Sunday, April 30, 2017

DWTS S024, Week 2: Training Wheels Come Off Slowly

We have our first casualty of Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars. And it's a great thing that he's leaving. He was, by far, one of the worst dancers this show has seen.

Ah, but before we get to all that, we have a zillion dances to go through. Let's begin, shall we?

There is no opening number this week, just the dancers coming out. Okay.

First up, in the cavalcade of celebs is Nancy Kerrigan, dancing a cha cha with Artem.

Her biggest detriment at this point is that she appears very insecure. She doesn't seem comfortable with her own sexuality, and everyone knows that #DWTS is about expressing one's own sexuality through dance. (At least.) But she looked great, even if she didn't really own it.

JUDGES' SCORES: 28 out of 40

Let me jump off here with a little aside. I was perusing another DWTS podcast last week, as I was working on my own column, and the girls who did it (millenials) have VASTLY different opinions than I do. For example, one of the things they commented on was how much they "hate" Tom Bergeron (whose name they mispronounced. And they really hated "all his bad jokes." We are obviously of a different generation, because to my ears, every bon mot that Tom utters is something I adore. Seriously. I think he is one of the best hosts on TV, certainly one of the best with the quick comeback to a live TV situation.

For example, this: After Nancy said the sexy was "outside her comfort zone," Tom said, about the upcoming Gleb and Erika (aka sex on wheels), "Last week, Erika and Gleb stayed inside her comfort zone; a zone that happened to include a unicorn..." Made me crack up. LOVE YOU, TOM BERGERON.

This week's fevered sex dream from Gleb and Erika included him as a cop, pulling her over in her Lamborghini (which, you will remember, she promised to give him, if he brings her the Mirror Ball trophy).

Len called it "a Beverly Hills foxtrot," but thanked Gleb for actually putting in some foxtrot steps. (He still didn't like all the sex stuff. And I'm with him. That's Gleb's one thing, apparently.)

JUDGES' SCORES: 28 out of 40

So, at the end, Tom is standing next to the gorgeous Lamborghini, and Tom says, "Erika told me there are no cupholders. And that's a dealbreaker." (I swear, I honestly laugh out loud at each of his asides. It really shocks me that others don't find him funny.)

And then, we have this.

According to IMDB, Charo is 76. Which would make her one of the oldest competitors ever. But it's very interesting to me how others, like David Ross, who is younger than she is, openly talks about his aches and pains, and feelings of growing old. But never once is there any mention of Charo's age. It's probably in her contract.

The dance was barely passable as a dance, you could hardly see anything with all those red ruffles. But at the end, she just went mad. She grabbed Tom's microphone, she told Bruno he needed to work on his English (which made Erin crack up). Tom, afterward brought out the security guard who last season rushed the guy who jumped onstage and subdued him. Tom said this season, he would keep Charo from getting at anyone.

JUDGES' SCORES: 26 out of 40  (Ouch!)

(After she saw her low scores, she started to storm back out on stage. Everyone grabbed her back. It was crazy.)

In the package, they show Nick with his new fiancee, and Peta with her (and Maks') new baby, Chai. Just as I was thinking, wow, that baby has the biggest lower lip I've ever seen on a baby (he was all pouty), Tom says, "Chai kinda looks like Maks when he doesn't like his scores." (Which again, makes me laugh out loud. Like Tom is on it tonight!)

You know, Nick Viall really represents the kind of Dancing with the Stars contestant that there used to be. One who actually had no dance training whatsoever, but for whatever reason finds him(or her)self famous, and giving it a shot on DWTS. And, as such, I find myself, even at this early stage, rooting for him. You can see he's really trying to get these steps right, and I thought his foxtrot was just fine.

Well, that's what I thought. Len thought there was "madness on the floor. There was no control." He wants Peta to pack in less content. Julianne agrees, but "I love this partnership." Carrie Ann thought it had a lot of content, but that Nick should breathe more. Bruno thought it was "too skippy."

JUDGES' SCORES: 25 out of 40  (Seriously? C'mon!)

Really, judges? Charo's fiasco scored higher than this? I don't think so.

Then, we have this.

Poor Maks suffers an injury in rehearsal, which prohibits him from competing. Now, it's interesting to me that when Val had injuries happening to his partner, Tom brought out "the rules" (also, where are these rules exactly?) which said that if she didn't compete (one week), they would both be out of the competition. Those "rules" apparently don't apply to pros.

So we get this. Mind you, with Heather and Maks, I thought they were EASILY going to win this Mirror Ball (almost unfairly, since she had had so much dance training). But here's the thing I didn't realize. People in America are voting, and if they don't love you... or at least recognize your star quality...

Let's just say that what we have now, with this pairing of Heather and Alan, are two people who are proficient and capable as background dancers. So they come out there and do the steps asked of them (as any background dancer does). But do they win our hearts? Do they remember that that is a significant part of this process?

They do a nice flashy jive, in the middle of which, Heather dances with two female troupe members, in an attempt to show her star quality, but she still looks like a background dancer to me.

Len hated it. He thought it was too much hip-hop and not enough jive. The other judges mostly disagreed, although Julianne continued to chastize her for the fact that "ballroom is very different" than what she did previously.

JUDGES' SCORES: 30 out of 40

The downside for this Alan-Heather combo is that this season, there are plenty of other competitors who are great, and have stories that we can root for.

Now, the Sharna and Bonner pairing is one that I really like. This particular Viennese waltz was just beautiful. The costumes, the lighting, the set, the music. Wonderful. My favorite dance so far on this night.

Crotchety Len wasn't moved. "I wasn't transported to Vienna, I was somewhere in the Panhandle." Julianne thinks she can see "something developing" between these two. (wink, wink)

JUDGES' SCORES: 29 out of 40

Oh, man, I adored this dance. It's interesting how this week so many of the competitors struggle to overcome their backgrounds. Simone's issue is to become sexy and not "a gymnast." Although she IS the best gymnast in the world, so Sasha wisely incorporated some neat gymnastic moves into this cha cha. Great, great stuff. And the giant S for Sasha... er, Simone, was great, too.

Len noted (for the first time tonight) that Sasha is "a great choreographer." (And he is. Picks great music, too.) Most of the celebs seem to be struggling with this whole concept of "character." They might be executing the moves ok, but connecting with their emotions, or becoming another character still seems to be pretty foreign to most of them.

JUDGES' SCORES: 29 out of 40

Then, we had Chris Kattan and Witney, dancing jazz to "Hey Ya." Given that he really had a limited range of movement, due to his broken neck (where do they get these people? good grief), it was a lively number, with a storyline of Witney being a Marilyn Monroe type and Chris being her director. But honestly and truly, he is just not in the same league with anyone else who's stepped up here tonight.

JUDGES' SCORES: 22 out of 40

Erin keeps saying: "It was higher than last week." True. Last week, they got fours. This week, it's bumped up to 5s. YIKES.

Yeah, these two: singer in Fifth Harmony and current title-holder of the Mirror Ball, probably have a pretty darn strong edge in this competition. What do you think?

I will put out there the caveat that I really, really, really despise people who agree to do this show (intense rehearsals, performances, etc.) while they are in the midst of doing other things. So Fifth Harmony is currently on a world tour. Which means that Normani and Val are flying around the world, and flying back (absolutely crazy). And like Carrie Ann deducts for lifts, I deduct for busy schedules. CELEB TIP: If you decide to do this show: JUST DO THIS SHOW. Don't do other things. Agree to do it at a time that you're actually available. Is that so hard? *MICHE PET PEEVE*

JUDGES' SCORES: 32 out of 40

And they are now off to China. *sigh*

These two are very much ones to watch in this competition. Great dances, week after week, this week no exception.

Gorgeous Viennese waltz. Emma just packs so much content into it. So beautiful, and sexy. The costumes were great, the set and lighting was spectacular. Just a wonderful dance.

JUDGES' SCORES: 32 out of 40

The less said about this paso doble to "Eye of the Tiger" the better.

JUDGES' SCORES: 22 out of 40

Last dance of the night, David Ross shows us some of his moves from the '90s, as he and Lindsay are "Bustin' a Move." Cool cha cha, much fun.

Julianne reminds us that this is the song she won her Freestyle with in her first season.

JUDGES' SCORES: 27 out of 40

And then, Chris Kattan becomes the season's first casualty. :-(

1. Emma and Rashad's Viennese waltz
2. Val and Normani's cha cha
3. Sasha and Simone's cha cha
4. Sharna and Bonner's Viennese waltz
5. Heather and Alan's jive
6. Lindsay and David's cha cha
7. Peta and Nick's foxtrot

1. Charo
2. Mr. T
3. Erika
4. Nancy


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