Monday, October 21, 2013

'Dancing With the Stars' Week Six: Flailing D-Lister Crazy Dance Night O' Fun!

Whew! Competition is getting fierce on "Dancing With the Stars." Last week, a couple that received a 10 - from the very picky Len Goodman, no less - went home. We're not screwing around anymore. 

See? Not screwing around. No siree.

OK, that's not true. "Dancing With the Stars" is always a little screwy. But it's halfway through the competition, and in addition to the first round of regular old dances there is a second round of IMPROVISED DANCES. They called it the Switchup Challenge. Four couples have to dance on the floor at one time, and the music keeps changing. They have to keep time and interpret the music, but they don't have to actually dance a certain dance. They get tapped out, and the longer they stay in, the more points they get.

Alrighty ... it's time for DANCING!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bill Engvall and Emma Slater were up first with a tango to ... "Cheeseburgers In Paradise"? Erm. OK. That's not really a tango song, but it's a very Bill Engvall kind of dance - a Redneck Tango, as Bill said. And yet, despite being the antithesis of a tango, it was really a very good dnace. There was a lot of passion - because I think that Bill is probably quite passionate about eating cheeseburgers and drinking beer, which is understandable. He was a little stiff, but overall they danced very, very well. Bill knew his steps and performed them well, and the whole dance - with a cute little story about a couple fighting over a cheeseburger - was incredibly fun. Len really liked that there was a lot of content and that it was a sharp tango. Bruno thought they lost the smoothness of the steps, but enjoyed the dance, and Carrie Ann thought the mix of humor and passion was very good. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 7. Total: 23.
  • Elizabeth Berkley & Val Chmerkovskiy were next with a cha-cha to "Put Your Hands on Me." It was a sharp dance, and I felt like Elizabeth was feeling very empowered and sexy in this dance, more than she has any other week. She just plain looked happy to be dancing. She talked a little bit this week about the rough time she went through after she did the critical flop "Showgirls," and I think that doing a really sexy, sassy dance like this was a good thing for her confidence. It was a very, very good dance that was a lot of fun to watch! Bruno thought it was a very sexy, clean, sharp dance. Carrie Ann thought it was "insane," and she praised Elizabeth's confidence. Len called Elizabeth and Val a "formidible partnership," and was impressed with Elizabeth's hips. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 30.
  • Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani danced a quickstep (with some help and moral support in rehearsal from her pal J. Lo.) to "Man Wanted." Once again, Leah showed her ability to act when she dances. Her dance moves were much, much better than what they've been in previous weeks - she seemed much lighter on her feet and much more like she knew her steps - but what she really has is a presence and an acting ability that makes her a lot of fun to watch. She is a gorgeous, confident woman, and she's done a great job. Carrie Ann really enjoyed the dance and the great turnaround they did, but Len was picky about the fact that the dance wasn't in hold enough, but was very impressed with the dance. Bruno thought the dance was very Ginger Rogers and was very impressed with the performance. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 27.
  • Brant Daugherty & Peta Murgatroyd were up next with a tango to "The Night Out." It was a very snappy dance that I loved watching. There was a lot of passion behind it, and I thought the steps looked great. However, Brant had a really weird, hilarious angry look on his face the whole time. I know he was going for a passionate, angry tango face, but he's so pretty that he just sort of looked like a pouting toddler. Still, overall it wa a great dance. Len was impressed that there were no gimmicks, and that it was a very sharp dance. He called it "absolutely corking." Bruno loved to see his range, although he saw a few stumbles. Carrie Ann thought the dance had incredible technique, but that he got off the music a little bit. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 10; Bruno: 9. Total: 28.
  • Amber Riley & Derek Hough danced next with a samba to "Get It Right." Amber and Derek always have a lot of energy in their dance, but when that energy isn't channeled the right way, a dance can feel frantic. That's kind of how I felt about their samba at several points. The music and steps were very, very fast and I felt like Amber was holding on for dear life for a fair chunk of it, and that's just not fun to watch. She never quite settled into a comfortable rhythm and the dance really suffered for it. There were moments I thought she was getting it that were really fun, but then it would fly back off the rails a little bit again. Bruno loved the performance value and thought she did everything perfect. Carrie Ann also loved it, and thought she was "fierce" and that she nailed every move. Len, however, was the party pooper. He thought it was a good routine overall, but he found it kind of repetitive. He thought Amber did a great job, though. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 8; Bruno: 10. Total: 28.
  • Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke were up next with a paso doble to "Conquest." There was a pretty great bit of their pre-dance package that showed Val Chmerkovskiy teaching Jack how to have an angry paso doble face, which has to be hard for someone as incredibly adorable and babyfaced as Jack. Anyway, when he actually danced, Jack did a pretty darn good job. He was a little bit stiff and ploddy, and looked just a tiny bit ridiculous at a few times, but he really did a very good job and I was impressed with his performance. He's never going to be great at that kind of super intense dance, but I was still impressed. Carrie Ann was impressed that he went outside of his box, but he got off his timing because he was too intense. Len was impressed that he came out and did a top-notch paso, but Bruno felt like he was "chasing the music" rather than being on top of the beat. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 8. Total: 25.
  • Snooki & Sasha Farber danced a foxtrot to "Build Me Up Buttercup." She was very very cute and classy, which is something I never quite thought that Snooki could be. They were going for a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers look, and they really got it. Now, was it a foxtrot? Not always - they were out of hold a lot, but when they were in hold, it was a very pretty, flowing dance. Snooki has really surprised me on this show. She has a lot of class, and a great amount of acting ability that I never knew existed. The judges were impressed, although Bruno warned her to keep her lines and her hold right. Carrie Ann thought she is the most improved. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 27. 
  • Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff were up next with a Viennese Waltz to the "Game of Thrones" theme song, telling the story of Khal Drogo and his Khaleesi, Daenerys Targaryen. Corbin was totally nerding out, which was kind of awesome. I gotta admit, I absolutely loved it. It was a snappy, tough and intense dance with a lot of great waltz content, and it did a pertty good job showing the interplay between Khal Drogo and Dany from the show. Success on more than one level! It was probably my favorite dance of the night, because I'm a real dork for "Game of Thrones," and because I loved Corbin in full Khal Drogo drag. (And he does a pretty great Khal Drogo impression, too!) Bruno liked the dance, but didn't like his lines and the lack of flow. Carrie Ann got what they were going for with the raw, sexy dancing and thought the passion worked. Len loved the lyrical movement and the theme, but he did not like that they weren't in the ballroom hold enough for it to be a Viennese Waltz. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 7; Bruno: 8. Total: 23.

Then it was time for the Switchup Dance O' Crazy! Honestly, it was like watching a bunch of celebrities have grand mal seizures on live TV. In short, it was kind of amazing, in a weird and somewhat sad way.

They drew paddles for group breakdowns. Group one was Jack & Cheryl, Corbin & Karina, Bill & Emma and Snooki & Sasha. Group two was Elizabeth & Val, Leah & Tony, Brant & Peta and Amber & Derek. 

  • Group one: First out was Bill & Emma, which was a real shame, because Bill was hilarious and having a great time, and he got tapped out before they danced to "Let's Get It On." Jack & Cheryl were next tapped out, and then Snooki & Sasha were gone. It's not a surprise that Corbin & Karina won, because he has real dance talent and didn't look like he was flailing around trying not to drown.
  • Group two: Leah & Tony were out first, followed by Elizabeth & Val. Both couples really looked like they actually knew what they were doing, but Brant & Peta were tapped out. Amber & Derek ended up winning, which also made sense because Derek seemed to be a very, very good ballroom dance leader. Group two looked a little better than group one, thought it was still pretty much a hilarious mess. 

Then, after that brief detour into Crazytown, it was time for the results. After declaring most of the couples safe, it was down to two of my absolute favorites on the bottom: Bill & Emma and Jack & Cheryl. AND, they ended up not eliminating anybody! Apparently, last week, there was an issue with voting, and so they discarded the viewer votes and let everyone dance again. Normally, I don't like nonelimination rounds, but since my two favorite stars were on the bottom, I'll let it slide. It didn't even feel like a waste of time - the Switchup Dance alone made it worth the entire episode! 

What did you think of tonight's dances? 

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