With The OC and Smallville returning to the airwaves this past Thursday, J-Unit has been a bit inundated; so for the time being, I’m on Dancing with the Stars duty. And what a glamorous duty to be on! I almost feel like I should put on a tux before I write anymore (either that or a form-fitting, sequined shirt that’s casually unbuttoned to my naval. Eh, probably the tux). Anyway, since I’m recapping this on a Sunday, I thought I’d give more bang for the buck by not only analyzing Thursday’s ballroom bonanza, but Friday’s filler-tastic results show. So why stall anymore? Put on your lucky P. Miller shoes and get ready to dance, dance, dance!As usual, Thursday night’s episode came to us live, or as Tom Bergeron says it, “LIIIIIVE!!!” After that snazzy kaleidoscope opening, we then were greeted by Mr. Hollywood Squares himself along with his flub-filled new sidekick, Samantha Harris. No one could ever beat Julie Chen when it comes to awkward pauses and muffed words, but bless her heart, Samantha’s trying her best. Luckily for her, she had a smooth opening, and before long, our stars were parading down the staircase in elegant fashion. This eventually led to an extended pan across their smiling faces with the camera coming to rest unusually long on a bored (or high) (or both) Tatum O’Neal.
But enough Tatum gawking. There’d be plenty of time for that later. First up in the night’s dance spectacular was the giant-lipped Lisa Rinna with the rumba (women celebs were doing the rumba, men were doing the quickstep). The aging soap star expressed enthusiasm about being part of the show but noted, “I hope I can overcome my nerves this week.” She then added, “Now excuse me. It’s time for my breakfast collagen shot.”
Lisa then explained to us the intricacies of the rumba: “It’s almost like you’re having sex on the dance floor.” Well, except you’re clothed… and dancing… and not having sex. Nevertheless, Lisa and her husband Harry Hamlin — I mean, her dance partner Louis — headed to a pole dancing class to unlock Lisa’s inner-sexuality. This led to the obligatory “Look at me fall off the pole!” slapstick moments and blah blah blah, we were finally ready to get this party started. The dance was all we’ve come to expect from a solid rumba: twirls, dips, sultry stares, fake boobies. I momentarily feared for Louis’ safety, lest one of Lisa’s colossal lips lash him mid-twirl, but he emerged unscathed.
The good new for Lisa was that the judges seemed happier with her this week. “Well, Lisa, you’re like a wild kitten, you see!” said Bruno Tonioli, who always seems to urgently spurt out his comments as if you’ve just caught him racing to the bathroom. Nevertheless, the judges weren’t totally won over, causing boos to descend from the audience. “We got our audience from a British soccer match this week,” Bergeron joked. Oh, if only. Now that would be a sight.
Backstage, Samantha Harris clocked in her first flub of the night as she said, “Well, there definitely were some good scores, er, comments rather!” Hmmm… I don’t know what I like more: former sidekick Lisa Canning’s vacuous stare or Samantha’s awkward mistakes. Anyhoo, the judges finally raised their paddles, granting Lisa and Louis a final score of 20 out of 30. “I’ll take it!” screamed Lisa, clearly overcompensating her disappointment with obnoxious jubilation. That’s okay, Lisa. Just take the pain, ball it up, and hide it away in a small place — like your lips.
Up next was Drew Lachey who last week earned the highest marks from the judges. He should have been brimming with confidence, but lo! When you’re at the top, there’s only one place to go: DOWN! And no one knows that better than a member of a boy band (although, 98 Degrees was hardly at the top). Anyway, Drew and his bird-ish partner Cheryl kicked off their quickstep with some coy hip bopping, and then honestly, I can’t remember much more because I was so shocked by the house band egregiously missing the first lyric of “The Neutron Dance.” Why, it’s like messing up the “Star Spangled Banner!” I’m surprised Drew and Cheryl survived this most scandalous of errors.
Well, they not only survived, but they excelled. “That was fun; it was fast; it was fantastic!” said Len. “That was supersonic!” said Bruno. “You are the unlikely ballroom dancer!” said Carrie Ann. To be fair, I believe that last plaudit goes to Master P. Anyway, Drew pulled in impressive numbers: 9′s across the board for a grand total of 27. No one’s gonna beat that!! Or will they?
Next up was Tia Carrere, who managed to go the entire segment without mentioning that she’s trying to lose weight. Amazingly enough, the exotic actress admitted to having problems swiveling her hips; so the producers fetched her a hula dancer to help. Of course, this was totally uninteresting to anyone watching; so let’s just get to her rumba. Okay, that was uninteresting too. Basically, she danced nicely; however, Tia was incredibly crestfallen about her performance, saying, “Whatever I did wrong, I take full responsibility.” Does that include Relic Hunter? Because that was a terrible show.
Well, the judges split on Tia. Bruno found himself at odds with Len and Carrie Ann, causing full-on chaos to erupt — at least what qualifies as chaos on Dancing with the Stars. Eventually, Carrie Ann put up her hand and said, “I’m not gonna argue,” thus bringing the three-way catfight to an end. Now, did I say the fight was chaos? Because we ain’t seen chaos yet. Yes, the first scoring controversy of the season occurred when Carrie Ann raised the “8″ paddle, but the onscreen graphic registered “7.” It’s an anti-Tia conspiracy!!! (Tia pulled in a score of 22, btw).
No one’s more shocked than Tia.
After a little backstage gabbing, we returned to Tom Bergeron who explained that Carrie Ann really meant to say “7″ but lifted the wrong paddle (and said “Eight” by accident too? I smell shenanigans!). Nevertheless, Tom cut the tension mounting in the room by saying, “In the ballroom community, that’s known as premature paddling.” And in the comedy community, that’s known as not funny. But then again, you gotta kind of respect Bergeron for always trying to inject every moment with some vaguely sexual comment. Dirty old man.
Up next was George Hamilton, who at last count seemed to have only two original bones left in his body. Yes, he’s a reconstructed cyborg with fake hips, fake knees, and a fake tan (Rimshot! Bet you didn’t see that one coming a mile away, did you?). “Why is it when you get to a certain age, you finally get your head together and your ass is falling apart?” he asked rhetorically. Who else then had the disturbing image of George Hamilton’s ass falling off? Luckily for us, George stays mobile thanks to his crew of chiropractors and therapists known affectionately as Team George. And look! Is that Ahmed Zappa helping George work out? Nope, just some personal trainer.
Anyway, we then cut to George standing on the dance floor, looking debonair with a top hat and cane. Gotta love this guy (although, he’s no John O’Hurley). Well, broken ribs be damned. George lit up the quickstep with some flashy solo moves and swarthy footwork, moving the judges to applaud his efforts. “You played every Hollywood character I’ve ever seen here tonight. Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, and Gary Cooper all rolled into one!” yelled Bruno, whose head might just have exploded had he mentioned one more name.
Backstage, Samantha Harris came through with another Julie Chen caliber flub as she said, “Wow! Fred Astaire and Cary Graahhnt rolled into one!” It’s “Grant,” BITCH!
As for George, he was his usual jovial self after the dance, joking, “I’m really doing this for my people in the ‘hood. People in Beverly Hills and Palm Beach. Yo dawg. Whattup.” It was pretty funny; although no one found it more hilarious than Lisa Rinna who cackled uncontrollably in the background. I think some of that collagen has seeped into her brain. Nevertheless, G-Dawg’s ‘hood should be proud: he managed an 8 from Carrie Ann and two 7s from the fellas, resulting in a total of 22 points. Not bad for an old geezer.
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for (okay, the #2 moment, behind Master P.). Yes, it was Tatum Time! Last week, the Oscar-winner seemed barely able to piece together words, opting to twitch her head, squint, and stick her tongue out instead. What awkward moments would transpire this week? Before we could find out, we first had to watch Tatum practicing with her ever-patient partner, Nick. “I think that it’s about time that I’m sort of back and showing people that I have all sorts of different talents,” she told us. Yes, many talents… like being incredibly inarticulate on live television!
Well, the producers tried to rile up some sort of drama by making it seem like Tatum and Nick — or Tatuck — were at each other’s throats, but whatever. Let’s just see Tates in action. Sure enough, we returned to the LIIIIVE show, and uh oh! Tatum forgot the bottom part of her dress! How incredibly embarrassing. Actually, no. It was intentionally that short (vagina length), but luckily for her, it came with a bikini bottom so as not to reveal all of Tatum’s bidness to America.
Anyway, the two performed a shaky rumba to “Careless Whisper,” but not even the most beloved of Wham ballads could save this dance. “It was like a trifle,” Len said. “The top was fruity, and the bottom was a bit spongy.” You heard it hear first: Tatum O’Neal has a spongy bottom.
As the bad reviews continued, poor Tatum looked like she might actually cry (she’s so upping her therapist visits after this). You know, seeing her contorted facial expressions and labored, nervous responses to the judges and Samantha Harris, it occurred to me that Tatum is sort of like the Mary Catherine Gallagher of Dancing with the Stars. You just know she’s dying to yell out “SUPERSTAR!” (or worse yet, she wants to stick her fingers under her armpits and smell them).
Anyway, for once, Samantha wasn’t the most awkward person in the room as she asked Tatum what was different this night as opposed to last week. “I’d like to be in Dan’s position,” Tatum replied. Oh. Okay. And Dan is??
Well, Tatum’s scores were fairly miserable: a 5, 5, and 6, yielding a grand total of 17. As we headed into commercial, Tom joked, “I know what they’re thinking. This time she had to find the right paddle.” Hahahahaha… huh?
Whatever. Up next was fan favorite Jerry Rice and his evil Bolshevik taskmaster, Anna (a.k.a. my favorite). Because he had to be so fleet-footed in football, the quickstep would be no problem for Jerry. But for the same of all things wonderful and gimmicky, Jerry took Anna up to the 49ers training facility and performed some agility drills. Of course, Anna was impressed but still managed to cut the great one down as she complained about his posture. Best odd couple of the year.
Anyway, we then returned to the dance floor and the amusing sight of Jerry peeking out from the rafters like an anxious bunny. The music suddenly began with a bombastic fanfare, causing Jerry to sprint across the stage and leap to the side of Anna, who was entertainingly dressed as a flapper (headband and all).
It’s okay, Jerry. You can come out to play!
The two then hopped all around the parquet, eventually ending to the sound of the crowd chanting “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” I said it before the season began (to friends at least): between Jerry Rice’s perfectionist ways and his unparalleled popularity, he may be very hard to beat. Sure enough, he pulled solid scores: two 7s and an 8 for 23 total. Later, he told Sammy Harris, “I want that trophy.” Well, the good news is that you can probably buy one at the 99¢ store. I believe it was made with cardboard and aluminum foil.
Next was the other athlete of the competition: the beautiful, leggy Stacy Keibler. Coming into this week’s competition, her partner Tony Dovolani (who looks like a flamboyant version of Flat Top from Dick Tracy) said he wanted Stacy to feel the rumba. Well, she was feeling it and a lot more. “Len, you won’t even be able to handle the sausage that we’re bringing to this dance,” Stacy threatened, in response to Len’s “All sizzle, no sausage” comment last week. Sure enough, Stacy and Tony heated up the dance floor, thanks to her never-ending legs and abs of steel. By the time her rumba was over, it was a foregone conclusion that Tom Bergeron would be making some horny, Pat O’Brien Lite comment. “All right, we’re gonna fire up Len’s sausage meter,” he said, keeping things relatively tame for once (although, later, he did cop a gratuitous feel as he pretended that Stacy had to stay with him on stage for the rest of the show). Well, the “sausage meter” was all a-sizzle as Len and the judges heaped huge amounts of praise on our beautiful wrestler. And hey, remember Drew’s amazing second-round scores of straight-nines? Well, try this one on for size: Stacy nabbed a 9 from Carrie Ann INABA and two 10s from Len and Bruno (or Luno, as I like to call them). Yes, that’s right. 10s. Last season, we had to wait all the way until the big finale before we saw our first ten. This time, it was right out of the (relative) gate. Grade inflation perhaps? Nah, I’ll give credit where credit is due. Stacy was awesome. And leggy. But that goes without saying.
Well, for every peak must come a valley, and this valley’s name was P. Miller, or Master P. as those of us in know like to call him. Bergeron provided an apt introduction as he said, “Last week, Master P got off on the wrong foot.” Let’s not be generous, Tom. I don’t think he got off his feet at all. Anyway, we then found P and Ashly in rehearsal where the rapper was unloading on his poor partner, chastising her for going off on him in front of millions of people. Well, dude, you looked like a jackass. Don’t act tough if you can’t take a little minor whining from the Del Grossomeister. Nevertheless, P explained to us that “She could have pulled me to the side and talked about it.” Wow, he’s very sensitive. I bet he watches Lifetime Intimate Portrait when no one’s around.
Nevertheless, Ashly and Master P buried their hatchet, and as a sign of passive-aggressive good will, the plucky dance instructor even brought her student a little gift: DANCING SHOES! The horror!! P quickly rejected the shoes, tossing them away as if they were covered in dung and scorpions. “You’re never gonna find Master P in regular ballroom dancing shoes. That’s just not me,” he said, adding, “Yeah, I mean, it’s not like I’m ballroom dancing or anything. Oh wait…”
Well, after all this fun pre-dance badinage, it was finally time to see P’s take on the quickstep, and amazingly, it wasn’t bad. Well, I shouldn’t say that. It was pretty awful. But in P-World (which does not go by the high standards of Stacy’s sausage-meter), this was a vast improvement. He seemed to have a mild spring in his step and actually flexed his knee-joints from time to time. Even the judges were a little kinder on him this week, unilaterally recognizing improvement. But then good ol’ Len couldn’t resist the zingers: “I suppose you put your hat on that way to get a bit more speed.” ZING! Make that OLD-CRUSTY-BRITISH-ZING!
Moments later, Len honed in on P’s black sneakers, asking, “Why do you wear those things when you’re doing your ballroom?”
“These are my lucky P. Miller shoes,” Master P replied.
“Well, put ‘em under your hat and get a pair of dance shoes!” Len snapped back. Return of the ZING! With extra bonus points for the hat zing callback! You know, I hear back in England, Len Goodman is the Zing Champion of Northern Essex.
Anyway, Carrie Ann provided some dubious praise, saying, “I saw glimpses of a ballroom dancer… somewhere.” Um, yay?
As for the final scores, well, they were a tad low: a six from Carrie Ann and fives from Luno. Still, Master P was unperturbed. After all, he just wanted to show that if you work at something, you can achieve it. Or, in his case, if you do something half-assed and with a lot of ego, you’ll fall to the bottom of the pack. Well, Samantha Harris swooped in backstage and questioned P once more about the shoes, to which he responded, “These are my lucky shoes.” Exactly how lucky are they? You’ve received the worst score for two weeks in a row. Well, Samantha awkwardly wrapped up the interview as Ashly bizarrely nudged P in the background, and then it was off to the last dance of the night, courtesy of Giselle Fernandez.
Dressed in a semi-barbed wire outfit that seemed to augment one breast and completely hide another, Giselle looked oddly reminiscent of the Prince of Persia in drag on this fine evening. She announced that she was going to unleash her “inner Rosarita,” which apparently meant revealing her midriff for all of America to take in. And yes, it’s now official: Giselle Fernandez has the best abs in the news. Moments later, she performed a standing split, moving me to declare her the most flexible woman in the news as well, but then I realized I was being hasty. Let’s not forget about the triple threat of Greta Van Sustren, Cokie Roberts, and Judy Woodruff. Grrrrowl!
Well, Giselle’s mission to unleash Rosarita led to a sexy rumba, ultimately causing Carrie Ann to say “I think you’re a contender for the title.” Strong words, Carrie Ann INABA!! All three judges awarded our spicy journalist 8s for a total of 24 points, good enough for third place. Samantha Harris then intercepted Giselle and her “toy boy” (as Bruno called him) Jonathan and asked them about the performance. Giselle immediately let her Rosarita cup runneth over as she launched into a brief yet intense Latina monologue. As for her competition, Giselle had a mighty strategy: “I think we have to do some leg choppin’.” So did Giselle Fernandez just threaten to sever Stacy Keibler’s legs? That hardly seems fair.
As the night drew to a close, Tom and Samantha gathered all the luminous stars out on the floor again to announce who had the highest and lowest scores. After each couple’s names were announced, the audience erupted in applause — well, except for with Tia Carrere. Maybe people were bored with her or maybe they simply resented her recent weight gain, but when Tom called out “Tia and Maksim,” there was nothing but pure, mortifying silence in the room. I mean, the backup singers in the band get more applause than Tia did at that moment. C’mon people. Give Tia some love.
The Results Show
Well, flash forward to the next night, and we have the ever exciting results show. The hour began with the disarming image of a business casual Tom Bergeron quietly roaming the empty ballroom floor. Whaa? Where is everyone? What’s happened? Will we see our results?? Fear not. This was a pre-taped segment, and Tom calmly told us that the live portion of the hour would be starting in a mere twenty minutes. Until then, we’d get to relive all those wonderful dance moments from the night before. Oh. Great.
And so we were stuck with the rumbas and quicksteps all over again and in their entirety. On the plus side, we had nuggets of new footage between dances as we took brief glimpses of the stars in the post-ballroom confessional. “They put the nervous girl first,” complained a peppy Lisa Rinna. “I mean, HELLO! I am the most nervous of anybody, and they put me first! What do you expect?!?!” I don’t know. Maybe your face to fall off?
Tia Carrere also appeared stressed out in the confessional, saying how one little error can plague you incessantly. “I think I need a martini,” she eventually concluded. You know, watching this show with a dirty martini is not a bad idea. But there’s something amazingly pathetic about that too. I’ll just move on.
We soon came upon an emotionally distraught Tatum O’Neal who explained the torture of having excelled so much the first week. “Everybody started calling me after the first show and going ‘Whoaaa Tatum! You’re like a professional dancer!’ which I’m not!” She then added, “Anyhoo, pass the vicodin please.”
Later, Jerry Rice issued an odd challenge, saying, “Master P, bring it on. Bring it on. I like competition.” Um, this is like Mike Tyson picking a fight with Bea Arthur. Exactly how does Master P constitute a challenge?
Speaking of Master P, he was in good spirits as he sat with Ashly in front of the cameras. “I’m the Scarface of ballroom dancing,” he said. Hmmm… I was going to suggest the Stephen Hawking of ballroom dancing, except less mobile.
Well, at long last, we finally went live, which meant we could see Samantha Harris’s new Elvira Mistress of the Dark hairstyle. It was splendid, but hardly made up for the lame misdirection she offered up by saying “We’ll have a live peformance by a man named McCartney.” Now, it’s not to say that I was anxiously waiting for a Sir Paul performance, but honestly, don’t sully the poor guy’s name by piggybacking onto it, JESSE MCCARTNEY. You see, Jesse McCartney is a pop singer who you may recognize from being AWFUL. Or at least, that’s how I anticipated he’d be. I hadn’t actually heard any of his music at that point. My only exposure to him had been via sidewalk posters and the occasional Disney Radio billboard. I had to admit that a morbid curiosity had crept over me. I knew Jesse had to be bad, but just how bad?
Tommy B and Elvira.
Before I could discover the extent of J. Mac’s putrid warbling skills, we then had to sit through another recap of all the dancing. Wow, it’s almost like this is what I just saw for the past TWENTY MINUTES. Thankfully, the dancing clips were kept short, but still — a recap of the recap? C’mon now. What’s next? A recap of all the Samantha Harris flubs? Actually, I’d like to see that.
Anyway, the new and improved recap was dotted with even more backstage moments as we then got to see Master P announce, “I ain’t taking my lucky shoes off for no one, not even the judges.” Well, what about… the podiatrist? Will you take them off then? You know, Master P, if you love your shoes so much, why don’t you just marry them? Gotcha!
As the recap continued, the focus then fell on Tates as Bergeron narrated, “But it was a devastating night for Tatum O’Neal whose fall from grace created the evening’s biggest shock.” Something tells me this sentence has been said about Tatum O’Neal before.
After the recap finally ended, Bergeron then explained more voting intricacies from the previous night’s Paddlegate 2006, a.k.a. the least consequential scandal ever, beating out the much ballyhooed “Tuna Sandwich Robbery of the Omaha Hardware Employee Lounge.” Anyway, the big payoff to this elaborate Bergeron moment was that Carrie Ann INABA held up a paddle that said “Sorry!” Yeah, well, you better be, BITCH! This is Dancing with the Stars, not some Johnny-Come-Lately hayseed dance competition.
Backstage, Samantha Harris rounded up the three lowest scorers (Lisa, Tatum, P) and began an oddly grave interrogation of them. “I have a lot of work to do,” Lisa told Sam, adding, “For instance, I want another face lift, maybe do my brows, and oh, put another gallon of collagen in my lips.”
The questions continued, and man, was it somber back there. I’ve never seen a Dancing segment with more silence and mournful expressions. The only thing keeping the moment interesting was watching Samantha erratically dart her mic around, never sure whether it should be jammed in Master P or Ashly’s face.
As we headed into a commercial break, the camera zoomed into three people on the dance floor, causing Bergeron to excitedly announce, “Oh look! Recording sensation Jesse McCartney!” Really? Is that him on the right in the red and black striped unitard? Probably not.
Actually, that person was one half of the Lindy Hop World Champion duo which took the stage after the break to wow the crowd with various flips and twists. Yes, big league lindy hopping. Friday nights have never been so exciting.
We then saw a fairly worthless segment with the stars all assessing each other (“Who doesn’t love Jerry Rice?” exclaimed Lisa Rinna. And by “Jerry Rice,” she meant “collagen.”), and then finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Jesse McCartney! Cue the shrieking girls with tears streaming down their cheeks. This little moppet took the stage, and oh dear LORD! This qualifies as singing? I’ve heard a lot of pop stars in my day, and my mp3 collection is speckled with embarrassing selections from several of them. But this, THIS was one of the worst I had ever heard. I mean, Jesse McCartney makes Aaron Carter seem like a luminary. The guy sounded like a slowly deflating balloon. Or maybe Big Bird singing pop. Or maybe that Lilly Tomlin operator character. The point is, he was a musical disaster in the key of nasal minor. And oh yeah, also completely ridiculous as a choice for a ballroom show.
Luckily, we could distract ourselves by the smooth stylings of Tony Dovolani and his professional dance partner as they swiveled their hips to the beat. Man, Tony really is the bad boy of the ballroom dance world. I mean, everyone knows a real bad boy wears form-fitting pinstripes.
Now, at long last, it was finally, FINALLY time for the results, as read to us by Tom and Elvira, I mean, Samantha. As expected, Stacy was safe, as well Giselle and George and Lisa (who leapt up and down and screamed with joy. I think somebody just had a safegasm). We then cut to commercial, and when we returned, the field was narrowed down to just Master P and Tatum. Who would be going home? Common sense would dictate P, but could we really lose the season’s lone maverick, no matter how heavy-footed he was? Of course not. And so Tatum was sent packing, thus robbing us of future drug-induced hazes and jarring tongue-smiles.
Not everyone took the news well, though. “I’m shocked. I’m shocked,” announced Bergeron. Yes, people. Tommy B is SHOCKED! Let it be known! In fact, he even went so far as to passive-aggressive-ize the judges by noting that he didn’t Tatum did as badly as some people did (that was directed at you, Carrie Ann INAAAAAABA!!). Well, Tatum took the loss with her head held high, and after some awkward chatter in which Tatum and Tom talked at and over each other, the expelled star took to the stage for one last dance. But wait! This wasn’t the rumba. Tatum and Nick were merely slow dancing like two awkward adolescents in 7th grade. Boo! Even weirder was Nick’s passionate singing-along to “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Thankfully, the moment ended quickly as the cast quietly surrounded the two like an amoeba and gave forced hugs. You could practically hear the producers shouting at Jerry Rice, “HUG! HUG! HUG!”
So that’s it. What did you think of the results? Sad to see Tatum go? And who do you think will go next week?