Last night was the second competition episode for Dancing With the Stars, this time with the women taking on Latin dancing (the mambo) and the men taking on ballroom (the quickstep). Here's how it went down:

  • Willa Ford's intro included a clip of her with her friend Chuck Lidell, the Ultimate Fighter. Not sure what the point was, but he was making the reality rounds, having led Celebrity Fit Club contestant Erika Eleniak through a workout on Sunday's episode. So Willa and Maksim danced to Sean Paul and looked to be having a great time. Judge Len Goodman: "You can mambo ... that was fantastic. Loved the turns, Maks." Bruno Tonioli: "You are almost too hot to handle, aren't you?" Carrie Ann Inaba: "I love your attack, but sometimes it felt like you got a little out of control and ahead of the music." Score: 23/30.
  • Ashly tried to get partner Harry Hamlin to loosen up by having a session with a "laughter yogi." (Which is yet another thing I've already seen on Celebrity Fit Club.) They did the quick step to "Lust for Life," which to me will always be the song from the cruise commercials. He looked less nervous but still a little uptight. Bruno: "You kept your hold all the way through ... you messed up your footwork a few times, though." Len: "For male celebrities, the hardest part is keeping the hold all the way through the dance, [and you did]." Carrie Ann: "This week you showed us you've got what it takes. Good job!" Score: 21/30.
  • Monique Coleman and her partner Louis took a gondola ride to work on their chemistry. They ended up having to mambo to "Bop to the Top" from High School Musical, which was just a little too much cheese. Plus, it doesn't do much to separate Monique from her high-school persona, which was part of what was hurting their chemistry. Anyway, they danced hard and fast, but there were a few times that seemed slow to me -- it was like the music and the moves didn't quite mesh, which isn't that weird since the song was NOT made for mambo. Carrie Ann: "You've got chemistry and charisma!" Len: "Great mambo dances tonight. Absolutely knockout." Bruno: "You're bringing sexy back big time!" Score: 26/30.
  • Mario Lopez and his partner Karina took on the quick step but jazzed it up a little too much (Mario even did the splits!). It was a blast to watch, but the judges were angry that there wasn't enough quick step in it. Bruno: "That was quick step gone berzerk, almost an impressionistic version of quick step. ... Performance was great." Carrie Ann: "You guys are fabulous, what are you doing? Do the quick step!" Len: "It was entertaining, but it wasn't a quick step at all." Score: 21/30.
  • Shanna Moakler and her partner Jesse had to mambo to Kriss Kross's "Jump." Let me repeat: They had to mambo to KRISS KROSS, a song that takes me back to my freshman year of high school, but not to any thoughts of mamboing. Anyway, she was very concerned that she wouldn't be good enough for her partner, who is a champion in the dance." Despite the freaktastic song choice, they worked it. Len: "That was much, much better. You were right with him the whole way through." Bruno: "The ice is starting to melt. You're still not quite there, but if you work, you will improve." Carrie Ann: "I liked it! I don't know what you're worried about." Score: 22/30.
  • Jerry Springer's partner Kym sustained a knee injury during practice, but she seemed to come back from it well enough for the evening's performance. They did a quick step to "Sing Sing Sing," and as usual, infused it with some humor, including a faux kick to the groin that host Tom Bergeron noted would fit in well on his other show, America's Funniest Home Videos. Bruno: "You covered a lot of mishaps with performance." Carrie Ann: "Good job. Kym, I didn't notice your injury at all." Len: "Fun Fun Fun! But work on the things you can ... technique ... holds." In the waiting-for-scores interview, Samantha Harris asked Jerry if he was worried Kym's injury would affect his showing. He replied: "Yeah, there goes the top prize ... because of her knee!" Heh. Score: 19/30.
  • Vivica A. Fox and her partner did their mambo, and it was good and fast, but had the same issue I noticed with Monique's, that in the middle, it kind of seemed like they weren't going as fast as the music, even though they appeared to be working hard. Len: "It was a bit like a pizza: the top half was hot and spicy, but your leg action was a little doughy." Bruno: "The crust is gooood!" Carrie Ann: "The beginning was weak, but then you did your little roundhouse kick and you worked it. ... You gotta take some ballet, though." Score: 24/30.
  • Joey Lawrence and Edyta danced the quick-step to "Who Could Ask for Anything More?" and did a phenomenal job. They worked in his little tap-dance from when he was on The Tonight Show  when he was 7 or whatever, and it was fun to watch. I'm still finding him kind of creepy, though. The shaved head and the overdone muscles and the veins popping in his forehead, I don't know. But the dancing was good. Carrie: "Last week you were boring. This week, you were ... oh, I almost swore!" Len: "That was without doubt the performance of the night." Bruno: "That was worthy of the golden age of Hollywood." Score: 29/30, including 10s from Bruno and Carrie Ann.
  • Sara Evans' package began with her noting that last week's judging remarks were "the most critical I've ever been judged to my face." I still think they were overly harsh on her. Anyway, she and Tony danced to "Papa Loves Mambo," and it was definitely an improvement. Plus, you could just tell she was having more fun. Len: "It was much, much better than last week. I like the hip action, I like the routine. But you dance too carefully." Carrie Ann: "I almost didn't recognize you. That was a nice, safe mambo. Maybe take a jazz class to accentuate and punctuate." Bruno: "You were in character the whole time." (Then he said something about Kill Billing something, but I didn't follow at all.) Score: 21/30.
  • For Emmitt Smith, the quick step was hard because he's used to leaning forward when he runs, and you have to do the opposite in the quick step. He and Cheryl did the quick step to KT Tunstall, and again, he rocked it. He just looked natural on the floor, not nervous at all, and, unlike some of the other dancers, you can't see him thinking through his every next move. Bruno: "You have natural charisma, natural charm. You are light on your feet. Going to ballet classes might help [posture]." Carrie Ann: "I hope you don't take this the wrong way. Can I call you Twinkle Toes?" Len: "It was still a great performance." Score: 24/30.

So it was another fun week of cheese. I do think they need to find a balance between stage makeup and closeup makeup. What looks great on the dancefloor looks ridiculous in the closeup interviews with Samantha Harris backstage. Jerry obviously got the lowest scores, but I think his fanbase will keep him around another week. Harry might be at risk. We shall see this evening ...

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