After eight seasons and three weeks, it's time to try some new moves on Dancing with the Stars, folks. In this case, it's the Lindy Hop and the Argentine Tango. So who got into the swing of things and who just flipped out? Find out below.
Who's not pumped for these two dances after witnessing Cloris Leachman's exceptionally (un)sexy demo last week? I'm not gonna lie, I am - mostly because these new dances will lead to a double elimination. I love sadistic producers. I meant to ask this last week: Is there a reason why we must go through the opening cast credits and a stair intro? And you wonder why your DVR cuts off. Let's just stick to the stairway intro. Better chance of seeing someone fall flat on their face.
Len describes the two dances for us. The Argentine Tango, unlike the regular tango, can be performed cheek-to-cheek, wide apart, or the girl can do intricate footwork (aka Julianne can dance around Chuck again). The Lindy Hop - or "jitterbug," according to Len - is all about fun and tricks.
As an added bonus for all of you starting this week, we will feature fallen Season 8 contestant Nancy O'Dell's take on all the dances and her predictions. If you've frequented the Dancing blog, you may have seen her general thoughts on the season already, but as we get down to the wire (double elimination!), it's time to get more specific too.
David Alan Grier & Kym Johnson: Lindy Hop
DAG felt like Sally Field after scoring a 24. As in at the Oscars, not on Brothers & Sisters. Kym takes DAG to Lindy Groove so he can "connect to the essence" of the dance, and that was apparently enough to reassure him. DAG starts off a little slow and seems to have some trouble keeping up with the fast pace, but he gets hopping - and flippin' - by the end. His goofy grin is kind of distracting and I've found myself looking at his face more than his moves, but that kookiness is befitting the dance, so good job? Len says he captured the flavor, but lost the rhythm in some parts. Bruno - who's clearly hit up the spray tan booth for an hour or seven - agrees, while Carrie Ann admires his energy since he's no spring chicken.
Nancy says: I think [it was] OK. David's funny, so that worked well and will carry well with the fans. It could be him in there in the bottom, but I don't think so.
Lil Kim & Derek Hough: Argentine Tango
Kim can't get serious in rehearsal because Derek's just so darn fun! And he calls her "baby"! Derek doesn't know much about the dance, so he's learning it as well, which, I've come to find out, is the case for a lot of these pros. Last week was all about the booty; this week is all about the legs for Kim. Check out those gams, y'all! I've always thought it was stupid to show off the stars' legs when they obviously sucked - ergo, you can see all the suckiness. Not the case here. Kim's sultry footwork is entrancing and her long lines are a sight to behold. Bruno calls it a tale of a fatal beauty. Carrie Ann loves the drama and beauty. Len wasn't impressed with the sensuality (um, were we watching the same dance?!). Whatevs. They get the first 10 of the season. Woz doesn't count, guys.
Nancy says: Gilles and Lil Kim were my favorites. She was really good. She had great leg extensions. I was thinking what Carrie Ann said, like, "Oh my gosh! She looks so much taller than she is!" She was really good and her legs were pointed and straight.
Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough: Lindy Hop
Chuck doesn't want to flip over Julianne because he's scarred (literally and figuratively) from a childhood accident and he's now scared of landing on his head. Well, Chuckie, I don't think any of us wants to land on our heads. He's so traumatized that Jules must ax the bit. The dance is cute (do we expect any less of one involving Julianne?). Chuck's got the energy and is moving around well, but I'm still not that impressed. DAG's Lindy was better. He just sort of seems... there, like he's going through the motions. Attack it, dude. He's improved over the past two weeks, but he definitely needs to raise his game more. Carrie Ann likes it and wants to see him lose control. He's also cute. Her words, not mine. Len calls it competent, but wants him to come back stronger. Bruno wants pizza to go, but crispier. It's a metaphor. I think. Samantha's sick, FYI, so she's using her sexy voice, as Phoebe Buffay would say. This is a good time to not talk, Sam. Actually, she kind of sounds like Steve-O. Can't wait for that chat later.
Nancy says: He was good. I think people want to pull for Chuck and Julianne because I don't think anyone wants to ruin their relationship! They seem so in love that when they come out I always hope they get good scores.
Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska: Argentine Tango
LT hopes he'll still be married after the tango. Hey, Edyta's still married after, like, 13,644 tangos. And speak of the devil. Alec Mazo pops up to teach LT how to toss his wife. They look sexy (well, who doesn't in black lace?), but the dance? Not so much. Edyta's rockin' it as usual, but LT looks like he's just leading her around the floor. He's either focusing on the steps way too much or is totally not turned on by Edyta. Is that possible? Len appreciates the acting, but says it lacked passion. Bruno thinks he was dangerous, or portrayed danger. Something like that. Carrie Ann likes the power, but thinks LT was afraid of Edyta's sensuality. Bingo.
Nancy says: My husband is saying Lawrence is staying until the final four He needs to stay because he makes it more interesting for him to watch! I think he'll be OK. He's charming and more women vote.
Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower: Lindy Hop
Ty and Chelsie (or Woz and Karina for a hot second, thanks to a technical glitch) are completely adorable. Chelsie wants to get physical with it since Ty's so strong. Not without problems, though. They told me Chelsie lost a patch of hair. But who needs hair when you look this good? It was fast, fun, animated, vivacious - like a killer bull ride. I can't get over the fact that the guy who barely synched up four steps three weeks ago can now kick, skip, hop, twist and lift in, like, 10 seconds. Say "dark horse." Seriously, say it. Bruno says he's coming up leaps and bounds. Carrie Ann calls him a "DANCER!" and can't wait to give him her score. Len says something about britches, but is completely besotted by the dance.
Nancy says: Ty just keeps getting better, better and better. I think he realizes he can do it, so he's gotten some confidence. My nanny keeps going, "I used all my votes on Ty!" I'm like, "No, we gotta give some to Tony and Gilles!" I'd probably vote for him based on personality alone. Jewel was telling me he is the sweetest husband ever and I was like, "No, my husband is the sweetest husband ever!"
Steve Wozniak & Karina Smirnoff: Argentine Tango
Now it's time for the Woz. I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed that the Woz is not doing the fun and fabulous Lindy Hop or if I'm more scared that he's doing the passionate Argentine Tango. In his spare time, he does some Segway campaigning - fliers and all - because the geeks shall inherit the earth. Woz's sexy face is basically no smiling. He keeps up with the staccato pace, more or less, and cheekily grazes Karina's literally bare leg (that was a bikini she was wearing, right?), but we all know this blows. There's nothing there but a few steps. Carrie Ann says it felt too long and thinks the leg rub was hot. Len likes that he attempted a proper tango and that it was an improvement. Bruno loves him, but thinks it stunk. "I'm still standing," Woz tells him.
Nancy says: He was definitely campaigning! I think he was enjoying his celebrity-dom. It was better than last week. I think he's enjoying the fact that the judges are giving him bad scores, yet he's staying on. I'm sure he has all kinds of Internet groups out there encouraging people to vote.
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: Lindy Hop
Tony uses toilet paper to teach Melissa the Lindy Hop. She returns the favor later by sniffing at his crotch. They come out strong, of course, and have the pep and matching toothy grins to carry them into next week. It's poppy (or maybe I'm just blindsided by the pink and white polka dots) and she's all over the floor, in a good way. Looks like Tony took that criticism to heart. Len says she has the potential to go all the way, but notes a slip-up at the end. Bruno likes that the routine showed the full range of steps. Carrie Ann likes what she sees and thinks it's Tony's best choreography ever.
Nancy says: I think this is one dance where she would say her cheerleading background helped her, because there were a lot of jumps and turns and twists. She had a lot of tricks in there. I felt bad Shawn got called out and Melissa didn't - not that I think Melissa should've been called out too.
Holly Madison & Dmitry Chaplin: Argentine Tango
Holly wants to work hard this week (as opposed to the other weeks?), but is hampered by her rib injury. She strained the muscles around her rib (maybe from the excess boobage?), but can keep going. And keep going she does despite slipping off the stool... and falling to pieces. This is why I'm against props. Have I ever said I don't like props? No? Well, I don't. Big ones like chairs anyway. They're hardly ever used well in the routine and are just there to deceive us into thinking they're doing some complicated choreography... which is why I totally get Woz and Karina's use of one. Besides the stool slip, Holly doesn't look that bad, but it's still not good and shows zero improvement, unless you count those crazy flips. She's still flimsy and wobbly for some unknown reason. I felt bad wondering what Jewel would've been like last week, but not anymore. If you can't improve at all after a month, you're just taking up space. Bruno says it kept getting worse after the flub. Carrie Ann doesn't think she's building strength. Len loves the routine and sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
Nancy says: I think Holly's in trouble. She was in the bottom last week and I think she'll be back. She slipped on the stool, and I think that was because of nerves.
Steve-O & Lacey Schwimmer: Lindy Hop
Steve-O's been stressed out, so Lacey tries to lighten the mood with a clown costume. He went to clown college, if you're not aware. Is Lacey wearing Crocs? That's what they look like. It bothers me that they're purple while the rest of their costume is pink, blue and black. Anyhow, Steve-O's got the pizzazz, while Lacey is channeling Katy Perry. This is basically a circus show. He's jumping and kicking everywhere, but looks completely crazy doing it, aka it doesn't look like it's part of the routine. The second-week mishap has really set him back, which is unfortunate because I do think he has a great dance in him. But let's face it, you can't bounce and flip around too much with a bum back. Carrie Ann's proud he got through the routine, but he's a little off on the musicality. Len echoes CA's sentiments. Bruno calls it hopping mad and wants him to stop overthinking it and listen to the music. Oh, and the chat with Sam is completely underwhelming. Though I am impressed that she flubs less when sick. Hmm...
Nancy says: I think he may be in the bottom. But Steve-O seems to have championed fans behind him.
Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke: Argentine Tango
Cheryl's rubbing Gilles' butt with her leg. Way to rub it in. He's getting stressed out, so Cheryl tells him he needs to act in the dance. Shades of Denise Richards? Never! Gilles knows how to channel his inner lovah, even if it means he has to look like Antonio Banderas. Besides, he's French. The dance is tight, taut and tantalizingly seductive. Neither looks like he or she is leading the other; it looks like a passionate and lusty back-and-forth tug-of-war. It's just hot. Len loves all the different elements in the dance. Bruno calls him the quintessential Latin lover. Bravissimo! Carrie Ann can't feel her face and is jealous of Mrs. Gilles. They get the first perfect 30 of the season.
Nancy says: They were amazing! I agree with what Carrie Ann said that he looks like a professional. How could you give that anything less than a 10? It was literally perfect. I think the dance was perfect for him too.
Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas: Lindy Hop
Shawn + Lindy Hop = Score, right? She takes this opportunity to introduce Mark to her world, leotard and all. Shawn's feeling more in her element with this since she can literally be herself. Right off the bat, she reels off a series of high-flying flips and just keeps them coming. It's impressive and exuberant, but looks more like a workout routine than a dance routine. The dorky sport outfits aren't helping the cause. I know the dance is about tricks, but it shouldn't be all about them. One or two fewer flips here and there would've made all the difference. Looks like someone had a little too much fun on the floor exercise. That said, it still rocks my socks. Bruno loves the feast of gymnastics, but wants more dancing. Carrie Ann likes Mark's legs and wants her to be light on her feet. Len thought there were too many tricks.
Nancy says: The Lindy Hop was all about the tricks, but they called Shawn out for having too many. But gosh, if you're Olympic gold medalist and you can do it, I'd put it in my routine too. Use what you've got to your advantage!
Holly, Steve-O and Steve Wozniak. Holly and Steve Wozniak will go. I had Holly in the bottom last week, so I'm gonna go with her again. I didn't think Denise [Richards] deserved to go. She said it was a lot of hard work that it was a sigh of relief in some ways. But she was disappointed because she had improved in the dance-off. So I think Holly and Steve. In reality, even though we like his personality and I wanna pull for him too because he's so cute and nerdy, he's definitely one of the worst dancers! I'm gonna do what's right and say it's gonna be him too.
And that's it for now. Gilles makes it four weeks straight atop the leader board with the first 30 so far. Woz, naturally, is bringing up the rear with a 12. What did you think? Did they deserve a 30 and 12, respectively? What did you think of the new dances? Does the Lindy remind you of the jitterbug or jive? Was it too early to break out the 10 paddles? Which two will get the boot?