So, it’s Rock Week at “DWTS,” and though part of me thinks this could be a fun theme, depending on what the show considers rock, I’m getting a little worried about all the cutesy bells and whistles the show has been trying out. All of these concepts seem to be taking us further and further away from the core of what makes the show successful – ballroom dancing and a heady mix of talented and spastic D-list celebrities. But perhaps I just need to see if maybe Bristol Palin can dance an Argentine tango to, say, Slipknot or an old Nirvana ditty first.

 
Before we can get to the dancing, we have to watch the voters’ Top Ten performance of the entire series. What’s striking about this is you get a feel for which seasons had phenomenal talent (Apolo Ohno’s) and which were kinda meh (sorry, Donny Osmond).

Full recap of Monday's (Oct. 25) "Dancing with the Stars" performances after the break...
 
Audrina and Tony
 
To be less plastic and more fantastic, Audrina goes to a mixed martial art instructor and pretends to pummel the bejesus out of Bruno. This she does, of course, in a cute and plastic way, as it’s an entirely canned segment. If “DWTS” feels the need to liven things up on this show, maybe instead of theme weeks they could do something about these horrible segments.

Audrina is a good dancer, in a wind-up doll kind of way. This paso doble is fine, but she’s just swapped her vacant smile for a total lack of expression this week, which I guess is the same as emitting white hot passion if you’re the nice girl on “The Hills.” It’s too bad, really, because Audrina has the ability to be a contender, at least from the neck down.
 
Len tells her she needs to work on character. Bruno agrees. Carrie Ann also agrees, but gives her a pat on the head for improving so much from week one.
 
Scores: 8, 8 and 8. Pretty decent scores for a life-size Barbie, but girl’s got to bring it and soon.
 
 
Kyle and Lacey
 
Kyle gets in some extra practice time by dancing with his brother, who wears a women’s top to set the mood.
 
Is Adam Lambert really considered rock? Anyway, Kyle and Lacey turn in a passable tango. Kyle always seems committed to the routine, but he hasn’t improved as much as I hoped he would when we saw his first dance. There are a few moments in the routine where he looks like he’s shuffling through the footwork, and too often it seems like he’s doing a really great performance at a junior high prom.
 
The judges all agree they’re impressed by the big improvement in Kyle’s carriage. Len doesn’t feel the technique is all there, though.  
 
Scores: 8, 7 and 8. Not bad, really. But he’s getting much higher scores for performance than technique, at least if you compare his dance to Audrina’s.
 
 
Jennifer and Derek

I wonder if Jennifer just flatly refused to do a campy segment, because we have to see another piece about the non-fight Derek and Jennifer had two weeks ago. And hear about Jennifer’s old neck injuries. Maybe those fake, canned segments aren’t so bad after all.
 
Well, this looks pretty okay until Jennifer completely falls apart at the end of the routine. Really, this is Jennifer’s mirror ball trophy to lose, so she needs to get it together fast.
 
Carrie Ann thought it was a rough ride and thinks Jennifer is going downhill, Len agreed and Bruno thinks she lacked balance (literally).
 
Scores: 6, 7 and 7. Ouch! Seriously? Yes, she screwed up the end of the dance, but this still seems a little harsh.
 
 
Rick and Cheryl
 
Rick is having problems processing steps. Rick is a control freak. He rolls on the floor and begs for his brain to stop talking to him. I’m wondering if this show may be a little much for Rick.
 
Oh, my, they’re dancing the tango to Van Halen. And Rick has a fauxhawk. Oh, this is one of those taped pieces David Letterman runs during your interview with him so he can not-so-gently make fun of you and you can show off your self-deprecating sense of humor. The dancing itself isn’t bad, but the rest of it is just painful.
 
But the judges loved it. Go figure.
 
Scores: 8, 8 and 8.
 
 
Bristol and Mark
 
Mark teaches Bristol how to bang her head. Funny, some of Bristol’s performances have made me want to bang my head.
 
This isn’t terrible, actually. Bristol puts on her fierce face, which is at least a face, which is better than Audrina. The costumes I don’t get (are they in a marching band, or is this a Sgt. Pepper allusion?) and the song choice doesn’t work. Still, this is a big improvement for Bristol.
 
Bruno says it’s her best performance. Carrie Ann thought it was amazing. Len says she’s no longer a chimp and almost a champ.
 
Scores: 8, 7 and 8. Admittedly, Bristol was a lot better, so this isn’t a surprise.
 
 
Kurt and Anna
 
Bret Michaels gives Kurt some tips on how to be a rocker. Shouldn’t Bret Michaels be taking a nap? For someone who had a cavalcade of serious health issues not so long ago, I’ve never seen as much of him as I have since he was on death’s door.
 
You know, I would never think an old hair metal track would make for a good ballroom dance song, but “The Final Countdown” actually works. And, despite the fact he’s wearing an old Star Trek uniform, Kurt kinda rocks this for someone who’s about as rock star as Pat Boone.
 
Carrie Ann thought it was scruffy and unpolished. Really? Len thought it looked awkward. Bruno thought it was Jackie Chan. What were they watching?
 
Scores: 6, 6 and 6. Oh, come on. If Bristol got eights, this seems unduly harsh.
 
 


 

 

 

 

Brandy and Maks
 
Brandy is feeling the pressure. She stomps out of the rehearsal room and cries. Maks gets a sour look on his face, as if he’s one chick meltdown away from yanking Brandy by the hair.
 
Oh lord, another musty ‘80s tune. Brandy is definitely fierce, but it looks a bit like she’s being dragged around the floor instead of keeping up with Maks.
 
But again, the judges love it. Len calls it the best dance of the night, though Carrie Ann catches some tiny missteps. Um, bigger than tiny, Carrie Ann.
 
Backstage, Brandy tells Brooke that the competition means everything to her. Everything. Brandy needs a boyfriend or maybe a nice hobby like scrapbooking or something.
 
Scores: 8, 9 and 9.
 
 
The dance marathon requires that the winning couple dance for four minutes straight. And they have to do lifts. And splits. And flips. And they will have to do all this to ZZ Top while wearing goofy 50s costumes.
 
Kurt and Anna are first to get the boot
Bristol and Mark are next for, apparently, trying the worm, though we don’t get to see it.
Rick and Cheryl are off next.
Kyle and Lacey get the boot.
Audrina and Tony are next.
Jennifer and Derek. But Brandy and Maks are just walking around. I feel like I’m not even watching the same show as the judges tonight.
 
So, Brandy seems to be stepping into the top spot, but I wouldn’t count Jennifer out yet. And as for the rest of the team, we seem to be in reverse world, with Bristol getting straight eights and Kurt sucking wind with sixes and an early exit in the dance marathon. Pot hasn’t been legalized in California yet, but I’m wondering if the judges hit a medical dispensary. Hey, they could have old dance injuries, who knows.
 
Do you think Kurt deserved his low score? What did you think of Rock Week? And do you think Brandy will hold her lead?