You didn’t really need Tom Bergeron to tell you that Monday was “Movie Night” on Dancing With the Stars. Academy Award winner Cher was in the house. Pirates, spies, living dolls, and even murderers populated the stage. And much like the creepy/adorable kid in A.I., our robot host Brooke Burke continued her cinematic quest to experience an actual emotion, even turning to Chynna Phillips for advice on how to be human. Let’s break down the evening’s highs and lows:
Dance of the Night: Ricki Lake and Derek Hough (Tango)
Yes, Derek could dance with a mop and still end up atop the judges’ leaderboard, but this week’s tango with Ricki truly proved his prowess as a choreographer. There’s no arguing against Derek’s point that the Psycho theme features near-impossible time signatures and phrasing, but somehow the duo delivered a finished product that was sharp, crisp, and wonderfully in sync. I loved that Derek didn’t flinch from the menace of the source material. Carrie Ann’s jaw-drop at the sight of Derek stabbing Ricki behind the blood-red screen to end the dance said it all. Oh, and props to Carson Kressley for being the first of the celebs and/or pros to jump to his feet to celebrate Ricki’s first 10s of the season. Still, Ricki’s going to need all the help she can get from the judges if she carries her “I wanna quit” nonsense into next week.
Runner-Up: David Arquette and Kym Johnson (Paso Doble)
Maybe I’m a sucker for a man entering a scene via swinging vine, but I felt like David and Kym best captured the goofy, joyous spirit of DWTS while pulling off a couple dazzling moves for which they (once again) failed to get credit. I loved how David pulled his seated pro across the floor while she held one leg parallel to his body, and I may have gasped a little when Kym flicked her man skyward in that double-flip sequence. And three cheers for David’s cheering section. Oh how I miss Cougar Town (which thankfully will return at some point to ABC’s schedule) and the dearly departed Medium!
Should Go Home: Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer (Paso Doble)
Chaz is like an old racehorse that’s been lazing around the back pasture and suddenly gets saddled up and entered in the Breeders’ Cup. You know there’s no chance he’ll win, but it’s hard not to cheer his efforts, or to hope that at the very least he’ll finish close enough to the pack to not disgrace himself. Yet while the couple’s routine had a couple of deft little moments where Cher’s son mastered some complicated footwork, you know you’re not really looking at a high level of dancing when the last 20 seconds involve running up a flight of stairs and air-punching into the camera. They say it’s best to leave on a high note, so what better time for Chaz to bow out than the present?
Most Likely to Go Home: Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus (Paso Doble)
Nancy, Tristan, and Tristan’s carefully groomed chest hair got the night’s least iconic music (some weird Flash Gordon theme), and while Carrie Ann was right in noting that the hard-charging lawyer showed “solid technique,” Len’s “competent but not exciting” assessment also held true. You just know the possibility of a repeat Cher appearance will be enough to save Chaz for another week, and that puts the not-exactly-entertaining Nancy at serious risk.
Most Overscored: Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke (Paso Doble)
This routine contained several sequences of Rob stopping, catching his breath, and slowly raising his arms over his head, and yet he’s only two points behind J.R., and ahead of David? Len “didn’t mind it” but scored it an 8? Say wha? You know if dude was paired with judges’ punching bag Karina, he’d have scored 7s across the board.
Most Disappointing: Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani (Tango)
For the first three weeks of competition, Chynna has looked like a legitimate threat to make the finale, which was all the more reason her disastrous tango was one of the most unexpected meltdowns in DWTS history. You could actually see Chynna and Tony talking to each other mid-routine, trying to get the already derailed train back on its tracks. At least the debacle gave us the hilarity of Brooke starting a post-performance question with the phrase, “To humanize the moment…” Silly Brooke, you can’t even humanize your own facial expressions, let alone someone else’s interview segment!
Most Startling Image
Kristin Cavallari “exploding” at the top of the show, leaving Mark Ballas cradling a whole lot of nothing. Amazing!
Most Startling Image (Alternate Version)
Maks’ pre-dance “adjustment”
Lines of the Night
5) “I never saw the tight buttocks.” –Len grousing about David’s routine
4) “Any remote chance that I can kill you in the end?” –Nancy discussing her Paso Doble choreography with Tristan
3) Carson noting he became comfortable with his pirate character after realizing they prance around “in tight pants and open shirts, looking for jewelry.”
2) “Thank you for wearing a low-button shirt.” –Carson to stuntman/swordplay advisor Storm
1) This Tom Bergeon interruption of a Len Goodman critique:
Len: I get frustrated, and I’ll tell you why…
Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total)
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 10, 9, 10: 29
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 8, 9, 9: 26
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 8, 8, 8: 24
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 8, 8, 8: 24
David Arquette and Kym Johnson: 8, 7, 8: 23
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer: 7, 7, 7: 21
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani: 7, 7, 7: 21
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus: 7, 7, 7: 21
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya: 7, 6, 7: 20
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!