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"Dancing With The Stars" Week 6 Recap: Motown Magic

Kelly Hanelt |
April 24, 2012 | 11:24 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Ah ha ah ha Stayin Alive, Stayin Alive.... hey, wait a minute, this isn't disco week! "Dancing With the Stars" ABC Mondays at 8 (Image courtesy of ABC)
Ah ha ah ha Stayin Alive, Stayin Alive.... hey, wait a minute, this isn't disco week! "Dancing With the Stars" ABC Mondays at 8 (Image courtesy of ABC)

After weeks of close up shots fawning over William’s abs and Katherine’s legs, “Dancing With The Stars” took a detour from the island of flawless anatomy to celebrate another contestant this week: Gladys Knight. Motown Monday was a tailor fit testament to the Queen of Soul, and she didn’t hesitate to take back her spotlight, straight up Beyoncé style. Cheered on by the dulcet doo-wopping of her contemporaries, some little nobodies named SMOKEY ROBINSON, MARTHA REEVES, and THE TEMPTATIONS, Gladys became the ballroom bandit and stole the show. Oh yeah, 7 other teams danced too, but they’re not important.

Just kidding. While Gladys held the spotlight this week, everyone else was trying their darndest to edge her out of it. Motown Monday brought out the best in some competitors (like Donald, and Katherine) and the awkward confusion in others (umm… Roshon). Dancing to live music, by legends no less, forced the stars to work a little harder and shine a little brighter. With the cheeriest headwear aficionado Gavin Degraw going home last week, “DWTS” the competition is heating up week by week. Time to start bringing your A-game.

Not to be redundant, but seeing as Gladys’ performance kicked off the show, I will now happily return to discussing the Motown diva. This week’s performance was a sashay down memory lane for Gladys. Turns out Ms. Knight played many, many performances (and softball games!) with The Temptations back in the day, so she was ready to rrrrrumba to their adorably apropos tune “My Girl.” Tristan was a little more nervous, dancing with a Motown legend and all. But, with a visit from Gladys’ older brother, the original Pip, Bubba, and the downright cutest glasses ever, he was good to go. Their rumba was simple, synchronized, and slow-paced. This routine wasn’t about showing off, it was about having fun. Gladys was positively luminescent. And while she still may be a long shot for the Mirrorball Trophy, Gladys took home an even bigger prize this week – Len’s heart. The typically hostile traditional judge shed his reticence and declared that if he could judge purely with his heart, she would be at the top of his leaderboard. When Carrie Ann tried on Len’s meanie pants and offered criticism, Len cut her off completely and told Gladys that if he were at home, he would be calling in votes for her. All together now: Awwwww. With 7’s across the judges’ table, Motown Monday was a success with 21 points for Gladys and Tristan.

Maria and Derek took this week as a much needed lesson in class. Maria claims (to the camera) that she can be classy, then she talks about poop. Okaaaayyyy. Let’s try Klassy with a K. The duo manage to avoid injury during rehearsals this week, though I was momentarily concerned for Maria’s safety when Derek’s intentionally ridiculous headwear made him look like Professor Quirrel from Harry Potter. Everyone knows what was hiding under that turban. Bad news. Voldemort free and uninjured for the week, Deria were ready to “get down and Motown with this foxtrot.” Accompanied by Martha Reeves, their performance was light-footed and kute, and, dare I even say it… klassy? While Deria have a couple episodes with no bathroom humor to go before that C regains its rightful place, the judges agreed that the couple displayed elegance and sophistication. With the Motown music and the well-executed foxtrot, Len declared the performance a delight to his eyes and ears. Two senses happy? Now that is an achievement. So is their total score of 26 with an 8 from Carrie Ann and two 9s from Len and Bruno.

Alert Merriam-Webster! According to Roshon, “sensual” is now defined as “huggy.” Wow. This Disney darling may just be one year out of his teens but his idea of sexy is still learning how to walk. Roshon’s sexiness was more Care Bears than carnal, and poor Chelsie was left to teach this bumbling baby that sniffing ladies’ hair is not suave. It’s creepy. Roshon was thrown off his game this week, tripping over his limbs and his leading lady all rehearsal long. I couldn’t help but want to call Austin Powers, because this kid seriously lost his mojo. Needless to say, their rumba wasn’t the strongest performance of the night. It might have been the most ridiculous, with all of Roshon’s over exaggerated movements. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought their performance was a parody. Len thought it was a paint-by-numbers. He said Roshon’s movements were too clipped and jerky – something that Bruno attributed to his hip-hop background. Despite the general ludicrousness of the dance, luck was on Roshon’s side tonight and he was given a total score of 23 (7 from Carrie Ann and 8’s from Len and Bruno).

Don’t send Austin Powers packing yet, we need him to help fight that fembot off of Mark!! – oh wait, it’s Katherine. Despite her pretty face and her perky smile, there is something rigid and robotic about Katherine. This week, she struggled to bend her cyborg limbs and be bouncy. Robots don’t bounce! Took a little mental re-programming, but come performance time, Katherine was (not surprisingly) perfection. Their samba was sassy and springy, chock full of crowd-pleasing shimmies and John-Travolta-Saturday-Night-Feveresque poses. Len kept the delectably quotable comments coming by telling Katherine she should be renamed the midwife – because she keeps delivering. Hahaha. Len! He has become so cheerful lately! Bruno said some weird comment involving Brazil, funky town, and exhilaration, and I think I speak for everyone when I say I have no desire to know how those dots connect. In other news, Katherine delivered twin 10s and a baby 9 tonight, for a total score of 29.

Look at that cerulean! Best costumes of the night, hands down. You go, Donald.
Look at that cerulean! Best costumes of the night, hands down. You go, Donald.

While Katherine was off collecting 10s like it’s her hobby, Donald Driver is only aiming for one ten – the Len ten. Gypped by a score of 8 last week, Donald and Peta were back with one hell of a vengeance. If Donald’s NFL (and surname) drive wasn’t enough to motivate them during rehearsals, Peta brought in a cardboard Len holding up a 10. Now that’s positive reinforcement. Also a little creepy. But I digress, all the hard work paid off because Donald and Peta’s foxtrot was the perfect combination of groovy and sweet. The only thing leaving you blue at the end of their performance were those ferocious cerulean costumes. Donald and Peta even danced over to the judges table, making their point to Len explicit. And he couldn’t help but give in. “I thought you were going to come out and show me fireworks, you didn’t” said Len. Just as the audience was about to go all French Revolution on his business, Len finished “You exploded!!!” Donald dropped to the ground in excitement. Bestowing Peta with the mission to work Donald even harder and unlock all of his potential, the judges were unanimous with 9’s across the table. Not quite the Len ten that Donald was ahem, ahem, Driving for, but a score of 27 isn’t a bad consolation prize.

Remember a few weeks ago when Len told Melissa that she would really shine during a slow lyrical dance? Well, alert “That’s So Raven” her gig is up because our boy Lenny is a psychic. Melissa and Maks’ Viennese Waltz was a thing of beauty, and easily her best dance thus far. The road to perfection was a turbulent one though. Apparently someone forgot to remind Maks that the “A” in A-game doesn’t stand for A-hole. He was having a straight up tantrum during rehearsals, cursing at Melissa and blaming her for his lack of inspiration. Things weren’t going well for M&M, but Maks’ decided to look at the bright side of things. “It could be worse,” he told Melissa. “How?” “You could have an ugly partner.” Melissa and her “Charm school dropout,” as host Tom Bergeron quipped, turned up the charm and elegance on the dance floor. It wasn’t the most exciting number of the night, but between the fluid movements and melodic Smokey Robinson accompaniment, it apparently qualified as “poetry,” according to Carrie Ann. The judges approved of Melissa’s constant improvement, and awarded her with 8’s across the table, for a total score of 24.

Jaleel White is a changed man. Or so he claims. Being in the bottom two last week and having to Dance Duel for safety was a defining moment for the star. He called it “demoralizing” and “humbling.” Now those aren’t fighting words! Kym needed to get the one-two-punch back into her partner before their Cha Cha Cha. Her tactic was to tell Jaleel to not be Jaleel. “Think like a ballroom dancer,” she told her dejected partner. These words worked magic however, because their performance to The Temptations’ “Ain’t To Proud To Beg” was sparky and lightning quick. Jaleel’s face lit up with delight from the reunion with his long lost dance mojo. We both are so excited cause we’re reunited heeey heeey. The judges shared his joy, Bruno passionately exclaiming, “That was the biggest sizzler of the season!!!!” Oh Bruno. Len confirmed that Jaleel was indeed “back,” and the star walked away with 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno and a 9 from Len for a total score of 29. Ch-ch-ch-ch-check out Jaleel getting his groove back on below.

This was a week of great growth for William Levy. We saw him make the tremendous personal journey from “Latin dancing James Bond” to “Latin Lover.” I bet that was hard. Please, sex appeal is a piece of tres leches cake for this telanovela star – something that his partner Cheryl Burke is quick to extort. She narrated the way she ran her hand up his body during rehearsals, so hot that life mirrored my recaps and their rumba set off fire alarms in the dance studio. Other rehearsing stars came running. Where there’s smoke there’s fire because William was sexing that dance up. Their performance was no different. That routine could be source material for 200 different romance novel covers. Somebody page Fabio, because Mr. Levy’s dances might just put him out of business. There was lots of caressing and lots of sexiness, let’s face it, Cheryl is basically selling William’s body for votes. I know one judge who would vote for him. Bruno could barely contain himself. It was a legitimate struggle. We all saw it in his face. When he got the cue from Tom and was finally unleashed upon the poor, (not) unsuspecting William, he jumped up from his chair and yelled out “ABSOLUTE AND UTTER FILTH AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!!!” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Motown Monday was going for. Carrie Ann and Len caught on to the over-the-top raunchiness of the routine and encouraged William to challenge himself beyond his pretty face to his actual dance potential. Ahh, logic! I have missed you in between all these hormones! With a 9 from Carrie Ann, an 8 from Len, and a thoroughly ridiculous 10 from Bruno, William had a final score of 27.

“Dancing With The Stars” had another treat for us all this week – the Motown Dance Marathon. Basically the deal was that all contestants had to dance at the same time, displaying their best Motown moves for the judges, who will eliminate them one by one until only the victor remains. The point of this dance device was... well, points. The first couple out gets 3 points, the second gets 4, and so on and so on until the victor gets 10 additional points.

Each celeb had their own strategy for the Motown Marathon. Gladys, while frightened at the prospect of potentially having to dance for four minutes straight, wanted to stick to her Motown roots. Roshon practiced lifts with Chelsie, but found it hard to support a partner who was basically the same weight as him with those waifish limbs. Jaleel got the same memo, but actually had the muscles to pull it off – he displayed a mighty cool lift/spin with partner Kym. Donald had other ideas though. This NFL receiver planned to play to his (literal) strengths. He was going to “bump” William first, because they were similar in size, and then Roshon, because he’s so tiny.

No matter how crafty the contestants found themselves getting, I don’t think any of them were fully prepped for the Motown Marathon in all its glory. The first team eliminated was Gladys and Tristan. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was to spare her the physically draining task of dancing for four minutes. Next were Maria and Derek, then Roshon and Chelsie. Melissa and Maks got the out next, followed by Donald and Peta. Jaleel and Kym were eliminated next, leaving William and Cheryl, and Katherine and Mark to battle it out. Despite his play for the Bruno vote, William and Cheryl were eliminated, leaving Katherine and Mark as the winners of the Motown Marathon. As they were celebrating, all I could focus on was how Mark’s lime green costume made him look like The Riddler.

Riddle me this, “DWTS” fans, who will be sent packing this week? I have suspicions that I might see Roshon in that Dance Duel Tuesday night, but only time will tell. We are half way through season 14 of “Dancing With The Stars”, but at the rate the tears, sequins, and competition are exponentially increasing, the finale might be “Toddlers in Tiaras” status. Now, who would want to miss out on that?

With the addition of the Motown Marathon, scores got kind of mixed up this week. So I'll break that rusty old calculator out and make it easy for yah. The scores for this week are:

Katherine & Mark: 29 + 10 = 39

Jaleel & Kym: 29 + 8 = 37

William & Cheryl: 27 + 9 = 36

Donald & Peta: 27 + 7 = 34

Maria & Derek: 26 + 4 = 30

Melissa & Maks: 24 + 6 = 30

Roshon & Chelsie: 23 + 5 = 28

Gladys & Tristan: 21 + 3 = 24

Reach writer Kelly Hanelt here

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