Dancing With the Stars Recap: Six I's in Teams

Everyone knows that when it comes to TV entertainment, you’re supposed to save the best for last. But Monday night’s installment of Dancing With the Stars front-loaded the good stuff with delightful “team dances” set to the self-empowerment anthems “We Are Who We Are” and “Born This Way.”

Hines Ward, Kendra Wilkinson, and Kirstie Alley delivered a synchronized cha cha in which their derrieres shook with the speed and intensity of Home Depot paint mixers. (In a stunning turn of events, Hines’ booty managed to steal the spotlight from Maks’ legendary moneymaker.) Over at the competing routine, Ralph Macchio, Romeo, and Chelsea Kane worked themselves into a writhing knot of pleather pleasure, although Karina’s tongue-over-teeth maneuver was probably my favorite part of the choreography. Celeb MVP went to Ralph, for finally bringing the fire down below — and for successfully lassoing a flying Chelsie at the end of the dance. (Runner-up goes to the women of Team Hines, for suppressing the urge to violently vomit at Len’s unnecessary comment: “I know which team of girls won the booby prize.”)

The judges — joined by ballroom legend Donnie Burns — scored both teams a total of 30, which evened the ballroom playing field going into the individual dances, in which the pairs received additional coaching from either Luca Baricchi or Shirley Ballas, superstar dancers/instructors respectively known for aggressive use of hair product and giving birth to DWTS pro Mark Ballas. The ten paddles came out on a couple of occasions, and the judges’ feedback was typically flowery, but I thought the overall energy in the ballroom seemed muted and perhaps even a little strained. Maybe it was the challenge of learning two routines in one week. Maybe it was the way the judges’ table was packed tighter than a Tokyo subway car. Either way, here’s how it all played out.

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas, Paso Doble
Ken and Donnie expressed confusion over Mark’s newfangled choreography, but I thought the problem was less in the concept and more in the execution. Chelsea seemed to be working so hard at turning herself into a “piece of angry fabric” that her standard operating fluidity seemed to abandon her: I noticed her stumble a bit the first time Mark tried to pull her up from a seated position, and her arm positioning looked too loose and unfocused for a dance with the paso’s precision. Of course, maybe Chelsea and Mark were feeling a little self-conscious: The former because she’d been trussed up in a black lace bodysuit and Batman’s cape, the latter because America got to witness footage of him executing passionate and sensual dance moves with his mama. Question: Anyone else think Mark and Chelsea could be at risk this week, especially after Mark expressed annoyance with the judges’ scores and then proceeded to petulantly rattle off a list of technical moves that proved he’d performed a classic paso? Scores: Donnie, 8; Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 8; Bruno, 9. Total: 34.

Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel, Tango
Speaking of petulant attitudes, I found I couldn’t help but laugh at Kendra’s response to the judges’ scores this week. “It feels good. It feels good,” were the words coming out of Kendra’s mouth to describe the combined “31” she’d received from the judges, but the tone of her voice betrayed irritation, disappointment, and shades of incredulity. As the judges noted, though, Louis choreographed a particularly demanding tango (to the week’s most unappealing tune, Billy Fury’s “Jealousy”), and while Kendra’s facial expression on the floor alternated between “benign smile” and “frozen terror,” her legs and feet this week were swift and crisp. I can’t say she’s my favorite (or even fifth favorite) celeb left in the Season 12 competition, but I thought Kendra was underscored this week — particularly in relation to Chelsea. Scores: Donnie, 8; Carrie Ann, 8; Len, 7; Bruno, 8. Total: 31.

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Jive
“That’s not a kick. That’s a f*** grandma ****,” grumbled Maks during the pair’s rehearsal footage. Unfortunately, he could’ve (and probably should’ve) made the same remarks about Kirstie’s nonexistent execution of their jive this week to Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.” Yes, Kirstie delivered on the performance aspect of the dance — which painted her as a reticent young lady in a spangly bodysuit and ridiculous tutu initially rebuffing her boyfriend’s advances, then turning into a hungry lioness — but as she put it herself, she got so caught up in the acting, “I just forgot to move my feet!” (Tom’s response — “Understandable oversight, Kirstie” — was his best zinger of the night.) Lucky for Ms. Alley, Donnie insisted that “talent is in between the steps” (translation: “I’m a big Cheers fan who still cherishes my Look Who’s Talking VHS box set”), resulting in some seriously inflated scores. Which, if I’m being honest, is okay by me: I mean, isn’t the season going to be a lot less joyous when/if Kirstie goes home? Scores: Donnie, 9; Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 6; Bruno, 8. Total: 30.

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff, Quickstep
I’m sorry, but is anyone else completely obsessed with Ralph’s face? Whatever his skin regimen — elephant dung, puree of tadpole, human sacrifice — please bottle it, label it, and get it on QVC. I’m buying! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can praise Ralph and Karina’s routine — which found her dressed as a genie with a flapper’s headband, and him as a a gangster with a matching green hat band and pocket square. The footwork here was dizzyingly quick, and despite his rehearsal aches and pains (“ow, ow, ow, ow, bend”), Ralph executed it with joy and panache. I loved Ralph’s almost balletic leap at the front of the routine, and their floperoo over the prop bar at the end. Karina is really bringing it with the choreography this season, no? I appreciate the way she always showcases Ralph’s best assets while never oversimplifying things. Apparently, so did the judges. Scores: Donnie, 10; Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 8; Bruno, 9. Total: 36.

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson, Tango
I’ll admit it: I howled with laughter watching Hines get a case of the giggles as he took a lesson from Luca Baricchi and struggled to determine which one was supposed to be the man. But once he was on the floor, the “silent assassin” put aside his standard operating grin and got into his James Bond character by donning a white tuxedo and a draped, sexy Kym, whose lace dress was cinched at the hip by a single red flower. (Talk about potentially lethal scenarios!) I loved the rise and fall of the routine, the intricate footwork, and the percolating passion the couple showed as they looked into each other’s eyes. If the pickle wasn’t always sharp and crisp (Len’s word choice, not mine) I was too intent on the spy thriller to notice. Bruno’s 10 was completely justified, in my book. Scores: Donnie, 9; Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 8; Bruno, 10. Total: 36.

Romeo and Chelsie Hightower, Samba
Could Romeo go from last week’s leaderboard topper to this week’s evictee? It’s possible. The rapper-actor seemed to be responding well to Shirley Ballas’ instructions (he was “maybe a little too responsive,” said Mark’s mom, as her pupil’s hips went into overdrive) but once he hit the ballroom, there was no precision in his moves, and he seemed to fall out of synch on several occasions. Even worse, I couldn’t tell if the befuddled look that “soldier” Romeo showed “tiki-bar car-hop waitress” Chelsie (that’s what her costume was, right?) at the top of the routine was part of the storyline or a genuine moment of confusion. If nothing else, though, Romeo’s struggles resulted in the evening’s most ludicrous misstep from Robo Brooke Burke, who despite the judges’ generally harsh comments, kept asking if Romeo would score any 10s, rank higher than Ralph and Hines, and take sole possession of the top spot on the leaderboard. Spoiler alert: He didn’t! Then again, maybe one of Brooke’s circuit’s shorted, since her comment that “we saw a 10 from Hines a 10 from Romeo” right before Romeo’s scores seemed to infer she couldn’t tell the difference between the two black men in the competition. There was also a discrepancy in the score Donnie gave to the producers, and the one he held up on the paddle/had whispered to him by Carrie Ann. I’m going to take Tom’s word that there was no foul play intended, but still…whoops! Scores: Donnie, 7; Carrie Ann, 8; Len, 7; Bruno, 8. Total: 30.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Who was your favorite? Who do you think will head home, and who do you think should head home? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. sneakin says:

    Maybe it was the fact they had to cut away (TWICE!) to Diane Sawyer and pictures of Bin Laden’s blood stained carpet…..

    • Sam2 says:

      Well, they had to let us know he was still dead. Unbelievable.

      I love Kirstie..hope she sticks around

      • Reality says:

        You love Kirsty and hope she sticks around?? I guess that ok that you love a big fat worthless talentless foul mouthed piece of garbage…who cannot dance by they way….thanks for hoping she sticks around you idiot.

  2. OK says:

    I still love Kirstie. I hope she sticks around.

    • commonsense says:

      You hope Kirsty stays?? She is worthless, fat and untalented….she is by far the worst dancer but keeps getting overscored…because of ridiculous people like you

  3. jaime says:

    I really liked Ralph last night. And Kendra was better than I expected, but her face does look like she’s scared out of her mind. Kirstie was actually pretty awful and overscored and she’ll be back, which is fine by me. It sounds like on some of the blogs that Chelsea is getting some flak for Mark and I hope that she isn’t booted because of it. It’s not her fault that Mark is the way he is. and i’m not sure what’s up with him- he’s won in the past, but he seems to be annoyed with the whole judging and the process of it all… I liked Hines too- he was solid, as usual. Romeo wasn’t his best, but I hope he isn’t booted for one bad performance like Chris was last week

    • Fran V says:

      Mark has really been pushing the envelope with his choreography this year – in a good way, I think – but the judges really don’t seem to appreciate his efforts. I’d be cranky, too. Plus, he probably misses his buddy Derek.

      • jaime says:

        ya, i don’t have a problem with mark, but it seems a lot of people do. i think chelsea is a gifted dancer and i hope she isn’t penalized for him. although, year after year, karina’s celeb partners seem to be faulted for her attitude (and i’ve never had an issue with her either). Mark has won twice before, so he must do something right

      • Reality says:

        Mark should have an attitude…he has the best and hottest partner who completes the most challenging steps…and he is ridiculed everyweek and underscored while talentless slobs like Kirsty and Kendra are overscored every week because the producers want them in the show for ratings.

  4. Karen says:

    I’m sorry..but I really find something creepy about Ralph. He has the body of a 13 year old…he does not look like a man.
    I want Kendra to go home….she should have been booted weeks ago. Hang in there Kirstie….love ya!

  5. John says:

    I hope Kirstie and Maks stay on the show. They are just too entertaining to leave this week.

  6. Kim R says:

    Kendra passing gas now? What next??? :)

  7. Marta says:

    Once upon a time in Season 5, DWTS debuted 2 new young, handsome professional partners. The humble brunette one was very talented and all smiles–all the way through one of the biggest shock elimination of the season.

    Perhaps its the Ghost of Sabrina Bryan getting the last laugh, but I don’t think Mark has been as likable or root-worthy since that season. TOO big for his britches these days. While he had to work overtime on flashy moves and cheesy faces to make Bristol look decent, he should realize less is more to show off the natural talent of Chelsea.

  8. kellen says:

    i hope romeo and chelsie go home. his “too cool for school” attitude has worn thin and i’ve never been a fan of hers. whatever saves kirstie and kendra is ok in my book.

    • kellen says:

      heck, send mark and chelsea home too, while they’re at it. he’s WAAAAAY too cocky for his own good, and his over-the-top flicks and embellishments make her look less skilled than she actually is.

  9. OliversMom says:

    Well Slezak, you really don’t like Mark and Chelsea do you? I thought they were great and I can understand Mark being cranky because Len’s comments were ridiculous. Len may be a pro, but he really is an old fuddy duddy as well as one dirty old man. Earth to Len…remember…21st century. It’s not the 50s anymore. If Dial Idol is to be believed, then it’s bye, bye, bye to Kendra and Louie or Romeo and Chelsey. I hope it’s whiny Kendra.

    OTOH, I do agree with the person that said Mark is getting a bit too big for his britches. I use to love Mark. I actually felt bad for him because for three years in a row he got crapola dance partners and no matter how hard he tried, couldn’t make them winners. And more than that, he got partners who were so polarizing that it didn’t even help him. So this year he did get a great partner and for that I’m glad. Mark is too good a pro, even when he is a bit too sure of himself to be let go.

    Oh and a plea to the camera crew. PLEASE. I don’t care if I see Pia Toscano in the audience. We know she’s dating Mark. We know she’s been booted off American Idol. Does anyone really care about that??

    • MDEP says:

      I think Chelsea and Mark have been great this season, but I agree with Slezak about this week. It was just not good. She did not seem comfortable at all and it was hard to watch.

      I also agree about Kendra being under-scored, and I thought she should have been gone a few weeks ago. I think she had a breakthrough with her Samba. Now if only she could seem more mature…

    • Media Ho says:

      ITA with your second paragraph, except for the last sentence! Mark is so obviously jealous of Derek, his parents’ prodigy, who regularly beat him in competitions, and now has three DWTS crowns compared to Mark’s two. His desperate “look at me!” mugging and overshadowing his partner has annoyed me for years. Granted, it was necessary with his partner from last season, but it is totally unfair to Chelsea, who seems to be pretty good. As it is, it’s hard for her to get noticed behind his antics.

  10. bt says:

    I think Mark is frustrated seeing Derek and Juilianne going off to do other things and he is still here. He really is on my last nerve

  11. Chmarin says:

    I’m seriously starting to get frustrated with Hines and his scores. All of the judges’ scores have been pretty much on point for every other couple, but when Hines & Kym come on, it’s like Randy, Steven & JLo take over their bodies every single week. And I can’t believe Slezak is buying it! Two nines and a TEN?! For that piece of crap of a tango? He was so stiff, uninterested and showed no emotions whatsoever. He got the same freakin’ score as Ralph. Seriously? Geez.

  12. Amber says:

    I agree that learning two dances made the second dance of the night seem not as great. Everyone seemed so tired….

    …except for Ralph and Karina who were definitely the best dance of the night. I hope they get to do the repeat dance this evening. By the way, it’s so obvious how Ralph stays so incredibly young looking. He has the Benjamin Button disease!

    Maks and Kirstie…love her no matter how she performs. I hope she gets to stay.

    Kendra and Louis…no matter how great she does, I’ll never be able to support her. I would love to see her booted.

    Hines and Kym…I liked his tango, and I think the judges were kind of tough on him. The scores were worthy, but they seemed a little mean in their commentary.

    Chelsea and Mark…I have no problem with Mark, and I think she is a fabulous dancer, but the longer the season goes on, the more she is starting to annoy the crap out of me, and I can’t put my finger on why that is. Is it that she’s arrogant? Kind of snotty? Way younger, prettier, and more graceful than me, and I’m just super jealous? I can’t decide.

    Romeo and Chelsie…Here’s another Chelsie who annoys the crap out of me. And Romeo…I loved his foxtrot, but his samba last night was terrible. It was the worst of the evening, no doubt about it. I found my eyes continually wandering over to Chelsie who was outdancing the h*ll out of his less than energetic performance.

    I think I would like to see Kendra or Romeo booted tonight.

  13. Karen says:

    Must be every Weight Watcher Fan is voting for her. She is far from a “Dancer”

  14. mike says:

    I thought the cha cha group dance was the best part….why has no one mentioned the KARINA SMIRNOFF BOOB SLIP at the end of the dance…when she came up off of romeo at the end her boob was out in the open….and they did a close up of her at that time…when they showed the same dance tuesday night in the first hour they cut that part out….