In their second performance of the week, the stars and their handlers try to impress the judges and stay in the game
Cloris Leachman, Dancing With the Stars
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

‘DWTS’ ep 2 recap: One down!

Welcome back to round 2 of Princess Sparkles’ Dancing With the Stars premiere-week TV Watch marathon! Princess Sparkles will have to ask you to stand on a platform in the middle of the room, and take two hours to read this entire recap. You will do so under the assumption that there will be very little payoff at the end, other than a silly screen grab and a vague remembrance of the Jeffrey Ross formerly known as a ballroom dancer. Still want to go through with this? Stand up straighter! And would it kill you to keep smiling as you become completely overtaken by a nameless sense of dread? I don’t think so. Are you a woman? Don’t forget your bedazzled four-inch heels! Fabulous. Places, please. And…cue spotlight! You all look great, as usual. Let’s start the show….

Brooke Burke and Derek: 26 out of possible 30 The high scorer for both nights so far, Brooke delivered a quickstep that doubled as a baby-putting-to-sleeper. (After the season, she should definitely endorse this dance as a product, perhaps in a paid programming block alongside Susan Lucci’s Malibu Pilates Chair.) The judges, who were sparing with the 8 paddles all night, whipped out the 9s for Brooke and Derek, whose dance they said embodied ”pure Hollywood” and was ”Sen! Say! Shun! Uhl!” I particularly loved this couple’s costumes, even though I had to really squint in order to correctly tally Brooke’s dress under the Sequins or Fringe categories.

Cody Linley and Julianne: 23/30 As the prom king and queen started swiveling their way through the first bars of ”I Want You to Want Me,” it was almost as if the ridiculous red fringe on Julianne’s dress was singing directly to me. ”I do, you know I do!” I swore to the fringe, and I hope it heard me. For the quickstep, Cody went through The Change from boy to man just in time to command ballroom’s most difficult dance with a more mature frame and posture. I loved the way Cody attempted to, for a few seconds, act easy-breezy-beautiful backstage (“I’m super happy. That’s awesome”) before just admitting to Samantha that he was completely out of breath.

Toni Braxton and Alec: 23/30 Speaking of breathing, last night Toni received a very important lesson from Alec in how to do so — specifically, breathe out on the way down from a jump or other strenuous move. These little tutorials about things that actually have to do with dance are few and far between among rehearsal packages usually dominated by much more important issues — you know, like confidence-boosting, the trials of practicing a tango in a private jet, and the spray-tanning of football players in the same shade as their natural skin tones. But where was I? Toni. Please remember to breathe again…breathe again.

NEXT: Rocco’s (lack of) hip action

Warren Sapp and Kym: 22/30 Not surprisingly, my mind snaps into auto-worship mode whenever an enormous athlete willingly dons near-offensively bright clothing on national TV. But Warren had me way before his and Kym’s purple-hued quickstep even began, with the way he questioned ballroom’s grand tradition (”That [step] is so damn awkward. Who the hay-ul thought of that?”) and then, in order to properly celebrate the mastery of another troublesome step, threw himself against a wall so hard the camera shook. During their performance, the amount and quickness of Warren’s steps were impressive, but DANCMSTR and Carrie Ann agreed the steps themselves were a bit flat.

Susan Lucci and Tony: 22/30 Tony always seems to get saddled with partners who need constant pep talks. He should really consider opening a private practice, or better yet, joining Private Practice as a ”Ballroom Specialist” in the off-season. As a lifelong perfectionist, Susan assumed she was learning the two dances at a much slower pace than she should have been. But no! Enter miracle worker and longtime Carrie Ann nemesis Tony, who used kind and soothing words to work his magic. After Susan’s verging-on-powerful quickstep, DANCMSTR bragged about correctly predicting that Susan would excel at the standard ballroom styles. He probably just paid someone the $10 he received from Cloris Leachman to pat him on the back.

Rocco DiSpirito and Karina: 21/30 Rocco danced the mambo, too, causing the judges to flip out about how much he’d improved even more than they did for Susan. Carrie Ann even said she was ”blown away,” which makes her a liar because she was still sitting right there. Despite his surprising aptitude as a performer, Rocco’s hip action is nil — a fun fact he offered us during his rehearsal package. Between ”I have no movement in my hips” and ”Let’s be honest, I have no strength in this competition,” he’s really making a solid case for himself. I can’t wait for next week, when Rocco will nonchalantly admit, ”I don’t even know how to turn on the oven.”

Misty May-Treanor and Maks: 21/30 Like Rocco, Misty wowed the judges with her unlikely sense of showmanship. She did more solo work in the mambo than any other star — a smart choreographic move by Maks, I think, because it showed she’s not afraid to assume an over-the-top persona and really own it for the sake of the dance. Bruno enjoyed Misty’s ”power and attack” so much that at one point he cried ”Ohhhh, hit me!” Is he a volleyball? Ooh, special shout-out to Misty’s fellow ‘ballers Rachel Wacholder and Nicole Branagh, who popped up in the audience and were probably jealous that Misty got to dress up as a pitcher of tropical punch while they had to wear real clothes.

Maurice Green and Cheryl: 21/30 Is it weird that the most lingering detail of Maurice’s segment was that he told Samantha he was ”in bed, thinking everybody looked so good to me”? I should have better retained his and Cheryl’s daringly golden costumes instead. The judges don’t exactly fancy Mo a fine technician, but they do love his energy, and Bruno loves sexy parties, so there’s that. There’s also the Worm, Mo’s now-signature-after-just-two-nights dance move. You know the Worm, right? It translates to ”the Free Willy” in British? That one.

NEXT: Cloris and Corky’s new venture

Lance Bass and Lacey: 21/30 (Disclaimer: After this sentence, I promise to never once refer to this couple as — blechhh — ”Lancey.”) Rounding out the wasteland of couples tied at 21 are the two people who pee on dogs. Oh, crap, I meant pee like dogs, because only that would make sense in a ballroom dancing setting. The judges want more elegance in Lacey’s choreography, and I suddenly want a gingerbread cookie, a gingerbread cookie, a gingerbread cookie. Lacey wore more black. Lance let a chain dangle from his belt. It was EDGY.

Ted McGinley and Inna: 19/30 It’s hard to determine which was more “meh”: Ted’s wilted one-liners during the rehearsal package (”This mambo king has dance fever, and watch out: It’s contagious”) or his mambo itself. Ted’s dance style — general overthinking, interspersed with bouts of personality when he remembers he must perform — reminds me of Cameron Mathison. Not a bad thing! Just not an anything, really. He might need to do something crazy (a Jeffersons-themed tango, perhaps?) or no one will remember he’s there. Even Ted’s suit, which slightly sparkled all over (just as everything should), gave off that in-between vibe.

Kim Kardashian and Mark: 18/30 I can’t tell if the producers chose Kim because she has no detectable personality (beyond being ”shy” and ”reserved,” of course) or in spite of it. Anyone with the remotest sense of humor, or even a vague understanding of the term ”sense of humor,” would have, after agreeing to dance to ”Baby Got Back,” at least hammed it up for a few seconds. The quasi celebrity seems so afraid of looking stupid or silly that she’s forgotten she agreed to be on a show whose primary function is to make quasi-celebrities look stupid and silly. Mark’s gross overcompensation for Kim’s lifelessness only made the entire spectacle more embarrassing and bizarre. Speaking of which…

Cloris Leachman and Corky: 16/30 After spending most of their rehearsal time taunting each other while randomly breaking into song (an impressive hybrid; you can watch a clip over at today’s Sound Bites), the C&C Muesli Factory couldn’t be bothered with a real routine. So instead of a mambo, the pair went all multimedia on our asses: Their performance was actually the official movie trailer for Cloris and Corky Make a Porno, which went straight to DVD a few hours ago. With an entire jewelry store pasted onto her body, Cloris shimmied, grabbed crotches, and spun around six times before collapsing into a heap and pretending to attack her partner just before tickling him. That’s actually a ton of original moves. So it makes sense that if Cloris gets voted off next week, the judges ”are gonna be dead! I’m gonna sock ’em in the face! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Where is her chauffeur? Please stand by.

Hidden Gem of the Week! ”From certain angles,” writes my sister Meggers, ”the stage lights and chandeliers in back kind of look like a smiley face…”

What do you mean, ”kind of”?! This entire concept is absolutely stunning, and will probably become my new desktop background. Tile that s—!

What do you think, dance masters? Will any of you miss Jeffrey Ross? Does National Stay at Home Week have you sweatin’ with Cheryl and Maks’ Latin Cardio Dance workout DVD in between these crazy two-hour prime-time sessions? And who would you like to see waltz away for good tonight?

Episode Recaps

Dancing With the Stars
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