Dancing with the Stars: Week 2
Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough (Quick Step) - At its base, the show is about the "Stars." The partners certainly factor in though, and I continue to be impressed with Julianne. She might be just 18 years old, but she carries herself as well as any of the other pros. It doesn't hurt that she is absolutely adorable either. Apollo has officially impressed me now. I didn't have high expectations for him coming in, but he really shows the potential to be a contender. Len said Apollo is going to stay for weeks and weeks. Bruno called it cool, fresh, young, and exciting. Carrie Ann was impressed with the footwork and sync. High praise all around, and deservedly so. The scores, (8, 9, 9) I like that score. A great start to the night.
Shandi Finnessey and Brian Fortuna (Mambo) - I have to confess, I'm a Shandi fan because of her show on the game show network. That could play in here because personality counts, and if you have seen that show, she is a very funny, engaging, personality. If she can get over the hump with the dancing, those qualities could really pay off. Their performance was good, but Shandi still looks like she isn't quite getting the performance aspect of the contest. Her footwork was improved, her splits were impressive, and she clearly has an amazing body. What was missing was the passion and intensity of the mambo. Carrie Ann didn't think there was anything special about it. Len praised her footwork, but is critical of how she sold the performance. Bruno thought her performance suffered while she was worrying about the footwork. The scores, (6, 7, 7). I thought that was a little low. It should also be noted that Shandi wins the best dressed award of the night.
Clyde Drexler and Elena Grinenko (Quick Step) - Clyde's a good guy, but at this point it seems like he is lacking a bit of the personality that made Jerry and Emmit shine. He's just a little more reserved. There's nothing wrong with that, unless you are in a contest that features fan voting. Elena looked great in that blue dress. It was a pretty impressive dance. She tried to get Clyde a little further out of his shell, but he didn't really look comfortable doing it. Bruno praised Clyde's movement. Carrie Ann called it very smooth. Len thought they overcame a lot of their limitations. The scores, (6, 6, 6). I would have scored Clyde closer to Shandi, so that one seemed a little low to me.
Leeza Gibbons and Tony Dovolani (Mambo) - After her nervous performance last week, I was worried about how Leeza would handle the mambo. Half of the battle is in the attitude. She did an admirable job with the dance, but it looked like she was having a goof instead of actually trying to perform. She also suffered from not being quite as adept at finishing the moves as some of the other girls. She is 50 though, so props to her. Len thought it was precise, but a little careful. Bruno called it a proper mambo, but also didn't care for the performance of it. Carrie Ann called it fantastic. The scores, (7, 7, 7). That was high. I thought both Shandi and Clyde were better.
Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke (Quick Step) - Ian really impressed me last week. Based on that performance, and considering that he has Cheryl for a partner, I think it's a safe bet that he will be around for a while. They had another nice performance. Great footwork, and they really do work well together. Cheryl has a legitimate chance at the three-peat. Carrie Ann called it solid. Len agreed and added a couple pointers. Bruno also criticized his frame and called Ian a bunny rabbit. The scores, (7, 8, 7). Fair enough.
Paulina Porizkova and Alec Mazo (Mambo) - Paulina is really likable in her interviews, and I think that will serve her well. Her performance was very similar to Leeza's in that she did a nice dance, but also failed to really grasp the performance aspect of it. She should get a little bonus for the death drop at the end. Bruno liked her grace and elegance. Carrie Ann liked her extension. Len thought it could have been a little more raunchy. The scores, (7, 7, 7). I like that score.
Billy Ray Cyrus and Karina Smirnoff (Quick Step) - Billy Ray really benefited from the new two performance start. Had they made a decision after last week, I think he would have been gone. He really was that bad last week. The second time was something of a charm though, as this was actually a pretty good showing. He still looks very out of place and you can tell how hard he has to concentrate, but he really sold it with that little solo bit at the end. That, and the possible power of Disney fans, may have saved him. Len thought it started rough, but finished strong. Bruno said he has gone from a bear to a southern gentleman. Carrie Ann voted Billy Ray the most improved. The scores, (7, 7, 7). That's a bit high, but good for Billy Ray improving.
Heather Mills and Jonathan Roberts (Mambo) - Last week Heather overcame her physical disability, and this week she overcame her fashion disability. That dress last week really was horrible, wasn't it? In what became a continuing theme, Heather also struggled to get the performance of the mambo. However, she was very good technically with the steps, and the back walk over was very impressive. Any concerns that her leg may hold her back in the competition should be put to rest now. Carrie Ann was blown away by the difficulty. Len called it absolutely great. Bruno called her red hot Heather. The scores, (8, 8, 8). Fair enough.
John Ratzenberger and Edyta Sliwinska (Quick Step) - I think Edyta hit it on the nose when she said that John is going to get by on his charisma. That can carry a contestant far.The thing is, John did a pretty solid job with the dancing too. I don't harbor any delusions that John is going to shock us all and win it all, but I think he'll hang around a while and do well for himself. For a guy that is "that old," as he puts it, he really moves quite well. Edyta was as solid as ever. Bruno thought he got the character just right. Carrie Ann liked the pizazz. Len called it a great performance. The scores, 7 - 7 - 7. I'll take that.
Laila Ali and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Mambo) - Billy Ray may have been the most improved this week. But Laila was the one that most impressed me. I wasn't a huge fan of her performance last week, but her mambo was great. More than any of the other ladies, she really got the mambo. I worry that she may be the contestant that is hampered by the fan vote, but so far she is doing well for herself. Len called it the best mambo of the night. Bruno said she was simply irresistible. Carrie Ann thought it was hot hot hot.The scores (9, 9, 9). They were great, but that's maybe a tad high.
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson (Quick Step) - "You're not frickin Mary Poppins." That's what makes Joey dangerous. I think we all assumed he would handle the dancing, given his background. But I didn't realize that he was going to be so charismatic. He's funny and charming, and it's hard not to root for the guy. That will carry a team far in this competition. Another great performance. Great dancing, coupled with performance that is a step above. Joey continues to be the leader in the clubhouse. Carrie Ann said Joey had the complete package. Len mentioned a couple funny foot things, but thought it was very strong. Bruno said it was great. The scores, (8, 8, 8). That was low.
Best of the night: Joey and Kym
Who's going home? Unlike the last couple years, it's not completely obvious who should be the first cut. I would really like to see if he could improve more, and I am curious to see if that Disney vote makes a difference, but I don't think Billy Ray did enough to overcome that dreadful first week.