Tonight's challenge: Simultaneously watch DWTS and the Ravens on Monday Night Football. Yikes! But challenge accepted.
The action in the ballroom was far more impressive than the action on the ballfield, so that's what we'll focus on here. Had penalties been enforced on DWTS there might have been one called when it nearly came to fisticuffs between judge Len Goodman and pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
It all started when Len called Hope Solo's rumba with partner Maks her worst dance of the whole season. (I'd have to agree.)
Nevertheless, Maks and Len got into it when Len mentioned in his criticism that he'd been "in the business for 50 years" and Maks retorted that maybe it's time for him to get out. Maks said the stars work hard and don't deserve "judgemental" comments. Well, Maks, they are in fact judges.
In any case, Maks told host Brooke Burke that he feels the judging is unfairly patting some contestants on the back for "effort" while slamming others, like Hope, for more nit-picky shortcomings like "heel leads" -- or leading steps with the heel versus the toe of the foot.
It was Broadway night on DWTS, so Hope's rumba was set to music from "Rent." Maks even arranged for her to get "sexy" lessons from a trio of the pros from the DWTS troupe. Some of it showed on the dance floor, some of it went out the window. Not a really memorable performance.
The Broadway theme also brought dancing nuns ... knights ... greasers ... and a guest appearance by Carson Kressley, who was booted from the show just last week but returned to serve as creative director for a group performance.
Carson's advice to David Arquette during group dance rehearsal: "If you panic, just do a jazz hand. It's worked for me. Well, no it didn't."
Up first was Rob Kardashian with a jazz-influenced cha-cha to "Walk Like A Man" from "Jersey Boys." In practice, he asks partner Cheryl Burke to teach him to shake his bum like pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. His sisters shrieked like a pack of banshees in the audience.
A tune from "Spamalot" inspired the foxtrot danced by Nancy Grace, decked out in Medieval garb. She asked for more dramatic, difficult choreography from her pro partner Tristan MacManus, then accused him of trying to sabotage her with choreography so challenging she'd mess it up. Um, ok. But Nancy pulled it off, with a piece that was more playful and had more personality than we've seen from Nancy is previous weeks. She got her first 9 from judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who called her dance a "show-stopper."
David Arquette showcased his inner-greaser in a quickstep to "We Go Together" from "Grease." His adorable daughter, Coco, was adorably cheering him on. There were a few sync stumbles between David and his partner, Kym Johnson (who happens to make a convincing Sandy). David always seems on the brink of breaking into hysterics during his interviews, or that could just be his John Travolta impression.
Ricki Lake danced a quickstep to "Luck Be A Lady" from "Guys and Dolls" that made David Arquette's quickstep look like amateur hour. Enough said. "You don't need luck if you've got talent," summed up judge Len Goodman. Len gave her a 9 -- but fellow judges Carrie Ann and Bruno Tonioli gave Ricki 10s. And Ricki revealed that she's danced off 20 pounds since joining the show. Sounds like a good night!
Pro Lacey Schwimmer told her partner Chaz Bono that they would aim for an aggressive, sexy and strong tango to music from "Phantom of the Opera" this week. Dramatic lighting, props and, of course, a mask seemed to liven up this performance since it lacked technical difficulty. Chaz's movements still aren't big or expressive enough, especially for larger-than-life Broadway week. Is it just me, or does Chaz tend to end all of his dances with his arms raised triumphantly?
Closing the show on a high note was a quickstep to "Chicago" rom J.R. Martinez. Seemingly untouchable. I love this guy more each week! And, according to J.R.'s partner Karina Smirnoff, it was the most difficult choreography she's ever attempted on the show. Two 10s (from Carrie Ann and Bruno) for J.R. and Karina.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun