Along with the dance-off and the finale freestyle, of course, the instant dance is one of the highlights of any season of “Dancing with the Stars.” This time it was an instant Latin dance for all to attempt, along with one ballroom number.
The challenge is this: The couples know the dance style in advance, but they aren’t given the music or song until minutes before they hit the floor. Well, somehad minutes (the last ones to the ballroom were Kirsite and Maks) and others had over an hour to practice (i.e., the first to dance, which was Chelsea and Mark).
So…Who rose to the occasion?
Who didn’t quite stack up?
Did Hines Ward’s recent near-arrest or Ralph Macchio’s knee injury affect their performances tonight?
Watch the Instant Dance Episode on xfinityTV.com:
Let’s take a look at how the Top 5 fared on Week 8.…
Round 1: Ballroom Dances
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Waltz
Anyone else get a weird feeling when Mark’s arms where around Chelsea’s shoulders while she was trying to make a point about his comments? Me thinks he was trying to be seductive. Go figure. Loved the intro of the two lying peacefully on the floor as a lighting effect that looked like a wave washing over them flooded the dance floor. Beautiful and intense, just like their dance. (And, yes, that Casey Abrams from “American Idol” and Chelsea’s “Jonas” costar Nick Jonas in the audience.) Grouchy Len Goodman thought their routine had too much emphasis on the story and not enough on the dance. Bruno Tonioli loved it, calling it exquisite and ‘fab-u-lous.’ Carrie Ann Inaba called it mature and sophisticated. “You earned perfection tonight,” she said.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Fox Trot
Did Hines’ recent run-in with the police throw him off his game? Nope. He might not be the most interesting star to watch on the show, but he certainly is the most consistent. And Monday night was simply more of the same: strong dancing, a nice smile, and humble attitude. “Hines, yes, yes, yes!” screamed Bruno, who compared him to Fred Astaire. Carrie Ann thought he was more Gene Kelly. Len said, “Your personality just radiates.” Does it? Really?
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: Tango
It’s Britney b*@#t! Yes, Chelsie channeled Britney Spears in a hot and spicy Tango to the pop star’s hit, “Hold it Against Me.” But did she, decked out in that red patent leather outfit, upstage Romeo? Yep. At this stage, it’s not enough to be a good dancer, Romeo needs to show more passion, more of a reason to get us to want him to win it, more something-something. Carrie Ann thought it was amazing, though. “When you’re in it, I cannot take my eyes off of you,” she said, calling it one of his best routines ever. Len said he upped his game. Bruno said, “You danced like a real man out there, strong, dark, handsome, convincing.”
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: Viennese Waltz
With four lost rehearsal days due to a painful ruptured Baker’s cyst in his knee, Ralph still managed to pull it off come go-time and dance through the pain. After a fall in rehearsal, he described the pain like someone took a knife to him. “We’re screwed,” said Karina in the footage. That aside, how hot did he look in the dramatic guyliner? Very. Smoking. Hot. “You did a great job,” said Len, considering his limited practice time. Bruno called them “fascinating, dangerous creatures of the night … vampire lovers.” Carrie Ann said he did “an amazing job.” A 25 ain’t good, but it ain’t bad considering they only had nine hours to rehearse.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango
And down she goes again. The actress fell twice in rehearsal, and once off the stage entirely, almost face-planting onto the hardwood. She blamed lack of food for the mishap. She admitted she was only eating 1400 calories a day. Not smart. But the lift at the top of the Tango was very smart, making the crowd gasp aloud. Lots of good technique in this one. Bruno said it was the ultimate seduction. “Your body is shrinking, your talent is huge,” added Bruno. Carrie Ann said it was “real passion, real chemistry, real drama.”
Watch Part 2 of Monday’s Episode:
Round 2: Instant Dance:
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Salsa
It lacked a bit of energy and looked like she had some padding up top (reps assured us, “There is no padding on ‘DWTS’ ever”) but other than those distractions, they were okay. Not as exciting as it could have been. Len criticized the fact that they missed a cue but overall thought it was hot. Bruno didn’t lack energy, noting how the difficulty of the dance was incredible. Carrie Ann though it was danced very well but lost a connection to the music. Boos ensued.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Jive
I’m sorry, consistency is boring. Even his run-in with the cops was boring. But the fans love him and the judges keep scoring him generously. “It was like watching Mr. Happy Feet,” said Bruno. Carrie Ann “loved it.” “You totally relaxed into the moment,” she said. Len added, “I’m telling you, this is a real tough dance and you’ve done a fantastic job.”
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: Salsa
Last week Romeo told us that doing an instant dance would be no different than going to a club and not knowing what song is coming up next, but you find the groove and dance to it anyway. Well, it didn’t quite translate to their instant Salsa, which Carrie Ann said was a little off and out of sync. Len joked that Carrie Ann and Bruno are mean tonight, adding: “I loved it!”
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: Cha Cha Cha
With the advantage that they nailed the Cha Cha Cha in their team dance last week, Ralph overcame his acute pain and killed their instant dance. But was the acting portion in the beginning where Ralph sat on the stairs a bit of a cheat? Many of us in the press room thought was a tad bit too long. Len said the Cha Cha Cha suffered due to his injury. Bruno agreed, but thought he did incredibly well in coping with his situation. Carrie Ann thought his hip action wasn’t quite there. “I really admire you for getting out here,” she added.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Salsa
“You have the biggest hips in the show, move ‘em!” were Maks’ words of, er, encouragement to Kirstie, who has lost a boatload of weight on this show. (How much? We’ll likely find out when her exclusive with one of the weekly magazines runs in the next few weeks.) And gotta love how she brings humor to the sexiness. That’s what makes her so entertaining. The judges agreed. “You did a classic, traditional salsa, which is smooth and slow,” to which Kirstie seemed to have dropped the F or an S bomb, bleeped out of course. Carrie Ann said it was riveting to watch. Len said it lacked a “bit of impact, but for me, your hips were working, it was oily, you were moving.”
This week’s leaderboard totals are…
Chelsea & Mark: 29 + 26 = 55
Hines & Kym: 28 + 26 = 54
Kirstie & Maks: 28 + 25 = 53
Romeo & Chelsie: 27 + 25 = 52
Ralph & Karina: 25 + 21 = 46