'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Movie Night
What do you get when you cross the “Dancing With the Stars” Mirrorball with the silver screen? Movie scores night, of course! For Week 4, the nine remaining couples danced to "some of the most memorable movie music of all time."
But first, since there weren’t enough dances to fill the two-hour show, the “DWTS” troupe and pros Val Chmerkovskiy, Louis Van Amstel and Peta Murgatroyd showed off their dancing chops to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns and “The Great Escape,” and brought out the light sabers for a routine to John Williams’ “Star Wars” theme that would no doubt have done well in ballrooms long ago in a galaxy far far away. As Tom said, “You can never go wrong with light sabers and spray tanning.”
Not only that, but we got our very first 10 scores of the season! Who dared achieve perfection this early in the season? Here’s how the contestants stacked up:
The honor of the first 10 paddle and the top score of the night went to Ricki Lake, who did a nail-biting tango to Bernard Herrmann’s terrific score to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” Though a lot of the credit had to go to pro partner Derek Hough, who did an extraordinarily good job with the choreography. Ricki looked great in her formal black dress, and the fast-moving tempo brought a nice intensity to the dancing shower scene that was matched by the performance. Though the pièce de résistance was the ingenious use of the menacing “shower curtain,” which turned from white to red after Derek “stabbed” Ricki and punctuated the routine with a deliciously frightening shiver. “You’re like the U.S. Mail: you always deliver,” Len said to Ricki, though he told her to “get a little bit more neck going.” Bruno called the dance “a blockbusting performance worthy of three sequels,” eloquently calling out “the thrill of the chase. The buildup of tensions. The chilling ending. An immaculate tribute to the master of suspense.” Carrie Ann said, simply, that the dance was “brilliant in the ballroom.” And when Ricki and Derek received a 29 out of 30 for their performance, they got a standing ovation right there in the sky box. Good show!
It was nice to see J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff mix things up and tackle some lighter fare after last week’s emotional rumba. After some rehearsal fits and starts, however, Karina brought in the big dogs, a.k.a ballroom pro Nick Kosovich, to show J.R. what a real fox trot should look like. And that master class helped immensely, as the "Pink Panther" routine J.R. and Karina delivered was light and elegant and fun (loved that booty shake in the middle). Yeah, the top hat and pink tails made J.R. look a little like Flavor Flav, but whatever. The Pepto-Bismol-colored dance just made Carrie Ann all sorts of upset, however. Perhaps it’s because she thought she spotted a lift during their heist. “This one fell a little flat for me,” she pooh-poohed. “The humor didn’t quite make it.” Len, thankfully, disagreed. “This was the best male dance of the night,” he declared, with “just enough humor.” Bruno called J.R. “a dancer of great ability and versatility.” Total: 26.
The award for most adorable dance of the night went to Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy for their “Toy Story”-themed fox trot set to the Pixar hit’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Hope wanted the theme to “Rocky,” but this routine was the right amounts of technique and sweetness that, in my eyes, launched the soccer star to the next level in this competition. I loved how cute Hope and Maks were with each other, the big buttons on her shirt, and her starry gaucho pants. Tom called it “the most innocent [Maks had] ever looked.” But the tone was just right. “That was so lovely!” exulted Bruno. “Jessie and Woody back together again, making sweet music and being carried away in the horizon.” Carrie Ann said it was refreshing to see Hope out there having fun. But not even the little boy in the studio audience dressed as Buzz Lightyear could thaw Len’s ice-cold heart, as he took Hope to task for her lack of rehearsal time. “The more you polish in the rehearsal room, the more you shine on the floor, and I don’t think you do that,” he reprimanded. Still, he gave them an 8 for their performance. Total: 24.
Confession time: Rob Kardashian is growing on me. I had dismissed the young brother as an aimless hanger-on who joined the competition because his mother had forced him into it. But his steady improvement, humbled attitude, and hard work in rehearsals with Cheryl Burke this week made me wonder if I’d been too hasty with my judgment of this lesser known Kardashian clansman. But then he said he was a Trojan and I knew my instincts were right. Ha, kidding! Perhaps the shy, uncomfortable (but not nerdy) Rob could turn himself into a super dancer after all. Just not this week. After the leaps and bounds he made during rehearsals, Rob’s tepid “Superman”-themed paso doble was somewhat of a letdown. Carrie Ann liked the steady, strong, fluid way Rob moved, but Len likened Rob’s walking around to “a waiter giving out hors d’oeuvres. Do you want a canapé?” Bruno just told Rob to “believe in yourself more and be more assertive.” And while she’d drastically improved as sky box correspondent this season, shades of old Brooke returned when she tonelessly asked Rob if he’d “ever worked so hard before.” Total: 24.
David Arquette did his best ballroom dancing Harrison Ford impression, donning his fedora, cracking his whip and swinging on a vine for his paso doble with tattered damsel in distress Kym Johnson, set to the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme. And it was like someone had handed the actor the golden idol, because everything came together for an action-packed vine-swinging treat. “David, I loved the way you crack your whip,” purred Bruno. “Tight muscles and tight pants, ready to take us on a wild ride!” Carrie Ann was struck by David’s new bravado. “There’s a new strength, there’s a new charisma, I loved every minute of it,” she said. Len, however, only saw the heart-wrenching Temple of Doom. “No shaping through the body,” he griped. “I never saw the posture. I never saw the tight buttocks.” “Len is upset because Indiana Jones is cooler than James Bond,” Tom declared. Total: 23.
After the terror of seeing Kristin Cavallari sent home, Chynna Phillips wanted to refocus her dancing and show up for her partner. So her mission, should she choose to accept it: dance the tango with Tony Dovolani, set to the theme from “Mission: Impossible.” Remember how in the TV show and the movie, the mission tapes would self-destruct after 10 seconds? Well, unfortunately, so did Chynna’s performance. After Tony was impressively lowered onto the ballroom floor hanging from a wire, Tom Cruise style, Chynna got lost in the dance. “It all went up Swanee River,” said Len. “Unfortunately, there were a lot of mistakes.” Bruno took care to point out Chynna’s hotness, but “you wanted to do it so badly, you lost the thread.” And there was no consoling Chynna, who looked like she was about to crack. So let’s give a big shiny 10 paddle to Carrie Ann for bringing it all back into perspective. “It’s a ballroom competition, it’s supposed to be fun,” the judge said. “It’s not the end of the world!” Tom agreed: “Have you seen the prize you get at the end?” he said. Still, the judges were very generous with their scores. Total: 21.
Compulsive tonguewagger and former troupe member Tristan MacManus was trying to get Nancy Grace to channel the aggression and fire she demonstrates on her talk show for their paso doble, set to Queen’s “Flash Gordon” theme song. And as the bull in this scenario, I thought she showed her horns pretty well, handling her gold skirt with red lining with vigor, and keeping up with the quick movements with dramatic flair. Apparently, she was pretty proud as well, clapping for herself in the end. Two out of three judges, however, did not agree. “I can’t get excited because it’s not exciting,” Len harrumphed. Bruno encouraged Nancy to “become a ballbreaker out there.” Carrie Ann emerged as the voice of reason in this case. “I think we need to give Nancy some more credit. I think she executes her dances really well,” she said. One note. “You need to connect more to your audience.” True that. Total: 21.
Also scoring a 21: Chaz Bono, who performed a paso doble set to the theme of “Rocky.” Lacey Schwimmer wanted to play up the underdog storyline and make it feel like they were in the boxing ring: punch and block, punch and block. She even brought in old friend Richard Simmons, decked out in his very “DWTS”-ian shiny gold mini (“I borrowed this from the Kardashians!”) to shriek out commands during training. It’s hard not to get pumped up when the brass starts blaring Bill Conti’s uplifting score, and Chaz did an admirable job of keeping the energy level up all the way to the top of the great ballroom steps at the end, just like Rocky did with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, arms raised in triumph. Bruno said Chaz embodied “the true spirit of Rocky: No matter how many knocks you take, you keep coming back, you keep fighting, and you keep getting stronger.” It brought both Carrie Ann and proud mama Cher, who was in the audience, to tears. “You make me root for you, just like Rocky Balboa did,” said Carrie Ann. The routine even spurred Len to sing and shill for another reality show on a competing network. “Like Rocky, you’re ‘getting stronger,’” he crooned, calling that line his “little ‘X-Factor’ moment. But while the routine “wasn’t exactly a knockout performance,” Len declared it was Chaz’s “best dance to date.” Total: 21.
That dance also kept Chaz out of last place. This week, the dubious honor of lowest judges' points went to Carson Kressley. Argh. At first, Carson said he was nervous about portraying a pirate for his Viennese waltz set to “The Curse of the Black Pearl” theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” But then he realized that “pirates are guys in tight pants and open shirts looking for jewelry. I think I can handle that.” Ladies and gentlemen, this man is a gem. But in order to get the swashbuckling part of their routine, he and partner Anna Trebunskaya needed some help. Enter: Storm, the strapping swordsman who helped Anna and Carson get their Errol Flynn on, and whom Carson thanked “for wearing a low-buttoned shirt.” Wish the routine was as put together as Carson's witty zingers and his and Anna’s impressive costumes, though (didn’t Anna kind of look like the Little Mermaid with her red hair and sparkly blue bra top?). Carrie Ann was addicted to the “butch” performance, but not so much to the technique. Bruno pitched this as “Pirates of the Caribbean 5: The Revenge of the Gay Blade,” though “sometimes the swordfight turned into a catfight.” Captain Hook Len, however, likened the routine to “childbirth: terrible when it’s happening, and a joy when it’s over.” Ouch. Would he have felt the same way if Carson’s “Len” chest tattoo was the real deal? Still, I can’t wait for Carson’s character to show up on the Disneyland ride, pink pirate flag, sparkly parrot and all. “Land, ho!” Total: 20.
Sadly, the lowly 20 puts our Queer Eye in certain jeopardy come Tuesday night, though I hope viewers keep him in the competition just for sheer entertainment.
What do you think, ballroom fans? Will Carson be chopped from the competition? Was the 10 paddle brought out too soon? Who’s cooler: Indiana Jones or James Bond?
Photo: Karina Smirnoff and J.R. Martinez Credit: Rick Rowell / ABC