I was hoping “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” week 5 was going to be a relief with the focus where it should have been from the beginning—on the best dancing ever on the ABC show. After all, Bristol Palinfinally made her exit last week after being the worst dancer in “DWTS” history to continually be saved.
But on Monday night, there was new suspense after word came down that Melissa Rycroft, who had been injured in rehearsal on Sunday, might not be able to dance at all.
We suffered with the former “Bachelor” beauty during season 8 when she had a rib injury and couldn’t perform one week; the judges kindly critiqued her on rehearsal footage. Would that happen again? In any case, there was no elimination this week, which was kind of weird.
As the show began, we saw Melissa and her partner Tony Dovolani there in costume, which looked promising. They were all going to dance to guilty pleasure songs:
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: Samba
Val was visiting Kelly on set at “General Hospital.” She was nervous about doing the samba and they had to rehearse late at night. The pro said she was breaking down mentally and physically because of doing double duty on the soap and dancing. Their samba began with Kelly seeming to seduce Val on a chair. This one was even sexier than last week with Val doing a real bump and grind with the actress and her black bustier outfit and black boots made me think of a streetwalker. They did a great job with the moves but it was kind of uncomfortable to watch, over the top sexy, although one of Kelly’s soap co-stars clapped in the audience. Judge Len Goodman said it was too long winded getting started and it was too much gyrating. “Too raunchy,” he sniffed. Yeah, I agreed! Bruno Tonioli liked the tease and their great spin in the samba. He had one mild quibble whereas Carrie Ann Inaba thought Kelly was uncertain and their chemistry didn’t work this week.
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: Rumba
This couple was on a motorcycle together, the wind in their hair this week, for some unknown reason. Then they hit the practice studio and Peta was giving Gilles some specific instructions on being sexy. Really? So unnecessary. They were dancing to “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston and they were in the spotlight in a very stark opening to the number. Long leg extensions and arm movements from both, and Peta lifted her leg in a way in the middle of the dance that would make Melissa Rycroft jealous (she was always pulling that move). They ended by walking away from each other very slowly. It was quite a theatrical performance; I’m not sure the content was there? Bruno agreed, saying that was a master class in theater, not a dance. But he thought it was gripping and thrilling (but not a dance?). Carrie Ann got so excited she toppled over backward fell out of her chair! Another “DWTS” star down! Gilles went and gallantly picked her back up as the whole audience laughed. She was totally fine and continued her rave—saying he was “poetry in motion.” Len said that was a blockbuster because it had everything but he complained about Peta lifting her leg up a lot. Gilles got two tens! Wow. Like last week, I was a little on the fence about his big score. It wasn’t a hugely hard dance. Meanwhile, during the commercial break, that clip of Carrie Ann falling kept being shown over and over again in the press room.
Watch Carrie Ann Inaba Wipe Out on Live TV!
Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Quickstep
Kirstie’s guilty pleasure was Mrs. Robinson—finally, the theme of the show really came out tonight. That one I understood! They were having a hard time in rehearsal with the fast moves; she was way out of breath. The Cheers actress broke down in tears later, too. They started the dance with Kirstie’s leg raised with Maks standing behind her like Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. So they proceeded to do a nice quickstep bounce around the floor but did Kirstie seem a bit dizzy afterwards? She was laboring through it and at the end, Maks, as Dustin, ran away from her but they ended with a kiss behind a screen. To me, it was just okay and paled in comparison to Gilles’ effort; a shame for Kirstie to have to follow that (even if I did think he was slightly overscored). Carrie Ann thought it was her best dance of the season though she had one boo boo. According to Len, it was her best dance. And Bruno said she really delivered it with her great runs. All right! I was truly happy for Kirstie after her emotional breakdown in rehearsal. It was a cute theme, she wasn’t raunchy, and she’s the oldest one, remember? They got their highest score of the season and Kirstie cried backstage.
Watch the Highlights of Monday Night’s Performances:
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: Samba
They were dancing to Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana,” so this was going to be high-energy for sure. Emmitt asked Cheryl in practice the last time they laughed—three or four hours ago. They succeeded in making the mood lighter. Okay, so in the dance itself, there were a lot of multicolored lights and parakeet props on the floor and just as I thought, this was the ideal dance for Emmitt. He steered her like he did this every weekend for fun. I forgot it was a competition for a minute because the dance was that easy. The football player also shot some googly-eyed glances at Cheryl during the dance, which everyone enjoyed backstage. Was that Gilles and Peta looking nervous in the crowd once it ended? Emmitt’s wife loved it in the audience. Len did, too, and Bruno said he delivered maximum pleasure. Carrie Ann said Emmitt had the samba swagger and she made some weird signs around her eyes to indicate she liked it a LOT. They got one ten, but couldn’t beat Gilles.
Now it was time for the team freestyle dance and Melissa talked about her herniated disk injury. She was ready to dance, she told Tom Bergeron! Yay! During rehearsal, everybody was laughing it up. It was Shawn, Apolo, Melissa, Sabrina and their partners. Melissa suddenly screamed out during practice. Tony said, “Her sneaker got caught and her entire neck cracked.” They called an EMT and we saw Melissa lying on the ballroom floor with her neck in a brace. Shawn said, “It gave us all a really big scare.” It was a cheerleader type of dance with the couples called Team DWTS and dressed all in purple while dancing to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. This was a lot of fun and energetic and you would have never known Melissa was injured. In fact, she was thrown in the air over Apolo Anton Ohno’s head! Len loved the way they introduced each couple into the dance. Bruno talked about how great the choreography was and how the celebs looked like pros! Carrie Ann let out a cheer to reflect their cheerleader theme. Tom called Melissa the human jump rope. “It’s really numb right now,” Melissa said of her neck. But what a relief to see her able to finish this hard dance.
Team Score: 29.5
Watch the Team Dance: Call Me Maybe