So, it’s yet another “let’s throw spaghetti at the wall” gimmick night on “DWTS.” Oh, yay. Although this one is actually kind of intriguing, in that it’s actually something professional dancers do in competition -- the celebrities won’t know what song they’ll be hoofing it to for their second dance (well, not until mere minutes before they perform, at least). This could be a wonderful challenge or it could be a train wreck, but undoubtedly it will make Jennifer Grey grab some part of her body in agony, as she’s falling apart because she’s FIFTY, dammit, and Brandy will say with a frightening intensity that she REALLY REALLY WANTS THIS, and honestly, that’s become kind of the core of the show at this point, so let’s get to it.
[Full recap of Monday's (Nov. 8) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
Kyle and Lacey
The cutest couple on the show will be dancing the Viennese waltz, which should be very romantic, but in rehearsal they bicker like cranky pre-schoolers. She calls him an idiot, he calls her a big angry baby, but they say it with love. Seriously, if they weren’t different races, you’d think they were brother and sister.
Although the waltz isn’t Kyle’s thing (which isn’t a bad thing for a teenage boy), he really pulls this out beautifully. He looks graceful and light on his feet, and though sometimes his arms look leaden, his footwork is actually pretty impressive. Good going, Kyle! He’s really one of the most likable people still on the show, but more importantly, he’s worked his butt off to improve and it shows.
Len calls Kyle an orchid blossom in bloom, and Bruno says something florid and effusive, and Carrie Ann is impressed. I think good scores are in the works for Kyle and Lacey.
Scores: 9, 9 and 9. Kyle looks like he’s going to pass out he’s so thrilled. Which is so much more appealing than watching Brandy get her scores, as she seems to be one ten away from taking off one of her shoes and grinding it in a fellow dancer’s face, screaming, “SUCK IT SUCK IT SUCK IT, I’m gonna WIN!”
Instant dance: Kyle draws “Good Golly Miss Molly,” which Lacey seems really, really excited about. That’s gotta be the first time in fifty years that someone under the age of thirty got excited about that song, but hey, good for you, Lacey.
Jennifer and Derek
Jennifer has tendonitis in her knee. Derek is worried. A doctor is called. She could do serious damage if she keeps dancing. Can she do it? Will she continue to suffer and risk permanent injury by staying in the competition for a stupid mirror ball trophy? Hmm, let me think about this… I’m putting my money on yes, she’s staying. I know she’s really suffering, but seriously, they’ve got to stop beating this horse. We get it, she’s in pain, let’s move on.
Jennifer and Derek will be dancing the quick step. And to inspire her, Jennifer’s dad Joel Grey drops by to let her know that the show must go on. This is feeling like an outtake from “Cabaret,” but that’s kind of apropos, given who her dad is, really.
As usual, this is graceful and fluid and darn near professional. For someone who is in a lot of pain, Jennifer looks peaceful and totally absorbed in the dance, which is either a testament to her acting skills or her painkillers.
Bruno loves it but calls her out on a misstep. Carrie Ann assures Jennifer that she’s loved. Really, Carrie Ann? While I’m sure a lot of people in the audience have seen “Dirty Dancing,” they’d probably be hard pressed to name anything else she’s done since then, and might have had a hard time remembering if she was actually still alive. Sorry, but just saying.
Scores: 9, 9 and 9. Clearly, Jennifer got docked for the misstep, but good showing.
Instant dance: Jennifer pulls “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner. Neither Jennifer nor Derek have ever heard it. Derek has an excuse, but I think Jennifer’s just playing dumb.
Kurt and Anna
They’re going to be waltzing, and we see the usual rehearsal scenario between Kurt and Anna. He lumbers around good naturedly, she tries to hide her exasperation. Although I will say, I think Kurt is kind of growing on Anna. The ice princess thaws!
Too bad she doesn’t have a magic wand to make Kurt a better dancer. Granted, he’s not awful, but he’s not Brandy or Jennifer or even Kyle, either. His shoulders tend to hunch and his arms don’t always fall into position. But he does get points for performance.
Carrie Ann declares Kurt is the guy she would like to be her Ken doll and babbles on about this particular fantasy long enough to make everyone uncomfortable, but let’s just suffice it to say she liked it. Bruno says there are obviously better dancers, but they appreciate how hard he’s trying. Yes, the judges are patronizing, but in a very nice way.
Scores: 8,8 and 8. Not great, but not awful, either.
Instant dance: Kurt draws “Hella Good” by No Doubt. He’s never heard it before. Color me not surprised. But I bet he knows Foreigner.
Bristol and Mark
Bristol decides to go home to see her family. I have to say, it’s kind of cute to see Sarah Palin being a proud mommy, at least until she asks if Bristol is going to be dancing “lap dance” sexy. Bristol just shrugs it off, which is impressive knowing that most teenaged daughters would shriek “MOM!” and roll their eyes.
While Bristol’s lack of expression works for her when her mom is making references to stripper moves, it’s not so great on the dance floor. She’s a little more alert and focused in this dance, but her feet are a mess – instead of snapping a leg around Mark’s, she seems to flop it over his, like they’re watching a movie and fighting over the popcorn in bed. At best, this looks like a good rehearsal, not a performance.
Len thought the lifts were good but thought it lacked intensity. Bruno wanted fire. Carrie thought her flicks were lackluster. I think the judges are being very kind, honestly. But given that Bristol languishes at the bottom of the pile each week and yet stays in the competition, they may not see any point in giving her a harsh critique.
Scores: 8,8 and 8. Oh, come on. That was a seven performance at bet, people.
Instant dance: Bristol draws “Mas que Nada.” Uh, okay.
Brandy and Maks
Brandy is worried! What if the fans don’t love her? What can she do to stick around? Maks gives her a non-answer about working well together. I’d suggest an all-day “Moesha” marathon on one of the major networks, but that might not do it. Although I’m not really sure who is likely to win the sympathy vote, as both she and Jennifer have had moments of being shrill and crazy this season. I’m almost hoping Kyle brings his A game and knocks them both out at this point.
At the beginning of the dance, Brandy tiptoes around in a big velvet cape, which Maks pulls away to reveal a sexy white dress. Not sure why we had to have the big Vampira moment, but whatever. This is a very balletic, beautiful waltz. But Brandy needs to stop doing the angsty hands-clasping before the judges weigh in. She’s just seeming too desperate to win.
But she might win, given that Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann was spellbound, but she says Brandy needs to watch her neck. Len was overwhelmed by the whole performance.
Scores: 9, 10 and 10. Granted, she deserved it. Even if she does seem nuts.
Brandy gets weepy over the scores. She tells Brooke she’s doing this for the fans! And her daughter! And it has nothing to do with her type-A cutthroat killer instinct!
Instant Dance: Brandy draws “Teenage Dream.” And it takes her a moment to remember, duh, it’s a Kate Perry song. But at least she knows it.
Kyle and Lacey
Time for instant dancing! Steve-O, Lacey’s partner from season 8, drops by to help Kyle improve his focus by trying to distract him, most notably by walking around naked and aiming a leaf blower at him. Does this mean someone’s going to streak across the dance floor while carrying a hair dryer? Just wondering.
Kyle and Lacey’s jive looks shockingly smooth. I can’t believe they’ve never rehearsed to this song. Kyle is always fun to watch, but this dance is pretty darn good on its own terms. I’m starting to think Kyle might be able to not only make it to the semi-finals, but if Jennifer finally breaks something or irretrievably pulls a tendon, he could make it to the final two.
Len says he came out like a pocket rocket, and though it was a little wild and wacky, he liked it. Bruno thought it looked like they’d rehearsed for months. Carrie Ann thought it was the most fun she’s had as a viewer the whole season.
Scores: 10, 9 and 10. Go Kyle!
Jennifer and Derek
Derek is thrilled that they’ll be doing a rumba, because it won’t be so hard on Jennifer’s knee. Jennifer notes that without total trust and good breath mints, it could be a disaster. I’m fairly certain it won’t be, Jennifer, but thanks for trying to build some drama.
This is super sexy and, of course, Jennifer nails it. For someone with a bad knee, she’s pretty darn good at whipping her leg onto Derek’s shoulder. The audience goes wild, and Jamie Lee Curtis has a happy fit, so I’m guessing they’re friends or Jamie Lee is a little nuts. In Hollywood, you never know.
Bruno calls the dance breathtaking and flawless. Carrie Ann said it was beautiful to see Jennifer reclaiming her power. Len thought it was great dancing. Clearly, the judges are all kinds of excited about this one.
Scores: 10, 10 and 10. Perfect score!
Kurt and Anna
They’ll be doing the cha-cha-cha, and in the rehearsal we’re treated to watching Kurt’s kids shout out critiques of his dancing. Which is corny, but eh, kinda cute, too.
This is actually one of Kurt’s better dances. Yes, he falls out of sequence with Anna and the music for a few stretches, but he’s loose and fluid and doesn’t seem to be counting each step as he sometimes does. This looks like actual dancing. Not great dancing, but good dancing.
Carrie Ann says he nailed all the beats. Len thought he performed well despite his shoddy footwork. Bruno thought he went for it.
Scores: 8, 8 and 8. I thought he might get a nine or two, but this isn’t unfair, either. Still, if he’s getting eights, then Bristol should be getting sevens or lower.
Bristol and Mark
They’re doing the samba. Bristol is worried, because if you lose the beat with the samba, you’re screwed. I think you’re screwed if you lose the beat with any dance, but let’s move on.
Oh, this is close to a car wreck. Bristol needs to keep her tongue in her mouth, yikes. She waffles a few of the moves completely and at times looks completely lost. No one else has seemed as completely thrown by the instant dance. Someone call Kate Gosselin, she has a new dance partner!
Len says she coped well with the rhythm changes. Bruno thought she shook it well. What? Yes, she could shake her ya-yas, but let’s not get carried away. Carrie Ann didn’t see the musicality. No kidding! This blew.
Scores: 7, 8 and 8. Given that Kurt’s performance, though flawed, was plenty better than this hot mess, this score seems high to me.
Brandy and Maks
They’ll be doing the cha-cha-cha. Brandy assures Maks her musicality will kick in, because she’s a singer, dude. She said dude, not me, mind you. In rehearsal, she and Maks grab their tushes at one another. She’s having fun. She’s going to bring it. Yada. Yada. Yada.
Even though Brandy says she and Maks look like they’ve been partners for twenty years, I didn’t love this. I didn’t see a strong connection between the two of them, and it seemed like Brandy lost the joyful, playful attitude she had in rehearsal. Someone wants to win too much, methinks.
But Bruno thought it was fabulous. Carrie Ann thought there wasn’t a lot of dancing, which is Maks’ fault. Len thought it was full of flair, though he agrees with Carrie Ann, which makes Maks start complaining.
Scores: 9, 9 and 10. Brandy and Jennifer are tied, and Maks seems unhappy about this, even though this is a pretty darn good score. Maks starts prattling to Brooke about rehearsal and pro-dancers and some other things that don’t really tie into a coherent thought. Maks cares passionately about dancing, but I also suspect he can be a pain in the ass, too.
So, at the top of the board we have Brandy and Jennifer, and at the bottom we have Bulletproof Bristol. I’ve got to believe Bristol’s time is up, as she’s clearly the weakest of the celebs at this point (and Kurt isn’t too far behind her). I’d think we are too far into the competition for people to keep voting for whom they’d most like to invite over for a potluck dinner as opposed to talented, engaging dancers, but go figure.
Who do you think should go home? Do you think Jennifer will have to drop out before the finals? Why do you think Bristol has been bulletproof?