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'Dancing With the Stars' introduces Insta-Dance: We watch so you don't have to

By Lisa de Moraes

[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?

Maks was not pleased with Carrie Ann's comments about his and Brandy's dance. (ABC/Adam Larkey) | PHOTOS

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:

By Lisa de Moraes  | November 9, 2010; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  Dancing With the Stars  
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Posted by: justinlucas09 | November 9, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

"But in the end, Carrie Ann takes the high road and gives them a 9..."

Carrie Ann had no choice. She already gave the score to the runner. That piece of paper she's always handing off before the critiques is the list of the judge's scores so they can put up the right graphics. I'm glad Maks talked back to her. She's always nitpicking him and his partners. (Maybe she's pissed Maks wouldn't date her or something.)

Posted by: cmj0309 | November 9, 2010 5:28 AM | Report abuse

Kyle’s commitment is paying off in more than improved dancing. He’s noticeably losing weight and toning up, as do many of the stars who participate. Observation over the years: A hard part of learning ballroom dance is developing the muscles to stand up straight if one does not have good posture from the outset. People can learn basic steps in minutes but developing muscles takes time…and the commitment to the physical work required to develop them. One thought on Kyle’s drawn-on abs a show ago—he’s developing his own and is proud of it. Not quite there yet but definitely on the way. I hope he keeps it up after the show. Perhaps Michelle Obama could use him as a positive example for young people.

Posted by: zerodefect01 | November 9, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin is elegant, graceful, talented, & lovely. She has inherited some of her magnificent mother Sarah's star quality.

Posted by: bubbasouth | November 9, 2010 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Ballroom dancing “is” nitpicky at the competitive level. It has its own set of “compulsories”, as does figure skating, and, similar to figure skating, shares some judging subjectiveness, such as regarding musicality or beauty of line. These judges are kind (well, except for Tonioli’s “dog” criticism to Bolton). They do not begin to scratch the surface of the lacks on the parts of the stars with respect to meeting common standards for evaluation, but they do seem to pick what element(s) each star can improve realistically at each week of the show so as to grow. Here’s an observation: On one show, Goodman chastised Bristol for a perceived compulsory error, but then Brandy did the same thing . . . and he said nothing. Perhaps, as with televised sports, those of us watching from our homes benefit from different views than those available to the judges or referees or umpires, and the show needs to institute instant replay. Oh, wait—they do. A second observation: People who seem to do well at grasping ballroom dancing right out of the box (as well as the initiative to work towards perfection, whether or not achieved) often are mathematicians, scientists, musicians and athletes. This season has been slow to develop. Perhaps that’s why we shifted briefly to jumping the shark with a segment seemingly lifted from Funniest Videos.

Posted by: zerodefect01 | November 9, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Good one, bubbasouth.

Posted by: tristesse27 | November 9, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

"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"

Love your commentary but since when did Brandy have a daughter?? I think it was Jennifer who made that comment.

Posted by: workingmomva | November 9, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Love your commentary but since when did Brandy have a daughter?? I think it was Jennifer who made that comment.

Posted by: workingmomva


No, the comment was made by Brandy. I thought it was a strange comment, since NOBODY is on DWTS for their daughter!

I've noticed that there seems to be two tracks of competition on this show:

Dancing, with Jennifer and Brandy.

Entertainment on the Dance floor, with Kyle, Kurt, and Bristol.

While the Entertainment group are sometimes fun to watch, it seems ridiculous that they reach point levels comparable to the Dance track.

While he's entertaining, no way Kyle gets 29/30 points in a Dance competition of any kind.

Posted by: postfan1 | November 9, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer either needs to quit or shut up and dance. I'm really sick and tired of hearing her complain about how her body feels. What did she expect? And Bristol really needs to go home (permanently).

Posted by: mbrumble | November 9, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin is like the obnoxious house guest who showed up, uninvited, and then overstayed her welcome by three months. Her mother's Tea Party buddies keep voting for her, despite her tubby inability to move, keep rhythm, or act (no facial expression but blankness).

Sarah Palin keeps up the banter about elites running Washington, but fails to recognize that with her new-found $millions, and her daughter's guaranteed returs to DWTS, she's one heckuva elitist.

Posted by: shapiromarilyn | November 9, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Its no secret that Carrie Ann and Max can't stand each other. I believe if the cameras were not on and there was not host to intervene then it would have escalated to the point of someone getting cursed out.

Posted by: matrox | November 9, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Anyone notice that Bristol Palin appears to be gaining weight? How can this happen if she is really working hard? Is she really working hard? Even the little fat dude on there is loosing weight. If she is not voted off tonight then as expected there is a lot of robo dialing going on. I guess her moms campaign Robo Dialers come in pretty handy after elections.

Posted by: matrox | November 9, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Maks is a bully. He has bullied every star he's been associated with. Look at the way he was slapping Brandy around at the start of the season until Len and Tom got on him. He tries to bully Carrie Ann too, but she won't let him. Good for her. Shame on him.

Posted by: pat55 | November 9, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I guess I couldn't keep my politics out of DWTS either. Imagine Obama's kids participating. Eeeeeww!

Posted by: jamespmarion | November 9, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I am a HUGE fan of Kyle & Lacey and I tend to think that they do not get enough credit. I, for one, was incredibly impressed with their jive last night.

Now, I would like to make a comment that really has just been on my nerves lately. I am so SICK and TIRED of listening to Jennifer cry and complain EVERY single week. Does anyone else think that this is getting REALLY old? Also, has anyone else picked up on the fact that she is always complaining in practice and yet when it comes time to dance she pulls off all of these moves and does not wince once? Seems fishy to me. She needs to go!

Posted by: megsybby | November 9, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Caution: Unsubstantiated, small-minded, snarky rumor-mongering follows...

"Anyone notice that Bristol Palin appears to be gaining weight? "
Well she is a teen abstinence who is famous for being knocked up. Maybe she is again. Her partner does seem to hang all over her inappropriately, which at first she rebuffed, but who knows? Maybe she finally gave in, being far from home and lonely. Her mother kept squeezing out a whole litter of cubs.

Anyone notice how loopy Jennifer Grey is after her performances? Is it fatigue/adrenaline/endorphins? Or could it be enough pain killers/muscle relaxants to get through the night?

Posted by: MyPostEgo | November 9, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Brandy - like Bristol - has a child. Her daughter is 8.

Posted by: somebody4 | November 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

meh. that was not a freak-out. I've never watched this show, and was kind of hoping for a full-blown fit of some kind.

Posted by: captaincornflake | November 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

It's time for Bristol to go home, but she's done far better than I anticipated. Also, she seems like a much nicer person than her mother.

Posted by: deminohio | November 9, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse


Yes, I've noticed that Bristol's partner seems genuinely fond of her.

Posted by: deminohio | November 9, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I watched for the first time last night, and Bristol Palin really was the worst of the dancers.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | November 9, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I am a black girl and I met a white guy on __...Black White Meet . com...___ recently. What's your idea about interracial marriage? Black White Meet . C om is a dating club for interracial singles to have fun together. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish! I like this club, please show me your idea here.

Posted by: abulaw | November 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Bristol's like Oakland (as characterized by Gertrude Stein):

"There's no there, there."

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 9, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Only a couple weeks left, lets be honest here, Bristol is doing better but not winner material, its all about the dancing and she is and has been low on the totem pole, send her home and let the real dancers move on.

Posted by: marbie4me | November 9, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I know you watch it so we don't have to but this article is way too long.

Posted by: glenmayne | November 9, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@jpmarion: You need never fear that Obama's kids would do DWTS. THEIR mother actually knows something about protecting her cubs.

Posted by: JefComment | November 9, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Even allowing that this is a reality TV show, it bugs me when a Post reporter cannot get simple facts straight. Ms. de Moraes claims, regarding the Insta-Dance music, that "they find out just 20 minutes before performance time". I'm pretty sure it was substantially longer, particularly for the first couples in the rotation. Each couple had the time for the remaining couples' 1st dance, their practice lead-in, criticism/scoring, and commercials - PLUS - the time for earlier couples to perform and be scored for their Insta-Dance. Since the 1st dances intervals were longer than the Insta-Dance intervals, I'm pretty sure Kyle-Lacey had more time than Brandy-Maks; and both the average and minimum time exceeded 20 minutes. I challenge Ms. de Moraes to go to the tape and check.

Posted by: PetersJB | November 9, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

lol...Ditto to glenmayne above. This article is way, way too long.

Posted by: peterpan1 | November 9, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Brandy didn't deserve 9's for that number. There was about 20 seconds of poorly enacted cha cha throughout the dance, then the rest was cheap filler. For someone who's supposed to be a professional singer and dancer she sure doesn't have musicality. And don't get me started on her over-dramatic waltz with the Deputy Dog eyes and sappy poses. Her knees were wobbly and her hands stiff. She should go home tonight.

Posted by: 2426 | November 9, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Carrie-Ann was hating on Brandy-Maks 20 second dance. She needs to stop drinking hater-aid.

Posted by: csamue321 | November 9, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Response to megsybby 9:47 AM:

BOTH Jennifer and Bristol complain every week.

But Jennifer also had recent surgery for cancer in her neck area, and a steel plate put in to stabilize the surgical area. And she has a knee tendon inflammation problem - VERY painful (she's no doubt on some powerful anti-inflammatories, hard on the liver, but no doubt enabling her to soldier on). And she's 50 years old.

Bristol? She waltzed across the RNC stage 2 years ago bulgingly pregnant at the behest of her ambitious mother; since then, she really hasn't done much except temporarily move out of Mom's house and share digs with a live-in boyfriend, try out "acting" on a sitcom, and give about 3 quavering-voice speech to AARPers about teen abstinence. She's 20 years old, less than half Jennifer's age.

Kyle's the same age as Bristol, and HE'S not complaining. In fact, he seems to be becoming a Renaissance Man, growing up before our eyes.

Posted by: kayjay503 | November 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"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."

Heads-up, Lisa de Moraes:

Bristol and her dance partner did not fly to Alaska this past weekend. They flew to "an undisclosed location" (see ) which turned out to be a Palin-extended-family-owned dance studio in Scottsdale AZ.

Her mother was scheduled to give a since-panned-for-its-factual-inaccuracy speech about economics to the Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Convention in Phoenix, AZ November 8.

Posted by: kayjay503 | November 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Response to kayjay503 | November 9, 2010 3:43 PM

I agree that Bristol also complains and I guess I left out that because I think that she's probably going to go home soon.

I feel for the fact that Jennifer has gone through so much but I think it's a little ridiculous that she crys and whines every single week. She knew the hardships coming in to the competition and I wish she would just either leave the competition or stop the "please give me the pity vote" act. As for her being 50, I'm pretty sure that there have been others much older than her (such as Florence) who have not ONCE used the fact that they are "old" as an excuse.

...just my input.

Posted by: megsybby | November 9, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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