was flat-footed and his left arm kept flying up and down... but he liked it.

Bruno and Len gave them sevens and Carrie Ann gave them an 8, for a total of 22.

Kurt & Anna

Kurt and Anna’s rehearsal seemed pretty goofy — and like they were having fun with one another. Anna wanted him to spray tan to help the dancing (but we think he didn’t comply with that wish of hers).

In the most unusual musical selection of the night, Kurt and Anna were awarded “Danger Zone” — yes, that one, from “Top Gun” — for their Jive, with which they inexplicably paired Army greens. Hello? Top Gun was a Navy flight school. Kurt was a little flat-footed, but looked like he was having fun, definitely kept up with the energy of the dance and the choreography and danced darn well for such a big guy paired with such a little woman. There were a few orphan hands, but it was definitely a solid performance (again).

Carrie Ann loved it, and thought he had great musicality. Len said it was well done, fun and full-on, but wants to see more sharpness in his feet. Bruno called it cool and loved the Jive — and said that he was amazed at how well Kurt placed his “frying pan”-sized hands.

The judges awarded them all sevens, for a total of 21.

The Situation & Karina

The Situation was horrified by the Quickstep — and by Brian Setzer’s “We No Speak Americano.” Karina said, “I’m really enjoying kicking The Situation’s a**, I don’t think a lot of girls get to do that.” Their rehearsals seemed like a good time, and Karina thought he might surprise everyone.

He was surprisingly worried about the dance, and it showed in his face and, eventually, in his feet. He lost track of the rhythm in the middle, lost some of the steps shortly thereafter and started to lose his posture as he lost his confidence. He knew it, too — as they walked to the judges’ table, he shrugged at Karina, but only after he took a beat to pick himself and his big ego off the dance floor.

Len called it “a series of unfortunate events,” even though he offered that it was a tough dance. And he called it a good job for a difficult dance. Bruno said he could tell that he wanted to do it well, and he was too focused to enjoy it. Carrie Ann told him to find some musicality — and told him to listen to the music until he felt it.

The judges awarded them unanimous sixes, for a total of 18.

Bristol & Mark

It was time for a field trip this week! They went up to Wasilla to see her home — and then he introduced him to Sarah Palin. She acted just like a slightly starstruck mom, and didn’t know how she managed to pull of a shimmy. Then Sarah hugged her and Bristol acted exactly like a teenager who was embarrassed hugging her mom in front of 23 million people.

Bristol still couldn’t manage to look like she’s definitely not going to throw up out of nervousness during the dance, even when she got The Supremes “You Can’t Hurry Love” (slightly slower than average) for her Quickstep. It is, however, interesting to watch the moments in the dance that Mark choreographs in to allow him to try to make Bristol marginally less nervous. You could, nonetheless, see Bristol counting the steps as they danced, as she stopped smiling for much of it. That said, she didn’t miss any of them and if her posture wasn’t quite up to snuff, it was better than many of the other dancers tonight. She looked graceful, if nervous, and the dance was definitely enough to keep her around for another week even if her extremely excited mother wasn’t in the audience.

Bruno liked her unaffected quality of her, that is charming. He liked her dancing, but told her to be more of a character. Carrie Ann said that her vulnerable, endearing spirit was charming. Len said “it’s not quite there, but it’s very, very close.” Len said it’s all there, but it’s a little bit careful and that she needs to perform it slightly more.

Carrie Ann and Bruno gave them sevens and Len gave them an 8, for a total of 22.

 

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