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'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:

Last week, Jennifer Grey garnered 25 points for her dance to the theme song of "Married... With Children". This week, things didn't go so well. (ABC/Adam Larkey) | PHOTOS

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.

Brandy and Maksim got the highest score from the judges last week. (ABC/Adam Larkey)

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.

Len agrees.

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.

By Lisa de Moraes  | October 26, 2010; 2:36 AM ET
Categories:  Dancing With the Stars  
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Posted by: aldojoe26 | October 26, 2010 4:43 AM | Report abuse

It's no big surprise, but DWTS is 'rigged' this year, to have Bristol Palin win because Mama Grizzly used some of her SarahPAC money to buy Bristol's way onto the show.
I hope this is the last year for DWTS. It has zero credibility now.

Posted by: momof20yo | October 26, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Oddly enough, Bristol Palin isn't the worst out there.

None of the guys are looking all that good.

Posted by: postfan1 | October 26, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

No need for politics or livestock on this show. Get rid of of her.

Posted by: JBGJRESQ | October 26, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Last night was the first time I saw Bristol Palin actually dance. For the most part she has two left feet and if she were running loose in the Alaskan forests, her mother might mistake her for an elk.

Posted by: mbrumble | October 26, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

momof20yo, you need to get back on your meds. I am no big fan of Bristol but that was her best dance so far, which I realize isn't saying much. Don't be such a hater.

Posted by: sivwiz | October 26, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Given this is a dance competition, it is very telling to read all of these political comments. An amazing amount of hatred is pouring out of these commenters.

If Bristol's last name were Obama rather than Palin i suspect she would be the darling of the competition no matter how great or horrific her dancing is.

Look, i am sorry things are going so well for you guys but what's the point? Why not leave your hatred at the door when you come in to comment here?

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | October 26, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I love the recaps, absolutely love love love them! Then again, there's SO much material available to ridicule DWTS which is so so so fake.

Posted by: MILWI | October 26, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin's dance was mediocre especially for her age. I could see if it was Florence who is 76, but she did the same steps over and over with no tricks. The scores were unrealistic she should have had 6's. Also this is dancing with the "stars" she is famous because she got pregnant at 17. Calling her a star is really stretching it.

Posted by: mmalewitz | October 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I am sick of the "politically motivated" mindset when looking at this show. Bristol is in the middle, not great but not the worst. Stop being so hard on her because you don't like her Mom. It is soooo obvious.

Posted by: nickgoldblatt | October 26, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

You know that ABC was aiming for the Bristol controversy...bring it on...big bucks for them! Bristol is a young girl who must have a tough time living with a mother like she has. So while I cannot stand her limelight and money seeking mother I kind of feel for her. All in all she is not the best dancer but last night was an improvement. Both Audrey and Bristol are not actresses and painfully unable to emote...if you are not already a good actress at 19 then it takes years, if ever, to overcome your shyness or even to jumpstart your ability to show emotion.

Posted by: nauticaln | October 26, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I have to hand it to Moraes, this was a great writeup of last night's competition.

Spot-on AND entertaining!

Nice work.

Posted by: postfan1 | October 26, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I love this show, but this is by far the worst and most talentless group of people ever assembled. I think the next season should face off the winners and runners up in seasons past. Let's see if Joey Fatone, can upset Drew Lachey? Or Gilles Mariani beat Nicole Scherzinger. Or Shawn Johnson outdance Helios Castaneves.

It is a great show, but they must have been really reaching for celebrities this time. I can't believe others weren't available.

Time for a country music singer, ice hockey, tennis or soccer player, opera star, another head of a corporation, airline pilot, coal miner, oil rigger, steelworker, farmer (real life people too, please)!

Posted by: Girl1 | October 26, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Another suggestion. How about Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak, Vanna White, Jeff Probst? How about Ty Pennington or any of the folks from Extreme Makeover? How about Martha Stewart or a news anchorman?

Posted by: Girl1 | October 26, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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