Dancing with the Stars recap: The Taming of the Shoe
Classical Night brings a staggering 46-piece orchestra to the ballroom -- and another mishap for Kirstie Alley
Oh, DANCMSTRs! I want it to be Classical Night every week on Dancing With the Stars. Every week until that bizarre, glittery orb, Planet Mirrorballus, spontaneously combusts into millions of sparkly smithereens — but for real this time, not just some fakeout explosion like we see all the time at the end of the opening credits. I’m talking full-blown outer space disaster. Yeah!
What the heck? Sorry to go there. I’m just so excited! The Harold Wheeler Band had transformed into a 46-piece orchestra, complete with Vagabond Messy-Bunned Violinist David Garrett and mezzo-soprano soloist Katherine Jenkins, and classy “HWB/DWTS” music stands. There were flaming torches behind Tom “Probst” Bergeron. Kirstie Alley lost her shoe! Len wore a tux! It was all so grand, my friends. If you looked up “DANCMSTRy” in the ballroom’s dusty old dictionary, it’d have a picture of last night’s show — preferably the majestic overhead sweep of the orchestra featuring our krazy keyboardist and his many, many pianos. That guy’s got quite a set!
Last night’s music sounded incredible, and it struck me how important the music is to this show. Or, at least, how important it could be — usually I just try to squelch all memory of the accompaniment and just focus on the dances, because either the song choices or the arrangements can be so cringe-worthy. Not so this week. “It’s all about the beautiful picture,” Maks said, and this week the swelling orchestra enhanced that picture like I never realized it could. It was like DWTS had finally “reached its full potential” or something lame/inspirational like that. Wait, not lame. Amazing! Epic! Enthusiastic Chimes Lady was on the cymbals, people! Ahhhhhhh! I’m flipping out all over again. I’ll eventually get into the dances. Any minute now. Yep. Just let me reiterate: I. LOVED. CLASSICAL NIGHT. Boom. FIRE.
Will Vagabond Messy-Bunned Violinist please reveal the judges’ scores? Vagabond Messy-Bunned Violinist!
NEXT: Disney girl gets the Harry Potter theme song; Ralph and Hines bring the heat
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: 26 out of possible 30 The central question on viewers’ minds during their Viennese waltz eventually shifted from “How is that Hogwarts Sorting Hat staying on his head?” to “Is this Mark’s audition to become head choreographer for the eventual Harry Potter musical?” The answers, for the record, are “magic” and “yes.” Len, of course, was the one who didn’t appreciate Mark’s youthful interpretation of a 300-year-old dance. “Expelliarmus Voldemort!” cried Bruno, to which the DANCMSTR shot back “Why don’t you jump on your Nimbus 2000 and bugger off?” Hooray, everyone’s aware or has been made aware of Harry Potter lingo! Then suddenly Mark had reverted to his British accent. And THEN, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice gestured towards his vest in front of 27 people who were asking him for the time and pulled some straw from the waistband of his scarecrow suit to help build a fire. So versatile, Our Pros are. I honestly didn’t think this was the best dance of the night, but what can you do? During their rehearsal package, Chelsea had said she was sick of being in third place, so obviously they were going to be in first place when the night was over. We all know how it works.
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: 25/30 First of all, despite the incredible music, I think Tom muttering “low blood sugar” when Ralph “poisoned” Karina before a commercial break was my favorite moment of the night. In this week’s waltz, Ralph lost his “creepy spatula hands” — due in part, I’m sure, to the oversize gems on his collar. Somehow. I also assume Ralph got to watch Our Pros’ little “advice” segment, because Karina’s suggestion for avoiding spatula hands was so simple yet perfectly worded: “Keep your fingers soft.” Sometimes that’s all it takes. That and wearing knee pads during rehearsals. Bye bye, “Thriller” hands. Now, as any faithful DANCMSTR knows, Karina always looks like she’s having an orgasm on the floor. But this week instead of standing out in stark contrast to that, I think Ralph was about thisclose to joining her! Is that inappropriate? It’s how she dances! And it’s now how they dance! “I was swept in, carried through a story, not a tragedy,” marveled Carrie Ann, feelin’ it as always.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: 25/30 As Randy Jackson would say, ‘WE GOT A HOT ONE TONIGHT!” Wrong show, though — and on this show, the judges actually do their jobs. Burn! Burn like the dozens of contained fires behind Hindquarters Ward’s flashy paso doble moves! This was excellent and absolutely my pick for the best dance of the night. I thought Vagabond Messy-Bunned Violinist really shined here, as did the bejeweled back straps of Kym’s leopard-print half-gown and the gold hardware on Hindquarters’ festive bolero. Hindquarters was unabashedly clueless about what “classical” meant, but for a guy with such little faith in himself and his musical education, he completely rocked the paso by having faith in his partner. Kym was right: He is ready for anything she gives him. I also loved how Brooke started playing the role of cheerleader for Hines and Kym after the audience booed their lack of 9s from Bruno and Len. I almost expected her to start booing herself. (There’s an idea!)
NEXT: He is mustachioed Chris Jericho, king of the ballroom jungle
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke: 23/30 Chris was a little over-spray-tanned this week, but I guess it fit his and Cheryl’s Tarzan theme for the paso doble. Hey, you swing through the ballroom jungle all day rehearsing the paso, you’re gonna get some sun. It happens. Cheryl contributed to the look by wearing an improvised version of Halle Berry’s 2002 Oscar dress. The dance itself, set to “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” seemed like an odd choice for a quick dance like the paso, but the song obviously got more and more aggressive and stomp-worthy as it went along. We just had to be patient. Bruno complimented the way C&C used the accents of the music, Carrie Ann appreciated the way they “didn’t dance over or ahead of” the music, and Len complained that they “didn’t conquer the music.” Mixed messages! The judges are really dramatizing their constant arguments at this point. Tom summed it up: “Blah blah blah blah blah. You three.” Winning!
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin: 23/30 I loved how Petra used her modeling strut to get down the stairs and out onto the ballroom floor. Life skills! They’re so important. Our supermodel survivor suffered from an inability to conjure up even fake rage for the paso doble, so Dmitry set up a photo shoot session “where she can forget about dancing and feel the character.” Um, you mean a convenient chance for her to look AMAZING but not necessarily mean? Works for me. Works for everyone. Petra was able to stifle her sweet smiles for a few minutes and put on a stern face for the dance, finally reverting to smiles for the stunning moment when Dmitry triumphantly ripped off her skirt and left her quaking on the floor in agony/ecstasy. It was only after the dance that Petra showed the full range of her aggression, attempting to choke Dmitry with her microphone wire. He had it comin’! They’re both so hot.
NEXT: Romeo brings a diamond commercial to life; Maks is like a square of chocolate
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: 23/30 “I listen to a lot of classical music,” Romeo insisted, shortly before waving to us with his right chesticle. Despite his musical appreciation, though, Romeo was having trouble embodying the mean old matador of the paso doble. So Chelsie took Romeo to the basketball court so he could recapture the aggressive spirit he had developed by playing college hoops. She should have just shown him the ridiculous horse braid she would be wearing Monday night — that’d certainly set me off, and I’m typically about as placid as Petra (yes, even during DWTS). Chelsie choreographed a perfect routine for Romeo — he was exact in every movement and danced full-out. Carrie Ann said this was the first time she’d seen a paso doble with swagger, which I find hard to believe but I’m just going with it because I loved this routine too and felt it set the tone for a DWTS like we’d never experienced before. Remember, everyone — Classical Night, like a 25th Anniversary Diamond, is forever. Dear Lord Mirrorballus, someone please get this early ’90s DeBeers commercial out of my head!
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 22/30 I’m gonna give Kirstie a pass on this one. “Who loses a shoe?” she kept asking after their waltz. Um, people who have to be dragged around and around with one foot remaining on the floor for fear of citation by the dreaded Lift Police, that’s who! S— happens, man. Both Kirstie and Maks improvised beautifully after the shoe came off — if I’d been busy watching Maks’ bum like I usually am, instead of slacking and peering at Kirstie trying to figure out (a) how many unrelated baubles had been glued onto her skin and dress and (b) why she was still on the floor, I might not have noticed she was even struggling. They worked it out! Cheers to them. And cheers to them for using “The Flower Duet” a.k.a. the song from the Ghiardelli chocolate commercial to remind us that Maks’ booty is the “most intense, slow-melting, premium chocolate” of all Pro booty. Take in the heavenly aroma. All right, Annie, that’s quite enough. Place the silky square on your tongue and let it melt slowly. Uh. Annie? Verrrrry slowly. This isn’t funny, Barrett. Time to move on. Chmerkovskiy. A timeless pleasure. There we go.
NEXT: Silly Sugar Ray, there’s no jogging in ballroom! Plus: sulky Kendra
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya: 21/30 “Eyes up, second balcony,” said tiny Russian ballerina Anna. How can one not love her, especially when she was dressed as Amy Adams in Enchanted (or the under-appreciated Disney princess named St. Pauli Girl)? The light blue toe-shoe ballroom heels were a brilliant touch, but those shoes and Sugar Ray’s all-around giddiness during the Viennese waltz made Carrie Ann’s remark that watching the dance was “like watching a sixth grade performance” come as no surprise. Carrie Ann also accused Sugar Ray of jogging instead of gliding. JOGGING? There’s no jogging in ballroom! Anna may need to sic her hands on Ray’s feet a lot more. He’s not gonna like that. That’s his foot! “No. It’s not your foot. It’s my foot, because you’re my student now.” Ha! Tre-BUN-skaya with the knockout! Still, Sugar Ray remained positive throughout his liiiiiiive segment. “I love this. I love this show!” he exclaimed in the celebriquarium. Our last-place contestant should take notes on his attitude.
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel: 18/30 I was over Kendra the moment she pretended to barf when presented with “Con Te Partiro” — so, about five seconds into their segment. “I thought we were over our little ballroom dancing,” whined the woman who clearly has no idea which reality show planet she is currently on (and possibly thinks that Vienna is in Italy). I pity the fool. Carrie Ann called it when she said Kendra — who had insisted on a “mafia” theme for their Viennese waltz — was afraid of being elegant. It also would have helped if Kendra’s facial expression during the dance had included some serious longing in her eyes or even a hint that she was into the drama of the song, instead of the occasional cringe and a look of “Just when will this end?!” Probably tonight.
Who’s going home, DANCMSTRs? And was Kirstie’s quick shoe fix more or less heroic than Lance Bass dancing most of his semifinal jitterbug with one sneaker? I say more. Nominate your hidden gems of the week before 2 p.m. ET over at PopWatch. I’m off to ask my stylist to give me The Long-Haired Violinist. See you tomorrow, when I am a changed woman! Didn’t mean for that to sound gross!
If you missed it last week, listen to my post-results chat with Tom Bergeron. As he points out, “If I can send you video from my car, the least I can do is give you audio from my dressing room.”
Press the little ‘play’ triangle above to hear our Week 3 chat. Tom compared Maks and Kirstie’s legendary fall to other Glitterdome disasters like Marie Osmond’s faint, imitated the way Len says “Seh-vehhhhn!” at my request, and threatened to make me a personal guest in the ballroom so I will have to be a visible gem. Sabotage! I’ll be posting a new Tom chat on Wednesday.
Update: Tom’s Week 4 Leaderboard is liiiiiiiive! Listen to all of our post-results chats, here.
Today’s Lunchtime Poll: Chocolate vs. A Dance With Maks. Please vote!
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