DwtS 4, Week 3: Performance Show

Heather Mills continued to impress the judges during the third week of Dancing with the Stars 4. But her performance was overshadowed by Leeza Gibbons’ new tattoo and a rule-breaking controversy by a formerly front-running couple.

Shandi Finnessey & Brian Fortuna — Jive 
Song: Elton John, "Crocodile Rock"
Shandi took sole responsibility for their stint in the Bottom Two, and she vowed to do exactly what Brian told her to from now on. "I don’t want to be the reason why we leave," said Shandi.

Wearing a pretty blue dress with lots of fringe, Shandi did a good job executing the routine. But in her effort to remember the steps, she forgot about the finishing details. Her arms were all over the place. She’s so close, but then again, I’ve thought that after all of her dances.

Len voiced his concern about Shandi’s arms: "Your free arm…was a little bit like a bit of washing floating about in the breeze." Bruno called Shandi a "bouncing, bubbling babe," but warned her to "watch the precision." Carrie Ann said, "This week, I was a little more impressed. What you have to work on is strength. You’ll get a little more grounded."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

John Ratzenberger & Edyta Sliwinska — Tango
Song: Astor Piazzolla, "Libertango"
Edyta told John that the Tango is "like a cat trying to go after the prey." To inspire John, she showed him footage of silent film actor Rudolph Valentino, who was known for his Tango. After this week’s performance, Edyta promised her partner would be nicknamed "Tango Legs" Ratzenberger.

I don’t know if Edyta accomplished her goal, since I hardly noticed much about John’s dancing. He took the dance so seriously that Edyta completely stole the show. It wasn’t bad, just not memorable…until I spotted Lorenzo Lamas in the audience. Renegade!

Len was concerned about John’s technique: "This hold is the only constant in ballroom dancing. It shouldn’t move, and it was flaying about a little bit." In regard to his hold, Carrie told John, "I’m gonna cut you a little slack. I actually thought you could’ve done a little more with your theatrics." Bruno said, "I thought the character was spot on."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…6, Bruno…7 = 20/30

Clyde Drexler & Elena Grinenko — Jive
Song: Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Bad Moon Rising"
Clyde’s mom, Eunice, is a zydeco dancer, she came to practice give them pointers. "Elena is really good. She’s a great dancer," Eunice said. "And Clyde…Clyde is coming along."

The Jive exposed all of the problems Clyde’s height presents. His footwork wasn’t crisp or fast, and his upper half was stiff. It even looked as if he’d forgotten some of his moves. It was a nice attempt, but not a great performance.

After first calling Clyde "endearing," Carrie Ann told him, "I still feel like you’re only giving us 25%." Bruno said, "It was like a Jive through a dense fog: a bit fuzzy, and blurred at the edges." Len was also disappointed: "This week, you’ve done a U-turn, Clyde. It was a great effort, and I love you, but I’m afraid, as a dancer, it didn’t happen."

Dr. Drexler’s clinical assessment of his own performance: "We performed a seamless procedure."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…5, Bruno…5 = 16/30

Laila Ali & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Tango
Song: Shirley Bassey, "Goldfinger"
Laila’s schedule was very busy, and Maks traveled with her to New York. His brother, Valentin, stopped by practice to help. Laila greeted Valentin — or "Valentine," as she called him — by saying, "You look a lot better than your brother."

Wearing a black, sequined, halter-topped jumpsuit, Laila looked every bit the classic Bond Girl. And Maks was stunning, with his slick hair and tuxedo. About halfway through the routine, they broke from the Tango hold — a fact that didn’t register as important at the time, but that the judges would bring up in their comments. All I remember is that the performance gave me goosebumps.

Bruno pointed out the problem with their performance: "This long break in the middle…you have to keep contact in the Tango. (Looks at Maks) You should know." As the audience booed, Tom pointed out, "That’s the part that the audience enjoyed most." "Well, they got it wrong," Bruno retorted. Len agreed: "Bruno is completely correct." Carrie agreed, but added, "Beyond that, you are still the most fabulous girl out there."

In his three seasons with DwtS, Maks must have earned himself a reputation as a guy who won’t hold back when he’s upset. Tom light-heartedly but quickly ushered the couple backstage without letting them respond to the judges. Samantha directed her questions at Laila, saying, "I don’t want Maks to talk because he’s probably gonna go off," earning a round of laughs from the dancers waiting backstage. Maks was not amused.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough — Jive
Song: Chuck Berry, "You Never Can Tell"
As payback for Julianne’s shouted commands during practice, Apolo took Julianne to the ice rink to teach her speedskating. He especially enjoyed screaming at her: "Lean, lean, lean, lean! Where are your arms?"

Since their song was featured in Pulp Fiction, Apolo and Julianne dressed as (smaller) versions of John Travolta and Uma Thurman, starting their dance with a recreation of the dance scene from the movie. It would’ve been more refreshing had they avoided referencing the film. Apolo had no problem with his footwork, and the routine was fun and well-executed, as all of theirs have been.

Carrie Ann said, "You guys have great energy. But tonight, it was a little sloppy." Bruno saved his strangest comments of the evening for Apolo: "I thought I was seeing John Travolta’s Mini Me. You are so much fun, you should be a ride in Disneyland." Len groused, "What I don’t like is all that messin’ about on stage, doing the twist. It really gets on my nerves."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 23/30

(It was at this point in the show that my father-in-law called to ask if my husband was watching dancing or the NCAA basketball championship. I asked if he was questioning my husband’s masculinity, and he said, "Yes!")

Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson — Tango
Song: John Williams (and Harold Wheeler), "Star Wars"
In honor of their song, Joey brought R2-D2 into rehearsal — and the robot hit on Kym. "Yes there’s a few gimmicks," admitted Kym, "but Joey’s doing a technically brilliant Tango that the judges will be very impressed by."

The routine began with Joey in a Jedi robe wielding a lightsaber. Kym had on a marvelous version of the metal bikini Princess Leia wore on Jabba the Hutt’s pleasure barge in Return of the Jedi. The song even featured R2-D2 sound effects. They ended the dance in the same pose as featured on the poster for the original movie. And I was almost too distracted to notice the quality of their dancing.

Len said, "It was good. The only bit of advice: your bum sticks out a bit." Carrie described the performance as "well-rehearsed, tight, solid, entertaining." Bruno said, "Great Obi-Wan, the force is still with you. Watch your posture." Yep, that’s what killed the original Obi-Wan.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

(Before introducing the next couple, Tom said, "By the way, to those of you who feel left out…" He then flashed the Vulcan hand salute for "Live long and prosper." This is really turning out to be my kind of show.)

Ian Ziering & Cheryl Burke — Jive
Song: Elvis Presley, "Hard Headed Woman"
To show Ian how to loosen up his hips, Cheryl took him to see a male stripper revue. After getting over his embarrassment, Ian got greased up and took the stage to show off some of his own butt shaking.

Ian has the best legs of any of the guys, and he gave a great performance with lots of hip action. Unfortunately, he messed up one of the moves at the end, but the producers cut to a different camera and the audience didn’t get to see it. I’m guessing Ian mouthed some four-letter words, and ABC cut away to avoid angry viewers or an FCC fine.

Bruno told Ian, "You are turning into a hot rod." Len said, "I was looking at you and I thought, This is a 9. But right at the end, you messed up." Carrie Ann agreed with Len but said, "The Jive is your dance."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Leeza Gibbons & Tony Dovolani — Tango
Song: Billy Fury, "Jealousy"
"With two performances under my belt, I beginning to feel less like an impostor," said Leeza.

Tony’s new facial hair made him look like evil Star Trek Tony. This was Leeza’s best performance so far. She looked confident throughout their solid Tango.

After Leeza walked over to the judges table, the producers got another scare. They had to cut away as Leeza slowly pulled her top down. They came back as she showed Bruno a fake tattoo that read "Tramp" above her left breast. Tony laughed loudly when Tom said, "And somewhere, Janet Jackson is going, ‘And they gave me a hard time’."

Carrie Ann said, "I totally believed you in the character. It was basic but fantastic." Len nicknamed her "Leeza the Eyeball Pleaser." And Bruno approved of the tattoo: "A touch of the Lady of the Night never hurt."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Heather Mills & Jonathan Roberts — Jive
Song: Marvin Gaye, "Can I Get A Witness"
For the Jive, Heather needed to get a bouncier prosthesis. She also had to wear tennis shoes for her performance because "you can’t get a bouncy foot in heels."

Heather started the routine by leaping off of the stage, and she followed it up with a front walkover. When not trying to show off just how athletic Heather can be, Jonathan cleverly finds ways to support her without making it look obvious. They managed to stay in contact during nearly all of the routine’s kicks and flicks. The only trouble was with Heather’s upper half, as she shrugged her shoulders strangely at times.

Bruno renamed her "The Incredible Heather Mills. You did a fantastic job; how can I knock this?" Carrie Ann said, "You make me wanna dance." Len was also complimentary: "You’ve got such great musicality in your dancing. Well done to you both."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Billy Ray Cyrus & Karina Smirnoff — Tango
Song: The Clash, "Rock The Casbah"
On his training this week, Billy Ray said, "I love to dance the Tango, and if I could do it, I’d love it even more."

Billy Ray is still counting his steps out loud; it would be less distracting if he just sang along with the song and relied on lyrical cues to help him remember his place. His posture needs some work, but Billy Ray is slowly coming along.

Carrie said, "That took…can I say ‘balls’? You are still the most improved from week one." Len gave Billy Ray credit: "You look as though you’re really trying to do it, even if it doesn’t come off." Bruno told Billy Ray: "You are like a Bingo caller sometimes, counting."

When Samantha asked Billy Ray how he’s going to handle learning eight more dances, Karina covered her hands and pretended to cry. At least I think she was pretending.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

24 — Joey & Kym, Ian & Cheryl, Leeza & Tony, Heather & Jonathan
23 — Apolo & Julianne
21 — Shandi & Brian, Laila & Maks, Billy Ray & Karina
20 — John & Edyta
16 — Clyde & Elena

My vote this week goes to Joey & Kym for their Star Wars Tango. Hey, if I could cast my vote for Harold Wheeler, I would.