Look around. The cast of Dancing With The Stars is suffering from a severe case of over-exposure…and I’m not just talking about Edyta’s costumes.
Poor thing. You must be freezing!
Every time I turn on my T.V. I see a promo for Cheryl or Kym or Tony appearing on ET or The Insider, usually saying things that would be better left never uttered. Example? Maksim was on my screen the other day telling the world his favorite dance is the “horizontal mambo.” I’m sure we all had our suspicions, but did we really need them confirmed? All it did for me was ingrain the image in my brain of extremely tangled sheets, sprinkled with errant sequins. Apparently T.V. Guide is doing a lengthy feature on the dancers, including important information on their various wardrobe malfunctions and their secret signals to tell the celebrities to improve their posture or remember to smile. Yeah. That’ll boost circulation. Not to mention tip off the judges on what facial expression to watch for to discern when a star is screwing up.
At least when I hit the “on” button Monday, I actually intended to see the dancers. And there they were, in all their spangled glory: ten couples readying to, as place-filler Drew Lachey put it, “get their dance on” and vie for my telephone vote.
On the floor first, Sabrina Bryan and her partner Mark. The producers continue to pretend the Cheetah Girl isn’t really a dancer, with the video this week showing the pair working hard to learn the jive. Yes, we’re supposed to swallow the notion someone who hip hops for a living isn’t familiar with fast footwork. As expected, though, the two came out and tore up the floor. Sabrina made the odd choice of wearing black gloves, which created an inverse Mickey Mouse effect and made it appear like a magic trick had gone horribly wrong by occasionally making her hands disappear all together. The “Look, Ma! No hands” thing seemed to work for the judges, who termed it “great,” their “best dance so far,” and “a seismic event.” No waiting-for-something-better-to-come-along 21 for these guys. They receive 27 points. Or, as Drew put it, “Twah-ee-seh-en ouwwa thuree.” It’s called enunciation, man. Give it a try.
How bad will Cameron Mathison be this week? Well, I’ll give you a hint: Edyta’s costume is part see through and part missing. The video shows Edyta telling Cameron a tango is the perfect dance during which to demonstrate his acting ability. Having seen his work on All My Children, I fear applying his talents to a steamy tango could make the dance look more like a tea-party fox trot. As I ponder this, as if on cue, we’re taken to the soap opera sound stage so we can watch them weave their way through the sets. Yes, ABC, we get it. It’s your party and you’ll pimp if you want to.
Then, there it was. Poor little tango. Never stood a chance. Flat foot work, no sultry body movements, not even any “ooo, Baby” in the face. If that was his version of acting, it plainly explains Cameron’s lack of an Emmy. He’s been nominated, but – like this dance – he never brought it home. Carrie Ann agrees with me, reminding the pair this dance should smolder…but Cameron and Edyta were “G” rated. Len gets more descriptive than we’ve heard all season, wishing out loud for the speed variations and character that never were, but mentioning once again Mathison’s good posture. Bruno is less critical, however, and praises the dance. Before the score, Tom Bergeron introduces us all to Brad, the latest victim of The Bachelor, along with Brad’s identical twin. Hey! Let’s start a pool on what show ABC will plug next. Um…twenty bucks on Ugly Betty. (In Drew speak, that’s twah-ee buhs on uhglee beh-ee.) Bafflingly, they get 23 points.
Now it’s time for Mark Cuban and Kym. I know this man’s a billionaire, but there’s just something about him that screams smarmy…like the guy in a bar who strolls up and delivers one of those gems about “having a beautiful body” and actually assumes the girl will go home with him. His expectation of success is impressive, but his presence makes my skin crawl. He and Kym have chosen to do the jive, thereby rescuing me from the anticipated nightmares of Mark attempting to deliver a hot tango…just imagine what his silly-putty face would do. Yikes.
Hold on. I need some more wine…
Okay, on the video, Kym explains her concerns about Mark’s artificial hip. This serves two purposes: 1.) it creates a built-in excuse in case their jive sucks canal water and 2.) it locks up the sympathy vote. Awwww. The billionaire has a boo-boo. If it’s that risky and painful for Mark, then perhaps he shouldn’t be participating…but I’m betting his very expensive specialists have all signed off on this project. He and Kym hit the wood with a song that, shockingly, has nothing to do with money, and…it’s bad. They aren’t even close to being in synch, and Mark’s feet are flatter than Jessica Simpson when she has to sing without mechanical assistance.
The judges begin their debriefing with Bruno talking about how they started out controlled, but then lost it. I’d estimate around three bars in. Cuban is also encouraged to be “lighter on his feet.” Perhaps his artificial hip is made of lead. Carrie Ann hits it out of the park when she tells him there needs to be less face dancing. I agree. It’s very distracting for the feet to be doing the jive while the face is doing some sort of West Coast Swing all its own. Len compliments the choreography, not the execution. Ouch. 20 points total.
Watd’ya mean, face dancing?
Tom Bergeron previews the talent for the results show: Seal (the singer, not the cute sea mammal) and Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus…who star in The Disney Channel’s (and ABC’s) Hannah Montana. Damn! I lost the pool.
Jennie Garth and her partner, Derek, are next. Derek looks like he’s about 14 years-old…so young, in fact, that Jennie and her husband are considering adopting him. The two are looking to redeem themselves after last week’s demonstration of how to polish the floor with one’s ass. In subsequent interviews, Derek has tried to be gentlemanly and take the blame, but we all know it takes two to tango…oh, wait. That’s this week. Their video shows Derek wearing a Rocky hat, most likely stolen from Albert’s dressing room when the model was sent packing last week, as the couple tries to put together a performance that will vault them to the top…which shouldn’t be difficult, since the judges are part Dr. Phil, and will be trying to repair Jennie’s damaged self-esteem.
You need to take care of you, girl!
Ms. Garth, a marginally better actor than Cameron Mathison, got the smoldering memo, and sells it better with isolation head snaps and abrupt leg kicks…all in a dress sparse enough so it’s unlikely Derek will catch the hem under foot. Len describes the outcome as “sharp and tangy, like a pickle.” Would that be dill or gherkin? Carrie Ann praises them for being elegant, and Bruno describes them as furies. The elegant, tangy, vengeful Greeks pull a 26.
Old Spice and the lover of Horizontal Mambos are up next. Between cigarettes, Mel tells us they will be doing the jive, as Maks takes her to see a Las Vegas show he choreographed. Then it’s time for the real thing, as they take to the floor. Maks is garbed in less clothing than some of the women on the show, eschewing a shirt in favor of an open vest, and, because of that, I have no idea what Mel was wearing. It might have been black and white. It might not have been. I think most of the footwork was pretty good, but the band seemed sluggish and maybe a little groggy, like they’d been listening to Drew too long.
There was someone else dancing, but I couldn’t see a thing.
Bruno likes the effort, calling Melanie a bouncing bomb-shell. Len likes the bounce and the control, and Carrie Ann gives her assent, as well. Then strangely, as they go to commercial, Mel begins humping Tom Bergeron’s leg. I’m not sure why she did it, but I’m pretty sure that will cost her points, especially with Maks. Upon the show’s return, it’s revealed they receive 27 points for their endeavor, causing Maksim to lose his vest completely, and increasing their vote total by 25%.
Down, Old Spice!
Wayne Newton and Cheryl have been practicing a tango for this week. I’m immediately distracted by the strange marks drawn under Wayne’s nose…reminiscent of the Friends episode where Ross and Rachel go to Las Vegas. Maybe when they say “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” they mean Sharpie artwork…but I’m thinking not even heavy-duty soap is gonna wash that sad little mustache off. Wayne takes Cheryl to his ranch, Casa De Shenandoah, as part of the prep-work for the dance created by Argentine cowboys. What a beautiful backdrop for their rehearsals. And it will be a nice place for Wayne to lick his wounds when he’s sent home, either this week or next. He’s a sweet and charming man, but let’s be honest here: a dancer he’s not. And he really needs to stop thrusting his index digit out, as all I can hear is some grandfather saying, “pull my finger.”
Get a rope.
Their tango consists of Mr. Las Vegas standing while Cheryl dances around him. Not a lot to critique here. It was not so much smoking as just smoke and mirrors. Carrie Ann compliments his outfit. That’s American Idol speak for nothin’ good to say. Bruno describes the look as a cross between Errol Flynn and Captain Hook, with a touch of Steven Segal. He must mean the pony-tail I was desperately trying to ignore. Len, too, decides, to be gentle and concentrate on appearance and character, not the movements, or lack there of. It’s hard to mean to a legend…especially when the legend is such a nice guy. But the judges can’t hide their real opinion: 18 points, which considering the attempt is still generous.
Floyd Mayweather and his partner Karina are next. First they re-run the clip of Floyd as Gingy. I know that’s what I called him last week and I shouldn’t repeat myself, but it makes me laugh…and that’s what’s important. The two have been working on the jive…all fancy footwork and sharp, defined movements, which should come easily for the world’s top boxer. During the performance, though, Floyd looks hemmed in, and I think the problem may be his sport develops different muscles in the legs than dance. He’s so muscular he can’t extend his leg fully, like what’s needed for ballroom. It’s that same strength that allows him to annihilate people in the ring, though, so I don’t expect him to offer a trade.
If only I could pliÃ©, I’d never hit anyone again!
Ultimately, he looks uncomfortable, and the judges reflect that in their comments. Len suggests Floyd get some different shoes, ones more suited to dancing, but praises the athlete for putting in the effort. Carrie Ann gives him props for energy and attitude but mentions the lack of structure, and Bruno, for the third week in a row, ardently wishes Floyd would tap into his potential. Before the score, Tom Bergeron reminds us of the results show guests, then adds a kicker for Cavemen and Carpoolers, which are surprisingly still on the air. Final tally: 21. There it is! I knew we couldn’t escape at least one score of the mediocre.
Jane Seymore has returned from England where she was for her mother’s funeral, and is joined by Tony. The video, of course, reviews what Jane went through following her mother’s stroke earlier this year, and the 92 year-old woman’s death last week. Jane’s recollections are heartfelt, and it’s easy to relate to her pain. We’re told she’s channeling her emotions into this week’s tango, and she and Tony are dedicating the dance to Jane’s mom. Well….I can’t mock that, but I can certainly take a swipe at that fact that it looked like the woman had stolen Jane Hathaway’s hair. Or possiblyt Lza Minelli’s. Bad wig. Very bad wig.
I know you’re depressed, but do something about your hair. You’re on TV.
Great tango, however, with all the sex-appeal the others were lacking. Is it wrong to say “nice use of grief?” Bruno first expresses the judge’s collective condolences, then becomes effusive in his praise of her dance, calling her a passionate, dramatic siren. As opposed to those lackadaisical, nonchalant sirens. Len describes the two as haughty and proud. Carrie Ann is moved to tears, in a good way, by the expression of emotion as a beautiful dance. 27 total. Part of me wishes they had given her at least one perfect 10, if only for her mom.
Helio Castroneves and Julianne have been readying a jive. I had hoped for a tango to better contrast with what they did last week, but apparently what I want doesn’t matter to them. Sniff. Regardless of my misgivings, they deliver a fun, fresh, and festive little dance that appears effortless, and secure their place as my favorite pair. It’s nice to watch a couple and actually want their routine to be longer instead of yearning for the end. As they approach the judges, Helio is limping, having torn his pants and bloodied his knee at the finish. That alone should be worth another few points. Carrie Ann tells him he has instances of brilliance, but also moments when he’s too closed off. Bruno once again describes Helio as a charmer, but says the racer wasn’t as crisp as in the past. I’m sensing they want to take him down a peg and humble him a bit. Len confirms this by citing some small mistakes. Only 24 points. What happened to “if it bleeds, it leads?”
Blame the shirt.
Marie Osmond and Jonathon are the anchor couple. The two are shown practicing the tango, and I remember all the melodramatic skits from her variety show. I have high hopes. Donny arrives to heckle, as only a sibling can, and they mug for the camera bit. I wonder if ABC is considering bringing the Osmonds back to Friday nights. Marie looks fantastic as she and Jonathon play the comic elements before launching into a pretty convincing tango, with a killer leg extension at the end. Len praises her poise and marvelous musical interpretation. Carrie Ann picks up on the levity of the initial part of the dance, likening Marie to Lucille Ball, but stresses she means it as a compliment. Good thing, or she’d have some splainin’ to do. Bruno says every facet and every step of the dance had a face, and calls Marie the Meryl Streep of dance. Two nines and an eight for a total of 26 points.
The dingo twirled my baby!
Drew accidentally reads Tom’s cue card about calling in your votes, then Tom repeats everything Drew just said, and the show is done for the night. As we wait for the results show, try imagining Lucille Ball crossed with Meryl Streep. Then be afraid.
For those of you who requested more beef…