So…you know how in grade school you’d occasionally have theme weeks like “Backwards Day” where you wore your clothes backwards, or Inside Out Day, or Crazy Sock/Hat/Shirt/Fill-in-the-blank Day? (What, only my school did that???) Well, Dancing With the Stars this week was like every theme week you’ve ever had….all on one night. If last week was The Best of Crazytown….this week? Three Ring Circusville. With a detour through Carnivaland.
Each team last week picked a dance style for another team (who got to pick right back for them.) The twist? These aren’t ballroom dances. Yes, I know, this is a show about ballroom dancing. So…I have no explanation for this, either. And now that I’ve watched the show…? Yeah, I still don’t. It was certainly….different. And entertaining. If you enjoy a sequin spangled, spray tanned trainwreck kinda deal. But I don’t know that it really helped to see the true strengths of the teams like last week’s hardcore push did to get them to really compete at their top level. This was more like competing for the high school talent show. So, a step down, for sure, from last week.
Did it hold my attention? Oh, sure it did. I mean, you kind of couldn’t really believe these grown adults were being made to do some of this stuff. But did I love them more for it? Um….not really. I empathized with them, maybe. To their credit, they all worked very hard, both pros and celebs, and did their best to not completely demoralize themselves. And, in the end, they enjoyed themselves. But I think if you asked for a show of hands on who would like to never do that again, all 18 of them would have shot a hand in the air so fast it would have blown off a sequin or two. Possibly even caused a wardrobe malfunction or three.
Just sayin. Oh, and btw…Paula Abdul is a guest judge. If you’ve ever seen her judge American Idol? Yeah, it’s that. Only with dancing. So, as with my usual recaps, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on her pithy insights, unless it will mercifully divert our attention from our poor abused, make-them-do-anything-for-ratings dancers.
Okay…..so, let’s start with a nice thing. They gave each dance music that you would actually, you know, do these dances to. Yes, I know, shocking!!! So, there is that. But then, there’s this:
1. Maks & Kirstie/Charleston: So, we’re starting right off with the over the top ridiculousness, and you know, mock if you will….but why the hell not, I say? I mean, they have t do the freaking Charleston. I’d jump out of a cake, too. Also, I’m liking this clean cut Maks. He looked…dapper. So, for the Handsome Maks Visual, I’d score them an 8.5. On performance (which is only loosely based on actual dance content), I agree with the judges, who gave them 7.5,7.5,7.5,7.5 across the board for = 30 out of a possible 40. (4 Judges = 10 more points this week. I’m all for this if it means their votes hold more sway than ours. Because we at-home voters clearly can not be trusted with voting paddles. Clearly.)
2. Bristol & Mark/Rock & Roll: For one brief, shining moment of crazy, Bristol and I were on the same page. She thought a rock and roll dance was going to be about, you know, DUDE, let’s RAWK! And yet….no. Mark’s interpretation involved high top sneakers and a poodle skirt. (Okay, so thatâ€™s not accurate. His initial interpretation involved bunny costumes. As in, you know letâ€™s really go to the â€œhop.â€ Mercifully, Bristol talked him down off the bunny hop ledge.) But, yeah, itâ€™s not the Stones or Van Halen….itâ€™s the birth of rock & roll, 50’s style. Now, I love me some Grease-style dancin’ only this? Yeee. Mark had to “dumb it down” because Bristol complained she just couldn’t get the steps. And it was definitely not a complex dance, and even then, it was sloppy. Despite the fact that Mark over-danced it to the nth degree, trying his hardest to make something out of nothing. (For which I could even forgive him this week, because she had utterly no energy out there. It looked listless, at best.) Now…I don’t know why I bother even saying this, or why the judges should bother critiquing them much less scoring them as we know it won’t make the slightest bit of difference in whether or not they move through to next week. OF COURSE they will!
I truly and honestly thought with all the fan favorites returning in one season, at the very least it would dilute the voting to the point where she couldn’t do what she did last time. Only it’s election season and I think she’s become the “well, if we can’t get our guy in the White House, we can sure as heck get our girl that mirror ball trophy!” candidate. Just sayin….. And please, America, prove me wrong. I dare you. I double dog dare you. Pleeeeease. Because that wasn’t entertaining. Not even in a poor Bristol sympathy kinda way. I don’t care how you cast it. Judges: WHAT DANCE did the judges watch???? They went over the top with their â€œwow, that was awesome!â€ praise. Yes, even Len. I thought it was her worst dance yet. It must have had a totally different feel in person. Either that, or they’re trying reverse psychology on the voters? Or theyâ€™re high. Or both. There is no other explanation. Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32/40 I’m….no words. I have no words.
So, Tom points out that our next pair was in the Bottom 2 last week and that there are no teams left who have otherwise been in the Bottom 2 before, so……DANCE, SISTER, DANCE! Or…something to that effect. But it makes me realize that out of the 9 pairs, the show has decided to put the two….least-skilled dancers first, then the remaining Bottom 2 vote getter 3rd…then all the better competing dancers in the middle and end of the show, which is always the more memorable, vote getting portion. So….are they finally realizing that having less talented but controversial dancers remain while former champs hit the bricks early might not exactly be the kind of ratings-getting approach that, you know….WORKS? We can always hope.
3. Sabrina & Louis/Disco: Wanting to wow the judges after last week’s less than daring routine, they’re shooting for an over-the-top Studio 54 vibe, and given Louis has actually been there/done that, he should bring some authenticity to this dance. Now, confession time. I had a partner and danced in disco contests in Georgetown/DC all through my high school years (made some decent money, too!) So I have an affinity for this dance and the Bee Gees music just makes it a full on nostalgia moment for me. So, Louis? Don’t let me down! Other than a few shaky moments, most of them in the beginning, I thought Sabrina handled the crazy lifts well and I liked her better in her frizzy blonde fro wig and skimpy fringe dress. I think that was my favorite for them! (I could be biased.) But I liked them. They were the fun couple this week. Judges? Uncle Lenny gives us his disco moment and made me love him. Scores: 9, 9, 8.5,9 = 35.5 The judges are relaxing a little with the scores this week! (Of course, if you give Bristol 8’s then you kind of have to give, well, everyone else who is left, a higher number.
4. Emmitt & Cheryl/Bolero: In perhaps the biggest mismatch of the week, they give what amount to the father-daughter team….the sex dance. I know, but it’s not like a tango or paso, this is more like rumba only naughtier. And I don’t know that I want to see these two doing that dance. (I don’t think they did, either.) Gilles & Peta? You betcha. But…anyway. They did a lovely job with it. And the fog helped. They’re the first ones to get contemporary music and not traditional Cuban Bolero music, so that was a bit of a let down, but perhaps for the best all things considered. Not my favorite, but better performed than I thought. Judges: all enjoyed it. And hey, if you’re going to gush on Bristol, I’m happy you also gave Emmitt his due. Score:9, 9, 9, 9, 9=36 for the best score of the night. You go, Emmitt! (Brooke, on the other hand…not so much. She asks a question about Emmitt’s kids and they give her a cute answer, but she’s all business trying to give them her next prepared question. She has zero ability to go with the moment. Bring. Back. Carson. I’m not above begging.)
5. Peta & Gilles/Bollywood: So, Peta has no idea what to do with this. She has no experience in this. (And honestly, where’s Chelsie or Lacey, who have had experience with this during their runs on So You Think You Can Dance? Right.) Instead you have a very frustrated pro and an even more frustrated dancer and there’s nothing fun about this “challenge” so far, for any of us. And I want Gilles to have fun. Not just because I care. I do. But mostly it’s entirely selfish because I watch this show for dancing. And the sexy manflesh. This season, that would be Gilles’s job. Stop crushing the manflesh, show. Stop. I do appreciate that he told their visiting pro that he wanted to go full on, as hard core with it as he could, to get the best scores. Love the guy’s work ethic. And….okay, soI’ll admit, when he comes out and he’s dressed like Alladin Genie Sex God guy? My feelings, they are somewhat assuaged. In fact, Peta, you can just leave, and he can just stand there, in his chiseled, shirtless, genie like perfection. Why spoil it with a frustrating dance? I’m good. You?
But no, the music starts and….. yeah, see, so I’m spoiled from watching Bollywood performed on SYTYCD. I wish they’d gotten Nakul to come do choreo for them. Because Peta is still trying to make this a ballroom dance and that’s now how the chemistry works with Bollywood. What makes it awesome is the side by side chemistry and flying hands, feet, all of it. (It doesn’t help that the performance of the song Jai Ho is so soft and not the driving Bollywood rhythm that wold really help to enhance their movements.) It’s one of my favorite styles on SYTYCD (go here and watch, you’ll see what I mean — they didn’t know this dance either. She’s a contemporary dancer and he’s a street dancer. Also, check out the music. THAT is Bollywood.) Okay, so where was I? I just spent 20 minutes reliving SYTYCD fun Bollywood routines. Right. So…I’m really disappointed with this, it was flail-ly and goofy. They didn’t do the hands, at all (which is critical in this dance.) Or….well….anything. Check this one out to understand it better…and they only had days to do this, too. (She’s a ballroom dancer and he’s a ballet dancer.) They missed it entirely. I mean, this is a dance show, so… I have no clue what the judges will say. Commend them both for going for it and risking looking awkward, I guess, but that’s the best I could say. Sorry, Genie Gilles! Not bringing the sexy to this….and it could have. From the awkward running to the wacky expressions… Worst performance of the night for me. Or at least the most disappointing. And yet…. the crowd? They love it. Judges: Len loses his mind over how much he loves this. And Carrie Ann? Going on about how accurate it was?? Totally NOT true. I guess as long as there is Bollywood-ish music and they dress right and throw in some squat kicks, it’s all good? No. That was SO not good. I completely give up tonight. Completely. Scores:10, 9.5, 10, 10 = 39.5 Down is up, up is down, dogs and cats, living together. Welcome to Bedlam.
6. Melissa & Tony/Jitterbug: This was one of the best fits I think, of the pairs this week. Of course, after the insane crazy that was Shawn & Derek’s dance last week, it will be hard for them to come anywhere near that. So they have to go a different route. Tony, bless his heart, tries his best. I love these guys, and hope it’s just a fun routine and they perform it well. And it was a fun dance! Lots of tricks, very high energy (take notes, Bristol!) and, other than a slight flub on one of the trickier lifts, it was a clean performance. One of the more enjoyable routines for me. I like their energy together a lot. All fun, no drama, hard workers who really get out there and enjoy themselves, and deliver 100%. Judges? Seriously. Do the right thing. Paula gets it, and points out the specifics of how challenging it was, and thank you for that. All of them were kind. (Well, shut up, Carrie Ann on the minor bobble. Compared on the night? Seriously???) Thank you, Uncle Lenny for ending on a high note. Scores: 9, 9, 9.5, 9.5 = 37 I’d have given them 9.5’s across the board (esp if you’re giving that trainwreck of a Bollywood 10’s. And Bristol’s lackluster by comparison performance 8’s. Just sayin.)
7. Shawn & Derek/Mambo: So, they want to keep the energy high after last week’s amazing, albeit rule breaking performance. No rules this week, so they go for it. And I have to say, Shawn has never looked better. She looks mature, sexy, gorgeous, confident. And it looks very, very good on her! Tons of energy, and the lifts were crazy hard and excellently delivered. I thoroughly enjoy these two together. Like Tony & Melissa, they have a solid, true friendship/partnership vibe and it comes across solidly during their performances. Loved, loved the fake-ending pose. This was a highlight of the night for me. Straight 10’s. Of course, it’s the only ballroom-like dance style of the night, too….so go figure, right?? (Show, are you listening? It’s a b-a-l-l-r-o-o-m show. So….more ballroom, please, k, thanks.) Judges? Standing O from three of them. Scores:10, 9.5, 10, 10 – 39.5 Come on LEN. That slammed. But? Earned!!! FINALLY.
Apolo & Karina/Hip Hop:I would think this would be a strength for Apolo, but Karina has no funk in her. No street. Surprising how out of her depth she truly is here. But she’s a fighter and a worker, so I trust that while it looks like total struggle in rehearsal, they’ll come out with something entertaining and fun, at the very least. And? Well, they did their best. Not a great song choice (show!) but Karina was going for it and Apolo tried, but while they did an okay job of it all, with a bit of slip and mic mishap thrown in for good measure, there was nothing really spectacular about it. (And coming after the last two performances didn’t help them any at all, either.) For me, it was kind of on par with Bristol & Mark’s routine choreo-wise, just delivered with a bit more spunk. So….I’m thinking 7.5 – 8’s. That’s where I’d rank them. Sorry, guys!! (And Karina’s total meltdown about her slip in front of the judges waaaay did not help. Man up, be a pro.) The judges were more than kind (and given how they gushed over Bristol/Mark, that’s the least they could do.) Scores:8.5, 9, 8.5, 8.5=34.5 Very, very kind. But hey, it kind of balances out the 10’s for that Bollywood. And, for that matter, the 8’s for Bristol/Mark’s dance. So, I can live with it.
9. Kelly & Val/Contemporary: We find out straight off that Kelly broke her toe in the morning rehearsal, so….ouch!! Val is completely flummoxed by getting contemporary, and again, I ask you, where are all the former SYTYCD DWTS pros who could totally nail this? Nowhere. Sorry, Val. They were so awesome last week, so I want them to do well. And they close the show, so I hope it’s good for them. And by them, I mean us. Or, well, me. From the rehearsals, and with their chemistry…let’s just say that I think we’re all in for a very satisfying time. Pass me a fan, will you? Okay….here we go. And you know what I love about this? Besides the fact that they’re both seriously underdressed? Val didn’t know a damn thing about contemporary dance, but he didn’t bring in a choreographer. He put that together by himself. And…it’s pretty damn good. Is it up to the standards we see on SYTYCD? No. Not even close, especially for Kelly, who is really left out there to pull this together on her own, as the dance demands. That was brutally tough for an untrained dancer, given there is no steady rhythm or steps to contemporary. And don’t forget – she’s dancing barefoot out there with a freshly broken toe. But what they managed was a hell of a lot closer to the truth of what contemporary dance is than that thing they tried to pass off as Bollywood. Well done. And the chemistry? Well, let’s just say I need a lot more than a fan if I have any hope of cooling off anytime soon. Smokin hot, those two. Just….whew. Judges? Were kind, thankfully, if brief due to time constraints. Scores:9, 9.5, 9.5, 9.5=37.5 Might be a hair over-scored on skill, but on guts, totally earned.
Then, my Carson Kressley Wish?? It is granted!! And the show, is suddenly happier, the sequins glitter a bit brighter, the spray on tans look a little sleeker. Apparently Carson spent the show backstage and tomorrow will be bringing us behind the scenes dish. FINALLY! More Carson. Less Brooke. And the world tilts slightly more accurately on its axis. Ahhhhhh.
Here’s the chart for tonight:
39.5: Shawn, Gilles
I think, in terms of ranking, if you remove that ridiculous over score on the Bollywood routine, they did get the rankings right, more or less. I’d have bumped Gilles down and Melissa up, but otherwise, it’s pretty much there. And, more importantly, the Bottom 3 is accurate, at least for this week. (Sorry, Apolo!) It honestly should be Kirstie and Bristol in the Bottom 2 this week. I love Kirstie’s attitude, but in this field, it’s time for either her or Bristol to go. That said, I honestly have no idea how their fan bases will stack up to the task of keeping them around another week. As former champs go home, the voting numbers for the other stars should start to consolidate and give those two a run for their fan base. Will it be this week? I dunno. I’d be surprised to see Sabrina there this week, though, but anything could happen!
What say you Blog Babes?
No recap show Tuesday night, we go straight to results (because of the debate.) And that’s great news. But what am I most excited about? The Macy’s Stars of Dance is by the League of Extraordinary Dancers. My absolute favorite dance crew. That’ll be worth tuning in for, no matter how frustrating the results are.
Don’t forget to enter this week’s Free Stuff Friday contest! Three winners this week! Two different books being awarded as prizes! And a little sneak peek at Cupcake Club #4, HONEY PIE. To find out more about all of that, just scroll down a tick and read Monday’s Blog post! Then enter with abandon…and get back over here and DISH!!