DwtS 6, Week 2: Performances

The stars and their partners had one last chance to avoid being one of the first two couples eliminated from Dancing with the Stars 6.

Steve Guttenberg & Anna Trebunskaya — Mambo
While not a perfect Mambo, Steve & Anna did what they knew would work. Their routine was fun and cute, right down to Anna’s rainbow sherbet-colored dress. And Steve played to the studio audience while Anna handled the fancy footwork.

After some confusing cooking references, Len Goodman said, "Tonight, it just didn’t really work for me." Bruno Tonioli told Steve, "All the energy went into the facial expressions, so the body died and technique went down the drain." Carrie Ann Inaba added, "You got the audience behind you, but it didn’t really go anywhere. But you guys looked cute."

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

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Quickstep
Cristian certainly took the judges’ advice about his posture, and the couple’s performance was fast and energetic. Cheryl’s polka dotted dress looked more appropriate for a Paso Doble, but hers was hardly the most questionable wardrobe decision of the night.

Carrie Ann told Cristian, "Your posture was so much improved. Your footwork could be a hair sharper." Len quipped, "It was faster than wind from a duck’s bottom," adding, "It had a bit of a wildness about it." Bruno said, "The performance was good."

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

Monica Seles & Jonathan Roberts — Mambo
While she seemed slightly more relaxed than last week, Monica is so uncomfortable that she can’t throw herself completely into the dancing. She doesn’t finish her arm movements, and her facial expressions look forced. It was better, but not good enough.

Bruno told Monica, "You have to connect with the music." Carrie Ann said, "This week, you came out and you attacked it. This is a huge step for you." Len said, "You tried your hardest. But there are just so many technical problems at the moment."

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

Penn Jillette & Kym Johnson — Quickstep
The routine opened with Penn sticking pins in a voodoo doll that looked like Bruno — never a good sign. Penn still looks heavy when he moves, and the height disparity between him and Kym is hard to ignore. Penn went on to interrupt the judges throughout their comments.

Len urged Penn to "spend a bit of time getting your feet sorted out." Bruno agreed, "The footwork was really, really, really bad. Atrocious." Carrie Ann stayed upbeat: "I enjoyed watching you."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…5 = 17/30

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Mambo
Priscilla tried for sex appeal in a leopard print gown, and ended the performance by crawling toward the camera like a cat, but the majority of the routine was PG-rated. It wasn’t the speediest Mambo ever, but it was good.

Carrie Ann called Priscilla "so glamorous and so sexy." Len appreciated technical aspects of the dance, but wanted more, "Go on, girl, give it a bit." Bruno agreed: "This was very good, very well placed,… but go for that sexuality that we know you have."

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

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Quickstep
It looks like Shannon needed to get one nervous performance out of the way, because she showed some real talent tonight. Her footwork was strong, and she did some impressive detail work with her hands. The routine was fun and it showcased the great chemistry between Shannon & Derek.

Bruno exclaimed, "That’s what dancing’s all about! This is what we want! You’re in the game." Carrie Ann said, "That was a very difficult routine. You nailed it." Len called the performance the "best dance so far tonight."

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

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Mambo
Edyta is such a dynamic performer that she couldn’t help but steal the show, but Jason proved that he’s no slouch. The routine was exciting and ended with a move that was really cool, if not totally within the rules. Good thing the judges aren’t calling the couples out on lifts yet.

Len told Jason, "You’re a winner," and Bruno called him "the Mambo King." Carrie Ann said, "I think you’re a real contender. I think you’ve got a great shot at winning this thing."

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

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Quickstep
Marissa had a lot of energy, and this week she was able to keep enough control to remember the routine. Unfortunately, her unflattering hot pink dress was the most memorable part of the performance. She and Tony need to raise their game next week if they want to stay in the competition for the long haul.

Carrie Ann said, "Your synchronicity was just off." Len told Marissa, "You make me smile. You’re lovely and bubbly." Bruno added, "Much better than last week."

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

Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough — Mambo
At one point in the routine, Adam did a backwards somersault, so this wasn’t a strict interpretation of a Mambo. But it was funny, and there were moments when Adam actually looked light on his feet. Plus, Julianne looks like she’s having a legitimately good time dancing with Adam, which makes their performances enjoyable to watch.

Bruno told Adam, "You’re not a natural dancer, but you made me laugh. That’s a plus." Carrie Ann noted, "That wasn’t quite a Mambo, but it was cute and you gave it your best." Len said, "I thought it was brilliant. I think part of the show is to be entertained, and I think that’s what you did."

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

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Quickstep
The music had an unusual Mambo feel to it, which the duo acknowledged with a few moves at the start of the routine. Marlee overcame the challenge of being unable to look at Fabian while in hold, and her timing was perfect throughout the fast routine. To his credit, Fabian has given Marlee two difficult routines, and she’s shown that she’s totally able to pull them off.

Len told the couple, "I think that you’ve got great potential to go a long way in this competition." Bruno said, "That was a Mambo-ish Quickstep. It could’ve been more traditional, but very well executed." Carrie Ann told Marlee, "You have this incredible musicality when you dance. You have this natural way of bringing to life the style of the dance."

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

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Mambo
Kristi gave the performance of the night: fast, fun, and sharp. Like last week, it was well beyond what anyone would expect at this point in the competition. Kristi’s cheetah-print gloves were a fitting tribute to Mark’s girlfriend and former partner, Sabrina Bryan (she was in the audience), who started out so strong last season.

Carrie Ann enthused, "I think the other couples are going to have a really hard time beating you in the scores. You are so precise." Len said, "You’ve done it again. Fantastic." Bruno agreed: "Fast, sharp, exuberant. Great choreography."

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

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Quickstep
This couple gets the award for most inexplicable outfits of the night. Dancing to what sounded like ’60s girl-group pop, Mario wore a jacket with tails but no sleeves, and Karina wore a harem girl costume. I was so distracted that I could hardly pay attention to the routine, apart from Karina’s flying leap off the stage at the beginning.

Bruno said they looked like "Mario and the Queen of Sheba." Len told Mario, "Your footwork was pretty good. Your hold was funny. You’ve gotta work on the finesse." Carrie Ann said, "You’re always gonna bring this special vibe."

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

After combining this week’s scores with their scores from last week, here’s how the couples rank:
Judges’ Leaderboard (60 Points Possible)
54 — Kristi & Mark
50 — Mario & Karina
49 — Jason & Edyta
46 — Marlee & Fabian
45 — Priscilla & Louis, Shannon & Derek
41 — Cristian & Cheryl
39 — Marissa & Tony
34 — Steve & Anna, Adam & Julianne
33 — Penn & Kym
30 — Monica & Jonathan

For the most part, I’m in agreement with the judges’ rankings of the couples thus far. On Tuesday night’s first Results Show of the season, one male celebrity and one female celebrity will be eliminated. It seems a good bet that Monica Seles will be the woman going home.

Among the men, it’s a toss up between Penn, Steve, and Adam. Of the three, Penn’s my pick to hit the road, but there’s really no way to predict which one will go.

Kristi shouldn’t be in any danger for quite a while, but Sabrina’s departure last season has left me a little paranoid. So, Kristi’s getting a couple of my votes. I’m splitting the rest evenly between Adam and Steve. Of the lesser male contestants, they’re the ones I most enjoy watching — on and off the dance floor.