‘DWTS’ Recap: Threesomes Set the Pace for Final Six

by | May 7, 2012 at 9:26 PM | Dancing With The Stars, RealityTV, Recap

Cheryl and William Score Big (Photo: ABC)

For the first time ever, “Dancing with the Stars” was going to try threesomes! But no, it wasn’t as kinky as it sounded. It meant that for Week 8, the pairs were allowed to have one pro dancer who had already been eliminated– or a troupe dancer– join them on the floor for their second dance. The idea seemed crazy, but I was looking forward to some welcome chaos. This week would also feature a double elimination on Tuesday, so everyone would be under a lot of pressure. Whew.

The usual parade of stars down the stairs began the show, with them all moving slowly in the stiffness of week 8. They were all walking gingerly, perhaps requiring canes!

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango
In rehearsal, Donald was getting frustrated — and watching video of last week’s front runners Maria Menounos and Derek Hough didn’t help. Then they hit the floor and their tango was just okay, I thought, with Donald’s side kicks looking skilled but his overall body too stiff. That’s not unusual in tango, but I felt like maybe they over-rehearsed because of their constant competitive mode and it lacked any freshness. It didn’t seem like this couple had improved much all season; this still looked like week one for them. Where was the inspiration that would transcend the fact that they were competing? That’s what we got from Maria and Derek last week, but not here. Judge Len Goodman, however, deemed it a first-round knockout while Bruno talked about Donald’s aggression and power. Carrie Ann Inaba thought it was dynamic but wanted a little more drama. The football star got a free pass! I expected more.
Score: 27

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz
These two were swearing at each other in rehearsal and the TV hostess seemed really upset on Friday, in particular. But I was sure they’d get it together when they started the dance. When Derek just held Maria and swirled her around during the dance, it looked like they were creating magic again. Maria’s bare back looked really beautiful in the performance and their spin to end it evoked lots of emotion (and one of those cool overhead shots from ABC). While it wasn’t as good as classical week, (and let’s face it, the music wasn’t as compelling, either), they looked like the perfect romantic couple. Bruno called it heavenly fluidity and Maria’s eyes filled with tears. Carrie Ann said everyone felt the emotion and said something special was happening between the two of them (hmm, well, they keep denying it’s a romance in real life. This will get the rumor mill churning again). Len said Derek should have had her in “hold” more because that’s Maria’s major strength; he was disappointed. The audience booed. It didn’t matter; they got two tens.
Score: 28

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot
The Teflon couple, which couldn’t get eliminated if they tried, kept having conflict in rehearsal this week. Maks was on one of his trademark tears, saying he had to take a time out because he was so frustrated. The expletives were sure flying! The pro kept swearing at Melissa and accused her of looking at him like a terrorist. The Little House star, though, is absolutely unflappable, justifying everything her guy does—is she a masochist or just really easygoing? Anyway, Melissa started the dance by goosing bandleader Harold Wheeler with her boa and then kissing Maks, who was wearing glasses like Clark Kent, very nerdy for the usually hunky dancer. Maybe Missy was supposed to be the sexy teacher to Maksim’s conservative schoolboy? Maks put his arms under the star’s and spun her around, a move I thought worked really well and their side-by-side moves were charming, too. She showed real improvement. It looked much better than last week but it doesn’t really matter what I think on these two, right?! They would sail through the voting again, no doubt. Carrie Ann said it was her best dance ever although she had a few mess-ups in the beginning. Len thought it was good dancing, too, and Bruno said it was a much smoother ride this week. Melissa’s eyes filled with tears as Maks (sort of) apologized to her after the dance for his roughness this week in front of hostess Brooke Burke.
Score: 24

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: Viennese Waltz
The two agreed in rehearsal that they had to step it up because other people were (namely, Mark’s buddy Derek and his partner). She fell in practice and was in tears but it didn’t mess her eyeliner a bit (what’s up with all that makeup in rehearsal? I’m still wondering). I was watching Katherine throughout their dance, a sign she’s doing her job as well as the professional. Her head was in exactly the right position and their ending spin was good although something seemed a little odd in the conclusion. I’m not quite sure what happened but Katherine lost her footing and so the ending embrace with Mark was a mess. I found it kind of boring overall and like with Donald, I was expecting more from a person with physical ability. Len said it had plenty of content; Bruno praised her superb technique but admitted she lost it for a moment; Carrie Ann said she lost her balance and she had to be careful with two eliminations pending this week.
Score: 26

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: Foxtrot
The skilled dance duelers were back in rehearsal and Chelsie was laying down the law that there was no time to waste. But apparently there WAS time for a time-wasting package featuring the Disney star’s grandmas, who visited their practice to give Roshon some support and advice. Of course they were cute and all. Roshon started the dance by approaching Chelsie on a park bench like a suitor bearing gifts and they looked very ‘50s. In a long side-by-side sequence, Roshon held his own and his sections in hold with Chelsie were equally smooth. This was very sweet and wholesome; I hoped they wouldn’t be kicked off this week. In fact, to me, it was the best dance of the night so far as the kid proved he could be a contender. Bruno said Roshon’s lines were excellent and even compared him to a young Mickey Rooney and his grandmas in the audience went nuts. Carrie Ann said she was proud, too, and Len said, “good job, dog” to Roshon for the second time this season—why not treat him more like an adult after that great dance? Yay—the judges agreed with me that this foxtrot was stellar and handed out two tens!
Score: 29

William Levy and Cheryl Burke: Foxtrot
The hunk brought Cheryl some flowers for her birthday in rehearsal. He wouldn’t look at her while concentrating on his moves, however, and seemed very stressed out this week. Their dance commenced with a close up of the Eiffel Tower and they were dancing to “Stray Cat Strut,” which didn’t make sense given the Parisian theme. Will did a neat move by holding Cheryl’s elbows behind him and really took advantage of the whole floor; he glided like butter. Mr. Graceful. I thought it maybe wasn’t quite as good as last week but still excellent and his fans certainly went nuts when they were done. Carrie Ann seemed overcome by their dance, letting out a “meow” noise and saying he was so much fun to watch. There was flair there, Len said, while Bruno called Levy a heartbreaker. Shocker to me—they gave him a 30? It was great but was it perfection?
Score: 30

Trio Dances

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd with Karina Smirnoff: Jive
Defending DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff joined the underachieving duo in rehearsal and they were all having a lot of fun. Donald was cuing up a jukebox when the dance started, then started jiving with Peta in one hand and Karina in the other. The three did side-by-side moves and that was really fun but I was thinking the threesome idea seemed like too much of a stunt. But, in Donald’s best move all season, he jumped over both of them on the floor to end the jive and the press room went crazy. Bruno said he succeeded all the way through. Carrie Ann loved their “three way” and so did Len.
Score: 28

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough with Henry Bykalikov: Samba
The pair got down in rehearsal with troupe dancer Henry, who I was unfamiliar with. I think those who got the well-known pros would have more of an advantage in the trios, but we would see. Okay, so it was a Bollywood number with Maria constantly in the center with prayer Indian hands and they did a move with all their hands behind her. Derek took Maria aside for some alone time and then Henry was back again and the guys passed her back and forth between them. THIS was what I had been looking for all night, something genuinely new! Bollywood had never been done on the show before and it was a feast for the eye. Bruno said creatively, the dance was incredible and she looked like a jewel framed between the men but noticed mistakes. Carrie Ann was an echo, commenting that it was a beautiful way to showcase Maria but there were slipups. Len was a purist, saying there was no connection between Bollywood and samba at all. Maybe they needed to do a South American theme instead? I thought they won the award for entertainment tonight. Boo-Len gave them a 7!
Score: 25

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy with Val C.: Samba
Would two Chmerkovskiys be better than one? The brothers got along well in rehearsal and Maks’ usual broody behavior was dialed way down. Maks messed up Melissa’s hair to begin the dance and she pointed at Val with a lot of attitude and they were all cool looking in their black outfits. Melissa looked surprisingly fit (for week 8, no less!) gyrating between the two boys but she seemed winded towards the end. Still, I have got to give her credit. There was a lot going on in this samba and she kept up, giving off a free instead of tense vibe. Carrie Ann’s verdict? She thought it was great! Len called it her best dance and Bruno compared her to Rita Hayworth (in Gilda, I presumed). The shocking Melissa run would continue! I have counted her out every week but gotta say, THIS week she deserves to stay! She clearly started with no dance experience (unlike some others, ahem, who have claimed non-dance status. Not naming names). And the two C boys looked great shirtless in their black suspenders—who could ask for more in a performance? Three 9s—Maks got what he wanted at last.
Score: 27

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas with Tristan MacManus: Cha Cha
Lovable Tristan was back and we would see how the dancer would do with his fellow UK star after having been kicked off with Gladys Knight earlier. The dance started in black and white film but sadly turned to color (I wanted a film noir look). It was a secret agent type routine with the threesome in black suits. The two guys never took off their glasses but they did strip off Katherine’s suit to reveal a sparkly dress. However, disaster struck as part of the pantsuit remained stuck to Katheirine’s foot and she couldn’t shake it off for a long time. Finally it flew off after a leg kick—got it, girl! The former front runner was having trouble tonight. Len kindly told her it was well-done despite the wardrobe malfunction. Bruno called her a HItchcock blonde and Carrie Ann lauded her fiery attitude. For me, though, it was like the ice skater who fell during her routine—I couldn’t get past the costume sticking to her foot. Then, a bigger stunner–two tens for a deeply flawed dance?!! That was the pits. Watch Her Disastrous Routine in the Clip Below.
Score: 29

Katherine Jenkins on Wardrobe Malfunction: “I Didn’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry!”

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower with Sasha Farmer: Paso Doble
The young couple was dancing with a troupe person I didn’t know at all and they did a lot of mumbling in rehearsal. On to the dance, which was a hip hop like Paso with lasers beaming behind them. There was a long stretch in the middle of the dance where Sasha didn’t appear at all, which didn’t seem right. If it was a threesome, there should have been more with him. Nothing really stood out, it was a lot of action in search of a theme. And the end of the dance had Chelsie giving Roshon a sexy head rub like they needed to get a room—whoa. Didn’t really need that from wholesome Chelsie and it didn’t suit the dance, either. I liked the ‘50s park bench routine better. Sorry. Carrie Ann dissed the dance, saying Roshon had gone off on the wrong foot. Len thought it featured lovely, powerful lines and Bruno liked it as well. No one mentioned the out-of-place faux passion, though, which failed more than anything else in the dance. And I also thought Sasha was too much of a third wheel.
Score: 27

William Levy and Cheryl Burke with Tony Dovolani: Paso Doble
This one looked like fun with two guys and a gal. William would be competing with Tony, in a sense, which was one of the biggest challenges of the night. Brave William! Cheryl was writhing with Tony at a table and both of them were dueling Zorros, except only William had the mask! William was back in his sexy form and he and Tony slid on their knees across the floor which was an excellent traveling move. AT the end, William kicked his rival Tony away! This dance had so much drama and told a story, unlike Roshon’s mess beforehand. According to Carrie Ann, there was one mistake. Len saluted the trio while Bruno called the two men “raging bulls” but said they lost synchronicity. A minor quibble, I thought—it was simply a joy to watch and great to have Tony back after he was tossed off first this season. I had to admit, the threesomes were a great idea to goose up the show!
Score: 27