'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's a shortened show but there's still drama
Tonight’s episode is just one hour long, so that means “Dancing with the Stars” couldn’t possibly shove all the dancing we need to see into just one episode. So, we see half of the dances and just one of the group freestyles. Team A dances to "Call Me Maybe" tonight, team B to "Gangnam Style" tomorrow night. So, as Tom and Brooke repeatedly tell us, we need to vote both nights. And watch both nights. Because ratings are slipping, yo.
As an aside, I want to mention that I love the way Tom says "Gangnam Style," sort of as if he's swallowed a bug.
Kelly & Val
The Background: Kelly and her hot younger man, I mean, dance partner head off to her day job at “General Hospital." Val tells her he’ll do anything she wants, and she suggests he wait for her in her dressing room. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Okay, everyone who thinks this is an authentic romance, raise your hands. Everyone who thinks this is just a manipulative play for votes, raise your hands. I could go either way, really, but hey, who cares? They're cute together even if it's fake. And it's not like they have lots of time for romance at the moment anyway. Working and dancing makes Kelly a sad girl. She’s breaking down mentally and physically, according to Val, but she just has to push herself.
The Dance: Well, she pushes but maybe not hard enough. Too much time in the dressing room with Val? Anyway, the samba they perform to her guilty pleasure, "I Want You Back," is only okay, though I still think she has what it takes to go the distance -- just not this week.
The Judges: Len felt it was long-winded getting started. He liked some elements, but there was too much gyrating and it was a little raunchy to him. Bruno thinks she’s a titillating, tasty tease, but he thought the samba bounce looked forced. Carrie Ann thought she looked uncertain and tense.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8, Len – 8, Bruno - 8.5
Gilles & Peta
The Background: Why a Whitney Houston ballad? That began as a Dolly Parton ballad, but let's just move along, because to him it's all about Whitney. It turns out that “I Will Always Love You” makes Gilles remember getting lucky with the ladies when he was 15. Apparently, it was a very good year, because Gilles wants to be responsible for a lot of babies. Babies born to audience members after watching his dance, mind you, not lots of babies of his own.
The Dance: Oh, Gilles. He's always so good, and this is just more of the same. So well-executed, and you can tell he's into it. Maybe he's remembering all those chicks with whom he frolicked when he was 15.
The Judges: Bruno says it was a master class freestyle. He declares it one of the best performances he’s seen. Carrie Ann is so excited she falls out of her chair. Bruno falls on the table. It’s safe to say they liked it, though Gilles comes to both Carrie Ann and Bruno's rescue just in case. Len thought it should be Oscar-nominated.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10, Len - 9.5, Bruno – 10
Kirstie & Maks
The Background: It’s a quickstep set to “Mrs. Robinson,” which is all about making fun of the age difference between Kirstie and Maks as well as give all the old people watching the show a quick, vicarious thrill. I am now disturbed thinking of Maks as young meat setting off drool alarms at nursing homes everywhere. Kirstie thinks she can stay in the competition by being entertaining. But she knows she has to do her best, entertaining or not. Kirstie cries. She wants to do better. I want her to do better, too.
The Dance: It’s the goth version of “Mrs. Robinson,” because both Kirstie and Maks are dressed in black head-to-toe. Sort of ruins my memory of the movie, but okay. It’s cute, but is it good? Actually, it is good, but Kirstie just isn't dancing at the level of some of the other performers. Though, yes, she does bring the entertainment factor, definitely.
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought it was excellent work. Len thought it was her best dance. Bruno thought her posture was much better. I think if Kirstie is going to stay in the competition, she'll do it by nailing every step -- even if she can't do the more athletic stuff.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 8.5, Len - 8.5, Bruno - 8.5
Emmitt & Cheryl
The Background: Emmitt reminds Cheryl to smile. Smiling is, apparently, very important for Emmitt. And I get that, because his sense of joy when he's dancing is palpable. I suppose when he's not having fun, he's not much fun to watch. Not that we've seen him not having fun yet.
The Dance: Yet again, Emmitt is having fun -- and to "Copacabana," which is simply beyond cute. He does have a flair for Latin dancing, I will say. This is a solid effort on his part.
The Judges: Len thought it was well done. Bruno thought they delivered maximum pleasure. Carrie Ann thinks Emmitt has the samba swagger.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 9.5 Len - 9.5 Bruno – 10 Brooke says this is the highest score of the competition, which it isn’t.
Time for a freestyle! If you were wondering who the injury was, it was Melissa. She had a herniated disc in her upper neck. But she’s cleared to dance, so we're supposed to be a little worried, I suppose. They’re dancing to Call Me Maybe. The storyline revolves around cheerleading, which basically means they’re going to put Shawn center stage, as she can dance and jump around better than all of the rest of the group put together. Derek is struggling with the song, but I think that’s because he hates it. The next day, though, he’s vibing it, he says. I'm guessing a producer told him to suck it up and act nice, because the last thing they want is Carly Rae Jepson refusing to come back to "DWTS" because of something stupid Derek said.
Ooh, time to show Melissa’s injury in slo-mo. And then, footage of the fire truck ambulance. And… I just don't care. She's fine, she didn't break anything. Can we just calm down? I know "DWTS" needs to generate drama to get people to tune in, but seriously, this is not that big of a deal. I'm almost expecting Melissa to rip off the neck brace and say to the producers, "Do I need to do this? Because I'm not that hurt, and I'd rather have time to spend with my kid," but if it happened, they edited it out.
Group Dance – Team Call Me Maybe
This is really cute, even if Derek didn’t like the song. There are some glitches, as you’d expect with a group number, but they’re minor. This is just extremely well done, the energy is high, and everyone looks like they know what they’re doing. If you told me this was the show dance troupe, I’d believe it. And if you told me this was "High School Musical," I'd say, what, these people are way too old! But if I squinted, I'd buy that, too.
Len thought it was a touchdown and the individual performances were fantastic. Bruno loved how they introduced each other into the routine and thought it was almost impossible to distinguish the pros from the celebs. Carrie Ann thought it was amazing. I think "Team Gangnam Style" will have a tough time matching this.
Team Scores: Carrie Ann - 9.5, Len - 10, Bruno - 10
Gilles & Peta are at the top, Kelly & Val are the bottom and we have a whole hour of dancing to watch tomorrow, though I'm still a little unclear on when they're going to work in the results. Tomorrow? Next week? During "Castle"? Anything is possible, but all I know is that I'm dying to watch the routine for "Gangnam Style."
Did you think Kelly & Val were the weakest? What did you think of the group dance? How do you think tomorrow night's dances will compare?