Dancing With The Stars
Season 11 Performance 8

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Instant Dance: Just Add Music

Last week, Rick was eliminated, and people were shocked, because Bristol really, really needs to go home. They don't quite say that, but it's implied. And this week, each couple will have to do a rehearsed dance, and then something called an Instant Dance. I think Bristol will do horribly at the instant dance, but then again, so will Kurt probably. It seems like the female celebrities have an advantage here, as the male pros can lead them around, while the female pros will have to backlead their male celebrities, which seems more difficult. But what do I know?

In the introduction, Tom admits that they've never tried this crazy Instant Dance idea, and they have no idea if it will work. So let's try it for the first time on live television, right? First up for their rehearsed dance are Kyle and Lacey. They got good marks for their paso doble last week. This week, they have the Viennese waltz, which Lacey explains is like the waltz but faster. In rehearsals, Lacey is REALLY hard on Kyle. Like super mean. Kyle takes great pains to explain that he finds Lacey's yelling funny, and Lacey says that Kyle knows it's not personal, but I would not respond well to that kind of coaching at all. Does Kyle?

He really does! I think this is his best dance yet. It's lyrical and graceful, and his posture is good. His footwork is better, but not great. But definitely better. What do the judges think? Len lists off all the ways in which Kyle improved his technique. Bruno knows that Kyle charms everyone, and he appreciates that Kyle has taken the judges' criticisms and improved. Carrie Ann says that her crush on Kyle is back, and that he looked like he was dancing on clouds. I think the judges really want Bristol to go home, and they are going to pump everyone else up. Just a theory. I think the producers know that Bristol has outlived her usefulness as a ratings grab. Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 9, and Bruno 9 for a total of 27.

Len explains that the Instant Dance is how real ballroom competitions work, and the couples will get their music less than an hour before they have to go out and perform. They already know the style of dance, so they could have a routine worked out, but obviously they will need to make changes based on the music. The judges think it will be a huge challenge to try to hit the accents in the song, stay in time with the music, and finish on the last beat of the song. So here's Kyle to pick his song, and he gets "Good Golly, Miss Molly." Lacey is excited, and they skitter off to rehearse.

Jennifer regained her top spot last week, but this week, they have the quickstep, and Jennifer's knee immediately starts causing her pain in rehearsals. They try to push through, but Derek makes her stop and they bring in a doctor to examine her. The doctor says that she has an inflamed tendon in her knee. And then Jennifer's dad, Joel Grey, shows up. I always see him as the bad guy in the Season Five finale of Buffy now. I know he's far more famous for other things, but that's my association. Wait, wasn't he in Alias too? He was! Near the end. I remember that. Anyway, how will her injury affect their dance?

I think it does. The parts that are in hold are really nice, but some of the kicks and flicks are a little bit off, aren't they? She looks like she's holding back. And at the end, there are a few bits where Derek does a solo and Jennifer just stands there, and I wonder if they were added in at the last minute to save her from having to dance so much. It's pretty, and a nice quickstep, but I was expecting more. The judges totally disagree with me; while they take note of the bumble early on, they all think it was great. Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 9, and Bruno 9 for a total of 27. Then they pick their Instant Dance song and get Foreigner's "Waiting For a Girl Like You." Neither of them knows the song. WHAT? Where was Jennifer during the '80s? I can understand Derek not knowing it, but Jennifer should. Maybe she will when she hears it.

Kurt took big strides last week towards staying in the competition after lingering near the bottom for the previous weeks. This week, they have the waltz. Kurt is worried, because since it's a slow dance, people can really focus in on the details of his technique, like hand and foot placement.

I don't know why I am surprised by Kurt's dancing, but it seems like I am every week. He's really graceful! And I know Len will like the rising and falling action throughout. His hands still need work; he's got pancake hands still, and sometimes when his arm is fully extended, he looks like a little kid pretending to be an airplane, but it's really nice! The judges talk about how graceful Kurt was, and how well he moved around the floor. Len compliments the tone and feeling of the dance as well. Bruno thought Kurt was much more relaxed, and gives him a backhanded compliment: "Obviously, there are people better than you, but you've come a long way." Oh... kay? Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8 for a total of 24. I think that's fair. That's the first time I think Kurt's score has been fair in a long time. Kurt picks his song, and it's "Hella Good" by No Doubt. They've never heard it before.

Bristol got her best scores ever last week, and still ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard. And Bristol kind of had a breakdown about being tired and missing her son. Mark gave her a pep talk during rehearsals and then Bristol goes to visit her family with Mark, and shows her routine to her parents. Sarah Palin is seriously wearing a miniskirt. Like I am not one who thinks women over a certain age can't wear certain clothes if it looks good, but for someone who hasn't ruled out a Presidential run, and who knew she would be filmed for television, was the mini the best choice? Because it's distractingly short. Anyway, Bristol wants to show off her routine but refuses to do the sexy parts in front of her parents. She really should do them. That's her problem in a nutshell; she can't compartmentalize and play a character, even though she's not a terrible dancer.

So it starts with Bristol walking alone towards Mark, who is seated, and... she works it! Bristol! She manages to keep tension in her face in the character of the dance, instead of her usual blank look. And her footwork is really good as well. There's still something missing in her dancing that I can't pinpoint. I think it's something about her posture, and it's the little thing that keeps her from looking like a real dancer, even when she gets all the steps right. But it's far and away her best dance technically. It ends with Mark spinning her around on his shoulder but she has to get up on the chair so that he can do it, because he is tiny. I guess this is one of the dances where lifts are allowed. They get a standing ovation from everyone except her own family. Heh. Len thought it was clean but lacked a bit of intensity. The audience yells at him. Bruno thinks she went in and out of character a little bit, but she did execute it precisely. Carrie Ann thought it was the most intensity they've ever seen from her, and I agree. She thinks Bristol needs a bit more energy in her legs, because when she and Mark were doing the same movements, Bristol's were a little lackluster. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8. Mark is pleased. Bristol picks their song, and it's "Mas Que Nada," and neither of them know it. Okay, I have to give them that one.

Brandy and Maks stayed at the top of the leaderboard last week. In rehearsals, Brandy explains that she's worried when she sees people with high scores going home. So Brandy figures out that she and Maks have to be more likable in their rehearsal package. I mean, she doesn't say that, but they are totally emphasizing how well they get along now, and that they've figured out how to work together. So will that translate to their waltz?

Brandy starts out in a full velvet cape, which Maks removes to show a flowing white dress. Brandy does a great job getting into the character of the dance. Her facial expressions are amazing, and her dancing is very good also. I'm not a big fan of the choreography; I think it's kind of dull, to be honest. But I think the judges will like it. Bruno does. He says that Brandy was totally immersed in the character, and the routine was like a poem. Carrie Ann thought it was riveting, and advises Brandy to relax and elongate her neck. Len says a nitpicky person might mention the neck, but he won't, because the performance overwhelmed him. Brandy and Maks are both thrilled. I think the positive comments from Len mean more than anything. Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 10, and Bruno 10! Maks goes nuts when Len's score comes up. Their song for the Instant Dance is "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry. How can you not know that song? Have you listened to the radio or watched a television show or anything in the past month? It's all over the place. I never listen to the radio and I totally know that song.

Kyle and Lacey are up first for their Instant Dance. They have the jive. So through the week, they work on the steps without music. Steve-O shows up to try to distract Kyle with an air horn, a basketball, bubbles, nudity, and a leaf blower. Kyle vows that he won't be distracted. Heh. That actually cracked me up and I usually hate shtick like that. So how will the dance work out? It actually totally works. Kyle performs the hell out of it. There are a few spots where his technique kind of falls apart, but given the parameters, it was far, far better than I expected. And Lacey's choreography was inventive and it was full of content. Len would have liked a little more finesse, but he enjoyed it overall. Bruno thought it was unbelievable, and Carrie Ann thought it was the most fun she's ever had. Scores: Carrie Ann 10, Len 9, and Bruno 10. Well earned.

Jennifer and Derek have the rumba, and Derek's philosophy was to choreograph a routine and then practice it to different songs so they were used to having to be flexible. Did this strategy work? Well, Jennifer can do

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Dancing With The Stars

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