Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars Week 3: Ten Dance (Apr 1)

Last week, we bid farewell to Monica Seles and Penn Jillette in the first-ever Dancing with the Stars Double Elimination. There’s a mean animation of a giant foot kicking Penn off the screen. That was uncalled for. Also for the first time, Adam Carolla didn’t curse at any of the judges. It was a proud moment for us all. Ten dancers tonight! And how will this be airing, Tom Bergeron? “Live”, you say? I’m sorry, “Liiiiiiiive!”. That’s more like it.

Tom and Samantha introduce the Stars and the Dancers, and I’ll have plenty of time to make fun of their outfits later. During the opening lineup, Marlee Matlin throws the horns, which is considerably cuter and funnier than Gene Simmons doing the same thing on the Celebrity Apprentice finale. Also, Samantha Harris’ dress is not terribly flattering. She’s lovely and incoherent, but the dress is not doing her any favors. Plus, the burnt sienna doesn’t work with her complexion. I totally turned into Michael Kors for a second there.

Marlee Matlin is first up, and she is totally spunky and likeable in her video. Partner Fabian Sanchez still seems unconvinced that she’s all the way deaf, as he tries yelling into her ear. They clown around and arm wrestle, and it’s cute. I’ve got nothing bad to say about her. Fabian seems like he could be annoying, but Marlee’s Force Field of Likeability extends to cover him.

They’re dancing a jive, and I always have a hard time following the jive. It’s fun to watch, but I can never tell when they’re doing what they’re supposed to, and when they’ve gone off course. Len always talks about the “character of the dance”, and to me, the character of the jive is a couple of spazzy hobos who are happy that they found a nickel. Still, it’s always fun to watch.

Marlee’s wearing a purple shiny feathery thing that I feel like I’ve seen before, by the way. The song is Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”, and those two freaking rock it. They have almost no eye contact in this dance, so Marlee clearly has this stuff down. When they’re side by side, they get a little out of sync, but I think you’re allowed to in the jive. Regardless, it’s really nice footwork and neat choreography. I thought there was a weird hold, but then it turned into some fantastic arm work, and once again, I’m in awe.

Len is impressed with her once again. Bruno talks about her ability to connect, but says she lost the timing. Also, he thinks there was a weird hold, too. Hey, me and Bruno agree.  Carrie Anne says her hands are a little “pancakey”, which I assume is not real dance terminology.

In the interview, Samantha remembers to extend the microphone to the interpreter. They reveal that they’re here to win. That Samantha, always getting to the heart of the interview.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 7, Len – 7, Bruno – 7 Total: 21

Really? I thought it was better than that. I guess that’s why they pay them the big bucks.

Next up, it’s Steve Guttenberg and Anna Trebunskaya. Wow, they’re getting my two favorites out of the way right off the top.

In the video, Anna is sick, but still adorable. Steve has to wear one of those masks and everything. Anna’s husband Jonathan Roberts shows up to fill and teach Steve how to tango, and it is always funny to me when men tango. Like when Captain Awesome taught Chuck, only he taught Chuck the lady part. Hee.

Now, I love me a tango. Even if you suck, it still sort of looks cool, you know? The Gute’s still got some awkwardness to work through, but he’s moving across the floor much better than he’s done before. He’s got this hilarious intense face, too. I’d have a hard time judging tango contests, because I’d love everybody. All in all, I thought it was good. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it was fairly smooth, and he was actually leading. A lot of guys can’t actually lead this early, so they end up getting pulled along and trying to keep up.

Before the judges speak, Steve runs off to prepare himself, and he comes back with goggles and a metal pot on his head. He’s such a dork, but he amuses me to no end. Carrie Anne says it’s his best dance ever. Len compliments his footwork. Bruno babbles in a nice way. They liked the Gute!

Steve tells Samantha that he wouldn’t mind partnering with Jonathan again in the future, which tickles Anna.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 7, Len – 7, Bruno – 7 Total: 21

Steve tells us that we’re in for a great show, because everybody’s fantastic this week. Has anybody ever been happier to be someplace? I’d wager not.

And now it’s Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke. Tom Bergeron makes a fart joke, which is helped immensely by an actual rimshot. In the video, Cheryl’s kind of tough on him, so she takes him to Sea World, where he plays with a sea lion named Clyde. Well, there was very little rehearsal in that rehearsal video, but the sea lion was funny, so it all worked out. (I’m in a good mood this week, I guess.)

Are you ready for this? They’re jiving to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”, and that, my friends, is awesome. (My favorite part of the song is Freddy Mercury comparing himself to a racecar, which he then compares to Lady Godiva. It’s almost Faulknerian, that multiple simile.) Cristian looks really nervous for just a second, but then he busts out a Cameron Mathison-style leap from the upper stage, and it all goes crazy. It looks very impromptu to me, like they’re both kind of doing their own thing, which is why the jive is very hard on me. It looks like a lot of fun though, especially when Cristian spirals Cheryl, tosses her through his legs, then propels himself between her legs and KICKS A CAMERA. That’s right, he slides right into one of the floor level cameras and absolutely takes it out. I’m tossing them some votes just for that.

Bruno freaks out and says he’s full of rocket fuel. Len says his legs were loose and his arms were weak, which Tom ascribes to jealousy, but then he says it was Cristian’s best dance ever. Carrie Anne thinks he’s a contender, but also tells him to watch his arms. Carrie Anne and Bruno argue a little, even though they both liked it. Seems the Dance War rages on…

Scores: Carrie Anne – 8, Len – 8, Bruno – 9 Total: 25

Samantha Harris goads Cristian into a sea lion impression, which he attacks with surprising gusto. Cheryl is lavishing attention on her chest, and I’m thinking one of the girls nearly got out.

When we cut back to Tom, he’s sort of in the midst of making fun of Bruno, which always tickles me. He introduces Mario and Karina Smirnoff, who will be dancing the tango. Mario had to promote his album during the week, so he traveled the country with Karina, dancing in airports and such. Given that he’s promoting his album at high schools and car shows, I’m starting to think he’s not as famous as I assumed he was. Karina is concerned that they didn’t spend enough time rehearsing.

Karina is dressed like one of the prostitutes from Deadwood, only with more glitter. Some glitter might have improved their disposition, actually. It’s very cool and dramatic, but Mario’s posture is really stiff. And, wait, this is a tango version of “Roxanne”? Lisa Rinna’s “Final Countdown” waltz may have some competition for the most insane musical selection ever. They have a lot more turns than Steve and Anna did, and there’s a really awkward moment when they get too near the edge of the stage and Karina has to scramble for footing.

Len likes the dance’s flair, but thought the footwork and posture were bad, and he’s “bitterly disappointed”. The judges briefly argue over whether Len’s in a bad mood, and Len claims he’s in a good mood because he played golf. That’s hard to picture. Carrie Anne, despite arguing two seconds ago, agrees with Len. Carrie Anne points out the misstep that bothered me, and said it lacked his usual style. Bruno likes his charisma and finds him fascinating, but thought it “wasn’t that bad”.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 7, Len – 6, Bruno – 8 Total: 21

It’s rare these days to have none of the judges agree on the score. Samantha asks Mario how he can please all the judges, and he says he’ll practice more and listen to Karina. After this week, he promises to focus. I’m just now noticing how different Karina looks with her new nose, by the way.

Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough will be jiving for our amusement. You’ll be pleased to know that Shannon feels good about not being eliminated, and that she’s starting to believe in herself. Yeah, pretty girls have a tough time of it, don’t they? Let’s take up a collection.

In her interview, she complains about having long legs, which traditionally is not viewed as a dancing impediment. Talk to me when you’ve got stubby Cotton Hill legs like Winokur! Shannon is always this close to crying. She and Derek kickbox, and then they regular box. Does every season have to have a boxing scene?

For the second time in three weeks, Shannon is dressed like a Native American prostitute. There’s fringe and a skinny headband, and I feel like there’s a Poca-Hot-Ass joke with my name on it. They’re dancing to “Goody Two Shoes”, which would be an ideal jive song if the arrangement wasn’t so weird. To me, it looks like a really slow jive. I’m not digging it. Their energy levels are all out of whack, too. A lot of what she’s doing just looks like club dancing and she hopes Len will buy her a drink. It’s the most joyless jive I’ve ever seen.

Shannon’s kind of hyperventilating, but I think she just wants attention. Bruno likes her energy, which I thought was weak, and wants her to work on her precision and finish. Len really liked her jive, and I feel like they’re betraying me. Carrie Anne talks about how surprising she is. Man, I could go back and rewrite that last paragraph so it seems like I know things about dance, but I didn’t like it.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 8, Len – 8, Bruno – 8 Total: 24

Samantha talks about their breakthrough last week. You know, after one week of dancing. Shannon is not confident, because if somebody’s not telling her how great she is, she instantly turns into Rue McClanahan right before our very eyes. Derek doesn’t mind if she kicks him in the face, but he’ll still be hard on her. Hello, TV-14 rating…

And now it’s Adam Carolla and Julianne Hough. In their video, he tangos badly, and says that Julianne deserves better than him. He tells her that he Googled “Tango” and found out it’s about “prostitutes and pimps”. “And guess which one you are?” Charming. You know, much has been made about Julianne’s virginity, but I sort of feel like spending that much time around Carolla sort of blows it. And I’m not implying there’s anything going on there, but any woman who hangs out with Adam just sort of takes on that “rode hard” look.

Adam starts out behind the judges, and Julianne has a black bob. It’s like she’s Sydney Bristow with all the wigs! He’s significantly less clumsy than before, but he still moves in this lurching manner. Sometimes he’s right on, and sometimes he drags behind. He’s maddeningly inconsistent within the dance. There are a couple of long stretches where he stays still and Julianne does all the moving. All in all, he’s gotten out of the realm of “cartoonishly bad”, and headed into the “Billy Ray Cyrus bad” zone.

Adam makes a joke about Julianne’s outfit that ends up turning into a gay joke. I think that’s my problem with his sense of humor, that it’s all these really obvious bits. There’s nothing natural about it. Instead, he came up with a bit, and he’s going to shoehorn it in as soon as they let him talk. It’s like he’s on Leno, every moment of his life.

Carrie Anne thought he was sexy, but that’s all she has to say. Bruno says he’s getting better. Len says that Julianne’s choreography is covering up a multitude of sins. Tom calls that three for three. Three of what, I wonder.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 7, Len – 7, Bruno – 7 Total: 21

Huh? That was as good as Marlee? I think not! Julianne says we’ve seen another side to Adam, and I’m pretty sure I just keep on seeing the same side. Adam keeps talking about Mormons and prostitutes, and then says something about Julianne being Jewish, and I don’t even get the joke. I’m so lost.

Tom’s not even sure what to say, so he introduces Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani. In their video, there is some debate over whether Tony is funny or not. One of his jokes is actually punctuated with crickets chirping, which makes me laugh. (Did that exist before The Simpsons? That’s the first time I remember crickets indicating a lame joke.) She laughs about Tony being the “bad boy” of ballroom dancing. I’m pretty sure Myndi will argue that point as well. (That Myndi loves her Maks.) Marissa tells us that the jive is bouncy and fun. You guys, just like her! (Marissa is racing Shannon to see who can eat up my patience first.)

Marissa seems to be wearing her costume from Hairspray, and Tony is wearing a sweater vest. It’s too Broadway for me, and I’m not sure I can explain that. Like, the way you’d dance a jive as part of a musical is different from the way you’d dance a jive in a dance competition. It’s the whole “playing to the back rows” thing she does that kind of gets on my nerves. Girl, I’ve got a big screen. I can tell that you’re smiling. You don’t have to point to your mouth to spell it out for me. There’s not really anything technical I can pick on, but it just didn’t sit right for me.

Len thought it was too careful, and asks for a bit more “welly”. Carrie Anne calls it boring, and says she needs to fight. She reminds Marissa of her Tony Award, and Tony points out that she won her Tony for singing, not dancing. Yeah, that helps. And Carrie Anne gets pissed that he’s “putting her down”. Of course, there’s so much bad blood there that it doesn’t take much to set those two off. Carrie Anne comes off as an angry schoolmarm. Bruno thought it looked like a rehearsal, and things she can do better.

As they head backstage, Tom points out the cast of Eli Stone in the audience. Come on, ABC, let’s get the Miss Guided cast there. Do you know what’s not made better by the presence of Judy Greer and Chris Parnell? Nothing, that’s what.

Marissa’s crying a little, and Samantha acts like the judges ate her puppy. Tony says the problem is that she makes it look too easy. I love the way Tony’s answers always come around to the judges being wrong.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 6, Len – 7, Bruno – 6 Total: 19

Next up, it’s Priscilla Presley and Louis Van Amstel. Did you know Priscilla is suing her plastic surgeon? I’d say she has a case. Louis tells her that the tango will allow her to use her acting skills. Quick, name a Priscilla Presley movie that does not have the words “Naked Gun” in the title. That’s what I thought. We’re told it’s right up Priscilla’s alley, since she’s a perfectionist.

They fake kiss to open their dance. Again, it’s hard to pick on a tango. It looks like her leg extensions are kind of weird, and her feet don’t always seem to be pointing in the right direction. It’s certainly not bad, but it wasn’t interesting. I’ve already forgotten it, even as I type this sentence.

Bruno calls her a cougar for the hundredth time. He loved it. Len dramatizes their dance, using the phrase “Don’t touch what you can’t afford, sunshine”. I might make that into a t-shirt. Len’s way into it. Carrie Anne was mesmerized, but thinks her neck was weird. Well, sure. It’s all those bovine hormones. I really don’t get the judges with their Priscilla lovefest. It’s very strange.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 8, Len – 9, Bruno – 9 Total: 26

What the hell just happened? Samantha and Priscilla talk about her confidence. Hey, leave Shannon’s gimmick alone!

Jason Taylor and Edyta Slivinska are up now. I think Jason talks in a fake voice, like he purposely pitches it deeper. You know, the way Batman does. He’s having a hard time with the jive. The audience hoots for him every time he moves. There’s something involving a mini-tramp. I kind of miss the sea lion now.

Jason’s wearing a suit without a jacket, and an untied bowtie. I know that’s supposed to look cool, but it always makes people look drunk. He lipsyncs the beginning of the song, which looks weird. This jive is a little slow, too. But he’s really a big dude, and he pulls off some move that giants shouldn’t be able to do. He does well when he breaks contact with Edyta, which is new for him. That’s usually when his arms get all doughy. He also whips Edyta forward and backward between his legs, which is a daring move for three weeks in. But then, he is a giant, and Edyta weighs as much as a good-sized sandwich.

Carrie Anne is impressed that somebody his size can move so well. I immediately blurt “How can anything so big move so fast?”, which will at least amuse my brother. Carrie Anne loves his lines. And by “lines”, she means “crotch”. Bruno loves his restrained power and posing. Len liked the lines and tricks, but he didn’t like the rest. “One week you’re a rooster, the next you’re a feather duster.” Do British people talk like that or is Len just crazy?

Samantha asks him how it feels to be a contender, and Jason has to remind her that Len didn’t like him. Edyta seems really impressed by him, and also out of breath.

Scores: Carrie Anne – 8, Len – 7, Bruno – 8 Total: 23

Heading into the break, Tom makes a big show of having laryngitis and hands the microphone off to…Jeff Probst? Freaking Probst. I don’t care for that guy one bit. He does manage to not say anything particularly toolish in his five seconds of airtime, which is probably a record for him.

Last up, we have Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas. In their video, Mark is wearing a sweater vest, so that’s our second one of the night. Only, I don’t think he’s being ironic. I think that’s what he wears. In order to help her “embody the character of the dance”, Mark takes her to see a performance coach. It looks like the coach is making her shake out the sillies. Kristi tears up paper and hits Mark, but she has a hard time getting angry.

To me, this looks like the best tango of the night. They’re hitting their steps, the poses are nice, and their hold is really steady. There’s not a lot of flashy stuff to hide weaknesses, it’s just a standard, old-fashioned tango. It’s intense, it’s fast, and I thought it looked really good. Also, they are dancing the tango to Duran Duran, which just made Myndi die a little.

Len liked it, and appreciated that they didn’t mess around with props. He picks on her head movement a little. Carrie Anne loves her technique but thought she lacked emotion. Bruno loved it, but wants her to be a “dirty girl”. Number of female contestants who eventually hear that from Bruno at some point in the season: All of them.

Samantha asks her about proving to Bruno that she’s got “a little something dirty”, and that sounds way filthier than she meant it. Samantha asks her about her obstacles, and Kristi makes the interesting point that in skating, you can let your emotions show, and you don’t have to stay in character. Hey, that was actually something to think about. How’d that happen?

Scores: Carrie Anne – 9, Len – 9, Bruno – 9 Total: 27

Well, where does that leave us?

Kristi Yamaguchi – 27
Priscilla Presley – 26
Cristian de la Fuente – 25
Shannon Elizabeth – 24
Jason Taylor – 23
Steve Guttenberg – 21
Marlee Matlin – 21
Mario – 21
Adam Carolla – 21
Marissa Jaret Winokur – 19

It’s too early to tell who’s pulling in the votes, but I think this might be it for Marissa. Between her low scores and the fact that people don’t know who she is, I can’t imagine she’s going to stay out of the bottom. I don’t like Marlee and Steve in that bottom logjam, and if you’d told me Mario and Adam would tie, I’d have slapped your face and called you a liar.

Tune in tomorrow to see what Myndi has to say about the results shows and the eventual bootee!

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