We’re at the halfway mark of Season 11 of ‘Dancing with the Stars‘ and the weaker dancers have been pegged off one by one, leaving the best of the rest – as well as Bristol Palin – to entertain us.
And entertain they did. This was TV Show Theme Song week, my favorite thus far, and a first for ‘DWTS.’ Not surprisingly, it was another round where my top picks were tops again: Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, Brady and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer. Hot on their heels? Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani.
In Audrina’s pre-dance package, Len Goodman – one of the toughest judges on competition reality-TV – said, “There is no reason why she shouldn’t win.” He also called her “talented.” However, after her Rumba, Bruno Tonioli called Audrina “plastic” and Carrie Ann Inaba pronounced her “still and dead.” So what is it – talented, or yuk?
In terms of yuk, I think this is the week that we’ll see Alaska’s #1 teen mom sent packing. Poor Bristol Palin. She’s such a game kid, but she has a clunkiness destined to anchor her to the low end of the leader board. This Monday night, her Jive to ‘The Monkees’ theme song was unfortunate. She knew it, too. “I hate the Jive,” she told co-host Brooke Burke after getting the low score of the night, an 18.
Let’s take a look at the night’s dances:
Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Quickstep, ‘Friends’
Gotta give it to Brandy, the girl studies hard. Last week she told us she was going to hole up in her home to watch some episodes of ‘Friends’ because, as unbelievable as this sounds, she never watched the show! Is it just me or did their intro, the giant lollipop and their outfits not really make sense? Doesn’t matter, the judges dug it and gave her her the highest score of the season. “I’m so impressed,” raved Len. “You found the right formula,” said Bruno, whose enthusiasm for the dance caused him to break his pen. Carrie Ann said they took it up a huge notch to a “whole other level.”
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: Fox Trot, ‘Married with Children’
Scoring the first 10s of the season (two of ‘em at that) last week added some pressure to this week’s rehearsals. “What if Fox Trot is the one I can’t get?” Jennifer worried. What if she couldn’t get along with her partner? “Your frustration doesn’t help me,” she told Derek. “Control your temper.” Then she had to take a walk. Seriously? Although they looked like a couple about to break up, Bruno called their Fox Trot “beautifully danced.” Carrie Ann agreed – sort of. “It was good,” she said. “It wasn’t nearly your best.” Said Len, “The actual dance is lovely, but for me it’s all a bit too theatrical.”
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya: Quickstep, ‘Bewitched’
To me, the most interesting part of their routine was Anna’s uncanny ability to nail the nose twinkle so perfectly. Other than that, it was plain old lovely. “I think I just saw the spirit of Gene Kelly enter the body,” Carrie Ann said. “After last week the only way was up and up you have gone,” Len added. Bruno loved it too: “You led with ease… brilliant.”
Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke: Rumba, ‘Hill Street Blues’
It was game on for Rick Fox, who went out of his way to disprove last week’s disses that he appeared robotic. But methinks he might have been trying a bit too hard, and often those flowing movements came off as if he was almost mocking the dance. Carrie Ann thought he was hot and worked it out. “There’s an ease and an elegance about your dancing,” said Len, who then added that he thought they looked like a couple staying together for the sake of the children. “You went from Megatron to mega smooth,” said Bruno.
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani: Rumba, ‘The Hills’
Well, Tony did have to shave his manly legs so it was only fair that Audrina would have to do something equally painful… like eating a raw onion?! Huh?! Tony said it was to help lessen the intensity of having to be so intimate. Double huh?! I’m not sure the onion trick worked because this Rumba seemed slo-mo to me. Len called it excellent, but suggested she open up more. “Technically, you have improved,” said Bruno. But – there’s always a but – he said, “Don’t be plastic. Be fantastic, because you can.” Carrie Ann called her top half, and I cringe at having to type this, “still and dead.” Still. And. Dead. Ouch.
Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas: Tango, ‘The Brady Bunch’
Yeah! It was a bit uncertain if they’d get clearance to use ‘The Brady Bunch’ theme song, and boy am I glad they got it. She dedicated the dance to the late Robert Reed, her on-screen husband. Their backup choice? ‘The Addams Family.’ The best part was her ‘Brady Bunch’ son Barry Williams showing up to show Flo some love… and to give her a smooch during rehearsal. But enough with the comic routines; I want to see her dance the dances in a more classic way. Bruno agrees with me. “It was unnecessary to go down that route,” he said. Carrie Ann, though, liked it. “You’re a sexy senior and you worked it,” she said. Len thought some of it was frantic, but thought it was “possibly” their best dance so far.
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer: Fox Trot, ‘Charlie’s Angels’
Loved the ’70s ‘fro and ‘stache on Kyle! And the Farrah Fawcett feathered hair on Lacey! Awe-some! Kyle really knows how to entertain a crowd. “You bring on the feel-good factor. Just watching you is a joy,” enthused Bruno. Len disagreed. “It started bad and it gradually got worse and worse,” he said. “I couldn’t stand it. I thought it was terrible.” Cue the boos. When Len’s low score of a 5 was announced, the whole press room erupted in disbelief.
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: Jive, ‘The Monkees’
Let’s get past the fact that their costumes were actually gorillas and not monkeys, but that wasn’t the worst part of this Jive. The judges asked for more personality, more intensity, more anything and she, well, didn’t quite rise to that occasion…even with the clown school help! I do have to admit I felt bad for her when she lost her place in the costume. But it didn’t get much better once the furry outfits came off. The judges, once again, were simply too kind. “I liked the monkey suits,” said Len, who said it was “well done.” Well done? Bruno loved the twisting part. Carrie Ann said she saw “a real transformation.” Come on.
Who knocked your socks off this Monday? Hit the comments with your best critiques.