'Dancing with the Stars' Week 4: We watch so you don't have to
Rumba and tango night on "Dancing with the Stars" also marks the unveiling of a flashy new in-the-round dance floor and the show's first-ever all-acoustical music night -- perfect solutions to two problems that did not exist. As the professional dancers point out during a canned bit at the start of the show, when the music is stripped down and the dance floor is made more intimate and is now raised to the audience eye level, every wrong dance step is going to stand out in a big way. Given that this show is a two-hour orgy of mostly lousy dancing, it's unclear why these changes are a good idea. No problem -- the producers have also made this Point Inflation Week! Each celebrity will be judged twice by pros Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli -- once for technique, once for "performance" -- for a possible 60 points, instead of the usual 30. It's virtually impossible for any celebrity not to do a whole lot better than last week!
"Being a Christian guy, it's definitely a challenge for me to dance intimately with someone who's not my wife," NFL star Kurt Warner says in a taped bit at the top of this week's performance show. No worries, Kurt! Let's bring out your wife, Brenda, to give you on-screen permission. Kurt's dance partner, Anna Trebunskaya, explains to the happy couple that the rumba is a "dance of love," a "whole conversation: Do I want to? How much do I want to?"
"It's exactly our dating life," Brenda tells America. "Do you remember those days? Do you remember when you thought the grass would be greener, and then you wanted me back and then you didn't?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about -- that was so long ago," Kurt responds uncomfortably.
"So you're okay with me and Anna going out there and doing this dance of love?" Kurt asks his wife.
"I am. It's a dance. You're playing a role. ...Do the whole rumba, the way it's meant to be done. Do It!" Brenda instructs him.
"Now that I've got the seal of approval from my wife, I think I can really get into character now, and go out and give a great performance," Kurt tells us, as we see a clip of him doing a very self-conscious dance dip with his wife.
"That's the love I'm talking about -- sell it!" Brenda barks.
Anyway, his dance partner, Anna, has solved the whole "dancing intimately" problem by choreographing a rumba in which Kurt will only waggle his hips when he's about two feet away from her. Mostly he makes like a chair for her to drape herself over -- like a coat. Even so, the judges award Kurt a total of 34 points. See what we mean -- way better than last week!
What is this, Abstinence Week on "DWTS"? Has Bristol Palin been sticking leaflets under their dressing room doors? Pop singer Brandy says in a taped bit, "I don't feel like I'm sexy unless I'm in love, and since I haven't been with anybody in six years, I don't feel so sexy." This is too much information! And yet, it explains a lot. She and her dance partner, Maks Chmerkovskiy, continue their mutual dislike, but they nonetheless go out on a "date," out of the studio -- into another studio -- where Maks begrudgingly points out "we got the flowers, we got the chocolates, we got the candles, we got the wine."
"That's not how you introduce flowers to a girl," Brandy snaps. "You have to act like you like me!"
"These are for you, Brandy," Maks tries again, a smiley grimace pasted on his face.
Their dance opens on Brandy, lying on the floor in a flowing white sexy hospital gown. Are they going to play doctor? She dances, or rather engages in purposeful walking with one big dramatic drop into his arms, and a shirt tug. But there's one thing she's perfected this week: fixed eye contact with Maks that says "Look at my eyes and not my feet: I'm in love!"
For that, the judges grant her 48 points.
"You could actually charge for this show in slo-mo, couldn't you?" show host Tom Bergeron leers after a slo-mo clip of Brandy and Maks clinging to each other during their number.
The Argentinian tango, as we're told it's actually called, is a good dance for NBA star Rick Fox since the woman does all the work and the man just looms. But he does well with the footwork and executes lifts that get progressively more difficult till the last and most trying one: a sort of cement-bag lift which brings her up to his shoulders and down, a move that really should only be attempted by licensed brick masons. The judges festoon him with 39 points.
" 'Dancing with the Stars: The Roman Coliseum Edition'," snips Bergeron, who apparently is not a fan of the new stage.
Somehow BoB's rap tune "Nothin' On You" stretches our understanding of "acoustic" music. But Disney star Kyle Massey has solved his footwork problem by doing less of it. His performance is like hitting the pause button every few seconds. But, hey, we're getting more and more sympathetic toward Kyle as he has to forbear hearing the judges tell him week after week that he's not sexy enough. He's 19 and presumably a mass of surging hormones. Props to him for the self-restraint. This week he gets 40 points, which last week would have been astounding since 30 was the max.
"Never before has our audience been in such danger of being crushed by a falling star," says Bergeron as he continues his anti-stage-in-the-round theme.
Karina Smirnoff, dance partner of "Jersey Shore's" The Situation, wisely decides to choreograph their tango as an acrobatic act. He flips her 360 degrees from a squat position, then swings her around by her arms and legs. Then he tops that off by twirling her up and over his head and down his back. It would have been better danced to a series of drum rolls. In fact, it would have been best had the cast of "Jersey Shore" come out at the end of his dance number and all stood on each others' shoulders with him at the bottom. The judges universally declare his number a "terrible mess," though judge Carrie Ann Inaba welcomes his abs to the show. They grant him 28 points, which seems generous, but that's how Point Inflation Week works.
TV's Mother Brady, aka Florence Henderson, is determined that her rumba with partner Corky Ballas be hot. And she doesn't mean "hot" in the "good Bengay rub when your joints lock up" sense, like you might think. Their performance is like rumba at minuet speed with benefits. They bump and grind; they grab and clutch. How creepy was it? Imagine Jack Nicholson romancing Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give" had that flick been made when Keaton was 20 years older. "What just happened?" judge Inaba wails. "You definitely proved that age has no relation to how sexy and raunchy and dirty you can make a dance ... but I actually got a little uncomfortable and was a little scared of you." Nonetheless, the judges give her 35 points.
Jennifer Grey should, of course, win this thing, being by far the best celebrity dancer, even though some have complained she's a "professional," like Adam Lambert was that season on "American Idol." And look where it got him -- second place and a career killing performance at the "AMA's." Anyhow, Jennifer and partner Derek Hough actually have come to tango for real: authentic music, authentic footwork, authentic costumes -- and a cute opening bit in which each plays a couple of notes on the piano. They're in a competition of their own and are awarded nothing but 9's and the competition's first 10s, for a nearly perfect total of 56 points.
The country's most famous single teen mom, Bristol Palin, acknowledges the career risk to her profession as abstinence advocate this week: "I'm nervous about this one because it's sexy and stuff and I'm not," she says in her taped bit.
Her dance partner Mark Ballas supports her by declaring, "The rumba and Bristol have absolutely zero in common." Then they hit the floor. Apparently she couldn't say "no" to Mark's choreography, which resulted in one of the most overtly sexy numbers of the night. Wearing a man's shirt and showing a lot of leg -- like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" -- the number opens with Bristol lying on the floor, her hair all loose, in a "take me pose," looking -- sexy! He puts his hands on her swiveling hips, then she pulls his shirt off. During her taped bit, Bristol says they performed this number for her adorable baby son and "he loved it," adding that she only wished he was old enough to vote. Mom loved it too -- Hollywood-hating Sarah Palin is back in the studio audience. But the judges chastise Bristol for her "vacant" performance, which is just another way of saying she's 19 and the only "celebrity" who's totally not used to the spotlight. Then they give her 32 points.
"The Hills" least interesting character, Audrina Patridge, and partner Tony Dovolani wrap things up with the Argentinian tango. They're technically fine, but she lacks smolder, instead keeping things at a warm-milk temperature -- like Norwegian tango. Norwegian tango weirdly set to the hard-driving '60s rock standard "Somebody to Love," which is in a whole other speed zone from the tango. The judges give this confusing consomé a score of 46 points, which puts her behind Jennifer and Brandy.
Lisa de Moraes
| October 12, 2010; 2:15 AM ET
Categories: Dancing With the Stars
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