Monday, October 11, 2010

'Dancing with the Stars' - The Top 9 performs in-the-round

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' - The Top 9 performs in-the-round

It’s the first acoustic week ever on “DWTS!” Wow! But wait, that’s just one of several HUGE changes for the show, none of which is a big whoop, but will be presented as such! I’m assuming this is happening because ABC has decided that D-list celebrities dancing awkwardly just isn’t enough to hold your interest, fickle viewers, so this is really all your fault. Anyway, the dance floor is now round and elevated, and the judges will be providing two sets of scores – one for technique, one for performance. Wow! Color me shocked! Knock me over with a feather boa! A new dance floor, I swoon! I’m not really sure why there are two sets of scores or whether this will have any impact on who stays or goes, except that it forces me to do more math in my head than I would like, but whatever.
We are informed through a truly ridiculous montage sequence that dancing to acoustic music is REALLY HARD and will put the celebrities under A GREAT DEAL OF PRESSURE which may end in tears or broken bones. Okay, maybe not the last part, but still, big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I love “DWTS.” But then, I like watching dancing. And I like watching some celebrities dance badly even more, because it makes me feel better about the fact that I have squashed many a toe in my lifetime. I don’t really need ABC to create false drama, or force their pro dancers to do canned segments about how acoustic music is SO DAMN HARD TO DANCE TO while they try to look earnest, even though you know they’re thinking, “Damn, this is stupid, but I’m making about a million times more doing TV than dancing at some pro ballroom competition or teaching frisky seniors how to rumba on a cruise ship, so yeah, I’m sucking it up and then some.” Really, ABC. Calm down. I’m sure you had most of us at “rumba,” and the rest of us at “D-list celebrity.” But speaking of rumba, let’s get to the dancing!
[Full recap of Monday's (Oct. 11) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
Kurt and Anna
Kurt, being a married Christian guy, is freaked out about dancing all sexy-like with Anna, when really he should be more freaked out about his wife going on national television and talking about how he kept looking for other chicks to chase while they were dating. I kind of love Kurt’s wife now for exactly that reason, but I’m not sure she’s helping his good Christian guy image.
In any case, Kurt gets the thumbs up from Wifey to dance sexy, and you know, I give Kurt credit for wiggling his hips, which does not look like a natural inclination for him. However, his arms seem a little stiff and possibly apelike, which suggests this whole dancing thing is not really right for him. But all in all, good effort.
The judges liked the hip action, but squabbled about technique and arm movement. Yeah, he wasn’t great, but the judges seem to be a little rough on him. He shook his hips, people, cut him some slack!
Technical Scores: 5, 5 and 5
Performance Scores: 7, 6 and 6
Despite the fact the judges came just short of telling him he danced like crap and scored him accordingly, Kurt wishes his wife a happy thirteenth wedding anniversary. Good game face, Kurt.
Brandy and Maks
Brandy needs to be in love to feel sexy. And she hasn’t been in love for six years. However, I don’t think the solution is having Maks romance her, as he tends to act like he’s having his flesh peeled off in small strips every time he has to work with a celebrity. That may be charming for a certain kind of woman, but I’m fairly sure that woman is not Brandy. But, because this is the focus of their scripted canned segment for the week, she’s won over and acts appropriately impressed with Maks because he tosses some roses in her face and suppresses a snarl. Sigh.
Can I just say that Kate Bush must be rolling in money just from “This Woman’s Work” being on every dance show out there for the last few years? And if Tom and fourteen or so other people hadn’t said “this is a VERY SPECIAL ACOUSTIC EPISODE,” I wouldn’t have noticed. The show is using a small chamber orchestra and a smorgasbord of exotic drums – it’s not like all they have for their acoustic options is some kid who flunked out of the church choir and a one-stringed guitar or something.
For some reason, Brandy is wearing a shower curtain over a swimsuit, but it works for her. And this routine is beautiful, too. Granted, Brandy doesn’t show off a lot of tricks or fancy moves, but it’s just a simple, graceful dance. I like this. It’s not great dancing, maybe, but it’s well done.
Bruno loves the soft sensuality. The judges want more strength in her legs, but thought the performance was good. Len was thrilled to see a fan and a hockey stick. Go ahead, Len, show off that you’re the pro dancer knowing that at least 20 percent of the audience will be rewinding their DVRs to look for an actual hockey stick.
And now, another commercial break. Is this show fifty percent commercials, or is that my imagination?
Technical Scores: 7, 8 and 7
And the performance… wait, Brooke cuts to the instant replay. Really? We’re doing instant replays now? If “DWTS” brings in umpires, I’m switching the channel to “House” once and for all.
Finally, we get the rest of Brandy’s scores. Performance Scores: 9, 8 and 9.
Rick and Cheryl
Rick is thrilled to be doing lifts, but he’s afraid he might toss Cheryl into the front row. Okay, I don’t want to see anyone injured, but man, that would definitely liven things up more than a “very special acoustic” episode or a stupid dance floor.
I actually wonder if, because of the height difference, some of the legwork was impossible to pull off, because Rick is walking around a lot more than I would have hoped. He also looks a lot stiffer than he did in the rehearsal. I’m disappointed in this routine, honestly. And not just because Cheryl didn’t get pitched into the audience like a petite projectile.
Carrie Ann calls it one dimensional, which is on the mark. Len gives the lifts props but says the passion seeped out as the dance went on. Bruno starts talking about Clark Gable and says something about Megatron.
Technical Scores: 6, 7 and 6
Performance Scores: 6, 7 and 7
Kyle and Lacey
Last week, Kyle’s footwork was savaged by the judges. So, he’s focused on pointing his toes. Fascinating. Does everyone really need this canned pre-dance segment? Oh, and for the rumba, he has to bring the sexy. Lacey has her doubts. I do, too, as Kyle is more about the funny than the sexy. And with that baby face of his, I’m not sure I want to see too much of the sexy from Kyle, no offense.
Kyle actually does pretty well in this, considering how badly I thought it might have gone. He’s got a winking, flirty thing going that works for him, and he actually seems pretty graceful, though you can tell this is not a natural or easy fit for him.
The judges cream Kyle for being too choppy. Bruno thinks he gives good flirt, though, which is pretty impressive, if you ask me.
Technical Scores: 6, 6 and 6
Performance Scores: 8, 7 and 7
Ouch. Brooke asks Kyle how he wraps his teenage mind around getting sexy with Lacey, which makes it sound like he’s some pathetic underage kid. To my surprise, Kyle doesn’t roll his eyes and slap the crap out of Brooke. Though I will say I doubt that question is Brooke’s fault, but Kyle probably can’t easily slap the crap out of the producer feeding it into her ear.
The Situation and Karina
They’re doing the Argentine tango, which Pauly Shore, I mean, The Situation knows nothing about. Really? Because when I think about the cast of a cheesy reality TV show about cheesy people from Jersey, I expect a deep knowledge of ballroom dance. 
Personally, I think if flipping your partner into the air looks about as graceful as deadlifting 300 pounds at the gym, maybe it should be left out of the choreography. Unfortunately, once I got over the accordion version of “Sweet Dreams,” I had no choice but to watch the actual dancing, which wasn’t really dancing as much as it was The Situation standing still and showing off his abs while Karina actually danced.
The judges hated it, though Carrie Ann liked the abs. Really? I know we’re all supposed to be so impressed with this guy’s abs, but they look weird to me. His stomach looks more like a four pack with weird wings and a strangely sunken middle section than a six pack. Anyway, Carrie Ann saw improvement. Huh? From what? Is she comparing him to an inanimate object?
Technical Scores: 4, 4 and 4
Performance Scores: 6, 5 and 5
Brooke asks The Situation how it feels to suck. Okay, not exactly, what that’s what she meant.
Florence and Corky
Florence is going to do a rumba. Corky wants her to be sexy. I, however, do not, as I don’t want my childhood to die.
Sadly, this wasn’t so much sexy as awkward, sort of like walking in on your grandparents doing it when they’ve both recently had hip replacement surgery.
Carrie Ann got uncomfortable with the raunchy, though Len liked it.
Technical Scores: 6, 6 and 5
Performance Scores: 6, 6 and 6
Jennifer and Derek
Jennifer has a neuroma in her foot. And bolts in her neck. But Derek feels he can push her. This is all fun until someone ends up in the hospital, Derek. Yes, she looks 35, but that’s either really good genes or a great plastic surgeon, so it’s up to you to remember that she isn’t.
That being said, she’s the front runner (okay, except for last week, but otherwise) for a reason. She nails this routine and looks amazing. Yes, Jennifer is getting a Broadway gig from this show if nothing else. And based on this routine, she should be doing a “Cabaret” revival with her dad if she hasn’t already.
Technical Scores: 9, 9 and 9
Performance Scores: 10, 9 and 10. Big scores, but really, I think she deserves them.
Bristol and Mark

Bristol reveals that she doesn’t feel capable of being sexy, because she’s a 19-year-old mom. Isn’t that how she became a 19-year-old mom? Actually, you would think that being a single 19-year-old mom who preaches abstinence to teens, she’d be all kinds of pent-up sexy, but whatever. The truth is, she’s not a public person, and even though she’s been cheerfully game and in many ways better than I expected on this show, there are certain things that she isn’t going to be able to do. Like act hot-to-trot on national television.
Again, this performance isn’t terrible, but there is a frozen, deer-in-headlights meets high school recital quality to it. Her dancing isn’t so bad, really, but she just looks like she’s having an out of body experience.
Bruno thinks she’s clean technically but her performance sucks. Len gives her points for performance, though.
Brooke asks what it’s like dancing sexy in FRONT OF YOUR MOTHER, SARAH PALIN. Bristol may look like a glazed-over zombie, but she wisely dodges and says I’m just dancing, stupid, and leave my mom out of it. Okay, not that exactly, but that’s what she was probably thinking.
Technical Scores: 6, 6 and 6
Performance Scores: 4, 5 and 5.  
Audrina and Tony
Wow, another cheesy reality TV star doesn’t know a thing about the Argentine tango! What a crazy coincidence! Did the producers just run out of stupid things for people to say in these canned segments? I know, they were too busy thinking about how to make a new dance floor interesting.
Okay, maybe this is because they’re trying to dance to freakin’ Jefferson Airplane, but this seems oddly out of synch with the music. Because I don’t think you can actually dance to this song. You can sit on your floor and take acid to this song, but not dance to it. The dancing itself, though, is pretty good. Not Jennifer Grey good, but good. And
Carrie Ann thinks she lacked energy past the ankle, which is probably a valid dance critique but just sounds funny. Bruno thought Audrina was icy. He says icy, I say vacant, tomato, tomahto.
Technical Scores: 8, 8 and 8
Performance Scores: 8, 7 and 7
Well, the clear front runner this week is, yet again, Jennifer Grey, but this season seems to be memorable just for having so many celebrities still stinking up the joint one month in. Maybe it’s because the dancing is so stiff and unrelentingly amateurish that the producers tried to distract us (look, new dance floor! Two sets of scores! Oh, God, can we put a palm tree in front of The Situation instead of showing him dance?). But as to who is going home, I’m guessing The Situation or Florence may be getting the boot. Sorry, Mrs. Brady.

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