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October 20, 2014

Dancing With The Stars: Week 2

by Brett Love, posted Mar 25th 2008 12:52AM

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas - Dancing With The Stars
(S06E03) Alright, back for week two. With no eliminations in week one, that means we had twelve performances in a jam-packed two hour show. As is usually the case, now is when we start to get a good feel for who the contenders are. A couple people showed themselves to be just that. Along the way, we also were reminded of some classic DWTS bits and pieces. There was the couple with a weaker performance getting soft balled on their critique, and the couple with one of the better performances taking a few extra jabs from the judges. And, of course, there was the usual bit of questionable scoring. It's a lot to get to, and we'll give it a shot, after the jump.

Steve Guttenberg and Anna Trebunskaya (Mambo) - Steve had a charming debut with his foxtrot and scored some points for his attitude, if not his dancing. They were off to learn the mambo this week, and had my favorite of the training videos. Anna's mom professing her love for Police Academy, and saying how she also fears Anna, was very funny.

This week was very similar to last week. The dancing is somewhat lacking, but the desire and the attitude are there. It's very easy to like Steve. Unfortunately, it's not liking with the stars, and this act probably isn't going to keep Steve around for very long. He has his moments, but I think the gap between him and the rest of the stars is just going to continue to widen. The good news is that I think his attitude won't falter, and he'll be a fun addition to the show for as long as he lasts.

Len praised him for having fun and enjoying it, but then compared Steve's dancing to his cooking, which is flat and collapsed. Bruno thought all the energy went into the facial expressions, and all the dancing was bad. He lacked balance. Carrie Ann thought his musicality was off. She thought he got the audience on his side, but it wasn't his best. Score: 16 (6,5,5) Total: 34

Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke (Quickstep) - Coming off of a dance that the judges described as being two halves, and one of those halves not being so impressive, Cristián certainly had room for improvement this week. Cheryl chose to work on his posture as they prepared for the quickstep. It paid off, but perhaps she should have spent some time on his footwork as well.

This must all be a huge relief to Cheryl after last season. While there is that work to be done, Cristián has the talent that is letting her choreograph in a much different way this time around. She's taking advantage as this number was much more complicated than what some of the other men were doing. For a week two go, I thought it was pretty impressive. The details and the polish on the footwork are things that we expect to see improve as the competition moves along. So, at this point, to see Cristián giving such a fun and charismatic performance goes a long way.

Carrie Ann praised the improvement in Cristián's posture, Cheryl's choreography, and the energy of the performance, but she did question the footwork. Len agreed on the footwork, but added that the performance was faster than air from a duck's bottom. He also dinged them a bit for it not being a classic quickstep. That sure does come up a lot. Bruno liked Cristián's character, but joined the chorus of footwork complaints. Score: 20 (7,6,7) Total: 41

Monica Seles and Jonathan Roberts (Mambo) - Monica really took a hit with her foxtrot last week, and needed to pull out all the stops with her mambo. She was initially worried about not being able to convey the character of the performance, because there is just nothing in tennis that translates to that aspect of the dancing.

There was some of that again this week, to be sure, but it's not entirely the problem. She just hasn't yet turned the corner to where she can let go and have fun with the dance. All too often she looks like she is working really hard at getting through the performance and hitting her marks. She's getting a lot of the steps, but it leads to a rather stiff performance that isn't as outgoing and extended as you would like to see. And frankly, it's just not as fun to watch. I have every confidence that given time, she really could do this, and be good at it. I'm just not sure she's going to have that time to do the improving. By the end, I started getting nervous for her place in the competition.

Bruno led off the judges comparing Monica to alternating current. She's on the rhythm, and then off the rhythm. Carrie Ann praised the way that Monica came out and attacked the performance, but added that the technique just isn't there. Len thought it was obvious that Monica is out of her comfort zone and said that she needs to bring the spirit of her tennis to the dance floor. Score: 15 (5,5,5) Total: 30 Monica did take it all in stride, quipping, "The judges absolutely love me."

Penn Jillette and Kym Johnson (Quickstep) - The giant musician and his giant feet were off the mark a bit in week one with the judges questioning his footwork. Penn and Kym set about working on that, and on Penn's posture. After spending too long in her tortuous posture rack, Penn turned the tables by putting Kym in a box and playing at sawing her in half.

I'll say, I liked the voodoo doll and the magic tie at the top. It's a bit gimmicky, but it was short and didn't interfere with the rest of the number. As they got into their quickstep, it really struck me again just how darn big Penn is. He just dwarfs little Kym, and that is just another of their many obstacles to overcome. I thought his posture was definitely improved, but the footwork still iffy. The thing is, I don't think that technique is ever going to be this team's forte. They are going to sink or swim on entertainment. It's no way to win the whole thing, but it can certainly carry them a good ways in the competition. In that regard, it was another solid outing for the pair.

Len liked that Penn was having a go at a proper quickstep, but added that his feet are terrible. Bruno said magic tricks wouldn't get them out of this mess. And then went out of his way to call Penn's footwork "really, really, really, bad." Carrie Ann echoed their statements about the footwork, but did add that she likes him out there because he is so entertaining. Score: 17 (6,6,5) Total: 33 As a parting shot, Penn's advice for all of us watching... Dance badly, the preparation isn't any fun.

Priscilla Presley and Louis van Amstel (Mambo) - Priscilla is a tough one for me. I can already tell that this is going to be one of the couple's that perplexes me as we go through the season, and it's because the judges are so clearly grading on a curve with her. I'll say, I was very surprised with her performance in week one. She far surpassed my expectations. I was very curious to see how she and Louis would follow that up as they took on the mambo.

On a certain level, it was a very nice mambo, and taking Priscilla's age into consideration, it is very impressive. However, in the context of this competition, there were parts of it that I thought were really lacking. The most glaring example came when Louis did the splits and Priscilla walked over him. That is a move we have seen again and again throughout the seasons, and I think it has always been done better than this. I get it, she's an older woman, and I don't want to be the mean guy taking shots at someones grandmother, but there should also be a little more balance with the comments from the judges. At least give something like that a mention. Instead, we heard...

Carrie Ann started by saying that Priscilla is so glamorous and sexy, and praised her performance. Len was pleased that she was right on the beat, but added that parts of it might have been too precise. Bruno called the performance very good, and technically well accomplished. Score: 21 (7,7,7) Total: 45 In the light of the other scores, this one seemed high to me.

Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough (Quickstep) - Shannon had a nice start with her cha cha last week, even if she did think that she deserved lower scores. This week she was back with a quickstep. The challenge for the team, which seemed like a reach for the training video, was Shannon's stamina. Ok.

I thought their performance got off to a great start. Derek continues to impress me with his choreography. He gave her enough to do in this performance to challenge and showcase her, but not so much that she looked out of place or awkward. It struck a very nice balance. For her part, Shannon has, or at least portrays, a great level of confidence for this stage in the competition. It was a great week two performance. I think Shannon might have been the most improved of the week, and if she can continue to improve at that pace, she does have a chance to contend.

Bruno kicked off his comments with, "That's a performance!" He called it exciting and a shot of adrenaline. Carrie Ann thought she nailed it and praised her posture and footwork. Len agreed that it was great, only criticizing her hold, which he described as clinging on occasion. Score: 24 (8,8,8) Total: 45

Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska (Mambo) - I don't think any of us should really be that surprised at the way Jason has started the competition. We have plenty of precedent for him doing well. It was interesting in the training video to see him struggling with the speed of the mambo. Not the fact that he was struggling so much as the fact that Edyta was ratcheting up the difficulty and causing it. She knows what she has in her partner and she's doing all she can to exploit it.

As to their performance, I was very impressed with all aspects of Jason's dancing. If we are taking into account that this is week two, it was fantastic. I was a little concerned with the performance aspect of it though. It's something that the judges often get hung up on, and I worried they would take him to task for it here. As they started he had that big goofy grin on his face, which is nice, because it really looks like he is having a ball out there. And that's always nice to see. My worry though was that he might be knocked down a point or two for not having a connection with Edyta. Fortunately for the two of them, the judges didn't see it that way.

Len commented that after two dances they can usually tell which couples are the winners, and Jason and Edyta are one of them. Bruno agreed, calling Jason the Mambo King. Carrie Ann jumped on board that train saying that Jason is now a contender to win it all. Score: 27 (9,9,9) Total: 49

Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani (Quickstep) - Marissa took the judge's comments from week one pretty hard. Tony told her that she has the X-factor that can't be taught, and I agree with him. Before everything else, Marissa is just fun to watch, and that certainly counts for something. I was happy to hear in the training video that they were doing a more classic quickstep, because I thought Tony might have cost them a couple points in week one with his choreography.

It was a much more traditional approach, and it worked out very well for them. The steps were there, and so was Marissa's crazy energy. I do get the feeling that reigning in that energy and channeling it may be an ongoing challenge for Tony. It's one thing to deal with it in the quickstep, but how will it play in a waltz? For now, I'm going to remain optimistic and think that it will work out for the two of them. As evidenced here, Marissa has the stuff to do these dances. It's going to take work, but that's true of all the couples. This was a nice bit of growth for her from week one and I think she did enough to see week three.

Carrie Ann praised Marissa for being so much fun, but added she was disappointed by a few missteps. Len said that Marissa is lovely and bubbly, and he loved that, adding that it was a great improvement. Bruno also called out the footwork, but thought it was a great classic quickstep. Score: 21 (7,7,7) Total: 39

Adam Carolla and Julianne Hough (Mambo) - Oh, Adam... I was actually impressed with Adam last week. But it was more impressed that he wasn't Tucker or Kenny, than impressed with his dancing. He was up against it tonight as they headed into the mambo. I'm really not convinced that anything other than a crazy fan following can save him, but I'll give him credit for at least being an entertaining addition. I loved his line, "You think you know the mambo? Think again. 'Cause this ain't gonna be that."

Again, the performance wasn't bad, on the Adam scale. He had a couple moments that on their own actually looked pretty good. He's clearly put in some work and that should be acknowledged. As a whole though, he is quite a ways behind the group average. We have all certainly seen worse dancers progress in the competition, so we shouldn't close the door on the possibility. I have to say though, after two looks, Adam is right there with Steve in the first out competition.

Bruno said that it was a mambo he had never seen before, and probably never will again, but it made him laugh, which is a plus. Carrie Ann didn't think it was quite a mambo, but agreed that Adam is entertaining. Len, oddly, called it brilliant, because sometimes we just need to be entertained. Score: 19 (6,7,6) Total: 34 I found that one rather surprising.

Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez (Quickstep) - Marlee and Fabian really impressed me in week one. The way in which they communicate through touch is an interesting story and I was curious to see how they would fare with the quickstep. It has the advantage of being in a continuous hold for most of the dance, but the sheer number of steps brings its own difficulty for them.

For the most part, it was another successful outing for the pair. My only complaint was that I thought Fabian took it a little too easy on Marlee. There were a couple sections where her part of the dance seemed over simplified and the focus was drawn to Fabian. After seeing how some of the other pros are challenging their partners, I'd like to see the same for Marlee. Given what we've seen, I think she's up to that challenge. Of course, it goes without saying that even this possibly less difficult performance did score very well, so they are probably on the right track.

Len said that Marlee has the potential to go a long way in this competition, praising her musicality, but he did question some of Fabian's choreography. Bruno agreed that she is a contender, but added that old chestnut, he would like to see a more traditional performance. Carrie Ann also praised Marlee's musicality, and the way she brings the style out of the dance. Score: 24 (8,8,8) Total: 46

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas (Mambo) - It's tough to get a better start on the season than Kristi did. Best first round score ever? Not too shabby. That isn't a huge surprise either though, as more than 50% of the vote in our poll for early favorite went her way. It made it all the more interesting to see how they would respond with their mambo. Kristi was initially taken aback by the shaking of her booty, and that was a cute moment in their training video.

Whatever the problem was, they cleared it up. She didn't seem to have any problems with any of the moves. I was initially concerned that ice skating wouldn't transfer so easily to the ballroom, but Kristi is quickly changing my mind on that. Maybe it's the work ethic, or the attention to detail inherent in ice skating, but whatever it is, it's really working well for her here. It was a fantastic performance. Another look at some of the style we saw from Mark last season and not missing a beat with his new partner. Likewise in that regard, I think we can all plan on hearing plenty of calls that Kristi has an unfair advantage, much like we did with his last partner. I don't really buy into that, because the competition is what it is. They have now cemented themselves as the favorite.

Carrie Ann started off with a "Wow!" She praised Kristi's precision and said that at this stage in the competition it was boggling to her. Len said that Kristi set a really high standard last week, and she did it again this week. Bruno called it fast, sharp, exuberant, and added that for the second round, it was incredible. Score: 27 (9,9,9) Total: 54

Mario and Karina Smirnoff (Quickstep) - The top woman from last week was followed up by the top man. I'm of the opinion that Mario is going to be one of the most interesting contestants this season, but maybe not for the best of reasons. I'm just not convinced that the Mario fanbase translates to DWTS viewers. We'll see, but look for some shock and outrage when he makes an early, undeserved, trip to the bottom two.

Getting to their performance, Karina is another of the pros that really understands how fortunate she was in partner selection. She was concentrating on Mario's footwork as they prepared their quickstep, but she didn't skimp on the difficulty. Mario was up to her choreography and turned in another impressive performance. I hope I'm wrong about the possibility of these two leaving prematurely, because this performance certainly shows the potential for some great things in the future.

Bruno thought it was very charismatic and focused. Len liked Mario's footwork, but had an issue with his hold. Carrie Ann added that Mario was very charming and that he moves very well. She also said he was hot. Score: 26 (9,8,9) Total: 50

Best performance of the night: Kristi Yamaguchi
Most likely to go home: Monica Seles and Steve Guttenbert
Still the best women's tennis player ever: Monica Seles

So, there we have it. Twelve more performances in the books. Tomorrow night we'll send one man, and one woman, packing. Along for the ride and filling up some of that extra time will be the Jonas Brothers. In the meantime, check out AOL's extensive Dancing With The Stars coverage, which includes photo galleries, polls, and a live chat.

Who had the performance of the night?
Steve & Anna5 (0.6%)
Cristin & Cheryl14 (1.8%)
Monica & Jonathan3 (0.4%)
Penn & Kym11 (1.4%)
Priscilla & Louis6 (0.8%)
Shannon & Derek53 (6.8%)
Jason & Edyta68 (8.7%)
Marissa & Tony10 (1.3%)
Adam & Julianne45 (5.8%)
Marlee & Fabian24 (3.1%)
Kristi & Mark507 (65.1%)
Mario & Karina33 (4.2%)

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MH

I also thought there was some overscoring, namely Adam, Marissa, Priscilla and Marlee. I even thought Mario's score was a teeny bit high when I compare his performance with those who scored similarly. I couldn't believe Adam's score was only one point below Cristian's. There's no way Adam's performance was even close to Cristian's and to that end, I think Cristian got robbed.

It was great to see Shannon and Jason do so well. I'd just about written off Shannon after last week's performance. I had higher expectations going into her first dance what with all the hype about how competitive she is, but it looks like she has her legs under her now. And Jason...what a nice attitude, work ethic and desire to learn. It's great to see a guy with so much going for him still manage to be humble, gracious, courteous, etc. I am pulling for him to be in the top three right now. Wow.

Kristi was great. I enjoyed seeing Mark cut loose in the rehearsals when he was showing Kristi how to move. He's so quiet and straight-laced in the "ballroom" and I didn't have him pegged as having such a goofy sense of humor. It's amazing to me that he, Derek and Julianne are all such good teachers and choreographers given that they are so young.

March 25 2008 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

I love Marissa. I thought she was going to cry after Carrie Ann's comments. To me Marissa is more like alot of us viewers... we would love to look like Shannon Elizabeth or Julianne but we don't. I want to see Marissa last a few more weeks anyway so she can really enjoy her experience on the show. I know she's not the best but she's better than four or five of them on there.

Monica is giving it her all it seems. She's so far out of her comfort zone it isn't funny. I admire her for trying.

It's obvious the point this season is similiar to last season, they want a woman to win. Maybe that's how we got Steve, Adam, and Penn this time around. I don't think Jason is all that but then most people, male and female, watch Edyta the whole time anyway. :) I think Christian has potential as well as Mario.

So I would rather see Steve go so we can keep Kym and Julianne around one more week. It's obvious that Monica is going to go... right?

March 25 2008 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Tammy's comment
Brett Love

As usual MrsEldubya, I agree with just about everything you say. Even the bit about Monica going home. This is still Dancing With The Stars though, so strange things can happen.

March 25 2008 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

I'll agree with everything except the part about "they want a woman to win". Honestly, I doubt the producers want anything more than
- their celebrity-pro matchups to be proven "acceptable"
- their show to continue to have success and get renewed each season
- for nothing to go wrong each night as they broadcast live
- for continued health for all

Who wins is likely the least of their concern. It's entertainment, not the Olympics :)

March 25 2008 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ORKMommy

I'm totally pulling for Kristi & Mark, mostly because I would love to see Mark win this. He's such a funny kid!

I have to wonder why they put people like Adam & Penn on the show. Yes, they're funny (well not so much for Adam)...yes, they're fun to watch...but it's totally unfair to the pro that gets stuck with them. I think anyone could have told them in casting that Adam & Penn would suck.

Monica just hurts my eyes when I watch her. She reminds me of a newborn colt. She's all legs and knees and doesn't know what to do with them.

I say Monica & Adam will be going home this week!

March 25 2008 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to ORKMommy's comment
Scott

I agree. It will more then likely be Monica and Adam. Which is sad, there go 2 of the better professional dancers.

March 25 2008 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

While I can't help but like both Kristy and Mark, I'm rooting for Marlee or Jason, both of whom have stepped way outside their element. This is too similar to figure skating for me to root for Kristy to win. Jason is keeping a blog at ESPN the Magazine's website, and he's being quite open with how hard this is for him as a macho football player guy. It's admirable, to me.

That said, I split my votes last night between Steve Guttenberg ("WOW!") and Marlee Matlin. :)

March 25 2008 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charlie Conner

I thought it was funny when Carrie Ann criticized Marlee and Fabian for their relaxed grip...hello? didn't Carrie Ann even *watch* their intro video? the relaxing of the grip was Fabian's way to communicate to Marlee to relax...it amazes me how clueless the judges can be...

March 25 2008 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

It sucks that it has to be a guy and a chick that go home this week. Monica isnt that great, but I'd like her around longer just to keep seeing Jonathan. If it was my decision both Penn Jillette and Adam Corrolla would go home. They are both mediocre at best. But what really bugs me is that they dont shut up! Seriously it's annoying. All the other contestants stand there and listen, but these two feel the need to interrupt the judges constantly. Yes, you're a bunch of funny guys, we get. HAR HAR. Shut the hell up though!

March 25 2008 at 8:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scott's comment
Evocatus

ur dumb

March 25 2008 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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