Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hopping and Heat Make for an Interesting Evening!

Well, now that I’ve cooled off from those hot, steamy Argentine Tangos and my eyes have stopped bouncing after watching the Lindy Hoppers, I can think enough to type this up. Wow, that was a fun night! There were some really great dances and then ... there was Holly and the Woz. Oh my. Samantha’s child got her sick but the show must go on! as she infects the cast with her germs, getting close during interviews and waving that contaminated microphone in their faces.

We are informed that Tuesday two couples will be eliminated. Wondering how that dance-off will work, or if they will even go with that.

Len is asked to explain the new dances. He says while the hold is set in a regular Tango, the Argentine Tango is a sensual, provocative dance where the hold can be many things - cheek to cheek, or farther away than normal. The Lindy Hop is more "rock ‘n roll" with lots of tricks, lots of kicks. It’s a fun jitterbug-style dance. Lifts are allowed in both dances this week.

Starting the evening are David & Kym with their Lindy Hop. Kym is trying to explain it to David, who spends most of his time in rehearsal with a confused, lost look on his face. He tells Kym he really needs to see others doing the dance so she takes him to a Lindy Hop Club - a small, American Legion-looking hall full of young adults throwing each other around with youthful exuberance. Instead of overwhelmed (which would be my reaction) David gets excited about the dance. David & Kym’s version was really cute and full of energy. Len told him the dance was fun and energetic, although he lost a little rhythm. (I’m surprised he didn’t lose a limb, the way he was hopping and kicking!) Bruno told him he was "pumped full of energy" although that may have made David lose a little footwork. Carrie Ann was much more pleased, telling David "you’re not the youngest cookie in the bunch" but he was very energetic, especially when he "kicked up the tempo at the modulation" - and Bruno even agreed with that. I think their scores could have been better: 8-7-7=22.

Lil’ Kim & Derek will be the first to dance the Argentine Tango. I’m thinking this one ought to be right up her alley (and wondering if she’ll get the Paso Doble if she’s still around, that would be pretty good too!) Derek tells her he doesn’t really know much about it and he’s learning right along with her. He stresses that she has to play a character for this dance, and Kim tries but she and Derek are "used to having fun" during rehearsals and it’s hard to keep a straight face. They pull it off for the live dance, though, I thought it was pretty darn good. Bruno was excited, rising out of his chair to tell them "that was more than a tango, it was a tale of forbidden beauty." He called it terrific and complimented Derek on his choreography. Carrie Ann told Kim she has made an incredible transformation. Len then gets his serving of boos when he says he was "knocked out by the choreography but there was no sensuality" in the dance. Len tried to explain his point: ''Buenos Aires. A bar. Smoke-filled. Small room. Sensual. Quiet. Passionate. Then a quick fiery moment. And then BACK into the passion! That was lacking.'' Carrie Ann and Bruno protest mightily, saying "the fire department is parked outside!" Their scores matched the judges’ remarks: 9-8-10=27.

Chuck & Julianne are next with a Lindy Hop, which I think is a great choice for them. I just don’t picture Chuck doing a Tango, and he likes the idea of being able to show his goofy side. We find out that Chuck may have some deep-rooted problems, though, because he’s petrified to do a flip that Julianne has choreographed because he fell on his head playing basketball as a kid. (Just how hard did he fall on his head? I didn’t notice any half-of-his-head-is-gone scars.....) They had fun with the dance, dressed as 50's diner wait staff, but it looked to me as if Chuck wore out a little at the end. Carrie Ann liked it but told Chuck he has to "go for it" more. Len told him it was competent "but competent won’t get you through to the end." Bruno asked for a "pizza to go, but can you make it crispier?" Backstage, Samantha and her germs asked Chuck about being a "scaredy cat" about falling on his head, and poor Chuck looked bewildered - "What’s wrong with not wanting to fall on your head? It hurts!" Their scores were ok: 8-7-7=22.

Lawrence & Edyta will be doing the Argentine Tango. This ought to be interesting - Edyta has a big guy to toss her around. She explains the character of the dance, the sensual passion - and Lawrence asks "I’ll still be married after this dance, right?" He can’t get the hang of the character of the dance, though, so Edyta asks her hubby Alec Mazo to come in and help. Alec demonstrated some of the lifts and steps and Lawrence seemed to catch on better, although I wasn’t sure about the passion that was supposed to be part of the dance. Len told Lawrence dances like these make it difficult to portray a character, especially if one isn’t from the acting profession - and it lacked passion. Bruno disagreed, saying it was menacing and intense, a good character. Carrie Ann split the difference, saying that he exuded power and did the steps well, but they lacked chemistry and Lawrence looked "afraid of Edyta’s passion." Len really surprised everyone with his score: 7-5-7=19.

Tom calls Len "little Lenny Hard Butt" and mentions that "Samantha’s voice is disappearing faster than my 401k."

Ty & Chelsie are up next and doing the Lindy Hop. They discuss her slip last week, in which she stepped on her dress, and in true cowboy no-nonsense fashion, Ty remarks that Chelsie "just needs a shorter dress." He’s looking forward to the Hop, saying being able to be aggressive and physical will help with his nerves. I’m looking forward to it too, actually - this guy is a rodeo rider and he’s really getting good at this dancing stuff (bowlegs and all). Chelsie is showing her ability to teach, sitting on the floor and making Ty get all the footwork down before she joined him for the routine. She's teaching him the basics instead of whirling him around right away, and I think his improving dancing every week is surprising everyone, including Ty. Bruno tells Ty he’s "kicking with the vitality of a young stallion." Carrie Ann repeated herself from last week that "Ty Murray is a dancer!" She complimented Chelsie on her teaching ability. Len reminded Ty that he gave him a 4 the first week and "dreaded seeing you coming out here again" but "darn my britches" Ty’s coming along just great. (Len, Englishmen cannot do "western" well at all. Stop it.) Backstage Ty tells Samantha that Chelsie is a great teacher and that "they might outdance us but they won’t outwork us." Their scores: 9-8-8=25.

Okay, it’s Steve & Karina’s turn, and he gets the Argentine Tango. I really can’t see Steve hopping all over the place, but I don’t see him being passionate enough for the Tango either. Actually, I can’t see him doing much at all and why the hell is he still around? Steve says there’s been a lot of love and hate this season. "The judges seem to hate me and the fans love me" so he wants to show some appreciation. He takes off with a gang of people on Segways and shmoozes a crowd of people to vote for him. "The judges have forsaken me but the Geeks shall inherit the earth." Spare me, Woz. Just. Go. Away. Carrie Ann stumbled all over herself trying to say something positive, saying Steve is the "ultimate underdog" but that the dance felt really long. Len told him "well done for attempting a proper tango" and told him it was an improvement from last week although "improvement is relative because last week was so terrible." Bruno has really been on Woz’s case, telling him "we love you but that stunk." Woz looked at Bruno with a quirky grin and said "I’m still standing" which didn’t faze me until I read the Entertainment Weekly blog this morning and found out Bruno was in the video for Elton John’s I’m Still Standing. Check it out, you can catch Bruno throughout the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lK-0wfHutk. Anyway, the scores we expected: 4-4-4=12.

Melissa and Tony will be doing the Lindy Hop. I’m really happy for Tony that he found a capable replacement when his original partner Nancy O’Dell dropped out. I figured he wouldn’t last long with O’Dell, and was in for it with Melissa having two whole days to practice before her debut, but they are doing so great together and Melissa is getting pretty darn good. In rehearsal, Tony may be rethinking his clothing and may want to add a cup/jock strap - he was teaching Melissa a trick where he pulls her through his legs, and she seemed to smash her face into his - um, Happy Place and hurt his nads. Their dance was fun and she didn’t cause him pain in the live dance although it did look like they bobbled their last lift. Len was impressed, telling Melissa "you have the potential to go all the way." Bruno was even happier, calling it "eye-popping fun" and saying Melissa showed she could do the full range of steps. Carrie Ann, who last week told Melissa to challenge herself more, said "now I’m impressed!" and told Tony it’s the best choreography she’s seen so far. Tony told Samantha that they took Carrie Ann’s comments last week to heart and he was very proud of Melissa. Their efforts paid off: 10-9-10=29.

Holly & Dmitri are going to do the Argentine Tango. I’m not in any way, shape or form impressed with Holly or her (lack of) determination to learn to dance, and I’m thinking either of this week’s dances will not work for her (but this is the lesser of the two evils). She hurt her ribs during last week’s live dance, and is in major pain trying to learn the dance. She goes to the doctor and finds out she just strained the muscle around her ribs and doesn’t have to worry about hurting herself more, so she’s going to carry on like the trooper she is. (*rolling eyes*) The dance wasn’t all that - she smiled throughout the dance and I didn’t see the passion and sensuality the dance called for (which surprised me because she was a Playboy model and Heff’s girlfriend for years, and you would think she would be pretty free in the sexual department). She fell off the stool at the beginning of the dance and Bruno commented that she had a bad start that just kept getting worse. He told her to "drop the Barbie and bring out the Vixen." Carrie Ann gave her credit for trying after the mishap, and told Dmitri to build up her strength. Len told Dmitri it was a fantastic routine and "there is light at the end of the tunnel" but she has to work on her core strength. Holly annoyed me further by nervously giggling throughout the entire judges’ comments. I feel bad for Dmitri. Oh, and poor Holly, who shows us the big bruise on her leg from rehearsals. (My eyes are gonna roll right out of my head.) Their scores: 5-6-5=16.

Steve-O and Lacey will Lindy Hop. Steve is stressing about the dance, saying "there’s so much going on, it’s very chaotic." Lacey tells him he needs to lighten up - "It shouldn’t be this hard" - and brings him a clown outfit, complete with necessary makeup - I guess Steve-O used to be a clown in the circus (used to be?) He decides he has to get in touch with his inner clown because "Gosh dang darnit, what the hey, I’m here to have fun." Then comes the dance, and Steve proves yet again that he has no rhythm or timing or - dare I say it? musicality. Carrie Ann tries to be positive yet again, saying he’s had a rough road but "tonight you got through your routine." Len told Steve that his timing is a big issue and Bruno mentioned that the dance looked "more hopping mad than Lindy Hop." Bruno said it looks like Steve puts a barrier between himself and the music and Steve should "just listen to the music." Steve was still proud of himself, telling Samantha that he overcame his anxiety tonight. Their scores shocked Steve-O: 5-5-5=15, with Steve-O laughing that they are the same as last week’s scores (when he forgot most of his routine) - "What are they thinking?"

Gillis & Cheryl will do an Argentine Tango, which I’m looking forward to. Hey, the guy is pretty hot just standing there, let’s see him exude a little more hotness with Cheryl! He’s putting pressure on himself and Cheryl is having none of it, being the tough teacher and not letting Gillis get caught up in a pity party. She tells him to "pretend you’re in love with me" and relies on his acting experience to get him to stay in character. And Oh. My. Goodness! That dance was HOT! They got a standing O from the crowd and Carrie Ann was fanning herself. Tom even commented "that was fierce!" Len was impressed, saying that it was "yet another fantastic performance" and that they showed every element of the dance. Bruno called him the "quintessential Latin lover" and said he performed that Tango with "almost deadly animal magnetism." Carrie Ann was overwhelmed, saying "I can’t feel my face!" and saying she couldn’t tell who was the professional and who was the amateur. She pointed at Gillis’ wife in the audience and said "You! Woohoo!" and some of us were envious. (If he can get this passionate with someone he is totally platonic with, can you imagine how it is with his wife?) Samantha gets him to stumble all over himself, saying "it’s easy to fall in love with Cheryl - uh, er, in a dancing way." He gives her all the credit and they get all the points they can get: 10-10-10=30.

Shawn & Mark will finish the evening with the Lindy Hop. Talk about right up her alley! Shawn takes Mark to the gym not only to demonstrate what she can do (I guess Mark doesn’t watch the Olympics) but to let Mark try out the balance beam. I really thought he’d do better but of course, he falls off. Shawn is excited because this week she doesn’t have to worry about being a character, she can be herself. "I don’t have to act mature, just have to have fun." Mark uses her ability and tosses her all over the place, and Shawn tosses around on her own too, starting the dance with back flips that I think may have been taken from one of her floor exercises. The judges were not impressed, all of them saying the dancing was lacking. Bruno called it a "spectacular feast of tricks and gymnastics, BUT" she was a good dancer and should remember that. Carrie Ann noticed that she wasn’t as light on her feet as she should be (probably because she regressed from dancing to gymnastics, where sticking your feet is a must). As expected, Len said there were too many tricks and more dancing was needed. Backstage Shawn was happy to see Mark get nervous at the gym, considering she gets nervous about dancing, and she now knows Mark is just a regular guy. Their scores weren’t bad: 8-8-9=25.

So here are the standings:
30 - Gillis & Cheryl
29 - Melissa & Tony
27 - Lil’ Kim & Derek
25 - Ty & Chelsie
25 - Shawn & Mark
22 - Chuck & Julianne
22 - David & Kym
19 - Lawrence & Edyta
16 - Holly & Dmitri
15 - Steve-O & Lacey
12 - Wozniak & Karina

And, I’ve been trying to get back on the ABC website (since I voted, of course) to get an explanation of the Dance-Off and see if they explain how they’ll work that (or not) tonight, but can’t log on. I guess everyone is trying to get their votes in at the last minute (you can vote until noon in your time zone). So instead of totally screwing up my computer, I’ll try again later and let you know tomorrow with my results report. Who will go home? I’ve got my wishes, but that doesn’t mean they’ll come true!

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