DwtS 3, Week 8: Performance Show

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It was a creepy Halloween edition of Dancing with the Stars tonight. The judges wore fangs, the dance floor was shrouded in fog, and Samantha Harris wore the scariest costume ever: herself, the morning after a rough night out. Eek!

Ballroom Round

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Tango
Joey’s brothers, Matt and Andy, stopped by dance practice to check on Joey’s progress. Edyta taught Andy a few dance moves, momentarily paralyzing him when he realized he would get to touch Edyta. “I know it’s hard work,” Andy said, “but you’re with Edyta eight hours a day. How hard could that be?”

Just when you think the musical choices can’t get any weirder, Joey & Edyta danced to the theme song from the TV show, The Addams Family. Edyta even wore a Morticia Addams-style wig. And we now know why Joey shaved his head; he was getting in character to play Uncle Fester. In keeping with the theme of their song — and the evening — Joey & Edyta danced mechanically, as if they’d recently been raised from the dead. It was a clever choice, artistically, as the movements somehow suited the Tango.

Len started his comments by saying, “All four couples have the potential to get into the Finals.” He said Joey & Edyta’s performance was “fantastic.” Bruno called it “a fandango of a Tango. It picked up the nuances in the music.” Carrie Ann said, “That was an amazing Tango. The best I’ve seen you perform. The most fun I’ve seen you have.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 28/30

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Waltz
During practice, Mario couldn’t hold his frame, and Karina was pissed. “Is there any reason why your head looks like a pigeon?” she asked. He said that he understood the concept, but just couldn’t execute it.

The story behind the routine was that a man was dancing a final dance with the spirit of his deceased love; Karina dressed in ghostly white. The performance was lovely and emotional, and it was Karina’s best choreography to date.

Bruno called the routine “the true fairy tale waltz. Tonight, you were a romantic leading man.” Carrie Ann said, “There was something very different about that performance. You felt very connected to your emotions.” Len said, “Poignant and beautiful. It was a great job.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 28/30

Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel – Tango
Kenny Ortega, director/choreographer of High School Musical and Dirty Dancing, visited Monique & Louis during practice to offer his encouragement. Still miffed about their low scores, Louis said, “I would like to have the judges reward Monique for the difficulty level of the dances I have her do.”

They danced to another hilarious song selection: “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell. I agree with Louis; having to dance to that song without laughing is difficult. Monique wore black lipstick, and Louis had evil, pointy sideburns. The music demanded an unusually fast Tango, and Monique had a little trouble keeping up, at times. It was the most technically challenging routine of the night. The dance ended with Louis pretending to chomp Monique’s neck.

Carrie Ann told Monique, “I respect your ambition, but the choreography was a bit beyond your capabilities.” Len used his critique of their Tango to answer Louis’ comment about level of difficulty: “It’s not like diving. If you do one spin, that’s great! If you do two spins and stumble, that’s bad.” Bruno said, “Sometimes, less is more. It allows you to express yourself.” Carrie Ann chimed in, “We want to see more of you.” Bruno agreed.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Fox Trot
Emmitt went home with Cheryl to San Francisco, where they rehearsed at a ballroom in Cheryl’s parents’ home. While in the Bay Area, they danced at a charity event. Jerry Rice was also in attendance, and he demanded “props” for talking Emmitt into doing DwtS.

Dancing to a classic song like “Witchcraft” allowed Emmitt & Cheryl to keep their shtick to a minimum. It was very nice, but Jerry needed to commit to his arm movements. The pair looked like they were having fun, and it certainly translated to the studio audience.

Len said, “You have got a charm about you. But, for me, there were only about four bars of the whole routine in a ballroom hold.” Bruno disagreed, and Len sniped, “You can’t disagree with the facts.” Bruno said, “It was a very creative interpretation of the Fox Trot.” Carrie Ann told Emmitt, “I’m gonna get nitpicky with you. Watch your arms. And you’ve gotta pop your moves, too. You’re almost too smooth.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 25/30

Intermission

Before the start of the Latin Round, viewers were treated to a package of clips about the many commitments in the celebrities’ lives. There are after-show interviews, charity events, jobs, and hours spent with families. And almost every waking moment in between is dedicated to practicing the dances.

But there are certain benefits to committing so much time to the show. Emmitt said, “My recognition has been off the charts… for dancing! Who’d’ve thunk it?”

Mario said, “The most difficult thing for me is to juggle everything I have going on. But at the end, it’s all worth it.”

Latin Round

Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska – Paso Doble
I could watch this dance again and again just for the outfits. With a song like “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, the natural wardrobe choice is…buccaneers? Edyta’s bawdy pirate queen outfit is the best in three seasons. Oh, and the dancing was all right, too.

Bruno said, “The devil wears Paso, and he’s hot as hell tonight. And I’m not just talking about Edyta! You two were playing with each other tonight. It’s finally happening!” Carrie Ann said, “This week you’ve really come into your stride. But watch it; you’re leading with your chest instead of your hips.” Len said, “There was passion, but I thought your arms were a little weak.” Pointing at Edyta, Len said, “You should wear that every week.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 26/30

Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff – Samba
Karina wore a mask and a pixie wig for this performance to “Superstitious,” by Stevie Wonder. Karina’s moves were out of sight, and Mario suited her well. It was a fun routine.

Carrie Ann yelled, “Woooo! That was the best. You completely changed it up for this one.” Len said, “You came out an really sold it. Lovely choreography. Each individual step is lovely… But when you combine them all together, it’s not spontaneous. I didn’t feel transported to Mardi Gras.” Bruno yelled, “You’ve never been to Mardi Gras,” to which Len responded, “Oh yes I have!” Of the performance, Bruno said, “Supersonic. Supercharged. Super Mario is at it again!”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 29/30

Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel – Cha Cha Cha
Monique & Louis arrived onstage in grey jumpsuits, which could mean only one thing: they were dancing to “Ghostbusters.” Louis ripped off his jumpsuit to reveal a grey shirt and pants, and then ripped off Monique’s jumpsuit to reveal a Slimer-green outfit. It’s hard not to make a corny routine with this music, and Louis included couple of cheesy moves. But Monique painlessly executed some maneuvers that looked downright whiplash-inducing.

Len said, “It had flair, speed, great rhythm. It was fantastic.” Bruno quipped, “That was cha cha charming. Cheeky, happy, and bright.” Carrie Ann told Monique, “Way to come back and show it to us. You’re usually kind of stomping, but there was something gentle in your footwork.” When they received their scores, Louis pointed out that these were the first 10s he’s earned in three seasons of DwtS.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 29/30

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – Rumba
Dressed all in white, Emmitt & Cheryl danced to the song “Spooky.” Emmitt’s arms were still a little weak, but he more than made up for it with his hip action. It was another high quality performance. During their finishing moves, Cheryl lost both of her earrings.

Bruno told Emmitt, “Man, you know how to play a woman. Nobody can teach you anything. The hip action!” In a compliment to Emmitt, Carrie Ann told Cheryl, “Maybe we should switch positions.” Len said, “The whole routine had class written all over it. Fantastic.” As he raised his paddle, Len said, “I wish I could give an 11.”
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 29/30

Leaderboard:
1 – Mario & Karina (57/60)
2 – Joey & Edyta, Emmitt & Cheryl (54/60)
4 – Monique & Louis (53/60)

My vote almost went to Joey & Edyta just for Edyta’s pirate outfit. But I had to throw it to Mario & Karina. They really gave the best performances of the night.

Tomorrow night, “operatic pop” (whatever that is) artists Il Divo perform. And Willa Ford makes a return appearance. Maybe she’s become the bad girl of operatic pop.

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