Dancing With the Stars Recap: Bust a Movie

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…
Tom: Age?

And finally…

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!

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. Joline says:

    Love this site, but think y’all need to be quicker on the uptake. I’m sure staff is limited, but it would be nice to at least put up a very short post about a hot show so viewers can discuss immediate reactions in the comment sections – it is not always necessary to wait for the full recap/review. Case in point, it is shocking to me that one day after DWTS there wasn’t one place on TV Line people could talk about the episode until almost noon EST when the show aired last night. This also happened after the MTV Video Awards when you were the only site not acknowledging its existence until far into the next day. Please at least think about putting up a quick – “Hey did you all watch it what did you think?!” type post for water cooler shows. Again – KNOW how hard u guys are working (esp you Slezak!) but I think it would benefit your traffic to have this site be a gathering place for fans who want to talk TV.

  2. topsyturvy says:

    The PSYCHO tango killed it! One of the show’s better dances in a long, long time.

    I don’t get the love for Rob K. He’s really just Chaz with extra pounds. He has no finesse.

    I really want Tristan to stay!!!

  3. Sally says:

    Nothing about Hope and Maks? Their foxtrot was adorable and was at least worth a mention. Otherwise, a great recap as usual.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Yeah, I agree with your assessment of Chaz. He’s trying so hard, but it’s obviously tough for him. I loved seeing Cher in the audience, clearly so proud of his efforts.

    I didn’t think Rob moved all that well. He seemed awkward, and his scores were generous.

    David’s routine was fun. Carson was entertaining, as always.

    Another very nice dance for J.R. What was with Carrie Ann’s comments, though? Something like “I think I almost saw a lift, but I’m not sure”? Huh?

  5. Betty says:

    Michael, you and I were absolutely watching the same show. I totally agree with your take on the episode. We laughed at the same things. It looked like Chaz was running around, yet was scored with a 21, the same score as Chynna. Both were over scored. David was under scored, again. Carson has to stick around, he has the perfect attitude and the funniest rehearsal package. Derek is an amazing choreographer. I thought Carrie Ann was too hard on JR and Len was extra crabbly last night. I hope Chaz or Nancy goes home tonight. I would like Chynna to get a chance to redeem herself.

  6. Question says:

    Curious – was anyone offended that Carrie Ann complimented Carson’s dance as “the most butch” she has seen from him? We all know that Carson is well Carson, and while I wasn’t offended per say, I did think it was a strange comment. Like if Carrie Ann told Chaz that, everyone would have been up in arms.

  7. Kim R says:

    I loved Derek & Ricki but I also loved the Pink Panther routine with JR & Karina. I didn’t agree with Carrie Ann. Has she not seen any of the Pink Panther movies? There was humor in them for sure.
    Poor Chynna. I didn’t like the choreography at all, in all fairness to her though.
    I think Chaz is giving his all & beyond but he is just not that good. I’m think he or Nancy will be going home but last week was a shocker (I wonder if last week it was votes against Mark more than Kristin).
    It will be interesting tonight. I only watch the last 5 minutes usually but I would like to see the Footloose tribute. :)

    • Genie says:

      It’s seems pretty obvious Carrie Ann has problem with Karina, her critique was BS, like instead of seeing what was good she just wanted to find fault with the routine.

  8. cher says:

    No writeup on J.R.?? He’s been amazing week after week and there’s nothing to say except he had 26/30?

    • Lori says:

      I agree. JR is one of the best dancers and gets no credit from judges or websites. He looks so natural dancing and I enjoy every day he does!

  9. Erika says:

    Ricki and JR are my top two contenders right now. They are so far ahead of the pack. I love Derek’s choreography as well. I agree about Chynna. What a major disappointment. She was one of my pleasant surprises this season and blew it. I agreed with Len’s assessment of Hope. I think she probably doesn’t even have to work as hard as let’s say a Carson to get better scores than him, yet I don’t think she puts in as much time as Carson. If she puts in more work she’d live up to the pre-season hype. Is the reason she didn’t dance in heels last night, the reason she did better? I was ready to see her go over Kristin last week. Kristin was sorely missed from the lineup. I too, very much enjoyed David’s Paso and JRs fox trot. I’ve wanted Chaz to get sent home every week and this week is no different.

  10. dan says:

    Didn’t see the whole episode but saw most of the dances. Can’t believe that Nancy got the same score as both Chynna and Chaz. Nancy actually did the right steps and didn’t forget the choreography so to give her the same score as Chynna and Chaz just wasn’t fair. The judges seem arbitraily harsh on Nancy and I’m not sure why (I’m not a Nancy fan and I don’t watch her show, but I’ve noticed the judges always seem harsh with their comments/scores for her routines). With all due respect to Chynna, she should’ve had the lowest score for totally screwing up her routine (although I missed Carson’s dance so maybe he deserved to have the lowest score). Thought Hope’s routine was dull and was over-scored (but I did notice Maks adjusting himself right before the dance started). Finally, this is the second week in a row that one judge was overly critical of JR. Last week he should’ve had the highest score and at least one 10; this week Carrie Ann’s critique was just bizarre. Does she not know that the “Pink Panther” movies are comedies? I have never liked Karina, but being paired with JR has shown a completely different side of her.

  11. jaime says:

    i didn’t get to see last night so i’m kind of bummed that there is really no mention of JR/Karina or Hope/Maks’ dances. :(

  12. Erin says:

    I didn’t appreciate Len berating Hope for not “committing” to the process as much as other people. She’s keeping up with the commitments that she signed on to prior to joining Dancing With the Stars, and she is still a top level athlete that is going to be called upon by her national team. I mean, can you really get mad at her for participating in a marathon that raised money for 13 different charities?

  13. Sharon says:

    I’m falling for Rob. Maybe Cheryl is making him look better than he is. Voted for David A. for the first time. He is still stiff, but getting better. Good to see Courteney supporting him. Without a doubt, Derek’s dancing and choreography makes Ricki the hands down favorite. Love you Karina — do your thing and JR will be in the Finals. I would have loved to see Mark with the movie theme. I almost voted for Carson just because I don’t want to see him go! Maks and Hope will implode soon. Fond farewell Nancy, Chynna or Chaz.

  14. MidLyfeMama says:

    Weird Flash Gordon theme? That was Queen darling. Weird, but Queen. And I love Carson so much. He is not the worst of the bunch, so I hope he hangs on a little longer. He should not win, but he is just having too much fun and they have THE best costumes of them all. The thing I hated the most about the show was JR touching his moustache every time the camera went to him. It was funny the first two times, the last 20 not so much. STOP IT.

  15. jake says:

    I totally agreed with your top 2 — although obviously derek and ricki is a no brainer — what a creative and all around great choreographer Derek Hough is — when I heard it was the psycho theme, I was like how can you dance to that??? Not only did he make it work, he and ricki nailed it to perfection.

    I don’t understand the 23 for David and Kym — which it was clearly his best dance and robert who did exactly as you said — gets a higher score??? Ugh. Poor Chynna, I hope people vote for these two — Chynna has been a revelation from the beginning. Tony seemed to be too nasty to her.

    I think hope and maks are boring — yes they were good this week but still not as exciting as the other dancers.

  16. jay green says:

    Now I can understand why Chaz, and his partners are still dancing. I called the line for two diffrent contestants 3409 and 3410 and guess what I heard a few times from the recording. ” thank you for voting for chaz and chynna”. I did no such thing, each time I voted I hit my redial button, so I didn’t miss dial the numbers either.

    I guess now that Cher, has grace the studio for her son, viewers should do the right thing. VOTE Chaz off!

    The studio should also correct the phone lines, and viewer please pay attention listen to the recordings after voting for before hanging up the phone.

  17. wolfeman says:

    Was it me, or did anyone else notice that Rob & Cheryl’s dance was the exact same dance she did with Cameron Mathison a few seasons ago. The Superman music, the choreography(walk across floor on knees), exactly the same.

  18. Anna says:

    Carrie Ann tears up for Chaz and then rips J.R.? What’s up with that?

    Although Chaz DID keep the whining to a minimum this week.

  19. Adam says:

    For Carrie Ann to mention the stupid lift thing I again I couldn’t believe it. “I’m not sure if I saw a lift, there was so much going on I don’t know what I saw.” She seriously needs to see a therapist over her lift obsession. I think she lives for people to break that rule so she can call them out on it.

  20. millie says:

    DWTS started off with a good idea. Get some celebrities (even D list ones), get them out of their element, and be entertained. Some judges to give critique and a score. It went wrong when they purposely started signing a “star” for their controversy alone – Bristol Palin/Chaz Bono. Then they have the judges overscore the person so they’ll stay on the show. Or underscore someone else because they don’t like the pro. But as someone said above, it doesn’t matter. You could have called into 3 different phone lines last night and got the message “thanks for voting for Chaz and Lacey.” Since there is no cash or cash equivalent prize, they are able to make anyone they want go home on any given week, regardless of the public vote. I used to watch this show because it actually made me smile. They took something entertaining in its own right and over produced it to the point where it’s upsetting to watch. Chaz should go home because Chaz cannot dance. As we all knew, there was no way the producers were ever going to let that happen and miss out on Cher in the audience. Get rid of these judges, stop with the controversy, and start over next year. Maybe then the ratings will pick up.

  21. Karen says:

    I really REALLY do not get the attraction to Kardashian or his “dance” He is so wooden, and very jerky in his movements. Why can the judges not see this??? It’s SO SO obvious.

  22. Amber says:

    I only got to see the last 40 min. of the show as my cable was out for a good portion of the night. I will have to see the rest online tonight, I guess. From what I saw of Rob, I agree with your remarks. The gushing over him was kind of strange. I also wasn’t crazy about the psycho tango. I agree that’s really hard music to dance to and choreograph though. I think the music just must have turned me off to the dance because I normally love the moves and the sexiness of the tango. The music took sex out of the equation for me. And I did love the pink panther foxtrot. It was fun and the judges were way too hard on JR and Karina.

    I think tonight it might be Hope that goes home. She just hasn’t done anything to make herself unique on the show and so few people know who she was before the show started. I still think it should be either Nancy or Chaz that goes home though as they are the worst. But I don’t think either will happen because A) DWTS has a pretty large conservative Republican audience, I believe. How else could you explain Bristol Palin making it to the finals. And I live in a very conservative Republican area where just about everyone I know watches the show. And B) won’t be Chaz, I think, because too many people will have been touched by Cher cheering her son on in the audience. Also, people do love an underdog. So I say it’s Hope that goes.

  23. Marisa says:

    Who is the designer of the pink rhinestone flower ring Brooke Burke was wearing on the show tonight, October 11th, 2011.

    • Sarah V. says:

      I sooo want to know where to get Brooke’s sparkly pink rose ring. It was the most gorgeous thing ever! I’ve been searching online with no success. If anyone knows, please share! :P

  24. no name says:

    I do not believe that Cher was in the audience live that night – it looked like the cut was out of sequence and that the background was super-imposed. Also Chaz did not go over to acknowledge her.