Dancing with the Stars recap: Double Your Pleather
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Ballroom mayhem! During a monster Week 7 performance show, Tom Bergeron had to keep throwing to Diane Sawyer so we could all rest assured that drunken frat guys were still celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden. (For the record, Generalíssimo Francisco Franco is also still dead.) All of season 12’s remaining six pairs had to dance not one but two routines. Plus — and perhaps best of all — Weepy, Grumpy, and Dopey were totally squished all night thanks to one Donnie Burns, a.k.a. the Tiger Woods of the ballroom. Hmmm. I am unfamiliar with that term. Why not just call him “A Maks among men?” Speak in a language the DANCMSTR nation can understand, please!
I loved how uncomfortable the sudden crowding effect made all of Our Judges, and I appreciated Donnie’s gentleness and thoughtful vocabulary, even though he did hold up the wrong paddle for Romeo and committed a major metaphor fail (meta-faux-pas?) when he tried to compare Hines Ward’s arms to “American Airlines.” Cringe!
EW.com reader Fridge perhaps characterized our visiting judge best: “Did Donnie remind anyone else of Stanley Tucci’s character from Shall We Dance? I could totally picture Donnie putting Vaseline on his teeth before the show so his smile would REALLY pop on TV.”
Both of the cha cha groups — Team Hines (winners of the “booby prize,” ewwww, Len) and Team Chelsea — got the same score, 30 out of possible 40. Crazy, huh? So I’ll just list the couples’ solo scores below.
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EW’s Doc Jensen is a DANCMSTR. Who knew?! The Man in Black Sparkly Leggings, for sure.
NEXT: Will the New Kid on the Block and the three usual dwarfs please reveal their scores?
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: 36 out of possible 40 Ralph’s body is just barely hanging in there, which is such a shame because it’s looking so thin and spry. “This dance is like a torture chamber,” said Ralph of the quickstep. I’m sorry his knees are killing him, but I couldn’t have been happier with this quickstep, which featured the wooden bar Cheryl and Rick Fox used last season for his “woe is me, I’m an NBA star drowning my sorrows in beer” dance. (I’m assuming.) For Ralph and Karina, the bar transformed into an old-fashioned speakeasy populated with just the kind of sexy leprechaun Muppet you’d want to disappear behind the bar with. I loved how despite Ralph’s joint pain, he swung both legs over that martini glass with such ease. Another reason this quickstep was a gem: It featured a tremendous solo from one of our favorite Harold Wheeler Band regulars, Impeccably Manicured Trumpeter. All right! The DWTS nail team must have whipped out the extra-sparkly bedazzled buffs for this one. “Once you’re in the zone, you sell it like nobody else can,” said Len to Ralph and the IMT at once. “Do you feel like you’re on the comeback trail?” wondered Brooke after Ralph and Karina earned their first 10 of the season. Uhhh.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: 36/40 This week, Hines got some tango help from visiting ballroom champ Luca Baricchi, plus his friend Al and a beefy beast named “The Bus.” All three of them were about to Steel my heart, if you know what I’m saying. (I don’t even know anymore; that was awful.) Armed with the kind of knowledge of “dancing like a man” that a man can only get by dancing with a man (again, no idea), our Silent Assassin attempted to attack the tango. But an annoying song arrangement marred Hines’ chances — the musical switches from fast and swelling to soft and plucky were very jarring, and caused Len to make a “fairy” remark. The DANCMSTR appreciated the parts of the dance during which Hines reminded him of a pickle, “coming out sharp and crisp,” but was turned off by the daintiness in other sections. (Len Goodman is now catering his critiques to Jersey Shore‘s Snooki. It happened so fast. Nobody really knows how.) Bruno, however, enjoyed the light and shade of Hines and Kym’s dance, and insisted Hines “managed to retain the slinky smooth, stealthy action of a panther going for the kill.” Kudos to Donnie for calling Bruno out on being too understated in his comments. Someone had to say it.
NEXT: Mark gets his paso doble on with his mom; Luca would like to ‘touch bodies’
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: 34/40 What’s more uncomfortable than trying to muffle your giggles and not grin when you’re a freaking Disney star? Watching Mark Ballas rehearse a particularly aggressive paso doble with his mom! Yikes. Another ballroom specialist, Shirley Ballas, dropped by to question Chelsea’s acting abilities and thoroughly creep her out. “You’re an actress. You’re in a serious role!” Shirley kept insisting. Too bad none of that silly word jumble resonated for our smiley one. In fact, during Mark and Chelsea’s paso doble, Chelsea was so unskilled at holding back her pleasant disposition that she resorted to Mark’s trademark “guppy” face a few times. The horror! Despite this, Bruno complimented Chelsea on the “almost violent intensity” of her “Quentin Tarantino paso doble.” Hmm, yeah — looking back, I did love the part of the dance where Mark killed three guys and brought Chelsea back to life from a drug overdose by stabbing her with a sparkly syringe. Just kidding. I actually really did like the part of their dance at the end when they both died. Unfortunately for them, Chelsea and Mark had to wake up and face the music. New kid Donnie said their dance wasn’t so much “Spanish character” as “Hell’s Angels.” Ouch! To retaliate, Mark made a “wanking” hand gesture while walking away from the judges. No class, Ballas. No class. Oh, well. Perhaps Mark would seem less ridiculous if he just stopped renting his own costumes from his local business, The Mark Ballas Chain Supply ‘N’ Warehouse. Gotta say, though, I did really like Chelsea’s lacy arms and thighs for this paso. In light of this weekend’s royal wedding, I now declare her Duchess of Daggers.
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel: 31/40 “Only good couples are left,” Louis reminded Kendra, as a way to psych her up for the tango. (He forgot to add, “Besides us.”) Luckily, Luca Baricchi was on hand to encourage Kendra, “Now, let’s find the bodies.” Yes. Oh yeah. “Let’s touch our bodies,” he continued. Uh, no problem! What else would you like to do, Luca? Do you make house calls to sad DWTS recappers with not much else going on in their lives right now? Forget I said that. Totally unprofessional. Speaking of which…. You know what? I’m still a little horrified about Kendra’s unapologetic fart during the team dance rehearsal footage, so I am fighting the urge to rank Kendra and Louis lower than their scores would suggest right now. But no. Not gonna do that. See how it feels to bottle it in and do what’s right, bunny? Feels real good. I’m so mature. Kendra looked so nervous throughout their tango, which was such a shame because I was really enjoying her pink sparkly corset and fluffy red tutu. By no means was this an angry or dramatic enough costume for the tango, but it did fit with Kendra’s personality. Anyway, the judges complimented Kendra’s sophistication and ability to tackle difficult choreography, but I wasn’t as on board as they were. Her nervousness pervaded the dance — for example, there was a dip early on, and it was like she was so worried about the next move (lifting her head out of the dip) that she couldn’t allow her head to actually fling back into the dip. Does this make sense? Everything’s just more jilted than it needs to be with Kendra as she keeps committing the ultimate crime of dancethink.
No worries! Tom Bergeron, of EW.com’s “The Host’s Leaderboard” podcast fame, quickly got me back into gliterry/giddy mode by throwing the term “rhinestone-studded” into his introduction of the band. The EW.com gem hunters know that teleprompter only said “Week after week.” Nice improv. Thanks, Tom!
NEXT: Her dance stunk, but at least Kirstie Alley is looking amazing. Priorities!
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 30/40 Remarking on their visitor for jive rehearsal, Maks announced to the camera that Shirley Ballas was well-versed in “the minute details” of the jive. I always marvel at Maks’ lack of specificity during choreography, but understand how this could be absolutely infuriating for an amateur who might like to actually learn about said details. Kirstie and Maks both reached their breaking points a few times (finally — we were in for some mid-season rehearsal footage drama, especially from these two delightful nuts), but the great thing about their partnership is that they can openly discuss how Kirstie’s about to cry and Maks is about to walk outside and scream…and then just move on. Unfortunately, the all-talk-no-dance theme extended into their solo routine, as Kirstie and Maks acted out some sort of half-baked romance novel within a 90-second jive. Even more baffling? Kirstie’s black sparkly leggings! (Yup. I liked ’em.) The judges called them out as being completely out of sync and focusing too much on the story, but Donnie admired Kirstie’s real talent “between the black and white keys” of the piano. “You fill the spaces with who you are,” he said, which was honestly quite a lovely thing to say. But even Kirstie knew she’d had an off night. “I just forgot to move my feet!” she flat-out admitted to Brooke. Hey, as Tom said, it was an understandable oversight. Maks was about to grope her at the movies, for Lord Mirrorballus’ sake!
By the way, Kirstie’s “late” arms during the team cha cha were quite noticeable, but her solo in that number was amazing. I wonder if Maks ever found the time to choreograph that section — if he was just whipping her around willy nilly, maybe that’s the way to go for all the dances. She looked sharper and cooler than ever before. Woman was working it.
NEXT: Romeo gets it on with Mark’s mom this time
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: 30/40 I think Chelsie needs to lay down a much firmer law with Romeo, who seems intent to a fault on infusing each dance with perhaps too much of his signature swagger. After turning his practice session with Shirley Ballas into a surprisingly sexual adventure, Romeo proceeded to show off what Donnie called “a party in your pants, and an earthquake in your shoes” during his samba. Sure, Romeo’s dance wasn’t his best, but I’d like to also place some blame on the Well-Behaved Bonfire prop they’d appropriated from ye olde Skating With the Stars prop room, not to mention Romeo and Chelsie’s wildly unrelated costumes. She was all snazzy in hot pink and black, while he kept it super casual in a white tank top (not. ballroom. appropriate!) and fatigues. It was all very confusing. I’ll leave it to reader Katja to explain further: “I think it’s supposed to be that he’s a GI stationed on a tropical island, and Chelsie is apparently a native showing him the local steps. Or something.” Sounds about right to me, and by that I mean wrong. He did look hot in that cap, though.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for the party in Romeo’s pants, to which we have all been invited.
If you missed it last week, listen to my post-results chat with Tom Bergeron. In this installment:
++Mutant Bubble Machine vs. Deadly Smoke Machine: Who wins in a fight? Listen for my oddly delighted “Oooooh!” after Tom says the DSM “smells like Godzilla farted in there.”
++Tom loves the PopWatch term ridiculata! “I grew up in the Catholic faith, and it sounds like stigmata almost. Ridiculata. Very good! We’ve brought kitschy Latin into the discussion.”
++Are Tom’s post-commercial-break kicks a nod to EW.com’s hidden gem hunters? “It wasn’t originally so, but it is certainly in the back of my mind now.” YES! “Ya gotta kick!”
Press the little “play” triangle above to hear my imaginary friend Tom in all his alternate-universe glory!
I’ll leave you with this lovely cell phone photo of a TV screen — sent in by my sister, DANCMSTR Meggers — of the moment at which she just so happened to press pause.
‘Til tomorrow, DANCMSTRs.
EW.com’s Fringe Fairy
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