'Dancing With The Stars' recap: In The Round

jennifer-derek-dwts.jpgThis week, the "Dancing With the Stars" dancers are performing in the round (which they kind of do every week -- it's not like the audience is usually just on one side like in a theater) and they're bringing back the concept of two scores, which was USELESS last season. Seriously, just about everyone got the same score for both performance and technique, so why bother? They should do this earlier in the season when there are more stars that might be good performers with poor technique and vice versa. When they wait until the fourth week, they've usually already weeded out the people who are lacking in one category. Plus, it's not a bad idea, but the execution has been poor thus far.

Because it's acoustic week, everyone is wearing black and white, and the couples are coming out a runway instead of down stairs. It's kind of annoying that Tom and Brooke keep insisting that the audience is closer than ever when people have started and finished by sitting in people's laps before. How much closer could they be? Then there's a clip package about how difference the stage is for this episode. It's a smaller stage, and it's raised, so their footwork will be on display. Good! It should be. I guess it's kind of interesting that the pros will be more challenged. I'm reserving judgment until I see how it plays out.

I like it when they do this -- have the pros demonstrate what the dancers are supposed to look like Dmitry and Chelsie come out first to demonstrate the rumba. They are both beautiful dancers, but they're not even looking at each other, and this dance is supposed to be sex on wheels. I'm not feeling it, and these two have done pretty hot dances before. It looked pretty, though.

Kurt and Anna are up first this week. Kurt's storyline this week is, "I'm married and I'm worried what my wife is going to think about this sexy dance called the rumba." So Kurt's wife comes to visit, and man is she wearing a ton of makeup. And she is super stiff on camera. Anyway, she gives him permission to do the dance, because she understands that he's just playing a role. So that happened. So they start and you guys! Kurt's got hip action! He's actually swirling his hips around like a real dancer! His arm and leg extensions are pretty good too, although he still has pancake hands, and his actions need more fluidity in transition. The biggest thing is that he's kind of gingerly handling Anna when he needs to just grab her and whip her around. But I am really surprised at how well he danced. I feel like he keeps surprising me every week; maybe I just need to accept that he's decent.

Len compliments his hip action but says that his posture went bad on the pivots. And he thought the romantic side of it was pitched appropriately and not over the top. Bruno advises Kurt to flow the movement through his arm, and he thought it wasn't quite raunchy enough. Carrie Ann loved it, and thought Kurt projected to the audience, even if his arm movements weren't great. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 5, Len 5, and Bruno 5 for a total of 15. They watch a clip of Kurt moving his arms, and it really does look like he's poking a hole in a wall or something instead of dancing. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, and Bruno 6 for a total of 19 and an overall total of 34 out of 60. Man, I thought that was underscored. I thought it was pretty good.

Brandy and Maks have faced their share of controversy as Maks complained all week that his teaching methods were misrepresented in their package last week. He probably shouldn't piss off the producers because the first part of their package this week basically has Maks telling Brandy over and over that she's not sexy. So Maks takes her out on a "date" to get her feeling romantic and sexy, with mixed results. I think these two just don't have any chemistry, not even angry chemistry. I don't know why the producers are making Maks looks like a dick though. I mean, he's always kind of a dick, but they usually make it look like he's doing what his partner needs. Who did he piss off? Anyway, their dance starts and it's pretty sexy. I am impressed. Based on that roll-in package, I thought it was going to suck. Plus, they are dancing to "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush and while the band kind of butchers it, it makes me think of that scene in She's Having a Baby where Kevin Bacon breaks down and I'm all emotional about it, and that's transferring to Maks and Brandy. Anyway. They finish with Brandy ripping Maks's shirt off his shoulders and it's pretty hot. So. What do the judges think?

Bruno loves the mood of "soft sensuality," but she needs to watch her hands and be confident with her legs. Carrie Ann says she's been waiting for Brandy to commit and show her passion, and it finally happened. Len thought the technique was good and then my recording craps out. I don't know if it was me or the show that screwed up. Okay, it must have been my local network because they don't refer to it when they come back, so I apologize for not explaining the rest of Len's critique, but I didn't get to see it. [ He thought the performance was a bit "hot and spicy" for his taste. -- Angel] Technical scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 8, and Bruno 7 for a total of 22. They go to the replay of Brandy looking passionate while dancing, and no one has anything interesting to say about it, although I do kind of like going to the replay after the technical scores are announced. That was just a dumb clip to show. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 8, and Bruno 9 for a total of 26 and an overall scores of 48.

It's time for some of the Argentine Tangos, and Tom reminds us that lifts are allowed in this dance. To show us what it's supposed to be like, Anna D. and some dude named Andrew are here to perform an example. I love the tango. It's really grown on me over the seasons. I love anything with complicated footwork, which is why I like the quickstep too.

Rick and Cheryl will be first to show off their tango. This is going to be tough, since so much of the tango is done in hold. Rick is excited to get to do lifts, and Cheryl puts a lot of them in, but once Rick sees the new stage for the week, he's a little nervous because he doesn't want her to go flying into the front row. Okay, their dance starts and I really hate the music. I don't get it. It doesn't sound like tango music at all. I find it distracting the whole time. The performance aspect is okay, but Rick isn't projecting enough dominance for my taste. The lifts are spectacular except for the one near the end where I don't think Cheryl gets up high enough. His footwork is hit or miss; some good, some bad. Overall, kind of a "meh" performance for me.

Carrie Ann thought it felt one-dimensional, and that Rick was too much in his head and too conscious of the stage size. Len thought the lifts were excellent and suited to the dance, and while he started with intensity, he didn't hold it all the way through. Bruno also loved the intensity, but some of his passes were too robotic. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 7, and Bruno 6 for a total of 19. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 7, and Bruno 7 for a total of 20 and an overall score of 39. They must be running long because we don't get to see the tape.

The next couple is Kyle and Lacey, and Kyle got dinged last week for his footwork and technique. Lacey works with him to be sexy in the rumba, but she complains that he's just a boy of 19 and doesn't know from sexy. It's kind of funny (mostly because then they cut to Kyle making a farting noise in rehearsal) but isn't Lacey like 22? Ooh, she's so mature. Anyway, she drills Kyle on technique. Will it pay off? He's better, but in going for technique, I think he lost a little bit of the performance that endeared him to crowds in previous weeks. His hip action is non-existent, but some of his lines look pretty good. Mostly, he looks like he's going to his first strip club and Lacey is giving him a lap dance.

Len admits that the footwork was better, but it was missing the flow that the rumba needs. Bruno thinks Kyle is a natural at performance, but he agrees with Len about the lack of flow. Carrie Ann liked that the tone was a bit more innocent, and while his footwork was better, he needs to work on his arms and upper body. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, and Bruno 6 for a total of 18. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 7, and Bruno 7 for a total of 22 and an overall total of 40.

Oh, dear. The Situation is next. He has really made it about two weeks past his expiration date, hasn't he? To the surprise of no one, The Situation has trouble with the technical aspects, and in the rehearsal footage, his dancing looks atrocious. Karina recognizes this, and decides to go for the performance aspect, recognizing that they will do poorly on technical scores. So she's putting a lot of lifts in, and Karina clearly has no fear as she coaches The Situation on tossing her around in the air. She's going to break her neck. This is scary. Oof, here comes the actual routine. The first half is actually not that bad, but then there comes a point where The Situation just completely forgets to point his toes and it's horrible. And then the camera zooms in on a point where there were clearly supposed to be some kicks and flicks and The Situation just shuffles his feet. Oops. The lifts are pretty awesome, though, and certainly death-defying. I mean, there was little to no dancing in that dance.

Bruno says that there were an incredible amount of mistakes, which took away from his ability to perform. Bruno calls it terrible about a thousand times. Carrie Ann is a little nicer and says that there was improvement but it was pretty bad. Len congratulates Karina and says she's doing a great job with him. The Situation is just laughing. He knows, you guys. These scores are going to be scary. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 4, Len 4, and Bruno 4 for a total of 12. That was generous, honestly. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 5, and Bruno 5 for a total of 16 and an overall total of 28. Ouch. But not undeserved.

This week, Florence and Corky have the rumba. Gross. Not because they're old, but because Corky is grody. Florence got marks off last week for her technique, so Corky pushes her. His version of pushing her is to growl at her like a tiger. And then there's a whole thing where they bring in their kids to tell them if their routine is inappropriate and I hope it was a joke because SO GROSS. FLO GRABBED HIS JUNK! I HATE CORKY! Their dance starts and Florence has zero hip action. She needs to do yoga or something. It's a super careful rumba. And she might want to change her facial expression once in a while. Her footwork is still awful. And then there is grinding. Can I just close my eyes for a bit here?

Carrie Ann is dying laughing and she asks, "What just happened?" Carrie Ann thought it went a little too far and got uncomfortable. Me too, Carrie Ann. Len says that it was better than he expected. Bruno thinks they could have taken it down a notch, and the technique was not great. Here's the overall problem with this couple: Florence thinks Corky is sexy. Yuck. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, and Bruno 5 for a total of 17. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, and Bruno 6 for a total of 18 and an overall total of 35. Overscored. That was a hot mess and in NO WAY was better than Kurt and Anna!

Jennifer and Derek are doing the tango. Jennifer has some injuries in rehearsals, in her foot and her back. Derek wonders if he's pushing her too hard, but decides that it's what she wants, so it needs to happen. Holy shit, you guys. I just watched that whole routine without typing a word, which never happens. So they start out with business, which you know I hate, but then Derek drags Jennifer all the way down the runway onto the floor, lit by a spotlight, and it's amazing. And their whole routine is just sharp. The footwork is impressive and so much more complicated than what anyone has done so far, it's ridiculous. It's nearly flawless, as far as I can tell, and included a lot of actual dancing in addition to the lifts. Derek's choreography fits the music perfectly. Wow.

Len can barely be heard over the crowd, but he has nothing but praise. Bruno calls it "primetime delight," and can't believe the intricacy and the musicality. Carrie Ann loved the precision and the passion. I think we're looking at some tens. I also think the show is running long, because they're really cutting the judges short. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 9, and Bruno 9 for a total of 27. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 10, Len 9, and Bruno 10 for a total of 29 and an overall total of 56. Well deserved.

Poor Bristol has to follow that up. Yikes. Bristol has trouble being sexy and Mark says in an interview that Bristol and the rumba have ZERO in common. He really emphasizes that, and if I were Bristol, that would kind of hurt my feelings. Anyway, he works with her on losing her inhibitions, and then they must know they're in trouble because they trot out her cute kid (who may be named Trot, right? Oh, it's Tripp) to try to engender sympathy votes. I am frightened of what I'm about to see. Okay, so here's the problem. Mark is unable to choreograph a rumba that isn't trashy. I've seen very nice (and highly-scored) rumbas that are beautiful and romantic without being overtly sexual. But this isn't one of them. They're practically making out on the dance floor. Bristol actually does a good job, and doesn't look super uncomfortable, but the whole time I'm thinking about what her abstinence league would think about this dance. Her baggage makes it awkward; if anyone else her age did the same dance, it would be fine. And then gross tiny Mark has to take his gross shirt off. Yuck. He really is Corky's son. Also, Bristol looks like a giant next to him.

Bruno tells her that her technique is clean, but she needs to connect her movements to make it a great performance. Carrie Ann tells her that she creates beautiful pictures, but she's dancing for Mark and not the audience. And she calls Mark out on his distraction. Len wants her to show more conviction but does praise her technique. Technical scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, and Bruno 6 for a total of 18. Ooh, we're going to the clip. And Bristol has her tongue hanging out. She needs to watch that. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 4, Len 5, and Bruno 5 for a total of 14 and an overall score of 32. Aw. I thought it was better than that. And I don't want to like them.

The final couple to dance is Audrina and Tony. They have the tango this week, and I think Audrina's long legs will serve them well. In rehearsal, Audrina has problems dealing with the new stage size. And then she works on her acting but, let's face it, Audrina has no personality so her clip packages are extra boring. Also, they are dancing to "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane. Acoustic. Huh? I don't know if it's the crappy music or what, but Audrina is not good this week. She's kind of stumbling around out there. I think maybe Tony got a little too excited with their scores last week and made the choreography too difficult. It's pretty bad, I think. I don't know what happened.

Carrie Ann says that she enjoyed it, but Audrina has to work on technique involving her ankles. That's specific. Len thought it was clean and clear, but he wasn't transported. Bruno thought the character was okay, and he recognizes that the choreography was difficult, but there were small problems. Hmm. I really thought she looked awkward out there. What do I know? Technical scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8 for a total of 24. Performance scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 7, and Bruno 7 for a total of 22 and an overall score of 46. Eh.

So I thought the two score thing was a little bit more successful this season, in that there was a larger variance between the two scores. And really, people, let The Situation go home. He's done. Although I personally wouldn't mind seeing Florence go home so I don't have to watch Corky anymore. See you tomorrow night!

Scores:

Jennifer and Derek: Technical 27 + Performance 29 = 56
Brandy and Maks: Technical 22 + Performance 26 = 48
Audrina and Tony: Technical 24 + Performance 22 = 46
Kyle and Lacey: Technical 18 + Performance 22 = 40
Rick and Cheryl: Technical 19 + Performance 20 = 39
Florence and Corky: Technical 17 + Performance 18 = 35
Kurt and Anna: Technical 15 + Performance 19 = 34
Bristol and Mark: Technical 18 + Performance 14 = 32
The Situation and Karina: Technical 12 + Performance 16 = 28

Photo credit: ABC