On tonight's Dancing With the Stars, the contestants have to take on two dances -- one Latin and one ballroom.
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani are doing the tango and the rumba this week. In the intro, Marissa says she is mixing up the two and she's afraid she's going to go out there and "do the rumbango!" The tango is their first performance, and the theatricality of it really suits Marissa. Also, she seems to have grasped the precision of the dance's steps; it's great. Judge Len Goodman says their expectations are still high even though they are doing two dances. He sums up: "Three words: your best dance." Bruno Tonioli says they had "drama, passion and a hint of disdain." Carrie Ann Inaba says something has come out of her and that it was "a wonderful performance" that showed a new side of her. Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.
Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke prepare for the Viennese waltz and the samba. In another weird moment, in the intro, Cheryl says that the Viennese waltz should be like him dancing with his daughter, and then there is footage of him getting a pep talk from his little girl. But for the performance, Cristian and Cheryl dance to "I'll Make Love to You." Um, OK. But back to the dance. It's romantic and flowy (and points to the wardrobe people for Cheryl's dress, which complements their movements). Bruno calls him "South America's Clark Gable" and says they had great movement. Carrie Ann says he's found "new fluidity," but that they lacked just a hair of energy. Len says the dance had a bit of romance, but it lacked content. Scores: 8-8-9, for a 25/30.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas prepare for the Viennese waltz and the cha-cha, with the waltz being their first dance. It's a sweet performance, and the choreography uses Kristi's skating ability to their advantage with some great spins and some moves that really emphasize her lines. Carrie Ann says they really showed a lot of emotion, but she also says that Kristi's turns were off. Shows what I know! Len didn't like the intro and thought it went on for too long. Bruno says he thought it worked and that she played the part very well. He also agrees that the turns were off, though. Scores: 9-8-9, for a 26/30.
Mario and Karina Smirnoff are doing foxtrot and mambo (and he's also learning the choreography for his new music video). Their first dance is the foxtrot, which he was quite worried about, but the practice seems to have paid off, as their dance seems to have the flow and the precision required of it, while still being energetic and snappy. Len says Mario dances with real maturity and accepted the criticism from last week very well. He adds, though, that it wasn't the most elegant performance, but still a nice job. Bruno says he brings youthful vitality to everything he does -- but he says the foxtrot requires a lot of control and he wasn't quite there, but he's always great to watch. Carrie Ann gives him credit for difficult routines and says that he needs to be less loose in the joints for these more controlled dances. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough take on the mambo and tango this week. They plan to channel their aggression from last week into their tango performance, and they seem to accomplish that. There's a lot of anger and passion. Bruno says, "The tango is a bitch of a dance to master, and I'm happy to say, this was fascinating. You were like a silent-movie vamp." Carrie Ann: "Your best dance yet, by far." Len thought it was aggressive and a job well done. Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.
Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska are doing the quickstep and the paso doble. Their quickstep starts with him jumping off the stage over Edyta's head and just gets faster (and perhaps just a tad manic at times) from there. At the end, he grabs Len's papers and throws them all over the floor before flying back over to Edyta, doing a handstand and landing on top of her on the dance floor. Carrie Ann says, "That was great, it was larger than life," and she says everything else was "fantastic." Len says the football guys are are a tenacious bunch, and that with performances like that, he is in the finale. Bruno calls it the performance of the night. Scores: 10-9-10, for a 29/30.
And now, the Latin round:
Marissa and Tony are back with the rumba. And it's romantic and whatnot, but I find it kind of boring. Bruno says the rumba is the woman's dance, and he saw "a woman in full bloom." He says, "it was nice." Carrie Ann says she thought it was beautiful, fluid and great. Len says she acted the part, but she didn't have much hip action. Also, "it was all a tad careful." Scores: 9-8-8, for a 25/30 and a combined 52/60.
Moving right along, Cristian and Cheryl are next with the samba. They get off to a great start, showing why this is the party dance and definitely not lacking in hip action. But toward the end, Cristian pulls a muscle in his arm, and it pretty much stops him in his tracks. He keeps trying to push through it, but he can't quite do it. Tom asks the judges how they handle an injury, and Carrie Ann clarifies that they judge up until the point when the injury occurs. She says he was there through the whole dance for Cheryl. Len says it was brave of him to keep going, and Bruno says he hopes Cristian is coming back. Scores: 7-7-7, 21/30, for a total of 46/60.
Kristi and Mark take on the cha-cha. Their dance is speedy and fun, but it's a weird change of pace after the subdued atmosphere surrounding Cristian's injury. Not for the crowd, though. Len says he liked the middle, but not really the beginning or the end. Bruno says, "Get rid of the cobwebs, Len." He says he loved it. Carrie Ann gives Kristi "three snaps up" for the hip-hop edge to the choreography. (Which, by the way, Len, what did you expect when they were assigned a Rihanna song?) Scores: 10-8-10, for a 28/30 and a total of 54/60.
Mario and Karina return for the mambo. This is much more their style and comfort zone. The performance is exuberant and sexy and fun. Bruno says the devil was in Mario's hips and agrees that this is his "comfort zone." Carrie Ann says they set the place on fire, though she points out one moment where they were out of sync. Len says: "Wild, wacky and wonderful!" (I love when they are succinct like that.) Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30, for a 51/60.
Tom says Cristian has left to go to the hospital to get his arm checked out.
Shannon and Derek then take to the floor for the mambo. They have a lot of fun, especially at the end, when Shannon throws herself on the judges' table and Derek jumps atop the table, too. But it still seems a little off to me. Carrie Ann says she doesn't know what to say -- the attack was fantastic, but some of her lines are still awkward. Len says she has a "bionic bum," but she had some awkward moments. Bruno agrees that she shook her hips like crazy, but she still was kind of gangly at times. Backstage, she reveals to Samantha that she was wearing a fake bum to give her a little extra to work with. Their scores: 24/30, for a total of 51/60.
Jason and Edyta do the paso doble, amusingly enough, to the Monday Night Football theme song. They are wearing Miami Dolphins colors, and he's got the stripes painted under his eyes like in a football game. I actually have to watch the dance twice because I'm so distracted by all the football accoutrements that I couldn't really pay attention to the performance. And it seems pretty good, though I don't particularly think that song lends itself to the paso. (And, also amusingly, the dance ends with Jason throwing his arms up in a "touchdown!" stance.) Len says he came out with attack, and that there was a bit too much posing, "but when you've got a body like yours and mine," you can't help it. Bruno calls Jason master and commander and "a winner." Carrie Ann says it was unconventional but they sold it. But, she also calls them out for a lift. Scores: 9-8-9, for a 26/30 and a total of 55/60.
Well, that was all very dramatic. Hopefully Cristian is OK. What did you think of the evening's dances?