'Dancing With the Stars' Recap: Waltz On, Wax Off
Audrina and Tony take the lead
About three episodes in is when the producers must worry that we're getting bored, because all the weird requirements for routines start up. This one was "Story Night," the proud DWTS tradition that brought us Kate Gosselin's infamous "Paparazzi" dance last season. (Which got mentioned twice during the broadcast. Heh.)
It may have cost him his leg hair, but Tony Dovolani finally has some bragging rights this season. He and Audrina Patridge turned in an emotional and finely-wrought waltz that earned them not one but two 9s from the judges. She's a contender, guys! As is Brandy, who got in touch with Maks in a sensational samba.
But it wasn't all sunshine and roses. We had a low scoring night, with four of our celebrities clocking in at 20 or below. Margaret Cho's Technicolor cha-cha left the judges cold and The Situation ... dude, Halloween isn't for another four weeks, plus Scary Time Traveling Space Robot is soooo 1985. Bristol and Florence also seem to be in jeopardy.
Here are your Story Night CliffsNotes:
Hot for teacher, it’s a tale as old as time, eh? Luckily, Derek and Jennifer's high kicking, twirl-happy samba wasn't quite as predictable. (And Len was very pleased with the story behind the dance, undoubtedly because our rule-loving guest judge would love to smack stubbornly unorthodox Derek with a ruler.) When Carrie Ann complained that the pair was out of sync during the middle of the routine, Derek grabbed Jennifer's hand and twisted her right out into the middle of their dance. They dance just as well without music.
Her "Sound of Music"-inspired waltz with Corky Ballas brought all the emotion required for the dance. It was really lovely. Also, Florence and Corky kind of made out at the end, which was unexpected. As much as I love Team Florky, I have to point out that Florence's footwork was a little shaky. It's not my job to agree with Len, though, and so I'm not super pleased to be doing so. The scores were pretty low, so let's hope Florence's fans will come out in droves.
Opening an umbrella indoors is supposed to be unlucky. Not tonight. Kurt and Anna's foxtrot was spectacular! More than any other dance, the foxtrot gets guys into this show. It's debonair but not dainty. Done right, the foxtrot is cool, and you'd better believe that Kurt did it right. His hold was fantastic, his shoulders were neither too loose or too tight and -- most importantly -- he was fully present out on the floor. There was a little slip-up when Anna was coming out of a spin, but it's week three and nobody has to be perfect yet. (Though Bruno must have decided he loves getting booed, because he wouldn’t shut up about it.)
Margaret is still trying to come back from her rather disastrous debut waltz, and this cha-cha didn't help her case. Margaret was enthusiastic, so much so that the crowd was right there with her, but she just lost the thread of the dance completely by the middle of the routine. Her footwork was off, her timing was off and her armwork was waaaay too "strike a pose." I’ll be sorry to see Margaret go, but I think it might be her time.
I think the story behind Audrina and Tony's waltz was a "Sixth Sense" thing, because they never actually made eye contact and Tom Bergeron made a joke about the Smoke Monster. (That dude's one-liners are totally wasted on this show.) The story might have been rather marginal, but this was a textbook waltz in the best possible way. Tony and Audrina achieved a perfect balance of emotion and technique. Her lines were beautiful. She's come a long way in just three weeks, so we should expect an even more amazing performance next week.
It was hard to watch Mark and Bristol’s halting, off-kilter foxtrot after Kurt and Anna dazzled us. The story behind the story -- helping people out and making a connection -- was well-intentioned but got about as lost as Bristol did midway through the dance. Three weeks in Bristol still hasn't hit her stride. The judges certainly aren't campaigning to keep her around, so I guess it’s up to us, America.
You know, Brandy and Maks don’t seem to get along ... and that makes me like her better. They did put their differences aside to show us all a thing or two about samba. (The idea was that Maks was Brandy's bodyguard, but it seemed like the shoe was kind of on the other foot.) Brandy's hip work was nothing short of fantastic -- crucial in a samba -- but her arm movements were a bit gawky for my taste. Still, at this point in the competition solid footwork and good rhythm should be enough to keep her dancing.
This waltz was technically quite accomplished. Kyle's lines are perfect, and he actually does lead (unlike some of our gentleman waltzers), but it had a little too much of the cheese factor for me. (Though apparently not for Bruno. Get a grip, dude.) That's the problem with the waltz: Too little emotion and everyone falls asleep, too much and we get snarky. Len also pointed out that Kyle's footwork is a bit lacking. "Nonexistent" is the word he used. Harsh! This might not have been Kyle's best performance to date, but it was still pretty awesome.
This unconventional foxtrot sure wasn't Len’s cup of tea, but was it anyone's? A smoke machine can hide a multitude of sins, but it can’t make up for stiff shoulders or poor timing. As usual, The Situation's footwork was decent but his posture was poor and his head wasn't in the dance at all. But at least he's having fun.
Well, against all odds Rick Fox has beaten out The Situation for the First Shirtless Routine of the Season award. Well, he deserves something for his absolutely stunning samba. He's danced well every night, but this was a whole other level of "well." His hip action was flawless, his rhythm was perfect and he even had fun with it. (He's looked nervous every other night.) The rivalry between Rick and Kurt may only exist in Bruno's head, but Rick has pulled ahead.
Who won over the judges? Audrina, Jennifer, Brandy and Rick
Who won over the crowd? Audrina, Kurt and Margaret
Who needs to step it up? Margaret, Bristol, The Situation and Florence