DwtS 6, Week 3: Performances

The top of the leaderboard stays mostly unchanged, while one star fails to dance to her potential in Week 3 of Dancing with the Stars 6.

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Jive
Marlee shook her stuff in a skimpy purple dress. She had no trouble keeping time with the music, but her arms were all over the place. It was another good performance, but not quite as electrifying as her two previous dances.

Len Goodman said, "I think you did a great job." Bruno Tonioli cautioned, "You lost the timing a couple of times. The underarm passes could be smoother." Carrie Ann Inaba added, "I love the chemistry you two have. Watch your hands a little bit. They’re a little bit pancakey."

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

Steve Guttenberg & Anna Trebunskaya — Tango

Anna was sick during the week, so, naturally, her husband Jonathan Roberts filled in for her during rehearsal, for what Steve called "Man-on-Man Tango."

The usually jovial Steve had no problem maintaining the serious character of the dance. His performance was impressive, considering he spent all week dancing with a dude. The routine was classic and free of gimmicks, which Steve saved for after the dance, donning goggles and using a mixing bowl as a helmet, before the judges rendered their opinions.

Carrie Ann said, "That was your best dance so far." Len told Steve, "The actor came out in you this time. Your footwork was fantastic." Bruno quipped, "Man-on-man did the trick for you."

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

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Jive
This was the first really energetic dance of the night. Cristian looked good, although the sleeveless shirt he wore to show off his buff arms made him look a bit like a He-Man action figure, and it compromised the smoothness of his arm movements.

Bruno asked, "Are you on rocket fuel tonight?" Len agreed: "The best dance you’ve done so far." Carrie Ann warned Cristian to "watch your arms," but added, "It was fantastic."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 25/30

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Tango
This routine had the unfortunate distinction of being the first of the season to be ruined by terrible music. Mario & Karina danced to "El Tango de Roxanne" from the film Moulin Rouge — a version of the Police song "Roxanne" — and the vocals were unlistenable. Apart from noticing that the couple had chemistry, nothing from the routine stuck with me.

Len said, "For me, it was a mess. You’ve bitterly disappointed me tonight." Carrie Ann agreed: "There were a lot of missteps. You’re better than that." Bruno said, "I didn’t think it was that bad."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…6, Bruno…8 = 21/30

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Jive
The routine started with a pair of cartwheels and continued with solid technique throughout. Shannon looked like she’s having a good time, although she was exhausted by the end. She, Derek, and Tom Bergeron sat on the dance floor as the judges gave their comments.

Bruno said, "I love a girl who comes out here and goes all the way." Len said, "What I saw tonight was a really good Jive." Tom interrupted to joke about winded Shannon, "There’s so much heavy breathing down here that I feel like I’m sitting next to a 900 number." Carrie Ann concluded, "Every time you come out here, you’re surprising, which is good in this competition."

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

Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough — Tango
During rehearsal, Adam told Julianne about some research he did into this week’s dance: "I went home and Googled ‘Tango.’ You know what it’s about? Prostitutes and pimps. And guess which one you are."

Adam was able to keep up with Julianne without screwing up his moves, which is probably exactly what they set out to accomplish. It was enjoyable to see Adam try and maintain the serious character of the dance, which he did until a smile broke out in the waning measures of the song.

Carrie Ann was stunned: "I cannot believe I’m going to say this, but Adam Carolla was quite sexy out there." Bruno told Adam, "You’re not a master technician, but you’re getting better." Len told Julianne, "You’ve done a fantastic job. You made Adam look like a dancer."

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

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Jive
In rehearsal, Marissa contemplated what many of us have long wondered about Tony: "How bad do you have to be to be ‘The Bad Boy of Ballroom’?"

The routine was slow, they didn’t cover much of the floor, and the choreography was uninspired. On top of all that, Marissa’s footwork was off a number of times.

Len was blunt: "It was a little bit careful, and careful doesn’t win Dancing with the Stars." Carrie Ann was even tougher: "That was boring. You are so much better than this. You’re not giving your best." Bruno agreed: "It was like a Jive on cruise control. Come out here and live up to the talent that I know is there."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…7, Bruno…6 = 19/30

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Tango
Priscilla & Louis gave the most passionate performance of the evening; I had to remind myself that she’s old enough to be his mother. Priscilla’s technique is good, and she’s the best of the stars when it comes to conveying dramatic emotion.

Bruno dubbed the performance "The Hot Cougar Tango." Len enthused, "Passion! Drama! Fire and ice!" Carrie Ann said, "I believed every minute of it," warning Priscilla, "Watch the neckline a hair."

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

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Jive
Jason moves well, but the choreography didn’t seem as demanding as it could’ve been, given his natural talent. And he needs to stop looking at his feet when he kicks.

Carrie Ann told Jason, "When you hit your lines, they’re beautiful. But…this week, you were dancing a little small in your upper body." Bruno called the performance "a cool Jive." Len said, "The lines were good, and I liked all the tricks. The bit I didn’t like was the rest of it. It had no Jive action." Len finished with a Lenism: "One week you’re a rooster, the next week you’re a feather duster. That’s life."

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

As the show went to commercial, Tom faked a cough so that Survivor host Jeff Probst could step in from the audience and read his lines from the teleprompter. The bit would’ve gone over better had the studio audience recognized Jeff without his traditional Tribal Council Khakis.

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Tango
During rehearsals, Mark was concerned that Kristi wouldn’t be able to express the intensity of the Tango on her face. But Mark’s aggressive expressions during the performance bordered on comical. Kristi displayed wonderful control and gave the best performance of the night.

Len stated, "I’ve liked everything you’ve done, and this is no exception." Carrie Ann told Kristi, "Your technique is amazing," but warned her, "Your anger on this was just one dimensional. I don’t feel much when you dance." Bruno expanded on Carrie Ann’s warning: "I want you to be a dirty girl." Kristi flashed him a little leg as they left the floor.

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

27 — Kristi & Mark
26 — Priscilla & Louis
25 — Cristian & Cheryl
24 — Shannon & Derek
23 — Jason & Edyta
21 — Marlee & Fabian, Steve & Anna, Mario & Karina, Adam & Julianne
19 — Marissa & Tony

Kristi again deserved honors, and Priscilla continues to surprise me with her talent. I’ll be splitting my votes between Kristi and Adam because I think he’s funny and want him to stick around. And fans of Marlee, Steve, and Mario will undoubtedly vote in droves to save them from the pile-up near the bottom of the leaderboard.

Just like Monica Seles seemed to be the obvious boot last week, Marissa seems the likely boot this week. I hadn’t heard of Marissa before she was cast on Dancing with the Stars, and she hasn’t won me over enough in the last three weeks to want her to stick around. Tony’s need to argue with the judges only increases my desire to see them go.