Tonight, the couples on Dancing With the Stars will be taking on four new dances -- new to the competition, not just the stars -- the two-step, the bolero, the Charleston and the lambada.
My big question is, who is going to have to do the lambada, and will we viewers survive?
First up are Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunskaya. Their assigned dance is the two-step, and Chuck is glad he doesn't have to wear ruffled sleeves and that they're allowed to do lifts. In the performance, aside from the lifts (which yes, dude is strong) and a few of the turns, it seems like Chuck is just kind of walking around the stage. They're having a blast and entertaining the crowd, but technique is not a strong point here. Head judge Len Goodman says the lifts were really good and that they brought entertainment to the show, but his quality of dance isn't there. Bruno Tonioli says he brings "carnage and mayhem" to everything he does but still managed to look like a two-step. Carrie Ann Inaba says this dance suited him the best of everything he's done so far this season and that he didn't let the dance beat him. Scores: 6-5-6, for a 17/30.
Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas and Mark's fake mustache are the first taking on the Charleston. In the performance, they have a grand old time and get over-the-top wacky with their facial expressions. Melissa's posture still seems a little off to me, but they perform like crazy. Bruno loved it, but I can't understand the first half of what he says, but she has "the role 110 percent." Carrie Ann she needs to take that one on the road: "Breakthrough, breakthrough!" Len says the Charleston is all about the three Es: energy, excitement and entertainment, and, "You ticked all the boxes." Scores: 9-9-10, for a 28/30. Wow!
Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazon have the bolero, which I know literally nothing about. In rehearsal, they want to push the choreography and make it very challenging to go to the next level, but they clash over it a bit. But in the performance, they are amazing. To me, it looks like they've kept up the challenging choreography (they were clashing over whether to make some of it easier). And you know how sometimes, when it's a couple with a male pro, the pro is so good, you end up watching him the whole time? That doesn't happen here. Natalie totally keeps up with Alec. Carrie Ann says it was beautiful and that they went for the difficulty, but she could see a struggle in the movement. Len thought it had a lyrical movement to it and that Alec's choreography had great moments, but he wanted more romance between them. Bruno says she's glad she found her "basic instinct" and looks like Sharon Stone. Then he makes a comment about her swimming arms and dropping the facade and calling Sharon for advice. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.
Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff have to do the lambada, and they want to start out with a gymnastic intro, but they're worried he's not going to make it. He does, but the rest of the dance seems really uncontrolled and kind of awkward and not that entertaining. There are some fabulous turns, but some of the rest of it is just not great. Len says it was a walk on the wild side, that he loves Aaron's enthusiasm. But, he adds, he should have spent more time learning the rhythm and raunchiness of the dance instead of worrying about the back-flip. Bruno says he put everything into that he had, but he missed the character. Also, he points out, Aaron missed the lift. Carrie Ann says Aaron needs to chill out, that he is trying too hard, that he dances well and is a good-looking guy, but because he is trying so hard, it makes it hard to watch and turns people off. YES! I don't think I have ever agreed with a critique more. Scores: 6-6-6, for an 18/30.
Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer take on the two-step and try to work on their chemistry and get Mark to loosen up. They almost seem to have more sexy moves than in the previous lambada, but at the same time, Mark doesn't exactly look like a natural doing the two-step. He is, however, having more fun on the floor, which is good. Bruno says he should have a roll in the hay more because his confidence was a lot better, but his footwork got off for a while. Carrie Ann thanks him for having confidence and being grounded. Len loved the choreography, but what he loved the most was that Mark was actually required to dance and not just walk around the stage. Len does point out, though, some heavy feet. Scores: 8-7-7, for a 22/30.
Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel are the second to take on the Charleston and HOLY MACKEREL LOUIS IS WEARING A LOT OF MAKEUP. OK, sorry about the yelling, I was just surprised. Their song is from Cabaret and Louis is taking inspiration from Broadway for his choreography (and from Joel Grey for the makeup, I now realize). Kelly shares that she won the lead role in Chicago on Broadway but lost it because she couldn't dance, so she's looking for some redemption. The performance is a ton of fun, and has a lot of emoting from them (as in Melissa and Mark's), but there is a bit in the middle where they seem to lose a little steam, but they finish strongly nonetheless. Carrie Ann says watching Kelly dance is like watching a birdy get its wings and learn to fly. Len loves the confidence and that they performed the dance, but he would have liked a tad more swivel. Bruno thought this was a great tribute to some great dancers and a very good performance. Scores: 8-7-8, for a 23/30.
Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough are the second couple taking on the lambada. Derek: "The lambada is a dance with a lot of grinding and a lot of thrusting. And you know what? I have the best job in America. *thumbs up*" I can't lie. I LOL'd. All I can say about this performance is ... oh, so this is what the lambada is supposed to look like. Hope Aaron was taking notes. They have a little trouble with the final move, but overall, it's great. Len says he knows what he wants for tomorrow's encore and the Derek never disappoints with the choreography. Bruno says don't try this at home and that it was like watching animals get physical, bursting with sexual energy. Carrie Ann says, "I hope that the children were in bed." Host Tom Bergeron interrupts: "I bet some of the adults are now." She adds that it worked because the dance is about passionate sex. Then she says the word crotch way too many times. Scores: 9-8-9, for a 26/30.
Donny Osmond is not sure why he pretended to make out with Bruno last week, and neither am I. This week, he and Kym Johnson are dancing the Charleston, which should work with his entertainer persona. Their performance is fun and energetic, but I actually found Melissa and Kelly's dances a little more exciting, personally. Bruno says this showed a showman in his element and that he was in control, but he needs to be a tad sharper with his feet. Carrie Ann says they played to Donny's strengths, but she did notice his little stumble. Len says it was really well done. Scores: 8-8-8, 24/30.
Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova don't want to be in the bottom two again. This week, they're doing the bolero, and they get some help from Tony Dovolani, who was the bolero champion. Tony's tips seem to help -- their chemistry is more believable than it's been this season, but there's still a bit of pro-dancing-around-star syndrome. Carrie Ann says they brought the romance side, but there wasn't enough dancing. Len says it was economic with the movement, but this was the most difficult and needed a lot of control and he assures him he will give him the best scores yet (he hasn't give him more than a 4). Bruno says Michael's dancing is like the economy: "Every week it's supposed to be getting better, but nothing happens." He says he sees the romance, but not the steps. Scores: 5-6-5, 16/30.
Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower get together with Ty Murray to prep for the two-step and find some cowboy attitude. In the performance, Louie is thinking-thinking-thinking and not so much performing. And again, he's another one whose partner is dancing circles around him. Len: "It was just a series of walks and then you stopped and Chelsie did something and then you walked again." Bruno says it was dazed and confused for a two-step. Carrie Ann said there was no musicality and too much shuffling going on. Scores: 5-5-6, for a 16/30.
Mya and Dmitry Chaplin are the last to take on the lambada, and they're hoping to finally please Len. Their lambada is sexy and intricate and definitely seems to fulfill the requirements of the dance, to say the least. But Len's surprised me all season when talking about them, so let's see what he has to say. Bruno says this was an "erotic, exotic rollercoaster" that people would want to ride over and over again. Carrie Ann says: "Mya's on fiyah!" She adds that she brought sophistication and class to the dance. Len says his expectations for them are really high, and the thought he was going to get more from them. Scores: 10-8-10, for a 28/30.
What a weird night. It's kind of hard to compare the lambada and the two-step or the Charleston and the bolero, but here we are.
I think tonight was the women's night. The performances that stood out for me are: Mya, Joanna, Natalie, Melissa and Kelly, not necessarily in that order.
What did you think?