'Dancing with the Stars' recap: A tribute to Michael Jackson and weird mash-ups
We kick things off with a Michael Jackson tribute, because it’s the 25th anniversary of his album “Bad.” So, that will explain last week’s whackadoo dance assignments, right? Well, no. It just adds another level of confusion, as the second half of the evening will be dedicated to Michael Jackson, but not the first. Yeah, the weird mash-ups will just be freestanding weird mash-ups. Let's just hope this is something that will never be repeated on the show. Never, ever.
Melissa & Tony - “Caveman” hustle
The Background: Melissa is so happy! Last week, she and Tony got two perfect scores! Whoot! Anyway, she’s already exceeded her goals for her second go-round at “DWTS.” She’s the only contestant left who knows how to lose, so she’s going to work harder than anyone else. Except a “Caveman” hustle could be lame. Melissa and Tony are a little miserable, and I can’t blame them. And then Tony’s back goes out.
The Dance: Tony is cleared to dance, according to Tom. This is… cute, I guess. It’s “Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was). Not really a dance song. I can’t say I love this, but very good effort. ?The Judges: Len thinks Fred and Wilma never danced as well. It was a hustle with no hassle. He really enjoyed it. Bruno thought it was the most effective use of animal skins since Raquel Welch in “One Million B.C.” But she lost her footing a bit. Carrie Ann loved it and thought she liked the caveman sections more than the hustle sections.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9.5 , Bruno – 9. Good scores, but at this point in the competition? Ouch.
Shawn & Derek - “Knight Rider” banghra
The Background: Shawn is just thrilled to have made it through last week! But she has no idea what this dance is. Derek would rather have mustard on ice cream as a combination. Derek wisely brings in a choreographer who knows Indian dance. Shawn is at a loss, because everything she knows and everything she’s been taught doesn’t work for this challenge. Again, who thought this bizarro mash-up night was a good idea?
The Dance: I think this was good? Again, I’m not sure what was “Knight Rider” about it beyond Derek’s costume and the flashing lights at the beginning, but these two danced their asses off.
The Judges: There’s so much hooting and applause the judges don’t have time to say much. Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann thought it was fantastric. Len says it was dynamite.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 10, Bruno – 10
Apolo & Karina - “Big Top” jazz
The Background: There will be lots of lifts and tricks to capture the circus vibe. Apolo is overwhelmed. He can’t make the choreography stick in his brain! He’s tired. He needs time! Karina tells him there’s no time for breaks. Apolo feels it’s a pursuit of perfection that’s unattainable.
The Dance: This looked incredibly difficult. Which accounts for some of the mistakes. It’s definitely jazz, which isn’t exactly fluid.
The Judges: Carrie Ann loves the concept, but felt it was disjointed and felt the dismounts were sloppy. It didn’t come together. Len thought there were awkward moments, but he thinks Apolo is a fighter, so well done. Bruno thought it was edgy, surreal and a blend of Cirque de Soleil and “A Clockwork Orange.” They only lost step at the beginning.
Scores: Carrie Ann –8.5, Len – 9, Bruno – 9.5
Emmitt & Cheryl - “Espionage” lindy hop
The Background: Emmitt was so happy with their final dance last week. Emmitt thinks this mash-up dance is designed to wear him out. Cheryl needs him to bring on his acting skills. But he doesn’t have any! Eeek!?The Dance: I don’t think the lindy hop is Emmitt’s dance, but this is fun and high energy and, hey, if anyone can get through this awful night, I have to root for them.
The Judges: Len liked the concept and the energy, but he would have liked more lindy. Bruno thought it was like a Looney Tunes version of James Bond. So, it was fun. Carrie Ann thought it was his most animated performance ever.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno - 9 Well, the judges liked it, but not that much. I swear, this has everything to do with how weird the themes to these dances are.
Kelly & Val - “Surfer” flamenco
The Background: Kelly thinks the other couples believe she and Val are competition. Really? I don’t. Sorry, but they have not been beloved by the judges since day one. Anyway, Kelly still wants to win. She bickers with Val, and I’m really not feeling the love.
The Dance: Her footwork looks terrible – is she wearing flat gladiator sandals? Why? This looks really messy, I have to say. But I think Kelly always looks fierce and is clearly wanting to nail it. I just wish this didn’t look so all over the place.
The Judges: Bruno thought Kelly was upstaged by Val’s Speedo. And, oh yes, the placement of the arms was not precise. Carrie didn’t see flamenco. Len thought it had verve and attack and it was fantastic. I think Len is, shockingly enough, trying to be nice.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 9, Bruno - 8.5
As Brooke helpfully points out, they haven’t gotten a 10 yet this season. Val is not happy with the scores and thinks they’re unfair. Then, he thanks Kelly for an amazing season. As if he has to pack his bags during the commercial break because it’s so damn obvious they’re going home tomorrow. Even Brooke looks a little embarrassed. Hey, Val, it’s not over yet! One more dance!
Time for the Michael Jackson half of the show! Katherine Jackson is in the audience. It's nice to see her outside of a courtroom proceeding or TMZ, really.
Melissa & Tony
The Background: Melissa tells us about what it’s like to be a celebrity dancer. This is the most difficult thing she’s ever done. Really? She had a baby, but a reality TV show is the toughest thing she’s ever done? Has she taken standardized tests? Changed the oil in her car? Anything? Anyway, she’s the only non-winner left, so she really wants to take home the mirror ball.
The Dance: They’re doing an Argentine tango to “Dirty Diana.” And maybe this is the hardest thing she’s ever done, but she makes it looks easy. This is really, really dead on.
The Judges: Len would be really disappointed if she doesn’t survive this week. Bruno thinks the lifts were extraordinary, and she deserves to be in the final. Carrie Ann thinks she’s Magnificent Melissa. She can’t believe she’s the underdog.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 10, Bruno - 10
Melissa is weepy. She’s emotional. This could be her last time on the dance floor! And the routine was dedicated to someone special! She’s so happy! Tony is weepy, but then, he’s in pain, too.
Shawn & Derek
The Background: They’ll be doing the Argentine tango to “Bad.” Shawn and Derek are feeling the pressure. It’s so intense. The cinematography for this segment is phenomenal, by the way. Very moody. Not sure it makes sense for “Dancing with the Stars,” but okay.
The Dance: The lifts are crazy. And she’s got the moves down – total precision.
The Judges: Bruno thought it was breathtaking and stylistically perfect. Carrie Ann thought every line was perfect, but she didn’t feel the passion. Bruno looks like he wants to hit Carrie Ann. Tom actually steps in. Len thinks she nailed it.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 10, Bruno – 10 That was kind of mean of Carrie Ann. A nine? Seriously? For an otherwise perfect performance?
Apolo & Karina
The Background: They’ll be doing a romantic rumba to “Man in the Mirror.” Apolo thinks he and Karina have learned and grown throughout this season. Karina thinks this rumba has to be exceptional. It’s the dance of love! Apolo tries to get his famous friends to do the show, and he always tells them it will be one of the hardest things they’ll ever do in their life. He’s an Olympic athlete! Come on!
The Dance: There’s a mirror. Len will love that. I don’t feel like he’s connecting with Karina enough. If it’s the dance of love, look at the person you’re dancing with!
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought he achieved perfection, and he melted her heart. She loved it. Len thought it was like the sea; wave after wave of effortless motion. It was fabulous. Bruno thought he nailed it. Go figure. It was a nice dance, but was it a perfect dance? I foresee perfect tens from the judges, but I’m not seeing it myself. If Shawn got dinged for a lack of passion, why isn’t Apolo??Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 10, Bruno – 10
Emmitt & Cheryl
The Background: They tango to “Leave Me Alone.” Emmitt is finding this season very challenging, but he’s powering through it. Because he’s a professional athlete! This isn’t the hardest thing he ever did! Cheryl needs him to lead, because that will take him through to the next level.
The Dance: This looked mighty good to me. Again, this isn't Emmitt's wheelhouse, but he is bringing a fierceness to the dance that should be appreciated, even if his moves aren't razor sharp.
The Judges: Len thinks he had the biggest challenge of all the couples, and he’s had to do two sharp, aggressive dances. He’s coped marvelously well. Bruno thought he had predatory power, but the footwork wasn’t exact. Carrie Ann thought he brought his A game, but tango is tough. This will not be a perfect score. Because they have to judge on technique, unless they want to ding Shawn for perfect technique with a lack of passion. ?Scores: Carrie Ann – 9, Len – 9, Bruno - 9
If Emmitt makes it to the finals, his kids are coming out to watch the show.
Then, we cut to a preview of Kelly & Val’s dance, which is cut to look like a porn video. Okay, we get it, stop already.
Kelly & Val
The Background: They’ll be doing a rumba to “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” It’s an opportunity to channel their love for one another. Kelly has to let go. She has problems with intimacy, unless she’s pretending to have an affair with a professional dancer. She’s having a problem telling her story through movement and vulnerability. She felt she wasn’t the best dancer during her season, but this season she’s learned fundamentals of dancing. With the friendship she’s built with Val, she thinks she can do the rumba with him. For crying out loud, I would hope so.
The Dance: It’s a good dance, and it ends on them kissing. I think it's very good, but Kelly always gets murdered when it comes to scoring. I wish the comments were a little more precise as to what she's doing wrong. Maybe she loses a point for sleeping (or pretending to sleep) with her dance partner.
The Judges: Bruno thought it was smoldering. It was wonderful. Carrie Ann thought it was beautiful. Len thought it had control, emotion and balance. The light and shade was fantastic.
Scores: 9.5 9.5 9.5
She still can’t get even one ten? It's okay, though -- Val picks her up and carries her off to the judging, and will probably find some way to soothe her pain tonight. Maybe he'll buy her a massage or something.
What did you think of the mash-up performances? Who do you think will be eliminated tomorrow? And do you think Melissa and Shawn are the favorites to win?