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It’s Monday night, and you know what BlueCanary’s doing? That’s right—she’s DVRing Dancing with the Stars! This week is Instant Dance Night and the last week before the semi finals, and the first thing we see is Kirstie landing on her ass in rehearsals yet again. Everyone is falling! My Schnookums looks defeated, Chelsea has her high heels up in Mark’s face, Maks has had quite enough of this horseshit, and even Hines hits Kym in the face with far side of his taint. Romeo seems to be the only one who managed to stay on his feet, so I guess he’s finally adapted to the goofy elevator shoes. Romeo’s young, he can roll with the punches. Last week, this show was #1 in the ratings, which means that either more people are into ballroom dancing than I could possibly have guessed, or a lot of people just left the TV on and wandered out of the room around 9 p.m. The traditional descending of the staircase takes almost no time at all, because there are only five competitors left! According to Brooke, this will be the toughest week so far.
The plan for the night goes like this: the stars will perform a prepared routine, then draw a CD from a metaphorical hat. On this CD is the song to which they will perform their next dance. Apparently, they’re not informed of the track they’ll be using, but they have been assigned a style of dance, so they’ve been practicing silent routines, if you will. This is important later. I can’t help but think the whole thing is a little bit fixed, as in the producers totally picked the track for each contestant in advance, because the dance they’ll be doing is printed on the CD. But everyone acts like it’s a surprise, and we have no choice but to go along with it. In any case, we’ll see how the whole instant dance thing goes once they hit the floor (possibly literally, if the opening montage counts as foreshadowing).
Chelsea and Mark are slated to waltz first, and we get to revisit Mark’s prissy diva fit from last week. Amazingly enough, Chelsea actually stands up to him, informing him that she’s not okay with him acting like a bitchy little asshat, because it reflects poorly on her and she doesn’t think she’s entitled to high scores simply because she showed up. You can tell he has no idea what she’s talking about, because that’s literally the exact opposite of how he operates, but he doesn’t contradict her. She asks him very nicely to stop being a douche, because the last thing she wants is the audience thinking she’s anything like him (except she phrased that far nicer than I just did. Chelsea is diplomatic like that). Anyway, Mark looks none too happy to be on the receiving end of a lecture, but he’s nice to her and they get right into practicing their romantic Waltz (which I’m sure he’s been waiting for the whole season). The real question is if Mark’s unconventional approach to choreography will in any way resemble a Waltz. Will it be traditional enough to convince Len? They appear to be doing the entire dance with their eyes closed, and he managed to work at least three smooches into the routine, because it’s all part of the performance and in no way indicative of his season-long boner for poor Chelsea.
In order to appease Mark’s bitch ass, Len has to qualify that his comments are observations, not criticisms. It’s sad to see Len cowed by Mark to the point that he loses his own bitchy edge. Anyway, he “observes” that there is too much emphasis on the story and not on the dance. Bruno is up and out of his seat, which means he liked it. Carrie Ann thinks Chelsea is indeed earning her perfection with her maturity and grace. Then Mark spews a load of horseshit that puts this weekend’s action at the Kentucky Derby to shame, about how he thinks his job is to be the frame to Chelsea’s art. He even manages to keep a straight face when he says it’s all about her. Carrie Ann gives them a 10, sending Chelsea into the stratosphere (though, hilariously, you can see Kirstie in the background, not exactly smiling in support). They get a 9 from Len, and another 10 from Bruno, giving them the first double 10 of the season.
The thing about the Instant Dance, we are all informed, is that it provides no opportunity to think, which means it’ll work out fine for Chelsea, I guess. They pick their song from a mirrorball bowl and select Get Busy by Sean Paul. Mark doesn’t appear to know it. This should be good.
Next we check in on Hines and Kym who are doing the Foxtrot. He declares he wants the top of the leaderboard to himself, and is surprisingly acknowledging My Schnookums as one of the main competitors. Kym tries to make Hines understand that he needs to be as fun to watch as Schnook, but I think we can all agree that that will not happen. Not that Hines isn’t trying I guess, because he has a somewhat horrifying toothy grin just PLASTERED on his face. The fact that it looks more like he’s straining to hold in a loose dump shouldn’t detract from his efforts, but it’s nowhere near the charisma that exudes naturally from the pores of My Schnookums. However, I doubt that that will matter to the judges, because the day they quit fellating Hines Ward for just showing up to the competition will be the day Bruno quits his place on the judging panel to take a job in the high rise construction industry.
Sure enough, Bruno is on his feet before Hines even gets to the table, screaming like Meg Ryan in a deli. Carrie Ann compares Hines to Gene Kelly, and come on. I know you love him right down to the scabs on his mosquito bites, but Gene Kelly? He’s a fucking football player, not one of the all-time dance legends of the world. Len opines that watching Hines is a joyful experience and gushes over his personality, which means I am officially missing the personality radar gene, I guess. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but Hines Ward, to me, has about as much personality as a bowl of Grape Nuts.
They’re still giving Hines shit about the opinion of the Steeler Nation (because that never gets old), and I’m thinking the pink day suit isn’t exactly helping things on the masculinity front. They get two nines, plus a 10 from Bruno, who’s feeling generous today, I guess. Their instant dance song is Chantilly Lace. Hines looks blank, as if he’s never heard this song, which seems impossible, but Hines is known best for his performances in the NFL, and I need to remember that and stop holding him to such a high standard.
Romeo and Chelsie are determined to make a comeback back from last week’s crappy samba, and he seems upbeat, even though he went from the top to the bottom of the board. He will be giving this week’s Tango everything he has, which apparently includes some misogyny and a grouchy demeanor. Chelsie is clothed in what looks like a Fruit Roll-Up, and I predict it will cause Bruno will gyrate more than Romeo and Chelsie do.
Carrie Ann is all hot and bothered by their Tango, and loved the intensity and chemistry they exuded. Len confirms Romeo has upped his game, and Bruno says Romeo danced like a real man (again with the backhanded compliments), but he doesn’t jump up and thrust his pelvis at anything, so did he secretly hate it, or is he just worn out from ejaculating all over Hines? Romeo acknowledges that last week was a reality check, and the judges fling up triple nines. Romeo feels great about that, but I’d feel crappy in lieu of the 10s that have been popping up all night. They pick Tequila for their mystery song, and I for one expect to see some big fucking shoes on the floor!
Hold the phone, everyone! My Schnookums, it turns out, was injured this week and missed most of his rehearsals. Considering how missing one day screwed Romeo so badly last week, I shudder to think of what might happen, since Karina and Schnook had to trim the usual 40 hours of practice down to nine. Their plan is to turn the Viennese Waltz upside down, but first we have to watch My Schnookums hobble around and practice while in considerable amounts of pain. They shove him in the MRI machine, and the doctor tells him he has a Baker’s Cyst, which means there’s no damage, just a fluid collection. Bullshit! I say someone was paid off by Hines to sweep the leg, and we all know who that someone is (I’m looking at your has-been ass, Billy Zabka). Then we see Schnook just collapse in rehearsal, moaning in agony. My Schnookums is not giving up, though! To detract from the bum knee, they’ve applied massive amounts of guyliner to his face and given him Edward Cullen hair.
I feel really guilty for saying this, but I’m missing a lot of details in the dance because I keep waiting for him to collapse in the middle of everything. Their routine is actually very cool, and I don’t see much evidence of the injury, aside from a lack of polish—unless, of course, you count the intense holy-shit-this-hurts gaze, which, admittedly, might be part of the character. Surprisingly, he doesn’t stumble or fall, which is more than I can say for certain other Baker’s Cyst-free folks on this show. Schnook rules.
After a mimed blowjob ending and some more piercing gazes, he hobbles his ass over to the panel to await his fate. Len is impressed by how well he did, considering the minimal practice time. Bruno, naturally, starts spouting about dramatic vampire love, or whatever, and squeals about how impressed he is that My Schnookums managed to do what he did under such duress. Carrie Ann tells him he’s inspiring, and apologizes for having to judge him based on his errors (because apparently that’s a thing now). Poor Schnook limps over to get his scores, and I am paralyzed by fear, people. This stage of the competition is less than forgiving, and the cyst might actually be his undoing. I can’t sit through the next few weeks of this show without My Schnookums, America, please save him! Can you live with yourselves if you forgive Kirstie’s sloppy footwork last week, yet send Schnook packing over circumstances beyond his control? Surely not after the brave face he put on! Gah!
The judges pull a couple of eights and a nine, which would have been a solid score a few weeks ago, but now lands him on the bottom. They draw Stuck in the Middle, it turns out they will have to wing their Cha Cha (which sounds kind of dirty out of context), because he was unable to rehearse even the most rudimentary steps of the mystery dance routine. Hey, he managed to win All Valley with a bum leg, he can do this. Goddamn it, voters, don’t let me down!
Kirstie and Maks are next, which means My Schnookums still has a shot at looking second worst instead of the worst. The replay last week’s embarrassing flubs, like they do every week, and Maks seems to have just flat out had it with Kirstie’s klutziness and wheezing and lack of focus. He says “your feet are very slow, so move your ass. And by your ass, I mean your feet.” Just so we’re clear, since this show does tend to focus quite frequently on Kirstie’s literal ass, Maks was speaking metaphorically. He really is a bit of a dick, but I know she must be frustrating to work with, since she’s spending more time on the floor than Bruno spends shrieking in the mirror each morning (I assume). Maks demands to know what’s up with the collapsing, and Kirstie reveals she hasn’t been eating. Apparently she only had about 150 calories that day, and figured that was A-OK to fuel eight hours in the dance studio. Come on, Kirstie. I understand she has issues with being fat, and that she’s viewing this competition as the crux of her weight loss plan, but anorexia is not the solution—you need fuel! When you burn that many calories, you’re allowed to eat normal amounts of food. Stay away from the chips, load up on protein and vegetables, and for the love of God, stop obsessing so much.
They dance the Argentine Tango, and he spends an awful lot of time carrying her around. Maybe he thinks that the more time she spends with her feet off the floor, the less chance she has of fucking up her steps? Tread carefully, Maks—remember what happened the last time you decided to take on her full weight.
They finish without incident, and I have to say, she did very well this week. She also looks much better in the red outfit than last week’s purple monstrosity, though I am surprised Maksim’s torso is under wraps. Bruno is on his feet, gyrating and thrusting all over the place, so you know he dug it. Carrie Ann feels like it was all real, and was happy with the quality and footwork. Len feels that Kirstie created the proper atmosphere. Brooke asks about her fall in rehearsal, and Kirstie claims she “forgot to eat.” Not one to let such obvious bullshit slide, Maks butts in: “For seven weeks, she forgot to eat.” He’s a dancer; he knows food issues when he sees them, so you might as well admit it, Kirstie. This show has been one big crash diet for you, and just so you know, Brooke, none of us are surprised that you can relate to “forgetting” to eat. The judges fling up two nines and a 10. Bruno is all about the tens tonight, isn’t he? It almost negates his sincerity, but that means every couple in the top five has had a 10 at one point or another, so they can all feel like they deserve to be there, at least. Kirstie pulls out the song Cobrastyle, whatever that is, and everyone draws sort of a blank. Maks doesn’t even pretend to know what it is, but they will Salsa to it, in any case. I wonder who picked these songs.
No matter, though, because it’s time now for the Instant Dances! Chelsea and Mark will be Salsaing (which may or may not be the proper verb). They reminisce about practicing the mystery dance, and it turns out they had to bring in some other Disney guy from last season to make Chelsea feel better about not knowing her music. Remember, this is the girl who freaked out over dancing to classical music with no words, so dancing to silence is really fucking with her head. It’s almost cruel, really.
They take the stage, and I didn’t know it was possible for Mark to look any goofier, but he managed to pull it off, what with the green socks, two tone shoes, and wife beater. Chelsea shakes it hard enough to make Kendra proud, and I hate to say it, but you really can’t tell that they just came up with this. It looks very good. Turns out, the sound guy fucked up his cue, but they covered it, and they impressed Len and Bruno, who rightly says they set the bar high. Much as Mark gets under my skin, they pulled off the Instant Dance nicely. CA disagrees with Len and Bruno, though, not to mention me, and says she didn’t see a connection to the music (which apparently was the point of the challenge). She gets in a spat with Bruno, and gets booed, and Tom breaks the whole thing up and shoos Chelsea and Mark over to Brooke to get their scores. They get eights and a nine, which gives them a high total, but I have to say I’m waiting for Mark to just break for the judges’ table and start throwing up gang signs in Carrie Ann’s face for daring to pull that eight. This is Mark Fucking Ballas, folks—he’s 10 material!
Hines and Kym’s instant dance is the Jive. Hines knows he must take it to a new level and is visibly nervous—as if he won’t breeze right into the final two without a problem. He’s also freaking out about the lack of music, and Kym is stressing, too, and they look a mess in rehearsal. Hines shows up onstage in a close approximation of the outfit My Schnookums wore last week. I know he’s your biggest competition, Hines, but disguising yourself as Schnook won’t fool anybody.
They start dancing, and right away I can see they are totally out of sync. It’s truly sloppy and off the cuff, but money says the judges won’t mind. Seriously, Hines doesn’t even act like he got it right. Bruno of course excuses it all, saying he did an incredible job. Carrie Ann inexplicably says he was on every beat and did an amazing job. Was I watching the same dance? Does he get the pass because the Jive is hard? I know I’ve been sort of “meh” on Hines all season, but come on. I never thought I’d say this, but where is Mark Ballas’s bitchface when you need it? I try to look at these dances objectively, but I really feel the judges and I are seeing different footage when it comes to Hines, as evidenced by the two nines held up to Bruno’s eight. The crowd boos Bruno, and whatever. People are stupid, and this show is rigged worse than The Academy Awards. Yeah, I said it.
Romeo and Chelsie will Salsa to Tequila, which is appropriate and sounds quite tasty. The Salsa is all about getting down, as is Romeo. He’s approaching his silent dance as he would approach an impromptu dance in a club, which I guess is as good a technique as any. It sure beats stressing out and acting like a little bitch (I’m looking at you, Hines). We get to see lots of behind the scenes footage of Romeo actually going to clubs and making random strangers practice with him, combining work and play in an admirably ballsy move. Does ABC pay for that, you think?
There’s more shakin’ on that dance floor than Kendra has in her brassiere on an average day, and Romeo’s abs are dominating the scene. Mark Ballas looks less than happy with their performance, which is hilarious, and Carrie Ann calls them out for being out of sync, and that she goes there after praising Hines’s sloppy ass means I think I’m done with her opinion as a whole. Len accuses Carrie Ann and Bruno of being nasty to everyone, which sends Bruno into seizures. I can appreciate the irony of Len calling out anyone’s bitch behavior, but I also think he’s right in this case. Len himself loved Romeo and Chelsie’s performance, and tells the other judges to loosen up. Bruno demonstrates the fluidity of movement necessary for a good Salsa, and it’s all a bunch of gibberish and garbage. I rewatched Hines and Kym just to makes sure I wasn’t missing something, and that only confirmed that this bitch is rigged like you wouldn’t believe. Romeo could give a shit about the judges, though—he’s just here to plug his movie. He scores two eights, plus a nine from Len, which is low for tonight. Who knows how this will shake out? The only thing I know for sure is that 1. Hines will be safe; and 2. It doesn’t matter what else Romeo did, because he made the best dance floor face since Sugar Ray:
Now back to the only contestant I give a crap about: My own personal Schnookums, Ralph Macchio. We get more footage of poor Schnook icing his knee, worrying that he’s literally spent no time practicing for the instant Cha Cha. They’ll be going out there stone cold, but since My Schnookums has nothing if not heart, they decided to play on his injury. Karina does the Miyagi Healing Hands ™ on his knee, and Schnookums whips out his Cha Cha face and soldiers through it. It was super simple, very unpolished, but I have to say it looked a hell of a lot cleaner than that shit Kirstie pulled last week when she forgot where she was and just started hopping up and down.
Poor Schnookums gimps over to the judges’ table where he gets both praise and shit from Len and Bruno. Carrie Ann is impressed, but says he was lacking hip action. Now, I have seen these judges excuse all sorts of shit from their pet dancers, so I’m not sure why they suddenly feel the need to get all picky. My Schnookums gets a standing ovation, because we all love him, and it really sucks that his knee is all fucked up. The judges give him a seven apiece. You bastards. Schnookums is just glad that he’s still on his feet and that he got through his two dances without collapsing on Maks Karina. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
Speaking of, Kirstie and Maks are last up, bringing us another impromptu Salsa. Maks is completely uninterested in bullshit at this point, and is very impatient with rehearsing. He rips off his mic and throws it to the floor in a big tantrum, and you can see he wishes he’d been paired with literally anyone else, even Mike Catherwood (which I guarantee would bring in the viewers). He makes himself feel better by donning a silky blue shirt and unbuttoning it to the waist.
They bore the shit out of me for a minute or so, and Bruno gyrates a bit in approval, then says something so dirty that we’re not even allowed to see his lips move. It stops the show for a minute, and my mind is probably filling in a much dirtier word than he actually said, so it’s lose-lose, ABC. Next time, just man up and let it be heard. Carrie Ann excuses their mistakes in favor of their synchronicity and chemistry. Len liked it, I guess, but he seems sort of tired. Brooke makes Maks admit his pride in Kirstie, and they score eight, nine, eight, in that order. Len seems to be going easy on everyone tonight for a change.
Tomorrow night, one of our top five will depart, leaving the four semi-finalists to battle it out. I have to say, I am terribly scared we’ve seen the last of My Schnookums. I myself said just last week that it’s too late in the competition to excuse mistakes, and he did make plenty of them, even though it’s not his fault he’s injured. So overall, this was a depressing episode for me, because Schnookums will probably be going home due to his injury, while Kirstie should have left long ago and Hines continues to garner far more praise than he deserves. These judges, I just don’t know. Anyone else think things are obviously rigged in favor of Hines? Did he pay them off, or offer to blow them or what (like that wouldn’t guarantee support from Bruno)? Anyway, hang in there with me, and keep your fingers and toes crossed for My Schnookums. Be safe, Schnook, America loves you!