On a night when all eyeballs were glued to Dancing with the Stars, you’d think our fleet-footed celebrities would shine like glossed-up ballroom shoes, but alas, last night’s episode was uneven at best. Sure, there were high points — I’m ashamed to say I loved the group disco — but for every crest there comes a trough, and this week’s trough was named Jerry (bonus points for Joey Lawrence’s awkward, ten-second-Tivo-rewind-worthy microphone trick). Ultimately, however, even though Mario shined with his mambo, the best dancer of the night turned out to be none other than Sara Evans, who managed to waltz around the big questions as she sat slumped on Tom Bergeron’s couch of inquisition. What did we learn from her scintillating, exclusive interview? Pretty much nothing, except she hates divorce… almost as much as she hates ALBANIANS!Because ABC has nothing else to air on Tuesday nights beyond Help Me Help You, Dancing with the Stars remains ninety-minutes long, despite its ever-dwindling cast of hoofers. What that means is that with each passing week, the show becomes more and more stuffed with filler, and this week was definitely no exception. In order to chew up a few minutes of airtime, the episode kicked off with a live demonstration of all the dance styles we’d be seeing later that night. This took a little while because the five remaining dancers would each be doing their own dances: mambo, samba, rhumba, jive, and the paso doble. Oh, and if Sara had been dancing this week, she would have been doing the tango (which would have been terrible, on account of her irrepressible goofy smile). However, just because Sara was out didn’t mean we still couldn’t see a tango demo (must… fill… up… time…). Samantha Harris also noted to us that even though Sara had stepped down, Tony would still be participating in this opening number, you know, to show his support. I didn’t really know how that worked, but I could imagine Sara gushing, “Well, I’ve discovered that my husband has hundreds of pornographic photos of himself, he likes anal sex, cruises on Craigslist, calls my costume designer a sodomite, and has traumatized my children, but on the plus side, Tony’s showing people the proper tango!”
Well, after this pleasant albeit unnecessary dance sequence came to a close, it was time for our first performers: Mario and Karina! (Insert horn stabs here and an image of Mario and Karina smiling at us in front of a kaleidoscopic background).
Mario & Karina
With all the talk last week about Mario and Karina engaging in illicit ballroom activities, I think the producers wanted to spice things up by hinting at a love triangle, and who better vamp up the femme fatale role than the minx of Wisteria Lane, Eva Longoria. Yes, Gabrielle herself dropped by to take Mario and Karina to a mambo club. It was all smiles and giggles and blonde highlights at first, but all was not as happy as it seemed. I couldn’t help noticing the angry look of dejection on Karina’s face as Eva and Mario sizzled up the dance floor. Let the cat fight begin!
“Oh, Mario, you are just darling!”
“Go fuck yourself, bitch.”
“This is so much fun!!! Hahahahha! KISS ME!”
“Yup. Dances like a true whore.”
Well, the two girls never got into a brawl or anything, but I’m sure Karina certainly noticed the added pep in Mario’s step. The two performed a great mambo, and despite Mario claiming that just because he was Latin didn’t mean he could automatically rock a Latin dance, he still was pretty damn amazing. The judges praised him accordingly, with only a few minor quibbles from Len and Carrie Ann. Bruno, however, was without complaint. He absolutely loved the entire thing and noted that the batteries were certainly fully loaded in Mario’s package. Sexual fantasies ensued during the commercial break.
Anyway, no shock here: Mario and Karina earned very high scores (and again, I’m working from memory): two nines and a ten from Bruno, who surely was aching to get his hands on those AAs. Total: 28!
Monique & Louis
At the end of last week’s rhumba, Carrie Ann commented that Monique should emote more, internalize less. So to help her display her emotions, Monique wanted to have a little solo, just to do her thang. WELL. If she didn’t want the assistance of Louis Van Amstel, she wasn’t going to get the assistance of Louis Van Amstel. The persnickety professonal got all passive-aggressive and said that Monique could have her damn solo, but he wasn’t going to choreograph it. She would have to do… freestyle. Louis tried to mask his rage with a smile and talk of self-empowerment, but we all knew he was just pissed to be dissed (and yes, you’re very welcome for that rhyme). Anyway, in an effort to pry emotion out of Monique (and perhaps attract a younger, more urban audience to the show), Louis (read: the producers) called in Tommy the Clown, one of the pioneers of krumping, a booty-shakin’ dance form documented in the film Rize and, of course, America’s Next Top Model.
Anyway, Monique appeared to be a natural krumper in the pre-dance segment, and I was somewhat curious to see how this urban dance form would fit into the world of ballroom samba. Needless to say, it didn’t. That’s not to say that Monique was bad. No, quite the opposite. I actually really loved Monique’s dance, but the general rule of thumb for me is that if I like Monique’s performance, the judges, for whatever reason, usually hate it. Nevertheless, Monique started off her samba with her much-hyped solo which lasted all of about five seconds (literally). She krumped it out, looking slightly like she were in the process of being electrocuted. Monique then joined up with Louis, and the two of them engaged in an energetic, frentic, and fairly crazy samba. Like I said before, I thought it was pretty awesome, and afterwards, Carrie Ann said she loved the energy and movement, even if the solo was a bit self-indulgent (Louis was probably smirking to himself at that point, “That’ll teach her to stray from me.”). The other judges, however, were not so kind. Len hated the krumping and accused them of eschewing the samba entirely. I believe he said something akin to “All cheese, no burger.” Hmmm… not as good as last season’s “All sizzle, no sausage.” After all, what if I want just cheese? Nevertheless, Bruno echoed these thoughts, and as both judges attacked, Louis’s smile faded from happiness to a sort of vaguely sheathed anger. Finally, he could take the slander no more. He threatened that they would know what exactly was samba-ish in the samba DURING THE BACKSTAGE CONFESSIONAL!!!! Chills me to the bone!
“What did he say to me? He knows I am THE Louis Van Amstel, correct?”
“I shall thrash him with the force of a million paso dobles!”
“He really barked up the wrong tree. When Lisa Rinna finds out what he said…”
“There’s only one thing left to do…”
“The ol’ Louis V.A. tongue face. They’ll never sully this name again!”
Final score: 9, 7, 7 for a total of 23. Rough!
Joey & Edyta
Last week, the judges accused Joey of being a bit too predictable and safe. His new mission: break out of the doldrums and wow the world! He and Edyta were to dance the sexy rhumba, which meant that if they wanted to blow the judges and audience away, they’d have to really sell the sex appeal. One problem: the two were like middle schoolers at their first dance. Anytime they came within six inches of each other, they broke out in giggles. Making matters more nervousing was that Joey was married and Edyta was engaged. How would they overcome this dance??
Well, Joey brought his wife to rehearsal so she could approve any and all scandalous moves. Amusingly enough, she loved them all and wanted more. I’m sensing a swinger’s party in the near future… (In the words of Joey himself, Whoa!).
Anyway, the two took the stage looking sexy and romantic in flowing white and beige outfits, but we knew immediately we were in for something a bit, uh, bizarre. While Edyta perched up near the band, Joey stood front and center, his arms crossed (not unlike Mr. Clean), and in one hand he held a microphone. I never like props on the dance floor, and this one looked particularly ominous. Sure enough, as the opening bars of George Michael’s “Father Figure” played, Joey raised the mic to his mouth and began to sing. That’s right, sing. Could this be happening?
Not really. Edyta quickly slunk up to him, and Joey threw the mic away, revealing that he had merely been lipsynching the entire time. Unfortunately for him, the real guy singing happened to be somewhat warbly and off-key at first, making Joey look like the atonal crooner we always remembered him to be.
Well, this little microphone gimmick was so distracting that I spent the first half of the dance trying to figure out why the hell he would do it in the first place. By the time I refocused on the performance, I noticed that Edyta was making several mistakes. First, her foot became entangled in her dress momentarily, then she seemed to miss a few steps during another move, and at one point, it looked as though she actually fell into Joey by accident. Of course, I could be wrong about all of these, considering I am far from being anything close to a ballroom aficionado.
Anyway, Carrie Ann Inaba lambasted Joey for the idiotic microphone trick (THANK YOU), but then she and the other judges gave him warm praise for the rest of the rhumba, saying that if anything, it could have been even sexier.
Final score: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24.
Emmitt & Cheryl
Emmitt’s little video package started off with some random footage of him designing a strip mall of sorts. Apparently he’s a businessman now; although, we didn’t learn specifically what he does. Not that it mattered. There were more important things at hand such as learning the jive. And to help him out with this task were none other than two Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (one of whom had a very pronounced jaw). Anyway, the girls helped Emmitt learn that the fancy footwork of the jive was not unlike the intricate moves of the cheerleaders, and after we saw the ladies shake their pom-poms and do a few splits, we then headed out to the ballroom where the crowd favorite did his thang once again.
Like almost every Emmitt performance, the dance started with him and Cheryl strutting down the ballroom floor until they reached the middle where they split off, each walking around in a circle, clapping their hands above their heads. The two had plenty of energy and excitement as usual; although, they weren’t quite as electrifying as they were last week, despite Emmitt’s multiple knee-slides. This was evidenced by Carrie Ann INABA who not only stayed in her chair, but refrained from calling Emmitt “a beast”, “a manimal”, “a sex stallion” or any other flirtatious animal. The judges all appreciated his energy, but most of them faulted him for messing up his footwork more often than not. As a result, he pulled in a respectable score of 25 (two eights and a nine).
Jerry & Kym
Last week, Jerry charmed everyone with his spirited, surprisingly adept samba. This time around, he had to take on the paso doble, and in order to get into the spirit of the bullfight, the amazingly patient Kym brought a real life matador in to meet him (didn’t we see this last season?). Well, Jerry hammed it up as he pretended to whip a cape around his head, and sensing that this wasn’t working, the three of them then trekked out to rural California to attend an actual (bloodless) bullfight. The show actually put Jerry in the arena with a cape, and I have to admit, I was a bit perplexed about how the producers were able to get ABC to sign off on this. I mean, wasn’t there a strong chance Jerry would die? Turns out that my concerns were unnecessary. The bullfighting soon introduced Jerry to his foe: a baby bull. I felt like an idiot for being so surprised. I felt like an even bigger idiot for smiling warmly and internally saying, “Awwww.” As you can imagine, Jerry acted like a total goofball, pretending to run away from the animal in fear. Oh that Jerry. The schtick never gets old!
Well, when it came time for the dance, Jerry proved that too much of a good thing was an AWFUL thing. He took what worked last week and milked it dry. Again, he began with an instrument (a guitar this time), and again, he quickly threw it away (or smashed it against the stairs, if you will. Hey, it was still better than Joey’s microphone gimmick). The rest of the dance was pretty much a total disaster. Jerry seemed like he was winking at the audience the entire time, butchering the various dance moves so badly it became almost patronizing. What was disappointing was that he didn’t seem to be trying to dance. He was merely entertaining. Unsurprisingly, the judges were left laughing but wordless. No one really wanted to lay into him, but at the same time, they knew they had to. Carrie Ann was the most generous of the night, giving Jerry a seven. Len dropped it down a notch with a six, and Bruno kept it real with a five. The total — 18 — was about five or six more points than I thought Jerry would get. Still, he probably won’t be going home thanks to his fan base. I’m sensing tonight is Monique’s time to say au revoir.
Group Disco, Baby!
As I mentioned before, to fill up time on this ninety minute extravaganza, the producers had all the dancers assemble for an exciting and entrancing group disco dance. First we were treated to what seemed like a ten minute behind-the-scenes video about the whole event. We learned that since it wasn’t going to be judged officially, the teams were allowed to do lifts, if they so desired. And yes, most of them desired. We also learned that Joey and Mario seemed to have a Michael Jackson fetish, and they would be battling it out to see who could pull off the best MJ dance solo (my money’s already on Mario).
Well, this was fun and everything, but we really wanted to see the dance. I had to admit, it was a lot of fun, especially the way it started with none other than Carrie Ann Inaba shakin’ her head back and forth in the background. The dancers looked like they were having a blast, except for Joey and Edyta, who I thought might just fall over after they appeared to botch their awkward lift. Mario swung Karina around like a Terrible Towel, and Emmitt and Cheryl honed a little Dirty Dancing with their big lift. Jerry didn’t even try a lift, instead doing a hammy, retro “sprinkler” move followed by a kinky donkey crawl. My favorite lift, however, was Monique and Louis’s, but wouldn’t you know it? When the judges later commented on the dance, they completely overlooked them, crediting Joey and Mario and Emmitt for their lifts instead. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that the group dance has come a long way since season one’s staid Viennese Waltz.
Perhaps the best part of all of this, however, was marble mouth Samantha Harris who then encouraged the viewers at home to vote, but not before awkwardly improvising something to the judges and actors. I just assumed the teleprompter went dark for those two seconds, especially once I saw the fleeting look of horror and dread in Tom Bergeron’s eyes, a look that seemed to say, “Somebody get the words up there now before Samantha completely screws up this entire telecast.” Luckily, crisis was averted when Tom took back control of the banter and smoothly transitioned us onwards. Phew…
Sara Evans & Tom Bergeron
“Oh Tony, your strange Albanian ways beguile me so!”
Finally, the much hyped Sara Evans interview. I guess I don’t have to really go into the specifics because we already covered it here, but needless to say, it was interesting enough, if not totally informative. I was highly amused by the way Tom Bergeron tiptoed around the specific allegations, perhaps realizing that talking about PORN on Dancing with the Stars wasn’t quite congruent with the show’s tone (for now at least, heh). To be honest, I don’t remember much about what Sara said. She mentioned that she was totally against divorce (hence, her divorce. Wait, what?) and that she dropped out because she really felt she had to be with her kids at that very moment, especially since one of them has apparently been traumatized into oblivion. Of course, this hasn’t stopped her from going on tour next year (and plugging it too — she’s asked Tony Dovolani to choreograph it for her). For most of the interview, however, Sara talked about how hard it was to go through this and how everyone on the internet was gossiping about her (that’s us!), but in the end, she loved her fans and blah blah blah. Tom then brought out Tony, as if we cared about what he said about any of this, and here’s a shock: Tony said he was disappointed but totally supported her one hundred percent. Wow, didn’t see that coming. Actually, what I did not expect was Sara’s total derision over Tony’s ethnicity. Apparently, she’d been harassing him about his Albanian roots — and if there’s a back story there, I’d sure like to hear it. For now, I think it’s safe to say that Sara simply detests the Albanian people.
And that was basically it. What did you think about the episode? Who should go home? Who will go home? Did I miss anything?