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'Dancing With the Stars': Cristián de la Fuente cramps up

April 29, 2008 |  8:24 am

As a relative newcomer to "Dancing with the Stars," I sometimes can’t tell at first whether something that seems off in a dance is intentional or not. But even I could tell everything had gone horribly awry in Cristián de la Fuente’s second dance with Cheryl this week. The dance started off typically -- in other words, Cristián moved around fluidly while Cheryl performed all of the fireworks maneuvers -- but about two-thirds of the way in, all kinds of weird errors started happening in rapid succession. Oh, and Cristián was flagrantly rubbing his arm. And then he and Cheryl fell down at the end. Co-host Tom Bergeron made the executive decision to cut to a commercial, and when we returned, we found that Cristián had suffered a “severe muscle cramp,” as diagnosed by the show’s emergency medical technician. The judges said they would judge up until the injury, and this translated into sevens all around. Their first dance -- a Viennese waltz -- had been positively received (though the judges cited a slight lack of energy and “content”) and scored 25/30. The combined score was therefore 46/60, which, I’m afraid, doesn’t bode well for them unless they get a large number of sympathy votes.  They’re in last place –- and by five points. Last we heard, Cristián was off to the hospital, and Tom promised us an update tonight.

While Cristián’s injury was certainly the most dramatic moment of the show, it was hardly the only noteworthy item.

Where to begin? Well, Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark did not end up in first place this week. Although Jason Taylor and Edyta did perform very well and ended up in first place, I still suspected a bit of rigging going on. It kind of seemed as if the judges were scoring each contestant relative to his/her last performance instead of against one another. So while maybe Kristi and Mark weren’t quite as on as they were last week, did their first dance –- a Viennese waltz –- really deserve three points lower than Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony’s first dance, a tango? Also, I think degree of difficulty should count for something, and Kristi’s Viennese waltz involved a move where she spun around about 50 times and went directly into a drop. The judges pointed out that one of those 50 spins was off, which maybe it was, but still. Then again, since Kristi used to spin for a living out there on the ice, maybe we have to demand more from her. She and Mark had a bit of a comeback with a hip-hop version of a cha cha.  Unsurprisingly, judge Len didn’t love the nontraditional choreography, and he gave them an eight, but judges Carrie Ann and Bruno loved the modernization of the cha cha and gave them 10s.  Kristi and Mark’s total score was therefore a 54/60, one point behind Jason and Edyta.

Dwts_7_20080428 The most noteworthy thing about Jason Taylor and Edyta’s performances tonight was that they did a paso doble to the "Monday Night Football" theme. No joke.  And Edyta was wearing what looked to be a belly dancer costume made out of a Miami Dolphins tracksuit. They also performed an excellent, fun quickstep that involved Jason performing an introductory leap over Edyta’s head and a valedictory handstand over her prone body.  The quickstep earned them a 29/30, and the paso doble a 26/30. You amateur mathematicians at home will note that this adds up to a 55/60. Any professional mathematicians will note the same.

In a more predictable week, the following might have been my lead-in: Shannon Elizabeth donned a fake butt to juice up her hip action in the mambo.  But first things first –- Shannon and Derek apologized for their behavior last week. In rehearsal, Derek tries to get Shannon to channel her hostility into passion for the tango, which leads her to make some comment about how he’ll be going home alone tonight. Co-host Samantha Harris didn’t ask about their purported romance this week, but she was wearing another empire-waisted dress, and, really, I have to ask: Is she pregnant again?  I tried to find out online, and I didn’t see anything about another pregnancy, but I did learn that her real name is Samantha Harris Shapiro and that her parents founded a Renaissance fair that continues to exist. Anyway, Shannon and Derek’s first dance, a tango, was one of those dances in which I thought I saw some mistakes, but then the judges didn’t mention them, so I guess I just don’t understand the tango. They scored a 27/30 on that one.  For the mambo, Shannon repeatedly shook her prosthetic derriere repeatedly, causing the judges to comment approvingly about her hip action, but her gawkiness didn’t please them. The dancers received a 24/30, for a total of 51/60.

I think that’s about it for the startling events of the week.  To wrap up, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony performed a tango that was heavy on the acting and well done overall. The judges applaud Marissa’s improvement, and it’s true that they’ve made remarkable progress. They received a 27/30 for the tango. Their rumba was a little too careful. I think I may just not like rumbas. This last weekend, I was at a wedding in which the bride and groom performed a rumba for their first dance, and, frankly, I think they were a little disappointed when I scrawled “6” on a cocktail napkin and held it up at the end. Marissa and Tony got a 25/30 for a total of 52/60.

Mario and Karina, fresh out of the bottom two last week, were determined to work hard on their foxtrot and mambo this week, even though Mario also had to learn a hip-hop routine for his new music video.  During the foxtrot, Karina appeared to be wearing a bra and a satin toga. I thought the dance was very smooth, but the judges thought that Mario lacked control and elegance. Still, they received a 24/30.  Latin dances appear to be more up Mario’s alley, and their mambo was stronger –- no issues with hip action here. They received a 27/30, bringing them to 51/60 for the week.

Tomorrow, Def Leppard is the musical guest, and Jerry Rice and Kenny Mayne will be on for an edition of "Dance Center." Next week is the 100th episode, and there will be former contestants galore, including Mario Lopez, Mel B. and Apolo Anton Ohno.  See you then.

-- Sarah Rogers

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