'Dancing With the Stars' Diary: Kendra's tears, Kirstie's shoe and one very handsome violinist
Pardon some extremely uncharacteristic gushing, but that may have been one of the best outings in the 200-plus episode history of "Dancing With the Stars."
I'll admit I was skeptical when I heard the show was tackling a "Classical week." After all, wouldn't a 46-piece orchestra just frighten our amateur stars -- even if it was aided by soprano superstar Katherine Jenkins and hottie violinist David Garrett? I mean, it's only week 4!
But everyone rose to the occasion, even bringing the season's highest-scoring performance to date (big props to Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas!).
Not that there weren't a few boo-boos in there. Kendra Wilkinson fell to the bottom of the pack and was clearly not in the mood to face the judges' criticism. And Kirstie Alley? Well, if it isn't a partner's failing hamstring, it's a noncommittal shoe-strap. (Multiple parties suspect foul play, but more on that in a minute.)
So let's get down to the recap and backstage dispatches from the night -- starting with my somewhat pathetic admission of dance-induced tears...
We didn't see it coming
- It's true. I cried. No, not sob cried, but I became noticeably damp in the eye area during Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff's Waltz. In addition to the fact that I've openly been rooting for the duo since their premiere-stealing jive, the theme from Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet" has a history of prompting an instant drop in my body's testosterone level. It's good to see them back near the top of the leader board.
- The only thing better than seeing our dancers get high scores for an awesome routine? Seeing them get sort-of high scores and then listening the audience totally rage on the judges. The crowd tonight hissed at Len and Bruno's "8"s for Hines Ward and Kym Johnson's dynamite Pasodoble -- while Carrie Ann held her "9" for all to see. It wasn't unlike the scene last season when Derek Hough And Jennifer Grey's performance got boos for not earning any "9"s. (Sarah Palin was not in the audience tonight, so there shouldn't be an argument over why everyone was up in arms.)
- Kirstie, Kirstie, Kirstie... she started this competition on such a high note, and now she's sort of the queen of unfortunate mishaps. Last week's fall? Not her fault. This week's shoe issue? Also out of the realm of normal mistakes. We hate to hold it against her, but it's becoming a trend.
Scores and steps
- Another favorite here at Zap2it, Chelsea and Mark (26), are on top this week with (hey-o!) the highest score of the season so far. I have a separate interview with them about making their risky choreography, but for now, let's just thank the pop culture gods for giving us our first "Harry Potter" number on "DWTS."
- Tied for second this week, there's Hines and Ralph, whose respective Pasodoble and Waltz got them both a 25.
- 23 was the magic number for tied third-placers Petra Nemcova, Romeo and Chris Jericho. They all took on the Paso, a notoriously difficult dance.
- Kirstie and Maks improved one point from their spill week, earning the night's only 22.
- And with his 21, Sugar Ray Leonard is still at the bottom -- but he's improving little by little each week. His Viennese Waltz also makes me think he and partner Anna Trebunskaya should star in a multiracial, May/December remake of "The Sound of Music." Anybody?
- At the bottom, there's Kendra. An "18" in Week 4 is not what anyone wants to hear, but her score wasn't what had her so upset about the show.
- Kendra was beating herself backstage after the taping, but she says it was the way she thinks she may have been perceived during the critique is what has her down. "The unfortunate thing with me tonight, is I let it go too much," she shared with a few members of the press, admitting she had a good cry after she faced the judges. "I didn't mean what I said, but when that word 'elegance' was thrown at me, I took it and I was very defensive. It sucks... Now I'm going to have to send an apology letter to Carrie Ann. I have to send a mass email to all of ABC apologizing for my attitude. I was just not in the mood tonight." (For the record, I think she didn't act out of line at all.)
- As for Kirstie, she says that two weeks in a row of noticeable mistakes is starting to take it's toll. "I don't want to become the mercy f**k," she says, referring (I think) to the sympathy vote. "I want people to vote for me because I'm good... I don't want to be that girl. I want to be that girl who's a good dancer." As for her shoe issue, Kirstie has a simple explanation: "The other girls cut them."
- And then there's Hines. I asked him what he thought of Len dubbing him the season's "most determined" competitor. "It feels good," he says. "I'm in it to win it. I'm sacrificing so much, but when I get into the studio during the week, I'm committed to it." The biggest drawback? Not enough time with his son -- which may have just earned him a few more votes.
So there we have it. Classical week is in the bag, and darn it all if I didn't love every stringy moment of it. But the question remains... what the hell is going to happen tomorrow? The first two eliminations were written in stone the night before, and now we're entering the territory where nobody is really safe. Who do you think is hitting the road?