by Heather Parish
Dancing with the Stars Update: American Theme week is a mixed bag of entertainment.
This week marked the middle of the season for Dancing with the Stars, and to celebrate they treat us with American Theme week. This theme is definitely my least favorite so far this season—especially when compared to last week’s awesome Classical Music Night. Yes, I am a proud American, but I just thought Monday night’s theme trotted out the most overused of American clichés and stereotypes possible. There were more flag and military themed costumes trimmed with rhinestones and sequins than I could have conceived possible. God bless America…?
On to the scores– this week from lowest to highest score!
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel: 22/30
Kendra Kendra Kendra. . . Can we please just vote her off already? After crying about a smoke machine, being ladylike, three inch heels and all off the hard work during the previous weeks, Kendra was upset this week about receiving some legitimate performance criticism from Judge Carrie Ann Inaba. Really, Kendra? Have you never seen the show? It’s been on for six years! But no, Kendra felt “attacked” and that it was all “fake”– obviously the result of Mean Girl PTSD from living in the Playboy Mansion. Poor Louis van Amstel! Looks like he has the celebrity therapy duties this season. Luckily, this week’s foxtrot to “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was a little better than last week’s waltz. Not only did she get to dance the 1,000th competitive dance, but Judge Len Goodman told Kendra that her dance was “much better than last week.” Carrie Ann, fearing for her life, told Kendra that she is “a fighter”, while Judge Bruno Tonioli said that Kendra still needs to work on relaxing her face and emotions during the routines.
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: 22/30
Ralph and Karina danced the samba this week to “Sweet Home Alabama,” which did them no favors. The mix of Western line dancing, samba and southern rock was just unfortunate. The dance was ultimately hokey and involved way too much belt buckle grabbing and cliché yee-haw moments. It was like a number from Hee Haw, without the charm and self-referential humor. Len said that Ralph is not consistent. Bruno agreed, saying there “needs to be fire down below, man,” even though Ralph does character well. Carrie Ann, on the other hand, disagreed and said, “I think that was a great, entertaining performance.” I cannot fathom what she must have been thinking.
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin: 22/30[/caption]Petra Nemcova is a nice girl. So nice, in fact, she’s a bit boring. But her story is legit: dancing to “Viva Las Vegas” she admits that growing up in the former Czekoslovakia under communist rule, she didn’t know who Elvis Presley was. She went on to thank America for all it has given her. This was probably the most thoroughly American moment in the entire show. Petra and Dmitry danced the quickstep and Carrie Ann said, “Tonight, I feel like you took a little step back,” and noted that Petra took a few stumbles during the routine. Len told the supermodel that she coped very well for a “very fast dance,” but he said her head was too far over to the left. Bruno, calling Petra a “golden goddess,” said that despite a couple of foot faults, the dance was “very good.”
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 23/30
Kirstie has been trying to get over some weird mojo for the past few weeks. To help the actress and Maks prepare for their foxtrot, Kirstie brought in a “dance doctor”: John Travolta! In one of the most amusing taped training segments ever, the actor made some fun jokes about romantic tension and appropriate dance shoes (Grease high tops). The couple’s dance to “American Woman” was a little slow, but adequate. Carrie Ann called the routine “bold and ambitious” and said that it was Kirstie’s best dance ever (I believe Carrie Ann was distracted by Maks’ shirtlessness). Len said the dance “wasn’t my cup of tea” and that there was “very little excellent” about it. Bruno told Kirstie that he loved the dance.
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: 26/30
Romeo and Chelsie also danced the foxtrot this week to Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. Since Romeo got high praise for his swagger last week, he naturally wanted to work on it more this week. When Chelsie informed him it needed to be more of a Rat Pack swagger, he seemed confused by the cultural reference– as he always seems to be. In the end, the dance was high quality, but Len said “There’s still bits and pieces I’m not 100 percent happy with.” Carrie Ann said that the routine was “so cool,” and Bruno commented that the couple’s foxtrot was “full of flavor.”
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke: 26/30
Chris is a dark horse pick of the season. He’s full of personality, has a strong form, and is well matched with partner Cheryl Burke. Chris’ goal this week was to get more than a seven from Len for the couple’s Viennese waltz. “It’s time to prove I’m a top contender in this competition,” Chris said. The dance to “America the Beautiful” was beautiful, like America, and Bruno said the routine was “absolutely wonderful.” Carrie Ann commented that Chris is underestimated, and Len, said that Chris needs to work on his footwork. “When you deserve an eight, I’ll give you one,” Len said. Of course, Len gave Chris an eight.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: 26/30
Video highlights on YouTube
Of course, the Disney Channel star is dancing to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.”– a song I had never heard before and which I admittedly thought was rather snappy. Chelsea wanted to prove this week that her high score last week was not an accident. Her Route 66 themed samba was vigorous, fun and full of good technique. Bruno said, “You’re so clean,” and that Chelsea was the “best of both worlds [Brazil and America].” Carrie Ann said, “I think this was fantastic,” and Len told Chelsea that the dance was “real good fun.”
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: 27/30
[Screencap: ward_rumba_screencap Hines Ward drops Kym Johnson into a split during their rumba]
Only Kym Johnson’s well-thought-out choreography could make “Proud to be an American (God Bless the USA)” seem like a good song. She and Hines ward hit each rise and dip in the music with their dance to near perfection. Their “Officer and a Gentleman” themed rumba cemented them as this season’s front-runners with the most accumulated points overall. Bruno told Hines, “Well played,” while Carrie Ann said that the NFL star made the dance look so easy. Len said that there was a “naturalness” about the dance, and the judge noted that it was Hines’ best performance to date.
My Bottom Two Prediction:
Kendra and Louis– based on attitude
Petra and Dmitry– based on interest factor
Tuesday’s Results Show:
And in the end, Petra’s niceness did her no favors and she was sent home. Why? Some bloggers out there are blaming the “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” effect, but ultimately I think it was more that her sheen of calm and peace didn’t allow anyone to truly see a vulnerability. While I think that in terms of justice, Kendra needed to go home this week, I can see how her drama is fascinating to audiences.
Next week’s theme is Guilty Pleasures Week. . . which could mean a mixed bag of, well, anything. Stay tuned!
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!