Another review from last night....
'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Latin Swing
The samba and rumba took center stage on Latin night, but not everyone could get into the groove
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SOFT TOUCH Chuck got in touch with his feminine side with a pedicure but couldn't quite get in touch with his feet during the samba
All AboutDancing With the Stars By Annie Barrett Annie Barrett
I suppose the only way to follow last week's Bizarro World installment of Dancing With the Stars was with an unfathomably awkward performance night only a true fan could appreciate. And isn't that why we're all here? Welcome back, DANCMSTRs one and all. Last night, Donny Osmond accepted Bruno Tonioli's invitation to turn himself over to ''the dark side,'' by running up to the judges' table and planting multiple over-the-top smooches on the beaming wedge of imported Italian formaggio. Donny complained/rejoiced: ''I don't think they're going to let me back into Utah anymore!'' Really? For double-dipping a flamboyant Rowdy With a Chance of Meatballs muppet on national TV? Try harder, Donny.
In an effort to add to the red alert of discomfort, special guest Paula Abdul told Tom Bergeron she'd been having a gay old time at the DWTS live show until he had approached her with a microphone. Paula then suggested she and Carrie Ann Inaba should make out. Later, Tom DeLay made the difficult decision to risk the future functionality of both of his feet in the name of canned patriotism, an inexplicable commitment to the televised ballroom, and love...of sequined zoology. Meanwhile, DANCMSTR had returned from Londontown, and was being so not-prickly for a few seconds that Tom Bergeron asked him if he'd been to ''Marshmallow Camp.'' I totally wish that existed. A camp. For marshmallows! They'd just be waddling around saying pleasant things and roasting in the sun. I must stop; there are important iiJudges' Leader Board!! rankings to report. Here we go....
Mya and Dmitry Chaplin: 27 out of possible 30 Thanks to the ''mesmerizing fluidity'' of their rumba, and perhaps Dmitry's sheer black deep-V shirt, Mya and Dmitry earned the first 10s of the season from Carrie Ann and Bruno. DANCMSTR balked that ''it was too grand with trick after trick'' (read: ''stop showing off,'') and gave them a 7. After the dance, Bruno told Mya, ''You put all of America in the mood for love. No price is too high for you.'' So she's a high-priced hooker for America? If we have the cash, do we get to join Mya in her fantasy chemistry-generating suite featuring rose petals, cheesy red and pink backdrops, and candles?
Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo: 26/30 Alec's wife, Lady Legwarmer, joined the couple during rehearsal to show Natalie how to make eye contact with Alec. ''Look at him. Look at him,'' Edyta purred, approvingly, before encouraging Natalie to ''go all out'' with her husband. I have no idea why a smoke machine was necessary for a rumba, but I kind of dug the special effects, particularly the dimming of the lights as Natalie lowered into a half-splits near the beginning of the song. What else was in the air last night? FULL SPLITS! This was easily my favorite ''finish'' of the season so far. Natalie's shyness added a quality to the rumba that we usually don't see with the Stars — I felt like she and Alec danced it the way Karina attempted to explain it to Aaron: there's no audience and it's just two people (+ the spirit of Edyta) in a private bubble.
Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough: 23/30 ''I almost fell on the rope swing,'' Derek complained to Samantha backstage after his and Joanna's samba. Oh, how awful. Question: Why the heck did he need to swing in on a rope? Was he scavenging rare-earth elements from row 6 of the audience? I can't believe DANCMSTR didn't '5' him for this instance of messin' about. Then again, Derek did include DANCMSTR's favorite move, the stationary samba roll, six times. Carrie Ann called them out for ''a few little thingies,'' which was very helpful, and said Joanna was ''fearless'' in her sexiness. I would also call Joanna's lips ''fearless'' in their attempt to completely dominate her tiny head.
Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff: 21/30 Karina kept telling Aaron he was ''overdoing it'' during rumba rehearsal, so I'm not sure how anyone involved thought that costuming Aaron in a powder blue kimono wrap top that could have doubled as a very inappropriate bathrobe for the ballroom's famed ''bedroom dance'' was a good idea. Aaron couldn't even get the ''sexy stare'' down, so his disappointing rumba was no surprise. Despite Bruno's ineffective demonstration of (his own warped version of) hip-hop dancing, I think he was onto something when he said Aaron's movements hit too sharply and lacked fluidity.
Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson: 21/30 DANCMSTR had told Mark Dacascos that when men dance the rumba, it either comes off as soft and feminine or hard and aggressive. I know Donny was trying to seem serious and manly, but he reminded me of a young girl trying really hard to stand out during ballet class. So he decided to overcompensate. As discussed above, during the judges' critique, Donny transitioned to ''the dark side'' by fake-making out with Bruno the Dark and Twisted Gay Man. Heavens! Let me run and get my pearls so I can clutch them! I can't imagine anything more taboo and horrifying than simulated lust between two men! Ahhhhhhh! I'm fainting! Later, backstage, after Donny bragged that he and Bruno ''have a relationship now'' (ugh), Samantha effectively promoted cigarette smoking on live national television and then suggested the pair might have received a better score from Bruno if Donny had ''given him tongue.''
Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel: 20/30 These two always seem to dance towards the end of the show, which could help them with viewer votes. Perhaps the producers are afraid of scaring away viewers too early with Kelly's increasingly bad wigs. I thought their samba looked very uncomfortable the first time I watched it, but I think it's because I was focused on her often-worried facial expressions. The dance itself was pretty good, and when she's ''got it'' and is confident about her steps, Kelly actually gives better face than most of the contestants. I can hardly believe that Kelly Osbourne seems more intense about DWTS than her partner Louis Van Intensity, but there is still plenty of time in season 9 for a full role-reversal. Either way, this couple is on the upswing.
Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower: 20/30 Louie's slicked-back 'do and wealth of knowledge about the rumba inspired him to call himself a ''Guido Suave'' and flirt more heavily than usual with his partner of the same age. Do we think there's something going on there? I don't care; I was too busy marveling at Chelsie's lower half during the rumba to wonder about much else. If swathing her ass in a 13-inch sheath of shiny fabric was a ploy to detract attention from Louie' dancing or lack thereof...then it worked. Chelsie's choreography seemed to center around her own movements — but I have to say, I love when there's a dramatic and quick dip at the climax of the routine instead of at the very end. You could hear someone in the audience squeal as Louie extended Chelsie's left leg from a 180-degree angle to about a 230. It sounded like ''Ye-ohhh!'' I should stretch more.
Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas: 19/30 Melissa and Mark performed a fiery, red-fringed samba within the confines of a very special ballroom tiki hut. Even the screens featured flames! Maybe that's why Melissa dances with ''sometimes the fear,'' according to Carrie Ann. Poor Melissa is just not good at dancing. I'm not sure if she needs to ''come out of her shell'' or ''let go'' any more than she has already. I think she really just can't do the moves very well because she's uncoordinated. It's okay! It happens. It just doesn't usually happen to Mark Ballas. He looked a bit ''over it'' after the pair received their scores, though he may have just been smarting that his ridiculous hair reminded Tom of T.J. Hooker.
Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer: 18/30 I didn't think Mark's rumba was as ''uncomfortable to watch'' as the judges did, though I agreed about his staccato movements and the lack of connection between him and Lacey. Maybe he was standoffish towards her because her short fuchsia dress contained neither sequins nor fringe (this is not counting her single ''sleeve,'' of course), and so he simply did not recognize her as a legitimate component of the ballroom atmosphere. Mark started off the dance by holding hands with his wife, and then after the pair were awarded straight 6s, Samantha said to Mark, ''I guess more reason to stay with your wife.''
Chuck Liddell and Anna Tre-BUN-skaya: 17/30 Anna delivered the greatest DWTS line ever featuring two components that have nothing to do with each other. ''It's great that Chuck got a pedicure with his daughter, but now he needs to nail the samba.'' Exactly right. Chuck's willingness to go along with pink and yellow ruffled, detachable sleeves sort of counts as ''nailing the samba'' in my book, but his actual footwork was heinous. Bruno likened Chuck's dance to ''a samba from Zombietown, but Zombietown is a hit.'' Small world — there's a movie called Zombieland that's doing pretty well, too.
Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 17/30 Love was in the air, and so was a flower from Debi's hair. The actress proved she was very resourceful, having borrowed the top half of her costume from Ballroom Bikini Barbie and the skirt portion from the half-hearted ''ironic drag queen'' Halloween costume Donny Osmond had cobbled together from the feather boa/sex toy shop around the corner. Which is to say, the outfit made even less sense than usual. But any flash — or prop flower — was good here, as the rest of the dance lacked flavor and was deemed ''too safe'' by the judges.
Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke: 15/30 For the samba he was not medically cleared to perform, Tom DeLay wore a red-and-white barbershop quartet costume with a giant, sparkly elephant emblazoned on its back. Cheryl's starry blue dress featured a donkey. Why can't they be friends? Oh, but they can. They can dance together. Dance unites the political parties, dontcha know? During the samba, DeLay tossed fistfuls of play cash (out of nowhere!) to show us how our money's spent, and pointed at himself and smirked with the line, ''I think I'd like to be the president.'' Ha! Good luck.
Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova: 14/30 Wow, Michael and Anna love themselves some hot pink verging on red. The bewildering shade did, at least, match the ''Hard to Handle'' theme of the pair's samba. The judges blamed Michael for ''dancing too small'' and having ''no rhythm whatsoever,'' but I suspect it was the dance's fault instead. Anna's choreography had barely any physical contact and way too much boring, simple side-by-side footwork. I'm not sure he could have danced that routine any bigger, and he looked like he really wanted to. That song was also way too slow. Do you ever just start singing the song faster in your head, in hopes that the dancers on your screen will follow your version instead? I wouldn't recommend it.
What did you DANCMSTRs think of last night's performance show? Leave your thoughts — and your nominations for Hidden Gem of the Week (I dug the bolt of lighting annihilating Kathy Ireland, but that is so last week) — in the comments!http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20310410_3,00.html#