'Dancing With the Stars' recap: It's Motown night

Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff (Bob D'Amico/ABC)

They start the show with a ridiculous graphic of Gavin in his rowboat on the dance floor, getting overwhelmed by a giant wave. Oh, silly dancing show, it's fun when you have a little bit of a big budget.

It's Motown night and one can only hope that they've managed to rescue 71-year-old Fontella Bass for a performance on Motown night. That song is absolutely on my "Desert Island Jukebox." Oh, cool - they've got a  spotlight replica of the Motown logo on the dance floor. And we start off with a performance from Smokey Robinson, "Tracks of My Tears" while the troupe dances. And Smokey, love you man, but I'm not going to take a good look at your face, because the perpetually surprised expression is just too much for me. (I actually said out loud to my TV when he sang that line, "No thank you.")  Martha Reeves is 70 years old and in a FANTASTIC dress that's probably best suited for a woman 30 years younger than her.  That's a lot of born-in-the-1940s cleavage on display. But, then again, if you've got it, flaunt it. And thanks to her tailor, and presumably the foundation garment industry, she sure does.  And NOW, The Temptations singing "Get Ready." Based on the introductory walk down the staircase, I'm pretty sure Katherine Jenkins is going to get tonight's coveted "Why Straight Men Should Watch This Show" picture.

We get a Motown montage - this show is educational!

Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus
They'll be dancing a rumba (BOO!) to the Temptations' "My Girl." Gladys loves this song. Gladys gives Tristan a history lesson about the Temptations - apparently Gladys & the Pips used to beat the Temptations at softball.  Hee. Then Gladys's brother, "The Original Pip," comes in and gives Tristan some Pip Tips. Y'all there is a lot of red fabric happening on these Temptations.  Tristan is wearing an incredibly ridiculous purple suit and somehow the heels on his white dancing shoes look silly in a way they don't when he wears black shoes.   This is a more interesting rumba than usual - Tristan's not just going for the "vertical expression of horizontal desire" that so many rumbas rely on.  Len says that Gladys is top of the leaderboard of his heart. He says that while she's not the best dancer, she's the most charismatic.  Bruno wanted a "steamier" rumba. Boo to Bruno. Carrie Ann says tonight should belong to Gladys, but the truth is there were a lot of forgetful movements.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7  Len: 7   Bruno: 7

I don't know who those clean-cut young men in white jackets singing in the balcony were as we came back from commercial break, but they were  singing "Uptight" so I like them already.  Oh, wait, Tom tells me they're "Human Nature" and on tour now.  Thanks, Tom.

Berry Gordy's in the house. Tom does a good, brief interview with him. You definitely don't hand that off to Brooke.

Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
Maria's promoting her "tomboy" side again, as they prepare for their foxtrot. She's getting frustrated, but says she loves challenges.  Martha Reeves has changed her dress, like the good diva she is, but it's still more senior citizen boobage than I want to see.  She's singing "Jimmy Mack".  This is a very peppy foxtrot, and I think someone, probably Len, is going to ding them for it not being smooth enough, because there are definitely some steps that look rough to my eye. Bruno said it was sophisticated and elegant, but mentions the lost footing and subsequent missed choreography. Carrie Ann said that the slip affected their timing after it, and that her shoulders came up near the end. Len says it was a joy. When you can't count on Len, who can you trust?
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8  Len: 9 Bruno: 9
Maria's surprised - as she should be. Those were some generous scores, given the slip and sync issues after it.

Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
They're doing the rumba this week and Roshon thinks "sensual" means hugging. Bless his heart. He's such a goofy kid. My mom loves him and wants to put him in her pocket. And Smokey Robinson is back, in a scary PVC shirt, to sing "Cruisin'." (Don't hate me, but I kinda like the Huey Lewis and Gywneth Paltrow version of this song.) This is the rumba we've all come to know and get bored by. Bruno will eat it up with a long handled iced tea spoon. Carrie Ann says the moves were "over-exaggerated" which made it hard for her to watch. And then Carrie Ann hints she's going to ding them for a lift. Len says it was jerky and was "dance by numbers." Bruno says what Roshon "lacks in size he makes up in fire," and then stands up and makes an unclear point with lots of hip action. Tom sends us to commercial before Bruno can "dislocate anything."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7  Len: 8  Bruno: 8
Oooh, with Gladys's presumably strong fanbase, that may not be enough to keep Roshon ahead of her.

Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Tom says Katherine will be doing the samba to The Temptations "Can't Get Next to You" (another selection in my Desert Island Jukebox), "with her partner, wearing  the Gavin DeGraw hat collection, Mark Ballas." Tom, I find a reason every week to say it: I love you. This feels like a weird song for a samba - it's somewhere in between a samba and a jive, an effect not helped by Mark wearing gold spats that read very "jive." I'm seeing the cracks in this dance - Katherine's legs are weird tonight and her feet are all over the place.  Tom remarks that her beehive never moved - all credit to the hair department. Len says he's going to start calling Katherine the "midwife" because she "keep[s] delivering week after week." That's a very weird compliment.  The judges all loved this because they have different eyeballs than me.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10  Len: 9   Bruno: 10

Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
They're going to be foxtrotting to "The Way You Do the Things You Do" from the Temptations.  I'm so in love with all the music tonight.  Hoorah for Motown.  Peta brings in a cardboard cutout of Len holding a 10 paddle. Adorable. The Temptations have changed trousers, from red to white. They look like the most dapper soda jerks ever. Donald is wearing a FANflippintastic teal blue tuxedo. Peta's put in a few 60s flourishes to this foxtrot, with hip action and hand placement. I  like it, but I wonder if Len will. With her hair big and teased like this, Peta bears a slight resemblance to Reese Witherspoon. Never noticed that before. Bruno says Donald's performance is getting better. Carrie Ann liked the way they blended from the "Motown groove into formal hold." The judges are being silly and it's getting on Len's nerves. Len says Donald came out and "exploded" on the floor, which causes him to launch himself across the dance floor in joy. Love his attitude.
Scores: Carrie Ann:  9  Len: 9   Bruno: 9

Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Maks tells Melissa he's proud of her. Melissa is vowing to work as hard as she can to stay. They're rehearsing the Viennese Waltz and Maks is back to being kind of jerky.  Curb that impulse, Maks; I like you so much better when you're charming. More rehearsal footage and then as we go into commercial, Tom refers to Maks as "Charm-school dropout." Tonight, Tom, I tell you I love you twice. Smokey Robinson is back,in a much more flattering bedazzled jacket, singing, "Ooh Baby Baby".  This has more of the feel of a rumba to start than a Viennese Waltz, but then it turns into the big spins of the latter dance. From above, we see a big spin toward the end.  But there's something about the way Melissa's legs looked when she went into it that makes me think it might have looked really awkward from floor/judges' table level. Carrie Ann tells Melissa she works so hard and it's finally paying off, but tells her to continue to watch her shoulders. Len noticed, "rotation, romance, control, and beautiful, lyrical musical through [her] arms." Bruno liked her rotation and extended lines. Both Bruno and Len mentioned that she lost energy by the end of the routine. In the interview with Brooke, Melissa goes the tried-and-true reality TV route of blaming the editing for the portrayal of the tension between her and Maks.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8  Len: 8   Bruno: 8

Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
We're remind that Jalel & Kym were in the bottom two last week and had to do the "dance duel." They have the "cha cha" this week and Kym says it with a certain grim resignation, because it's what they had to prepare for that "dance duel" last week.  New outfits for the Temptations because they're really male divas and they're singing "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," another Desert Island Jukebox selection. Jaleel busts out a full-on split, which is completely appropriate for tonight's theme. I'm loving Jaleeel's leg movements and lightness on his feet tonight - everything, to me, looks so precise and sharp , but with  a fun 60s wiggle. Still needs to work on the hands/arms, though. Len says Jaleel "is back" after the lull since his early promise. Bruno's excited and also talking comeback. Carrie Ann says he brought his A-game.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10  Len: 9  Bruno: 10
I'm pleased for them; that was easily one of my favorite dances of the night.

William Levy & Cheryl Burke
Yes, yes, William seems nice and has the hot body, but he bores me silly. They've got the rumba, which is not at all going to alienate his fanbase. Smokey Robinson is back singing "Being with You."  It's a rumba, there's dry ice, Cheryl's wearing a bed sheet. If a soap star built like William can't knock this out of the park, he should be eliminated on the spot, tonight. Tom's already predicting Bruno will need a cold shower. Bruno said it was filthy and he loved every minute of it. Carrie Ann thanks them on behalf of all women out there but then says it wasn't their best dance and they were a little bit disconnected and calls for more content in future dances. Len says that William is physically impressive and dances with confidence, but that for him, Len, "it was a little bit on the raunchy side."  THERE'S the Len we know and love.  Then Len gets up and demonstrates "lateral hip action" which he says anyone, even Tom, can do, and adds he wanted to see more front to back hip action. That's a very specific critique and I'm glad to hear it.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9  Len: 8  Bruno: 10
I think Bruno is voting with his paddle, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo (to borrow from Joe Bob Briggs).

And now, a performance from Smokey Robinson doing "Tears of a Clown" in a shiny, shiny shirt and leather or leather-like pants, while Anna Trubunskaya and Val Chmerkovskiy shimmy around the dance floor.

And now we're getting a cha cha marathon, with couples being eliminated one at time; last couple standing gets a 10, next-to-last a 9, and so on.  Chelsie tells Roshon they can do lifts, but even with his cute little biceps, he's unlikely to lift Chelsie, especially after she socks him for saying they're the same weight. (She didn't really do that, but if she had, we'd have all understood.)

No, Motown legends to sing "Nowhere to Run," it's an instrumental version from Harold Wheeler and the gang. THere's too much going on to see at once - I'm hoping we'll see some of the individual bits tomorrow during replay footage. Gladys and Tristan are first out, picking up only 3 points then. Ouch. It's fun hearing Tom do voice-over commentary like we're watching figure skating or something. Maria and Derek are out next, which would be a surprise except every time the camera's landed on them they've looked awkward and boring. Tom says of Mark's bright green get-up, "Mark, obviously hoping his outfit will attract attention." MARRY ME, TOM! Roshon and Chelsie are out, picking up 5 points. Melissa and Maks are out fourth - an official has to stop them in the middle of a lift to get them off the floor.  Donald and Peta, pick up 7 points, as the sixth elimination.  Down to three couples, and of the dancers left, I think Jaleel and Kym are showing the most hustle, but they're the next ones out, picking up 8 points. William slides on his knees across the floor and then jumps up to sit on the judges' table, which Tom rightly calls, "Courting the Bruno vote." They're out next and Katherine and Mark are the marathon winners. Mark does a celebratory cartwheel and then breaks into Jason Sudeikis on "What up with That?" moves.

Final scores:
Gladys & Tristan - 24
Roshon & Chelsie - 28
Maria & Derek - 30
Melissa & Maks - 30
Donald & Peta - 34
William & Cheryl - 36
Jaleel & Kym - 37
Katherine & Mark - 39

My guess? We'll see Melissa & Maks and Roshon & Chelsie in the Dance Duel tomorrow night. But I know for sure we're seeing a piece choreographed by Travis Wall and a performance by Boyz II Men and that ain't shabby.

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