”Dancing With the Stars” recap: Grade inflation
Was everyone on Dancing With the Stars dressed as a Disney character last night? As the camera made its initial ”Here’s everyone!” pan, I got freaked out, as if I were 7 years old and visiting the Magic Kingdom, and all the crazy characters suddenly swarmed around me in a fuzzy Tom(bergeron)orrowland, and I didn’t wanna make eye contact with any of them, but my parents were like Annie, do it, we’ve come this far, and because I was the older sister and really brave, I just sucked it up and held my little autograph book up to a scary, sweating matador/pimp named Tony.
Well, that didn’t make much sense. But does anything, really? What about comparing Jason Taylor to ”a majestic swan intertwined to a mating ritual”? As usual, Tom made the most out of Bruno’s most nonsensical metaphor of the night by finding a way to encapsulate the entire series in a brilliant pitch: ”Where else can you get glitter and swan sex in one show?” Practically nowhere! I’m sold. Here’s how the nine fared in week 4’s waltzes and paso dobles.
Jason Taylor and Edyta: 29 out of a possible 30 ”Sir Dancelot” and Kristi Yamaguchi tied for first, just one point shy of perfect. Really? They’re giving out 10s already, to people who trip up mid-dance (Jason) and don’t show emotion (Kristi)? Why? Bruno and Carrie Ann did not need to whip ’em out so quickly. Jason and Edyta’s ”wow of a waltz” (according to voice of reason DANCMSTR) was quick and flowing, and it boasted hands down the best costumes of the night. He did stumble, as Carrie Ann pointed out before heeding the wail of her raging libido and giving him a 10 anyway. It was weird. She wasn’t even crying.
I replayed Jason’s stumble in slo-mo, an arduous process that evoked the halcyon days of attempting to determine just what happened with Jennie Garth’s fall half a year ago. The same wardrobe-malfunction principle seemed to be at work: A giant train of gauze (extending from Edyta) accidentally wrapped around Jason’s leg, and I think he made the choice to detangle himself while still upright instead of taking a potential tumble. Pretty smart move, I thought. Still, hello! Not a 10. Unrelated: Wasn’t it adorable when Edyta said, ”Jason treats me like one of his buddies,” but with her accent, it sounded like ”bodies”? Like he has multiple beefy frames just lying around? Is it time to stop asking rhetorical questions?
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark: 29/30 The power couple is in second place on the ”judges’ leaderboard” for the first time all season — even if it only looks like second place. Alphabetical order’s a bitch, ice princess! Just kidding. I love Kristi. And I loved the complexity and difficulty of her and Mark’s paso doble. But again, it probably didn’t deserve two 10s. The perfect scores seemed even stranger considering Kristi and Mark were the first couple to perform. I’d have been less shocked if that score had arrived at the very annoying DWTS end time of 9:32 p.m.
I’m happy to report that Mark’s guppy impersonation was much toned down from last week. But he’s still opening and closing his mouth. I’m not fooled — Mark is simply taking a breather/open-eyed nap in the tiny castle at the bottom of his fishbowl. Maybe he was wigging out from the Harold Wheeler Ensemble’s bizarre rendition of an awesome song, ”Blue Monday,” that accompanied their sophisticated ballroom dance. DANCMSTR’s criticism of Kristi’s paso was that the drama came out in the choreography instead of from her. So the song was apt, in a way — the lyric ”Tell me how I should feel” could be Kristi’s plea to her partner, the judges, and her fans for the rest of the season.
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek: 28/30 I’ll interrupt the DANCMSTR streak to deliver the news that Shannon and Derek’s Viennese waltz earned them the first ”Len 10” of season 6. And Derek wasn’t even in great shape, having strained his neck during rehearsal (blame Kylie) and handed off much of the week’s actual hands-on training to the dreamiest substitute teacher ever, Jonathan Roberts. Shannon’s genuine concern for Derek was endearing, and I agreed with her: He should not have been dancing within a week if the doc said no! Was that totally necessary? It was bad enough that just before Shannon and Derek’s segment, the disco-ball graphics that sent us into commercial break showed the balls pulsating ominously to a deafening heartbeat. Aggghh! I spent their entire waltz just watching Derek’s neck, and as the Avril Lavigne impersonator sang ”Keep Holding On,” I rooted for Derek to keep holding on to whatever tenuous neck cartilage he had left. Then, to be fair, I rewound and watched only Shannon. Carrie Ann was right; she really does seem more comfortable, especially when she’s in hold.
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