'Dancing With the Stars' introduces Insta-Dance: We watch so you don't have to
[This blog post has been updated.]
Insta-Dance was an insta-hit on "Dancing with the Stars" Monday night, producing some of the most fun moments of the season. Turns out, a little spontaneity goes a long way on a reality TV show -- culminating in the spontaneous combustion of professional dancer Maks Chmerkovskiy. (Click through to see video.)
The show's new feature, however, seems to have sapped the spontaneity out of the producers. How many times do we need to watch Steve-O from the "Jackass" franchise blow that hi-larious air horn and shimmy in the nude in an effort to scare celebrity competitor Kyle Massey during rehearsal? Isn't one shot of his blacked-out groin enough?
It all started, what seems now like a lifetime ago, when the five remaining celebs danced their usual rehearsed performances.
Disney star Kyle Massey and his professional dance partner Lacey Schwimmer do the Viennese waltz. Kyle was admonished last week to work on his footwork, and this week he's looking a lot better, but it's not his footwork -- it's his posture. Did he add a truss? Judge Bruno Tonioli says he's become a sophisticated young man. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba says her Kyle-crush is back. Judge Len Goodman calls him a "gorgeous orchid." The judges award Kyle 27 points.
Time for a Very Special November sweeps episode of "Jennifer Grey's Anatomy" in which her Dr. Not McSteamy comes to the dance studio to warn the former film star that her tendon is tearing and that continuing on the competition is risky. Did you know that if you're a celebrity your doctor will still make house calls?
So much for medical advice. Here comes Jennifer's dad, musical comedy great Joel Grey, to tell her he thinks it's just fine for her to continue, because "they're watching you every weekend" and "everywhere I go on the street people come and talk to me about you -- it's pretty good!"
"My dad reminded me of who I am and how loved I am," Jennifer gushes. "I'm going to push through, 'cause Dad taught me The Show Must Go On!"
Hooray for stage parents!
She and dance partner Derek Hough do a great quickstep. The judges shower them with 27 points.
Former NFL great Kurt Warner and his partner Anna Trebunskaya are here tonight to do a waltz -- and look, there's Kurt's wife, keeping a close eye on things, as usual. Even so, Kurt is loosening up in this competition, though there's still an "after you, mon-soor" quality to his every super-careful dance move. Carrie Ann says he's like "a Ken Doll for adults." The judges hand him 24 points.
Teen activist and celebrity-in-training Bristol Palin is super homesick, sooooo it's back to Alaska to visit mom, dad and son -- and once again we get to see Sarah Palin's other role as hip TV mom.
"Okay, we're gonna show you what we have so far," Bristol tells Sarah and Todd of her Argentine tango.
"It amazes me, Bristol, how you learn this," Sarah gushes.
"But the beginning is kinda scandalous," Bristol giggles.
Sarah giggles too, but nervously. "R-r-r-eally?" she asks. "Is it, like, lap dancin' scandalous?"
"No, it's not," insists Bristol's dance partner, Mark Ballas.
"Pretty much!" Bristol giggles.
"I'm outta here!" Todd says.
"I'm always telling Bristol to be confident! Just have fun!" Sarah tells the camera, adding, "Todd and I, and grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles -- we are so proud of Bristol!"
"Just dominate!" Sarah barks at Bristol. "Take over!"
We are talking about dancing here, right?
"That is really good. Hard workers. Good team," Sarah pronounces when they're done rehearsing.
Bristol's performance on the show is one of her best. The judges award her 24 points.
Finally, Brandy and partner, Maks Chmerkovskiy, do a waltz. More accurately, Brandy poses her way through a waltz, then, when the dance is over, dressed in her flowing white dress, she becomes tremulous just to show us how deeply she's in character -- like a Disney princess who's about to marry the handsome prince only he's just turned into a frog.
The judges love the melodrama, but Carrie Ann takes issue with Brandy's neck during the dance. Show host Tom Bergeron calls that crack "Gloria Swanson creepy" - demonstrating yet again why he is the very best reality-competition series judge ever. Sorry, Seacrest.
Brandy walks away with 29 points and tells Bergeron sidekick Brooke Burke - this week dressed in melted chocolate - that she's doing all this for her daughter and "the fans that have been with me through thick and thin." Talk about Gloria Swanson creepy!
Then, they all move on to the show's first ever Insta-Dance round, and things start to get really weird.
Contestants know what dance they're going to do and have been able to rehearse steps, but they find out just 20 minutes before performance time what is the tune to which they will dance.
Kyle and partner Lacey are shown in a taped bit working on a jive. That's when Steve-O shows up to try to distract him with the air horn and nudity. So far as we're concerned, on this show, no nude is good nude.
Kyle's jive is maybe his best performance ever. The audience loves it and the judges love it. "This was top of the league for entertainment value! I loved every second of it!" Bruno raves, while Carrie Ann pronounces it "by far the most fun I've had as a viewer and a judge this whole season!" They give Kyle 29 points for a total of 56.
Up next in the Insta-Dance round: Jennifer and Derek doing a slow moving rumba. Jennifer may have knee problems but she can place her leg on Derek's shoulder like nobody's business. Bruno calls it "flawless" and the other two are equally effusive, and Jennifer gets the season's first perfect score -- 30, for a total of 57 points tonight.
Kurt and Anna do the cha cha cha, and it's Kurt's best performance this season as well. Carrie Ann says she's never seen him dance with so much charisma, adding that he has a "new sort of sex appeal." Carrie Ann's careful to then immediately turn to Kurt's wife in the audience and add, "forgive me!" All three judges give him 8s for a total of 48 points this evening, which disappoints the former quarterback.
Hang on to your seats. Bristol and Mark are about to do the samba.
"My biggest fear for the samba is getting off beat, because once you're off beat, you're [expletive]," Bristol tells the camera.
Bristol's samba features long bouts of her signature shoulder shimmy, which seems to have a calming effect on her, or at least passes precious seconds of dance time pleasantly. "Bristol, you can shake it," Bruno acknowledges, but points out there were times when she lost the rhythm. The other judges agree. Mark steps in and says chivalrously that he's the one who lost the rhythm. They score 23 more points for a grand total of 47. Once again, Bristol is at the bottom of the point heap, but we're guessing that, once again, the viewing voters will pull her back out. It's like a "DWTS" version of re-districting.
Last to perform in the Insta-Dancing round: Brandy and Maks. They give an energetic performance that starts with some sitting-down play acting and, when it's over, Carrie Ann says she's "shocked" it took them so long to get out on to the dance floor. This is when Maks goes berserk and begins to talk over Carrie Ann, getting louder and more aggressive by the minute.
"Relax!" he orders Carrie Ann. He taunts her: "Guess we'll get a 7. Let's get that 7!"
As Carrie Ann tries to continue with her critique, Maks snaps, "I take the blame."
"I'm glad you do," Carrie Ann responds pluckily.
Note to Maks: You're the "Dancing with" part, not the "Star" part of the show. While all this is happening, Brandy's looking shocked. It's supposed to be all about her. But in the end, Carrie Ann takes the high road and gives them a 9, as does Len. Bruno gives them a 10 for a night's total of 57 - tied with Jennifer Grey for the top spot.
Here's Insta-Dance taking its toll on Maks Chmerkovskiy:
Lisa de Moraes
| November 9, 2010; 8:10 AM ET
Categories: Dancing With the Stars
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