It's the night we've all been waiting for on "Dancing with the Stars"! Okay, it's the night some people have been waiting for. Cher tweeted that she'd sit in the audience to cheer her son Chaz Bono on if he made it through to this week, so we'll all get to see if her plastic surgery has veered into Joan Rivers territory or if she's (aack!) attempting to age gracefully or, hopefully, something in between. But before we see Cher politely applauding in the audience, it's time to watch some dancing.
Because we do need to fill two hours, we're treated to seeing some actual professionals do their thing. The "DWTS" Troupe is joined by Maksim, Louis van Amstel and Peta Mergatroyd to dance to a medley of famous movie themes. Initially, it feels a little Lawrence Welk-ish, but then there is topless dancing with light sabers. Only the guys are topless, I should point out. Otherwise, I think that's actually a geek fantasy I don't want to dwell on.
Finally, it's time for our first dance -- a tango to the theme of "Mission: Impossible"! That sounds horrible, but bring it on!
Chynna and Tony
During rehearsal, Chynna is not focusing, according to Tony. But she's worried! And she'll try really hard!
For the record, I'd think it would be easier to dance the cha cha to the sound of a car crash than doing anything to the "Mission: Impossible" theme, but I'll withhold judgement. Tony recreates the Tom Cruise wire act from the remake, but it's not enough to save Chynna. There are some long, awkward poses here and then the ending seems completely off. To her credit, Chynna holds it together but she's clearly forgotten the routine. Oh, this must feel horrible. The dance that she doesn't waffle looks solid and her frame is good, though. Not that that's going to help.
Len says it all went up the Swanee River, as she got lost and panicked. Bruno says she was slash and burn hot but she lost the plot. Carrie Ann gives her props for keeping her composure.
Backstage, Brooke "humanizes" the moment by telling Chynna it happened to her. Well, as long as it happened to Brooke, then it's all okay.
Carrie Ann - 7 Len - 7 Bruno - 7
I'm actually surprised that the scores are that high, but Chynna is a favorite.
The camera turns to the audience. There's Cher! And Courteney Cox! And Billy Baldwin! Courteney looks rather sad ands sunken compared to the lion-coiffed Cher. And yes, she's getting a little Joan Rivers-ish, but she's still pretty fabulous.
David and Kym
They're dancing the paso doble to the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" theme. He's having problems in rehearsal. He has dyslexia, so left and right is hard for him. Kym can't let him get too stressed out! Because celebrities are, after all, hot house flowers that cannot stand real pressure.
He swings onto the stage via vine, so I guess everyone's going to kick off their routine with some so-so movie stunt. Some of this looks pretty good. Sometimes David seems Harrison Ford-ish and sometimes he looks like he's counting in his head. He blows some steps but the attitude is mostly right.
Bruno loves the way he cracks his whip. He wants David to watch his turns. Carrie Ann thinks there's an incredible amount of bravado. She loved every minute. Len felt it was all Temple of Doom with no shaping through the body and lousy footwork.
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 7 Bruno - 8
Another routine by the troupe, this time to "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." Is it supposed to be really, really old movie night? This is from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Oh, wait, the theme to "Dr. Zhivago" is next. Couldn't "DWTS" find anything from this century? Nothing against the classics, but I suspect a large portion of the audience has no idea what they're listening to.
Carson and Anna
They'll be dancing the Viennese waltz to "The Curse of the Black Pearl" from "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Carson digs Storm, the stuntman who comes in to show them sword work. Oh, you minx, Carson!
This was fun! It didn't look like a waltz so much, but it was fun! And his footwork was a mess, but who cares? Fun, fun, fun!
Carrie Ann thought it was his butchest performance yet but felt his technique was off. But it was fun. Len felt it was like childbirth - terrible when it's happening and a joy when it's over. But it was great fun. Bruno thought the sword fight turned into a catfight. But it was fun.
Carrie Ann - 7 Len - 6 Bruno - 7
Nancy and Tristan
They'll paso doble to the "Flash Gordon" theme. She doesn't want to be the bull. She'd prefer to kill Tristan. Oh, Nancy, it's a damn dance, relax.
This isn't too bad. I thought she'd be more fiery, but she isn't dancing like she's afraid of breaking a hip. That's something.
Len thinks her dancing is competent but not exciting. Bruno thinks she's hiding. Carrie Ann thinks she has solid technique but she need to connect to the audience.
Carrie Ann - 7 Len - 7 Bruno - 7
Hope and Maks
They'll be doing the foxtrot to "Toy Story." Hope tells Maks he can't be mean to her rehearsing to "You've Got A Friend in Me." Oh, yes, he can!
This is kind of adorable, largely because Maks has to act like Woody. Hope is appropriately sweet and doll-like. Plus, it's a cute little dance and Hope seems to be doing okay on the footwork.
Bruno thought it was lovely and he loved it. Carrie Ann smiled the whole way through. Len thinks Hope could go all the way in this competition. He angrily tells Maks and Hope they need to practice more. Wow, Len is in a bad mood tonight! I mean, he's usually in a bad mood, but this is just a little worse than normal. Someone get him a glass of warm milk and a Tylenol or something.
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8
Rob and Cheryl
They're doing the paso doble to "Superman." Rob feels he's like Clark Kent because he's shy, too. But not nerdy. Okay, if you say so, Rob. He says he's not a loser brother. He is Superman! Words fail.
It's hard to focus given how unflattering his pants are. Yes, that ass that looks so good on Kim looks absolutely ridiculous on a man. Anyway, the dance is okay. He definitely moves around the floor with speed, but he still has less than zero personality, if you ask me.
Carrie Ann thinks there's something about the way he moves. She felt it was spicy and had Superman flavor. Len didn't adore it and felt Rob looked like he was handing out h'ors d'oeuves. Bruno thinks he needs to reach through his body.
Rob informs us he's worked really hard before, because he graduated from USC. So did O.J. Simpson, Rob. Impress us by telling up you've been able to hold down a job.
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8
Ricki and Derek
They'll be dancing the tango to the theme to "Psycho." In rehearsal, Ricki isn't getting it. She wants to quit. Yeah, yeah, yeah. She'll still probably get the best scores of the night.
I actually love the choreography here. Derek did some excellent work. And for all Ricki's complaining, I thought this looked really strong. No more whining out of you, Ricki. We know you're full of it.
Strange pop culture moment of the night -- the camera cuts to... Dr. Phil and Donny Osmond?
Len says they're looking at the top of the leader board. Bruno thought it was an immaculate tribute to Hitchcock. Carrie Ann said it was brilliance in the ballroom.
Carrie Ann - 10 Len - 9 Bruno - 10
Um, yeah, top of the leader board.
Chaz and Lacey
They'll be doing the paso doble to the "Rocky" theme. Lacey asks Richard Simmons to give Chaz some training. Wow, it's time to cut the hair, Richard, because you're starting to look like a remarkably healthy version of the Cryptkeeper with that coiff.
Has Chaz actually gained weight since the show started? I'm not joking; he looks wider. Go, Ewok, go! It's not much of a dance, but it is demanding. All this jogging up stairs makes me think he's going to have a heart attack on national TV.
Another shot of Cher. Wow, her face seems to move! Some!
Bruno thinks he keeps coming back stronger. Carrie Ann is crying. She thinks he's magic. Cher gives Chaz a standing ovation and she's crying, too. I love that she's a proud mom, standing behind her son who wasn't always a son. Okay, I'm going to start crying if they keep this up. Len thinks he's getting stronger and it was his best dance to date.
Carrie Ann - 7 Len - 7 Bruno - 7
J.R. and Karina
They'll be performing the foxtrot to "The Pink Panther" theme. Professional ballroom dancer Nick Kosovich comes in to give J.R. some tips.
I thought this was actually very good. A little cutesy, but then, so was Maks and Hope's routine. I don't love the mustache or the pink tuxedo, but a good job.
Carrie Ann thought the technique was all there but she didn't like the humor. What? That's a pretty shaky thing to downgrade him on. Len thought J.R. was the best male dancer of the night. Bruno said... something positive. I think.
Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 9 Bruno - 9
Well, Ricki's at the top again, while Carson is in the bottom (I think the judges may have thrown Chaz an extra point or two for getting his mom in the audience). I'm surprised Ricki's score was so much higher than everyone else's (was she really in 10 territory?), but I do think everyone had a bit of a mission impossible in trying to dance to the music they were assigned. I'm not surprised Chynna blew it for exactly that reason. I know movie music in recent years tends toward the atmospheric, but if they'd just skewed a little younger and hipper (indie films are bubbling over with pop songs), they might have found some music that had a beat and you can dance to it (to make another arcane reference). But hey, "Pirates of the Caribbean," everyone has that on their iPod, right?
Did you like movie night? Do you think Ricki's going to win this thing? Do you think Cher's presence will help Chaz survive another week?