Apparently, the ballroom was "shellshocked" by last week's bottom two. The ballroom needs to toughen up. Tonight is Latin night. I hope that doesn't mean every other dance is a rumba — booooorrrrring. We start with Carlos Santana performing "Evil Ways," though they don't identify the vocalist.
Holy smokes — Maria Menounous has a full-on showgirl headdress on. Applause for her. One of the backup singers in the band is wearing a trench coat - we know this show is live — did he get there late with no time to remove the coat? Is it chilly in the band's corner of the ballroom? I need answers.
Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
Tom refers to Jaleel's "downward spiral" - we're only on week 5 - calm down, Bergeron. Although then they say we're at the halfway point, so panic away, why not? They're doing a samba to what sounds to me like a slowed down version of Gloria Estefan's "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." Kim's costume is kind of cool; she's got a really long strand of fringe that starts on her left shoulder, wraps around her body and even continues, barber-shop-pole-style, all the way down her left leg to her ankle. It's adding to the movement of the dance very nicely. Len says he had good hip action, and Bruno says it was "unstoppable." Carrie Ann has a fishtail braid with a feather accent at the top and it's highly distracting. I have to rewind to hear that she says he's got "attack" and "fire" and tells him to watch his arm when he's out of hold. Up in Kiss'n'Cry, Jaleel makes a joke about getting a spray tan with Maks, but that Maks came out darker.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 8
Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Melissa says she has to avoid getting a headache, per doctor's orders. Melissa's practicing in a bedazzled neck brace, to which Maks adds a sparkly hard hat. Melissa's having a hard time with the idea of showing sexuality in her salsa. Understandable; it's going to be weird to see little Laura Ingalls all sexylike. Maks's shirt is completely unbuttoned, and, y'all, Jaleel might not have been joking - that's some serious spray tan. Melissa looks a little awkward at some points and flat out crazed in other parts - not a lot of grace from her in this routine. Bruno says it was "wild and untamed" and says she needed more control and precision and flails around a lot to demonstrate. Carrie Ann says it's great to see the confidence Melissa's gained over the competition, but adds that she agrees with Bruno about the control. Of all things, she says that Melissa might be taking steps too big for her body. Len enjoyed it overall, but it was uneven. Melissa asked Maks to put in some of the same moves from last week, to "get back on the horse."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 7
Harsh, but fair.
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
In rehearsal, Maria falls literally flat on her face. Derek calls her "baby" A LOT and she turns out to be fine. She comes back in for more rehearsal wrapped in bubble wrap. They start their routine to "The Cup of Life" by Ricky Martin in the crowd, and the giant headdress comes off immediately. Then they start dancing with members of the audience. There's an awkward part in the middle when Maria's doing a backbend onto Derek's knee and he struggles to get his shirt off, and then there's a very stagey liplock and it kind of stops the routine dead. This was good, better than the first two for sure, but there's things to nitpick, especially since these two seem to be capable of some really great stuff. Oh, it was apparently Dr. Drew that Maria was mauling in the audience. Carrie Ann says the kiss was a "sell-out" after saying it might make her an old fuddy-duddy like Len. Len says there were two things revealed: Derek's body and Maria's talent - he wasn't impressed with Derek's body, but he was with Maria's talent. Bruno licks his lips and blows them a kiss and then says, "3 questions: Was it legal? Do you want me to get you a room? Can I join in?' FAMILY HOUR, ABC - sheesh. Coming back in from commercial, we get a little bit of "Oye Como Va" before Brooke asks about the kiss. Since I'm not a junior high student, I refuse to care.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 9 Bruno: 9
Tom non-sequiturs, "Tassels have a lot of bounce, don't they?' See? Straight men have much to gain by watching this show.
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
They show Katherine and Mark having a hard time hearing the results last week. Katherine keeps kicking Mark in his "naughty bits" with her kicks and flicks. Mark puts a white dancer's belt on over his black track pants and Katherine says,"Now I just feel like I've got something to aim for." HA! I guess lifts are allowed in the Argentine Tango because they just got off a spectacular one. Something feels off about the pacing - like it should either be a lot slower or a lot faster. That said, their synchronization is impressive and Katherine definitely has the precision you want in your legs during this dance. Bruno said it was dancing and choreography of the highest order, but that what made him tingle was the perfect pitch of the acting and the storytelling. Carrie Ann says her first lunge was "perfection" and that her legs are the best legs of any contestant ever on the show.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10
I guess Len just doesn't want to give a 10 yet, because he seemed to really like the routine.
Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff
The way Gavin says "uncomfortable hip roll" makes me laugh even while I wonder how many different hats this man owns. We see a long segment of Gavin at a recent concert, interacting with the crowd, exhorting them to vote for him and then he devotes this dance to him. They're doing the samba to Harry Belafonte's " Sweetheart from Venezuela," always a fun song. Gavin seems way more relaxed this week, maybe a week of not being in the bottom two did wonders for his confidence. Oops, spoke too soon, he lost his place there a little bit toward the end. Bruno said he enjoyed it and that Gavin let himself go for it. Carrie Ann is laughing as she says it was lacking a little bit of form and Gavin quips that, "It was more of a struggle than a samba." Len calls it a "sham-ba" and then soaks up the audience boos, before calling the dance a "gallant effort."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 6 Len: 6 Bruno: 7
Back from commercial break to get more Carlos Santana and Unnamed Vocalist doing "Maria, Maria" from "Supernatural." Although we do get to see Louis van Amstel and Anna Trebunskaya dancing together which is always fun. Let's hear it for the veterans.
William Levy & Cheryl Burke
William had their lowest score of the season last week. They'll be doing Argentine Tango, and we see a lot rehearsal footage, but no footage of the ankle injury Tom mentioned in their introduction. What gives? William says he doesn't want to, as the only Latino, go home on Latin Week. They're off and dancing to "Buttons" by The Pussycat Dolls. His ankle's holding up well enough to lift Cheryl up and spin her around while continuing to walk across the floor, so he must be somewhat ok. Cheryl does the "Jump up and wrap your legs around his waist" lift/spin that will make her the envy of many, many women and not a few men. Carrie Ann got overheated watching them and needs several moments to gather herself before calling him the "Latin dancing James Bond." Len says well done and Bruno says throbbing with so much flourish he might need an ibuprofen for his tongue. He also looks at William like a redneck eyes a corndog at the state fair. Apparently, an MRI revealed a torn ligament and he should really be resting his ankle.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10
Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus
Tristan tells Gladys her reward for getting through last week was to dance this week. I could listen to Tristan talk for their entire rehearsal footage. Especially if he does that while Gladys smiles at him. This is my happy place. I'm undecided about such a short hemline on a woman Gladys's age, but if she's ok with it, who am I to judge? And, hey, they're dancing to "Fever" but sung in Spanish. Fun. Well, that was certainly a lot of fun to watch; let's hear what the judges have to say. Len calls it "simple but effective." Bruno says she plays to her audience with an incredible stage presence. Carrie Ann says she loved it, but it had mistakes. Gladys would love to come back next week for "Motown week."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 8
Given Gladys's strong showing last week vote-wise, with a weaker score, I'll be shocked if that score from the judges, putting her ahead of both Melissa and Gavin so far tonight, doesn't keep her out of the bottom.
Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
Roshon is trying to get some of William's mojo, by dressing like him, and putting a poster of him up in the studio, and then gets some salsa tips in the "DWTS" kitchen. The dance floor has been transformed into some sort of prom with a "tropical paradise" theme. Roshon's certainly got the energy for a salsa; he's so fast and his ultra-thin legs remind of the pros you see doing well in Latin competitions. Bruno calls his timing "unbelievable" and Carrie Ann says it was a "mishmosh of beautiful dancing." Oooo-kay. Len wants him to settle down just a bit.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 9
More Santana — which is fine and all, but it seems like the judges have been cutting their comments short as the show's gone on, so maybe there wasn't quite enough time for the Santana Super Hits Show. Or the rehearsal footage segments should have been shortened? Get on it, producers.
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
Peta tells Donald this week is going to get even harder with the Argentine tango. Donald says he's having to twist like a pretzel and spin until he's dizzy. They show Donald watching footage of last week's routine after he says he treats each dance like a football game. And then he starts complimenting Peta like he's the pro and she's the star. He's so likeable it's immeasurable. The story for their dance starts with a poker game. And hoo-boy, is this one sexy routine, probably more so than either of the Argentine tangos we already saw. Peta's really choreographed to take advantage of Donald's athleticism and strength, with some amazing lifts. I know I'm impressed enough that I'll be rewatching it at least twice more tonight. Carrie Ann compliments their lifts, but also the moves getting in and out of the lifts. Len loved the lifts, but was "eh" on the rest of it. Bruno said the buildup was amazing but then got a little off track. Peta's dress is almost more revealing than one of Edyta's old bikini/bed sheet get ups. Click here for this week's obligatory "Why straight men should watch this show" picture.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 8 Bruno: 9
I liked this routine way better than William's.
Top scores: William & Cheryl and Katherine & Mark. Bottom scores: Melissa & Maks and Gavin & Karina. I'd be shocked if those bottom scores aren't the bottom two tomorrow — tune in for this new dance duel twist tomorrow night.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun