"Dancing With The Stars" Week 3 Recap: A Year/Tear In The Life
In high kicks, in plies,
in sequins, in Bruno’s antics,
In waltzes, in rumbas, in salsas, in jives.
Every Monday night for eighty-five minutes
How do you measure an episode of “Dancing With The Stars?”
Remember that time when Maks and Hope Solo gave the "Rent" classic “Seasons of Love” a bad rep with a mediocre dance and a major blowout with Len? That was awkward. Luckily for the song, it was able to make like Britney Spears and stage a major comeback in this Monday’s episode. Luckily for us, like Britney’s comeback, it was not complete without tacky costumes, a wig or two, and tears absolutely everywhere.
To clarify, the song itself did not make an appearance; no, I think that wound is still a little tender. However, DTWS fans were treated to a special two hours that honored the motivational message with the tune when each celeburina/o was challenged to dedicate their dance to a memorable year in their life.
And just when we thought it was safe to file “Dancing With The Stars” into the light-hearted-easy-watching-for-the-television-addicted category, they whip this tearjerker of an episode out on us. Lesson duly learned, never underestimate the emotional power of ballroom dancing people. I suppose maybe we were supposed to have learned this lesson back in 1987 with “Dirty Dancing,” but either way, I haven’t seen so many sequins and tears in one television program since the Miss America pageant.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Jack Wagner and his lovely partner Anna Trebunskaya started off with a Samba in honor of his long lost daughter that he was reunited with just months ago. It was truly one of the most touching stories of the night. What wasn’t so touching? Jack’s overenthusiastic hip action during his routine. Maybe his choreography was lost in translation, or maybe he took the Shakira metaphor from last week a little too seriously, but somehow I just didn’t get all the hip thrusts equating into fatherly love. None-the-less, the judges appreciated the heart in his performance, and awarded Jack 8’s all across the board. Who knows, maybe they just wanted to see what kind of sherbet colored costumes he and Anna can come up with next week. He always looks like a creamsicle. Yummy.
BEDROOM TO THE BALLROOM ALERT!!! Remember in the premiere episode when Maria propositioned Derek to wrestle with her? Yeah well, looks like he might have taken her up on that since their Rumba was so impassioned that it was almost like asking for romance rumors. They do know that this is aired on national television, right? Are we, the millions of viewers, bothering you while you borderline make-out in the middle of the dance floor? Maria’s dance was dedicated to her immigrant parents who worked hard as janitors in nightclubs to support the family when she was growing up. Madonna’s “Material Girl,” though having emotional significance for the star, just didn’t seem the right fit for the routine, even if it was as stripped down as these two looked like they wanted to be. Carrie-Ann loved the maturity and sensuality in the dance and showed off her SAT vocab skills by calling Maria’s movements “languid.” Deria (let’s face it, it’s time they got their own couple name, even if just within the realms of the show) dominated with an impressive score of 27 out of 30. In other news, was anyone else majorly impressed/ amused by Maria’s brief clip of her WrestleMania28 action? Looks like this girl’s got a hobby.
Gladys, Gladys, Gladys, that empress has got some moves. After getting an unfairly low score of 5 from one of the judges (what the fluffernutter, Len?) last week, she took the lesson in stride and wowed with a Sam Cooke-dedicated routine Monday night. The most memorable year in her life was 1957, when she was 13 and first went on tour with the Pips. This translated into a lovely and well-executed Foxtrot, which featured just about the cutest costume I have ever seen a 67-year old woman wear. Loved her partner Tristan MacManus’ saddle shoes too. The judges had nothing but respect for Gladys’ “divine” dance, and she was awarded a score of 24 for the night. In other news, Len wants to be a Pip? I am all for that.
Being the youngest competitor, Roshon had the disadvantage of fewer years to choose from for his tribute dance. Luckily for him, it was an easy choice – 1996, the first time he saw Michael Jackson on stage. Turns out that the King of Pop was a huge influence on this Disney starlet, so Roshon was more than thrilled when partner Chelsie Hightower surprised him with a lesson from MJ’s choreographer Travis Payne. Their Michael Jacksamba was a delight, with Roshon being one of the few (if the only) star who isn’t out-danced by their professional counterpart. His energy and enthusiasm were all over the place, but luckily, his hilarious Afro wig stayed in place. Bruno may have focused on the wig a little too much because he swore he was back in London in the 70s watching Michael himself rehearse… um ok? Time machine quality of the dance aside, Carrie-Ann and Len criticized it being not quite Samba enough. Did anyone else think that they saw Chelsie quietly correct Len’s pronunciation of Samba? (He says Samba nasally, like sand… it is actually saaaahmba) That maybe moment made my night. The youngster earned a score of 25 out of 30 and all you voters in America have earned a stern talking to. I haven’t the faintest idea WHY Roshon was in the bottom three for elimination last week. He is one of the best dancers there! Get yourselves together! I know William Levy is hot, but this kid has talent!
Gavin unveiled a major secret for America Monday night. That’s right, he took his hat off for a hot second during rehearsals to reveal a dangerously receding hairline for his 35 years. It’s kind of like Cee Lo Green and his sunglasses - the ever-present accessories bother you until you realize that without them, they look kind of evil. As if that wasn’t an emotional enough experience for viewers, Gavin and Karina wowed with an ode to his super-family support system when he first moved to New York City to pursue singing. There was a special emphasis on his father, who went door to door to tell music professionals that his son was something special. Maybe Daddy Degraw knocked on the judges’ doors too, because they were all praise for Gavin’s slow and sexy rrrrrumba. Carrie-Ann, whose heart was set aflutter, loved his “authentic attention to detail.” Bruno and Len regaled him with tales of his triumphant dance and constantly improving status. He walked away with his family beaming at him from the crowds, and a solid score of 24 from the judges.
We have seen Katherine Jenkins be painfully cute; we have seen Katherine Jenkins shake her “naughty bit”; we have seen Katherine Jenkins absolutely sweep the competition with her demure demeanor and dazzling smile; I just don’t think we were prepared to see Katherine Jenkins cry. And by “cry” I really mean bawl. And by “bawl” I really mean shatter our hearts into a million fragile pieces. Katherine’s dance was dedicated to the year 1996 when she lost her father to lung cancer at only 15 years old. She did her Daddy well in a Waltz that was so beautiful and so flawless that the only thing Len could criticize was Mark for not giving her better choreography to work with.(Check out the routine below) With a 10 from Carrie-Ann, a 9 from Len, and a 10 from Brrruno, that’s a 29 for you Katherine Jenkins. You go Katherine Jenkins.
Sherri and Val took the tear-soaked floor next with a tribute to her son Jeffrey. When he was born after only 25 weeks of pregnancy, there was a serious possibility that he would have cerebral palsy and paralysis, and Sherri wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to smile again. In a miracle he grew up into a healthy little boy, and we got our Sherri who smiles, laughs, and brings the audience to their knees with her out of control facial expressions. When Sherri found herself too emotionally preoccupied to rehearse, Val reminded us all why he is the nicest Chmerkovskiy in town and brought her six-year-old son to help motivate her to move it move it. His tactics worked as Sherri’s rumba (complete with utterly distraught facial expressions) was a high note for the judges. “Mama can move! Mama can moooove!” crooned Bruno. Her moves got a score of 24 from the judges, with 8’s across the table.
Did anyone know that there was a Little House on the Prairie Musical? Melissa Gilbert did, not only because she partook in such festivities a year ago, but because said festivities led to a broken back with the added possibility that she would never walk again. Well, as we could see Monday night, she can’t just walk – she can waltz. Melissa got most of her crying out during rehearsals, much to the chagrin of Maks, and as much fun as it was to watch him squirm trying to handle a sobbing dance partner, it was even better fun watching the end result – M&M waltzed dynamically to “The Dog Days are Over.” Their performance was punctuated at the end with one major Beyoncé status hair flip from Melissa. It was fierce. It looks like their “Dog Days” waltz was enough to get them out of the dog house with the judges, who were minimal on the criticism and awarded the duo 24 points.
Jaleel White’s whole reason to come on DWTS was to prove to the world that he isn’t Steve Urkel anymore. Well, tonight he did us one better – he was Stephan Urquelle. To all non-Family Matters fans, Stephaaaan is Steve’s alter ego, completely suave, completely sexy, and for him, completely life-changing. “After that, people started treating me different in the streets,” Jaleel explained. Apparently Stephan helped Jaleel see the man he hadn’t become yet. Was it the Old Spice Man? Because Jaleel’s rrrrrumba was absolutely dripping with power and controlled passion. He was a better William Levy than William Levy. Their dance ended with him holding partner Kym Johnson up by her ankle with a smirk on his face that says, “Whatevah, I do this everyday.” The judges loved his in control display of rumba prowess and granted him a score of 25 for the night.
It seems that out of control headwear is just the thing for the male contestants this season on DWTS because, as I noticed last night, William Levy has got a major bandana obsession going on. He looks like Rambo. Not cute. And while we have deduced that Gavin understandably wears hats at all times to hide the fact that his forehead is taking over his face, I have it on good authority his cara is absolutely fine. Why cover it up Hulk Hogan style? Why? In other (more relevant) news, William’s salsa was in memory of the year that his family made the move from poverty-stricken Cuba to America. It was a moving story, and a nice moment to see William honor his Cuban heritage. The world needs a new Ricky Ricardo. I nominate him. I, also, nominate (and elect) his partner Cheryl Burke for the flat-out fugliest costume of the night. She looked like the bad side of 1980s Little Mermaid themed prom. It was distracting from the well-executed salsa, honestly. Didn’t manage to bother the judges though, as Len called Mr. Levy “Free Willy” (I think we still need time to recover from that) and Bruno purrrred at him “William, come a little closer…” What did I say about bedroom and ballroom people? Keep your pants off, dance offs to yourselves! Either way, William’s dance (and as promised, unbuttoned shirt) scored 28 points.
The last dance of the night was in the capable hands of Donald Driver. He has delivered well in past weeks, and this emotional turn about the ballroom was no exception. His year was 2010 when his best friend died of cancer… in his arms. If that didn’t procure Titanic-status tears, his rumba definitely did (especially from Carrie-Ann, that girl was a one-woman tear factory Monday night). His rumba was sweet and romantic… dare I say it, rumbamantic. It was awesome. And props to his partner Peta Murgatroyd for a singularly stunning baby pink Grecian dress. The judges were swept away by his performance, Carrie-Ann even dubbed it “mesmerizing,” With two 9’s and an 8 (we’re looking at you Len), Donald walked away happy with a total score of 26.
What an emotional rollercoaster. We laughed, we cried, we watched several love affairs play out on camera; basically it was The Notebook, with sequins … and sambas. Unfortunately, another celeburina/o goes home Tuesday night, so keep on voting for your favorites! Or just William Levy, he will keep taking his clothes off. Let's pray that next week it's the bandana.