'Dancing With the Stars' results recap: Pom-Pom and Circumstance
"This week: Dancing With the Stars. Next week: Governor of Texas!" So spoke dazzling Mirrorball personification Carson Kressley, who, to the detriment of happy ballrooms everywhere, was deemed the next Season 13 contestant to go-go.
At least he gets to keep the outfits. But was the elimination a surprise? No, not really. Carson’s been hanging out with the bottom-feeders with fellow shoe-lover and professional partner Anna Trebunskaya for a couple weeks now, and it was not clear when, if ever, his ballroom skills would improve. But that’s beside the point. If any contestant were to be crowned a Dapper’s Delight, it would be him. And his parting comments were proof positive of ballroom reality series’ power to do good. Here was this dweeby junior high school kid who's "still afraid of dodgeball, but now I can dance!" "Maybe you’re not the greatest at it," he continued, "but you’ve done something that you’ve never imagined that you’d do." Give him a "C!"
The program started off with a dueling Madonnas medley featuring Troupe members Oksana and Sasha and pros Val and Peta. During the "Like a Virgin" segment, the chaste white skirt came off and the routine was doused in raunch dressing. For the "Like a Prayer" segment, Val started out with a gyrating Peta on the judges’ table, and then cleaned up when the "ballroom church choir" emerged and offered up additional voices. Was this a paean to the ’80s material girl, or a deeper comment on Freud’s Madonna-whore complex? Discuss.
Oh, Kelly Clarkson! The first "American Idol" winner and now music superstar returned to her reality TV roots with bangs to belt out her latest single, "Mr. Know It All" from her latest album "Stronger." And what a delight she was. First of all, she sounds great. Second, she’s such a positive presence. And third, she was just as mesmerized by Tristan and Kym heating it up on the dance floor as I was. "They were hot!" she told Tom afterward. "It was distracting." Not to mention that Kym’s long fringe was barely concealing how little she was actually wearing. But it was nice to see Tristan showing off his stuff, now that we’ve distinguished him from the Troupe. Kelly came back like a trouper to "blow the roof off this place" with a rousing version of "Walk Away." She should totally come back as a contestant on the show! Kelly protested, saying that "it would be a comedy" if she did. Well, as Tom responded, "It works for us" (and isn’t "DWTS" filled with a bunch of hoo-has anyway?).
The tears came with the inspiring tale of Charm Ladonna, the girl who’d braved a rough upbringing in Compton to pursue her dream to dance. It was Madonna who had given Charm her first break. But instead of letting this success go to her head, she used the money she received from tour to pay her way through college. And now she gives back, and teaches at her old elementary school. "They’re excited. It gives them hope," she said. So do stories like yours, Charm. So how could one not be utterly engrossed when she came out to perform? There were cool Matrix-y effects featuring Mark Ballas, Derek Hough and a white screen, but the spotlight was all on Charm, and deservedly so.
Country singers The Band Perry came on to perform "If I Die Young" surrounded by candelight and romance, while Karina Smirnoff and Louis Van Amstel exchanged meaningful glances and leaps and poses between them.
There also was a segment about contestants and their pros, and how this forced partnership can be both beneficial and ball-busting. Carson likened the match to online dating, and then revealed that Anna once took a bath at Carson’s house (scandal!). Hope said that the best teammates aren’t necessarily best friends; they’re people you respect. Nancy Grace’s first thought about partner Tristan was that he "had a lot of tattoos." Carson, as usual, had the best and final word, saying that partners were the "Dolces to your Gabbanas."
How sad to see this shiny, glittery star go. Next week may be all Broadway, but the ballroom’s Great White Way will be a little dimmer with Carson’s absence.
What do you think, ballroom fans? Are you as sad as I am to see Carson’s flash and dash go? Should Hope have gone first? Do you want Kelly Clarkson to be a contestant on the show? "Don’t moan if you don’t phone!"
-- Allyssa Lee
Photos: (top) Anna Trebunskaya and Carson Kressley. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC
(bottom) Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC