Dancing with the Stars recap: Period Pieces
Two major plot points marked Week 8 of season 9 of Dancing With the Stars. First: The triumphant return of the giant disco ball lined with red velvet that gives it the illusion (or not) of actually being a cake! If this prop didn’t exist, how would we be deceived into believing the dance-drawings were ”totally random”? It’d feel like a completely different show. And second: a dance-through-the-decades Latin round that was truly totally random and one of the best ideas ever exhibited on DWTS. The Latin round was an especially rich frosting, considering how DANCMSTR has been complaining about Mya and Dmitry’s use of gimmicks throughout the season. Oh, well. Some questions are better left unanswered, like ”Who are the nameless pros dancing with Tony and Mark in the red-fringed Latin demo?” I was particularly interested in Mullet Man, though my favorite was the girl with the ribbon in her hair and full torso coverage — she was giving off a strong ”Canned Heat” in Center Stage vibe. Click on that, trust me.
Did you really think I wouldn’t discuss the most important segment of the season before beginning with the rankings? You must be new here. The five remaining couples took time out of their busy schedules to show the viewing public the different ways in which they could vote. Kelly went online; Mya and Joanna casually texted; Aaron poked at an AT&T-networked smartphone. Of course, Donny demonstrated how to use a land line. Hilarious.
Mya and Dmitry Chaplin 59 out of possible 60 Thank god/Lord Mirrorballus that Mya and Dmitry took a ridiculous field trip to escape the redundancy of the ”smelly feet aromas” back in the dance studio by riding ranch horsies past random patches of manure on a trail. Were they really that relaxed?! Something must have clicked, though, because Mya and Dmitry finally got the high scores they’ve been gunning for all season. DANCMSTR set them up with some line about how he was disappointed…that there was nothing to criticize!, in the same way that Mya and Dmitry tricked us by discussing the importance of the ‘wow factor’ over technical safeness for the quickstep but then not delivering any gimmicks whatsoever. After their samba — which greatly amused Sabrina Bryan; oh, good — Dmitry ”proposed” to Mya with a gaudy ’10’ ring. I need that ring. Ideally I’d like to wear 10 of them as I type my recaps.
For the couple’s perfect-30 ’70s samba, bestowed upon us after a zoom-in of a giant SOLID GOLD disco ball, Mya donned a hot-pink catsuit with fringed leg openings, of course, while Dmitry went with a horribly clashing red print shirt and authentic ’70s mustache. This will sound weird, but I actually think Dmitry’s ‘stache made Mya’s excellent performance stand out to me more because it made him seem so nonchalant towards the dance, the scene, everything. They truly struck me as a couple who would just roll into a nightclub and start samba-rolling the hell out of it, like, ”Oh, hey, far out to see you, we’re just gonna take over the dance floor, can you dig it?” Or something. The point is, they succeeded at the assignment. Bruno did not succeed at imitating Diana Ross.
Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough: 52/60 For the standard round, Joanna’s quickstep truly was too much ”runnin’ about” like DANCMSTR said. Bruno thought it looked like Derek and Joanna were running away from the scene of a crime. Maybe Derek tripped one of the camera men for not framing him correctly during the dress rehearsal? Carrie Ann called the usually higher-scoring Joanna out for not pointing her toes — perhaps she should have paid more attention to the helpful how-to video Derek played for her of Mya and Dmitry. Nothing says ”Look at the pro dancer, Mya” than a tutorial video session. Very subtle! I thought Joanna deserved an extra point from all three judges for the fringe dangling from her full-length gloves.
NEXT: Karina gives Aaron good face
The couple’s ”futuristic paso doble” was indulgent, poorly lit, and…easily my favorite dance of the season. I’m in awe of Derek for his use of ”Living on Video,” the first and only hit by Canadian electropop duo Trans-X. Derek kind of looks like the singer, Pascal Languirand (inspiration, perhaps), and Joanna definitely dances better than any female in this song’s video. Go ahead and tell me the producers pick the music, but we all know only Derek could conceive of/would tolerate a ”futuristic paso doble” and that his silver-studded brain has in fact been brewing it for months. You do not leave these sorts of things to producer discretion and red velvet cake. I thought the whole presentation was brilliant, particularly the makeup. I also love that Joanna wears socks with her dance heels during rehearsals.
Kelly Osbourne and Louis van Intensité: 51/60 Maybe the reason Louis has to be so intense is that Kelly cannot focus for more than five minutes without succumbing to the allure of the contents of her Distraction Box. Kelly would not stop answering calls from her mom or using her laptop to shop for headbands and read EW.com, so Louis had to intervene. And it worked! As soon as her adorable dogs were released into the wilds of the dance studio hallway, Kelly concentrated on her foxtrot choreography. It’s not that hard, if you just turn the key. I loved the costumes for Kelly’s ballroom round and how the dance seemed like an endless stream of movement with no breaks. Carrie Ann warned her to show a bit more range in her extensions.
For the dance-through-the-decades round, surprise! ”We got the ’60s!” exclaimed Kelly, in a segment likely filmed long after they’d really gotten the ’60s because her nails were already neon green. Conveniently, Kelly’s first music video was based on the 1960s, so she knew some moves. The jive wasn’t as good as her first dance, and Carrie Ann complained that the couple’s prop doll gave her the heebie-jeebies. Yes, the doll motif was a little bit creepy (on purpose, I believe?) but at least Kelly wasn’t supposed to be the doll herself. I’m having weird visuals of Marie Osmond as a wind-up doll sitting on Bruno’s lap and him saying ”Grrrrrrroovy, baby! Come back to Daddy!” and can’t really handle it so I’m ending this here. Wait, side note: I enjoyed how the Lisa Loeb-esque fan of Aaron Carter’s refused to stand up after Kelly’s jive even though everyone else seemed pretty into it. Also: the Sequin Monster seated in the audience behind Tom could have Hidden Gem potential because the sparkly black material of her outfit matched Kelly’s dress.
Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff: 50/60 The other contestant to boldly exhibit daddy issues with a judge, Aaron Carter, danced a foxtrot with a combination of excitement, joy, and bewilderment that reminded DANCMSTR of his son in a toy shop. Aaron’s sob story of the week, about how he’d never won anything, was a little far-fetched — maybe it’s what drove Karina to illness. It was fun when he groped her face and insisted ”It’s not okay that you’re running a fever right now” and she didn’t even have the energy to speak but her eyes were screaming ”Uh, it’s not okay that you’re manhandling my face!” To get back at Aaron, Karina wore crazy balloon pants that distracted me from Aaron’s foxtrot dancing nearly the whole time. ”Oh, wow, they are pants…but why are they pants, why?” If only I’d won any Interpreting Life’s Great Questions contests in my days, I’d know the answer. Gah, I’m such a loser! I deserve to win a reality TV show.
NEXT: Donny and Kym’s laugh-out-loud performance
Aaron and Karina’s ’90s samba (I am cracking up just typing that, by the way) was another clearly orchestrated matchup between Star and Star’s own genre. Karina informed us that ”Aaron had a hit song in the ’90s” — and judging by the pic they showed as she said that, this occurred when he was about 5. After Karina reluctantly agreed to allow Aaron’s ”rodeo” step and more of his best career moves into the dance (my notes at the time: ”ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THAT?”) they stepped out and really sold it, according to the judges. Wait, how is this ’90s? She has leg warmers. He looks like a bee. Oh, I get it, together they are the tragic/awesome little girl from the ”No Rain” video. But weren’t leg warmers popular in the ’80s instead of the ’90s (or the 2000s, if you’re Edyta)? Oh well, forget it. ”I’m still getting over a sickness so I almost threw up.” Overshare of the Night!
Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson: 50/60 I’m somewhat shocked that Donny’s at the bottom of THE JUDGES’ LEADERBOARD this week, but something tells me he’ll be safe, and that something is…a very special dance studio heart-to-heart with Kym, featuring careful camera angles, dramatic lean-ins, and a slimming all-black outfit, about how he’s going to ”reset” his view of the competition. Donny’s performance value and Kym’s gorgeous lavender gown provided wow factor for their Viennese waltz, which included a pretty substantial ”steering the female’s head in order to guide her entire body” sequence. Those always amuse me. After the waltz, the crowd went wild, except for Sabrina and her sidekick, who were too cool to stand up. Donny made the connection between Bruno’s ”airy fairy” quip from a few weeks ago and DANCMSTR’s ”arty farty” from last night — which was pretty astute and quick of him, I thought, unless it was all scripted. Backstage, Samantha accused Donny of ”stealing lines from Tom” when Tom had actually not been involved in the discussion at all. Does Sam not have audio back there or does she not know which one is Tom?
I have never laughed more heartily at a Dancing With the Stars performance than I did at Donny and Kym’s ’80s paso doble. Honestly, usually I don’t laugh at all. The dances are either lovely and impressive or just kind of boring. This one was a revelation in bad hair, awful music, terrible horrible no-good very bad silver trousers, misguided Bruno one-liners (”That had more camp in it than a drag queens convention”; ”It was Donny doing Marie doing Donny…”) and Kym’s faux-seriousness. Whoa, smoke machine! Donny wielding a trash bag as a cape! All 10,000 lights in the Rectagon blinking at random in the style of popular 1980s toy Simon! It was all too much, and I loved it.
Excited for DanceCenter tomorrow? Kenny Mayne…makin’ some copies…in his boxers. Talk about last night’s performances in the comments, DANCMSTRs, and nominate your own Hidden Gems of the Week. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to make tomorrow’s gem the highly enthusiastic lady in charge of chimes in the Harold Wheeler Ensemble. See you tomorrow!
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