Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, and the Temptations visit the ballroom liiiiiiiiiiiiiive for Motown Night

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DWTS DONALD PETA
Credit: ABC

You, in that chair. Welcome back! Dancing With the Stars‘ Motown Night was fantastic! Hearing some of his record label’s greatest hits while watching liiiiiiiive ballroom dancing on a reality TV series might not have been exactly what Berry Gordy envisioned in 1959. But he was excited to be there, and millions of viewers were excited to relive their childhoods through the power of fringe, sequins, and Smokey Robinson’s piercing stare.

I’m sure the night’s offerings brought back memories for many of you. My mom, DANCMSTR Dee Barrett, emailed me her own after the show. “This is the kind of music that brings me right back to sixth grade boy-girl parties,” she wrote, “where all of us girls would line up and stroll out of the garage onto the driveway groovin’ to ‘Dancing in the Street’ while the boys…..who cared?! We were INto it — no distractions, please! We swayed with our hips and shoulders ’til the very cool spin move at the end of the line — only to, of course, turn around and do it all over again……”

Thanks mom. That Judy Blume book come to life sounds like a lot of messin’ about to me. I give you and the sixth grade girls a 7. Seh-vehhhhhhn!

Anyway, good times, great oldies all around on Motown Night.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29/30 in the samba + 10 (first place in the Motown Marathon) = 39 out of possible 40 Ugh, so much bolded math this week. I have to say I’m really loving everything about Katherine — from her decidedly ’80s turquoise and purple gym wear to her perfectly Hairspray-ed beehive, to the way she was so focused on Mark and the cha cha that she didn’t even realize they’d won the Motown Marathon. I can still hear Tom Bergeron muttering “Mark obviously hoping his outfit will attract attention…” in his hilarious golf announcer voice.

The couple’s samba was clearly very challenging and at moments it almost seemed like Katherine had too much to do. I still think this “midwife” could “deliver” a bit more sensuality in the Latin dances. But Bruno approved, telling Katherine the samba invoked “the marriage of Brazil with Funkytown that’s never been more exhilarating.” Bruno, of course, is a marriage of Brazil/Funkytown historian. He’s been documenting those crazy kids’ ups and downs, rises and falls, for decades.

NEXT: William Levy’s hotness has no choice but to set off the fire alarmJaleel White and Kym Johnson: 29 + 8 = 37 Jaleel is back! Kym had the right idea when she suggested to Jaleel that he should think like a ballroom dancer. When he complained that that wasn’t his personality, she saw a golden opportunity and encouraged him, “That’s what’s gonna take us all the way, is if you get out of your personality a bit.” Genius! Just literally become a different person and America will like you better. Hey, whatever works.

It seems like this new approach is working for them. Their cha cha cha in complementary colors (dark green and Cinderella blue — I love when the couples aren’t too matchy-matchy) was sharp, sharp, sharp. Carrie Ann called it “the biggest sizzler of the season”! I’m just glad the icky/uncomfortable vibe I kept getting from their non-dance footage has lessened. Kym seems newly determined to win and Jaleel seems less desperate to win. It’s a good combo.

William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 27 + 9 = 36 Cheryl should know better than to cook up a piping hot, ready-to-rumba beef empanada in the rehearsal studio without cracking a window first. Mark Ballas stood ready for battle, and camera time, armed with a fire extinguisher. SMOKEY ROBINSON, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE? False alarm — it was just our other friend Smokey a.k.a. the deadly smoke machine/monster who had snaked its way over from the ballroom and all the way across the Island. Get Lost, man! They’ve got some training to do.

Cheryl’s rumba instructions for William sounded a lot like a transcript of one of my fantasy dream dates with him. “Now we just look at each other the whole time…” “Here, just run your hand up my body….” Here, okay now just before your hands slither up to graze my supple breasts, I’m going to furiously fling them away as if I don’t want them there. It’s not true! Oh hello again. Now that you have me back, lower me to the ground slowly, then shift your weight to your hands so you can adjust the rest of your thrrrrrrrrobbing intensity to be in a better position to…

Carrie Ann saw moments of disconnection, and against all odds the DANCMSTR stood up from his chair to demonstrate side-to-side hip action (Tom can do it, that’s how easy it is) and then completely bail on demonstrating the “forward and back” hip action he apparently wanted from William. “I can’t go into ecstasy like some people,” bitched Len. “He needs Viagra,” noted Bruno. Booooooo. No product placement on DWTS! Let’s keep it clean, okay? But by all means, keep that rumba raunchy for sure.

“You two are wired for sex,” raved Bruno, after which Tom interjected with arguably one of his best comments ever: “Okay, stop being an electrician.” I’ve decided I will be using this out of context to silence people all week.

NEXT: Donald wants a Len Ten, and I would like one Len doll, pleaseDonald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27 + 7 = 34 “Mama’s playing the radio, jamming to the Temptations — that’s special,” Donald fondly remembered. He brought in a cardboard cutout of Len with a 10 paddle to inspire his foxtrot training. “What can I do to get me one of those?” Donald pleaded — because like Jaleel in the cha cha, he ain’t too proud to beg. Um, SAME QUESTION. What can I do to get me one of those Len dolls?! He’d fit right into the ridiculous setting of my creepy video blog.

He’ll have to wait at least another week for that Len Ten, though. I’m glad — Donald’s foxtrot wasn’t perfect, and as funny as the Len doll was, the whole idea reminded me of Colton Dixon’s annoying plea for the American Idol judges to give him a standing ovation. Just let it be and do your best, people! Whatever happens, happens. Len’s actual critique was almost as encouraging as a 10 — he wants Peta to step up the choreography because “this routine wasn’t as big as his talent” and “this guy can be a great dancer.”

One of the Mini Drivers was NOT okay with Len teasing that Donald hadn’t brought the fireworks. Rather, he had come out and exploded onto the floor! Big difference. He is the firework. Firework box-carrying is for lesser ballroom dancers.

Melisssa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24 + 6 = 30 Maks certainly got a nasty rehearsal edit. Some highlights of his Viennese waltz training methods: “Unbelievable.” “Are your f—ing legs together?” “Son of a…” “This isn’t possible.” “It’s not okay. It sucks.” Melissa, whose main purpose in life is to please this man at any cost, set the record straight and said the other 85 percent of the footage — i.e. everything not shown during their package — was positive.

Speaking of packages.

It could always be worse — as Maks pointed out, she could have an ugly partner. Wasn’t this sexy and smooth waltz one of the best-looking dances, by the way? Maks had suspenders, Melissa wore a stunning sparkly green one-shouldered gown, and Smokey Robinson tried to out-gem them both with a crystal-studded jacket.

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26 + 4 = 30 First of all, I was shocked to see Derek eliminated during a dance marathon. Perhaps showing Maria his favorite DVD — footage of his patented “crotch bob” dance move — was a bad omen. Their earlier foxtrot was not too memorable for me aside from Maria slipping on her dress on the stairs and that amazing aerial shot during their final twirl of Maria’s billowing silver Disney princess gown. This week she sort of reminded me of Brooke, who constantly wears long mirrorball gowns with her hair up. I liked the Wizard of Oz-esque opening that switched from black and white to color at the beginning of Maria and Derek’s foxtrot. Would that make Martha Reeves the gold and silver-fringed sparklecrow?

NEXT: Tristan’s got all the riches one purple-suited man can claimRoshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 23 + 5 = 28 It’s true that Roshon doesn’t have muscles like Donald or sensuality like William, but I still thought this rumba routine would earn higher marks. Chelsie’s interpretation of “Cruisin'” was just sexy enough and perfectly timed (Smokey Robinson LOVED it), not to mention her swishy costume in an unlikely ballroom shade of dusty purple was amazing. That color is gorgeous and looks extra fabulous on blonde, tan, fit people. Roshon’s ombre shirt was fashionable as well. Just ask Lacey’s old hair.

After their dance, I was super into this couple, Rochelshon, and then the judges railed on them for things that never would have occurred to me. Len called Roshon’s movement “clipped and jerky, like painting by numbers.” Weird! The dreaded paint-by-numbers dance critique is always a terrible sign. Chelsie even protested out loud — a rare occurrence — that “it was a slow song!” when Len complained the dance had contained too much syncopation for his eyes.

Roshon listened very intently as Bruno showed him (while standing and gyrating, of course — it’s his best angle) how his lack of fluidity in the rumba could be due to his hip-hop dance training. Good point!

Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus: 21 + 3 = 24 Gladys’ brother Bubba, the original Pip, made Tristan solemnly swear: “On my honor, as a Pip, I’ll pretend to be hip,” so Tristan promptly scurried off to procure a much hipper version of these classic Rec Specs. The judges paid homage to the empress of soul after her snail-paced rumba set to “My Girl,” but only in terms of her charisma and performance value. Carrie Ann bizarrely lied that she would pay money to see Gladys dance that routine again after forgetting some of the steps. WRONG. The currency of Planet Mirrorballus is gems, not cash. Plus, Carrie Ann can watch it for free once the judges decide it’s the encore dance tonight. Bruno complained to Gladys and Tristan that he likes his rumbas a bit steamier.

During our post-show chat for Tristan’s EW.com blog, Tristan said he thought Bruno’s “steamier” comment was off-base and completely ignored the spirit of the dance — which was to pay tribute to Motown, not sex. “No one wants to see me steamy with Gladys,” he said. Tristan also told me he’d modeled his crazy purple suit, white heels, and glasses after “My Girl” lead singer David Ruffin’s look in the ’60s (as seen below in The Temptations miniseries).

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So NOW the purple makes sense.

Do you consider yourself a loin-shattering sex machine? You will after clicking through this week’s photo gallery of Bruno Tonioli’s sauciest ‘DWTS’ critiques with thrrrrrrrrobbing intensity.

Also: If you missed my writeup of Titanic With Len Goodman on PBS, check it out!

Who goes home tonight? What did you think of 20/20‘s Dancing With the Stars special?

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Ask Annie anything about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (or whatever) in the video player below. To see her answers to previous questions, click on the text links below the picture. This is *not* liiiiiiive! and she is not really sitting there right now. She updates a few times per week.

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JENNA JOHNSON, ADAM RIPPON
Dancing With the Stars
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seasons
  • 30
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  • ABC

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