Len thought it was too wild and there wasn't any rhythm. I agree. Bruno tells Ralph he was too rough with his pussy and they bleep it. Bruno tries to play it off like he was talking about Karina, who is wearing leopard print, but the audience boos and boos. That did seem a little harsh. I mean, Bruno had to have known how that would be taken. Even if he'd just said that Ralph was too rough with his pussycat Karina, I think it might have worked. Carrie Ann says that, oddly, she liked it, even if the technique wasn't quite there, and she thinks Ralph had a lot of fun. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 7, and Bruno 8. That's about right, but they are in trouble. Ralph is really emotional backstage. Tom makes a crack about Karina's wig coming from the Bert Lahr estate. He played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. Very few people under 50 got that joke. I did because I'm a nerd.
Where does Kirstie come from? She's a small town girl from Kansas. She admits that she did a lot of cocaine in her 20s, and she hit rock bottom and got cleaned up. She moved to Hollywood and found success, but then she got divorced and decided to just be a great mom, which meant cooking and baking. So she got fat. Because that's how people gain weight. They bake cookies every week. It has nothing to do with, you know, emotional eating or unresolved trauma or whatever. Her explanation seems a bit oversimplified, but I've always thought that Kirstie has some serious body image issues. Yes, I am a licensed therapist and I am diagnosing her based on her Oprah appearances and a few articles I read in various magazines. How dare you question me! Anyway, she's going to do the paso doble, and damned if she isn't going to wear a crazy headband while doing it. I wish someone would call Kirstie on the fact that she has the same Elvis sneer on her face through every dance. I find it very distracting. And I don't know what this paso doble is, but it's like none I've ever seen before. It kind of looks like a foxtrot or something. Very tame. Where is the aggression? The bullfighter and the cape? It's... not good. It didn't help that the song was "White Room" by Cream.
Bruno saw fire and power. Carrie Ann calls her the queen of the paso doble. Really? Len thinks Kirstie had the two toughest dances this week, and she did fabulous with both of them. Really? Seriously? I thought that was so boring. It was fine, technically, but boring. Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 9, and Bruno 9.
Let's look back on Chelsea's long life. She was a creative kid and she did drama camp. Then she auditioned for Jonas and got it. What a long, tough struggle. I'm so inspired. Anyway, they have the rumba. If anyone says the words "vertical expression of a horizontal desire," I'm throwing something through the TV. Chelsea looks great and I'm actually buying the sexiness for once. I don't love the choreography -- the routine doesn't feel finished, somehow. But it was a good rumba.
Carrie Ann loved everything about it. Len thought it was moody, and Chelsea's feet and legs looked good. He proclaims that Chelsea has fulfilled her potential. Bruno loved the shapes they made, and he thought it was stunning. Scores: Carrie Ann 10, Len 10, and Bruno 10. I buy it. It wasn't the dance for me, but I think my Mark hatred is coloring my reactions.
And finally, let's learn about Hines's past. He was born in South Korea to an African-American father and a Korean mother. His mother left Korea because she knew there was a lot of discrimination against mixed children, and came to the U.S. Then his parents split up, so his mom had to work hard to give Hines the life she felt he deserved. Hines felt he didn't fit in, because of his racial makeup, but athletics finally gave him a home. He was drafted lower than people thought he might be, due to a knee problem, so he just worked hard and made it happen, and that's what he's tried to do on the dance floor. Their second dance tonight is the salsa. I don't know what this song is. It's terrible, or at least the house band's version of it is terrible. But Hines is having so much fun, that it's easy to overlook any small problems with the technique. And there aren't many anyway.
Len says he loved it, and it was a joyful experience. Bruno thinks Hines is a beautiful person and "supremely watchable." Carrie Ann thinks that Hines uses dance as self-expression. That's the difference between Hines and, say, Ralph. It feels organic with Hines, when he's on, but it feels like Ralph is doing a routine. Scores: Carrie Ann 10, Len 10, and Bruno 10. That's two perfect scores. Wow.
Ralph and Karina kind of need this winner-take-all cha cha, don't they? So here's how it's going to work. Two couples will compete in a bracket-style tournament, and then the winners of each bracket compete for the fifteen points. Len explains that, in the past, some of the best dancers haven't made the finals due to lack of viewer voting. But this one is all decided by the judges, and will likely push the winner into the final.
So first up are Ralph and Karina versus Kym and Hines. Kym and Hines go first, and they look so natural. Hines isn't as smiley as usual, because I think he's concentrating on the steps more, but he looks smooth. Ralph and Karina, on the other hand...eesh. Ralph's arms are flailing around, and he has zero hip action. I know it's more dramatic if Ralph goes to the finals, but Hines should take this one easily. Len thinks Hines looked good, and Ralph clearly went full out. Bruno thinks Hines was solid and entertaining, and he thinks Ralph has raised his game. Carrie Ann thought Ralph had some game, but Hines's hips were in it to win it. All three judges vote for Hines and Kym to go through. Well, at least it's not fixed for drama.
Next up are Maks and Kirstie versus Chelsea and Mark. Chelsea and Mark are first, and they look good. There's a little glitch on a turn, but their ending is spot-on and really punctuates the routine. Kirstie and Maks are up next. I'm pretty sure they just revive a piece of their original cha cha routine, and it seems way under rehearsed. Kirstie doesn't know where to put her arms and misses a few steps. This one's got to go to Chelsea and Mark. As an aside: can someone tell Mark that it's time he starts wearing big boy pants that go all the way to the ground? Those short pants with the colored socks are so smurfy. Bruno thinks Chelsea was clean and sharp, but Kirstie had great musicality. Carrie Ann agrees they are opposites, because Chelsea is sharp staccato, while Kirstie is sensual and voluptuous. Len thought Chelsea was clean and crisp, but Kirstie had good hip action and great rhythm. The judges claim it's a tough decision, and yet, all three vote for Chelsea and Mark.
The winners find out their song right now, and have only the commercial break to work out the routine. While Tom explains this, Maks is trying to distract Tom by touching and kissing him. That won't work, Maks. Tom is a professional. Oh. Oh, God. And then it gets so awkward that I actually had to fast forward through part of this because I wanted to throw up. So they go to Brooke, who is with the two couples. Each gets a song, and then Brooke is supposed to do a coin toss to determine who gets to decide the order. Except Brooke doesn't understand how coin tosses work. Hines calls tails, and heads come up, and Brooke is like, "Okay, Hines! First or second?" Hines tries to go with it and says they'll go second and then everyone is staring at each other and I'm covering my face with a pillow because it's TERRIBLE. Someone is obviously screaming at Brooke via headset. Why did they let Brooke do the coin toss! Finally Hines rescues the moment and Brooke realizes her mistake (or they told her via headset). Chelsea chooses to go second and everyone laughs to dissipate the awkwardness. Whew! I seriously broke out in flop sweat just watching. Ouch. Fire Brooke Burke.
So Hines and Kym are up first. They seem to revive pretty much the same routine from a few minutes ago, because why wouldn't you? There are a few new moves, but Hine