Last week, Aaron almost went home and my heart skipped a beat. This week, there aren't any new injuries, but some of the dancers have been struck down by the flu. How will that affect the competition? Once again, Tom doesn't say LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE and I find it really bothers me. I'm a creature of routine. Ooh, I just got my first glimpse of Samantha's hair and I had to pause the DVR for a second and really take it all in. It is some BIG hair, and it looks like she got a perm for the occasion. It reminds me of my brother's high school girlfriend; she had such big hair that we used to make fun of her because, in her school picture, all of her hair wouldn't fit in the frame. And we didn't even live in Texas. But I think Samantha's hair might be bigger.
The couples enter the ballroom and we see that Maks is subbing in for Derek this week, so Derek's obviously the one that was struck down by the flu. I'm interested to see how Maks and Joanna dance together. Louis Van Amstel has on as much makeup as he did last week, and it's kind of freaking me out. He looks like a zombie. Tom and Samantha announce that the couples will be doing either the Argentine tango or the paso doble tonight, as well as the group Hustle. And Maks is subbing for "flu-ridden Derek Hough." The sound is all off and you can barely hear Tom over the audience shrieking. Get on that, technicians.
Natalie and Alec are the first couple to dance tonight. Natalie is happy to hear that her dance this week, paso doble, is more about power than romance. In rehearsals, Natalie has a lot of questions about why she has to do the steps the way that Alec tells her, and he finally has to tell her to just do the steps. Then he works with her on the intimidating attitude she needs for the routine, which he explains can't involve showing her dimples. So did their hard work pay off? I don't think so. There's something really awkward about their routine. First, I think the song ("American Woman") is too funkified for the paso, which doesn't help. And I really don't sense any connection between them; while the paso isn't romantic, it is kind of sexual and aggressive. There's no sense of the bullfight between them. And then beyond that, I don't think there's enough content.
Len tells Natalie that her moves are clean and precise, but she has to work more on the character of the dance and her chemistry with Alec. Bruno agrees with Len, and tells Natalie that she needs conviction and to play out the battle of wills. Carrie Ann points out a lift, which Alec tries to argue, and then gives Natalie some advice on fully extending her arms. Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 8, and Bruno 7. Natalie says she's happy and this was her favorite dance so far.