How to describe last night’s Dancing with the Stars? Well, let’s put it this way: there were four teams dancing and ninety minutes to fill. That’s right. It was filler-tastic. Granted, it wasn’t anything as frustrating as those interminable results shows, but man, last night certainly seemed long, despite the overall great dancing on display. By the time Emmitt Smith had returned to the stage for his second dance, it was hard for me to keep my eyes on the screen. Luckily, we had enough Halloween zaniness to pull us through, and once again we couldn’t help but wonder: would we finally see the perfect score? A scary possibility indeed!This week’s show embraced the Halloween theme to the hilt: the dancer were decked out in dark, “scary” makeup, pumpkins adorned the stage, and the entire dance floor was covered in smoke — almost as if it were a veritable graveyard to such hopeful hoofers as Vivica A. Fox, Jerry Springer, and Tucker Carlson. Additionally, an extreme closeup shot revealed that none other than Len Goodman had sprouted a set of fangs in his mouth (personally, I always saw him as more of an unwrapped mummy).
Later we found out that Len wasn’t the only one thirsting for blood: all the other judges and Joey Lawrence were rockin’ the fangs, and while her teeth looked normal, Samantha Harris tried to hone her inner Dracula too by attempting a labored, awful Transylvanian accent (and evil laugh). In true Sammy Har form, it was awful/amazing.
As for the dancing, it was the same old, same old. Each team would again be performing two different styles that were new to them: one ballroom, one latin. Was it me, or did previous seasons have more variety? (And shorter episodes, good GOD!) Anyway, enough carping. On to the show!
Joey & Edyta
This week, Joey’s big task was to learn the tango and the paso doble — two infamously passionate and intense dances. He also had to build on the momentum he had gathered from last week’s show, and what better way to do that than to draw some inspiration from the fam. That’s right, brothers Matthew and Andy (a.k.a. the Lawrences with hair) stopped by the rehearsal space to lend some support and learn a few steps from Edyta (read: stare at her breasts).
After this goofy video was done, we moved onto the tango, which was performed to the smoldering tune of… The Adams Family? That’s right, as the house band sang the famous “They’re creepy, and they’re kooky…” refrain, Joey and Edyta bounded across the floor in a cartoonish but highly entertaining tango. The entire experience was slightly surreal, but in the end, the judges all loved it, with Len calling it “fantastic.” Incidentally, Len also nearly called Joey “Jerry” and seemed to need a few seconds to remember the actor’s real name. Nevertheless, Joey earned a ten from Carrie Ann INABA and nines from Len and Bruno for a total of twenty-eight points. As you can imagine, the bobblefangs were going at full force.
Mario & Karina
Next up were Mario and Karina with the waltz. The video package preceding their first dance wasn’t entirely interesting. It was merely just an ode to stress as the two bickered endlessly about their upcoming performance. Surprisingly, the segment featured not one family member nor a trip to a spa. Blasphemy! These videos have jumped the shark!
Anyway, Mario revealed to us that in the waltz, he’d be playing a man mourning the loss of his love who gets the chance to say goodbye through the interpretative powers of dance. Basically, it was Ghost on parquet. “Kind of gives me goosebumps,” Mario told us in his “This is my humble voice” voice.
Faux-modesty or not, Mario and Karina were amazing once again. I resisted wanting to be touched by this dance because a) acknowledging waltz as a narrative is highly emasculating, and b) there’s something about Mario’s slick ways that makes me not want to fall for his schtick. But what can I say? I fell for the schtick and became emasculated. The waltz really was beautiful, and I thought for sure Carrie Ann would be all teary-eyed. Unfortunately, she wasn’t, but that didn’t mean she didn’t rave about the dance’s poignancy. In fact, all the judges were blown away by Mario’s softer side (of Sears). Afterwards, Samantha Harris asked him about being in character, and Mario oddly said, “It’s easy to mourn if you think Karina’s left her life.” I guess that was a compliment, but it kind of sounded like he was wishing she were dead. Nevertheless, Mario pulled in nines from Carrie Ann and Len and a ten from Bruno. Wait, let me rephrase that. A “TENNN!!!!!” from Bruno. Total: Twenty-eight.
Monique & Louis
Another week, another shameless promotion for High School Musical, the TV phenomenon produced by ABC’s sibling, The Disney Channel. This time around, since Monique had apparently exhausted her supply of co-stars, the director and choreographer of the movie stopped by to lend his support. Great. Who’s next? Annette from craft services?
Anyway, the whole thing with Monique this week was that she was striving to get her first ten, and in order to make her mark, Louis was going to push her to the limit with some tough choreography. Mo’ looked up for the challenge, but when it came time to dance the tango, it was patently obvious that she couldn’t always keep up with her persnickety partner (who was sporting some severe faux-sideburns). Even though there were elements of their dance that were really awesome, ultimately, the stumbles cost Monique precious points. The judges credited her for being ambitious and gutsy week in and week out, but in this case, she had simply overextended herself. Meanwhile, Louis looked like he wanted to kick all the judges’s asses (as well as anyone else’s in a ten foot radius).
Ultimately, the two earned eights across the board for a total of twenty-four. Louis tried to shrug it off by accentuating the positive, saying, “If you think you can’t do something, you can.” Well, APPARENTLY NOT!
Emmitt & Cheryl
As usual, Emmitt and Cheryl decided to make yet another field trip, this time up to San Francisco where the two visited Cheryl’s house — which just happens to have a GINORMOUS ballroom. Okay, there had to be some story behind that. Did she live in some sort of chateau in Nob Hill? Is she known for throwing the grandest masquerades in all of the Embarcadero? You don’t just have a ballroom. Even if she was on the show last season, and even if she had accumulated some prizes on the professional circuit, I couldn’t imagine the income could cover such a lavish expense. Clearly Cheryl is the heir to some sort of family fortune. Perhaps her father manufactures the finest sequins in all the land!
Emmitt was equally stunned, but not really in the same way. He commented that some people have bowling alleys or indoor basketball courts in their houses. Uh, how about some people have dinettes and breakfast nooks. Not all of us are Cribs-worthy (although, I do have a formidable new bookcase from Ikea, thank you very much).
Anyway, Emmitt and Cheryl performed a delightful foxtrot that was entertaining to watch but apparently not so traditional. Len complained that there weren’t enough ballroom elements, yelling at one point, “IT WAS A SHOW DANCE!!!” Bruno vehemently disagreed, and Carrie Ann meanwhile nitpicked about Emmitt’s arms. Ultimately, he received two eights and a nine for a total of twenty-five points.
Halfway Point, Woohoo!
Since we were now done with the first round of dancing, ABC suddenly realized that there might not be enough substance to fill the next fifty-five minutes. Not to fear! The producers shoved another “A day in the life of the stars!” segment down our throats, and while it was mildly interesting, it didn’t really shed much light on anything in particular. Let’s just move on…
Joey & Edyta: Once More, With Feeling!
For his next dance, Joey had the imposing task of doing the paso doble on Halloween, which immediately brought back fond memories of Drew and Cheryl’s “Thriller” version of the same dance. Of course, whenever I see a couple doing the paso, I always compare it to that perfect-score performance, but this time, it really was apt. In fact, I bet Joey and Edyta wished they had a piece of music as visceral as “Thriller” because they were left to make the most out of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil,” albeit a great, classic song — but a paso doble number? Not so much. Either way, they still did nicely, earning strong, if not exemplary marks. Ultimately, the two pulled in a nine, an eight, and another nine for a total of twenty-six, bringing Joey’s full score up to fifty-four out of sixty. Bobblehead COMMENCE!
Mario & Karina: Un Fois Plus!
Samba? And Mario Lopez? Need I explain how good it was? These two were in the zone yet again, but instead of talking about how awesome they were (and they certainly were), I’ve decided to use this time to voice something that’s been on my mind. You know, every time Mario refers to Karina, he rolls his “R’s” and really adds the Latino accent, which is fine, and I understand that that’s what he’s been raised with etc. But it kind of annoys me because Karina isn’t Latina. She’s Russian. Therefore, the true pronunciation of her name wouldn’t be with a Latin accent, right? Or am I merely confusing Mario’s attempt at a Russian accent for Latino? Please, discuss.
Anyway, Mario and Karrrrrina earned gigantic raves from Carrie Ann and Bruno, who clucked something about “Supersonic! Supercharged! Super Mario!” He then added, “Supercilious! Superimposed! Super duper! Superman! Superfluous! Superlative! Super Sale! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” Len, on the other hand, wasn’t as ecstatic. I mean, he loved the performance, but while the pieces were are “lovely” to him, the whole lacked a spontaneity. This elicited a chorus of boos as well as plenty of heated cross-talk with all the judges. Ultimately, however, Mario still walked away with an impressive score: two tens and a nine (LEN) for a total of twenty-nine out of thirty. That brought his final tally to fifty-seven out of sixty. Not bad. Not bad at all…
Monique & Louis: Coming ‘Round Again
Determined to prove to the judges and America that she could handle challenging choreography, Monique and Louis attacked their Cha Cha Cha like gangbusters. Or should I say, Ghostbusters (RIMSHOT!). Yes, the two danced like nuts to the Ray Parker Jr. classic, and not only were the light, playful, and having fun, but the choreography felt interesting and unique. Would it pay off? You bet!
Who you gonna call? Ballroombusters!
Len called it fantastic, and all the judges absolutely extolled the performance. It seemed like Monique might get that elusive ten, let alone the season’s first perfect score. Sure enough, she did land two tens, but she couldn’t go the distance. Carrie Ann Inaba of all people stuck her with a nine. OH CARRIE ANN! SPOILER! With the added fifty-three points, Monique’s total rose to fifty-three out of sixty, which wasn’t bad, but she probably could have benefited from an extra point or two…
Emmitt & Cheryl: Do It To Me One More Time
Last but certainly not least were Emmitt and Cheryl, who had to perform a sultry rhumba. I’ll admit it. I kind of zoned out. Nothing against Emmitt — he’s definitely the man. I just was growing a little weary. Ninety minutes sure is a loooong time. Anyway, I apparently kind of missed the rhumba to top all rhumbas. The judges were blown away, but again, the perfect score was spoiled by Carrie Ann again. What was up with that? She’s never the spoiler!
Carrie Ann doled out a nine, Bruno a ten, and Len a ten too, but he did note, “I wish I could have given an eleven.” Wow. High praise! I gotta admit that last season, as much as I liked Jerry Rice, I did feel like the popular vote carried him along sometimes. This time around, Emmitt may have the popular vote too, but he’s more than earned it.
What did you think about this ghoulish episode?