Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fractured Ribs and Men in Tights - What is the Ballroom Coming To?

What a night! You can see how much better everyone is getting - the dances were great and we got to see the Team Dance-Off. The couples were divided into two teams: Team Mambo and Team Tango - and Team Mambo ended with a routine reminiscent of "Men in Tights" which just cracked everyone up.

We're men, MANLY men, we're men in tights. Yes! We roam around the forest looking for fights. We're men, we're men in tights. We rob from the rich and give to the poor, that's right! We may look like pansies, but don't get us wrong or else we'll put out your lights. We're men, we're men in tights - TIGHT Tights - Always on guard defending the people's rights. When you're in a fix just call for the men in tights!

Anyway, on to the dancing - and it’s LIVE! From Hollywood! We see Tony walking dejectedly down the stairs by himself when the couples are introduced, and we’re told Melissa has an injury and cannot compete tonight, and we’ll get more information later. Oh-oh, was that rib injury worse than we were led to believe?

Gilles & Cheryl begin the evening with a Lindy Hop. We’re really starting to see what a taskmaster Cheryl is - bordering on bitchy sometimes, but you can understand why she’s a two-time champ at this - and it doesn’t seem to faze Gilles in the least. Gilles’ shoulder is really bugging him so he gets a cortisone shot and is okay - but it doesn’t help him get the hang of the Lindy Hop lifts. I give Cheryl a pass for being bitchy this time because practicing one lift, Gilles ended up dumping Cheryl on her head and how can she teach with a massive headache? That pompadour hair of Gilles’ was really scary and a little distracting, and I swear he was off step to begin the dance, but it was cute and the judges didn’t mention/didn’t see/it didn’t happen any missteps on Gilles’ part, so I guess I’m seeing things. Len began by rattling off a list of things the French are famous for: "French fries, French kissing .... and now put the Lindy Hop on that list!" Bruno liked Gilles’ show of versatility, saying he revealed his sense of comedy. Carrie Ann called it fantastic, saying it’s "nice to see another side of you." Great scores: 9-9-9=27.

Lil’ Kim & Derek will dance a Paso Doble. Kim is going back to her old ways and putting her personality back in her dancing, except she’s doing a lot of karate moves - and putting Asian influence into a Spanish dance isn’t going to fly, I think. Derek had to keep reminding Kim that the Paso Doble has no hip action. I absolutely LOVED Kim’s dress for this dance! Her face looked goofy, though, she's not the best at stern looks. Bruno was excited: "The bitch is back! That was a classic, classy Paso!" (There were some gasps at that comment, but Kim loved it). Carrie Ann called it dramatic and aggressive. Len began sounding like he hated it: "It isn’t about mastering a dance you’re good at. It’s about coping with a dance you’re not good at. I thought this would be a disaster (wait for it....) - I thought "oh no" but got "OLE!" They were VERY happy with their scores: 9-9-10=28 (scoring their first 9 from Len).

Chuck & Julianne are dancing the Cha Cha. Julianne is thinking that the dance will suit them well, since it’s a flirty dance, and that’s what their relationship is. They had a lot of fun in rehearsals and laughed a lot (a definite contrast to Cheryl and Gilles!) Chuck’s hips were actually moving and he looked pretty good in the blue silk pajamas this week. Carrie Ann told him "you are in the game - you are running and your hips are running for you!" Len offered that "it’s not how you start, but how you finish" and said it was fantastic. Bruno said Chuck had great "bum action" (and I’m really starting to notice that Bruno is acting more and more like the show’s "funny uncle" - makes more mentions of the men’s lower anatomies than anything!) All the judges, however, made mention of Chuck’s "wooden" arms. Sorry, I liked it but thought the scores were a bit high: 9-9-8=26.

Shawn & Mark are up next to dance the Samba. Mark brings his Mom, Shirley (a former dancing champion) in to help Shawn with her arms (she looks like she’s swinging a baseball bat) and seeing this reserved woman, I’m thinking I don’t know how she and Corky are married (if they still are). Total opposites! Their dance seemed a bit subdued for a Samba (mom’s influence?) Len was NOT impressed, telling Shawn she lacked hip action and that the "dress was doing most of the work." He called it good, not great. Bruno disagreed, saying that Shawn is a carefree dancer that performed a good Samba, but she’s still not a wild child, not "Lady Gaga." (I don’t want to know what that is). Carrie Ann told her not to listen to the guys - "your aim is not to be Lady Gaga. Your aim is to get the steps, do a proper Samba and that’s what you did." Scores matched the comments: 10-8-9=27.

Melissa & Tony should be dancing next, but we see how her rib injury progressed to the level that she just couldn’t dance tonight. They are to perform the Jive, and Tony is really pushing it with the choreography. During practice, Melissa hits the floor in pain and they decide she has to see a doctor, who diagnoses a hairline fracture in her ribs. The doc tells her she can keep practicing as long as she can tolerate it. As of Monday morning, however, it bothered her and they tried "treatment that didn’t work" so Melissa can’t dance and the judges will be basing their scores on the last taped practice dance on Monday morning. The practice was not the dress rehearsal, and Melissa was wearing a sports bra and r-e-a-l-l-y low-cut jeans (and had to pull them up during the dance). Each judge was very apologetic, saying that obviously the showmanship wasn’t there, nor the moves as crisp as they needed to be. They were "marking," which we find out is a run-through of the dance making sure you’re in the right places on the stage. Tony looked ready to cry backstage with Samantha, telling the audience to "please vote - you know we can do that ten times better." I think the judges scored the dance on Melissa’s reputation thus far, knowing that yes, she could have done much better: 7-7-7=21.

Ty & Chelsie will be dancing a Salsa, and I’m thinking poor Ty will implode having to move his hips. I love Ty - a lot. He’s got a great personality and wit, he’s a gentleman and he works his buns off, but he is better suited for the ballroom dances that require stiffness of posture. Dimitri came in to practice to help Ty get the idea, and that’s where Chelsie noticed that Ty is really white and put him in a spray tan booth. (Ty mentioned that at nine years old he got a sunburn so bad he had third-degree burns so he avoids the sun now - can ya blame the guy?) The look on Ty’s face as he was being sprayed was pretty good - a mix between total embarrassment and determination that he was going to do whatever Chelsie told him to. I liked the dance a lot, Ty was moving really well and looked a lot looser than usual. Carrie Ann ranted that she loved it, saying "I never know what to expect, and when I heard Salsa, I thought "oh no!" but it was great!" Len turned total buzzkill, saying that "you’ve had highs and lows, you’ve hung on for eight weeks and done well, but unless you come out and really perform in the group Tango, I think it’s time for you to hit the trail." (Jeeze! I didn’t think it was anywhere near that bad!) Bruno told Ty he enjoyed watching that dance, but said Ty had to move from his hips and not his knees. The scores matched the comments: 9-7-8=24.

On to the Team Dance-Off! Shawn & Mark, Melissa & Tony and Chuck & Julianne make up Team Mambo. Chuck says "we have an Olympic medalist and a scorned woman, so watch out!" Lacey Schwimmer ended up stepping in for Melissa with only about 2 hours to learn the routine (and yes, she’s a professional and yes, it’s her job, but still - that’s not much time to get a whole dance!) Their dance was to a Beyonce song (little do we know how much this matters) - perky and fun, the solos of the couples looked great. Lacey & Tony were told that they would not be judged at all, they were pretty much out there for balance and the scores would be based solely on Shawn and Chuck’s performances. (No pressure, there). When the couples got back together at the end, the men tore off the little skirts of the girls as they danced on the floor, and ran off - we find out that the men are on top of the judges’ table and have ripped off some clothes of their own, revealing sparkly tops and white tights! Chuck’s top was an off-the-shoulder number that was just the height of a fashion statement (see how far he’s come?) The end of the dance was eerily familiar to the SNL spoof with Justin Timberlake of Beyonce’s video. Confused? Go to YouTube and look up both, and you’ll see! Len told them that it was a good job, when they were dancing together it was "tight." Bruno went over the top about the guys in their tights, telling them to step forward and screaming something I’m sure the producers were happy we couldn’t hear because of the audience cheers and laughter. Carrie Ann said the ending was fun but a little distracting and told them that they were overpowered by the music - it was more fun than the dancing. Their scores: 8-8-9=25.

Team Tango consists of Ty & Chelsie, Gilles & Cheryl, and Lil’ Kim & Derek. They were the 4th, 5th and 6th place teams last week, so they feel they have to work extra hard to overtake Team Mambo. Ty is happy that he finally has a guy showing him what to do during the dances and Chelsie acts hurt: "What, I’m not manly enough for you?" They begin the dance with Kim between shirtless Gilles and Ty, and Ty looks sexy to me (which kind of worries me, cuz "Ty" and "sexy" just don’t fit too well together). They are dressed again for their solo dances with their partners, damn. Kim & Derek are first up for the solo dance and Kim messes up a bit but recovers pretty good. Ty’s and Gilles’ solos also look great, and the synchronicity the group has at the end is just perfect. Bruno is excited, saying they came out like a "pack of voracious raptors and the ending gave me goosebumps!" (At least I think that’s what he was saying - raptors, rutches, something like that). Carrie Ann said Team Tango takes it and loved the unison at the end. Len told them he saw Kim’s "little blunder" and that Gilles’ footwork was "atrocious" but then sucked up to Ty, saying he "nailed it." Backstage, something happened with Chelsie and Kim - they somehow got stuck together in the head region (was it their hair ornaments tangling or did Chelsie’s earring get stuck in Kim’s hair?) and had to spend the backstage interview and scores with their heads together. After a little "surgery" Ty managed to get them apart. Great scores for Team Tango: 9-9-10-28.

The leaderboard after the judges’ scores:

Lil’ Kim and Derek: 28 + 28 = 56
Gilles and Cheryl: 27 + 28 = 55
Shawn and Mark: 27 + 25 = 52
Ty and Chelsie: 24 + 28 = 52
Chuck and Julianne: 26 + 25 = 51
Melissa and Tony: 21 + 25 = 46

What a fun night! Aside from Melissa being absent, I think it proved that everyone left has a right to be there and the dancing has improved immensely. I sure hope that Melissa recovers and is able to keep dancing - she’s one of the good ones with a real shot to win this thing. Have you voted? Keep your favorite couple in the competition!

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