Oct 9, 2020
Dancing with the Stars RECAP: Show me your movies (S19:W3)
It’s movie night on Dancing With the Opportunists Looking to Plug Their New (or very old) Projects! You know what that means? These losers will be dancing to outdated movie soundtracks! The contestants must be excited; they are throwing popcorn at each other. So, of course, the first dance number must feature Marilyn Monroe impersonators dancing to… Pharrell’s “Marilyn Monroe.” Not a movie song.
Len is off in Great Britain feeling too old for this silliness, so we should have three judges tonight, right? No! Filling Len’s seat is stand-up comedian Kevin Hart, who is apparently qualified because he’s got a new movie to promote. He knows nothing—ABSOLUTELY NOTHING—about ballroom dance at all, but that doesn’t keep him from shimmying around in an awkward daze during the opening number.
Since the results shows are horribly bloated affairs that take an hour to spit out the name of the person booted, the producers have decided to streamline this process. Voters tonight will be deciding who goes home next week. Tonight’s boot was decided last week, so somebody is dancing for no good reason. We’ll find out who that unlucky sap in the last twenty seconds of the broadcast. Who could it possibly be?
It could possibly be MMA fighter Randy Couture, who finds out immediately that he’s in jeopardy. Oh, by the way, Randy, you are also dancing first, so now that you’ve got a huge axe hanging over your head, go out and put on a great show for us! In an admirable show of restraint, Randy does not punch Tom in the mouth for pulling this shit on him. Even the other contestants know this tacky crap sucks, and he’s getting supporting hugs all around as his rehearsal clip rolls.
Karina points out to Randy that their scores are slipping. Well, they are dancing the Paso Double to “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III, so surely Randy will fight his way back up to the top like Rocky did, right? Wait, in which sequel? Randy has felt like an underdog his entire fighting career, and he knows Sylvester Stallone personally, so this has to be the week he roars back in triumph, right?
Wrong. I actually think the Paso is probably the perfect dance style for Randy; it’s got several lovely shades of suggested violence in it. He certainly looks like he’s about to beat Karina up half the time. Unfortunately, his posture is sloppy, he’s not on the beat with the music, and the judges aren’t kind.
Julianne: Where was the charming leading man from week one?
Bruno: All that raging and untamed muscle power! Yowsa! But… the timing was behind.
Carrie Ann: Thank you for taking my note from last week. Bring back the finesse.
Kevin: I don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t know what I’m talking about, either.
Judges’ total score: 26
Kevin thinks he has to scream his score. He will do this ALL NIGHT LONG.
After the commercial break, Tom informs Alfonso and his pro Witney that they are safe. So are (shockingly) Betsey and her pro Tony, as Randy looks at the writing on the wall and begins to pack.
90s sitcom sidekick Alfonso Ribeiro is dancing to “Hey Goldmember” from that Austin Powers movie. Not the first one, which was actually kind of funny. The third one. This is Lousy Sequels Night on Dancing With the Stars! Len asked Alfonso to do a genuine ballroom dance, so now that Len’s been replaced by a glassy-eyed buffoon, Alfonso will attempt the Quickstep. He doesn’t really have the stamina for it, and Witney tells him—on camera—that she’s carrying his fat ass. Good girl, Witney. That will quash all those “ringer” rumors the National Enquirer keeps spouting, as if ringers on Dancing With the Stars was a new idea.
Alfonso fishes shamelessly for votes by having a small child play Mini-me as the song begins. Never mind that Mini-me was aping Dr. Evil, not Austin. The floor is washed in gold light and some side dancers steal focus to keep us from seeing that this is Alfonso the Ringer’s weakest dance yet.
Bruno: (Cackles like a villain) Doctor Evil is very pleased! (Wait… is that good or bad?)
Carrie Ann: I am so impressed with you!
Kevin: You don’t put a black man in a velvet suit and tell him to dance!
Julianne: How am I going to follow that?
Judges’ total score: 32
Fashion designer Betsey Johnson is reveling in the miracle of last week, where she didn’t look completely ridiculous. This week, she has to do a Contemporary dance. She does not know what that is. It seems to involve a lot of holding her body stiff while Tony twirls her around in the air. She’s afraid she will look idiotic. That’s not a baseless fear.
She does not, however, look that idiotic as she dances to “Unchained Melody” from Ghost. Probably because they avoided the pottery wheel scene. She floats around a little, looking bereaved in blue, until the ghost of Tony appears. Then Tony sends her skyward in a bunch of lifts that require her to do little except not panic. She does do the splits once, because that’s her big move. The dance is kind of boring, and this romantic scene only really works when there are no closeups of her face, but she survives it with dignity reasonably intact.
Carrie Ann: It’s confusing to watch you. It’s confusing to listen to my comments, too.
Kevin: You tell that 21–year–old girl I just saw that I have the hots for her.
Julianne: Girl, you are fle-e-e-e-xible!
Bruno: No one can bend it like Betsey!
Judges’ total score: 29
Kevin gives her a nine. The other judges look like they want to give him a good thump on the head.
They take a commercial break so somebody can explain the scoring rules to Kevin, and when they come back, four more couples get to find out how screwed they are before they dance. Michael Waltrip, the skeezy old pervert with moves like lead, is safe. His partner, Emma, acts like she just got pardoned by the Warden. Sadie and her pro Mark are also safe—although she was in the bottom two last week for the same performance, and I smell a rat. Antonio and his pro Cheryl are in jeopardy, which might be a relief for both of them, but Lea and her pro Artem are safe.
For her Cha Cha, Lea Thompson is going Back to the Future (of course, what else could she possibly do?). Her old character shows up at the homecoming dance years after marrying—or possibly dumping—that loser, McFly. Her rehearsal tape involves a really stupid bit about how they were rehearsing so hard they missed the show. But not to fear! Her time-traveling future self appears with keys to the DeLorean and a copy of this tape so she can crawl into a hole in humiliation and never come out again. But ever shameless, Lea instead drives the Delorean to the moment of her dance number right on time, so she can go out there and relive her one lifetime moment of true professional triumph by stinking up the joint.
This is her worst performance of the season so far. Even by her standards, she’s listless, ungainly, and tentative.
Kevin: You looked happy while you were dancing.
Julianne: I’m so bummed about that little hand slip.
Bruno: You covered the mistake very well.
Carrie Ann: Unfortunately, I think this was not your best dance at all.
Judges’ total score: 31
Michael Waltrip is bummed out that the judge’s didn’t like watching him leer at girls in bikinis last week, so this week he’s waltzing to “Everything I Do” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves because “it’s classy!” His wheels have been spinning, he hasn’t been happy with his traction, but he’s gonna step on the gas tonight and hope it doesn’t smell like a fart.
So, in a plastic Sherwood Forest bedecked with unseasonal Christmas lights, Michael tries not to come across as a gross old scumbag… and mostly succeeds. He’s got roughly the grace of an ordinary dad waltzing at some father/daughter school event, but there’s no sense at all that he’ll be arrested later for unseemly conduct. It’s… nice.
Julianne: (High fives him) That was your best dance ever.
Bruno: You worked very, very hard, and it shows. A bit more flow next time.
Carrie Ann: I was mesmerized. You didn’t suck as hard as usual this week, and I could actually enjoy the character you were playing!
Kevin: I saw you point at me!
Judges’ total score: 28
Antonio and Cheryl are doing a Foxtrot to Guardians of the Galaxy. Because talking raccoons with attitude and walking trees remind everybody of the Foxtrot. Antonio just wants to have fun. Screw winning; he knows he can’t do that. But he’s put some cool old songs on his walkman!
And one of those songs… is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They make no attempt at all to act out the movie; while it might be funny to see Groot and Rocket dance the Foxtrot, the makeup would cover up Antonio’s face, which is his only real selling point when he’s wearing something besides underwear.
Bruno: You’ve definitely turned on the fun factor!
Carrie Ann: You are stiff in places that are a bit strange.
Kevin: Boo! Boo! Boo! I can’t Foxtrot to save my life, so I’m not giving you notes on the Foxtrot. (Why is he here, again?)
Julianne: (Smiles wanly as Tom tells her they have to go to commercial. Ha! The four-judge thing burned YOU this time!)
Judges’ total score: 29
Being sexy didn’t work out so well for Sadie Thompson last week; we get footage of Mark and Derek trying to stop her from dissolving in overly-entitled tears when she’s put in jeopardy. But this week, nobody’s gonna make her cry, because she’s as chaste as a Disney movie! Daddy must be so relieved.
Looking like a pair of blissfully wedded bananas, Sadie and Mark dance the Waltz to the “Married Life” music that kills off Carl’s wife in the first five minutes of Up. Sadie puts money in the jar and flails her arms. Mark and Sadie sit cutesy in chairs and Sadie flails her arms. They actually waltz, and Sadie flails her arms. Then Sadie “dies” as a bunch of balloons carry her away, and she finally stops flailing because she has to hold on or go splat. Epic flail.
Carrie Ann: So far tonight, that was my favorite dance. The bar is really, really low.
Kevin: I watched that as a fan. I have no business being a judge and I’m not even going to pretend that I do. Go see my movie!
Julianne: Great choreography, Mark. Sadie… um… your arms… are a little bit airy. Pretend you are going through water.
Bruno: I am right up there with you among the clouds.
Erin helpfully informs us that Sadie thought the waltz was boring. And it showed!
Judges’ total score: 32
Another commercial, and we’ve got the last four couples awaiting reprieve or doom. Janel and her pro Val are safe, as are Bethany and her pro Derek. Tommy Chong looks to be bracing himself for the blow, but it doesn’t come; everybody loves the old stoned hippie. It’s Jonathan Whatzisface who’s in trouble.
The judges hate this poor guy, and his partner Allison, who is new to the show this year, is getting depressed. She’s so distraught she asks Mark Ballas what the hell she’s supposed to do to make the judges let up on this hapless little Ken doll she’s partnered with. Mark helpfully chatters at length about himself and how great he is, no matter what the damned judges say.
The song is “Back to Black” from The Great Gatsby, a particularly miserable, gloomy, arrhythmic choice for a Tango. They dance adequately in a smoky ballroom like a valley of ashes, a couple who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. (Attribution: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Look it up.)
Kevin: I love the fact that that song wasn’t a traditional tango-like song.
Julianne: I was going to say the same thing, but really different. It’s hard to choreograph a Tango to THAT. Who did you piss off? What the hell were you thinking?
Bruno: That was a very hard track to practice. Really, how the fuck did you get stuck with that god-awful song?
Carrie Ann: Allison, we are never here to stifle your creativity.
Judges’ total score: 32
Val and Janel Parrish are dancing Jazz to music from West Side Story—but there’s drama! The producers are facing a legal problems two days into rehearsal! They absolutely positively cannot allow a single step that was in the original movie.
We like to sue in America
Copyright snafu in America
Lawyers coming for you in America
Sucks to be you in America
So Val has to make up his own dance moves—which is his freaking job, really—and he does just fine. While the first half of the song features a lot of bullshit “comic” business for “characters” of Val’s own design, once they finally start dancing, it’s sharp, crisp, and slightly dazzling. Lawsuit impressively averted: any tiny, but uncanny, resemblance to the actual movie is purely coincidental.
Julianne: Wait! What just happened? Hey, somebody who went on Dancing With the Stars for a professional boost might actually get it!
Bruno: My darling, this is your star-making turn! Screw that old TV show. You finally did something good!
Carrie Ann: You give good sex. I gotta go home.
Kevin: I bow down.
Judges’ total score: 40.
Tommy Chong murmurs flirtatiously to his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, that he loves the Scent of a Woman. Sniffs her. “Smells like Maks!” Ah, skeevy averted with funny. Michael, watch and learn. [Editor’s note: Peta used to date former DWTS pro Maks. – Rick] Then Tommy starts teaching Peta the Argentine Tango. Wait. What? Holy shit, he already knows this dance style! His humor is getting wiser and more witty, and he forgets to talk about pot.
On the dance floor, Tommy dances like an elegant, dignified geriatric gentleman who has been doing this smoothly and confidently for decades, and everybody finally gets a clue. Tommy’s not the terribly funny-bad comic relief contestant we all keep expecting. He’s (probably) a little too old and stiff to win, but in a very weak field he’s, shockingly, one of the two best male dancers. Period. Who the fuck saw that coming?
Bruno: Unforced, languid, sensual. This story could not have been better told.
Carrie Ann: It was like watching Yoda dance.
Kevin: That’s how you stand up to pressure. Poise.
Julianne: Anybody who can lead that woman is excellent.
Judges’ total score: 34
That’s the third best score of the night.Of course, part of this is because two commercial breaks ago Kevin lost all of his paddles except the 10. Dumbass.
Derek Hough is very excited, because he gets to choreograph “Singing in the Rain.” It’s iconic! Gene Kelly is his hero! He got to meet Gene’s widow! She gave him a framed picture of Gene! Mrs. Kelly can see a little of Gene in Derek! What an honor! #BethanysaysI’mheretoo
Well, think of it this way, Derek. Gene Kelly danced alone; I think you’ve got a partner, somewhere. #IpromiseIwontdroptheumbrella In some places the choreography is very like the movie choreography, but since Bethany Mota is mirroring everything Derek does, it’s not quite a rip-off. #Nolegalhasslesforus In fact, it’s pretty charming, and everybody is on their feet to give Derek all the praise and adulation they feel he deserves. #Ididallthesamestepswithaninjuredankle Oh, Bethany, don’t you feel honored to bask in his triumph?
Carrie Ann: Mission impossible, mission complete.
Kevin: I’m not going to take up too much time. (Rambles for 24 seconds about Derek paying homage to heroes)
Julianne: I know the wrath of Derek. #Andhisegotoo. Tonight you became a woman.
Bruno: (Wide-mouthed, furious gaping as Tom calls for a commercial break) Kevin gets to yammer endlessly and I can’t say a word?????????!!!!!!!!
Even the audience boos over that.
Judges’ total score: 40
Now, about what happened next… It’s totally nonsensical, so I’ll break it down for you. Last week, we had a results show based on last week’s dances. Tavis got eliminated. This week, we have no results show, but we do have an elimination, once again based on last week’s performances. Last week, Sadie and Michael were both in jeopardy along with Tavis. Randy, Jonathan and Antonio were all safe.
This week, based on exactly the same judge scores and viewer vote totals for the same routine, Randy, Jonathan and Antonio are in jeopardy. Sadie and Michael are safe. Conclusion: “Jeopardy” is bullshit. Fuck all knows how many people actually voted for Jonathan and Antonio, but this much is clear: they didn’t vote for Randy. Hang up your gloves, fighter. This was the knockout punch.