Welcome to Dancing with the Stars, minus an intro! At first I thought it was my DVR messing up, but then it was revealed to be all their fault. Tom says, "That was the MOST amazing intro ever - especially when the space shuttle landed." I have to get my "I LOVE HIM SO MUCH" out of the way early tonight.
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough
Derek is back, YAY! Oh, Lordy. So this Viennese Waltz is about all the servicemen that have been in war zones and had angels looking over them. Let me call my dad the Navy veteran who was sent up rivers in Vietnam and see if this is exactly what he was thinking about at that time.
Oh, and it's the Sarah McLachlan "These puppies are going to be killed if you don't give us money" song. If Mark were still dancing with her, it would be all the things that make me throw things at my tv in one neat package.
Len says that "sometimes a whisper is louder than a scream" and would have liked a little bit more in hold, but overall it was fabulous. Bruno calls it "heavenly perfection." And then says she was "touched by an angel." (RIP Natina Reed) Carrie Ann says it was was magical and she got the chills.
While waiting for the judges' scores, Tom welcomed the members of the armed services that are in the ballroom, including former DWTS champion, JR Martinez.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 10
Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff
Apolo and Karina have decide to "not play it safe" anymore and this involves a zipline. Of course it does.
So, all the zipline ended up being was Apolo's entrance, which wasn't that big of a deal. However, he's wearing a flak vest with no sleeves and I approve of his arms, so I'm giving him half a point just for that. Also, they're dancing to "Holding Out for a Hero," one of my favorite songs. I'm not sure, but the songs feel shorter than usual tonight.
Bruno loved it and loved Apolo's arms. It worries me when Bruno and I are simpatico. Carrie Ann thought his lines were "ridiculous" - in a good way. Len says he danced with verve and passion, but his frame got a bit wide sometimes. Oh, ugh. I just noticed that Apolo is wearing dog tags. I find that tacky. And then they show Maks backstage wearing them too.
Let me explain myself here - it's because I'm patriotic and proud of our country and its armed forces that it makes me touchy when their heroism and nobility are co-opted for cheesy entertainment purposes.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 10
Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
I think Kirstie is supposed to look like she's wearing an Army uniform but with a long skirt. Instead it's creating a sort of demented Robin Hood effect. Maks is in a white undershirt, with military uniform pants and I'll get past the tacky to admire the good looking man in half uniform, half undress.
The judges are vaguely complimentary. As Tom pitches to commercial, Maks starts fingering Tom's ear. It's exactly as gross and titillating as it sounds.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9
As Kirstie thanked the veterans when talking to Brooke, the camera cut away to those six servicemen (Marines) in the front row. You know what would have been even more awesome, DWTS? Filling the whole ballroom with servicemen and servicewomen and their families.
Oh hey, Tom calls out a couple of Marines who are going to be guest starring on "The Middle" this week. I love that show. If you aren't already watching it, give it a try. I'm president of the Sue Heck fan club.
Kelly Monaco & Val ChmerkovskiyViennese Waltz
Kelly's confidence is waning and she's looking very fatigued and frustrated in rehearsals.
I think they're both in yellow as sort of a tribute to the "yellow ribbon." It's a beautiful routine and when they both end up lying on the floor at the end, Val gets very handsy with Kelly.
Len said it flowed nicely, but the movements were sometimes a little bit sharp and he would've liked a little bit more... but he's cut off. Bruno compliments her shapes and blames any "sharpness" on Kelly feeling the emotion of the dance. Carrie Ann says Kelly is "the spirit of the show" because of her improvement from week to week.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 9; Bruno: 9.5
Gilles Marini & Peta MurgatroydQuickstep
In rehearsal, Gilles and Peta talk about how they've been sliding down the leaderboard and they want a perfect score this week. Peta says that the quickstep should play to Gilles's strength in his good frame.
Gilles is wearing a flight suit, mostly unzipped and they are doing the quickstep to "Danger Zone" from Top Gun. Now I've seen it all. This song is really sped up from its normal version. Peta's wearing pants too and it's interesting to see the female part of the quickstep with that kind of definition instead of when the legs are under a long skirt.
Bruno talks about a section in the middle of the dance that was "absolutely fantastic" and crows about how fast it was. Carrie Ann says it was so close and Len and Bruno both react like she's insane. She insists that he was wobbly during some of the fastest steps. Len agrees with Bruno.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
Gilles says "67 years ago the American army came to Europe to free my country or today I would speak a very different language. So, I owe you the world and I'm in the best place ever." Gilles is such a class act.
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
Cheryl makes a point of working on Emmitt's upper body in rehearsals this week. Emmitt talks to his old buddy and teammate Daryl Johnston, in a bit of rehearsal montage filler.
Emmitt and Cheryl aren't dressed in any sort of quasi-military garb and their song isn't military related either. Did they miss the memo or just choose to ignore it?
Carrie Ann says it was smooth but that Emmitt did slip a little bit during part of the routine. Then she gets into a spat with Len about whether or not Len was mumbling during her comments. Carrie Ann wants to see more improvement from Emmitt. Len liked his balance in and out of hold, but would've liked more fluidity in his arm and does note the slip. Bruno liked it as well, but is in agreement on the slight stumble.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5
Melissa Rycroft & Tony DovolaniQuickstep
Oooh, Tony's in a sailor suit. I might've let out a "Well, helloooooo Sailor." They're dancing to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" which is a proper quickstep song. It's a fun, fast routine, with a lot of energy and pep. Tony is so PSYCHED this season. It's a great thing to see.
Len said it was "quick with a lot of steps" and Tom chuckles, "Thanks for breaking it down for us." Bruno says it was like watching Anne Miller and Gene Kelly in "On the Town." I wonder if Melissa has ever seen these wonderful classic dancers Bruno keeps comparing her to. (Previously it was Cyd Charisse.)
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
And now it's time for the "Trio Dances." But first Tom gives us a rundown of the leaderboard. Apparently tonight's scores will be combined with last week's judges scores and all the fan votes to produce the double elimination tomorrow night.
For the trio dance, each couple will work with an already eliminated pro to do a three-person dance. As Tom is trying to explain the concept, Mark, Shawn and Derek ride behind him on tricycles while dressed like cavemen, naturally.
Shawn & Derek with Mark BallasSamba
They've decided to go "tribal" and we see Shawn standing in front of the two of them (all three facing forward) and then Derek and Mark execute some "Magic Mike" worthy pelvic thrusts. When they stop Derek chides Shawn that she can't just stand there and look "scared and confused." Honey, if I saw the two of them behind me in the mirror doing those pelvic thrusts I'd absolutely be scared and confused.
Derek says they're going to mix samba elements with "tribal elements." I'm pretty sure Len's not going to be a fan. But they're not worried about that and they totally play to the audience.
It's certainly different than a lot of what we've seen on DWTS. I really liked it but I'm not sure how "samba" it was.
Len says "if I was sitting in the audience I'd be cheering along. But I'm not; I'm sitting up here and I've got to judge a samba." Len then calls them "self-indulgent" and criticizes the lack of samba content. He adds that it's a critical week and says "Shawn, if you go home tomorrow, don't blame me, blame those two [indicating Derek and Mark]."
Bruno calls them "naughty" and says "as a piece of dance as art it was absolutely fantastic" but even he has to admit that it wasn't really a samba. Carrie Ann disagrees with both of them, saying that they had to take risks and what samba they did do was executed perfectly. And then Derek and Mark do these really gross pelvic thrust moves at the judges and it's really immature and awful and they're both "On My List" now.
Derek claims that they went risky with the routine for the fans at home because they audience is bored of seeing the same old dances over and over. NO, WE'RE NOT. Do you think us old people make NCIS the number one watched show on TV because it's DIFFERENT EVERY WEEK? Ditto: the CSI franchise, The Mentalist, Castle, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, etc. Leave innovation to the cable channels - we want familiarity from our network offerings.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 7; Bruno: 9
Way to stick with your principles, Len. Bruno should have done the same. Otherwise you're just telling Derek he can keep getting away with this. Especially after you judges didn't ding them overmuch for their "Screw your 'no lifts' rule" routine earlier in the season.
Karina & Apolo with Sasha FarberJive
Apolo explains that they chose another male dancer so that he'd have a pro to emulate during the routine. Smart thinking, especially if Sasha doesn't show him up. During rehearsal, they're doing this crazy double leap thing over and under Karina and it looks like a neck injury waiting to happen.
They're dancing to "Greased Lightning" and Karina is wearing a red spandex bodysuit. It's something only someone that looks like her can pull off. And hey! There's the leap from rehearsal and they mostly nail it. The dancer that went through her legs (Apolo, I think) didn't go through as far and fast as he maybe should have.
Bruno says they took a "huge, huge risk" because all the way through Apolo was mirroring a pro, but he conquered it. Len says it was fast, sharp, tight, and together and that's what you want from a jive.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 10
Kirstie & Maks with Tristan McManusPaso Doble
They're all going to be angels which means wearing giant wings, of course. Kirstie notes in rehearsals "You guys are of similar height and both hot" and whatever she says after that is bleeped and blurred. Kirstie then gets in a nice self-deprecating joke about her being a man-hater.
Those wings come off pretty early in the routine, so all that was for not much. Shoe Watch: both men are wearing shoes but Kirstie is not. She's also wearing a dress/tunic thing that splits at the empire waistline to show a black bodysuit/leggings - not terribly flattering.
Carrie Ann loved the theme, costumes, presentation, and hot guys but said the actual dancing was sloppy. And then she says some of that might be attributable to Kirstie being barefoot because it's hard to do the paso doble lines without the shoes. Well, praise be. Len compliments her on there being "no incidents" but says it did lack definition. Bruno compares it "Valley of the Dolls" - so basically it was a visually interesting mess.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8
Kelly & Val with Louis van AmstelJive
Louis was on Season 1 with Kelly, though not as her partner. As Kelly points out, he's taught a lot of the current pros at some point.
The storyline of the dance is Kelly playing the two guys for her affection, and it's really well choreographed to be fun, fast and flirty. It also makes sure both men end up shirtless. Although I'm slightly afraid with Kelly's low neckline and generous, ahem, assets that we might see a little more Monaco than we're meant to. At the end of the routine, Kelly leaps onto the judges' table and kisses Len. It's the end of the story - she rejects both Val and Louis in favor of Len. Then Val jumps up as if he's going to deck Len and while Bruno can reach Val's butt, he smacks it for all he's worth. Things have gotten a little crazy!
Len said it was fun, fast, flamboyant, and fabulous. Bruno says a lot of innuendo-laced things then concludes by complimenting Kelly on the section where she was leading with the two male dancers behind her. Carrie Ann says the transitions were fantastic and seamless, but sometimes Kelly could've pointed her toes a hair more.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5
Gilles & Peta with Chelsie HightowerSalsa
Gilles and Peta chose Chelsie because of her choreography abilities. Their storyline is similar to Kelly's in that the two women are fighting for Gilles' affection.
The routine starts with a mini-solo from Gilles and then continues like that for a little bit before they're all three up and dancing. It's bold for the star and not the pro to be so isolated like that. They repeat it a little later in the routine and I'm super impressed with Gilles. There is one little spot where he's supposed to pull both women up off the floor, one with each arm, but there's a little hesitation with the dancer on his left arm. Still, a routine that was mostly Gilles and it's impressive.
Bruno mentions some timing problems and Carrie Ann agrees, but still say he took over the dance floor. Len points out how exposed Gilles was by the routine and says "well done."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 10; Bruno: 9.5
Emmitt & Cheryl with Kym JohnsonSalsa
Cheryl wants to show that Emmitt can lead two women. Emmitt says, "A man trying to give a woman what she needs, what she wants, that's really what I'm trying to do." Oh, Mrs. Smith, you lucky wife.
Y'all know how much I love Gilles, and it's good for him that he want before Emmitt rather than after because this salsa is blowing his out of the water. It really IS a three person dance and impressive for its intricacy. Len says it was like "working two yo-yos at the same time."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
Melissa & Tony & Henry Byalikov Paso Doble
Melissa says she has to be a "dominatrix" and if this is a show that, as Emmitt suggested earlier, is one the whole family can watch together, well, have fun explaining that to the kids, parents.
During the middle of the dance, Melissa lets out some "HA!" martial arts type yells and it's weird to hear a contestant's voice during a routine. The dancing was great, but I'm not sure she nailed the character.
Len liked the seamlessness of her transitions from Tony to Henry and back. Bruno says that some of the moves were "astonishing" and talks about the ronde de jombes into drops.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
Scoreboard: Including last week's and tonight's individual's routines, and tonight's "Trio" routine
Melissa & Tony: 99
Shawn & Derek: 93.5
Kelly & Val: 92.5
Emmitt & Cheryl: 92.5
Gilles & Peta: 92
Apolo & Karina: 91.5
Kirstie & Maks: 79
So, Kirstie has to be gone tomorrow, right? And Melissa & Tony should be safe, but all the others, clustered there together at 91.5 to 93.5? I'm not sure who goes - Apolo? Gilles? Kelly? I think Emmitt has the fan base, as does Derek.