Dancing With The Stars: Week 3
(S04E04) We're back for another week of dancing, and the lovely Paulina is no longer with us. Many of the dances were inspired by movies this week; we had Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, and even Goldfinger. Contestants danced either the Jive or the Tango, and the results were very entertaining.
Shandi Finnessey and Brian Fortuna (Jive) - Shandi and Brian's Jive was good, but forgettable after all of the performances were finished. Their performance was fun and spirited, and Shandi wisely showed as much skin as possible. She can't compete with the other contestants' technical skills, but she's doing her best to corner the market on hotness. The judges were impressed with her progress and gave the couple a 21 (7, 7, 7).
John Ratzenberger and Edyta Sliwinska (Tango) - John and Edyta did a convincing job of portraying the intense persona of the tango, and John's acting skills may save him from elimination. I thought that he looked pretty good out there, and he seemed to complete some decent, dramatic moves. It was hilarious when John dragged Edyta to their place in front of the judges' table. The couple's character-driven performance was rewarded with a 20 (7, 6, 7). A fair score, given the level of difficulty.
Clyde Drexler and Elena Grinenko (Jive) - I'm starting to believe that it is impossible to keep Clyde Drexler from smiling. The man was grinning throughout his entire segment, even after receiving the lowest score of the night. His training clips included an appearance by his mother, and I was amazed that a woman her age can still move like that. We should all be so lucky. Clyde and Elena's Jive was entertaining, and Clyde looked more comfortable on his feet this time around. He has a long way to go if he wants to stick around, but he is gradually improving. The couple received a brutal 16 (6, 5, 5) from the judges, which seemed a little harsh. He probably deserved the lowest score, but a 16? Clyde was an incredibly good sport about the scores, though, and his positive attitude could bring in some sympathy votes.
Laila Ali and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Tango) - Laila and Maksim had trouble coordinating their busy schedules, so Maksim brought in his brother Valentin to help maximize their practice sessions. Is Chmerkovskiy Russian for gorgeous? Valentin was even cuter than Maksim--why isn't he on the show? Laila was no slouch either. She had a beautiful hairdo, and brought her usual sexiness to the Tango. The couple's Bond-themed dance was excellent, but fell a little short of the heat generated during last week's Mambo. The judges agreed, and gave the couple a score of 21 (7, 7, 7). I thought this score was a little low when compared with some of the other contestants' scores (Leeza Gibbons, I'm looking in your direction).
Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough (Jive) - Apolo and Julianne's Pulp Fiction homage was an absolute show-stopper. Their performance featured some challenging moves, and plenty of fast footwork. Apolo and Julianne always deliver crowd-pleasing performances. Perhaps it's their youthful energy. I would have placed this Jive among the top dances of the night, but the judges placed the pair in the middle of the pack with a 23 (7, 8, 8). With all the 24's that were handed out, I cannot believe that Apolo didn't manage to snag one.
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson (Tango) - Joey was worried about living up to the pressure of being one of the leading dancers, and he brought another fun, lively performance to the dance floor. Kym and Joey did a Star Wars-inspired Tango, complete with Princess Leia slave costume (on Kym, thankfully), lightsabers, and sound effects. The dance seemed more about showmanship than technical difficulty, but no matter. These two are consistently excellent, and are tons of fun to watch. Score: 24 (8, 8, 8), the first of many given out during the evening.
Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke (Jive) - These two took a lot of criticism for a misstep that I barely noticed. I missed the finale due to some issues with the camera, but this was still one of my favorite performances of the night. Ian got over his anxiety about hip-swiveling and butt-clenching in time to perform a fast, exciting Jive. The judges held Ian and Cheryl to a very high standard and claimed that Ian's misstep cost him a one-point deduction. The couple still got one of the night's highest scores, however: 24 (8, 8, 8).
Leeza Gibbons and Tony Dovolani (Tango) - Leeza was feeling a lot more confident about her dancing this week, which apparently had nothing to do with her partner. Is it just me, or was Tony a little mean to Leeza during the training sequence? Leeza was looser during her Tango, and brought some much-needed trampiness to her performance. She is still relatively slower and less flexible than her opponents, but the intensity of the Tango was definitely there. If Tony can reinforce his pupil's confidence, she may show even more improvement. Score: a surprising 24 (8, 8, 8). I would probably have switched Laila and Leeza's scores. Leeza did deserve some recognition for her progress this week, though.
Heather Mills and Jonathan Roberts (Jive) - Heather may not be a "real" celebrity, but she totally deserves to be in this dance competition. Her Jive had a great sock hop feel to it, and she wore yellow the right way this time. I was going to make fun of her dance "sneakers," but her new leg required a flat shoe to get the necessary bounce. Given the awesomeness of the dance, I'd say it was a fair trade. Carrie Ann noted that Heather doesn't have to include such difficult moves, and the fact that she does them anyway makes her a serious competitor. The couple earned a 24 (8, 8, 8).
Billy Ray Cyrus and Karina Smirnoff (Tango) - Billy Ray deserves credit for learning from his previous mistakes. He took someone's advice and pulled his hair back into a sleek ponytail, a look that suited his Tango. The song choice was confusing, however, and Billy Ray was obviously counting during the dance. The couple's performance did feature a few difficult moves, including a finale that had Billy Ray sliding under Karina's legs. Carrie Ann thought the dance "took balls," and Billy Ray kept his "Most Improved" title from last week. I don't think he's a front runner in terms of technical skill, but those hard-voting country fans might keep him around a while. Score: 21 (7, 7, 7).
Given their scores, Clyde and Shandi are the most likely candidates for elimination. Best of the night is a tough call, but I'm giving this one to Heather (I can't believe it either). Apolo, Heather, Laila, Ian, and Joey received my online votes this week. See you tomorrow for the results show!
Don't forget to vote in AOL's Dancing With The Stars poll!