Dancing With The Stars: Week 5
(S07E10) The folks down at Dancing With The Stars had something a little different for us this week. Keeping things new and interesting, it was time to debut four new dances. The hustle, jitterbug, salsa, and west coast swing were all brand new to the show. With eight couples, and four styles, the stage was set for four showdowns as we saw each style twice, back to back. The results ran the gamut, from outstanding (29), to could have been better (21). A look at all of the performances, and another instance of insane scoring, is after the jump.
Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer (West Coast Swing) Last week was a breakthrough for Lance. He talked in the training video about how he's always been insecure about his dancing, even saying that the record company didn't want him in the group because of it. To help with his confidence, Lacey took Lance to see her father, Buddy, the king of swing. Really, they couldn't have had a better draw, as this is Lacey's specialty. They got off to a good start, and a lot of the moves you would have expected were in there. Lance even went for the heel slide. Unfortunately, he's not quite as adept at it as Lacey's brother Benji, and he took a fall. The makings of a great performance were there, but they fell into that old DWTS trap. Once again we saw a dance where too much time was spent with the male partner serving as something for the female partner to dance around. It was still a good performance, but it could have been much more.
Len said that Lance proved last week that he can dance, and he told Lacey she needs to show off her partner a little more. Bruno thought it had a promising beginning, but Lance became window dressing for Lacey. Carrie Ann thanked Lacey for doing an excellent job showcasing West Coast Swing, but she also thought Lance wasn't utilized like he should have been. Score: 21 (7,7,7)
Toni Braxton & Alec Mazo (West Coast Swing) Toni made a great point in her training video. She told Alec that she feels like she's not improving. She started out well, but hasn't been progressing. She wants to do a performance that will garner a Tuesday encore. It's a great point because that description fits a lot of the couples this year. When the season started it looked like it could be the best group the show has ever had, but halfway through, there is still a lot of improvement to be made for many of them. Getting to the performance, they didn't have the problem of Toni not being involved enough in the dance. Alec gave her plenty to do. It wasn't the breakthrough performance Toni was looking for, but it was enough to give her the nod in the swing showdown.
Bruno said Toni is slinky and sexy, and when she wants to, she can deliver. His problem was that it wasn't all west coast swing. Breaking the style bothered him. Carrie Ann explained that the difficulty in the swing is to make it look easy and she thought Toni was over dancing her part. Len said things are not happening. Toni has all the credentials to be a professional dancer, but they aren't seeing her at her full potential. Score 22 (7,7,8)
Susan Lucci & Tony Dovolani (Hustle) The run of injuries continues. It seems that Susan's foot injury is a little more serious than anyone originally thought. Serious enough that she had an MRI which revealed two fractured bones in her foot. Yikes. The doctor ok'd her to dance, saying that it's just a matter of whether or not she can put up with the pain. She thought she had a good feel for the hustle, having been around in the 70s. She got off to a great start with her opening sequence, but they weren't really able to keep it up. Once again, it was good, but lacking excitement. Even the lifts, which were fine,were clunky getting in and out.
Carrie Ann said the performance was a lot of fun and they represented disco well. She was also impressed that she didn't see the injury in Susan's performance. The thing to work on was that Susan is still not getting to the audience. Len said he knows Susan has an injury, but Tony is treating her like a China doll. Bruno called it an uptown girl hustle. They did all the required steps. A bit precious, but a hustle it was. Score 22 (7,7,8)
Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson (Hustle) Warren was a little disappointed with the results last week. That only served to fuel his competitive spirit. As we've seen before, that athlete work ethic is worth a lot in this competition. They had the big lifts like Susan and Tony but were much smoother getting into them. It was more than enough to give them the win in the hustle. Warren still lacks a bit of polish on his moves, but his personality and his work ethic are serving him well. He's still off the pace of the top teams, but the potential is there.
Len said that's what he is talking about. It was fun and enjoyable. Well done. Bruno called Warren a guy that really knows how to funk. Way to go. Carrie Ann told Warren it was a great job. She liked that he tapped into the nostalgia of the hustle. Score: 25 (8,8,9)
Cloris Leachman & Corky Ballas (Salsa) Cloris went out to meet with the fans and thank them for keeping her in the competition. She and Corky were operating under the premise of surviving for another week. That might be a tall order after being in the bottom two in week four, but they do seem to have the judge's in their pocket, so anything is possible. As to the performance, it was the best performance we've seen from Cloris so far. It had some impressive moments, with some of her turn sequences being very well done. Unfortunately, as we've grown accustomed to, too much of the performance left Cloris standing still and "entertaining" or found Corky redirecting Cloris to where she is supposed to go. I'll go ahead and keep saying it. They are the least rehearsed couple on the dance floor.
Bruno said the old girl can still turn a trick. On the plus side, she actually did a salsa, but it looked like she had downed a pitcher of margaritas. Carrie Ann told Cloris that everyone loves what she brings to the dance floor. Len said he loves Cloris because she's the first person on the show older than he is. He called her hotter than a chili pepper. Well done. Score: 21 (7,7,7) Oh, come on.
Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke (Salsa) Like Warren, Maurice was coming off of a tough week with the judges. Also like Warren, he has that same work ethic. Cheryl was frustrated because she's not comfortable with the Salsa. They butted heads a little bit, with Cheryl telling Maurice that she thinks he's lazy and he doesn't care. It all worked out by the time they made it to performance night. They got off to a great start up on the stage and carried it out on to dance floor. Maurice is really smooth, and he has a great personality that really comes through. Breakout probably isn't the right word, but it was the best we've seen from Maurice at this point in the competition, and they easily took the salsa crown.
Carrie Ann called Maurice over to the table and gave him a big hug and a high 5. She said it was very nice. Len said the judges are pussycats compared to Cheryl. He liked that Maurice came out full bore and gave it his all. Bruno told Maurice he was like a master of theater, praising his acting in their performance. Way to go. Score: 27 (9,9,9)
Brooke Burke & Derek Hough (Jitterbug) Brooke has been the leader for the last four weeks, which brings it's own kind of pressure. That wasn't helped by the fact that Derek didn't know much about the jitterbug. Brooke was a little uneasy about that, but willing to go with it. Derek explained that the dance should look like a cartoon. When they made it to the ballroom, it kind of did. It was a crazy, high energy performance. Brooke has now surpassed any expectations anyone had for her. She really can dance and is operating on a completely different level than most of her competitors.
Len said it was amazing that no matter the dance, Brooke is consistently good. Bruno called it vigorous, upbeat, and glorious. Carrie Ann asked if she could nit pick, and then said no, she really couldn't. It was great. Score: 29 (10,9,10)
Cody Linley & Julianne Hough (Jitterbug) Like her brother, Julianne was out of her comfort zone with the jitterbug. They even went on a little spy mission to see what Brooke and Derek were up to. Also like her brother, she managed to work it all out by the end. I knew Cody was good, but this was a whole new level for him. If we are going to call anything a breakout performance, this was it. There was a quick moment during one of the lifts where it looked like he might be losing his balance, but he saved it, and that was the lone complaint for the performance. He handled some very fast choreography and had a great character for the entire thing. Brooke is still in the lead, but Cody is closing in. As far as the jitterbug win? It's a pick-em. I liked Cody & Julianne, but if you went with Brooke & Derek, I couldn't really argue against that. Both were excellent.
Bruno said it wasn't a jitterbug, it was a firebug. The energy was incredible and he liked the slapstick aspect. Cody's acting was great. Carrie Ann told Cody that this is the perfect dance for him. She added that he is giving Brooke a run for her money. Len said it was fun, entertaining, had good energy, and he liked it very much. score 28 (10,9,9) In something of a surprise, the judges received a chorus of boos for those scores.
So, here we are, halfway through the competition. Cody and Brooke have separated from the pack and the other dancers have some work to do if they want to get back in this thing. With a lot of dancing left before we get to that though, the bigger story of the night is the scoring for Cloris & Corky. It can't just be me. That performance was scored even with Lance & Lacey? I find that to be crazy. Over the years I've become accustomed to the judges comments taking on that uneven vibe. Where we would see them go after the really good couples while taking it easy on those that were not keeping up, But the scores were usually in line with what we saw on the dance floor. That's clearly not the case any longer, and the show is worse for it. We'll see how that plays out at the results show. It could be interesting.