'Dancing With the Stars' Diary: Instant dance-ification silences Kirstie, forces Ralph to rely on fans
Dear "Dancing With the Stars,"
If you don't give me a gimmick, how am I to find an appropriate pun to lead with in my recap?
There was no theme to speak of (or mock) this week, with the top five taking on two dances: a fully rehearsed routine and an "instant" dance -- the challenge coined in Season 11, with the partners knowing only the dance, and not the song, going into show night.
And unlike Season 11, none of the current roster blew the judges away with their last-minute choreography.
But that's not to say there wasn't a lot to write home about during week 8. Chelsea Kane earned the season's first "29," Ralph Macchio had a very disgusting-sounding cyst ruin his chances at staying on another week and Kirstie Alley fell down a whole bunch of times in rehearsals and then swore on live TV.
The low-down on all of that and the cast's backstage reactions, just as soon as we rehash this sucker dance by dance...
- If Len wasn't so down on Mark Ballas -- yeah, I'm saying it too -- Chelsea and her Waltz would have likely walked away with the season's first perfect score. Instead, they have to settle for a 29. And some distracting wave graphics projected on the ballroom floor.
- Hines Ward and Kym Johnson served up a Foxtrot with extra cheese. They earned a 28 for their sugar-sweet dance about a marriage proposal, and Hines turned up the heat in this season's secondary competition: most ill-conceived facial expression.
- Romeo and Chelsie Hightower rebounded from last week's poorly received routine, earning straight 9s (27) for their pleather Tango. Still, I think they lacked the chemistry we've seen in previous routines.
- Wearing a costume from the aborted "Matrix" stage musical, Ralph tried to keep up with Karina Smirnoff during their Viennese Waltz -- despite only having 8 hours of rehearsal time because of his ruptured "Baker's cyst." And though the sheer turtleneck and guyliner probably helped him a little, he still only managed a 25 -- and a somewhat patronizing standing ovation from the skeptical judges.
- And then there's Kirstie. She and Maks managed to get their first 10 of the season with lift-filled and overly sexual Argentine Tango, earning them a season high score of 28.
- Like I said, the second go-around of the instant dance lacked the excitement of Season 11. Chelsea and Hines tied with 26 from the judges (keeping them at the top of the leader board and giving them a cumulative 55 and 54, respectively.)
- Kirstie and Romeo lacked their execution, slipping up a little for 25 each, putting them at 53 and 46 for the night.
- Down at the bottom is poor, cyst-y Ralph. He didn't have a chance to rehears his Cha Cha Cha at all before the show, forcing him to more or less walk Karina through the routine. He earned a 21, bringing his total score to 46 and clearly putting him in the danger zone.
- When getting her critique for her "Instant" Salsa, Kirstie very clearly slipped non-primetime-friendly word. When she spoke to press after the show, she shed some light on why she was bleeped out. "I said s***," she says, clarifying that it was not an F-bomb. "It's family hour, right?"
- "We were told by the show to only focus on one dance," Ralph says, explaining why his injury forced him to nix his instant rehearsal. "There's only so much we could do. My goal was to go out there and perform [the Viennese Waltz]. I got through it, but it was hard... it's up to the fans now to give me the boost to the semifinals."
- Chelsea and Mark broke into a very charming reenactment when we asked them about the early start snafu during their instant Salsa. Then Chelsea explained the awkward moment. "I'm so happy we recovered," she says. "When you're on the stage, and there's the voice over and the band, we couldn't even hear the beat. So I thought 'I'm just going to shimmy and hopefully something would happen. Luckily we were able to pick it up."
The week 8 elimination could really go one of two ways. Sticking with the season's very reasonable precedent, Ralph's low scores will push him out. Or, and I think this is a bit more likely, sympathy will rule in Ralph's favor, ending Romeo's run after two mediocre weeks. Chelsea and Hines are all but guaranteed finale placement at this point, and Kirstie's fan base (and buoyed scores) will carry her to at least the semis.