Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars: Night 2 (Sep 24)

Previously, on Dancing with the Stars, we had an unprecedented evening of thirteen performances, two pre-show injuries, the lowest ever score for a dance, Cloris Leachman cursing like a sailor, and two of our judges making inadvertently filthy comments about Kim Kardashian. And tonight, they’re going to do it all over again! That’s right, back-to-back performance shows, and we’re back for more piping hot recap!

The opening feels glitchy, like maybe the music was supposed to go on longer, because everybody seems like they’re waiting around awkwardly. Hey! Kristi Yamaguchi and Helio Castroneves are sitting together! (True Fact: Microsoft Word has “Yamaguchi” in spell check.) Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris say a lot of what I just said, and then toss in the twist. Somebody’s going to be eliminated tonight. They’ll announce a couple is safe, and then they’ll dance. So this ought to be a great performance for whoever comes in second-to-last. Two hours of nerves and then…dance!

First to be safe are Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer. Lance is excited about everything, by the way. There’s a montage of Lacey referencing Transformers, prairie dogs, gingerbread men, and dog pee in the service of explaining steps to Lance. Hee. They’re doing the quick step, which opens with Lance leaning on Carrie Ann and then rushing out to the floor. Lacey has based her personal style on Punky Brewster. It’s a decent quick step to a song I can’t identify. It’s suitably speedy, but something seems a little mushy. But, you know, this is the second day. Lance makes a goofy face at the end, bringing back memories of Joey Fatone.

Tom is very complimentary, but he is not a judge. Len didn’t like it, but he can understand why people would. Something about that is funny to me. “You’re wrong if you liked it, but I can see how you’d make that mistake.” Bruno loved them, and he expresses his love without metaphor or pop culture reference, which shocked me. Carrie Ann enjoyed it, but wasn’t impressed.

Samantha reminds us of Lacey’s teaching techniques in the interview. You know, the ones from the video that we just saw. Carrie Ann gives them a 7, Len goes with a 6, and Bruno scores an 8, for a total of 21. Lance is excited about his score, but I get the feeling he gets exactly as excited when he realizes that he still has mustard at home. He’s sort of like a puppy.

Wait, they’re going to send the stars backstage for every dance, and then bring them out again for every elimination? That’s a lot of back-and-forth. Karina sprained her ankle and Cloris is older than God’s dentist – let them sit! The next couple saved is Misty May-Treanor and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Somewhere, Myndi squeals because she loves her some Maks. In their training video, Misty produces what Maks calls “the most awkward sexy dance I’ve ever seen”. He likens her legs to Stacy Kiebler’s, but the hips, not so much.

For their Mambo, Misty is wearing multi-colored fringe. Well, sort of multi-colored. All of those colors are in the “orange” family. I’m not impressed with her hips, but the fringe sort of hides it. Toward the end of the dance, Maks runs off, and Misty is dancing alone. She ends by sort of skipping to the platform. That part looked silly to me, but she had nice footwork.

Carrie Ann says that Misty was “fierce”. Aw, why doesn’t Christian Siriano guest-judge? Len is surprised that “someone from the world of sport” could perform like that. Really Len? Have you forgotten Emmett Smith, Apolo Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, Jason Taylor, and Jerry Rice? Anyway, Len didn’t like her arms. Bruno goes a little nutty and compares her to a “task force”, and makes the interesting point that her shoulders keep getting higher throughout the dance.

Misty is really awkward in the interview, but so is Samantha. It’s 7’s across the board for another 21. Nice job!

Maurice Greene and Cheryl Burke are the next couple to be safe. Whew. Cheryl always looks like she’s going to pass out when waiting for the elimination results. I’m worried about her blood pressure. Thank goodness she wasn’t waiting the full two hours. Maurice is excited about the Mambo. Cheryl says he has natural talent and “has probably done some club dancing”. Does that just mean he’s gone to, like, a bar, and danced in a big open space? Or is “club dancing” something else entirely? I’m not very cool, you see. At one point, Maurice farts around a little too much, and Cheryl shuts him down. You know, I love Cheryl, but if one of her ex-partners came forward and said that she used to beat them, I’d believe it.

They’re both very shiny in gold outfits. The choreography is nice, especially for this early in the season. Nice hip action and crisp footwork. And at one point, Maurice busts out the worm. (By which I mean the breakdance move – not that he showed his penis.) It’s a lot of fun. Good job!

Bruno loved it so much that he makes weird movements to illustrate his love, though he thinks it strayed from Mambo. You think? Carrie Ann likes that he improved his transitions. Len hates things that are new and he criticizes the “Free Willy Step”, which is pretty funny, really.

Samantha says that “a lot of whales probably really liked it”. Huh? Samantha is a weird lady. And we’ve got our second round of straight 7’s, which makes our third 21 of the night. This news prompts a “Winner, winner, chicken dinner” from Maurice. Hee. You know what? I like him.

Who’s next? Brooke Burns and Derek Hough! Not too dramatic, considering they had the high score last night. Brooke babbles (I totally didn’t try to do that) for a bit, and I’m starting to think that’s her thing. Derek explains that posture is important in the quick step, and their chests shouldn’t touch. At one point he scolds here with “I can feel your boobies”. This could be a sticking point, considering I’m watching at home and I can sort of feel them. They get the idea to use Brooke’s baby as a prop. Wearing the baby carrier, she naturally keeps here shoulders back because she’s way more concerned about slamming a baby into Derek than she is about her boobs. (I promise, I usually don’t talk about boobs this much.)

At the beginning of their dance, they run across the floor like total spazzes, but then when they go into the hold, it looks much better. They have a really nice hold, and she does really well with her arms, but I don’t think her footwork is terribly precise. It looks like she’s just hustling to catch up. I actually liked it better than last night, which the judges freaked out over.

Len says it’s the best dance so far. Bruno thinks it’s the best thing since Prozac. (He doesn’t actually say that.) Carrie Ann says it’s fantastic. This just in: Judges love Brooke Burke!

Are Derek and Shannon Elizabeth still together? If so, do you think Shannon is going to spend this season curled up in the fetal position and eating her own hair? Samantha talks more about Brooke’s chest, which is getting to be a hot conversational topic. Bring it up at your next gathering! Carrie Ann and Bruno break out the first 9’s of the season, and Len gives them an 8. That’s a 26! Tom calls it “Breaking out the big paddles”. Ah, Tom. I’ve missed you.

Our next couple to come off the chopping block is Cloris Leachman and Corky Ballas! (That dude is too old to be called ‘Corky’.) Cloris tells us if she doesn’t get better scores for the Mambo, she’s going to “sock them in the face”. In training, Cloris tells us that she’s older than the Mambo, which is hilarious. She really seems like a handful – I can’t tell if I’d be endlessly amused by her if we met, or if I’d be irritated. Tom can’t decide either, so we’ll get together and report back.

Their Mambo is, well, slow. I bet they don’t move more than two or three foot off the spot where they began the dance right up until that last run. Well, “run” is pushing it. More like “meander”. I will say, this is ten times better than an 82-year-old woman should be able to do, but it’s not at all competitive. Still, it’s fun to watch.

Cloris tells us she bribed the judges, and sure enough, each one of them is waving a ten dollar bill. Ha! Bruno says he thought it was for “Len’s services rendered”. Carrie Ann makes a big show of giving back the bribe, because she’s where fun goes to die. She gets mad at Len for not returning the money right away. So Cloris gives Len another view of the girls, and asks if he wants all three bills, since he doesn’t get paid much. All three judges laugh hysterically, and Tom Bergeron silently tells himself, “I ended the Emmys on time, dammit. This will not break me!”

Carrie Ann liked the shimmy and the crotch grab, and gives her the wussy “I give you points for entertaining”. Len compliments Corky rather than say anything about Cloris. She cuts off Bruno with “Speak English”, and Bruno knocks it out of the park by responding “Shady Pines, Ma.” Ha! Beyond that, he doesn’t have much to say. Really, what can you say?

She gets a 6 from Carrie Ann, and Cloris calls her a bitch. Man, that’s getting to be a rite of passage on this show. Len and Bruno give her 5’s, and she mumbles something, but at least she didn’t get bleeped this week. Cloris is not happy with her 16, and says she’ll leave, or else “bring the judges down”. Corky steps in to remind us that she’s actually trying to learn. First time on the show and he got a handful, didn’t he? It’s like they’re hazing him.

Next, Toni Braxton and Alec Mazo are safe. You know, maybe you should tell the woman with the heart problem that she’s safe at the beginning of the show, preferably in a soothing voice. Now, since our training videos are assembled in one day, we’re not really getting into the various arcs tonight, but Toni still manages to bring up her heart disease. Alec tells us that she doesn’t breathe properly, and he’s worried. They end the video with Toni forgetting to breathe, and I’m really nervous.

She’s in a nice flowy blue gown, and on the whole, it’s a nice quick step. She does a good job of keeping up with Alec, and the pace is good. It’s actually quick. She’s really one to watch in this competition.

Bruno compliments her but said her shoulders tightened up. For him to point out something small this early on means that he thinks she’s going to go far. It’s not like you’d bother to explain heel leads to Jeff Ross, you know? Carrie Ann liked it, but was afraid that Toni would die at the beginning. Len said it was nice with some “funny footwork” and a moment of a “funny head”. Even Len can’t explain what he means.

Samantha asks if Toni is happy to not be eliminated. It turns out she is. Alec sort of complains about the format that doesn’t allow preparation time, but he does it in an affable way. Not the way that Tony would complain about it at all. Carrie Ann and Bruno give her 8’s, and Len goes with a 7.  23 puts her in second place so far.

Heading right into our next dance, Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson are safe. Warren refers to himself as “Fat Boy”. Hee. He’s very wide, isn’t he? Warren does not like the quick step. (“This is so damn awkward. Who the hell thought of that?”) He’s determined though. Damn, that guy’s big.

He starts off awkwardly by letting Kym dance around him, then he walks. But his first actual dance move is a nice jump, and then they’re off to the races. He doesn’t always nail the footwork, but he’s moving fast. It’s not terribly complicated, but the energy is great.

Len liked the entertainment but not the technique. Bruno calls it “a ton of fun” and makes noises like he’s playing an Atari 2600. Carrie Ann liked it, but faults his footwork. Backstage, Warren tells Samantha that he’s having fun, and that they don’t make posture bars in his size. Hee. 7 from Carrie Ann and Len, 8 from Bruno. 22! Warren compares himself to Emmett Smith, which is big talk in these parts.

Our next couple to dance is Ted McGinley and Inna Brayer. Yay! I like him! He’s so enthusiastic about the whole thing. He calls himself “Mambo McGinley”. Inna’s really pushing him around and is impressed with his hard work. Ted tell us that “Mambo fever” is “contagious”, which shouldn’t be funny, but sort of is.

Ted starts off with some good hip action. There are a couple spots where Inna dances around him, but he always gets back in the game. He’s good at posing, and to me, his footwork seems good. The holds are a mixed bag, and they do biff some at the end, but I liked it. Well, except for the standard “pretend your partner’s ass is a bongo” move that shows up a couple of times a season. That’s just weird.

Carrie Ann appreciates his hard work but thinks he moves awkwardly. Maybe that’s why I like him. Len is much more complimentary, calling his Mambo “commendable”. Bruno liked all the fun, but thought he lost the musicality. Ted really seems to be paying attention to the feedback. I like the guy.

Samantha asks him to describe what it’s like to wait to find out whether or not he’s eliminated. It turns out, he does not enjoy that feeling. He gets 6’s from Carrie Ann and Len, and a 7 from Bruno, for a 17. That’s up from last night, at least.

Five dances to go! Our next couple who lives to dance again is Cody Linley and Julianne Hough. Well, of course. Like Julianne’s going out the first week regardless of who her partner is. In training, Julianne says Cody needs to tighten up. There is much talk of how manly he is or is not.

They’re quick stepping to some Cheap Trick, which depressingly is the first song I could instantly identify all night. To me, it looks a little slapdash – I feel like he’s missing some moves. There’s a good energy to it, but it just seems like something is missing from his footwork. It might just be easy choreography, though. Julianne usually has more flair, but I’m thinking remembering things may not be Cody’s strong suit.

Bruno compliments their charm, but says his footwork is sloppy. Carrie Ann says he went from a boy to a man. Huh. Len also compliments his maturity, even though it was too loose. I think the judges are getting tired. They must be on their fourth hour of recapping in two days, too.

Cody is too out of breath to answer questions, which makes Samantha happy because she can’t think of any. Carrie Ann and Bruno give him 8’s and Len scores a 7. Tied for second with 23.

Rocco DiSpirito and Karina Smirnoff are safe now, despite a terrible score. Rocco works cooking metaphors into his interview, just like he does with everything else. Karina does not care for Rocco’s hips. His attempts to move his hips are sort of hilarious. Karina is less amused than I am.

The dance opens with Karina in a bright yellow dress all by herself and making Mario Lopez kick himself. Rocco is chatting with an elderly woman in the audience who is apparently either his mother or Harlan Ellison. (It’s Mama; I remember that face from The Restaurant.–Myndi)  Then he starts dancing, and it’s a mess. Lazy footwork, not hip movement, and really weird holds. He keeps trying to do arm extensions and then giving up, and for some reason it reminds me of how the Fat Albert characters moved their arms when they walked.

Len thinks he improved, but then, he had to. Bruno is impressed by his improvement. Carrie Ann thought it was super sexy. Wait, what? Does “sexy” have a new meaning? I mean, I just thought that was weird and messy. That’s why I’m not a judge, I guess. Samantha confirms that Rocco is happy that the judges like him this time. Hard-hitting journalism!

Everyone gives him a 7, for yet another 21. That’s four for the night so far.

Our next couple is Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani. Is it possible that I’m going to get out of here without recapping Kim Kardashian? Fingers crossed! We see mostly generic training footage, and I’m freaked out by Susan Lucci’s pipe-cleaner arms. I can’t even pay attention.

Susan’s tiny arms and Tony’s giant head are dancing the quick step. Like most of his dances, it sort of turns into the Tony Show – he tends to pull focus from his partners. It’s nice and crisp, but it seems like she flounders on the turns. After two hours and one thousand quick steps, I can’t even tell anymore.

Carrie Ann points out a stumble and calls out Tony. Even Tony wasn’t expecting that. I guess she assumed he would complain, but he’s got nothing to say and would rather she talk about his partner. Len is pleased by her improvement, though she’s still too careful. Bruno agrees with Len, and throws out a lot of adjectives with no nouns attached.

In the interview, Susan says she was worried about going home. Carrie Ann and Len give her 7’s and Bruno scores an 8. 22, which is a seven point improvement over last night. Pretty good.

All right, we’re down to the wire. Who’s dancing and who’s going home? Jeffrey Ross and Kim Kardashian. Tom tells us they’re not necessarily the bottom two, but you know they totally are. To nobody’s surprise, Jeffrey and Edyta are out. I’m more sad for Edyta, actually. It’ll seem weird not to have here around longer. Still, who knew that lack of fame and physical acumen would work against you in a contest that measures popularity and dancing skill? Jeff points out his family in the audience, all wearing eyepatches. He says that he thought Edyta would be “easy on the eyes”. OK, that was funny. He says he had fun and “If I can do it, you can do it”. Except for how he really didn’t do it. Guess there’s only room for one Bob Saget Roaster in this ballroom! Jeff has nice things to say about Edyta “and her nine children back in Poland”.

And now, as an afterthought, it’s Kim Kardashian and Mark Ballas. Kim is scared of the Mambo, because people will expect her to be sexy. She doesn’t think she can shake her butt. Well, not by herself. She’ll need the help of two strong men and a Clydesdale. Mark does not seem to be a fan of her dancing.

Kim is dressed like a hooker from the days of the Mexican Revolution. You know, it doesn’t matter what she wears, she always sort of looks like a hooker. An expensive hooker, but still. Oh, Sweet Jesus. They are dancing to “Baby Got Back”. My soul just died a little.

Mark is totally driving this dance – he’s working overtime to make it look like something interesting is happening. She’s really not doing much dancing at all. Bruno is frustrated at how she’s wasting her assets, but his accent makes it sound like something else. Len didn’t like her and thought Mark was “overdancing to compensate”. Hey, I said that. Sweet! Carrie Ann thinks she did well with what she has, but isn’t up to everybody else’s level. So that’s what we call being the worst then, right?

I refuse to pay attention to her interview. Oh, wait. She tells us that his is hard for her because she’s “really reserved”. Kim, do you actually know the reason why you are famous? You’re famous because your dad helped OJ get away with murder and you blew a guy on camera. We are not buying it.

She gets three 6’s, which is the Number of the Beast. Coincidence?

Man, that was a long haul. I can’t even go back to recap the scores. Personally, I think one of the many 21’s will be off. That’s the middle of the pack, which means they aren’t low enough to muster a sympathy vote. We’ll find out tomorrow, when I end up recapping a Jonas Brothers performance for the second time this year. My life has taken some odd turns…

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