Nancy Grace suffered a wardrobe malfunction. David Arquette had his dance moves compared to a train derailment. And Chaz Bono’s knee impersonated a door in a haunted mansion from a Scooby-Doo mystery. But the most important thing to remember from the Week 2 performance telecast of of Dancing With the Stars‘ 13th season is this : The judges will always find a way to reward their favorite pros — spoiler alert: their names rhyme with Airwick Puff and Dark Palace — while doing everything short of sending teams of flying monkeys from stopping others (particularly Karina Smirnoff and Tony Dovolani) from getting too close to the finale. Let’s take a deep-dive look at the night, in which couples performed either the Jive or the Quickstep:
Dance of the Night: J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff (Jive)
Len griped that the routine contained too much Lindy Hop and not enough Jive, and Carrie Ann continued her tired, tired tradition of docking a point for performing a lift, but that’s like biting into an undeniably delicious slice of apple pie, then nitpicking that the baker used Cortlands instead of Galas. Who cares? Dressed as jaunty newsboys — complete with caps and suspenders — J.R. and Karina brought speed, precision, and an unwavering sense of joy to their dance. Here’s hoping the judges didn’t sneak into J.R.’s dressing room and clean out his wallet while they were robbing him of his spot atop the leaderboard.
Co-Runner-Ups: Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani (Jive)
Speaking of robberies, did anyone else find it preposterous that the judges held Chynna to a higher standard than her competitors based solely on the fact that she scored highest in Week 1? I mean, it’s not as if the woman’s been dominating for weeks on end, or that Wilson Phillips’ video oeuvre contains a lot of complex choreography. So how come Len was babbling about how the show is all about expectations? Chynna took her sensational fortysomething legs out on the floor, worked her hair and hips harder than a Kardashian works a red-carpet interview line, and delivered fleet, clean footwork — all while wearing a rhinestone-string torso cage and dazzling fringe skirt. And for that she’s in a tie with Nancy Grace? Why the face?
Co-Runner-Ups: Ricki Lake and Derek Hough (Jive)
Okay, yeah, the judges favor Derek, but damn that man knows how to choreograph to his partners’ strengths. Ricki’s kicks and flicks made her feet look like a pair of Tasmanian devils (Bugs Bunny variety), and it was the move of the night when she bent over backward into Derek’s similarly positioned midsection to shake it (sh-sh-shake it, shake it) shake it like a Polaroid picture, then pull the boy up by his belt strap. I’m not ashamed to say the entire spectacle made me clap like a ridiculous seal from my couch.
Should Go Home: Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer (Quickstep)
No, this is not a political commentary on Chaz being DWTS‘ first transgender contestant. (I’m genuinely stoked, in fact, that ABC wasn’t afraid to represent a community that’s almost invisible on primetime TV.) And yes, I realize that we haven’t even had our first Cher-in-the-Ballroom sighting, and therefore putting Chaz’s name after the words “Should Go Home” is illegal. But Chaz’s quickstep was as sluggish — and as enjoyable — as the last glob of ketchup slowly making its way down the neck of a glass bottle. And if Chaz is already in “ouch, that was my knee!” mode in Week 2, then it’s not likely to get better.(Even if it gets better. And yes, it most indubitably gets better.)
Most Likely to Go Home: Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy; Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya; or Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
I still think Elisabetta is vulnerable, especially if voters haven’t forgotten her pitiful Week 1 showing. And while her Quickstep tonight was flowing and elegant, her rehearsal-footage squabbling with Val may not endear her to folks who already think having dated George Clooney is enough reward for one lifetime. Carson, meanwhile, may be the funniest celebrity of Season 13, but his camp sensibility was oddly muted during this week’s Quickstep — or as muted as it can be for a guy in green pants, blue sweater with rainbow-colored buttons, and blue sparkly spectacles. And finally, while it’d pain me to see Maks’ go home so early on a year where he’s got a potential winning partner, I’m worried that a perfect storm of negatives — hideous costumes; an Avril Lavigne track; critiques suggesting Hope’s not practicing enough; a fairly gawky performance from our soccer star; and voter complacency due to the perception of Maks and Hope as a power couple — could lead to a shock elimination. Then again, Maks wore a red Henley in rehearsal, which ought to be enough to save the day, no?
Most Overscored: Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke (Jive)
Seriously, judges? Rob’s “Surfin Safari” number had all the lightness and charisma of a three-toed sloth nibbling on a leaf. Rob actually seems like a nice kid, but he also spent half the routine staring nervously at Cheryl’s moves like they were cribnotes smudged across his sweaty palm. No frakin’ way he deserved the same scores as Elisabetta or Chynna, or just one fewer than J.R.
Most Disappointing: David Arquette and Kym Johnson (Jive)
Hope and Maks bummed me out, but I was even more let down by David, who in my opinion looked like a legit contender after Week 1. No, a gold suit with silver lapels isn’t really the right look for any man on any occasion, but David’s “enthusiastic wedding dancing” isn’t going to be enough to crack the Top 3, much less survive till Halloween.
Most Jarring Intro
“TV Star Kristin Cavallari…” (Um, that’s “Reality Star” to the rest of us, ABC.)
Most Jarring Reveal
Nancy Grace’s breast peeking out to get a better listen to the judges’ critiques. Did Bruno really need to use the phrase “top heavy”? And was Len being ironic when he commented on the lack of “flash”?
Most Jarring Reaction Shot
That entire section of audience members (the Casey Anthony Fan Club, perhaps?) who sat glumly, refusing to even give a polite golf clap, as Nancy Grace finished her decent-but0unworthy-of-Len’s-eight routine.
The So Close But Yet So Far Trophy
Mark Ballas made it all the way to the end of his Quickstep with Kristin Cavallari without trying to dance her into the floorboards, but he just couldn’t resist outshining her on the final maneuver — that saucy aerial/splat that ended the dance.
Lines of the Night
3) “For Ron, it was Meta World, Peace out.” –Tom Bergeron, describing Week 1’s ouster of Ron Artest (aka Meta World Peace)
2) “I bet Chynna Phillips doesn’t have a headband like this.” –Carson Kressley, psyching out the competition
1) “Sorry, Jesus, I have to curse.” –Chynna Phillips, succumbing to profanity’s temptation on only her second week of rehearsal
Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total)
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 8, 7, 8: 23
Kristen Cavallari and Mark Ballas: 8, 7, 7: 22
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 7, 7, 8: 22
Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy: 7, 7, 7: 21
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 7, 7, 7: 21
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani: 7, 7, 7: 21
Nancy Grace and Tristan McManus: 6, 8, 7: 21
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 6, 7, 6: 19
David Arquette and Kym Johnson: 6, 6, 6: 18
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya: 6, 6, 6: 18
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer: 6, 5, 6: 17
What did you think of this week’s DWTS? Who was your favorite couple? Who do you think will and should go home? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!