'Dancing with the Stars' rock week: We watch so you don't have to
Shooting flames, smoke machines, klieg lights, back arching/lip curling guitarist posers -- it's "Dancing with the Stars" first ever Rock 'n' Roll night!
"It may also double as our Halloween show," cracks Tom Bergeron, the best reality competition show host ever.
While we thank the TV gods that Florence Henderson got the hook last week and so cannot perform a rock number with Corky Ballas that would have given us nightmares for weeks, Bergeron sidekick Brooke Burke introduces more of those Top 10 "Dancing with the Stars" performances of all time you have selected:
No. 6 involves Derek Hough doing a Starlight Express paso doble with Joanna Krupa. No. 5: is a steamy paso doble performed by Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy who, a pop-up tells us, often spends Thanksgiving with Mel B at her home. We feel sure that's a euphemism for something else, but we're not sure what.
And so on and so forth, until we get to No. 1: a freestyle cowboy-themed dance performed by Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke.
All of these dances make us long for seasons past.
But we're stuck with this one whose contestants include the supremely mediocre Audrina Patridge, ice princess. Audrina has been nicked by the judges repeatedly for having a blank look on her face during performances of even the most sultry dances. This week, her dance partner, Tony Dovolani, takes her some place where she is instructed to punch objects to which a mask of show judge Bruno Tonioli has been tacked. She punches the Bruno mask, saying, "You're plastic!"
Now that she knows how to look aggressive, she's ready to paso doble while looking ... blank. On the other hand, she's dressed in red. Does that count? And, she's not smiling.
"You're getting on my nerves," judge Len Goodman tells her, speaking for us all.
Bruno begs her to try -- just try -- to picture herself as a "man-eating Spanish beauty," instead of whatever it is she's picturing herself as while dancing. The least interesting reality soap starlet ever?
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba tells Audrina she "lacks intention" while dancing. Hearing that explanation, Audrina looks ... blank. Even so, the judges award her 24 points.
Kyle Massey and partner Lacey Schwimmer keep on sliding toward the bottom of the heap, vote-wise. So this week he actually practices at home, using his brother, Chris, as a stand-in for Lacey. Chris agrees to wear a girl's top, but tells Kyle sternly, "Don't dip me!" As usual, Kyle does not listen.
Nothing says rock week like a Disney star doing the tango while dressed in a gray morning coat that's missing sleeves. But, unlike weeks past when Kyle Massey slid by on his teddy-bear charm, this week he brings an intensity to his performance. He looks like an intense teddy bear. The judges all give him props for effort, especially Len, Kyle's sternest critic, who says, "I'm not going to sack you. I'm going to back you tonight! You worked hard." Kyle gets 23 points.
Jennifer Grey and partner Derek Hough have reconciled after last week's rehearsal tension. "Whatever went down last week ... has definitely made us closer," Jennifer tells the camera. Their paso doble gets off to a Martha Graham-ish start, then Jennifer begins to flap her skirt around manically like she's trying to put out a fire. She slips. He staggers. They wobble to the finish.
"You need to calm down - you're way out of control!" Carrie Ann warns Jennifer, adding, "You're The Chosen One, but something has gone terribly wrong."
"It was like a woman at the edge of a nervous breakdown -- 'Get this skirt off me!'" Bruno screamed. Grey gets a lousy 20 points.
NBA star Rick Fox, turns out, is a bit of a control freak, which is driving his dance partner Cheryl Burke bonkers. "I want you to make my brain stop talking to me!" he implores Cheryl as he writhes around on the floor during rehearsal. She looks like she'd love to, if only she had a blunt instrument. They do a tango, and there was talk that "intensity" was going to be important to this performance. Rick, who has added a gray skunk stripe in his hair and guy-liner to his eyes, is moving around the dance floor like a butler carrying a tray loaded with drinks. If this is Rick being intense, what's he like being controlled? The number ends with a cringe-inducing bit in which he shakes Cheryl till her back teeth rattle. And yet, the judges love it.
"Excellent," Len proclaims.
"It was like a Mohican on the warpath. I thought you were going to scalp her at the end!" Bruno adds.
"Amazing," Carrie Ann announces. Rick wins 24 points.
Bristol Palin tells her dance partner Mark Ballas that last week she forgot her dance steps, while she was dressed in a gorilla suit, because "I never went full out." During Rock Week, however, Palin finds her groove doing a tango while dressed as one of the toy soldiers from "The Nutcracker."
The judges will love her to death.
"Best performance and best technique" of the night, Bruno raves.
"Ridiculously amazing!" Carrie Ann says.
"Last week a chimp - almost a champ!" Len rants.
"I never thought I'd go out there in a gorilla suit, or in my underwear and rumba -- but I'm having such a good time!" Bristol says during her exit interview. She gets a total of 23 points, her personal best.
Dancer Anna Trebunskaya is so concerned about the ability of her partner, uptight NFL star Kurt Warner, to perform a rocker paso doble, she sends for Bret Michaels. "I want to see what you think is rock 'n' roll," Bret tells Kurt. Cue up the rocker clown wigs and costumes. Finally Michaels signs off on a get-up that looks just like him. Kurt is wearing a bandana around his head, a black T-shirt, gold chains -- everything except the blonde mane.
Michaels then shows Kurt how to kiss off a groupie: "Goodbye, I love you. You're the best -- in Cleveland!"
All of this is apropos of nothing, since Kurt is going to perform his paso doble in a modified bullfighter costume. Rock 'n' roll week is very confusing.
At the end of their painful number, Kurt drags Anna across the stage to the judges, who are not impressed.
"It wasn't polished and it didn't come together tonight," Carrie Ann says.
Bruno said Kurt looked like Jackie Chan doing karate. The judges award him a mere 18 points. Members of the audience begin to boo loudly.
"All right! An angry rock mob! Yeah!" raves Bergeron.
The more successful Brandy is in this competition, the more diva-like she becomes. Her ego is expanding so fast it may soon fill all the available space.
This week, she wants us to know she feels she is "blanking" which calls for a good walk-out on her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and a good cry in the hallway.
"It pains me to see you cry," he murmurs as he stands over her. What is this, a Harlequin romance?
"Hopefully I can channel all the emotions into my dance," Brandy assures us.
They do the tango. It's a break-up story. He ends up at her feet. Brandy is overcome.
"Maks, you're my hero. Without a doubt The Dance of the night," Len gushes. Bodice-heaving Brandy looks very annoyed. She was expecting imminent praise and Len makes no mention of her whatsoever. Who does Len think Maks is, Henry Higgins?!
"Is it Brandy or is it Tina Turner in 'Mad Max'?" Bruno asks, just in the nick of time. Bodice-heaving Brandy simpers.
Carrie Ann says Brandy gave her goosebumps. Brandy feigns surprise prettily. The judges shower her with 26 points - the night's highest score.
Brandy remains in "overcome" character after hearing from the judges. As she enters the Post-Mortem Chamber, she high-five's her competition.
"It means everything to me!" she half-weeps to Brooke about being a celebrity on this dance show.
"I had a very emotional week, but Maks helped me through it, and oh my god!"
We fight the rising nausea.
It's time for a Dance Marathon, in which everyone gets out on the dance floor and the judges pick them off, one by one. The couple to last the longest gets the most points added on to their tally from earlier in the night. It's like a disturbing prom night in which we expect Carrie to come out at any moment and drench everyone in blood.
Brandy and Maks somehow emerge with the highest score here, too.
"I have no idea!" Brandy marvels when asked how she pulled it off.
But Maks has a theory about the cause of their high score:
"I finally got out of those leather pants I was in," he speculates.
Lisa de Moraes
| October 26, 2010; 2:36 AM ET
Categories: Dancing With the Stars
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