Because of unforeseen events (me playing with iDVD for two hours), I totally got off to a late start with Dancing with the Stars this week, which means I’m starting this recap now at the late hour of 10:15 AM. For shame! How could I dillydally when this second episode of ballroom pizzazz provided so much undeniable drama? A star was disgraced! A dancer was injured! And most important of all, two perfect tens were doled out! Who mamboed to the top? And who took a quickstep of shame? Answers after the jump!As this week’s show began, we knew we’d be in for some excitement when Samantha Harris could barely utter her opening lines. “After our biggest premiere ever, we’re daa– back with our faaa- favorite— America’s favorite dance show!” she stammered, happily stumbling out the gate. The Samantha Flub: such a joyous occasion.
A quick pan across the audience revealed one of comedy’s greatest luminaries: George Lopez, who seems to be aging about ten years with each passing month. Then the horns blared (as they often do on this show), and our stars marched down the staircase of ballroom glory. As they do every week, everyone assembled in a long line of sequins and smiles, shaking their hips ever so slightly until the music faded out. Unfortunately, the music seemed interminable this week, and so we had to watch these people awkwardly stand there for about twenty seconds, waiting waiting waiting to get on with the show. For a moment, I thought last night’s telecast might simply be a stationary camera watching the stars standing around, doing nothing.
Luckily, the band stopped, and Samantha “Marble Mouth” Harris informed us ever so awkwardly that on tonight’s show, the women would be performing the mambo, but as for the guys, she noted, “The men will have to play it a little straighter.” Not always a phrase you hear in the world of ballroom. No offense, Louis Van Amstel. Anyway, point was, the men would be doing the quickstep. We then were treated to a little debriefing where we learned about the important elements of each dance. I particularly liked the stern warning to look out for chassés during the quickstep. BEHOLD THE CHASSÉ! BOW DOWN TO ITS SPLENDOR!!
But enough chassé babbling. Let’s get to the dancing!
Willa and Maksim
Kicking off the night were Willa and Maksim, who decided to improve their dance skills by… going to Ultimate Fighting? Apparently Willa is best buds with Chuck Liddell, and by simply watching him destroy someone in the ring, she came to realize, “I’m tough! I’m dirty! I’m raw!” Other things Willa happens to be: NOT A CELEBRITY. Go away!
Later, during rehearsals, Willa struggled under the intense pressure from Maksim, which meant we got to see a nifty montage of her storming out of the studio over and over again, occasionally ripping a plant to shreds in the process. NO HOUSEPLANT SHALL QUESTION HER DANCE SKILLS!
Finally, it was time for Willa’s mambo. I honestly assumed the band would start strong with a little Lou Bega “Mambo No. 5,” but I was wrong. Way wrong. Maybe in an effort to skew younger, the house band performed an insipid, awful, and decidedly un-reggae-ish version of Sean Paul’s “Get Busy.” I thought this was the worst the house band could ever sound, but little did I know what other treat ABC had in store for us later.
Anyway, Willa seemed a little stiff at first, but soon she let her inner Ultimate Fighter out and began shimmying and grinding all over the place. It was an impressive start, and the judges agreed. “You’re almost too hot to handle, aren’t you!” Bruno yelled in his typically ebullient way. Len agreed that it was fantastic, and Carrie Ann enjoyed it quite a bit too but felt that Willa’s excitement caused her to get ahead of the music sometimes. Hey, if you were being called a celebrity for no reason, you’d be excited too!
Scores (from Carrie, Len, and Bruno respectively): 7, 8, 8. Total: 23.
Harry and Ashly
Last week, the judges called Harry Hamlin stiff. That might have been an understatement. He made the Tin Man look like a contortionist. Yes, Harry needed to loosen up this time around, and to help him with that, Ashly (read: the producers) wrangled in an expert in Laughter Yoga. Basically, it’s yoga with a lot of laughter. This led to many scenes of Harry, Ashly, and the yogi laughing robotically, but soon, the comedy caught on! Harry was laughing for real! Or so he said.
The real question was whether or not he could bring that laughing looseness to the dance floor. At first impression, the answer was no. Harry appeared on stage standing tall and stiff like a mighty oak tree, but apparently that was part of the act, and soon he and Ashly were trotting all over the floor to the tune of “Lust For Life.” And by the way, I’m sure Iggy Pop never felt prouder.
Well, I didn’t find the performance to be particularly stirring, but the judges liked it. Then again, Lisa Rinna probably threatened to scream in their ears for three hours straight if they didn’t give Harry high marks. Bruno told him that he was coming out of his shell; Len said that he kept the hold well; and Carrie Ann INABA praised him for maintaining proper posture. As you can imagine, these compliments caused Lisa to have what looked like a seizure in the audience. Somebody better bring her a valium next time. And while they’re at it, bring a hand towel for Ashly. The poor girl was sweating bullets backstage.
Scores: 7, 7, 7. Total: 21.
Monique and Louis Van Amstel Lite
Len Goodman accused Monique and Louis of being as romantic as an autopsy, and for whatever reason, that was considered a bad thing (I always take my first dates to the coroner’s office). Anyway, the two were determined to improve their chemistry, and what better way to stir up romance between a woman and a gay man (allegedly) than by taking a lovely gondola ride in the ocean? Well, that’s exactly what these two did (following in the footsteps of Flavor Flav and Buckwild), and it seemed to work. The two pulled off a mambo caliente as Monique shook her booty like Beyoncé on speed. Oh, and to add a little excitement to the dance, Louis promised a special trick move at the end, which pretty much involved him swinging Monique around his hips like a rag doll. Just like last week, Monique ended the dance with her head upside-down, but unlike last week, the judges were ecstatic about her performance.
High School Musical: The Director’s Cut
Carrie Ann praised them for having bundles of chemistry and charisma, Len loved it, and Bruno quoted a little JT by saying, “You’re bringing sexy back BIG TIME!”
Scores: 9, 8, 9. Total: 26.
Mario and Karina (or “Kabrina,” as Samantha Harris calls her)
After last week’s show, Mario and Karina proved themselves to be the team to beat. He seemed to have better dancing chops than anyone else, but the question remained: could he be as adept at regular ballroom as he was with Latin? Furthermore, did I seriously just ask that question as if I cared? Man, what have you done to me, ABC?
Well, this time around, Mario and Karina warned that they might be doing something illegal on the dance floor. Yes, you heard it here first: they’d be snorting crack cocaine on primetime. And then taking hostages. Run, sweet George Lopez, run!
Then, for no real reason at all, Mario and Karina went to a boxing gym. It made no sense and only resulted in some hammy comedy featuring Karina “pummeling” Mario. Blech. Moving on…
The two started their quickstep, and just like last week, Mario was crazy. He was doing splits, jumping around, swiveling his hips left and right. He definitely had the crowd going. But when it came time for judging, the high marks we expected weren’t there. “This was the quickstep gone berserk,” Bruno said, adding, “It was like an impressionistic version of quickstep.” And with that, everyone began booing. The audience HATES impressionism!
Alas, Bruno wasn’t alone in his critique. Carrie Ann literally scolded Mario and Karina, saying, “YOu guys are fabulous. What are you doing? Do the quickstep! Why? Why why why why why???” And just in case there wasn’t enough browbeating, Len angrily ordered, “DO PROPER DANCING!” Ouch! Looks like Mario flew too close to the sun and got burned!
By the way, during all this, the camera kept cutting back to George Lopez for reaction shots. You know, because he’s Latino (I guarantee it wasn’t to highlight the great working bond they shared in Outta Time). I can just imagine what the director was saying right then: “Quick! Get me a shot of a Latino! How about that guy? What? His last name’s Lopez too? They’re clearly related. EXCELLENT!”
Afterwards, Samantha Harris cornered Mario and playfully pieced together his childhood: “I bet you’re one of those high school troublemakers!” Oh those rapscallions! Amazingly, Mario looked absolutely shocked by the accusation. It was as if Samantha had just accused him of killing Steve Irwin.
Later on, as Mario answered some banal question about the routine, he seemed to get humbler and humbler by the second, to the point where we could barely hear his voice. It’s okay Mario. No one’s gonna vote you out. Be strong.
And how did all that scolding affect the scores? Not much.
Scores: 7, 6, 8. Total: 21.
Shanna & Jesse
The big deal with Shanna this week was that she feared she couldn’t keep up with Jesse, who just happens to be ranked second in the world for mambo. She was intimidated by her boy and didn’t want to let him down, something she seemed destined to do considering her inability to swivel her hips faster than a lazy office chair. Luckily, Jesse was able to motivate Shanna with a pep talk, saying, “This is a locomotive, girl! You better not be on the tracks unless you’re on the TRAIN!” Yeah!!!! Wait, what?
Well, as Shanna took to the dance floor, she looked incredibly nervous. I actually empathized with her. She was partnered with an official mambo king, she wasn’t particularly limber, and oh yeah, she had to pull this all off while dancing to KRISS KROSS. I told you it got worse than that Sean Paul song. In a move that surely baffled all of America, the house band attempted their version of the early ’90s novelty act, and needless to say, it was TERRIBLE. Maybe next week they’ll Rhumba to “Aisha.”
Anyway, compared to Monique and Willa, Shanna seemed slightly dull. She wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t amazing either. I kind of zoned out, which was good because I totally remembered something from my personal life that’s totally relevant to this show. About two years ago, I went to lunch at a restaurant in Beverly Hills (my boss’s treat), and guess who was sitting next to me? Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler. But wait, there’s more! At the other end of the restaurant, guess who was having a birthday party? VIVICA A. FOX! I was living in Dancing with the Stars and I didn’t even realize it!!!
Well, Len liked Shanna’s mambo, and Bruno said, “The ice is starting to melt!” Of course, I was paying more attention to the girl with white hair sitting directly behind the judges, especially since she seemed to be rolling her eyes constantly (and/or looking at something high above the stage. The Phantom of the Ballroom!).
Scores: 8, 7, 7. Total: 22.
Jerry & Kym
Okay, this was pretty exciting — or at least, as exciting as Dancing with the Stars can be. During a rehearsal for a group jive, Kym managed to hyper-extend her knee (gross!), which meant she could barely walk, let alone dance. Kind of a problem on a dancing show. The doctor told her that with some rest and anti-inflammatories, she should be fine, but of course, this meant less time to teach Jerry the quickstep. And as you can imagine, Jerry needed all the time he could get. He did attempt to learn solo, but basically, by the time they hit the dance floor, the two literally had no quickstep routine. That’s what Kym claimed, at least.
Truth was that as soon as they hit the dance floor, they looked absolutely fine. Let me rephrase that: KYM looked absolutely fine. Jerry was still… well… Jerry. Still, they pulled off a decent showing. Bruno liked it, Carrie Ann was impressed with the teamwork, and Len said, “I’ve always looked up to you as a father figure.” I don’t even want to touch that one. Len ultimately told Jerry to work on his technique, and as the duo headed backstage, Tom Bergeron took the opportunity to make the always welcomed Methuselah joke. Impressive. Now, if he could only work in a Ruth reference…
Scores: 7, 6, 6. Total: 19
Vivica & Nick
“I shall CONSUME you!”
In case you couldn’t tell that Vivica A. Fox might be a handful, just listen to her talk. “Since Vivica was in Kill Bill, she thinks she’s the mistress of kicks!” she said, annoyingly adopting the third person to describe herself. You see, apparently Nick was trying to teach her a kick move, but since Vivica was already well-schooled in martial arts (thanks Quentin), girlfriend didn’t need to hear nothing from no cracker dance boy (even if he was the world ballroom champion). Luckily, Viv came around and realized that maybe she should listen to the ballroom expert.
As for the dance, Vivica was lucky to actually receive a real mambo song, not some reinterpretation of dance hall reggae or cheesy kiddy rap. She seemed to be pretty good, but her real coup de grace was executing a random cartwheel in the middle of the mambo. I half expected giant letters to appear on screen and say “VIVICA!” (Because honestly, that’s what I did when I saw it).
By the way, in terms of celebrity cameos, we could finally add someone else to the list. It looked like Tisha Campbell was hanging out in the Vivica A. Fox fan section (I don’t seem to remember her being at the birthday party, but I also had an obstructed view. The only one I could really see was Regina King. Props to 227!).
Well, Len wasn’t a huge fan of Vivica’s mambo. In one of the more forced analogies of the night, he said, “It was a bit like pizza… the top half was hot and spicy, but the leg action was a little bit doughy.” Not sure how leg action can be doughy, but I’ll go with it. WELL. You can’t just go around making pizza analogies when Ms. Vivica A. Fox is in the room. Nick came to the defense of his partner by snipping back, “Some of us like the crust!” I feel like there’s a Joan Rivers joke in here somewhere.
Anyway, Bruno sided with Nick on this one, saying, “The crust is TASTY!” Okay, this pizza thing has gone too far. Everyone be silent. Seriously. This is more painful than a third degree pizza burn (DAMMIT! I couldn’t help it).
Scores: 8, 8, 8. Total: 24. (And yes, this did cause Vivica to go nuts. Then again, not much doesn’t cause her to go nuts).
Joey & Edyta
As you may or may not know, we here at TVgasm have picked Joey to go all the way. Last week, he received only mediocre scores, thus putting our official endorsement at risk. This time around, Joey was out to prove everyone wrong and make us proud. During rehearsal, we saw him struggling with the quickstep (maybe it was all that gum he was chewing), but we knew this was misdirection, especially when we learned that he’d be incorporating the tap dance routine he still remembers from the Tonight Show. Honestly, how do you remember a tap dance routine for twenty-five years? Clearly he’s been practicing it every single night before going to sleep.
Well, Joey, dressed like a leprechaun meets Billy Zane, showed up ready to dance. He and Edyta completely rocked the quickstep, thanks to great choreography and those tap dance flourishes. The entire audience was brought to its feet, and even though Joey nearly slid right into the camera man at the end, it seemed like a flawless performance. And to make matters better, in the audience I could have sworn that I saw Ted Danson! And Charlie Finn — the stoner actor from Life on a Stick! What a grand time this was!
As you can imagine, this rousing ovation brought out Joey’s most aggressive thank you’s. He nodded politely (and enthusiastically) over and over again to the point where I thought his head might just come off its bearings and roll onto the floor. But how about the judges? Were they as enthused as the crowd? YES. Carrie Ann was so excited that she nearly caused an FCC violation. “Last week, you were boring. This week, you were FFF–” she started, before putting her hand over her mouth and saying, “Oops! I almost swore!” She then added, “I’m such a fucking idiot sometimes.”
Len chimed in with a “The performance of the night!” And then Bruno capped off the lovefest with a “that was worthy of the golden age of Hollywood!” To which Carrie Ann cheered, “FUCK YEAH!”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I was right. Ted Danson was in the crowd! Tom Bergeron happily pointed him out and mentioned that Ted would be starring in a new sitcom on ABC, premiering next week. I’ll be sure to watch it! (And by “watch”, I mean “ignore.”)
The real question was this: would Joey be able to earn the first ten of season? YES. And twice over!
Scores: 10! 9! 10! Total: 29!
Say it, Joey. SAY IT!
No one was more shocked at this than Joey, who let out more effusive thanks and gushed, “You guys are awesome! I love you guys! Love you guys!” Okay, man. Calm down. Seriously. You’re only allowed to register excitement by uttering the word “Whoa!”
Sara and Tony
Poor Tony Dovolani. After spending last season in the exotic arms of Stacy Keibler, he now has to deal with blandness incarnate: Sara Evans. Granted, this country crooner seems like an extremely sweet and friendly woman, but would it kill her to show some personality? Well, after last week’s thrashing, she decided to go back to Nashville with Tony and recharge. This meant we got to meet her female friends, all of whom thought Sara wuz robbed! They loved her, and in their eyes, she could do no wrong. In other news: these women were IDIOTS.
As for Sara’s mambo, well, she was better than last week, but man, she still seemed pretty stiff. On the plus side, she looked like she was having a blast. Clearly she had stepped into the role of Goofy Smiler now that Tucker Carlson was gone. Afterwards, Len said had improved greatly, but she still needed to give it more “wellie,” which was old British-speak for “BOOBIES AND SLUTTINESS!”
Carrie Ann, however, felt that the wellie was all there. She called her a “sexy little girl” (huh?), and Bruno, similarly also praised the performance. I don’t get it.
Scores: 7, 7, 7. Total: 21.
Emmitt and Cheryl
Last but never least were Emmitt and Cheryl, the fan favorites from last week. After seeing the running back writhe around the dance floor with total ease, we wondered if he could wow us again with the quickstep. We watched some footage of him combatting the posture problem (running backs always move with their shoulders down), but it didn’t seem like much of a setback as he took the stage. He and Cheryl knocked out a solid quickstep that earned positive, if not raving, reviews. Bruno told Emmitt to take ballet with Vivica to help the holds, and Carrie Ann asked, “Would you mind if I call you twinkle-toes?” She then added, “Because that would be FUCKIN’ AWESOME!”
Scores: 8, 8, 8: 24
And just in case you didn’t already love Emmitt, he managed to give a heartfelt shout-out to a charity fighting paralysis. Yup, see you in the finals, Emmit.
What did you think about week 2? And who do you think is going home tonight?