"Big Top Jazz"
Before the rehearsal footage, Karina and Apolo are on the ballroom floor with one of those big rings you can dance with (a "Cyr wheel"). If you've never seen such a thing, here's a good example.
So the ring seems mostly to be just for Karina to pose on/around at the beginning of the routine. Apolo is dressed reminiscent of a mime. You know how some people get freaked out by clowns? That's me and mimes. So I'm only watching this with one eye to avoid nightmares later. ¿¿But even with just one eye I can see Karina lose her footing a couple of times. And some really weird "jazz" moves.
Carrie Ann loved the concept, but says it was disjointed and out of sync a lot. She also thought the "dismounts were sloppy." Len says there were a couple of "awkward moments" but then calls Apolo a "fighter." Bruno calls it edgy and surreal, a blend of Cirque du Soleil and A Clockwork Orange - see? the stuff of nightmares. And then they replay Apolo slipping during his entrance as Bruno references it.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8.5; Len: 9; Bruno: 9.5
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
"Espionage Lindy Hop"
The story is that Emmitt's going to be the good guy and Cheryl is the bad guy. They're going for a "cartoon style," which they claim is difficult for Emmitt. I don't understand that, given how genial he is. Their song is "Secret Agent Man" which I heard for a good part of my life as "Secret Asian Man." I never understood why he had to keep being Asian a secret.
There are a lot of lifts in this routine, most of which come off ok, but a couple look a little wobbly.
Len, while liking the concept, lifts, fun, and energy, would have liked a little more Lindy but "the whole package was fantastic." Bruno calls it a "Looney Tunes version of James Bond." And adds, "I don't know what it was, but it was a lot of fun." Carrie Ann gets tongue tied and does a credible Porky Pig without realizing it.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9¿¿Tom says he's on a "lot of cold medicine and even that doesn't explain tonight." Oh, Tom. Some of us are facing this without pharmaceutical help. (Way to be a pro, though, and show up for work anyway.)
Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy
Kelly's really horse during rehearsals - hope she's not sick like Tom. This works surprisingly well,l mostly because the music doesn't sound too far off from flamenco. Also, Val rips off his shirt halfway through. I approve. Whatever it takes to get the vote.
AND THEN SHE RIPS OFF HER DRESS AND HE RIPS OFF HIS PANTS. And his swim trunks are TINY. They finish the dance in a pool of shallow water, which causes some really cool splash effects with their footwork. Also TINY SWIM TRUNKS.
Bruno talks about the flamenco having a very distinct placement and that they didn't have the required precision. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno that it was more Paso Doble than flamenco, but liked the surfer elements. Len says if this dance was poker, they went all in. And he liked it, even if he wanted to see more flamenco.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 8.5
Lowest score of the first round. Val thinks it's bullhockey.
Michael Jackson Round
Melissa & Tony