Recap: ‘Dancing with the Stars’ tackles instant dances with the final five

We’re down to the final five couples, and, with the exception of Ricki and J.R., this was not the line-up I expected to see. Nancy Grace? Rob Kardashian? I’m hoping that Hope Solo manages to reach her potential this week, because otherwise the final three is going to be a case of “which one of these things is not like the others?” 

Rob and Cheryl

Rob and Cheryl will be doing a quick step now, an instant jive later. With Rob dragging things down, this will likely be less instant jive and more like watching instant Jello-O set in the fridge. In other words, boring. Really, really boring. 

As expected, this is just plain ungainly in the beginning. Once he gets going it’s okay, but I can’t get past the fact that he’s about as expressive as, well, Kim Kardashian. 

Len thought the opening section was terrible, but thought it was very good once he was in hold. His best dance thus far. Um, okay. Bruno thought he was speedier than a drag race. Carrie thinks he’s polished, smooth and light on his feet. Light on his feet? Maybe she’s comparing him to Frankenstein or someone in a leg cast. 

Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9

Time to pick their instant dance song. They’ll be insta-dancing to “Maneater” by Hall and Oates. 

Hope and Maks

Hope and Maks have a heart to heart. He knows he’s been rough on her. And, instead of yelling at her to suck it up, he’s going to (gasp) try to be nicer to her. Maks? Nice? What? Then, he takes Hope home to meet his parents. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Maks was in love. Maks’ dad, of course, isn’t the least bit helpful, saying that Maks is a mama’s boy who cries all the time. But Hope finds this adorable. Okay, maybe they’re both in love. It’s almost sweet if I didn’t think Maks would make her life a living hell at some point. 

Wow, even the dance is sunshine-y cute. There are a few passages where Hope seems to get a little lost, but she keeps up with Maks, which isn’t so easy. Hope really does seem more comfortable and relaxed, so I think Maks had the right instinct to ease up on her this week. 

Bruno thinks it’s a night of miracles and thought it was light and breezy. Her best dance yet. Carrie Ann gives Hope a hug and thought there was so much joy and love in the dance. Len thought it was a blend of speed and control and he thinks Hope has fulfilled her potential. 

Brooke asks Hope what she learned about Maks by eating dinner with his parents. She learned that Maks is a gentle soul. What? Seriously?

Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9

Hope and Maks will be dancing to “The Best Damn Thing” by Avril Lavigne. 

Ricki and Derek

Ricki talks to Jennifer Grey, who tells her she’ll miss the show when it’s over. In other words, stop stressing out and bitching all the time, Ricki! They’ll be waltzing, and if Ricki can just keep her shoulders down, it will be great. As Derek says, it’s just a waltz, not the end of the world.  

As expected, this is pretty beautiful. Ricki really does have natural grace and always seems to be enjoying herself, and this waltz just seems to be happening on a cloud. 

Carrie Ann says she stumbled at the end but thought her movements were exquisite. Still, her shoulders came up at moments. Len thought it was beautifully executed the whole way through. He wants to give her a ten, but can’t until she nails her footwork. There was a misstep at the end — which I don’t think we saw at home. Thanks for the poorly timed close-up, ABC! Bruno thought it was dreamy.  

Brooke talks to Ricki about Jennifer Grey’s comments. Ricki begins talking about how HARD and BRUTAL the show is. But she’s having the time of her life, pun intended. Ricki, you’ve gotta shut up about how difficult this is. We know it’s hard. You’re also getting a free workout regimen while you’re being paid and fake tanned once a week. Shut up, because some people have real jobs. 

Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 10

Ricki and Derek will be insta-daning to “Land of a Thousand Dances” by Wilson Pickett

Nancy and Tristan

Nancy is going to come out fighting. Nancy knows how to dance. Tristan gets frustrated with her not listening to him. She swears it ain’t over yet. Yes, but it should be. 

And I will never know if it is over, because the Slingbox dies for a few minutes and I miss the dance and the judges’ comments. But let’s cut to scores, shall we?

Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 8

They’ll be insta-dancing to “Inside Out” by… someone. Tristan moves the CD so quickly I can’t read it. Because many, many people  have songs by this title, I’m not going to guess. 

So, worst scores of the night thus far. Yeah, it may actually be over, Nancy.

J.R. Martinez and Karina

J.R. wants to get the first thirty of the season. Karina is down with that, but she’s sick of J.R. being happy and laughing. She wants to work hard! I think Karina needs to take a page from Maks and lighten up. I can’t believe I just said that. 

The judges think oafish Rob Kardashian is light on his feet? No, no, no, J.R. is light on his feet. Men who are non-pros so often look goofy doing the waltz, and he just nails it. Beautiful. J.R. really is the one to beat in this competition. 

Bruno thought it was like a musical valentine card. Carrie Ann thinks something happened in the middle of the dance that was magic. Len thinks he came back this week with guns blazing. Maybe he will get that perfect thirty he wants. 

Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 10 Bruno – 10

Whoot! I’m so glad that J.R. got the first perfect score of the season. J.R. gives an Oscar speech into Brooke’s microphone. He’s absolutely giddy. 

Their insta-dance will be to “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard. J.R. seems thrilled by this, too. Karina never needed to worry, silly woman. 

Tom asks Len to explain how the stars fall apart thanks to the instant dances. Len says the stars like to dance to music. They can’t dance to music. Thus, falling apart. Gee, I couldn’t have figured that out on my own!

Rob and Cheryl

Rob practices. And yawns. Yeah, you’re not the only one who’s bored here, pal. 

This isn’t bad, but Rob kind of stomps through the dance. Really, the guy has all the grace of a chimpanzee. 

Len said there were no glaring mistakes. But his feet weren’t sharp. Bruno thought it had youthful energy. Carrie Ann thought the transitions were seamless. 

Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 8

Kenny, Jerry and Len do a DanceCenter promo. And it’s just as unfunny as it is every year. Yay, can’t wait for tomorrow.

Hope and Maks

Hope’s last jive was pretty terrible, so this is her chance to redeem herself. She’s going to make the jive her cup of tea!

Whoa, Hope! I think Maks trying to be nice has totally transformed this girl. What a fun dance, and it’s so good to see her cut loose. Yes, she throws in some spatula hands, but otherwise very strong, especially for her. 

Bruno thought she was like a wild child. But she needs to stretch the back of her knees. Carrie Ann thought it was a definite improvement over her last jive. But her hands were strange. Len thought it was fantastic. Finally! 

Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 9 Bruno – 8

What? Eights? I’m with Len. This was pretty great. And if the judges are judging each contestant not against one another, but the star’s own previous performances, I think Hope really showed improvement tonight.

Ricki and Derek

Derek tries to prepare Ricki by playing three different songs for her, so she can adjust  her tempo accordingly. I think he’s just confusing the crap out of her, but nice idea.

Well, it’s not the waltz. She does her best, which is still very good, but it’s kind of herky jerky. When Derek is spinning her around, she’s like a dead weight. That’s not really something you aim for in any dance.

Carrie Ann thought her energy was great but she got lost in the choreography. Len thought she coped well, but he agrees with Carrie Ann. Bruno agrees with the other two.

Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 8. Pretty disappointing for Ricki. 

Nancy and Tristan

Aack, the Slingbox crapped out. Again. And yes, again during a Nancy Grace performance. Coincidence? I think not.

Luckily, it comes back on in time for me to watch some of Nancy and Tristan’s dance. Or unfortunately, because this is terrible. Slow, plodding, emotionless. It’s really like watching a very good dancer at the senior center. She may have three year old twins, but I question how she keeps up with them without using a motorized scooter. 

For Len, it’s time for Nancy to go home. Absolutely! Bruno thought it was too laid back. Carrie Ann thinks she got lost in the choreography, but she thinks Nancy and Tristan have chemistry. That’s what we call it? I thought it was mutual loathing.

Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 6 Bruno – 7

J.R. and Karina

He wants to nail this one, and I think he will.

And he does. He really, really does. This is a great routine. Solid footwork, high energy. I’m sure he’ll have the best scores of the night.

Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann says no one is coming close to them tonight. Len says J.R. has the X factor and the feel good factor mixed together and says it was well done. 

Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 10 Bruno – 10. Two perfect scores! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. J.R. seems shocked and, again, giddy. It’s not a bad thing, either.

Well, it looks like Len said it all — time for Nancy to go home, and I’m thinking we can give J.R. the mirror ball trophy now if he can keep bringing his A game. But then, you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Do you think Maks did the right thing by easing up on Hope? Do you think it’s time for Nancy to go home? And who are you rooting for to win?