Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Post-Mortem: Week 7

Last night I almost missed watching the cut at the end of the results show because I had a tired hangover from Halloween. Tired hangover. It's a thing. Especially when you are 5 months pregnant, and spent several hours on Halloween schlepping a 3-year old trick-or-treating around a neighborhood not named Park Flat, or Park Plateau, but Park Slope. It was all totally worth it because my son, the Juban Princeling, is a Halloween natural. He kicked ass at TOTing. He did not eat all his candy in one night. He stood with me for half an hour to wait for a parade that lasted all of 5 minutes. (Park Slope Civic Council FAIL!)

But it wore me out, and yesterday's hour-long battle with Time Warner over their locking me out of the Pay Xpress system (don't get me started) was not exactly restful. Sometimes I get annoyed that the results show is on at 9 instead of 8 so that I have to stay up until 10 to see who gets the boot. Because I am a pregnant old lady who likes to call it a day at approximately 7:30. No, really. I finished "The Night Circus" last week, and texted my friend NoLa about it because she's the one who encouraged me to read it, and we decided that we would love to do a real life "Night Circus," but for us it would have to be more like a late afternoon circus because we are two tired ladies.


Monday night's performances were pretty much train wreck-free, unless you count the group Tango, which I might. 

Me: What are they, zombie mental patients?
Husband: The men are, but I don't know what the women are supposed to be.
Me: Also mental patients. They're wearing sexy straight jackets.
Husband: Is that what those costumes are?

This then lead to a discussion of one young woman I saw in our nabe on Halloween, who could not have been more than 15 years old, TOTing with her family, including her mother and little brothers, wearing a slutty SWAT team member costume: tight black tank top, hot pants that barely covered her toush, fishnet tights, and stripper boots. Oh, young lady. *smh*

So the night was relatively drama-free, though I felt obligated to comment during Hope Solo's rehearsal video package that Maks probably "hurt" his "toe" when he shoved his foot into his mouth last week. Har har.

I also felt obligated to comment that Hope seems to dance better when she's not practicing with Maks. Just saying.

The night began with David Arquette's Cha Cha to the Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra." While I generally believe you can't go wrong with the SMB, I wasn't impressed with David's dance. He kept improving for a while, but he seems to have stagnated. The judges, though gushed all over his performance like he did something wonderful. Did they watch the same dance I watched? I felt almost embarrassed for them all, the judges and David, because it all felt so forced and fake. 

Now, listen. I love the Ghostbusters as much as the next Gen Xer. And I'm impressed that Karina could walk in that outfit, much less Tango in it. But the judges were right: this wasn't J.R. Martinez's best dance. He's better than this, and all I can think is that, like with Movie Week, he got bogged down in his character, his costume, and the acting part, which caused the dance part of his dance to suffer. You're better than this, J.R. Stop losing focus!

You know how sometimes you'll go years and years without hearing a song, and then suddenly it's everywhere? That's how this week's been for me with Charlie Daniels's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Friday I baked some Halloween cookies and put on Pandora's Halloween station, and that was the first song to pop up. Then Nancy Grace did her sad little Jive to it. And sad it was: even my husband called her dance flat, and this is a guy who hates this show with a visceral passion. (Yet somehow notices the nuances of each dance.) I would like to point out, though, that I really, really liked Tristan's costume. If nothing else, Tristan gets a "10" from me for his winning costume designs week after week.

Maybe I'm remembering this wrong, but several seasons ago didn't Mel B. and Maks also do a Tango to "The Addams Family" theme? Yes? No? Anyway, it was Rob Kardashian's turn this week, and he did really well, despite being - I'm sure - totally broken up over his sister's divorce. *eyeroll* The final championship dance will surely come down to Ricki Lake vs. J.R. Martinez, but I wouldn't be surprised if Rob shows up in the final three - and, there's a long but definite possibility he could challenge J.R. for the final instead of Ricki. You heard it here, folks.

Ricki Lake is my new hero. If I get so much as an ingrown toenail I'm laid up for a week, but she not only Tangoed to Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams," she kicked ass at it. Hers was, by far, the best dance of the night. A lesser competitor would outwardly reluctantly, but inwardly happily, use this as an excuse to bow out of the show, but Ricki pressed on. First the Roger Rabbit, now this. Dayum, girl!

OK, I sort of love the song "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, so I forgive Hope Solo for doing last week's dance to that abysmal piece of crap from Rent. Plus, she danced well! The Samba isn't easy, but Hope nailed it, and got really into character without losing herself. Ahem, J.R. Probably because, like I said, she didn't rehearse with Maks. I know I pick on him a lot, but he reminds me of so many guys I've known in my life, guys who are really good at one thing and think that makes them better than everyone else in the entire world. I'm probably projecting a lot here, but it's fun to pick on Maks, and I feel like he kind of needs to be picked on in a non-flirty way by someone who isn't intimidated by his looks or overconfidence. And yes, I'm just the girl for that job. Know who else was up for that job? Mel B. and Layla Ali - and Maks got them both all the way to the semi-finals.

So then we got to the Team Dances, which I don't understand doing in the same season as the Group Dance. But I'm not a producer at ABC, so who cares what I think? 

Team Tango went first: David, J.R., and Nancy. Here's their problem: Nancy and David are the two weakest dancers left, and even J.R.'s superiority this season couldn't save them from what was little more than a giant mess. I found the overall choreography uninspired and the individual dances sloppy. Generally you can't go wrong doing a Rhianna song - in this instance, "Disturbia," - but somehow Team Tango managed it.

Team Paso - Ricki, Rob, and Hope -  on the other hand, did amazing. From the costumes to the song to the story to the dance itself, they nailed it. And you want to hear something cool? Even while they danced to Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life," my really good friend was at an Evanescence concert! OK, maybe that's only cool to me. It's a really good, strong song.

Husband: I think I like this song. Yeah, I do like it. 
Me: Everyone likes this song. It's one of those songs that no one doesn't like.

The Team Paso dance was one of those performances that comes along only once or twice a season that really highlights what the show is all about: taking "regular" "stars" and turning them into competitive ballroom dancers. It helps that Hope and Rob are far better dancers than David and Nancy. (Side note: Let's notice again how Maks wasn't available for Hope - this time because he lost his shit and stormed out - so Derek took over and helped her and SHE WAS A BETTER DANCER FOR IT.)

Now, before I get to the cut, I have a few words about the results show:

Justin Bieber? Huh? Since I am no longer young enough to be allowed to watch the MTVs, nor do I listen to the radio, this was the first time I've seen or heard a Justin Bieber song and I was not impressed. I was a 14-year old girl once, and I was hardcore into New Kids on the Block (Hard. Core.), but I like to think that even I had better taste than this. And isn't he supposed to have the hair? The floppy bangs, or whatever? 

And WTF were Boys II Men doing backing him up? I just felt a disturbance in the Force, as if the entire 1990s decade cried out and then were silenced.

And also: Derek will just use any ol' excuse to dance shirtless, won't he? I bet he wishes he could do every dance of every show naked.

So, David got eliminated this week, which is just as I predicted two weeks ago when I said, "The week after Chaz goes, thus goes David." Do I think this was justified? Well, yes. As stated earlier, David seems to have stagnated in his improvement. 

However, David's elimination over Nancy this week proves the point of Maks's rant, that the judging is inconsistent at best. Just look at this season. Chynna Phillips was by far a much better dancer than Chaz Bono, David Arquette, or Nancy Grace, but she got booted off for one bad dance. Nancy and David have been pretty equal in their abilities, and David wasn't great this week, but Nancy was terrible. Based on what happened to Chynna, Nancy should have gone home this week, at least you'd think so. It's what I predicted would happen. Instead, David got the cut, and while I do think he deserved to go, I also think that his leaving in a week when he wasn't the worst dance of the night proves how little of the show is actually about dancing well. 

Adios, Joker. (Geddit?)

Next week: Well, I have no idea, because as soon as Tom Bergeron said David's name I shut off the TV and went to bed. But I'm going to guess that Nancy will be as shocked as the rest of America is to find herself in the final 5, Ricki's rib will get worse but she'll keep going, and J.R. and Karina will bitch and moan about their lackluster performance this week. Stay tuned!

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