By Diane Trap
For The Baltimore Sun
9:07 AM EDT, March 25, 2014
At the end of last week’s show, Billy Dee Williams fell to the bottom, scoring 15 points, while Charlie White was at the top with 27.
Reality sets in this week, we’re told. The opening number starts with pros and contestants out on the floor. A surprise! Tom can now reveal that there will be a double elimination, two couples out based on last week’s scores, and the eliminations could happen at any time during the competition. Cue shocked looks among the contestants.
Drew and Cheryl are safe! They’ll be dancing the jive right now. The stars were given the opportunity to pick this week’s dances, but during the training video, Drew gives a very casual answer to “What dance would you like to do?” so it may not have been a fully informed decision. They’re dancing to something very Big-Boppery and Drew gets squeals for a bit of twist action. (I’m counting those little hipster goat-beards tonight; Drew has one, and Billy Dee has one...please shave them, they’re stupid.)
Tom says they danced with the energy of someone who knew they were safe. Len likes the mix of steps, but says Drew should work on his footwork. Bruno calls him the consummate stage animal and says he covered his mistakes up beautifully. Carrie Ann wouldn’t have picked Drew for a Jive guy, but says he showed a spring in his step (I’m crediting Drew’s spiffy black-and-white shoes.) Carrie Ann 7; Len 7; Bruno 7.
Next safe couple: Billy Dee and Emma! Tom says the Force is strong with them. Also safe: Meryl and Maks! Danica and Val are safe, too.
Danica and Val are dancing next, the samba. Val says he wants standing ovations. Danica is wearing a gold bikini with fringed swag; I don’t know enough about "The Wonder Years" to know if this is a foul travesty or a dream come true for fans. Val’s shirt is open.
Tom says Danica is the sexiest mathematician he knows, and it’s Val’s birthday today! (Coincidentally, it is also the birthday of your regular recapper, Amy Watts: please wish her well as she turns 39.) Bruno notes some little details for improvement, but says Danica will be a scorcher. Carrie Ann says her samba moves were flawless, but she gets lost a little. Len says she should keep doing and she’s FanTASTico!
Carrie Ann: 8; Len 8; Bruno 8. Danica says she gave Val an exercise roller for his birthday.
Billy Dee and Emma are doing the tango. In the video, Billy Dee says that when he looks in the mirror he sees an old man doing the tango. So do we, Billy Dee, so do we. Emma wants him to have a good time, so she brings in Lindsay and Jenna to be part of the routine. The music is the "Peter Gunn" theme. Emma’s doing the flashy parts and Billy Dee is remembering all steps.
Carrie Ann says he handled the choreography well but needs more content. Len says the tango should be a cactus, but this dance was like ivy, creeping across the floor. Tonight’s faint praise: keep having fun. Bruno says Billy Dee handled the three beauties just as he would have done; when Tom questions this, Bruno says he’s very flexible.
Carrie Ann: 5; Len 5; Bruno 5.
Meryl and Maks are doing swing dance. Maks says he’s taking advantage of Meryl’s size and throwing her around a bit, but he’s way too old for this. Meryl is wearing a spangled bra and a Minnie Mouse skirt over ruffled panties; Maks is wearing a polka dot tie and suspenders. They both have Chuck Taylors. They do the "Oh no! we’re late!" sprint from the dressing table and take a few steps in the skybox before dashing down the stairs to the dance floor. Len tells her “Fly on, girl, you’ll be here for a while!” No kidding (ringer ringer ringer). Bruno says she lost timing a couple of times, and Maks demands to know when so he can fix it; Bruno points out the exact moment and gets booed by the audience. Carrie Ann says she saw it too but is pleased Meryl worked Maks’s butt off. Will he lose a pant size?
Meryl is smiling because THERE IS NO CRY IN THE KISS AND CRY. Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 8. Maks says the important one gave them the 9.
Len brings out Candace and Mark, Amy and Derek and Diana and Henry. Will one of these couples be going home? Probably, since they’re three of the eight couples left to dance. Amy and Derek are safe! Candace and Mark are safe! Diana and Henry...had the lowest combined scores and are going home right now.
Diana wishes she could have given the handsome young man she’s been locking bodies with a couple more weeks on the show. They get to do their dance though, and smooches to the costume department for putting Diana in a short red-spangled dress.
Candace says she’s regretting her decision to do a rhumba, the Dance of Love; Mark tells her to own her hotness. Candace says she’s a Christian, which means she will be Having Input on the costumes (Candace questions his shirtlessness; Mark says she’s worse than Bristol Palin, and she was bad). Their thumba will not be a “sexual” dance, it will be a “sensual, emotional” dance, so there, naughty-minded viewers.
Their dance has plenty of contemporary-style flailing and grimacing. I hate Mark’s hair so much; I’m counting it as an honorary goat-beard. Carrie Ann calls their number too contemporary to be much of a thumba. Len agrees and says Candace’s flail-y arms were a problem, but wards off the boos by saying that, for someone with no dance background, she did well. Bruno says she was lovely to watch but agrees with the other judges.
Scores: 7s all around.
Amy and Derek are doing a swing dance. Amy says her legs get loosened when she snaps them together and it’s pretty funny to think they could fly off when she’s dancing. She’s wearing a silver bustier and black leggings tucked into boots. The routine makes the most of her athleticism and audience members have been seated around a small square of stage to camouflage how little of the floor Derek and Amy are covering; it’s really smart choreography. Derek is dancing to improve their appearance as a couple, without showing off himself.
Len says Amy used every nuance in the music to great effect and Bruno calls her witty. Carrie Ann compliments them on how well their movements are synchronized.
Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8. Derek’s beard covers his entire chin so cannot be included in the goat-beard score.
Charlie and Sharna and James and Peta are both safe; James and Peta are up next. In the video, James suggests they wear less clothing -- perhaps no pants -- but still focus on the technique. It would be difficult to say how Peta could be wearing less in performance. Their routine is fast, but seems unsharp. Bruno compliments James’s abs and his dancing, and Carrie Ann gives him a DAYUM. She says he joins the hall of fame that includes Gilles Marini, but with full-on pants, no tiny towel. (Disagree!) Len says he can’t be accused of holding back and Carrie Ann erupts with a spontaneous woo.
Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Bruno: 8. Abs: They’re what’s for dinner.
In their training video, Sharna says Charlie should show her his arrogance and sends him to Maks for pointers. Charlie says Maks was very inspirational, but in the dance doesn’t get to full-on James Bond caddishness; it’s more like a dream sequence in a teen movie where the really nice boy goes to the prom and wins the cheerleader in a dance battle with the quarterback. He’s a pretty dancer, very focused, but just can’t be a bad boy with the blue eyes and floppy blond hair.
Carrie Ann says Charlie looked like Baryshnikov; Len cuts her off and scolds Charlie for breaking hold. STOP BOOING LEN, PEOPLE. Bruno loves Charlie when he’s bad.
Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 7; Bruno: 9. Tom sings “One of these things is not like the other…” and goes to commercials.
NeNe and Tony, Shawn and Karina, Witney and Cody: three couples are up, one has to go, but the elimination will be announced after they dance. Wait, was it better or worse for Diana that she didn’t get judged?
NeNe and Tony are up first with the jive. It’s like a go-go jive, very '60s, very fun! Can’t help thinking NeNe would have better lines if she danced in heels. Len says he loves her because she’s fun. Bruno says the jive has to be sharper, while Carrie Ann says her arms need to be bigger to express NeNe’s personality. (They are both spot-on.)
Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 7.
Shawn and Karina have the salsa; they’re working on his facial expressions. In the dance, he smiles like his teeth are Vaselined. Bruno says he needs to ignite his hips. Carrie Ann says he’s very authentic when he dances; they both temper their comments with “if you’re still here …” Len says the secret of "Dancing With the Stars" is to get higher scores each week. Easy!
Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 7.
Witney and Cody have the tango. Witney is concerned about keeping the dance traditional; she must be taking notes on Len’s judging. Their costumes have LED lights: Space Tango! Tom calls it "Tron" formal wear. Again, James shows his personality on the stage, not in rehearsal. Carrie Ann says she would like to see him with somebody taller, and Len says the dance got loose in the body, but compliments the inclusion of the Moon Walk in a tango. Bruno likes what he saw.
Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 8.
Who will be eliminated? Let’s drag out the results: NeNe and Tony are safe! Second lowest combined total are … (full 10 seconds of waitzy music) ... Shawn and Karina! Shawn says he made some money for charity, made a friend in Karina and got out of the weather in New York, so it’s been a good month. Maybe the NHL doesn’t have a large audience crossover with "DWTS"?
There’s a three-way tie at the top between Meryl, James and Charlie with 25 points each; Billy Dee is at the bottom with 15. Goat-beards 4, counting the one on the dancer in the troupe.
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