"Dancing With The Stars" Week 2 Recap: We Were Born To Jive
The celeburinas (and… celeburinos, I suppose) were certainly succumbing to the Sophomoritis stress, seeing as this week’s performance would be the last to convince viewers to vote them on to dance another day. They were facing a little bit of an impossible challenge, since the golden scores of last week, so dubbed “the best first week ever” left big dancing shoes to fill. But they didn’t let the Sophomoritis epidemic slow them down from pulling off a funny, steamy, star-studded episode.
Forget “first is the worst.” Roshon Fegan and his partner Chelsie Hightower blew that Kindergarten playground logic right out of the water with their sophisti-swagtastic quickstep. In rehearsals Roshon was having difficulty carrying himself less like a pop-and-locker and more like a prince. Chelsie was having difficulty rhyming. In an effort to speak to her partner in his own language, she fashioned a rap that rhymed Roshon with Mom… wow. She should stick to her day job – especially since their fame and money themed routine quickstepped them into a score of 26 out of 30 possible points from the judges.
First is the worst may have just been rendered null and void, but I never said anything about second is best. Sherri Shepherd and partner Val Chmerkovskiy livened up the jive with a magnetic performance to “Proud Mary.” How can you not love that “absolutely owning it” look Sherri gives the camera once she finishes her dance? Talk about a finale. Tyra Banks would be proud of all that smizing (smiling with your eyes, for all you non-America’s Next Top Model aficionados). “Once you go thick, you ain't ever gonna quit” Sherri said, and oh how the judges agreed. William and Bruno’s love story may have to take a backseat to Carrie Ann’s new declaration of love for Sherri. Now this is a showmance I think we can all buy into. Sherri shook her way to a score of 23 points; let’s hope she sticks around for the Carrie/Sherri shipping to really set sail.
I think DWTS likes their Chmerkovskiy’s in twos, since for a second week in a row, despite the seemingly random performance order, Maksim and Melissa Gilbert followed Val and Sherri. But that is about where the similarities ended. M&M had their work cut out for them, landing towards the bottom of last week’s scores. Melissa complained that dancing rehearsals were harder than childbirth; Maks complained that Melissa’s poses looked more appropriate for the lavatory. Melissa was eventually reduced to tears… of joy. She finally earned a compliment from Maks and celebrated the way most people would, by crying. She was less moved by the judges’ tough critique of her quickstepping, namely how her overthinking of the routine reads all over her face and posture. And I can imagine even less moved by the low score of 20 she and Maksim earned for this week. Not for a lack of trying, though.
As far as Jack Wagner’s Sophomoritis goes, he may not need a doctor as much as he needs… Shakira. He and partner Anna Trebunskaya ran into trouble rehearsing because this guy’s moves are as stiff and straightforward as a brick wall. He needs a heavy dosage of “don’t lie” for those hips, stat. They managed to imbue their jiggy jiggy jive with a little bit of fire, though I suspect it came mainly from the orange costumes that were (coincidentally?) the exact same color has Anna’s hair. Jack and Anna gave it their very best, and Len rewarded them by deeming the dance of “acceptable standard.” Ha. Oh, Len and his stingy flattery. They will get a bona fide compliment out of you yet. Jack and Anna got a score of 21 out of 30 this week, a slight regression from their favorable foxtrot last week.
Jack and Anna might want to step their game up though, because Queen of Soul Gladys Knight and her partner Tristan MacManus are not backing down. Her Royal Highness isn’t too intimidated by her competition, she once performed with the likes of James Brown and Otis Redding, you know. And this, her background in music, may just be her strongest advantage in the ballroom, since the judges complimented her “connection with the music” during her quickstep. However, she was not making enough progress to feed the nasty beast of Len’s expectations, and he gave her a score of only 5 out of 10. Really Len? Really? Carrie-Ann and Bruno were more forgiving of her mistakes, both giving her a score of 7 to amount to a final score of 19.
From the Queen of Soul, to the Welsh Wiggler, as Katherine Jenkins was so named by partner Mark Ballas in an attempt to get her to, as she puts it, “shake my naughty bit.” Nothing short of abominably adorable last week, Katherine struggled to bring the sex appeal this week in their Vegas themed jive. She succeeded though. Looking like a Casino Royale Spice Girl Barbie, Katherine’s well-executed performance was enough to bring Bruno to his impassioned quote of the week, “TALK ABOUT SEXY AND I KNOW IT!!!!” If that isn’t enough encouragement for Katherine, surely her consistent high score of 26 is.
Katherine was followed by Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson, who tied the Welsh Wiggler for highest score last week. Battling through Kym’s krazzzy eyes, Jaleel performed well in what I interpret to be a DWTS ode to In N’ Out.. Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” felt a little discordant with the fast food theme but, I digress, there are times that I have considered a lifelong commitment to those animal fries. Jaleel took home the non-existent trophy for best costume of the week, and a collective score of 22 from the judges, who wished to see more accuracy and crispness in his movements.
Golden couple Maria Menounos and Derek Hough were up next; though there is so much pent up theatricality between the two of them they really need their own reality-ish show. But a Bonnie and Clyde themed quickstep will just have to suffice in the meantime. And cat burglar masks. They looked like the masked vigilantes of DWTS, taking out their enemies with high kicks and almost perfect quickstep form. Marvelous Maria and Super Dude Derek fought through their routine, despite what has now been confirmed as two broken ribs on Maria. Atta girl. The judges appreciated her perseverance and the newly found passion in their routine, rewarding the super duo a stellar score of 25.
And while Maria and Derek represent one side of the Sophomoritis bug, Martina Navratilova and partner Tony Dovolani, unfortunately, completed the other side of the equation. While rehearsing for their jive, Martina was nursing an injured toe, and a disappointingly defeatist attitude. She expressed her hope to stay in the competition for as long as possible to learn how to dance. This isn’t ballroom dancing at the community center girly! Go get your sweatband and serve up some of that competitive spirit that the most decorated female tennis player in history must have in her. Either way, Martina’s lack of enthusiasm and commitment read all over her routine, which suffered from faulty footwork and out of synch partnering. The judges weren’t impressed, awarding Martina and Tony with a score of only 17, the lowest of the week, though encouraged them for the (hopeful) weeks to come.
Donald Driver felt right at home with the quickstep, his nickname is “Quickie” after all, and his partner Peta Murgatroyd was right there sharing the glory. Their performance was one of the highlights of the week, excellent both in execution and enthusiasm. And the judges were eating it up, too. Len even told Donald that he regretted the unfairly low score that was awarded to him last week, and made up for it by bestowing him with an 8. Carrie-Ann and Bruno were equally impressed with long time DWTS fan boy Donald and echoed 8’s across the board for a collective score of 24. Looks like there is more than only Pe(e)ta dominating the competition this week. Oh yeah, and Donald too.
Gavin Degraw and partner Karina Smirnoff were back in the ballroom after low scores last week to prove that they meant business. Too bad that Gavin STILL couldn’t take it seriously. He was having none of their rehearsals, choosing to engage in laughs and jokes instead of serious jiving. And Karina was having none of that. “Her pupils get red,” he claimed, and avoiding the rage of the almighty Ms. Smirnoff was enough to get Gavin back to work. Good choice, have you seen the muscles on her legs? Don’t want to mess with that. Carrie-Ann and Len commented on Gavin’s nerves during the routine. Bruno was absolutely distracted and enthralled with his “LEATHAHHH” outfit (and partially leathahhh newsboy cap). Ultimately, the duo walked away with a score of 21 with 7’s across the judges’ table.
Last, but certainly not least (especially in Bruno’s book) is Latino heartthrob William Levy and his partner Cheryl Burke. She’s a smart one, that Cheryl is. She has it figured out, incentivizing fans and judges that the higher the scores they get, and the longer they stay in the competition, the more William’s clothes come off. Ha. He was modestly suited in their quickstep, which despite his complaints that it had “no Latin flavor,” still had the audience erupting into applause. The smoke alarm in my apartment literally went off during William’s routine – it was that hot. Or my friend burned her dinner, whatever, details. Regardless, Carrie-Ann and Bruno both awarded William with a score of 9, while Len cooled down the affections with a score of 7, amounting to a collective score of 25. What we have here is the Megan Fox conundrum, do they like him because he is actually good at what he is doing, or do they like him because he’s hot?
Only time will tell. Time will tell for all of the contestants, as one will be voted off Tuesday at 9 p.m. ABC will also be airing a one hour special “Dancing With The Stars: The Story So Far” at 8, for all of you who want a little extra screen time with your favorite. Too late to vote now, but polls are open for an hour after every show, so don’t forget. You want to see less and less of William Levy’s costumes, don’t you people? The scores so far are as follows:
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas: 26 + 26 = 52
Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower: 23 + 26 = 49
William Levy & Cheryl Burke: 24 + 25 = 49
Jaleel White & Kym Johnson: 26 + 22 = 48
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough: 21 + 25 = 46
Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy: 23 + 23 = 46
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd: 21 + 24 = 45
Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya: 23 + 21 = 44
Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus: 23 + 19 = 42
Gavin Degraw & Karina Smirnoff: 20 + 21 = 41
Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 20 + 20 = 40
Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani: 20 + 17 = 37
If you missed Monday night's extravaganza, catch up on it here. Or just watch Sherri's performance below, I promise it will only make your day better.
Reach writer Kelly Hanelt here
Check back every Tuesday for Kelly's reviews of the dancers' performances.