Last week, the new round of contestants all performed for the first time. Some (Kirstie Alley, Ralph Macchio) did great! Some (Wendy Williams, Mike Catherwood) did not do well! Tonight, they get to dance one more time before the first elimination tomorrow night. Watching the opening credits, I'm realizing that I forgot some of these people were even on the show in the past week. Like Chelsea Kane? And Hines Ward? And they did well, from what I remember.
Tom and Brooke introduce the couples as they walk down the staircase. This is such a time killer, especially in the early days when there are a million couples. Once everyone is down the stairs and lined up and mugging for the camera, Tom and Brooke do an introduction that's mostly nonsense, while I keep staring at the fact that Kendra doesn't know how to clap. Like my fourteen-month-old claps better than she does. What that's about?
Sugar Ray and Anna are up first. Last week, Bruno told Ray that his feet moved well but his posture made him look like a turtle, which was a bit harsh, but also true. So in rehearsals, Anna tells him that they have the jive, and he won't have to worry about his posture quite as much. Anna tries to school him on the kicks and flicks, and he has a little trouble keeping up. I mean, he's no spring chicken. The jive is always a problem for the oldsters, unless they slow the music down so much that it doesn't even look like a jive. Let's see how he does.
So their jive is... okay? I'm trying to pinpoint why it was good and not great. The footwork was fine. Sugar Ray has an athlete's pigeon toe problem, but it's not horribly noticeable. And he didn't miss a lot of steps, although he did miss a few. His facial expressions were good. I think it just lacked intensity. Like it was pleasant and fine but I lost interest about halfway through, and it felt like maybe he did too. It wasn't bad; he'll likely stick around a few more weeks. But it didn't grab me. Judges? Len tells Ray that he's in jeopardy because it didn't have refinement or dance quality, though it was entertaining. Bruno thought it was pleasant, but needs more punch in the feet. Carrie Ann said his face was very entertaining and engaging, but his lower half wasn't as sharp as it should be. She advises him to use his feet like he uses his hands while boxing, which is actually good advice. Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 5, and Bruno 6 for a total of 17, which matches their score from last week.
Kendra and Louis got decent marks last week for her ambitious choreography. This week, they have the quickstep, and Louis wants to work on getting rid of her tomboyish ways. Good idea. That's what put me off last week. He tries to make her be elegant and ladylike, and then they show poor Kendra swearing and smelling her armpits. Oh. That's too bad. Kendra gets stressed out trying to be more ladylike and breaks down crying, saying that she feels like a boy even though her image is sexy Playboy model, and she tells the camera that this is about more than dancing for her. Well, if they were trying to make her more sympathetic, that kind of worked. Although I really wish Kendra would get some counseling for her issues instead of working them out on various reality shows.
First of all, their music is awful. It is so not quickstep music and it really handicaps their dance. Second, Kendra looks TERRIFIED. She's frozen stiff from the waist up, while it doesn't seem like her feet miss too many steps. She also has a smile frozen to her face. And there's no connection to the music at all. She's just running through memorized steps, not dancing. That said, she doesn't really miss a step, and there are a few points where she lets go a little and performs. She just needs to get out of her head, feel the music, and let go. She can obviously learn choreography well. Now she needs to perform it and dance. I think she has potential. This wasn't good, though. Judges? Bruno says that she was very tight and tried too hard. Carrie Ann tells her what I said, that she learns choreography well, and now she needs to dance more. Len thinks her posture was hit or miss, and she coped well with the speed of the dance. He makes reference to her "chesticles" (his word), which I find a little bit... disrespectful? I mean, I know that's what she's known for, but would he say that to Chelsea? Or Petra? It's just weird. Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, and Bruno 6 for a total of 19.
Next up are Chelsea Kane and Mark (who is dressed like a bizarre Clockwork Orange mime crossed with the joker on a deck of cards). Last week, they got decent but not great scores for their foxtrot. Chelsea knows that she needs to stand out from the pack with her jive. Mark says that he's pushing the boundaries with his choreography. He must be so glad to have a partner that can actually learn moves (unlike Bristol last season). And I think he has a little crush on Chelsea.
My husband and I just spent the entire routine trying to figure out what their outfits were supposed to be. "Alice in Wonderland?" "But... then what's she supposed to be?" "...Alice?" "Alice doesn't wear candy-striped stockings. And why does her eye makeup look like a doll?" "I don't know but he's wearing a hat like the Mad Hatter." I think we just put more thought into their costumes than they did. Suffice it to say, they are dressed weirdly and in an inscrutable theme, at least to my husband and me. Their jive is... weird. It's very modern, but I don't see a ton of jive elements. And it's very disjointed. It's typical Mark -- designed to show off his own moves and make people think he's cool and hip, but I still am not sure if Chelsea can actually dance. It was something. Carrie Ann loves that type of choreography when it's appropriate, but she didn't think tonight was it, because she couldn't see any jive. Len thought it was probably fun and entertaining for the people at home, but there wasn't enough jive content. Bruno loved how weird, wonderful, and creative it was, but what jive was there needed to be sharper. I love that they are taking Mark to task for the choreography and his stupid decision to be hip (sort of) instead of do the actual routine. I hate Mark. Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 5, and Bruno 7 for a total of 18.
Chris Jericho and Cheryl had a lot of energy last week (and a lot of pyrotechnics), even if the dancing wasn't always great. This week, they have the quickstep. Jericho admits that he's terrified of Cheryl and he doesn't want her to yell at him. Cheryl works hard to get Jericho to keep his head up and work on his posture and his frame, so that's what he concentrates on. Did it take?
It kind of did! His frame is great this week, and his footwork (so important in the quickstep) is pretty much spot on. I am impressed with his improvement over last week. I think he will have trouble when they get to the routines that require hip action, but for these more stiff, footwork intense dances, he looks almost graceful. Good job, Jericho! Judges? Len says he expected lumbering, but it was bright and breezy. Bruno likes that Chris responded to strict discipline, and he was transformed into a gazelle. Carrie Ann loved that he was light on his feet. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 7, and Bruno 8 for a total of 23.
Petra and Dmitry did a beautiful foxtrot last week, but the judges were concerned about her ability to do a jive, since she's so tall. Petra wonders if she's supposed to get shorter somehow. She had no trouble with the steps, but she was scared of falling while doing the tricks, given her injuries. Dmitry worked with her on a trampoline so that she could get used to the sensation of falling without being afraid, and hopefully it worked.
So their jive is... weird? It starts out very "Uptown Girl" (though the song is "Crazy Little Thing Called Love") with Petra in a fancy outfit and Dmitry in a leather jacket. They take a REALLY long time to get to the dancing, and then he rips off her long skirt to reveal a fringed miniskirt. In some parts, she does okay. But other parts... she looks