Tonight on Dancing With the Stars, the final five contestants perform a classic ballroom routine, as well as an "instant dance." In the latter, they will have prepared for a dance style, but not been told what their song is until during the live show.
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer are up first, with the Viennese waltz. During rehearsal, Lacey is relentless in trying to get him to get the footwork right. My three years of ballet class, middle school ballroom classes and one ballroom class in college do not qualify me to say whether Kyle's footwork is actually better, but 1) he sure is trying and 2) if he is making mistakes, his super-shiny patent-leather shoes are going to make them more obvious to the judges. Head judge Len Goodman says his posture was better, he had heel-leads and this week he was a gorgeous orchid. Bruno Tonioli says he's totally charmed them and that he has become a fantastic young man during the show. And they appreciate that he takes their notes and tries to do better every day. Carrie Ann Inaba says her crush on Kyle is back in play. Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.
Regarding the instant dance, Len explains, as one of our commenters did last week, that it's more like a real ballroom competition.
Kyle and Lacey choose their song out of a mirrorball, and it's "Good Golly Miss Molly" by Little Richard. (Their style is jive.)
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough are doing an old-school quick step, but Jennifer is having knee issues. A doctor comes into to check out the knee and her patellar tendinitis. Her dad, Joel Grey, stops by to visit and help her figure out what to do. (And wow, somehow, I had not put this together. Because I am slow.) She decides the show must go on. It is very adorable and old-fashioned, and she gets through it, shedding feathers from her costume all the way. Bruno says it was like watching a vintage Astaire and Rogers quick step. He says she should forget her troubles and "come on and get happy." Carrie Ann thought it was gorgeous and amazing. Len says they faced the music and danced, and it was great. Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.
They draw their song, and it's "Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner, and they both seem unfamiliar with it. They'll know it when they hear it.
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya are next, and they're doing the waltz. They dance to "Take It to the Limit" by the Eagles, and isn't this the song that Kyle and Lacey were assigned a few weeks ago that led to Lacey's famous "Who are the Eagles?" pronouncement? He looks dapper and fairly relaxed, which is nice. Carrie Ann starts talking, but the crowd is so loud you can't even hear her. She says that she can see his effort and determination, and he is amazing. (I'm ignoring her Ken doll discussion because wha?) Len thinks that overall, the whole feeling of the dance was beautiful. Bruno says when he relaxes into it, he really shines. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.
Their instant dance song is "Hella Good" by No Doubt, and neither of them knows it. Again, I think they'll know it when they hear it.
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas rehearse in front of her parents, and Bristol is embarrassed with the "scandalous" beginning. Sarah asks if it's "lap-dance scandalous," and she says it kind of is. Her mother tells her to "just dominate." The beginning of the tango isn't that scandalous, but it's a tad racy. She stays right with Mark through most the routine, though I do wish her flick-kicks were sharper. It would have added a lot to the performance, but it was still among her strongest. Len liked the lifts and thought it was clean and well-rehearsed, but he thought it lacked a bit of intensity. Bruno says it seemed like she was in a movie, but she sometimes loses her expression at tomes, losing characters, but she did well, but lacked a bit of fire. Carrie Ann thinks that was the most intensity they have seen from her. But she wishes there had been more energy in her legs, that her flicks were lacking. (Hey, look whose wavelength I'm on tonight. Maybe I did learn something from those erstwhile dance classes. Or from watching this show for five years.) Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.
They choose their instant dance song for the samba, and it's "Mas Que Nada," featuring the Black Eyed Peas. Three seconds in, they'll go, "Ohhhh, right." (See?)
Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy seem to have worked out their communication difficulties this season. They dance a passionate and beautiful waltz. She is really peaking at the right time. Bruno says this was an exquisite interpretation of the song, and she was totally immersed in the character, and it was absolutely beautiful. Carrie Ann says it was beautiful and riveting and that she was watching so closely, she has one little note, that she should watch her neck and keep it elongated. Len says he was overwhelmed by the whole performance and won't be persnickety about her neck. Scores: 9-10-10, for a 29/30.
Brandy and Maks' instant dance is "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry.
Kyle and Lacey work on their jive, with Steve-O giving them as many distractions as possible, including full frontal nudity and a leaf blower (separately). Maybe he works best under pressure, because they kill it. So good. Someone in the audience is losing their mind screaming. Len says it was fun and high energy, and though he would have liked a little bit of finesse here and there, he really enjoyed it. Bruno says this had great entertainment value and creativity and they didn't lose a beats. He says it's like they rehearsed it for months. Carrie Ann says it was by far the most fun she has had all season as a judge and a viewer. Scores: 10-9-10, for a 29/30 and a total 56/60. That was seriously impressive.
Jennifer and Derek prepare for their instant rumba by creating a dance with flexibility. Their performance is lovely and doesn't look improvised at all. But I don't know that it was a show-stopper like Kyle, just because that was such a surprise. Bruno says this challenge is bringing out the best in people. He thought it was absolutely superb and flawless. Carrie Ann says she reclaimed her power and it was beautiful. Len loves the variations in dancing, and this had it all. Scores: 10-10-10, for a 30/30, and a total 57/60.
Kurt and Anna rehearse their cha cha to counts instead of lyrics, and that's not how Kurt usually operates, so he's having issues. At least in the rehearsal. Again, they kill it during the performance. What is the deal? Maybe they were all really practicing behind the scenes. (Not really.) Carrie Ann says he's never had this much charisma and sex appeal and musicality. Len says, "Well done!" He says when they don't know the music, they lose the safety net and it focuses them. Bruno says he let loose, had fun and went for it, so his performance was good, even if his foot placement wasn't perfect. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30 and a total 48/60.
I really thought people were going to fall apart during this instant dance, but apparently I was wrong.
Brandy and Maks talk with Brooke, who tells them that so far the highest score is "a perfect 10," by which she means 30.
Bristol and Mark also prep for their samba by counts instead of lyrics. Their performance is OK, but it seems less complex than some of the others. No obvious missteps (to me), but not overly exciting, either. Len says this is the hardest for the instant dance because there is no constant rhythm. He thinks she coped well with that, though he would have preferred to see more hip action and less shoulder. Bruno says she can shake it, and that she had a few moments of brilliance and a few moments of being lost. Mark speaks up that that was his fault, not hers. Carrie Ann says she wasn't that connected with the music, and she's growing more radiant performance by performance, but the rhythm, well, it got them. Scores: 7-8-8, for a 23/30 and a total 47/60.
Brandy and Maks have a booty-shaking contest during their rehearsal, which is funny, and benefits their performance, since that's their closing sequence. They look really relaxed and have fun during their cha-cha. Bruno says it was truly fantastic. Carrie Ann is annoyed that they took 4/8 to get into their dance. Maks and Carrie Ann talk over each other for like five minutes. Len did a cha-cha full of flair and performance. But after pressing from Tom, Len agrees that it should have started faster. Scores: 9-9-10, for a 28/30 and a 57/60.
So it's been an interesting night. I think these instant dances might be sticking around! (Sorry, I wanted to be the third person to say that.)
Maks is still talking back to Carrie Ann. He should stop now.