‘Dancing’ recap: Last calls
In a way, it doesn’t even matter what the season 6 finalists did last night on Dancing With the Stars. All we need to know is that three couples performed a freestyle and no one pretended he or she was a doll. Doesn’t get much better than that! I give my reassurance level a Bruno-delivered ”Teeeeeeeehn!”
Last night, Kristi, Cristián, and Jason (literally) kicked things off with a group cha-cha, an excellent new development that I hope will be repeated in future seasons with different dances. I loved that each couple had to cha-cha to the same music, and that for the final segment, when Jason, Kristi, and Cristián performed the same steps side by side, no one was trying to jut out in front of the others. That sequence (at first I typed ”sequins”!) put it all in perspective: Jason was a bit slow, Kristi appeared to be on a smaller geographic scale than everyone else on the floor (I forget that she’s that tiny), and Cristián moved with pronounced rhythm and an expression as eager as DANCMSTR’s when contemplating the prospect of lounging at South Beach in a thong with Jason. Despite the (fake) rivalry among the finalists, they obviously really get along — otherwise, Yama-hoochie might’ve ended up on the floor with a ruptured everything after the Jason-Cristián figure-skating lift at the very end of the dance. Wow. I have it paused on my DVR while I write this; that’s how much I dug the teamwork. Jason’s height might not have ”gone together” with the cha-cha, but it definitely went well with the ability to lift a tiny human up six feet six inches. The ensuing group hug, a Kristi-Mark sandwich in which Jason and the ”Latin Stallion” played the roles of two ends of a croissant, featured those two guys curling their flaky, buttery edges over Kristi and Mark while hugging. So cute. I think it’s time to change the DVR-paused image to that.
Each finalist received a cha-cha score to combine with his or her all-important (though I’m still confounded as to why, in a ballroom competition) freestyle score. We have liftoff….
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark: 60 out of a possible 60 points Some will say Kristi’s perfect scoring was a little over-the-top; I say it makes sense in comparison with the other two celebrities’ scores, and she probably could’ve received those scores for multiple performances before. ”Showing your personality” is one of the lamest DWTS clichés of all time, but that’s exactly what Kristi managed to do during the group cha-cha. As soon as she ”spontaneously” kissed Bruno, she just seemed way more personally invested in the dance than usual. Maybe it was the hair — instead of the late-’80s-on-the-ice coiffed ponytail we’re used to, Kristi’s hair was crimped. Which doesn’t really set it apart from the late ’80s, but trust me, the hair was way more fun than usual. Plus, Kristi’s cha-cha dress was possibly my favorite fringed number to date. I want Emmy-winning costume designer Randall Christensen to turn that thing into a pillow and send it to me so I can dream about the series on it for the dreaded DWTS-less summer months. (Hopefully he has a Google alert for his name and will find this awesome and totally doable request. 1675 Broadway, yo!) I believe I am at least owed that, ABC. Make it happen.
For the freestyle, Mark choreographed a cross between the mambo and hip-hop that inexplicably started off in pajamas. Huh? In matching black spangly pinstripe suits and Converse sneakers, Kristi and Mark threw in every move possible, some of which were, quite frankly, pretty ugly — but all of which were technically difficult, as the judges pointed out. Bruno even went so far as to call her ”Miss Synchronicity,” which I’m guessing he thought might have qualified as a play on the name ”Kristi.” It did not. I award a few extra irony points to Mark, who warned Kristi during their rehearsal footage that she shouldn’t make a goofy, fish-lipped facial expression while dancing. Because that would be totally out of line.
NEXT: Jason and Edyta strip