The second episode of “Dancing With the Stars” was also the second week, and boy what a week. There were fights, flirts, fun, and almost universal improvement. Almost.
I’ve now decided to rename the couples’ perilous introductory journey down the stairs “The Descent of Occasional Doom” as it hasn’t been to Doom-y lately. I do love Shannen Doherty’s outfit, and Niecy Nash is all pink and sparkly. In fact, there’s a lot of pink today. And can we clap it up for Pamela Anderson looking all classy? Scores, as always, are listed in Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno order.
1. Shannen Doherty and Mark Ballas
Dance/Song: Jive/”Shake Your Tail Feather” a la Ray Charles
Shannen’s debut was quite lovely, so I’m hoping she’s got some confidence going into this week. The judges’ comments about the Viennese waltz being too hard really stuck in her head, but Mark refused to dumb the choreography down. I have to say again how much I love her costume. The music was a little slower than usual, but with good reason. She looked like she was having fun and really got into the personality of the dance. She was ahead of Mark a few times but did well overall. Technique-wise, her kicks weren’t consistently sharp, but she was good overall. The routine wasn’t super-difficult but it was high on content.
Judges: Len said that it was “fun, fast, and energetic” but lacked control at times. Bruno complimented her energy and performance level improvement and gave a few technique tips. Carrie Ann thinks Mark pushing her harder paid off and enjoyed seeing a “brighter side of Shannen,” adding that she needs to improve her musicality.
Score: 20 (7-6-7)
2. Aiden Turner and Edyta Sliwinska
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”I’ve Got You Under My Skin” a la Frank Sinatra
Aiden and Edyta had a real tough rehearsal week, resulting in a bit of a fight (not the yelling-screaming kind, more the “share our feelings so it doesn’t get worse” kind). It’s got a much better feeling to it than last week. He’s definitely channeling that classic romantic musical vibe. The technique was pretty solid — good frame, but he needs to work on really extending his arms all the way out and finishing his lines. Definitely a step in the right direction. Oh…and Edyta clipped him in the eye with her elbow.
Judges: Bruno says he can see a glimmer of hope but he needs to keep focused. Carrie Ann said he did a “nice job,” saying he was trying too hard last week but this week he let the “dance flow through [him].” Len says there needs to be more flow but his footwork was “very good,” adding that he agrees with Bruno that there was improvement.
Score: 19 (7-6-6)
3. Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya
Dance/Song: Jive/”The Best Damn Thing” a la Avril Lavigne
Evan’s actually really good at the jive. He’s totally giving me Broadway “Grease” — he’s into the character but as animated as he’s supposed to be. He performed the heck out of the routine and kept the energy up. The technique was very good and all the jumps, spins, and special movement were done pretty much perfectly. I’m very impressed, especially considering it’s only the second week and he was dancing in Chuck Taylors, which offer zero support.
Judges: Carrie Ann was very happy with the performance, complimenting his energy, control, and connection with the audience and Anna. Len agrees with Carrie Ann, reiterating that for someone so tall he did very well but wants him to get his feet sharper. Bruno said the partner work was spot on and tells him to point his feet.
Score: 24 (8-8-8) – Hmm … if Nicole got two nines last week, surely Evan deserved the same this week.
4. Niecy Nash & Louis Van Amstel
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”Love You I Do” from the “Dreamgirls” film
Niecy is serving up some sassy, classy glamour. The performance was great and she and Louis have great chemistry. Her arm extensions were really good and she really seemed at ease with the choreography and technique. Really great job.
Judges: Len thought it had musicality, ease, sophistication, and some sass, adding that compared to last week she was “a revelation.” Bruno said she was light and frothy like “a strawberry milkshake.” Carrie Ann was really impressed by how all her movements have purpose but wants a little more next week since the competition is so stacked.
Score: 21 (7-7-7)
5. Jake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower
Dance/Song: Jive/”Hip To Be Square” a la Huey Lewis & the News
I thought Jake was a smidge overscored last week, so I hope he doesn’t stink it up. He’s a bit stiff but his technique is surprisingly good. Actually, the song helped his case because the stiffness could be passed off as part of the character/theme. He messed up the quick footwork sequence but did well overall.
Judges: Bruno says his energy and determination are great but he needs to work on precision and technique. Carrie Ann put her Lift Police hat on but loves his attack and energy, adding that he’s great to watch. Len thought he coped well though was a little heavy at times. He also says he hopes Jake isn’t the first eliminated.
Score: 20 (6-7-7)
6. Buzz Aldrin & Ashly Costa
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”Fly Me To The Moon” a la Frank Sinatra
Buzz had Ashly draw out the steps as a map since he’s used to using topography and visual queues to learn. His wife Lois came in to rehearsal to give him a pep talk. Ashly put together a really cute number, and he did pretty well, all things considered. I could really critque this but I refuse to on account of adorableness.
Judges: Carrie Ann called it “very tender” and “very charming” but thought it was a bit trepidatious. Len believes Buzz inspires people, refusing to critique him. Bruno said it looked like he was avoiding craters.
Score: 12 (4-4-4)
7. Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
Dance/Song: Jive/”S.O.S.” a la Rihanna
You know what I love about Nicole? She’s the first contestant I’ve seen question how they’re supposed to do their dance style justice to an ill-suited song. Brava! Because they couldn’t do a more traditional Jive thanks to the music, she’s worried that it’ll be too non-traditional for the judges (*coughLENcough*). The number starts out with Nicole rocking some Pussycat Dolls-like moves on stage until Derek runs out from the Celebquarium where he was “chatting up” Pamela. There’s something heavy about her shimmy outfit. Are the tassels too long maybe? The number was good but it didn’t seem like a full-out Jive. Not by speed and energy but by choreography. Nicole, as expected, performed well but I could’ve used a little more bounce in the footwork at times.
Judges: Len was a bit ambivalent — he thought parts were fantastic but was underwhelmed by others but the talent is there. Bruno thought it was phenomenal, adding he’d never seen a Jive that good in the second week. Carrie Ann thought it was perfection.
Score: 28 (10-8-10)
8. Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”Love Story” a la Taylor Swift
Erin had a little solo in the beginning and I’m very impressed. The second solo part was not quite up to par – it was less more mechanical (as in “one and two and kick and turn”). Her extension and lines are very good and she’s thankfully pointing her toes. Her frame is a bit inconsistent but good overall. A very good performance overall. She should get a good score.
Judges: Bruno called her a natural but told her to make sure she finishes her movements and links them. Carrie Ann loved the opening solo and that the choreograph made great use of her flexibility, adding that she needs to lessen her “death grip” in hold. Len thought it was fluid and the posture was solid but the footwork needs help. He also added that far too many celebs are giving their pros a hard time, telling them to “turn up, keep up, and shut up” (a less nice way of saying to trust their pros). And then Maks start dancing up on Tom while he was throwing it to commercial. It’s anarchy!
Score: 23 (8-7-8)
9. Pamela Anderson & Damian Whitewood
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”I Wanna Be Loved By You” a la Marilyn Monroe
They were mesmerizing to me. I thought Pamela nailed the performance aspect and the technique was really good. She was definitely channeling that Marilyn vibe. There were ocassional breaks in her arm during hold but I couldn’t tell if it was the camera angle or a legit form issue. Regardless, she’s totally living up to the potential I saw last week.
Judges: Carrie Ann is impressed by her versatility of character, giving the tip to watch her shoulder in hold. Len liked the elegance and cheeky charm but tells her she needs to work on her posture. Bruno called it a “well-executed, delicious tribute to the original Blonde Bombshell.”
Score: 22 (7-7-8)
10. Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke
Dance/Song: Foxtrot/”100 Years” a la Five For Fighting
The rehearsal package was all about how Chad likes to flirt with Cheryl. He really is very cute. The number was pretty, but there was something off to me. Maybe it’s because I hate this song. Chad’s posture and footwork seemed okay. I will say that he kind of looked like he was in a ’60s Motown group during one of the side-by-side moments. He did improve on his lines but he needs to make sure he’s always taking full steps.
Judges: Len was not a fan. Bruno thought he looked uncomfortable and that he needs to reboot. Carrie Ann told him that he has great potential but he’s got to start being in the moment.
Score: 16 (6-5-5)
11. Kate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani
Dance/Song: Jive/”I’m Still Standing” a la Elton John
They had an argument during rehearsal about Kate telling Tony how to teach, which he didn’t appreciate. He actually ended up taking off his mic and walking out, saying, “I quit.” He walked back in shortly after he got over it. She thanked him for coming back saying a lot of people quit on her and acknowledged that she can be hard to teach. Aw … poor thing forgot the choreography near the beginning. Her steps were small and lacked conviction — you could tell she wasn’t comfortable with the number at all. But I give her a lot of props for making it through the whole thing. And she looked good which always helps.
Judges: Bruno advises she take some acting lessons to learn how to get into the character of the dance. Carrie Ann complimented her on getting through the whole routine and also put her on Lift Police hat. Len thought the nerves got to her but gave her words of encouragement, telling her to go out fighting.
Score: 15 (5-5-5)
The Bottom Three: It’s probably going to be Kate, Jake and, since I’m not sure which voting demo will win out, either Aiden, Chad or Buzz. This could also be one of those weeks where those in the bottom aren’t actually the bottom couples.
Who’s Out: My spidey-sense is still saying Kate unless the sympathy groundswell is greater than I suspect.
Your thoughts on this week? Was Len a little overly harsh on his “shut up and learn” message to the celebs? I feel like the tiffs were no different than other seasons. Who did you think improved the most? Are you surprised, good or bad, by anyone at this point?