DwtS 3, Week 2: Performance Show

Former child stars Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez may be interchangeable after all. A great performance by Joey vaulted him into the top spot on Dancing with the Stars, while a choreographic misstep humbled early favorite Mario.

Host Tom Bergeron announced at the top of the show that, despite injuring her knee earlier in the week, Kym Johnson had recovered enough to continue as Jerry Springer’s partner.

Then, Tom and co-host Samantha Harris explained the criteria for the night’s dances. The Mambo — the female celebrities’ dance for this week — requires fast steps, rhythmic hips, clever arm movements, and moves known as body rocks. The Quickstep — which the males stars would be attempting — is executed with fast, synchronized steps and powerful runs, as well as moves like the Charleston and the Chasse.<!–

Tom then introduced the evening’s first performer: Willa Ford. As he did last week, Tom called Willa the show’s “bad girl,” a label she might have to shed to help her chances in this competition. (Willa called herself the “Bad Girl of Pop” back in 2001, and the title has stuck, though she has yet to do or say anything controversial on DwtS.)–>

Willa Ford & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Mambo
Even though she was excited about doing a sexy Latin dance, Willa had trouble mastering the Mambo in practice. She repeatedly left the studio, but Max learned to wait her out, as she always returned after a few seconds. Willa was more frustrated with herself than with Max, and, over time, it seemed he was able to get through to her.

Judging by the performance she gave on the dance floor, Willa’s practice struggles were worth the trouble. She had a lot of energy and looked well suited for the Latin dances. And she’s a good partner for Max; he can show off, while she’s able to hold her own. The routine ended with two cool drops. Afterward, Max gave her a proud peck on the cheek.

Head judge Len Goodman said, “It was fantastic. I loved the turns.” Bruno Tonioli declared Willa “almost too hot to handle. The girl can shake.” Carrie Ann told Willa, “You were my favorite of the women from last week, by far.” But as for this week? “Sometimes you got a little out of control, got ahead of the music.”

While waiting for the judges’ scores backstage, Willa told Samantha that she knows she’s not as famous as some of the other stars, and the audience will need to get to know if her if she wants to last until the end. Then, while Samantha explained the voting process, Willa grabbed the mic and said, “Vote for me!” She should get votes just for taking the mic away from Samantha.
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 8, Bruno: 8 = 23/30




Harry Hamlin & Ashly DelGrosso – Quickstep
In order to loosen Harry up, Ashly took him to a session of laughter yoga, which, logically enough, consists of laughing while you do yoga. It was as silly as it sounds, and Harry looked ridiculous trying to fake something close to laughter… until he really started laughing, and then couldn’t stop.

As a nod to last week’s stiff performance, Harry started the routine standing ramrod straight. Then their music kicked in: “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop. Harry still looked a little awkward, but he’s definitely a Standard ballroom guy. The performance was much better than last week, though the choreography was a little bland.

Bruno told Harry, “You’re coming out of the shell. You kept the hold all the way through.” Len said the hardest thing for the male celebrities to do is to keep the hold. However, Len also said he wished he’d seen a little more rise and fall in Harry’s step. Carrie said that Harry had “great posture. I thought it was fantastic.” Confirming that Standard is more his style, Harry said, “I don’t have one molecule of Latin DNA in me.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 7, Bruno: 7 = 21/30




Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel – Mambo
Heeding Len’s advice, Louis worked on his chemistry with Monique, taking her on a gondola ride. In practice, to show his confidence in Monique’s abilities, Louis worked in a difficult trick at the end of the routine that he would normally only try with another professional.

Louis’ jacket was super sparkly and very distracting (at least to me–and to all the infants watching). Monique was totally on point with all of her moves, but Louis’ speedy legs and crisp movements had the effect of making Monique look a bit slower, by comparison. She can really shake it, though, and they pulled off the finishing trick without a hitch.

Carrie Ann told Monique, “You’re a hot, wild, young lady.” Len said the performance was “absolutely knockout.” Bruno told Monique, “You’re bringing sexy back big time. You were like a kitten, purring around the dance floor.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 9, Len: 8, Bruno: 9 = 26/30




Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Quickstep
Karina said she wasn’t sure if some of the moves they were doing this week were legal. But she kept them in, anyway, as they played to Mario’s strengths as a dancer. After practice, Mario took Karina boxing to show off his footwork in the ring, and she beat the stuffing out of him.

Karina had good reason to worry about this routine, because it was only a Quickstep by the loosest standards. Mario was very bouncy, and the duo failed to included many of the required moves, making it more of a Freestyle dance. It was crowd-pleasing but failed to capture the spirit of the dance. Hopefully, the choreography was just a rookie mistake on Karina’s part.

Bruno said the routine was “the Quickstep gone berserk, an impressionistic version of the Quickstep.” The crowd booed, and Bruno yelled back, “Stop booing me! Shut up!” Carrie agreed with Bruno: “You guys are fabulous. What are you doing?” Len said there was “no hold and no posture. It was a Latin dance; it wasn’t a Quickstep. Do the proper stuff, not all that rubbish.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 6, Bruno (shrugs): 8 = 21/30




Shanna Moakler & Jesse DeSoto – Mambo
Jesse’s a Mambo champ, and Shanna said she was intimidated by his sexiness during practice. She also said that, despite her beauty pageant experience and posing for Playboy, she wasn’t confident that she could pull off a sexy dance routine.

Her brown dress with tan fringe looked slightly cowgirl, so I was sure their song had to be a country song. But the music kicked in, and it was “Jump,” by former youngster hip-hoppers Kris Kross. It was probably the last song anyone expected — just beating out Rush’s “The Trees.” Shanna couldn’t nail the necessary fast leg work, and the tempo of the song made the routine feel even slower. It was solid, but not loose enough to be great.

Len said this week was “much, much better. You were right with him the whole way through.” Bruno told Shanna, “You’re still not quite there, but carry on with the work, and you’ll get there.” Carrie Ann said, “Shanna, I don’t know what you’re still worried about. That was a good, solid Mambo.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 7, Bruno: 7 = 22/30




Jerry Springer & Kym Johnson – Quickstep
Kym hyperextended her knee&nbsp;during a&nbsp;Jive&nbsp;practice with some of the other pros.&nbsp;While she worried that Jerry would fall behind in his Quickstep training, he feared that her injury could be career ending. After some medical tests, Kym was cleared to perform with Jerry, who told her, “Dancing with me, you’re always dancing in pain.”

They donned 1920s era outfits, and danced to “Sing, Sing Sing.” Jerry showed a lot of improvement from last week; He’s much more comfortable with Standard than Latin. He even generated some good speed near the end. It was a credible performance that left the crowd chanting, “Jerry! Jerry!”

Bruno told Jerry, “You covered a lot of mishaps with a great performance.” Carrie Ann was “very impressed,” and remarked that Kym’s injury didn’t seem to affect her performance. Len said that he wasn’t going to cut them any slack because of Kym’s injury. Then he had some advice for Jerry. “I’ve always looked up to you as a father figure. You can’t keep up with the younger guys, so work on the things you can: technique and hold. You can be better than any of them.” Tom told Len, “I thought the only person you looked up to as a father figure was Methuselah.”

While waiting for the judges’ scores, Samantha asked if Kym’s injury made Jerry nervous about his chances. He looked at Kym and said, “Oh yeah. Like we’re gonna lose because of your knee.” In the background, Willa and Max nearly fell off their chairs from laughing so hard at Jerry’s constant stream of self-deprecating comments.
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 6, Bruno: 6 = 19/30




Vivica A. Fox & Nick Kosovich – Mambo
For their routine, Nick left his shirt open, exposing an oven-roasted chest, reminiscent of Kramer on the episode of Seinfeld where he exchanges his sunblock for butter. Their routine felt the most authentic, like something you might see at a club. In her heels, Vivica was still able to execute a perfect cartwheel.

Len said, “You sold that, and I loved the spins. But it was like a pizza: the top half was hot and spicy; the bottom was doughy.” After Nick remarked that some people like the crust, Bruno took the pizza analogy in a creepy direction and said, “The crust…is tasty!” Carrie Ann said, “The beginning was weak, but near the end, you brought it to the floor.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 8, Bruno: 8 = 24/30




Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Quickstep
During rehearsal, Joey said the Quickstep made him feel “like a marionette or a robot.”&nbsp;Joey&nbsp;equated the Quickstep with other things he finds difficult,&nbsp;”like math.”&nbsp;After he&nbsp;showed Edyta a tap routine he did when he was five, she decided to work it into the routine.

They danced to “I’ve Got Rhythm,” another lively and appropriate song, like “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Joey’s practice fears were unfounded. The performance was fun and crowd-pleasing, while still looking like a real Quickstep — definitely the best of the night. The studio audience loved it, including Ted Danson, who dropped by to promote his new show, Danson with the Stars.

Carrie Ann said, “Last week, you were boring. This week, you were f-…oops, I almost swore…you were fantastic!” Len called it “the performance of the night. Beautiful rise and fall.” Bruno said the routine was “worthy of the golden age of Hollywood,” which was exactly what Joey and Edyta were going for. Joey couldn’t stop thanking the judges and blowing kisses to the audience.
Carrie Ann – 10, Len – 9, Bruno – 10 = 29/30




Sara Evans & Tony Dovolani – Mambo
This week, Sara took Tony to her house near Nashville, so that he could meet some of her fans.

Sara is a beautiful woman, but she didn’t bring enough passion to the Mambo. The routine was cute and fun, but not sexy. Sara smiled a lot more than she did last week, but the smile hardly reached her eyes, as you could see how hard she was concentrating on her steps. It was an improvement, and Sara’s working hard, but she’s got a ways to go before being as comfortable on the dance floor as she is behind a microphone.

Len said Sara was “much, much better than last week. I liked your hip action, but you dance too carefully.” Carrie called it “a very nice, safe Mambo.” Bruno said, “This is the Sara I wanted to see. Go for it. I want you to kill me on that dance floor.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 7, Len: 7, Bruno: 7 = 21/30




Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Quickstep
Emmitt’s used to running with his shoulders forward, so he struggled with the straight posture of the Quickstep. He’s also a perfectionist, leading him to put so much pressure on himself that he wasn’t having a good time on the first day of rehearsal.

During the performance, Emmitt stayed in character, smiling the whole time, and looking like he meant it. He even sang along with some of the music. Cheryl made a point of working ways in for Emmitt to show off his personality, while still executing the necessary Quickstep moves. It was a nice balance of elements.

Bruno told Emmitt, “You have such a natural charisma, you’re so light on your feet. Go take ballet with Vivica.” Carrie asked Emmitt, “Would you mind if I called you Twinkle Toes?” Len said, “It was not quite as good as your Cha Cha&nbsp;last week, but it was still a great performance.”
Judges’ Scores…Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 8, Bruno: 8 = 24/30




Leaderboard:

1 – Joey & Edyta
2 – Monique & Louis
3 (tie)- Vivica & Nick, Emmitt & Cheryl
5 – Willa & Max
6 – Shanna & Jesse
7 (tie)- Harry & Ashly, Mario & Karina, Sara & Tony
10 – Jerry & Kym

Joey got my vote tonight. He was the best of the week, and he deserves to be rewarded for it. I’m guessing Willa and Shanna are in the most trouble. If one of them goes, it could be good for the other, as viewers will no longer have to wonder which young blonde is which.

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