by Heather Parish
Week 3’s Personal Stories lead to tears, but happiness reigns supreme.Kirstie Alley takes a tumble on the dance floor and Ralph Macchio tumbles from the top of the leader board on Story Night on Dancing with the Stars. The celebrities pick tunes that tell a “deeply personal tale” and the competition becomes as much for the sympathy vote as it does for the dancing. “It promises to be an emotional night,” show host Tom Bergeron says, gleefully.
Syndicated talk show hostess Wendy Williams foxtrots to “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life,” in memory of her early years starting out in radio, commuting between New York and Washington for DJ work. Her foxtrot lacks any presentation, musicality, or even dancing, really, as she mostly walks her way through the steps. The emotional result: boredom. The judges, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli award her 15 out of a possible 30 points. I don’t anticipate that Williams is long for this competition.
Disney Channel star Chelsea Kane has picked the song “Chelsea” as her personal story because, Chelsea explains, it was written – about her! By her first love! Her shimmy heavy samba is her memory of that “first love”. It is sharp, energetic and professional. The judges shimmy in turn and bestow 23 points on Chelsea, who enthuses, “Now I have another awesome memory to go with that song!”
WWE star Chris Jericho dances the first of a series of “rumbas for the dearly departed” in honor of his mother who died slowly after an accident. He played the song “Let It Be” at her funeral and his rumba is full of Pieta-worthy poses to excite the audience’s emotions. It works. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba had to push through her tears to give him feedback on his “odd hip action”. But as a whole, the judges award his dance a somber 21 points.
Kendra Wilkinson chose the song “You and Me” as a tribute to her husband who stuck with her during a time of “anti-Bunny” prejudice they experienced after the NFL player’s hometown found out he was marrying a former stripper. Wilkinson’s technique seems to have improved with this week’s rumba, her lines more fluid and her execution generally better. Too bad she still has zero chemistry with partner Louis van Amstel. Still, the judges praise the sensual nature of the dance and award her a personal high of 23 points.
Romeo still has issues with the girly-nature of DWTS and rebels against having to dance in a Spanish style shoe with heels. Upon reflection, though, he admitted to being stirred up by the content of this week’s dance as he chose “I’ll be There” as his song, dedicated to two cousins who died violently when they were under the age of 12. The second “rumba to the dearly departed” has an angelic theme and is pleasing to the eye, but Romeo seems so overcome with the dour nature of the emotion that his performance lacks punch or technique. He is awarded 20 point and Judge Len accuses him of taking a step backwards.
After all of the death and tears, Hines Ward’s smiling samba is a balm. He chose the song “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind and Fire as it is dedicated to his Korean mother who stuck it out working four jobs so she could raise him herself. The celebratory dance is marked by vim and verve and a happy, happy good time. While possibly not as proficient as Chelsea Kane’s samba, Ward has a talent for happiness on the dance floor that is infectious. “Bouncing butt, shaking butt – two for the price of one! Happy hour!” Bruno raves, and Hines scores a big 25 points – the night’s best so far.
Model Petra Nemcova waltzes to “You Raise Me Up”, the song that inspired her to create a foundation to rebuild schools after natural disasters. Her lines and grace are custom-made for the waltz and she does a fine job with it. I was not so in love with it as the judges, however, who awarded her 25 points and Judge Len’s pronouncement of his “favorite this season”. I thought the dance was fine, but there is always something lacking in Petra’s performing that leaves me hollow.
Sugar Ray Leonard pulled the gimmick card this week (newsflash, Ray, you only get one of those each season!), and did a boxing ring themed paso doble, complete with ring announcer, gloves and bell. He chose Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” as his song as it is the song they played during his comeback bout. His dance showed more command of the room and general confidence, but his technique and performance skills still need work. He still wasn’t aggressive enough for the paso doble. He’s awarded his personal best score of 20 points.
Kirstie Alley takes a tumble during her rumba Video highlights on YouTube
The night’s final dance goes to Ralph Macchio, who chose The Outsider’s theme song “Stay Gold”. Not incidentally, it is also his wedding song with his wife of 24 years which infuses his rumba. Macchio does a fine job, but has a very gentlemanly, hands-off- quality with partner Karina Smirnoff. That, combined with Smirnoff’s ho-hum choreography, only yields 21 points for Macchio.
In the end, I predict that Wendy Williams and Sugar Ray Leonard will wind up under the red lights of jeopardy and Kirstie Alley’s ability to be graceful in adversity will garner her a few extra votes from the audience to keep her in the game.
Tuesday’s Results Show:
At the end of the Tuesday’s Results show, Wendy Williams was sent home for her low scores and lack of musicality. The talk show diva seemed more relieved than crushed by the news: “I’m probably the busiest person in terms of flying back and forth. In addition to that, I have a marriage and a child and a litany of other things to hold together,” Williams said, talking up her schedule with taping her show in New York while also dancing in Los Angeles. “But this has been a wonderful opportunity.”
Celebs Chris Jericho and Kendra Wilkinson were also in jeopardy of going home this week, after the scores and viewer votes were tallied.
Dancing With the Stars airs on Monday nights with Eliminations on Tuesday nights on ABC. Follow commentator Heather Parish’s real-time thoughts on DWTS via Twitter, Monday evenings beginning at 8 p.m. PST.
Check back here Wednesday evenings for more of Heather’s thoughts and an overview of the week’s episode! Check out last week’s intro article in KRL!