Break out the pleather and guyliner, ballroom fans. It’s rock week on “Dancing With the Stars”! To kick things off on an appropriately headbanging note KISS(!) came out in full makeup and armor, horns on shoulder pads and all, to kick off the proceedings with their signature hit “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night.” KISS on “Dancing With the Stars” — the coolest get for a ballroom dancing reality show competition ever, or first sign of the apocalypse? Discuss. Sure, they’re out to promote their summer tour with Motley Crue. But Gene Simmons and Co. didn’t just end their appearance with that opening number. The band stayed for much of the rest of the two-hour program, stealing partners up in the sky box and lending some support to dancers midway.
But hey, it’s Rock Week! And the producers really seemed to have fun getting into this week’s theme. As the judges showed, it was time to turn the volume (and the paddles) all the way up to 11.The judges’ table itself outfitted with metal and rivets for the event. Electric guitar solos soared within the Harold Wheeler Band, and the bandleader himself gamely put his rock face-paint on and his tongue out. Brooke Burke-Charvet had hair out to there and caught unsuspecting contestants in it. The “DWTS” Troupe girls stripped down to their skivvies and writhed like rock groupies, while the guys apparently drew the shorter end of the ballroom stick and dressed up in face paint and unitards, as if Marcel Marceau had decided to pursue his rock fantasies. Or, as Tom mentioned, “Mimes Gone Wild.” And in a “This Is Spinal Tap” homage, a tiny Stonehenge floated its way onto the dance floor. “Oh yeah,” confirmed Tom Bergeron. “It’s Stonehenge.” Rock on!
As it turned out, the pyrotechnics, Mimes Gone Wild and the promise of rock delivered more than the actual dances themselves, which were touted with a lot of strum und drang but performed without as much oomph as the songs that inspired them. The scores, also, didn’t reach quite the levels of a well-executed high kick. There was no 11 paddle to be found after the KISS performance. But we did end up with a new leader! Cue the air guitars:
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Watch out, ladies and Bruno, Donald Driver’s bringing out the big guns. And pecs. And tattoos. And not even a crocheted granny sweater could take away any of this Green Bay Packer’s masculinity during his paso doble with Peta Murgatroyd. William Levy, watch out, indeed: there’s another bare-chested hunky dunky man coming down that great ballroom staircase. And “scuse me, while I kiss the sky!” because this paso doble was a psychedelic “Purple Haze” of a ballroom trip. Loved how Donald committed to every last arm extension and move, had his tongue out while lifting Peta’s leg up like a guitar, and left his partner twirling like the arrow on a Twister board with his arms raised at the end. Bruno looked like he wanted to devour the NFL pro. “Great guns, Donald!” the judge bellowed. “Muscular. Masculine. Magnificent.” Carrie Ann went through a litany of adjectives, calling it the most “psychedelic, bizarre, sexy … hot damn! … That was just spectacular.” Len “never thought he’d get excited seeing a man with his shirt off,” and offered to compare tattoos at the show’s end. “No one can accuse you of holding back,” the head judge said. “Without a doubt, your best dance.” And Donald’s best scores! Total: 27 out of 30.