DwtS 5, Week 2: Performances

Two weeks into the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars, two candidates have already emerged as heavy favorites.

Melanie Brown & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Quickstep
Mel B wanted to change "from Scary Spice to Lady Spice" for the Quickstep, and her pretty, conservative pink dress went a long way toward being ladylike. Her posture, speed, and big smile were totally appropriate for the Quickstep; their song — A-Ha’s "Take On Me" — was not.

Len said, "Mel B. I know what the B stands for: Ballroom." Bruno told Melanie, "You had the classy look of Lena Horne and the great twinkletoes of Ginger Rogers." Carrie Ann said, "Your posture was beautiful. Just watch your shoulders a hair."

When encouraging fans to vote, Drew riffed on a Spice Girls’ song: "Give her what she wants, what she really really wants." And then Mel choked him.

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

Mark Cuban & Kym Johnson — Mambo
Mark was better this week, committing to the moves and looking very tall and slim. But Mark suffered from some serious White Man Dancing Face, making awkward facial expressions that were almost as unappealing as Kym’s cover-of-Penthouse outfit.

Carrie Ann told Mark, "Your face was dancing twice as hard as your body was. I’m not quite sure it was quite the proper Mambo I was looking for. But I love your exuberance." Len said the performance "was like a match: It was hot at the top, it was a little bit wooden down below." Bruno’s description was just as colorful: "It was like watching a bulldog chasing a squirrel. As much as you try, there were technical shortcomings."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30

Wayne Newton & Cheryl Burke — Quickstep
As Wayne danced stiffly to "Viva La Vegas," it was hard not to be reminded that the song has been repurposed in commercials as "Viva Viagra." His moves were slow, his hopping was awkward, and as he tossed Cheryl at the end, I feared he’d thrown his back out. Cheryl would be wise to start working some gimmicks into their routines.

Bruno said, "It wasn’t quick enough for a Quickstep. You’ve gotta work on your technique." Carrie Ann agreed: "It wasn’t quite there, but I love what you brought tonight, cause you definitely showed us that you are The Showman." Len said, "Week 2, you have to start to improve how you dance. For me, this was not an improvement over last week."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…5, Len…5, Bruno…5 = 15/30

Marie Osmond & Jonathan Roberts — Mambo
Marie wins the Most Improved award for this week. Jonathan found the right way to use her goofy energy, and her technique wasn’t bad, either. They executed a lot of tricks that required Marie to put all of her faith in Jonathan, and he didn’t let her down.

Len said the performance was "absolutely great." Bruno told Marie, "You can perform. Great actress. Rita Moreno in West Side Story." Carrie called Marie "one hot cougar. The trust that you have with your partner is incredible. You could’ve hurt yourself, and you went for it." Tom Bergeron chimed in, "He drops people a lot, you know."

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

Albert Reed & Anna Trebunskaya — Quickstep
Albert made a grand entrance by sliding down the banister. His footwork was off throughout much of the routine — which wasn’t entirely his fault, considering he had to Quickstep to the song "99 Red Balloons." But he’s certainly got more charisma than I expected him to have.

Carrie Ann told Albert to "keep all that joy going." Len called Albert "the dark horse of the season," but warned him to stop skipping. Bruno added, "Your energy kind of faltered in the middle. Your posture is good. Apply yourself, and I’m sure you’ll be as good in Ballroom as you are in Latin."

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

Helio Castroneves & Julianne Hough — Mambo
The pressure was on Brazilian Helio to perform a killer Mambo, and he didn’t disappoint. Their routine had tricks and challenging turns, and it was definitely the night’s most energetic Mambo. Helio is so light and quick when he moves, he’s positively sprightly.

Bruno said, "You leave me tongue tied." Carrie Ann told Helio, "You’re, like, the real deal. You’re suave, debonair. The choreography was very, very difficult." Len agreed: "For Week 2, to see a guy come out and perform like that…very, very well done."

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

Jennie Garth & Derek Hough — Quickstep
Jennie gave a nice performance that was going pretty well — until Derek slipped on her dress and fell at the end. But, in their rehearsal footage, Jennie highlighted something that could be a big problem as the weeks progress. She can’t fake the attraction to Derek that’s needed to make their performances believable. She has to get over her habit of giggling when she looks in Derek’s eyes, before they have to dance something really romantic, like the Rumba.

Len stuck to advice: "I think Ballroom’s really gonna suit you, but you’ve gotta just work on your posture a bit." Bruno said, "It was like Leo and Kate in Titanic. It started off very well, but we found a few icebergs along the way." Carrie Ann told Jennie, "Great dancing is a lot like great acting. You don’t act. You just be in that moment 100%."

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

Cameron Mathison & Edyta Sliwinska — Mambo
In their rehearsal footage, Cameron broke down; he’s already overwhelmed by the difficulty of the dancing and his busy schedule. He regrouped enough to give a good performance, although the only thing I remember about it is Edyta’s Polish Pocahontas outfit.

Carrie Ann told Cameron, "You look great. You hit some really, really nice lines. You have to work on your musicality." Len agreed, and added, "As you got into the dance, you started to get a little more rhythmic." Bruno told Cameron, "You look like Superman, and sometimes you dance like Clark Kent. Just relax, get on with it."

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

Floyd Mayweather & Karina Smirnoff — Quickstep
Karina went all Yoda on Floyd and told him, "Don’t try. Just do." He did, but he’s still got a long way to go before he’ll be a threat in this competition. Floyd’s shoulders were down, but he doesn’t yet look like he’s leading Karina.

Bruno said, "You’ve taken on the Quickstep, and you nearly won. The footwork was good. Work a little bit more on the posture." Carrie Ann said, "That was a huge improvement on the way you were handling Karina last week." Len said of the dance, "It was very light. It was very fluffy. What you’ve gotta do is get this hold. It was like you were guarding against a left hook."

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

Jane Seymour & Tony Dovolani — Mambo
Jane wore a skimpy outfit from the Stacy Keibler collection, and she looked smashing in it. What their Mambo lacked in speed, it made up for in technical execution. It was refreshing to see such attention to detail, instead of just getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.

Len wanted more raunch: "It was an English Mambo. I wanted a South American Mambo." Bruno agreed, "It a bit like a Mambo of a tea party at Wimbledon." Carrie Ann defended Jane: "I actually think the elegance worked in your behalf. That’s what we want to see from you."

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

Sabrina Bryan & Mark Ballas — Quickstep
Sabrina delivered hip-hop-free Quickstep, full of great technique, cheekiness, and personality. And all that while fighting a dress that kept snagging on her heel. Undoubtedly, it was the best Quickstep of the night.

Carrie Ann told Sabrina, "You didn’t miss a beat." Len said, "I’ve gotta say that dance is about light and shade. You want speed, but you want slow." Bruno tried to interrupt as Len requested more contrast in the dancing, prompting Len to snap, "Bruno, don’t start being a smart ass with me." Bruno ended the commentary, "That was a blistering performance. You looked like a professional."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 26/30

27 — Helio & Julianne
26 — Sabrina & Mark
24 — Marie & Jonathan
23 — Melanie & Maksim
21 — Albert & Anna, Jennie & Derek, Cameron & Edyta, Floyd & Karina, Jane & Tony
18 — Mark & Kym
15 — Wayne & Cheryl

My favorite performances of the night were by Helio & Julianne and Sabrina & Mark, although Marie earned herself a few votes as the evening’s most pleasant surprise. Mark & Kym are the couple in the greatest danger, although I’m not sure who’ll wind up at the bottom with them. Wayne & Cheryl might deserve it the most based on their performance, but I think it’s more likely to be Jennie & Derek or Floyd & Karina.