Sweat, tears, and knee braces abound on a steamy Week 2 Latin Night; the first season 17 couple heads home
Credit: ABC
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First of all, a huge congrats to Our Pro Derek Hough, who won Outstanding Choreography for his work on Dancing With the Stars at Sunday’s Emmys! And a bit of news: Derek’s sister and seasons 4-5 winner Julianne Hough will be guest-judging the show in two weeks, while Len Goodman is away on official sparkle business (judging Strictly Come Dancing across the Pom Pon Pond). Watch Our Pros react to Julianne’s guest judge-ship over on Inside TV.

Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess will never have the chance to earn a 4, as they are the first couple eliminated from season 17 in the series’ first-ever Monday night performance/results show/sob session. This show was basically Everything, jam-packed into two hours. (And yet there was still time to shine the annoying “in jeopardy” lights on the couples in the last few minutes.)

I’d have liked 20 seconds more of dancing in each segment instead. But I’m greedy. I’m like Keyshawn Johnson and Derek Hough in the face of their partners’ boobs.

Who had the better Motorboat tonight? At first I couldn’t decide, but Amber looks like she’s merely tolerating this while Sharna is a bit more effectively faking her ecstasy. So I’m giving this one to Keyshawn. A stunning consolation prize!

(Motorboating With the Stars sponsored by Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Anyway, Week 2. Latin Night already! It was so blatantly spicy that Tom became Tomas. Just like that. Olé, Bergeroné! Oh my God, no, that doesn’t work.

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

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: 26/30 In a segment called “Two Pros Dance a Jive,” Corbin and Karina paid homage to High School Musical by using the judges’ table to facilitate that signature leap from the movie poster. Everyone in the Glitter Pit (Tom’s nickname this week for the Sexy Bus Stop — keep ’em coming!) looked stunned at Corbin’s confidence and skill level, though they must’ve had some sense of it. He’s a professional.

High points of this segment for me included Len’s assertion that Corbin had “100 percent gotten to third base,” Snooki’s staggering “not impressed” facial expression, the way Karina’s high-heeled spats blended into her white knee socks, and Karina’s genuine bewilderment that apple pie is American. She is the best — and perhaps even better in geek glasses.

NEXT: Mark hikes up his shorts, for your…pleasure? Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy: 25/30 “Stop looking at my boobs.” “Stop looking at mine.” I’m loving this couple’s natural banter. Val always finds a way to fall in love with his partners early on — “You’re so adorable when you do that step,” he drawled behind her during rehearsals. Yep, I’m into it. Of course It didn’t hurt when he referred to her as “such a gem” on liiiiiiiiiiive TV. And I also loved his answer when Jessie Spano asked what time it was. “It’s GAME TIME.” Huh. He’s always so accurate.

Elizabeth was undeniably impressive in their scarlet-fever samba, and this was only in part due to Val’s well-oiled machine, his chest. That routine seemed really difficult — I do wonder if it was too full of effort for viewers, if that makes any sense. I mean, Elizabeth was really hoofing it trying to make all those marks. But I’d rather see a couple challenge themselves than just point and pose. (Ahem, Snooki.)

“You’re just this strong, sensuous dancer in control of your body,” Carrie Ann raved. “You’re a tall girl, but just oozy, oozy.” And it’s official I just made it my life’s goal to have someone say that about me. (Maybe someone already has, at the end of a wedding. Because I spilled something on the dance floor? Ha, like I’d remember.)

Christina Milian and Mark Ballas: 25/30 Mark knows the best way to command applause is to have the Harold Wheeler Band press play on an iPod loaded up with Lady Gaga’s latest single, so he did that. I wish Christina had worn a Kym Johnson-esque (just wanted to mention the dearly departed!) “single panel skirt” because it was hard to see what was going on with her legs during this paso doble.

She’s very convincing as a dancer, but I’m not really drawn in to her performances yet. It’s like I don’t have a good enough reason to like her. The extended remix of her “evil laugh” was 7-worthy, but not “Seh-vehhhhhn!”-worthy, which should make sense to true Dancing With the Stars fans. And sometimes, Mark even makes the case against the couple’s likability, with his antics.

Mark, what is this? Stop.

NEXT: Scientology would have to be CRAZY to find fault in the samba! Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: 24/30 Jack is trying hard and playing by the book, but I have to give most props to Cheryl for their rumba here. The dim lighting, Beauty and the Beast chandeliers, and wonderful use of Glimmerace, the smoke monster, all worked in the couple’s favor more than Jack’s rumba technique did. And Cheryl’s head-thrashing and hair work on the lyric “People run around in circles” was Emmy-worthy in itself. Whatever bizarre thing was going on with Jack’s hands was pretty much masked by that lighting.

“You have this sort of… nobility,” Carrie Ann announced after also overdoing it with her comment that “When I watch you dance, I feel like I’m transported to another time.” I did love how Jack perked up at the mention of Game of Thrones. I smell a Westeros-themed Argentine tango in their future! (It’s blood. I must be smelling blood.)

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani: 24/30 Their samba had a very good party vibe, which was enhanced by more good lighting, the festive technicolor staircase, and Tony’s ever-fascinating ability to look incredible in pink and purple. Leah’s hot pink feathered frock was a straight-up toilet paper cozy, but it was also seriously working — perhaps harder than she was. I mean, that dress had beaded fringe. Heavy fringe strands sprouting all over the place! Her outfit was an entire dance routine in itself.

And then Carrie Ann basically attempted to offer up her own alternate version of the routine by getting up and head-banging, fist-pumping, and hair-whipping her way to…nowhere. She is seriously bonkers. It’s like she and Bruno are both dance robots who need to reach a certain level of motion-detection in order to sustain the ability to “judge.” But in doing so, they do anything but. Cuckoo birds.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: 24/30 Amber had “set the bar” with her week 1 cha cha, but tonight she only “continued to wow us,” said Carrie Ann. Hey, that’s okay, they can’t all be knockouts. But Derek can definitely play a convincing “knocked out by his partner’s breasts” pantomime. His mime-in-crime Tom Bergeron was understandably impressed by that piece of work. #BoobConcussion.

Len wanted sharper footwork, but Bruno had been revving himself up, movement-wise, for an explosive bout of judging: “Talent and performance value flows out of you like a raging torrent!” he cried. “Resistance is futile!” No one was resisting, you nut!

Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd: 23/30 Carrie Ann insisted Brant was “wowing us” the whole time during their rumba. I agree that he looked great, but the notion that people were watching Peta’s partner instead of Peta at any time during any dance in generally absurd. I would be very interested in some sort of empirical study on whether people can ever take their eyes off of scantily clad Peta. Bill Nye, get on that please. Really, though, I don’t mean to undercut Brant here. I liked the move where he descended into the ambiguous layer of sparkle-smoke and emerged with his hands on Peta’s foot — and then kept holding onto it as she kicked! Not sure we’ve seen that before.

Is there an endless story underneath Brant’s clothes? We’ll likely have at least a few more weeks to figure that out.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: 21/30 I’m starting to really like Bill Engvall, and not just because he used a big word on Dancing With the Stars — “I thought their comments were great, but they didn’t correlate with the scores,” he told Emma during rehearsals. No, I like how into it he’s getting with his dancing! Even in the preliminary steps of their jive practice, he was convincingly leaning into it, on the beat. Like Angela Chase dreamily gazing at Jordan Catalano — I just love the way he leans. Sorry, that was maybe too weird.

I thought too much attention was focused on what I assume was a joke made by Emma that she’d just steal Derek Hough’s jive moves for their routine. She was totally kidding with a straight face, right? Jive steps don’t belong to anyone. The judges were way too preoccupied with that.

Anyway, Bill’s got a great attitude — he’s the Ty Murray of the season and could make it far with or without the judges’ support.

NEXT: Snooki’s rumba is a full-on MonetSnooki and Sasha Farber: 20/30 Well, this was disappointing. From far away I bet this looked like a very pretty rumba, but since we at home could see everything up close, it was clear Snooki was very precisely “presenting” this routine instead of dancing it. “I feel like I was doing the face?” she beamed when it was over. But honey. If you need to phrase it like a question???

Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus: 19/30 This was a really brave paso doble from a 74-year-old, but the real meat of the segment was the shot of Tristan, slumped up against a brick wall and softly sobbing while watching his partner go over her mistakes. I don’t really mean this in a morbid way at all, but Valerie Harper is ready to die out on that dance floor. Tristan warned her against going full-out with an injured knee, and she just wouldn’t hear of it. “I’m 74 with terminal cancer,” she reminded him. “Give me the horse thing, that makes me run,” she begged, pointing to her knee. “I don’t care!” I love it.

“Did you say martian?” “March-in.” LOL.

Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess: 18/30 For a few moments their samba was deceptively very good, but that’s Sharna’s fault. She really is a wizard with choreography. Everyone on her was working, while Keyshawn was basically not. He did a lot of standing around and jutting his arms out for her to clasp. It’s fine! He’s gone. It’s weird to even be posting about a routine of his, as he no longer exists.

Hidden Gem: Mike Ditka’s choice in footwear. He’s just beggin’ to be a DWTS contestant, huh? (Dancing With Those Shoes.)

Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein: 17/30 Bill Nye the Paso Doble Beethoven?! This week, Team Hot Knowledge — endorsed by MENSA — served up a stirring symphony of loose wig powder and general grabbiness. The Science Guy continues to be hilarious as a contestant — could anyone else so convincingly rise from a piano as if conjured up by the power of orchestral strings (yes, absolutely) — but his dance style is so aggressively gangly that it often hurts to watch. Is Bill Nye going to win Dancing With the Stars, friends? Imagine the delicious internet outrage!

Bruno called Bill “a ferocious and fearsome maestro” who served up an exhilarating mix of genius and insanity. “You nearly blew a gasket!” he correctly assessed. “There was actually some paso doble there,” he continued. A rave review!

Then Len, apparently dwarfed by the power of the internet, apologized for under-marking Nye last week. “Judging is not an exact science,” he began. “However, there is a formula to dancing. You’ve got to have technique, and some of those parts were missing. But I like the commitment, the fun, and the fact that you’re on this show.”

You, too?



Fringe Fairy

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