DwtS 4, Week 6: Performance Show

This week’s Performance Show was a solid offering that didn’t offer any major surprises. The top couples earned more high marks, and the bottom couples weren’t able to gain any ground. The highlight of the show was a lift involving Laila — and she was the one doing the lifting.

Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson — Samba
Song: Erasure, "A Little Respect"

After Judge Len Goodman called him "feminine" last week, Joey wanted to make sure he looked extra manly this week. Kym brought in the manliest guy she knows — Jerry Springer — to inspire Joey. Jerry’s motivational technique? Taking off his shirt and flexing his muscles.

Dancing to a Samba-fied version of the song, Joey displayed his manliness with a number of pelvic thrusts. Joey & Kym are really finding a nice balance in their performances, creating routines that are fun without being silly. This performance was very enjoyable.

Len told Joey, "You’re a beauty," and called him "swashbuckling," despite his "hoppy" voltas. Bruno said,"You went for it like a randy fighting cockerel," whatever that means. Carrie Ann said, "You’re insane, and that reads so well."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30

Heather Mills & Jonathan Roberts — Paso Doble
Song: Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina"

Heather & Jonathan have to commute to and from England, now that Heather’s daughter is back in school, forcing them to miss rehearsal for the Group Swing routine. To avoid jet lag, they practiced on L.A. time, which meant practicing in their London studio at 1 a.m.

The Paso-remixed version of this song wasn’t great, and Heather’s dramatic lipsyncing was a little silly. Heather must not have heeded Carrie Ann’s advice to take ballet lessons, because her upper body was still weak, making her moves look unfinished.

Bruno, in the show’s first reference to Heather’s tabloid troubles, said, "It was so dramatic. And I know you know a thing or two about drama." Carrie Ann told Heather, "I’m still missing something here from you," pointing to her shoulders. Len said, "I loved the opening. I thought you had great passion and fire."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 23/30

John Ratzenberger & Edyta Sliwinska — Mambo
Song: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Mambo Swing"

In practice, John said he was proud to have lasted this long: "It’s nice to rise to Edyta’s challenge. She’s not giving me easy steps." Edyta promised, "Our Mambo is gonna be… Mambolicious."

For a guy who’s a bit top-heavy, John is surprisingly light on his feet. It may not have been a technically perfect routine, but it was nice to see him smiling at Edyta as they danced. It was my favorite performance from him yet, and John’s former Cheers castmate George Wendt was in the audience enjoying it, too.

Carrie Ann was complimentary, if a bit dismissive: "It was cute. You look a little like a little dancing teddy bear." Len appreciated that John’s finally having a good time, but said, "The actual routine was awful. He waddled out like a ruptured duck." Bruno told John,"You’ve been a great sport, but it was really like the owl and the pussycat tonight."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 19/30

Laila Ali & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Cha Cha Cha
Song: Sam & Dave, "Hold On! I’m Comin’"

While they were creating this week’s routine, Maks was going for "cheeky," while Laila wanted something "funky." She said she’s done doing only what Maks wants, and she insisted on taking a more active role in the choreography.

They performed a fun Cha Cha with a funky breakdown at the end, including Laila’s favorite move, "The Butterfly." Laila’s contributions worked well enough, and her personality really came through in the dance. It was a step in the right direction.

Len said, "That was pure gold. Your bit at the end there that you choreographed wasn’t really my cup of tea. I didn’t want the funk part." Bruno was much more enthusiastic: "You are turning into a magnificent obsession. It was a little Tina Turner going there at the end." Carrie Ann said, "I thought that was fantastic," and reminded Laila, "Eyes up when you dance."

Samantha Harris interviewed the couple backstage while waiting for the judges to prepare their scores. Evidently, someone in production fed Samantha the scores too early, and she announced Laila’s score before the judges did. She quickly sent it out to the floor, where the judges just smiled and held up their paddles.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 28/30

Billy Ray Cyrus & Karina Smirnoff — Jive
Song: T. Rex, "I Love to Boogie"

In response to harsh criticism from the judges last week, Karina gave up trying to make Billy Ray into a good dancer: "This week, I don’t want Billy Ray to worry about technique or doing it properly. I just want him to have fun and enjoy himself."

So she let him do some of his own choreography. "That’s funny. Let’s do that!" he shouted as he did some hip-thrusting-while-hopping maneuver. Karina admitted, "It’s hard for me to accept that I’ve made peace with the fact that our Jive is not going to score 10s this week for technique."

The result was hideous. The routine was supposed to be fun, but came off as foolish. Moves that were supposed to be cheeky became overtly sexual. At one point, Karina flipped upside down, and Billy Ray spread her legs and looked right at her crotch. If they wanted to look like they don’t care anymore, then they succeeded.

The judges were more forgiving than I was. Bruno said, "The crazy bear has been let loose at a cheerleading convention tonight." Carrie Ann joked, "If you can’t get the steps, make up your own dance." Len told Billy Ray, "Whatever you lack in dance ability, it is always entertaining, and I love to watch you."

After receiving their scores, Billy Ray said, "I want an 8 so I can go home." That’s a winning attitude.

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

Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough — Rumba
Song: Gwen Stefani, "Cool"

Because of Apolo & Julianne’s oft mentioned brother-sister relationship, he was having trouble taking such a sexy dance seriously. So Julianne brought in her brother and fellow dancer, Derek, who talked about having had to perform a romantic Rumba with Julianne himself. Apolo may have felt better after a Derek’s pep talk, but I sure didn’t. I was so creeped out, I almost refused to talk to my own brother when he called tonight.

Apolo began the performance seated in a chair (a move that doomed Tucker Carlson), but he and Julianne managed to incorporate the chair throughout the routine. It was probably the best example of prop integration ever on DwtS. Julianne never cheats on the choreography, and Apolo is always able to execute.

Carrie Ann said, "I thought that was beautiful. The choreography was fantastic." Len didn’t like how much they relied on the chair, but Julianne explained, "We didn’t want to just use the chair in the beginning and just leave it there." Bruno said, "That was a choreographed poem to me," while Len continued his protest: "It was theatrical. This is a ballroom. It’s not a theater."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 28/30

(When the camera returned to the dance floor, Tom delivered his next intro while reclining in the chair.)

Ian Ziering & Cheryl Burke — Paso Doble
Song: Jennifer Lopez, "Waiting For Tonight"

Ian was excited about the Paso because he "finally had a character to play with." Cheryl told him, "I want a bull fighter, not Beverly Hills." The 90210-alum Ian grumbled, "Oh, you didn’t do that!"

From now on, Cheryl needs create a story for each dance, because Ian seemed more confident in character. Overall, I really like Ian’s dancing, and he was a little looser tonight. But something’s missing in his connection with Cheryl. I worry that Ian’s self-consciousness is getting in the way of their on-floor partnership.

Len said, "I was a little bit disappointed. It lacked drama. I didn’t like your posture. I didn’t like your arms." Bruno agreed: "There’s still an element I’m not getting. I’m getting very frustrated" Carrie Ann told Ian, "You have what it takes to do really, really well in this competition… [But] you’re lacking a sense of joy and a sense of truth when you dance" She suggested Ian take his cues on how to dance with joy from…Billy Ray?

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

Group Swing
Song: Stray Cats, "Rock This Town"

DwtS Tour Pros Christian Perry and Annette Nicole instructed the couples in rehearsal. When Christian asked which of the guys was the strongest, Laila raised her hand. The couples practiced their lifts and leaps with only a few minor injuries — mostly to Ian.

The performance was good, but the camera work made it hard to get a sense of what the dance looked like as a whole. There were lots of close ups of the couples’ faces, but few of their feet. There were plenty of tricks, but the highlight had to be Laila lifting Apolo and spinning with him in her arms — all while she wore high heels.

The group Swing wasn’t scored by the judges, but they all said they liked it.

28 — Laila & Maks, Apolo & Julianne
27 — Joey & Kym
24 — Ian & Cheryl
23 — Heather & Jonathan
21 — Billy Ray & Karina
19 — John & Edyta

This week, I split my votes between the two top couples: Laila & Maks and Apolo & Julianne. And I predict that Heather & Jonathan will be back in the Bottom Two, along with John & Edyta.