Darling, Len'll give you love if you turn the key (via sound footwork). It's Contestants' Choice dance night!
The Week 2 show was cruel and unusual punishment for many of the couples, as a surprise double elimination knocked out long-distance swimmer and Dancing With the Stars super-fan Diana Nyad and the lovely and charming Henry Byalikov early on, then sullen hockey star Sean Avery and snappy spin-demon (in every possible sense) Karina Smirnoff following a long holding pattern in which three couples’ fates hung in the balance before they’d even danced! That was a ridiculous sentence, but I think it successfully mirror(ball)s the jumpy and somewhat annoying structure of the episode.
At least Diana got to dance a second time… no scores, though. Ugh, it was like they couldn’t get rid of her fast enough. And she was an awesome character in this particular chapter of The House of Flying Swaggers and Disco Ball Dreams. Meanwhile, Sean and Karina pulled off a solid 21-out-of-30 salsa that really could have energized voters in his favor — if not for his unpalatable attitude. I’ve spent a lot of time mulling this over, and I’ve concluded that Sean Avery strikes me as the actor Patrick Wilson… in character as Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Something like that. It’s not perfect. But it’ll never have to be! And Sean will never have to refuse to play along ever again. No more reality TV for him.
Everyone thought Star Wars relic Billy Dee Williams would be the obvious (and only) choice to go home this week, but Lando Calrissian lives on. Hey, he can’t help it if people love those movies. If the public wants to see a guy who is nearly 80 and cannot really move risk his life on a samba roll, then that is what the public shall receive!
So here’s the deal with the partner Switch Up: You have to TWEET it. (I guess if you don’t have a Twitter account you’re not participating… which is crazy.) During Weeks 2 and 3, tweet “#DWTS” along with the first names of the people you want together. Full instructions over at ABC.com, plus they’ll tweet for you. But only if you tweet. I have a headache.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhhh-ba!
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 25/30 Why?! Why must they all switch partners? M&M (Mickey and Minnie Mouse, this week) have the sweetest/cutest vibe during rehearsals — it’s kind of a little girl/old man vibe, with Maks claiming he’s too grizzly for all the chuck-her-over-his-shoulder lifts they pulled off in their swing dance (but he sure didn’t look over-exerted during the performance, when it mattered) and Meryl suggestively sidling up to the wall in the practice studio. It’s almost like her flirt-wall was a physical stand-in for her partner. Just saying, I love their chemistry. I didn’t see it as much last week but now I am all about it. And that’s the whole point of partnerships — they evolve, right? Wrong, says the Switch Up!
Anyway, their swing routine, punctuated by tons of acrobatics and M&M’s red and black Converse sneakers, was, I believe, the first dance to begin up in the Celebriquarium. Loved it! The ending was fabulous too as he playfully yanked her down on top of him as he fell backwards. But Bruno and Carrie Ann claimed Meryl had lost timing. “I wanna know when,” Maks implored them, and later had to insist to a sh*t-stirring Erin Andrews, “I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I swear.” Oh, well. Maks reacted to Len’s score: “The important one gave us a 9.” Totally t-shirt-worthy quote right there.
NEXT PAGE: You’ll never guess who’d already been inducted into Carrie Ann’s Sexy Hall of Fame
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 25/30 By opening his shirt and revealing a passion for hard work and technique — plus his insane abs — James has suddenly emerged as one of my favorites after their gleaming white-and-tan salsa. Peta’s new short layered haircut (or we might’ve just caught her on a rare non-extensions night) only enhanced the sleekness and speed of their routine, which ended with a triumphant and frankly unbelievable “revolving lift” that had her turning roughly 1.75 cartwheels in less than a second. Len advised James to work on his hip action, which is sort of a ringing endorsement from Len if you think about it. It means he actually thinks hip action from a male contestant is possible and wants to see him use it down the line.
Carrie Ann announced that James is in her DWTS Sexy Hall of Fame, along with Gilles Marini and…. Corbin Bleu? Huh?! I’m dying laughing. Oh. Of course — he’s in the audience. Now I really can’t stop laughing.
Still laughing. Sexy Chicken Corbin Bleu.
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 25/30 After a quick lesson on James Bondishness from Arrogance Master Maks, our slight, blond, monogamous-for-five-years angel was ready for a sizzling tango. I got a distinct King Joffrey from Game of Thrones vibe from Charlie as he started out on his royal perch (though I must admit Cody Simpson is way more Joffrey-esque in the face than Charlie White) and enjoyed the idea of GOT suddenly “going electronic” and also taking place in the clouds. Hey, smoke machine! What’s it been, like, a few minutes? Missed ya. Charlie confidently held his own in this tango — and I gotta say, anyone who can draw attention away from Sharna during any dance is probably going to win. “You looked like Baryshnikov out there!” raved Carrie Ann. Whoa! “That’s even better than the Sexy Hall of Fame,” Tom correctly pointed out.
But alas, Len knocked the pair down a few points for breaking hold. The best part about Len’s line, “You have to adhere, and if you don’t, the judges go down on you” was Bruno trying everything within his power to maintain a straight face and not react facially. And he DID it! Marvelous segment all-around.
Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 24/30 Birthday boy Val tasked Danica with a samba routine he would dance with a professional partner, and despite a brief sobbing-in-the-storage-unit spell during rehearsals (it happens to the best of ’em), she was absolutely 100 percent up for it. Good God, that fringe! Danica’s dress was basically all structured metallic fringe — like, seriously weighty stuff. It’s about time someone lent fringe the glimmer and heft and overall importance it has always deserved. Quite possibly my favorite fringe of all time! Also, Danica’s “blooming out of the headband” ‘do made her hair look like a bubble.
Bubbles ‘n’ Fringe would be an excellent bar/salon! We could have liiiiiiiiive viewing parties there every Monday. If you’re in the market to buy a place that would fit this description, certainly let me know. I’ll help decorate and come up with specialty cocktails. Sounds like a great deal for you, right?
But back to Danica’s hair: That crimped blonde nonsense sprouting out on the sides was straight out of a Kevin Arnold nightmare, but I reveled in the fancy-jungle-cat nature of it all. In a way, it was special hair fringe. Bruno and Carrie Ann want Danica to focus on her transitions — “When you get it right, you’re gonna be a scorcher,” promised Bruno. She’s already on fire!
NEXT PAGE: Would Candace Cameron try a sexy rumba with God? I wonder.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 24/30 I’d never have expected a swing routine, of all styles, to take place on one of Derek’s fave structures — the small, elevated platform. This way they could cover less ground and still seem like they were providing a lot of content. Let’s just get this out of the way, thought Amy: “My legs could FLY OFF while dancing.” You know that’s going to happen at some point, and I’m really excited/terrified for when it does. Even Tom is uncharacteristically not “very relaxed”! For all the manufactured tension this show likes to create (I’ve about had it with the constant cuts to DJ Tanner during Winnie Cooper’s segments and vice versa), here is an actual threat. Leg to the head! Keep an eye out. It’s gonna happen.
“You used every nuance in that music to great effect,” said Len, complimenting Derek in effect, as he likes to do. Bruno noticed Amy missed an under-arm pass, but claimed he would not count her down because of it. Well, why not?
Danica’s hair-bubble and Peta’s new cut were no match for my favorite ‘do of the night: Amy’s half-up rockabilly double-cinnamon-bun. YUM.
Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: 22/30 I loved Witney’s explanation of the tango to a choreography-testing Cody: “It’s traditional… so you have to keep holding hands.” And on that note: Child, please — “You can’t have your pants sagging like that in the tango.” Good for Our new Pro for holding her ground, though I do think the couple’s glow-in-the-dark “TRON formalwear” (quoth Tom) distracted from the standard tango elements even more than Cody’s brief and impressive interlude into the Moonwalk. Carrie Ann got all Switch Up Police on us, basically saying Cody was with the wrong partner at this current time because their height difference was too vast. Um, hardly! I mean, maybe, but in a typical season that’d just be something to work through and rise above, like, say, Jacoby and Karina.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 21/30 “I know I got one more point than Danica, but she could easily get more than me this week,” said Candace. Ew! Gross! Enough already with this two-person competition; there are oodles more sparklebots in the running. Mark thinks Candace needs to “own her hotness,” but whoopsie-daisy…. uh oh! Candace is a Christian. Her life revolves around her relationship with Jesus Christ, not S-E-X. All right, all right. We get it. At least Candace isn’t a stick in the mud within the dances themselves, as far as we can tell.
This week’s rumba looked a lot like last week’s contemporary and was much too aggressive and punctuated according to Len. “It didn’t come off like a romance,” he said. Really, Len? What’s more romantic than Eternal Angsty Face, the climax of which occurs when the guy helps to volumize the girl’s hair with his bare hands while dragging her backwards? Len is just completely out of touch with modern love, I guess.
Kudos to Candace for making Mark wear a shirt, by the way. Also, another note on that “volumizing” effect: DJ Tanner still has amazing hair and I bet scrunching it up like that and getting all up in its business was a serious childhood fantasy of Mark’s. And I’m officially with him on that. Too much information? Sorry. She just has excellent hair.
NEXT PAGE: A lone piece of confetti on Len’s head is the new soul patch
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: 21/30 I must admit I forgot about Drew (he danced first tonight) and when someone referenced his first name I was like “Lachey? Where?” How sad is that, in general? Look at what Dancing With the Stars has done to me. Anyway, Mr. Soul Patch and his distinctive sparkly collar got the crowd going beautifully. “You’re so in tune with what the public wants,” Bruno gushed, adding that Drew did make some mistakes but covered them up well. I’m telling you, that sparkly collar electrified the audience! Not to mention, Cheryl’s matching royal blue dress was sequined on top and blossomed into ruffles on the bottom — a common Planet Mirrorballus costuming effect, but if you looked closely the tiered ruffles were feathery in nature. Just when I thought I’d seen everything. What a world.
Confetti on Len’s head! It worked for him. It was his soul patch.
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani: 21/30 We can all blame NeNe’s husband Gregg for wanting her to do a complicated jive on Week 2, but no one really cares about this aggressively shoehorned-in “Which dance would you maybe kind of sort of like to do? Oh f*ck it, just name a dance. Any dance that comes to mind. Name a dance. Do it. You’re not doing it. Here, I’ll just feed you one. Okay, the jive” theme, so I guess Gregg is off the hook.
“No divorce!” Tom gleefully announced after their routine, which needed some sharper footwork from the pink-hooved Real Rich Housewife but was still a quite impressive Week 2 effort. I found myself mesmerized by Tony’s matching pink bicep-bands on the outside of his white shirt, but that’s par for the course. I think the Switch Up will hurt NeNe as she’s super tall and already paired up with the tallest pro.
“Your arms could still be bigger,” complained Carrie Ann, to which Tony incredulously pointed out that in the jive, your hands should stay fairly close to your body, oh my God, do you even know how to dance, lady? (That was my thought, not Tony’s, at least not projected out loud.) “I don’t want them to be bigger,” Tony held his ground. Pretty sure he would know, Policewoman Inaaaaaahba.
Billy Dee Williams and Emma Slater: 15/30 Ha! How? Emma wisely managed to cover up her partner’s physical inability to move by outfitting him in sunglasses and draping him in bedazzled broads. (You may recognize new Troupe member Jenna Johnson from last summer’s So You Think You Can Dance.) Honestly, this “tango” was about as enjoyable as a foursome featuring a shaded tree could possibly be. For Len, Billy Dee’s tango was more like “ivy” as it “crept along” and didn’t have enough attack. “If a tango was a plant, it’s a cactus! It’s sharp, spiteful, prickly…” You know what? Len needs to characterize all of the dance styles in plant-based terms. I have just learned a LOT here on this week’s Weeds.
What do you think, DANCMSTRs? Poor Diana, right? She is my bosom friend.
Fringe Fairy a.k.a. Anne, Surely