The judges have stopped playing it safe on Dancing with the Stars 4. There’s a big gap between this season’s best and worst couples, and tonight, the judges made sure their scores showed just how big that gap is.
Ian Ziering & Cheryl Burke — Samba
Song: Wyclef Jean, "Dance Like This"
Ian’s still having issues with moves he considers "feminine." First it was his hips, and now it’s the shimmy. Frustrated with Ian’s complaining, Cheryl walked out of practice, but they were able to "hug it out" and get on with their training.
Ian really threw himself into this performance, but a few minor missteps seemed to distract him. He’s still dancing more with his head than with his heart.
Len said, "From week one, you have come up with really competent performances. I want you to get to that next level." Bruno told Ian, "This week, you really went for the hip action — a bit like a power tool some times." Carrie Ann said, "I thought the shimmy worked for you. But I think you underestimate yourself. You have the tendency to come in and out of your performance a lot."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30
Clyde Drexler & Elena Grinenko — Rumba
Song: Marvin Gaye, "What’s Going On"
Marvin Gaye’s ode to world peace was a strange choice for a dance about romantic love. Clyde’s mostly stationary dancing only added to the strangeness, and he and Elena ended the routine with an illegal lift. It was as bad as any performance they’ve given so far. And that’s bad.
Bruno said, "It was like a Rumba under an anesthetic. And then, at the end, you do a lift!" Carrie Ann was frank: "You’re the worst dancer in the competition, and tonight was really bad." Len was more generous: "I know your footwork wasn’t correct, but you came out this time and really tried to show us a proper Rumba."
While awaiting the judges’ score, Elena offered an explanation for the illegal move: "It was not supposed to be a lift. It was supposed to be a pose, but due to the length of his legs…I’m sorry."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…4, Len…5, Bruno…4 = 13/30
Heather Mills & Jonathan Roberts — Samba
Song: Tavares, "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel"
In preparation for the sexy Samba, Heather insisted that Jonathan wax his chest. As the technician ripped the hair off, Heather sadistically chanted, "That’s for the Jive. That’s for the Fox Trot." In tribute to the waxing scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Jonathan cried out, "Carrie Ann Inaba!"
To show off Jonathan’s new look, the routine opened with Heather ripping open Jonathan’s vest. The Samba was a little slow, but entertaining. The inevitable finally happened when Heather tried to end the routine by lifting her (real) foot to Jonathan’s chest. Her prosthesis wobbled a bit, and she fell. When she got to Tom Bergeron’s mic, she joked that her foot must have slipped on all the oil on Jonathan’s chest.
Carrie Ann said she’d have to deduct a point because of the fall, and recommended that Heather take ballet classes to strengthen her upper half. Len said, "I think you came out and you really sold it." Bruno agreed with Carrie Ann that Heather needed to "polish the top half."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30
Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson — Rumba
Song: Joao Gilberto, "Besame Mucho"
The Rumba was the first slow dance for Joey & Kym, and Joey was having a little trouble taking it seriously. His buddies Lance Bass and Alfonso Ribeiro showed up for practice and helped Joey channel his normally goofy energy into the performance.
They pulled off the romantic dance and gave a nice performance, like they always do. Joey really commits to all of his moves, and he’s been listening to the judges; his butt didn’t stick out at all.
Len told Joey, "For me, you were a little bit feminine," at which point Bruno yelled, "Rubbish!" and physically assaulted Len. Bruno said, "That was absolutely strong and soft." Then Tom called on Carrie Ann for the tiebreaker, and she said, "A little feminine." She explained: "You over-performed it. Some of the moves looked like caricatures."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 25/30
John Ratzenberger & Edyta Sliwinska — Samba
Song: John Paul Young, "Love Is In The Air"
To help him get in the mood for the Latin party dance, Edyta told John to bring his drums to practice. When he showed up in a kilt — the uniform of his bagpipers corp — she was a little surprised: "I didn’t know he was the drummer in a Scottish marching band."
Dancing to "Love Is In the Air," (as heard in the movie Strictly Ballroom) John danced with joy and energy — much more so than Clyde had or Billy Ray would. John also made sure to show off his best asset: Edyta.
Bruno called the performance "one of the best, worst Sambas I’ve ever seen." Carrie Ann said, "I don’t know how long you’re gonna last in the competition, but I’m gonna give you this," and gave them a standing ovation. Len said simply, "Well done."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30
Laila Ali & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Rumba
Song: Corinne Bailey Rae, "Put Your Records On"
Because the Rumba is such a sexy, romantic dance, Laila brought her fiance, Curtis Conway, to rehearsal, so that he could let Maks and her know if any of the moves were too sexy. Curtis spent the rehearsal acting like a chaperone at a middle school dance, separating Laila & Maks until they were dancing at arm’s length.
With this performance, Laila resuscitated her confidence — in herself and in Maks. She looked sexy, and Maks acted like a true partner. It was the best Rumba of the night.
Carrie Ann called Laila "The Comeback Kid." Len told Laila, "Tonight was your best performance all season." Bruno said, "That was Luscious Laila, back in smoldering form. I think I need a shower."
While they waited for their scores backstage, Maks told Samantha he’d made Laila sign a waiver that said, "No Maks is gonna get hurt in the making of this dance." At that moment, Curtis snuck up behind Maks and grabbed him on the shoulder, and Maks nearly jumped out of the frame. Tom joked with Bruno, "You need a shower, and Maks needs a new pair of pants."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…9 = 28/30
Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough — Samba
Song: Reel 2 Real, "I Like To Move It"
Julianne doesn’t necessarily believe in positive motivational techniques. As they trained for their Samba, she yelled at Apolo, "Be a man!" She also told him to be sexy — like a tiger.
In keeping with her "sexy tiger" theme, Julianne wore a tiger-print leotard, as they danced to Reel 2 Real’s "I Like to Move It." In less capable hands, the song might not have worked. But the band was amazing, and Julianne’s choreography was fantastic, making Apolo look great. So far, Julianne is this season’s real breakout star.
Len first congratulated the band and the singers, and then told Apolo & Julianne they gave "a great, great show." Bruno said, "You two were possessed tonight." Carrie Ann said one word: "Perfection."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 30/30
Billy Ray Cyrus & Karina Smirnoff — Rumba
Song: Tina Turner, "What’s Love Got To Do With It"
Even when dancing to a Tina Turner classic, Billy Ray could not be compelled to move. Worse, even though he was standing still, Karina kept pulling Billy Ray off balance. It was a real step backward after last week.
Bruno reminded Billy Ray that Karina is hot, and explained to him, "You are to respond to the sex appeal." Carrie Ann commended Billy Ray for avoiding heel leads, but said of the dance, "this one didn’t make it for me." Len said that, instead of conveying romance, "This was like a couple having a bit of hanky panky in the back of a Chevy."
Billy Ray protested, "I’ve had some of my most romantic nights in the back of a Chevy," to which Tom replied, "And, clearly, so has Len."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…5 = 17/30
30 — Apolo & Julianne
28 — Laila & Maksim
25 — Joey & Kym
24 — Ian & Cheryl
21 — Heather & Jonathan
18 — John & Edyta
17 — Billy Ray & Karina
13 — Clyde & Elena
Tonight, I sent a vote to John & Edyta. They weren’t the best, but there are two other couples who deserve to go home before they do.
Billy Ray and Clyde might actually appreciate a way out of the competition. Next week, all of the couples will learn a new solo routine and participate in a group Swing routine. Since they keep mentioning their busy schedules, I’m not sure Billy Ray or Clyde will have the time to learn a pair of new dances.