Dancing With the Stars 14, April 10: The KISS of Deathby Chris Harris -- 04/11/2011
Last night gave us “Rock Week” performances on Dancing With the Stars, and that meant lots of teased-up hair, black attire, and heavy make-up. Katherine wasn’t at the top for once, Gavin wasn’t at the bottom, and Melissa suffered an injury that kept her out of the episode‘s final bow. And like rock-and-roll icon Elvis Presley, someone is about to leave the building. Sandy Lamparello brought you all the action in her recap, so read it if you haven’t yet.
Here’s how the leaderboard looks after Monday’s performances:
We kick things off with a musical number from KISS, and yep, they still know how to rock all right. They’re doing their hit “Lick It Up,” which sounds like my idea of a fun evening with Cheryl and … oops, did I write that in my out-loud voice? My apologies. Of course it’s KISS, so there are plenty of pyrotechnics … and the dance troupe helps as well, plus Mark and Chelsie.
Our beloved Quipmaster Tom Bergeron greets us as usual … but co-host Brooke Burke-Charvert isn’t with him this time. Hmm. I do like Tom’s casual look though. Well, casual for him. Let’s do some backstage clips and results, shall we? By the way, KISS never stops preening and posing while Tom does his schtick. Heh.
Gavin may be in the rock world already, but maybe he’s found his niche as a reject from The Cure. Or … maybe not. It sure worked for him on the dance floor, though. Plus, he picked “Paint It Black,” which is a favorite of mine. Karina tells him to “frame and go” as they dance. After Len and Carrie Ann give Gavin 8s and Bruno only gave a 7, Len raises his hand to Bruno as if to say, “Come on!” Bruno insists, “It was a mess!” He also bickers with the crowd. In confessional, Gavin recalls Karina calling it an “ambitious” routine, and he’s proud to have pulled it off.
And then there’s our M*A*S*H patient Melissa. Maks tells her to look at him as they twirl around. Then Melissa hits her head and accidentally drops Maks to the floor. She seems okay immediately afterward, and asks Maks if he’s okay. He apologizes to her. Val remarks to the others on the balcony that his brother will be “pissed.”
As Melissa and Maks head up the stairs backstage, she tells her partner that she hit her head. She actually hit it on Maks’s leg or shoe, it looks like. She tells others up in the celberaquarium that she’s getting dizzy. Gavin actually picks her up and carries her away, like a handsome prince carrying a damsel in distress – oh, that soft rock romantic crooner hero – and takes her to get medical attention. As she lies on a stretcher, Gene Simmons looks on in concern, with full KISS make-up on. It’s a bit of a surreal scene for something so dramatic.
I guess Melissa isn’t ready to come back yet, and Gavin & Karina join Tom and Maks – yup, Maks solo – out on the stage for results. Tom says Melissa suffered a mild concussion and under her doctor’s advice, she’s taking a rest day. If they get through tonight, she will be able to compete going forward. However, Tom reveals, Maks was injured too – he hurt his arm! Maks quips that it took away from the pain in his ankles, knees, and shoulders. Heh. He also calls Gavin a “true gentleman” for helping Melissa, whom he calls a “fighter and trooper,” and she’s looking forward to next week.
Hey, there’s Brooke! Where ya been, girl? She joins Tom to announce the first results of the night … and the first couple safe is Melissa & Maks! Maks celebrates, first by himself, then with Gavin and Karina.
So what about the hero and his dance partner? They’re safe too! They’re surprised and thrilled and jump around. Gee, if America could have seen Gavin carry away Melissa last night, I bet he would have gotten even more votes!
So who does head judge Len Goodman want to see again as the first encore dance of the season? Why, Donald and Peta’s paso to “Purple Haze,” of course! Can a Green Bay Packer dance to anything with the word “purple” in the title? They do hate the Vikings so, you know. Oh well. Still a great routine.
Cue the Quipmaster: “Donald and Peta! Two people with a grand total of three percent body fat! Kind of hate ‘em a little, don’tcha?” Ha!
Brooke Chat! How’s Gladys feeling after being at the bottom of the standings? No one wants to be there, but she’s working her way up, she says. Maria’s already gotten frisky with Derek plenty; what should we expect from steamy Latin Week?
Maria mentions hips; Derek suggests taking pants off. I don’t know if he means his pants or hers, but I vote for the latter. And there’s that darling Maria Woodpecker laugh we all know and … well, “love” isn’t the word, is it? Maria’s lobbying for it to be Derek’s pants that come off. Derek says he didn’t know if Maria could play through the pain and she’s doing it with flying colors. Maria was worried it might be her last dance, but she turned it around. Jaleel suggests nudity might help him break out of the middle of the pack. Heh.
Cue the Quipmaster again: “I bet if you hear that laugh of Maria’s enough, the pants go right back on.” Oh Tom. You so cray-zay!
We see the clip of the doctor from Monday telling Maria that she can’t dance on a broken foot. Yet there she is, bobbing around and waiting to perform. “I’m Greek!” she yells after video Derek calls her a “fighter.” Yes, we know, dear. Of course, the dance made me need a cold shower. Derek carries Maria up the stairs on her back. She laments messing up a step, but Derek’s not too worried about it. Derek says, “We got a 9-9, and we’re feeling pretty fine … except for her foot and ribs.” Heh.
Surreal KISS moment number two: Gladys squealing, “How long is it?” as Gene sticks out his legendary tongue. Oh my. Gene’s hugging her, she’s putting her hand on his chest, and she’s asking him how long it is. Now I’ve seen it all. Carrie Ann disses the dance, but Tristan tells us that if you fall over, you get back on your horse and you lash him again. I’m not sure that’s exactly how it goes, but whatever.
Jaleel and Kym tell each other it’s Rock Week in bad British accents. And somehow, even Kym’s is bad, even though it’s pretty close to British as it is. Jaleel ends with that spin on the floor and Kym says she didn’t think he was going to stop. Maybe Jaleel could close out the sequel to Inception in that case. In confessional, Jaleel pledges that if Len wants to see a panther, he’ll give him a panther … and then growls and makes claw hands toward the camera. That’s Bruno’s job, dude.
The next couple definitely coming back next week is …
Derek & Maria! Geez, between her and Melissa, we might turn this into Celebrity Death Match before this thing is over.
Who’s next? Jaleel & Kym? Kym really acts shocked, as if she doesn’t understand what’s happening.
Gladys & Tristan … are safe too! What?! Wow. We could be in for a shocker tonight, folks.
Tom teases a feature on the “Passion Project” of Karina Smirnoff. We hear her tell us that she and Jose Carreno came together through an organization that helps kids pursue their dancing dreams. Jose is a world-class ballet dancer, and joining with Karina’s ballroom talents brings two worlds together to create something unique.
Taped filler! Karina says when you’re asked back to the show, you’re worried about who you’ll get as a partner. Peta says people say they want someone they can get along with … but really you want someone who can dance. Tristan says people have had bad partners throughout the years, but Chelsie adds that this year everyone is strong (yeah, we’ve noticed). Maks feels pressure, and all the other pros too. Kym says a lot of the stars are learning their routines in the first day, which is unheard of. If Jaleel does it too quickly, she’s worried maybe she didn’t make the choreography challenging enough. Mark says the hours are getting longer and people aren’t in the halls as much, meaning there’s a fire lit under everyone’s butts.
Maks notes that a score of 24 in any other season would put him and Melissa at the top of the standings. This time? They got a 24 and tied for the bottom. In the past, Derek wouldn’t show all his tricks so early on, but this time he has to put everything he has into each week and trust he’ll come up with something new next time. Maks talks about rivalries between the older pros. Tristan says friendships go out the window when they’re out on the dance floor. Chelsie says they’ve been competing since they were young, so that’s all they know.
Brooke Chat! Donald’s nervous, which is made worse by everyone else being nervous. With some of the lowest scorers already saved, how does Roshon feel despite having one of his best nights? He doesn’t feel too safe, but he’s trying to keep it together and hope for the best. Chelsie is hopeful, and says it just goes to show there are always surprises on this show.
Tom says that the pros have been challenged to bring forward dance projects they’re passionate about. It’s Karina and Jose’s original creation, with music provided by Gotan Project. They put a unique modern take on traditional Argentine music, appropriate given the blend of artistic stratospheres that Karina and Jose bring to the floor.
Karina starts out like in red like a sultry Argentine temptress, attracting Jose in his red shirt and dapper hat. They meet in a furious embrace and commence to unleash their newfangled take on the tango, featuring sharp, aggressive leg movements by Karina and something that’s probably way out of Jose’s comfort zone, but man, does he look natural at it. The music is hot and steamy. Hey, there’s Jose doing a flying ballet leap! Then we gets back into the tango as Karina shows off some slinky gymnastic moves. That was cool!
So we have no one in jeopardy and the highest scorers from Monday are on deck to learn their fates now. This could get interesting.
We’re reminded that Donald and Peta were awesome, and were scored accordingly. Donald tells Peta going down the backstage stairs that they’ve been climbing the ladder two or three points at a time, and Peta notes that it’s the best way to do it. How would she know? She got knocked out first in her only other appearance! Anyway, KISS excitedly greets Donald backstage – I’d say it would take a football star to make fans out of rockers as iconic as KISS – and Paul Stanley asks if they got a 29. Donald reports that it was a 27, and Paul amusingly waves them off and jokes, “Aw, I don’t want to talk to you.” Heh.
In the midst of their sweet song, Chelsie shouts, “Hell yeah!” at Roshon. I guess she’s an excited girl, huh? Roshon and Chelsie really look like they’re at their high school prom with the outfits and music and lighting and everything. Roshon is happy to get “the master Len, the monster Len” to say “good job, dawg.” Then he mock-asks Len for his digits so they can text. Heh.
Tom reveals that one of these couples is safe, the other is in the bottom two. Hmm …
The couple that is safe is …
Donald & Peta! I’m not surprised. But while Peta throws her arms up in triumph, Donald collapses to the floor in relief. Heh. Don’t hit your head, Donald. We’ve got enough injuries on this season already! It takes a minute for it to dawn on the audience that this means Roshon is in trouble, but once the realization comes, well, here come the boo-birds.
To lighten the mood a little, we get a sneak peek at the new Dancing With the Stars show getting ready to hit Las Vegas – it premieres this weekend. Carson Kressley welcomes us to a video clip, introducing himself as “winner of Season 13.” Um … we love ya, buddy, but no. “Okay, I was eighth, but who’s counting?” Heh.
Carson takes us behind the scenes to introduce old favorites from seasons past who are in the Vegas show, including boy bander Joey Fatone (Season 4), recent Celebrity Apprentice washout Tia Carrere (Season 2), Disney kids Sabrina Bryan (Season 5) and Kyle Massey (Season 11). Also, Carson isn’t just hosting the show – he’s dancing in it! He tells us this as two hunky guys twirl him upside down. Wonder if he can get a guy partner in Vegas at least?
“Hosting and dancing: That’s way too much work,” muses Tom. Another person who thought dancing would be too much work tonight is Joey Fatone, says Tom, as Joey is out in the audience. Joey tells Tom that he couldn’t get to L.A. in time for the staging and prep, but he’s with his fellow all-stars in spirit, and he’ll be ready for the show at the Tropicana in Vegas.
The rest of the cast takes the floor and see some new pros we’ve never met before who individually show their stuff. Then girls in the big blue feather hats descend the staircase – we’ve got a nice little conga rhythm going – but I don’t see anyone I recognize yet. It’s possible I’m overlooking them and if so, I apologize, but everyone here looks new to me. But the guys in vests and the feather girls join up to do their thing, and it’s pretty hot and snappy, especially with that Afro-Cuban style of music that’s got me jiving in my chair.
Now her I recognize – Lacey Schwimmer, one of my favorite pros ever, who comes out from behind and gets the spotlight for a moment. We miss you this season, Lacey, especially now that you’re back to being a sexy brunette. Here come Kyle and Sabrina right behind, and a guy I don’t recognize (he may be a pro from a past season, but it isn’t coming to me).
Now the feather girls are doing flying leaps and getting caught by the males, and it’s getting’ wild up in here! Also, let me just say, Sabrina has really sexified herself up. She’s 27 now – a Cheetah Woman, not a Cheetah Girl! Oh wait, Dmitry Chaplin is out there – how did I miss him before? Oh yeah, I’m a straight guy. Forgive my tunnel vision. Anyway, that was fun! I wanna see that show now! Anyone up for a road trip to Vegas?
Let’s go behind-the-scenes with our last three remaining couples: Val urges Sherri to look at him while dancing, but maybe she shouldn’t have looked at Carrie Ann, who complains about Sherri’s expressionless face. Gladys encourages Sherri backstage, telling her that she was great. Sherri is looking forward to getting a fresh start next week – if she makes it through – and she reminds us how much she loves being here.
As Cheryl and William wait backstage, Len wanders through and Cheryl gives him a big hug. Aww. No sucking up the judges, Cheryl. Unfortunately for William, a little greasing of the wheels might have helped, since those wheels sort of fell off for him and Cheryl this week. As Cheryl hobbles off the floor, Tom asks where her shoe went. It sort of fell halfway off her foot when William kind of manhandled her like a rag doll at one point and she had to soldier through. She tells us in confessional that everything went wrong, but William is confident that it’s not about the falling, it’s about being able to get back up, so that’s what he and Cheryl will do. We’ll see.
Mark and Katherine seem to have a little difficulty finding their way backstage. Geez Mark, you should know the way by now! Where’s the DWTS GPS when you need it? Katherine calls it a “Spinal Tap moment.” Heh. Katherine and Mark got all 8s for a total of 24 – as Maks suggested earlier, a perfectly fine score any other season, but the low-water mark for the couple this year. Katherine feels like she let Mark down, but he poo-poos that an tells her it’s all a part of the process.
So who out of this bunch is safe? How about …
Katherine & Mark! I never doubted for a second. Yet Mark falls to his knees and Katherine looks down at him, gasping, “What? What does that mean?” as if she can’t believe what she heard. I almost wonder if she thinks she got eliminated for a second. Once she realizes she’s safe (thanks to the hosts having to explain what they said), she whoops and hops around in excitement just like Sherri might. It’s pretty funny.
So it’s down to Sherri & Val and William & Cheryl, plus Roshon & Chelsie from earlier. The producers switched the format up on us a little bit this time, but after a commercial break, all three couples are out on deck … but we’re only revealing a bottom two, really. The next couple safe is …
William & Cheryl! Yeah, the ladies aren’t letting William go out this early, I can promise you!
So it’s Roshon & Chelsie vs. Sherri & Val. Both have had their moments, but I think I’d rather see more of Roshon & Chelsie, so I have to root against Sherri here. Tom says it’s one of those nights where you look at the quality of the cast and can’t helped but be shocked by the couples in jeopardy, and admits he didn’t think he’d be talking to Sherri like this here and now. Actually, in this particular cast, this might be her correct spot to go out. Gladys is probably an inferior dancer … but it’s hard not to love Gladys as a fan. Sherri just isn’t quite the same kind of loveable legend.
Tom asks if Sherri has any expectation she’d be here at the bottom. She starts talking about how much she loves the experience, but fights through emerging tears as she does so. Eventually, she goes speechless – that’s a first – and we all feel a little bad for her. Aww.
What about Roshon? He didn’t expect to be here at the bottom, he admits. Len says all the judges are in shock. After 14 seasons, they know anything can happen though, and with the quality so high this time, anyone can be in jeopardy. That’s probably true. I think Roshon is better than this, but I don’t know that he has the viewer votes locked down; Sherri just isn’t one of the top dancers left anymore. Sorry. Any other season, maybe. But not this one.
The couple going home this week with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes is …
Sherri & Val. Needless to say, she’s very emotional. She sobs into Val’s comforting embrace, then shares a sweet hug with Roshon. I feel bad. I still think it was the right decision, but I feel bad nonetheless. Sherri’s a lot of fun, and few people have made it quite so clear how much they want to stick around and participate like she did.
Brooke coaxes Sherri down to the main stage to chat. Sherri thanks the show for letting her live a dream that she’s always had (she’s always wanted to be on DWTS??), praises Val as her partner, and advises people to run toward the thing that scares them the most “because it’s so amazing on the other side.” Val steps in as Sherri cries and says he’s really sorry for it to end now, and Sherri gets out that she loves him and they had the most amazing time. Again: Awww.
Next week: Sandy on Monday’s recap, me on Tuesday’s, and hey, it’s Latin Week! Ay, caramba! Yes, I’m getting my Spanish from Bart Simpson. Anyway, see you then, faithful readers!
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Chris Harris is a newspaper journalist from Somerset, Kentucky, and wishes Melissa a speedy recovery and good health going forward. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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