'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's mutant hybrid dancing, people!
So, because there will be no results show tomorrow night (there's this thing called an election you may have heard about -- and if you were going to vote for anything, it probably shouldn't be "Dancing with the Stars"), Tom Bergeron has to inform us that this will be a VERY IMPORTANT EPISODE nevertheless. "Once dance's DNA will get torn apart and fused with that of another!" he says in an ominous tone, which makes me feel as if there's actually going to be some screaming and surgical procedures and it's going to feel more like "American Horror Story" than "Dancing with the Stars." But the good news is that this Frankendance thing looks a lot better than Tom leads us to expect, at least when it's done by the show dance troupe. Maybe it will be more terrifying when celebrities attempt it.
But if that's not enough, there will be a grueling swing dance marathon a la "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" Okay, maybe not that bad. There's no time to push the dancers to the brink of sanity. Maybe just threaten to give them tap water instead of bottled. There will be chaos, chaos I tell you!
Apolo & Karina
The Background: Apolo thinks they're finally moving from the back of the pack toward the front. But Apolo is having problems absorbing everything, so maybe not.
The Dance: Or maybe so. This is fiery and his footwork is pretty clean and controlled. He also seems thoroughly alive and engaged, which isn't alway the case with Apolo. Good job.
The Judges: Len thought there was nothing safe about it. It was crisp and clean, the paso had fire, and he liked it. Bruno thought it had plenty of muscle and Apolo should be in "Twilight." He thought it was clean and powerful. Carrie Ann is amazed to see him push himself AND rip off his jacket. It started strong and ended stronger.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 9, Len - 9, Bruno - 9
Emmitt & Cheryl
The Background: Cheryl tells Emmitt he can't screw up anymore. Emmitt nods, chastened. But the dance hybrid is screwing him up. It's not his fault! He goes home and eats bundt cake with his family. Oh, wait, it's a birthday celebration, so he's not just eating cake out of the fridge and crying. At least not with cameras around he isn't.
The Dance: This looked pretty darn good!
The Judges: Bruno thinks Emmitt is ever-ready and always on it. He thought it was smooth and balanced. Sometimes his shoulders were off, but that was it. Carrie Ann applauds him for the difficulty of the dance, but thought his upper body was off and he was thinking too much. Len doesn't think he could have danced the routine as well as Emmitt.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 8.5, Len - 9.5, Bruno - 9.5
Kirstie & Maks
The Background: Kirstie rationalizes her role on the show. Sure, Sabrina was a better dancer, but she's entertaining! And inspirational! Shut up, Kirstie, and practice. Instead, she holds a drive for victims of Storm Sandy, which is good, too. Maks wants to give back, because the town where he grew up was devastated.
The Dance: She's a maid, he's a prince, and this is the usual mess, but it's not terrible.
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought she missed the dip and they fell out of synch during the samba. Len thought it was a nice mix, despite the incidents. Bruno thinks she's always entertaining, even if she was a stripper and not Cinderella.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 8, Len - 8, Bruno - 8
Kirstie thinks that was very generous, and she's right. I think they gave her points for having a drive for Sandy victims.
The fake political ads for "DWTS" stars? Just as annoying as real political ads!
Kelly & Val
The Background: This show changed his life, and he hopes he and Kelly can, you know, hang out after the season ends. Um, duh. Both of them seem entirely shocked that they've connected as deeply as they have.
The Dance: This was really, really good.
The Judges: Len loves that they combined the two dances so well. There was a little incident during the foxtrot, but it was well done. Bruno thought they maintained sophistication and cheekiness at the same time. But there was a loss of balance during the first part of the foxtrot. Carrie Ann thought it was difficult and challenging but it was beautiful nonetheless.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 9, Len - 9, Bruno - 9 Really? And Kirstie got 8s?
Brooke asks, given that there's been kissing and a proposal, what could be next? "Children," Val jokes. Good answer. Probably true, too.
Melissa & Tony
The Background: Melissa is surprised! Cha-cha and tango are, like, completely opposite! Tony Skypes with his family on the East Coast, and Melissa decides she has to get the dance this week for him.
The Dance: Toward the end, she seems to get a little lost, but this is otherwise very good.
The Judges: Bruno thought Beyonce came out. And she turned him on. Carrie Ann thought she was a star. Len thought it was a great fusion.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 10, Len - 9.5, Bruno - 9.5 Huh.
Shawn & Derek & Mark
The Background: Derek's still injured, as we recall from last week. So Shawn has two dances and two partners and doesn't know who she's going to dance with! But it's going to be Mark, as Derek's doctors don't think he's well enough.
The Dance: This is, as usual, excellent. Having two partners working on your routine probably helps, too.
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought it should be in the dictionary under dance fusion. Len thought it was a firecracker and being English, he can't vote in the election but he votes for her. Bruno thought it was just phenomenal. Tom thinks this smells like a perfect score, and I suspect he's right.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 10, Len - 10, Bruno - 10
Gilles & Peta
The Background: He has to shoot the cover of a muscle mag with his best friend (I think?) UFC fighter Cheick Kongo. He hopes Cheick can give him some advice. Don't give up is the advice, so, I'm sure that will change everything for Gilles.
The Dance: This is good, but there's something off about it. He just doesn't seem to be nailing this the way I hoped he would.
The Judges: Len thought he went all over South America and got some great dances. Bruno salutes him. Carrie Ann still sees weird arm thingies. That's a direct quote, by the way.
Scores: Carrie Ann - 9.5, Len - 9.5, Bruno - 9.5
Here's an AT&T Spotlight performance. With a spotlight on Utah. It's the hub of dancing. Mark, Chelsie and the future stars of ballroom from Utah dance. It's really good, and makes me miss "So You Think You Can Dance." But can we just get on to the dance marathon and wrap things up, please?
Remember, it's the Day of Giving to support Hurricane Sandy victims. More than 14 million has been raised.
Finally! It's time for the marathon, almost. During practice, Val drops Kelly on her face. Maks knows Kirstie won't last long. Oh, this will be fun!
Kirstie & Maks are off first, so they get just 4 points
Gilles & Peta are next. Five points.
Apolo & Karina are done. Six points.
Emmitt & Cheryl are off. Seven points.
Shawn & Mark, eliminated. Eight points.
Kelly & Val are done. Nine points.
Kelly & Tony get ten points.
I wouldn't really say this was an exhausting dance marathon. I guess couples were eliminated for pausing too long between tricks. Or something.
The top couple on the leader board is Melissa & Tony, and the bottom couple is Kirstie & Maks. Again. I suspect Kirstie's fan base will carry her through, but I'm not sure how long she can last, really. But I can't rule her out -- if we've learned anything, this is one season that won't be so easy to predict.
What did you think of dance fusion? Do you think it's Kirstie's time to go? Who do you think will take the win?