Welcome to Week 2! Given that all the dancers last week were either good dancers or good sports or both, I'm particularly happy this is a season that didn't have a week 1 elimination. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody dance again.
Brooke's dress is a bright-yellow boob showcase. It's like she's framed her cleavage. Introductions: Martina's wearing a red bikini top and fishing net. I miss Edyta.
Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
Roshon's hip-hop background is bumping up against the control and elegance required in ballroom as they practice their quickstep. Chelsie tries to rap. Let's just move along. Chelsie's starting the routine to Good Charlotte's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" by petting a plush toy dog. Which she then throws aside. Paging PETA (not Peeta). Their dance is certainly fast and high energy, with Roshon definitely being light on his feet. Tom says, "High energy" too -- he owes me a Coke! Len says it had good movement and makes a technical comment about Roshon's heels that I think was a compliment based on Chelsie's reaction. Something about Roshon's hair and tuxedo make him look SO young right now, like "going to his first high school formal" young.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 9
Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy
Sherri thinks she should be 20 pounds lighter and a decathlete to dance the jive. I can definitely say that she needs to find/invest in better foundation garments -- I can't imagine how sore her girls must be. They're dancing to "Proud Mary," and Sherri's got on a very good approximation of Tina Turner's famous gold fringe dress. Most of Sherri's energy is in her face, not her legs. UH-OH! She chickens out at doing a slide move through Val's legs. Val recovers quickly, but it's an OBVIOUS goof. Bruno says he doesn't care that she missed the move, Carrie Ann says she recovered from the mistake well. Even Len's not going to ding her for NOT DOING THE DANCE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. Now, after the routine's over, Sherri does the missed move. In my book, it's too little, too late, lady. In the interview after the commercial, we're acting as if Sherri forgot the step, but it was CLEAR to me that she didn't forget, she was afraid of doing it and skipped it.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 7 Bruno: 8
Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Melissa and Maks are dancing to Billy Idol, who Melissa reminds us she dated in the '80s! I had no idea, and I'm retroactively scandalized. From rehearsal footage we learn that Melissa cries when she's happy, OK? It's a quickstep to "Dancing with Myself." (I always heard this song was about something very much not for a family show.) Oops! I think that was a stumble from Melissa as they went back up to the stage atop the steps. Carrie Ann thought the slip helped them, because once Melisssa had made a mistake she relaxed. They're dinging Melissa's posture. Bruno piles on the critique of Melissa's nerves. I do not understand why a chickening-out Sherri got nothing but praise but Melissa is getting killed by the judges.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 6 Bruno: 7
Before the last commercial break, Jack Wagner was shimmying like his life depended on it while making the goofiest faces -- I'm really warming up to him.
Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya
Anna says Jack picks up the steps quickly but has trouble with his arms and hips. He says Anna can be tough on him, but he likes it. Jack is costumed for a second career as an extra in a Brady Bunch stage show. The band is butchering a song I love, the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'" for Anna and Jack's jive. WELL! This time it's a pro who seems to miss a step, with Anna seemingly losing her footing at one point. Is the dance floor cursed? Do we need to call in a specialist to perform a de-jinxing? Bruno says the quick choreography may have caused them to get off the beat sometimes. Carrie Ann thinks they may have "overdanced" the routine, which is how they got out of sync.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 7
Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus
In the footage from last week, they show something I hadn't seen -- I think Pips were in the audience doing some coordinated standing ovation. Love it. Ooh, another song I really like, Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke." Let's hope the band does better with this than the last song. And we're seeing a very, very slow quickstep. Man, I hope next season they give Tristan a young, athletic partner -- I'd love to see him fly with a capable partner in a quickstep. Bruno advises Gladys to work on her frame, and Carrie Ann agrees. Len finally finds his honesty backbone and tells Gladys that as much as he admires her, he didn't much care for her dance. (And in case you're curious -- the horn section was great, the singer not so much in their rendition of the song.)
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 5 Bruno: 7
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Katherine can't say that Mark wants her to "shake her naughty bits" without dissolving into some very charming laughter. All this talk of the "sexy" moves Mark wants to put into their jive makes me worry that Len is going to haaaate it. They have a whole craps table on the dance floor for the start of their routine. And the lights are flashing slot machine symbols on the floor throughout their routine, while screens show slot spins behind the stage - it's all so very busy, but the song, Robert Randolph and the Family Band's "Ain't Nothing Wrong with That" is going on my playlist and soon. At the end of the routine they throw around some of the chips from the table. So much "extra business." Carrie Ann throws a lot of very techincal compliments at Katherine, Len has mixed feelings about the routine but liked it overall, and Bruno enthuses that, "That's how flicks are done."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 9
Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
In the footage from last week, they show the spin I loved so much that I rewound it three times last week. They'll be dancing the jive to "Marry You" by Bruno Mars. I think Kym is DEEElighted to have a partner as talented as Jaleel for whom she can choreograph some interesting steps. They're working a whole "soda shop" motif, with Jaleel in soda jerk uniform and Kym wearing a high ponytail. I feel like this routine should have been a lot faster to showcase Jaleel's energy, but the song isn't allowing for it. And then Len says it "lacked attack and speed." Len and I are back to agreeing on things after he LOST HIS MIND with respect to Sherri. Bruno says it should have been sharper. Carrie Ann felt like this routine didn't have the same sparkle as last week.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 7 Which is lower than Sherri and therefore complete and utter moose droppings.
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
And now it's time for Derek to dance with the mannequin with the horrible laugh. They're doing a Bonnie and Clyde-themed quickstep. As a friend of mine pointed out on Twitter, "Yes, I so want to see a dance routine based on a pair of murdering sociopaths." Maria invokes her Greekness to help her get over a rib injury. They are RACING across the dance floor to the Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Sexy Sexy" and Maria looks much less stiff and awkward than she did last week. I'm gobsmacked by how much better she is. The quickstep, surprisingly, is absolutely her dance. Bruno praises her frame and says the routine was near spotless except for one missed step in a run. Carrie Ann points out some trouble with their sync in the middle section. I would really like to know how Sherri managed to get such special dispensation for her mistake.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 9
Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani
Tony is trying to talk Martina out of her insecurity regarding learning some of the steps. Martina's got an injured toe that she hurts further in practice. I've watched enough football over the years to know now that a toe injury is more serious than it sounds. They're doing the jive to Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It' and y'all, I love Martina but this is bad. She's timid and low energy and forgetting steps. The routine started with a lot of frippery at the judges' table and ends that way, too, which is pretty much a sign that they couldn't go wall-to-wall with the content. Wait, is that Jimmy Connors applauding in the audience? One of my favorite things about Martina being on the show is seeing all the tennis stars I watched as a kid. The judges are kind, but honest, that the dance did not go well.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 6 Len: 5 Bruno: 6
Brutal, but fair.
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
Peeta asks Donald if he knows anything about the quickstep. Given his display of "DWTS" superfandom last week, I'm sure he does. Peeta says she's given Donald a very hard routine. In rehearsal, Donald drops into a split (impressive!) and them comes up wincing (ouch!). This song, "Stay the Night" by James Blunt, starts out so slow -- I hope it picks up or their quickstep is going to look really weird. Donald's kicks and flicks are high and high-energy. The song only ever briefly seemed to be as fast as they were dancing. Weird music selection there. Len apologizes to Donald and says that he undermarked Donald last week. Tom points out that this admission may be a first from Len.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 8
Which means he scored only one point more than Sherri. In case you'd forgotten her wildly overblown score.
Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff
Do we ever get to see Gavin without a hat? He's wearing a fedora in interviews and a ball cap in rehearsal. And a sort of newsboy cap on the stage. They're doing a jive to "Wild One," which I remember mostly for its cover on the "Pretty Woman" soundtrack. Gavin lacks polish (he doesn't flick his feet so much as hurl them away from his body), but he's got the energy and he's keeping up with one of the faster jives we've seen tonight. The judges point out some flaws but say Gavin's improved since last week.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 7
William Levy & Cheryl Burke
Tom comments on the mania over William, saying he hopes we've got our earplugs to deal with the screams in the ballroom. I love Cheryl, but I'm not sure this is the most flattering dress she's ever put on her body. Cheryl puts that "hold bar contraption" on William to work on his frame. William's scared of the quickstep. Yee haw! There's a banjo in that there ballroom for this rendition of "Nice Work if You Can Get It"! I'm delighted! They've got the speed in their quickstep, but William looks a little pigeon-toed in the runs and he's going to need to work on pointing his toes and being more precise with his footwork. Carrie Ann calls him "the Harry Connick of the ballroom" because she's clearly deranged. Len says it's "good not great" and picks on his footwork. Thank you, Len. If this is William's son they're showing in the audience, he's got his dad's good looks - such a cutie!
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 7 Bruno: 9
I'm still fuming about the overscoring on Sherri, but it was another good night of dancing, if not as good as the premiere.
Tomorrow night we find out who, after two weeks of scoring and voting, goes home (my prediction: Martina). And there's Sugarland and Matt Nathanson performances to look forward to.