Dancing With the Stars 14, April 3: Seal of Disapprovalby Chris Harris -- 04/04/2011
It’s another edition of “Tell a Tearjerking Personal Story Through Dance Week” on Dancing With the Stars, and much like we saw in Week 1, pretty much everyone delivered. It’s going to be really tough to find someone to vote out – I was all ready for Gavin to go next, and even he won me over. So exactly who will draw the short straw, thanks to a combination of judges’ scores and viewer votes? Let’s find out.
After Monday night’s performances, here’s how the leaderboard looks:
Yep, that’s a five-way tie at the bottom. What that means is, nobody sucked … but someone from the middle-class is about to get screwed.
Tom “The Quipmaster” Bergeron and Brooke “My Dress Looks Like the Symbiotic Fluid Organism That Became Venom From the Spider-Man Series” Burke-Charvet welcome us to this week’s elimination show and our first musical performer, the former Mr. Heidi Klum, Seal.
Seal is doing his version of the popular Bill Withers tune, as backed by an apparent gospel choir. Is it just me, or has Seal not aged in the last 20 years since he did “Crazy”? Also, how old do you feel knowing that Roshon was still able to wear a onesie when that song first came out? As seal sings, members of the show’s troupe dance for our viewing pleasure. I like Seal, but if I’m going to listen to this song, I think I’d rather just hear the Withers version actually.
Tom points out that the average score of this week is 25.5, which is unprecedented for Week 3. I tell ya – the man quips, he segues, he even does math. What can’t Tom Bergeron accomplish? Let’s cut to head judge Len Goodman, who declares Monday “unbelievable” and wishes that the producers would roll over this week’s elimination until next time, because no one deserves to go. And he’s right. Other reality shows have done this … but it won’t happen here, especially not with the “America votes” factor in play. And Tom says as much. “Sorry. Buzzkill.” Heh.
Backstage clips first, then some results! Roshon looks like someone in that fro wig. I can’t quite place my finger on who it is – and no, not one of the Jacksons – but he does manage to effectively capture the spirit of Michael Jackson’s best era, in my opinion. An excited Roshon shows us some more “Black or White”-era moves back in the confessional booth while Chelsie clearly fears for her safety with all the kicking and swinging-of-arms.
Maria tells us her family’s in the audience and it will be a “sexy samba.” Well, I hope she told her dad to cover his eyes, because daughter dearest wasn’t kidding about the “sexy” part. “I wish I had blindfolds for them,” she says, followed by the Woody Woodpecker/Spongebob Squarepants laugh.
While heading out onto the floor, she asks Derek if it’s a “bad time to pee.” Well, yes, being as doing so at this point would get the floor all wet, causing a risk of injury during the performance. However, Derek has to pee too, so it’s “the best time,” apparently. Jaleel predicts scores of 10 for the “dope” routine; Maria just wants nachos and beer afterward. She and Derek pretend to make out more back in the booth. “Did we or didn’t we?” she teases. “That is the question.”
Gavin dances to one of my all-time favorite Billy Joel tunes – and yes, I have a list of “all-time favorite Billy Joel tunes” – and Karina tells him as they go on that she loves dancing with him. Well, sure. Put him next to her former partner “The Situation” and Gavin is practically The Most Interesting Man In The World. Gavin getting all choked up gets me all choked up. Out of the spotlight backstage, Karina tells him the performance was “beautiful.”
Katherine wants to get over her nerves and emotions and go out and do her best. You remember back on Season 6 of American Idol, when Melinda Doolittle would always act all humble and unassuming and like she couldn’t believe she was still here, and then come out and completely slay everybody each and every week? Yeah, that’s Katherine. Listen to her talk, and you’d think she was struggling to stay in the competition, and not the most successful contestant ever this early in the season.
Katherine plugs her ears and refuses to watch or listen her emotional video clip before her performance; Mark rambles a pep talk as Katherine bobs back and forth. She then makes like an athlete, shakes off the jitters, and goes out and hauls in a touchdown, so to speak (not to borrow Donald Driver-appropriate metaphors, but …). Peta is wiping her eyes up on the celebalcony. Katherine breaks down and lets herself cry as soon as the dance ends. Katherine gets two 10 scores, and those tears turn to screams. She tells us in confessional that it’s “amazing” to have the chance to dance for her father, who would never believe “in a million years” that Katherine was here doing this, right now. Awww … I’m emotional tonight too.
So which of these fine folks is safe? Katherine & Mark, that’s who.
How about Maria & Derek? Yep, they’re safe too.
Gavin & Karina? They’re in jeopardy. Gavin chuckles and does a mock-fist pump. At least he can laugh about it.
Roshon & Chelsie? Safe! Like they should have been last week too.
Tom points out Body of Proof stars Jeri Ryan and Dana Delaney in the audience. I always like to point out that Ryan is from Kentucky, since that’s my home state, and I’d also like to point out that Dana sort of looks like Debra Messing’s character from Smash tonight. But you probably don’t care, do you? Moving on…
Brooke Chat! Brooke has William, Jaleel, and Gladys and their respective pro partners up in the skybox, talking about the upcoming “Rock Week” theme. Next week, William (if it he makes it) will be doing the jive; is he concerned about keeping up his quality? He says it’s completely unknown to him; he even thought it was called the “drive.” Heh. Hey, the Bee Gees never sang about “drive talking,” William. Jaleel will be tangoing to the Rolling Stones next week. He says he’s portrayed Bruce Lee and Elivis in his past, so he’ll have to be the “black man’s Mick Jagger.” Heh. Can classy, elegant Gladys rock out? She says she does, and will channel her inner Tina Turner.
Cue the Quipmaster: “Tina Turner, Bruce Lee, and Elvis – all on one Rock Week!” Now that would put the “stars” in Dancing With the Stars!
Last season we used the results shows to shine the “spotlight” on a series of young dancers who have had to overcome some challenge to follow their dream of dancing and we’re doing so again this season. Jack’s partner Anna and her husband Jonathan Roberts (a former pro on this show) are doing a routine in honor of their friend Julia Ivleva. Julia is a prominent ballroom dancer herself, – Jonathan describes her as “powerful” and “dominant on the dance floor” – but then Julia herself tells us that only a year ago, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She says it was shocking, as she always tried to live a healthy lifestyle.
Julia’s husband, Igor, calls it the “scariest thing we can face.” Julia says most people with this diagnosis don’t have long to live, and Julia doesn’t know how much time she has left, but she’ll stay positive and live life to the fullest. Jonathan says that Julia has continued to travel with Igor and show up at dance competitions, but she’s too frail to dance herself. So Jonathan and Anna have choreographed a dance in Julia’s honor. Anna says that being married to her dance partner, she and Jonathan can relate to what Julia and Igor must be going through, and are inspired by Julia’s example, seeking to share that inspiration with everybody. Oh god, this is going to have us all blubbering, isn’t it?
Yep. It is. With very dim, bluish lighting and smoke covering the ground, Jonathan and Anna start off on the floor, kneeling in embrace. He picks her up and twirls her around the starlit floor, bathed in spotlight, as the studio becomes a night sky filled with stars, a giant moon lurking behind the staircase. A violin (several, actually) softly plays, accompanied by a mournful piano, as the couple moves gracefully about the floor, their movements fluid and romantic. It’s got this very ethereal feel to it, and knowing the story behind the dance, it’s pretty heartbreaking. It ends with Anna on the floor, Jonathan over top of her, and hey, there’s Julia in the crowd! Anna and Jonathan share big hugs with her and Igor
More backstage clips: Gladys wants to show the judges that she knows how to hold a frame. As she walks through the prop door (door “frame” – get it?) at the beginning of the dance, Tristan greets her with a, “Hey, howahyeh?” At the end, Gladys pops her head back through the door and playfully jokes with Tristan, “I see you!” Gladys can’t believe how well things went. “I just don’t know what to do with myself right now,” she says, clearly at a loss for words.
Jaleel says the night’s task is to be passionate and smooth, and that comes easily to him and Kym. He gives her a peck on the lips before they go out. Usually, it’s the pro giving encouragement during the dance but here, Jaleel seems to take control, telling Kym at one point, “Let’s go.” Steve Urkel – the most confident man on the dance floor. Of course, here he channeled Stefan Urquelle instead, and he says this was important to him because he doesn’t touch his old characters; he leaves them in a vault. This is the first tribute of any kind he’s done for anything relating to Family Matters. He wanted it to go perfectly, and it was close enough to celebrate.
William says something that I can’t understand, but it doesn’t matter – none of his female fans are listening to what comes out of his mouth anyway – not when they can focus on what a pretty, pretty man he is. Bruno liked the performance so much that a) he gave it a 10, and b) I think he needs a tissue now. Cheryl tells us that she almost fell on her butt, but William, her “rock,” helped her get back up. William says something unintelligible, starting off slowly, then does what he did last week, getting up and hopping around the confessional booth, yelling excitedly. You can get away with that when you’re a pretty, pretty man.
Results, please! We have some technical difficulties with the suspenseful music, so Tom tells us that we can hum our own theme at home. Heh. Coming back next week are …
William & Cheryl! Women everywhere celebrate.
Gladys & Tristan … are in jeopardy. Booooo.
Jeleel & Kym … are safe. Yay!
Brooke tells us that the Macy’s Stars of Dance bit this week features some of the most in-demand dancers of the day. We meet choreographer/dancers Travis Wall, Twitch, Misha Gabriel, Nick Bass, and Kenny Wormald. Kenny, star of the Footloose remake, says, “This crew is solid.” Gee, ya think?
Brooke Chat! Is Jack nervous about tonight’s elimination. Not necessarily nervous, he says, but he’s just grateful to be a part of the big, emotional night. Anna? She admits to being nervous. How much of a relief was it for Donald to get high scores? A great relief, he says … but he thinks he’s always going to be nervous. Sherri says she’s so dehydrated from crying that she won’t shed another tear. Heh. She’s ready to headbang on Rock Week. Brooke wants to see more of Sherri’s “Holy Ghost” celebration dance from last week. Melissa talks about Monday being a great, freeing experience, and says some other less-than-memorable things as well.
Brooke says that the first time ever, the judges have handed her an envelope – oops, she means the producers – and inside is the name of one of the safe couples. And that would be …
Sherri & Val! And yep, she goes for a head banging variation on the Holy Ghost jive. “Let me go fix my weave!” she cries. Quips Tom, “Next week, Sherri will be over dehydration but in a neck brace.” Sigh. We love you, Tom.
Ooh, a twist! To help account for the fact that the field is so strong this season, Tom announces that after next week, and then for the subsequent three weeks, the bottom two couples will dance simultaneously for the judges, who will decide which couples goes. The “dance duel” will offer one last chance for the best dancers to stay in the competition. Good grief. I wish we’d had this in the past – especially in Bristol Palin’s season … then again, she wasn’t necessarily in the bottom two anyway, so it may not have done any good.
And now, Grooveline Horns will be sitting in with the house band to provide music for the Stars of Dance routine choreographed by Misha Gabriel and Nick Bass. I’m most impressed by the horn players, because they are doing some hot stuff musically. But the main attraction, the five-man dance crew, comes out in Rat Pack-type hat-and-jacket combos and launches right into strutting their stuff. The vibe is old school cool mixed with the spirit of modern hip-hop dancing. Well, there are now more than five guys out there – double that or more actually – but the ‘70s detective show theme helps us all travel back in time to an era of pure funkiness. The movements are all sharp, energetic, done with a sense of easy cool yet the utmost in precision. Good job, guys!
I don’t know much about Rascal Flatts. I know of them – they’re a country music band – but I always figured it was two guys named Rascal and Flatts. Apparently, it’s more like Monty Python, where it’s not really named after anyone in particular. They’re doing a song called “Changed,” and it’s country, so regular readers know my lack of enthusiasm is inevitable. You either enjoy it or you don’t. Let’s move on.
Sherri’s little boy – the inspiration for her dance – gives his momma a kiss before she goes on. I’m sorry, but Sherri doesn’t give me sexy/romantic/sweet. Everything she does looks kind of comical. That’s just her persona, but when Val is dragging her across the floor, I want to laugh rather than swoon. I’m not saying she’s a bad dancer, I have just have a hard time buying “serious” from her. I’d rather see her do energetic, quick dances where she can have fun. However, she’s seriously sobbing into Val’s chest after the dance, and her fellow celebs give her big hugs backstage as well. It’s all very emotional.
Also emotional? Peta, wiping away a tear before going on while partner Donald’s video plays. She gives Donald an affectionate squeeze, because you know he’s feelin’ it too. Like Gavin, Donald can’t find the words in his interview, and even I get choked up. Peta tells Donald that she’s proud of him, and his friend, the inspiration for his dance, would be so happy.
Jack gets directions from Anna to “stand up” during their performance. Jack tells Anna that she looked unbelievable and full of energy. She tells him he looked “fiery orange.” Heh.
Maks advises Melissa to stay calm and not to listen to the applause; “I’ve got you,” he says. He then asks why she’s so calm. She amusing asks if that isn’t what he wants, right? Melissa whoops during the dance, and even Len is hollering some stuff. Maks asks her if she had fun, and she says she had so much. “It’s about time,” he says. They hug a lot in confessional, and Maks tells her that it’s a pleasure and honor to have been there for her. She can enjoy the positive reception … until Wednesday. Heh.
We know Sherri is safe, but who’s next?
Donald & Peta! But of course.
Melissa & Maks? They’re safe too!
That means Jack & Anna are in jeopardy, right? Yep, that’s exactly what it means. Anna gives an adorable “aw, shucks” gesture.
So it’s down to Gavin & Karina (again), Gladys & Tristan, and Jack & Anna. And really, they probably are the weakest in the field … which would mean that they’d be solid top five contenders in most other years. Seriously folks, this is crazy. I kind of hope it’s Jack – like I said, Gavin has won me over, at least temporarily. Maybe it’s just the Billy Joel song choice.
But one of these three couples gets to be declared safe, and it’s Gladys & Tristan! The audience is very pleased. Tom talks to Gavin and jokes that they have to stop meeting like this. Gavin says that he doesn’t want to keep being a repeat offender. At least he was prepared for the possibility that he’d be in this position again, he admits. Jack is feeling gratitude, saying it’s been such a great ride, and he appreciates Anna and loves his daughter. Awww.
Let us wait no longer. The second couple to go home this season is …
Jack & Anna.
Gavin looks sort of dazed as Karina hugs him. Jack looks equally stunned, but that may just be his normal expression. I’m glad – nothing against Jack, he did some good work, but I found myself wanting to see more of what Gavin could do. I felt like I’d seen what Jack was capable of already.
Jack tells Brooke that he had a great time, and it was fun to test himself. He also appreciates the judges, and wishes good luck to the other contestants. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, but man … that outfit is an eyesore. I can’t describe it. My computer might break.
Anyway – next week is Rock Week! Sandy has your Monday recap, I have your Tuesday results, and Jack & Anna have their last dance. Until next time, keep safe and treasure your loved ones! If nothing else, this week has reminded us of that much.
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Chris Harris is a newspaper journalist from Somerset, Kentucky, and was more emotional than usual after losing his pet cat Buffy on Tuesday. Please forgive him for all the crying references this week. You can email him at email@example.com.
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