Tonight on Dancing With the Stars, the couples have to tell a story with their dance (as per a challenge issued by head judge Len Goodman).
The dance styles in play are the waltz, quickstep and the paso doble.
The first couple on the floor is Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya, with a quickstep. Their story has them portraying a husband and wife who are upset with one another because she's running late. Their music is from Chicago, so they make it very theatrical. Their feet look pretty good to me -- at least they look fast -- and it's very entertaining, though I have to say I don't think Evan is the most natural slapstick actor ever. Len Goodman loved the story and found that it "cheered me up." He does say, though, that Evan needs to work on his footwork. Bruno Tonioli says he needs to watch his feet and posture, but he loved it. Carrie Ann Inaba says it was fantastic stuff. In the "Celebriquarium," Evan reveals that he has a couple of broken toes. Ow! Scores; 9-8-9, for a 26/30.
Buzz Aldrin and Ashly Costa are doing a waltz that tells of a father and daughter being separated by patriotic duty and then reunited. In the performance, Ashly literally dances circles around Buzz. He is a sweet man, a historic icon, but he isn't really dancing that much. Bruno says his patriotic return was like the return of the king, but the movement wasn't really there. Carrie Ann says she doesn't know if his dancing improved, but his storytelling and performance was better. Len liked the innocent charm, but the technique was poor and the routine was oversimplified. Scores: 5-4-4, for a 13/30.
Jake Pavelka and Chelsie Hightower are doing a quickstep in which Jake is an archaeologist and Chelsie is Cleopatra released from a tomb. It's cute and speedy, and I'm pretty sure Buzz is thrilled that he didn't get assigned the quickstep. Carrie Ann liked the storytelling and thinks they kept it in mind the whole dance. She says that his legs weren't great. Len liked the story, but thought the dancing was a little bit "slack." Bruno says the dance was very difficult, so Jake got a little muddled here and there, but their performance was great. Scores: 7-7-7, for a 21/30.
Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel prepare for their waltz, which tells the story of an interracial couple in the 1960s. During rehearsal, Niecy tells Louis that she loves her boyfriend so much that she would be devastated if laws or society said they couldn't be together. Louis says he understand that he is still "in the same boat." Their performance and telling of the story is lovely -- Niecy looks amazing. But some of the footwork is really clunky, which is unfortunate. Len thinks it was brave to create a story with no props. He thinks they showed so much emotion, but they need to work on technique. Bruno says they acted the love story well, but they stumbled at the beginning. Carrie Ann was confused by the ending of the story, but she isn't sure it came across the way they wanted, but they showed off the emotion well. Louis tells Brooke that the story was confusing because we live in confusing times. He adds that they wanted to celebrate how far we've come in 40 years, but also that they believe that everyone has the right to get married. Scores: 7-7-7, 21/30.
Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke are doing a paso doble about how he is trying to seduce her and she keeps rebuffing her. He says that sounds familiar. Heh. Anyway, their dance seems better than the first couple of weeks, but he is definitely not a natural. It gets a little awkward when there is a part where he appears to be choking her -- if they were the matador and bull, that wouldn't had been so bad, but they are supposed to be playing a couple! Bruno says Chad is back, but his lines were a little off at times. OK, actually, there was a whole part where he compared Chad to a "Kraken" (a mythical sea monster of immense size, per Wikipedia), but I seriously thought Bruno was saying "crackhead," and I thought I'd lost my mind. The barely-paying-attention-husband cleared it up for me. Whew. Anyway, Carrie Ann says he was focused and miles ahead of last week, but he needs to work on his shoulders. Len says he was much better than last week, but he needs to work on his posture. Scores: 7-6-7, for a 20/30.
Pamela Anderson and Damian Whitewood are also dancing the paso. He is portraying a matador, and she is a gypsy goddess who is falling for him, though she is against everything the matador stands for. During rehearsal, Charo comes in and helps her find the character. Again, the performance is off the charts, but it seems like her dancing is better, too. Carrie Ann says the anger was definitely clear, but that she threw too much into her movements, and it threw her off. Len says it was a good job, but they need a little refinement. Bruno says under the sex bomb exterior, there is a very good performer. Scores: 7-7-7, for a 21/30.
Aiden Turner and Edyta Sliwinska have the quickstep, and their story is that he is an artist painting the woman of his dreams, and she materializes. The fake painting that is their prop to show this story? Well, they should have made the sure cameras didn't get a close look at it. It's hilarious. (Other distractions? The singer started the song -- "Hey Soul Sister" -- way too high, and his voice actually cracked twice in the middle of the performance. Ouch.) Anyway, they seem pretty on point, but not that exciting. Len says the quickstep should be carefree, but this was a little careful. Bruno says Aiden looked as happy as a clam, but that he looked like a kid skipping around the meadow. Carrie Ann says his confidence is growing, but he was a little too light on his feet. Still, she says: improvement. Scores: 7-6-7, for a 20/30.
Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have the waltz this week. Their story is all about trust. As such, she performs blindfolded. It's a gimmick, for sure, but it works, and she totally makes it work. How terrifying must that have been? Bruno says her hold is good, but she needs to continue each move when she's on her own. Carrie Ann says the prop worked with the story and added danger, but she tells her to watch the death grip. Len says the start went on and on, and it was boring. He liked the waltz that they did, but there wasn't enough of it. "It's a dancing competition! More waltz!" Scores: 8-7-8, for a 23/30.
Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani are doing a paso doble to "Paparazzi." Of course. So ... yeah. It feels like to compensate for last week's disaster, Tony simplified the choreography as much as possible. As a result, it's just dry and boring. It's not quite as uncomfortable as last week, because Kate's not missing steps all over the place, but it's kind of a snooze, despite the potential to be intriguing. Carrie Ann says it was odd. She's glad Kate could channel her anger, but it was all very disjointed. Len says she got through it and overcame her nerves to an extent, but it was pedestrian. Bruno says she came out with the angry face, but she needs to make the movement match the emotion. "Next time, dance," he says. Backstage, talking with Brooke, Kate discusses how difficult dealing with the paparazzi is, and Jake Pavelka can be seen over her shoulder nodding his head over and over again. Scores: 5-5-5, for a 15/30.
Next week, the judges will each issue two scores her dance -- once for performance and one for technique. Interesting.
The last dance of the night is Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough with a quickstep about two sailors who are goofing on. As far as the performance goes, you know those two 10s from last week? Yep, they are still in another league. Of course, that's in large part to the fact that Nicole came into this with a lot of dance background. Len, though, is not pleased by the performance at all. He says they broke hold halfway through, that they did a lift and barely did any quickstep at all. Bruno says as a performance it was incredible, but that Len is right, especially since they broke hold. Carrie Ann says yeah, they broke hold and the lift rule, but when they take the show on the road, she wants a front-row seat. Scores: 8-6-9, for a 23/30. I'm really confused by Bruno's 9, but OK!
So what did you think about tonight's dances?