'Dancing With the Stars': Ballrooms gone wild
At the top of the pack were Mya and Dmitry Chaplin with their sexy rumba. There’s no denying that Mya’s got the moves, and Dmitry must be thanking his lucky stars that he got paired up with a partner with more than a modicum of talent to utilize his Emmy-nominated choreography skills. (And this way, he can have more time to show the world his smooth-as-a-baby bottom chest.) And their rumba was very sensuous and well-performed. Carrie Ann “I never met a lift I didn’t dock” Inaba was so mesmerized she couldn’t even recall whether or not they did one. Bruno said Mya was “the embodiment of the supreme seduction,” and then placed her in another category altogether when he went on to say “No price is too high for you.” What? Mya’s not really a Lady Marmalade -- she just sang the song. Still, the bedroom moves were enough to earn Mya the first 10s of the season. And while it was very good, I’m not sure it warranted a perfect score. Plus, I kind of agreed with cranky pants Len that there just seemed to be too much in the routine. And that maybe Mya and Dmitry didn’t have THAT great of chemistry. I mean, if you have to force it with candles and rose petals, then maybe it wasn’t really there to begin with, right? Total: 27.
Skyrocketing to second place were Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo. And how cute was the pretend medal ceremony when Alec awarded Natalie with a CD on a chain (wait, does this mean she'll end up with silver?)? Props to Alec’s wife Edyta for giving Natalie pointers on how to make the rumba sexy. First: Eye contact. Second: Make sure your partner’s wife gives you permission to “go all out” with their spouse. Third: Make sure your bed-sheet dress matches your partner’s bed-sheet top. Fourth: Put sparkles all over your face and head, particularly in unconventional places like eyebrows and hairlines. Hey, it made Carrie Ann (who looked great Monday night, by the way) shoot her arms up in the air in victory. “That’s my girl, I knew you had it in you!” the judge rejoiced. “It was gorgeous.” Bruno extolled Natalie for going “stratospheric,” and even stickler Len said it was an “excellent performance” and awarded her a decidedly-uncranky 8. Total: 26.
Holding steady in third were model Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough. Derek started their samba with a swinging entrance, doing his best Tarzan impression onto the ballroom floor and then sliding his way to his partner. Joanna displayed pretty good technique and fluidity with the shoulder shakes and the shadow rolls. She also had a dress that looked like splatter-paint animal print with a sneeze of rhinestones down the middle. While I was distracted by the way she kept on licking her teeth so as to save her pearly whites from the tragic amount of purple lipstick, Bruno commended Joanna's excitement and life. He also pointed out some unsteady footwork, though, and told her she needed to work on her strength -- which, let’s face it, is probably a result of her legs being so thin. Carrie Ann thought it was “super sexy,” and Len appreciated the stationary samba walk and commended their routine for having “quality stamped all over it.” Total: 23.
Just two points behind were Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson. And this is where we dip into the weird stuff.
First, the routine: Donny did an admirable job working his stiff Osmond hips to fairly good measure. Their rumba was less sultry and more sweet, and Donny moved well with Kym and her well-positioned bed sheet. Then, the judging: Len advised that Donny would do better to straighten his legs to improve his hip action, and Bruno dismissed the whole affair as “a little airy fairy.” Donny decided to show Bruno his airy fairy and dip him in a kiss, and then suddenly Bruno and Donny were starring in their own version of Swan Lake, complete with entreaties to “come over to the dark side” and offers to dash off to Bora Bora. “Bruno and I have a relationship now,” announced Donny cheekily backstage. And Samantha Harris, who apparently can’t let an awkward situation occur on the show without her being a part of it, had to take it there with an inappropriate comment of her own when Bruno awarded Donny with a 7: “You should have given him tongue.”But how funny was it when, right before cutting to commercial, we saw a close-up of Karina Smirnoff pouting, and then the camera angle spread out to show her partner, Aaron Carter with his back to her, practicing with Donny Osmond? I have to admit, I still find young Carter a little high-strung for my taste, but I thought he did fairly good job toning down the hamminess in his rumba. Too bad Karina never told him that the overacting can extend all the way out to the fingers. “You’re just flinging them,” complained Len. “Just lacked musicality.” Carrie Ann said he still needed to tone it down a little bit, and Bruno appreciated Aaron’s attack and focus, but found the routine lacking in fluidity. Though Aaron lost his spot atop the leader board, he does get some extra credit for coming up with a nice retort when Samantha asked what he thought of the 21 total. “That’s my age,” he said simply. “You gotta grow.”
Also growing is Louie Vito, blossoming under the direction of same-age partner Chelsie Hightower. Whether it’s due to her effective teaching methods or the very real possibility that he is completely smitten with her, Louie slicked his snowboarder hair back (“he‘s turning into a Latin dancer more and more each week,” said Chelsie proudly), opened up his shirt, and more than convincingly played the part of Louie Vito Suave in the rumba. And while he wasn’t given that much to do, dance-wise, Louie filled in the gaps with a laser-like focus on his dazzling, scantily-clad, hyper flexible partner, creating a chemistry so intense that it had audience members bowled over and asking each other if it was good for them post-routine. “That’s how to play a girl!” exclaimed Bruno. Carrie Ann commended him for giving “good frame,” though buttoned-up Len was disappointed that the routine was “wild” and lacked “finesse.” Was this because Louie didn’t wax his chest? Total: 20.
Also earning a 20 were Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel. Which in actuality was only one point better than what they earned for their error-ridden tango last week, but was a zillion points better in restoring the reality star’s self-esteem. Shiny and bright with what looked like a gold lame dress and sporting a brunette look and flower in hair (which also appeared to be a running theme this evening), Kelly worked against her deflated confidence and got back on with her “Love Game,” looking relaxed and having enough fun with the samba to plant a big one on Louis at the routine’s end. Kelly blamed it on the full moon, but I think Louis’ animalistic shirt was the culprit (well, that and his feral chin scruff). I mean, shiny animal mix print? That thing was so glittery that it was practically alive, and probably emitted some sort of pheromones akin to the sex panther cologne featured on “Anchorman” that rendered him irresistible. The judges applauded her on what she got right, but still said she needed to work on her confidence.
Landing just a point behind were Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas. Mark let loose with the tough love this week, admonishing the actress and mother of two that she really needs to dig down deep, find her focus, and embody the samba. And she did -- if embodying the samba meant wearing a fabulously fringey bright orange dress and sticking a flower in your hair. While Len said “parts were really excellent,” and Bruno said it was an “improvement from last week,” I agree with Carrie Ann that you can still sense the fear, which made the whole routine a little unwieldy. Also unwieldy: the Tiki torches. I also agreed with Tom Bergeron about Mark’s out-to-there hair: “I saw Mark’s hair, and suddenly I want to watch ‘T.J. Hooker.’” Oh, Adrian Zmed, where are you? And what have you done with Mark Ballas? The pro is usually so present and attentive with his partners, but on Monday he was noticeably distracted and spacey. Total: 19.
Next in line were “Iron Chef: America” chairman Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer. And whether it was because he had the inevitable task of going first, because he was distracted by Lacey’s one sleeve with the rhinestoned holes, or because he had to do a seductive bedroom dance in front of his wife, Mark just couldn’t sell his rumba. Len said it “lacked chemistry and warmth” (though he did like that thing on one leg), Bruno didn’t buy the chemistry, and Carrie Ann killed the mood altogether by insisting that the connection was lacking and that it was “kind of uncomfortable to watch.” Ouch. Total: 18.
What should have been uncomfortable to watch but wasn’t was the samba by Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunskaya. Only on a show like this can you get an Ultimate Fighting champion to get a French pedicure and prance on a ballroom floor in a frilly expanse of ruffled sleeves. And seriously, those sleeves were crazy. They were like floaties gone wild. They were also ridiculously distracting, which was no doubt why they were pulled off at the beginning of their routine. Still, what resulted was highly entertaining. “Part of this show is entertainment, and you thoroughly entertained me,” said Len. Still, there was also the dancing to be reckoned with. Bruno likened it to a “samba from "Zombietown" -- but "Zombietown" is a hit!” Total: 17.
Tied with Chuck and Anna were Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. And while the actress displayed a quieter, more focused side during rehearsals, I’m not really sure it came out during their samba performance. Their routine, which reenacted a sweet courtship, was “a hair safe,” decided Carrie Ann. Bruno said Debi was disconnected from her fiery self, and Len summed it up by saying, “it was like cooking…you had all the ingredients, but it lacked the flavor.” Could it also have been because of Debi’s color-block plume of an outfit? Let’s face it: The sparkly fringe bra and arm cuffs, and the rainbow of oddly-sized worms hanging from her skirt was not doing her any favors. Total: 17.
Two points behind them were Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke. Turned out the Hammer was getting nailed by not one, but two bum feet during rehearsals. And the drama of whether or not the injured DeLay would go against both the producers’ and doctor’s wishes and actually perform was drawn out until the very last possible second. But Tom proved himself either an extreme masochist or a trouper, and performed his political dance, set to “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” And I’m glad he did. Otherwise, that candy stripe of a barbershop quartet outfit would have gone to waste, the stars and stripes would not have been given their due, and then the terrorists would have won. And while I admire this man’s gumption to dance through the pain (Len said he wouldn‘t even judge if he had stress fractures on both feet) and his continued lightness of step (Carrie Ann called him “genteel”), I wonder if anything could help me heal from having witnessed the former House majority leader make like a tornado and do a full-on body swivel. Total: 15.
Sadly, NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin had two functional feet and still couldn’t end up besting Tom DeLay. He and partner Anna Demidova delivered a lackluster samba. Is it because Irvin is such a perfectionist that he refuses to even try more difficult moves? Or is Anna just not getting to him? The routine was set to the Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle,” and the same could be said about Michael’s moves: Len called it “a bit disappointing,” Carrie Ann said it was because Michael is dancing “too small,” and Bruno flat-out said he was “going in reverse gear.” Total: 14.
Which makes former Dallas Cowboy a prime candidate for elimination come Tuesday night. What do you think? Will sports fans save the football star and put Tom DeLay out of his misery, or will Debi Mazar get the boot? Did the 10 paddles come out too early? What was with all the sparkle and animal print?
Photo: Mya and Dmitry Chaplin; Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin