We”re down to the final six, and as Tom Bergeron helpfully points out, one bad dance could get any one of our dancing stars kicked out of the competition. Or not really, since this is a popularity contest and talent is almost beside the point. Come on, it”s the only thing that explains Kendra coming back week after week. The judges might as well go for a sandwich during her performances. On the bright side, Kendra can take some comfort in knowing that, even after giving up the Playboy lifestyle, those implants are still paying off.
[Full recap of Monday’s (May 2) “Dancing with the Stars” after the break…]
But let”s move on, because we have someone new and exciting squeezing onto the judges table. And I do mean squeezing, because there”s really not room for four people and Carrie Ann keeps having to turn sideways so Len can stick out his elbows. But I guess it”s worth it, because our guest judge is sixteen time undefeated Latin chanmp Donnie Burns, a living legend of ballroom. Of course, Tom has to ask him what he thinks of ABC”s little dog and pony show. Nobody does entertainment like you Americans, Donnie says, although the truth is we do entertainment pretty much exactly the way they do ballroom dance competitions in England and New Zealand right down to the set. I mean, I”m sure ABC spends more money, but still, it”s not like they”ve reinvented the wheel. Len informs us that he”s been judging Donnie for over 45 years, which makes Donnie squinch up his face a bit. I don”t think he was expecting Len to make him feel really, really old in the first five minutes of the show.
Anyway, it”s time for the dancers to split into two teams for a group dance. There will be Team Chelsea and Team Hines and a playground team picking process that is probably entirely scripted, but we can dream. Oddly, Romeo is last picked for Team Chelsea. Hmmm. While I”m not ruling out the very probable likelihood that Chelsea and Hines had no say as to who went on which team anyway, if Romeo is warming the bench for more legit reasons I have to believe he”s just an incredible pain in the ass. He”s just too good not to be snapped up first or second pick.
So, Team Chelsea (Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, Romeo & Cheslie Hightower and Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff) will group dance to Madonna, I mean, Lady Gaga. In rehearsal, there”s a crack about the other team being a bunch of old parents, which is odd, given that one third of Team Chelsea is an old parent (Ralph), but hey, whatever builds team spirit, I guess.
This is a fun dance but there are definitely some synch issues, especially in the beginning. But no one screwed up horribly and everyone seems to be fiercely into it, so overall a good job.
Len thinks they did a terrific job. Bruno loves that they went full throttle, but notes that because of it they lost synch. Carrie Ann thinks they were actually in good synch and gives Ralph credit for keeping up with the kids. Donny notes Ralph fluffed some footwork but didn”t screw up the team formation, so he liked it.
Backstage, Brooke asks Romeo how it felt to be picked last. Romeo thinks the best is always saved for last. Unless the best is an annoying, egocentric pain in the ass, in which case it”s just last.
Donnie: 8 Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 7 Bruno: 7 for a total of 30 out of 40
Next up, Team Hines. Rehearsal is slightly less boring and more disgusting than that of Team Chelsea. Kirstie and Maks don”t have a solo and may suck. Kendra farts and waves it away. Kirstie notes that the team has lots of butt. I think she means that she has lots of butt, because I don”t think Kendra or Hines has much, but that”s fine. Actually, even Kirstie has a whoooole lot less than she used to. Apparently she”s lost 70 pounds since show rehearsals began, and she looks markedly thinner this week than she did last. Also of note: Kirstie is selling her Organic Liaison weight loss products online. I wonder if one of the products is “dancing 8 hours a day or until you pass out or cry” but I guess supplements are good, too.
Time for judging! Bruno says a little extra butt isn”t a bad thing when used so well. Carrie Ann tells Kirstie and Kendra they had bad arms during the group dance. Donnie notes that the spacing between the couples was iffy. Len notes their team won the boobie prize and he enjoyed Kirstie and Kendra. Oh, and Hines was good, too.
Brooke asks them how it feels to be a bunch of old parents. They laugh, but I think they secretly want to pummel Team Chelsea with their withered, arthritic hands.
Donnie: 7 Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 8 Bruno: 8 for a total of 30 out of 40. A tie! So, no figgin” point to the whole thing!
Undefeated U.S. and world Latin champions Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko dance. Oh, so that”s REAL Latin dancing! It”s almost a shame to have to go back to watching celebrities slog around the floor after seeing something so exceptional.
But wait, there”s hope for our flatfooted stars! Two legends of dance will be stopping in to give them tips. I”m not saying this won”t be helpful, but I think all of our contestants need more than a drive-by coaching session. Luca Barucchi is a three time British Open and International Champion and sort of hot even if he does wear his pants very, very high. Shirley Ballas is a 3 time British Open Latin American Champion. And Mark”s mom. She”s hot, and Mark says she”s like an animal who could eat you alive on the dance floor. I”m starting to wonder about Mark”s childhood right about now.
Osama news from Diane Sawyer! Osama bin Laden lived in the house where he was captured for five or six years. Glad we checked out all those caves in Pakistan! Oh, and he”s still dead. Time for dancing!
Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas
The cute couple will be doing a paso doble. Chelsea is angry fabric! This isn”t going to be an easy dance for her, because she likes to laugh too much. So Shirley comes in to wipe the smile off her cute little face. Shirley tells Chelsea to grab her son by the hair and pull him closer, closer! This is like the world”s worst meet the parents date ever.
I”m not sure if Shirley succeeded in making Chelsea fierce, but the girl is definitely Disney fierce, which means there”s still a smile lurking back there and we really don”t mind at all. The costumes are all Matrix-y and, while it”s a nontraditional paso and Len will likely hate it, its engaging and Chelsea has solid posture and footwork.
Len says he found it confusing. Len, Len, Len. He thinks Chelsea had too much aggression and lacked refinement. Wow, I really don”t agree with that. Bruno thought she danced with violent intensity and thought she showed range. Carrie Ann loved that it was progressive and pushed the boundaries. Donnie thought it was too Hell”s Angels. Chelsea doesn”t care because as long as Shirley”s happy, she”s happy. She loves her scary third grade teacher-ness!
Donnie: 8 Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 9 for a total of 34 out of 40
Brooke asks Mark how he feels about Len panning him for not putting on a real paso, as he seems annoyed. Damn straight he”s annoyed. All the elements were there, but I guess Len was a little bit right in that structurally it wasn”t a paso. The fact they both hit the ground at the end is a bit revisionist. But it was a great dance and who cares if it”s deconstructed paso doble as long as all the moves are in there?
Kendra Wilkinson & Louis van Amstel
Time to tango! During rehearsal Louis tells Kendra she looks like she”s sitting on the toilet. I think Louis is getting to a point where he will be relieved when Kendra gets the boot, as he”d rather dance to the deaf and blind than suffer through another week with our less-than-elegant Playmate. She cries. She”s having a hard time. Luca shows up to help. Luca wants to touch bodies with her. I”m pretty sure this is more appealing to her than touching bodies with Louis.
Lo and behold, Kendra really is improved. There”s something to be said for touching bodies with Luca, it seems. Yes, she clings to Louis, screws up some footwork here and there and her legs seem wobbly instead of confident. But this dance is a step in the right direction for her.
Bruno says she needs to work on her framework. Carrie Ann is so proud of Kendra for projecting confidence and elegance. Donnie thought she did a bloody good job with hard choreography. Len feels her steps were clean and clear but lacked crispness.
Donnie: 8 Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 7 Bruno: 8 for a total of 31 out of 40. Kendra says it feels good, but she looks disappointed.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkosvskiy
Shirley will be working her magic on Kirstie and Maks. Shirley, who is a total knockout, kind of blows the whole “too old” argument thing for Kirstie. Sorry, Kirstie, you”re not too old; you”re just hopelessly out of shape. Kirstie cries because when Maks is frustrated, Maks stomps off! It hurts her feelings! I think the girls need a nap and a cookie this week.
Kirstie and Maks start off with a fun, playful jive that quickly falls apart. At one point, Kirstie just gives up on the steps and shuffles around a bit. This is a mess we”d expect to see in week one. Maybe Kirstie has been spending too much time shilling for weight loss products and not enough time rehearsing.
Carrie Ann says it wasn”t jive-y enough and they went out of synch during the part where they dance side by side. But she thinks Kirstie looks great! And, since this is Hollywood, that”s all that matters. Donnie really liked it. What? He liked her spirit even if mechanically she may not be the best dancer. Len thought it was fun but thought it was uneventful as a jive. Bruno thought it was superbly entertaining.
Donnie: 9 Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 6 Bruno: 8 for a total of 30 out of 40. For once, I actually thought Kendra deserved a considerably higher score than Kirstie. I really can”t believe I just said that.
So, Brooke asks the logical question, which is what the F happened out there? Kirstie tells Brooke she got so caught up in acting she forgot to move her feet. Honestly, that”s one step away from dehydration as a really lousy excuse for screwing up.
Next, we see a tango from current U.S. ballroom champions Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova. And yet again, I”m now depressed to watch celebrities after such an awesome performance. Thanks, ABC!
Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff
Luca is on hand again to help Ralph with the quickstep. Though Ralph can use Luca”s help, he could also use a massive dose of Vicodin, because his knee is killing him. We are reminded yet again (and repeatedly) that Ralph is OLD. Ralph looks great but he”s OLD. He wears old man socks and knee braces. Okay, okay, we get it.
Ironically, while the steps look light and fluid, Ralph seems to look pained whenever the show cuts to a close-up. I know, because he”s OLD.
Donnie says his footwork was fabulous and thought he and Karina rocked. Len thought the footwork was clear and crisp, though his upper body was loose. Bruno thought it was vibrant and thought he sold it like no one else. Carrie Ann said boo-yah, he”s back.
But before we continue, Osama news from Diane Sawyer! Still dead!
Donnie: 10 Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 9 for a total of 36 out of 40
Ralph is thrilled to have gotten a 10. I”m thrilled he got one, too. That impressive first week performance was starting to seem like something I imagined, but I”m hopeful that the Karate Kid is making a comeback. Just as long as it”s not in an actual “Karate Kid” movie. I don”t think we need “Karate Kid: The Golden Years.”
Hines Ward & Kym Johnson
Sexy Luca is back to teach Hines how to act. Hines giggles, which makes me think Luca has his work cut out for him. Hines” friends Jerome “The Bus” Bettis and Al Costa stop in to make fun of him and say encouraging things. I”m sure this is helping. Somehow.
The tango isn”t really Hines” dance. He”s smooth, yes, but not sharp and dangerous. At times, he seems to just be walking around, and his movements have absolutely no snap. I like Hines, but I”m not loving him.
Len felt some was dramatic and some was too dainty but overall he liked it. Bruno liked the way Hines played it: panther-like. Carrie Ann felt he was off balance at points. Donnie thought he danced from his heart and used his head. But mechanically, his arms were flapping.
Brooke asks Hines if this is a guys” competition. What? Hines gives her a non-answer, which is only fair given the stupidity of the question.
Donnie: 9 Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 10 for a total of 36 out of 40. Kym says the silent assassin came out. Hines loves acting! Oh, but Hines, acting does not love you.
Romeo & Chelsie Hightower
While trying to learn the samba, Rome gropes Shirley Ballas. Shirley does not seem to mind. Hey, guys, this is a family show! Rome assures us he”s throwing a samba party in his shoes and pants tonight. I am really, really not sure I want to attend.
Despite Shirley”s coaching, this is not hot. What happened to the hips? This is not one of his better dances, honestly. I know he was dying to shake his groove thing here and there, but it only goes to show the difference is skill between his dance floor moves and his ballroom technique.
Bruno says he can raise the heat, but his leg bounce didn”t go up and down, just side to side. Carrie Ann thought the bounce he did show wasn”t samba bounce. Donnie thinks Romeo”s grown throughout the competition, but thinks he has an earthquake in his shoes (that”s a bad thing). Len didn”t like it.
Backstage, Romeo has excuses. Romeo felt a lot of pressure. He lost a day of rehearsal while on the road. So it isn”t his fault! Stupid schedule!
Donnie: 8 Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 7 Bruno: 8 for a total of 30 out of 40. Wait, Donnie meant to give him a 7.
So, that concludes are dancing for the evening. Tied at the top are Ralph and Hines and tied at the bottom are Kirstie and Romeo. It”s getting down to the wire, and truthfully this week”s performances weren”t all as strong as I would have hoped. But for once, I can”t even say Kendra deserves to go (did I actually say that? I feel faint). Romeo and Kirstie really blew it, and at this stage of the competition lame excuses shouldn”t save them.
Do you think it”s time for Kirstie to go? Did you think Kendra improved? And what did you think of Mark”s mom?