Whew! Week one is done and in the record books. And what did we all learn? We learned that it's a damn shame that you can't vote someone OFF this show instead of voting to keep someone on. We learned that bitchface never goes out of style. We learned that while people will tune in to see Pam shake her boobies, they won't vote to keep them around for another week. And we learned that America loves the space program, even if we don't really want to pay for it anymore. So let's move on to week two and learn some all new lessons this week, shall we? LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!
I think the opening stair walk segment is boring as hell and a waste of time, but it does have the advantage of giving us a sneak preview of the weird outfits people are wearing. You don't get to look very long. Just enough time to go, "What the...what?" and then you have to wait until the couple comes out to perform to get the full deal. Like for example Chelsie is wearing some sort of black Cleopatra style wig and I think her blonde hair is sticking out underneath it or maybe that's intentional but we won't know! Until she comes out to dance for real! Also do you ever notice that they put Kate and Pamela last? It's because those are the two that everyone is tuning in to see. I have friends who used to make fun of me for watching this show and this season, they are watching for those two.
Remember last week when Len told the couples to tell a story through their dance? So now they have to do that. Aren't they kind of always supposed to be telling a story through their dance? In a clip package, each couple gives a little preview of their story, but let's save it for the actual dance, okay?
To show us what the judges will be looking for, some of the pros who aren't on this season (I recognize Jonathan, Dmitri, and Lacey right off the top) came out and perform the waltz, the paso doble, and the quickstep. I appreciate the effort and all, but this doesn't really tell me what the judges are looking for. It would be more useful if the judges (well, really just Len) did a voiceover explaining what we were looking at. Like in the waltz, it should be smooth and in the paso, they should be assertive or whatever. Anyway, it's nice to see those guys getting some work.
Evan is the first to dance tonight. In his clip package, he wants Anna to talk in a Russian accent. Is he making fun of Johnny Weir? Anyway, they have the quickstep this week. And Evan almost has a sense of humor! It's very deadpan, but it's there. Their story is that they're married and his wife is late. Wow. What a thriller. Can I buy the movie rights? They start out with some business where Evan is pacing around and Len is going to hate that. But the dance itself is really, really good. Evan is tall and lanky, which is perfect for the quickstep. Very Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. And he's graceful! And he keeps up with the fast footwork; so often in this dance, it seems like the pro is just dragging the star along, but Evan is leading. I don't really get the story other than that business at the beginning, but Evan performed it as well as danced it, so we'll see what the judges think.
Len liked the story and says it cheered him up, but advises Evan to work on his feet a bit. Bruno liked that Evan "dumped" Anna at the end (on the floor) and tells Evan that he agrees about the foot issue. Carrie Ann calls it twinkling and energetic, which is a great description. Backstage, Evan admits that he has a couple of broken toes, but you really couldn't tell. Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 8, and Bruno 9.
Let's get Buzz's routine over with. Although he is doing the waltz this week, and if there were any dance he might do well with, this is it. I mean, seriously. Can you imagine him doing the quickstep? Or the paso doble? I'm almost starting to believe that the fix is in with Buzz because he really did get the one dance this week that he can reasonably do. Anyway, their story is that Buzz is a returning war hero and Ashly is his daughter. Glad they didn't pretend that she's his sweetheart because...gross. In rehearsals, Ashly tells Buzz that he's overthinking it and he needs to just move to the music, but he doesn't get that, because he's basically an engineer and thinks like one. So how does the final product come out? Well, it's better than either routine last week. He mostly remembers the steps and his stiff posture is actually an asset. The thing is, it's not just that he's old, and his body isn't flexible. It's also that he has no musicality or sense of rhythm. You can see him thinking through the steps and it's robotic -- "Extend left arm for two beats and then step forward with right foot at a 45 degree angle" or whatever, instead of feeling the emotion of the music. That said, I think that was probably the best routine Buzz will do on this show.
Bruno says that there were "problems with the movement" but Buzz looked regal. Carrie Ann thought the story was great even if the dancing wasn't great. Len liked the innocent charm but they're judging the dancing, and it was too simple and underperformed. The audience boos. Really, audience? You thought that was good? Simmer down. Scores: Carrie Ann 5, Len 4, and Bruno 4. Hmm. I thought it was a little bit better than that. Like a few points better.
Jake seems to have powder all over the lapels of his suit. What's up with that? Is it part of his costume or a mistake? They have the quickstep and Chelsie decides that Jake will be an archeologist and she's going to be Cleopatra. In rehearsal, they get frustrated with each other and Jake has to leave and get a hold of himself. He thinks Chelsie is being disrespectful. Yes, how dare she tell him what to do! Was he like this when he was The Bachelor? He kind of comes off as a dick with control and anger issues. So how's their dance? Surprisingly, it's not bad. Jake keeps up well with the footwork and what's more impressive to me is that he acts out his role well, seeming surprised when Chelsie/Cleopatra emerges etc. I mean, it's corny, but have you seen this show? There's a lot of faux-Egyptian moves and I'm not sure how traditional Len will like that, but it's entertaining, at least.
Carrie Ann points out that Jake's legs were soft. Len advises Jake to straighten his legs sometimes, but adds that it was entertaining with high production values. Bruno loved the story, but the dancing technique could have been a bit better. Backstage, Brooke once again keeps the mike on them too long during the interview and it's awkward. Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 7, and Bruno 7.
Niecy and Louis have decided to tell the story of a cross-racial couple in the '60s who weren't allowed to be together due to the laws of the time. Niecy really gets into the emotion of not being able to be with the one you love due to laws or social norms and Louis cries too. Then he admits, "I'm still in that boat." Did he just come out on the show? Have they admitted before that he's gay? That's awesome. I'm totally voting for them now. There's a lot of coded language in this clip package. So how is their actual waltz? Niecy bungles a few of the steps, but she's graceful throughout and doesn't drop the character. The choreography is really beautiful, and at the end Niecy and Louis are both clearly very touched.
Len loved that they created a story just through acting with no props, and they nailed the emotion, but not the technique. Bruno thought it was acted well, but Niecy needs to work on her feet. Carrie Ann didn't get the ending of their dance, but she's glad they chose the story they did. As Carrie Ann speaks, a single tear drops down Niecy's face. OSCAR! Backstage, Niecy admits that she stumbled in the dance because she's not used to being so emotionally vulnerable in front of people. Louis concludes, "Everybody should be able to get married!" I totally agree but I'm kind of surprised that the producers let them get so political. Good for them, especially given how many people affected by the ban on gay marriage probably work on the show. Scores: