Dancing With the Stars Recap: 'Instant' Karma [Updated]

Officially speaking, it was Instant Dance Hour on Dancing With the Stars, but it might as well have been known as Night of 1,000 Nicknames. Len re-dubbed Ricki Lake as Ricki River. Hope Solo wanted to be known as “just a girl.” And Tom Bergeron referred to Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus as “The Bickersons.”

Still, competitively speaking, it was J.R. Martinez who snagged the title of “potential champion” with a perfect score of 60 over two dances, and Nancy who got a “sacrificial lamb” stamp on her forehead. Whether or not those roles will stick, however, remains to be seen.

Let’s review how the telecast played out:

Dance of the Night: J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff (Instant Jive)
You know a dance is pretty mind-blowing when Len accidentally name-drops a rival network’s reality show in his critique. But he was right: J.R. and Karina’s instant jive had both “the X factor and the fun factor” — and it left me smiling from ear to ear. Karina danced like an absolute beast in this one — her feet moved so fast it occasionally appeared she was levitating — and amazingly, J.R. kept pace with kicks and extensions every bit as pronounced and sharp as his partner. See what happens when this pair draws “Tutti Frutti,” instead of “Ghostbusters”?

Runner-Up: J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff (Waltz)
I know ABC already has a show called The Middle, but honestly, the middle of this routine deserves to get its own first-look deal with the network. The duo’s spins had such incredible rise and fall, such magnificent scope and sweep, I was left gasping like I’d just run a marathon. (See! Watching Dancing With the Stars is exactly like exercising.) And watching J.R. and Karina genuinely freak out over their perfect 10s was just as enjoyable. I especially got a kick out of J.R. going all “awards show speech,” thanking God and mom and then declaring “Justin Bieber, never say never!”

Should Go Home: Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus (Tango/Instant Jive)
To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, now that the end of the season is almost here, Nancy and Tristan should face the final curtain. After all, while Nancy’s tango gets an E for Effort, and while her head snaps were indeed as crisp as a fall apple, it’s too close to the finale for such tentative footwork and general lack of difficult choreography. As for Nancy’s instant jive, well, Carrie Ann said it best that the most enjoyable part of it was watching the insanely likable Tristan desperately try to guide his befuddled partner through the steps that had clearly taken a leave of absence from her memory bank.

That said, I found it distasteful that Len chose the nuclear option with his critique — telling Nancy she was like Cinderella at the ball, and that this week was her midnight (aka her time to go home). I mean, it’s clear the legal maven is putting a tremendous amount of effort into her routines, and even though she doesn’t have the youth or physical fitness of, say, Hope or Rob, she’s never stopped fighting to stay in the competition, even going so far as punctuating her jive with what Tom Bergeron noted was “a cartwheel finish and some strategic begging.” It would not surprise me in the least if Len’s hostility to Nancy — and let’s be honest, the judges have never coddled her in the way they often do with their favored celebs — scores her enough sympathy votes to make the semifinals. As Nancy herself retorted to Mr. Goodman (in an analogy that mixed up a couple Disney princess storylines), “That’s what the Wicked Witch said, too, but Cinderella got her prince and managed to stay at the palace.”

Will Go Home: Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke (Quickstep/Instant Jive)
Yes, the producers have spent the last few weeks trying to enthusiastically remind us that Rob is a Top 3 contender, but I’m not entirely convinced that prefab theme is going to stick. The opening portion of the couple’s quickstep (to A-ha’s “Take on Me”) was stunningly labored, although once the duo went into hold, Rob’s smile was genuine, and his kicks and flicks were in perfect sync with his pro partner. Their instant jive, however, seemed sluggish by comparison, and it didn’t help that the second-least-annoying Kardashian (behind the ribald Khloe) was saddled with a hideous pair of pinstripe trousers that seemed designed to double the size of his much-discussed booty.

“I’m Pretty Sure I’ve Never Seen These People Before” Award: Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy(Quickstep/Instant Jive)
I’ll admit I got a little concerned when Maks started the week by taking “full responsibility for being overly rough” when I really wanted him to come clean and say “I’m sorry I acted like a total douche last week.” But then he took Hope for a dinner at his parents’ house and Maks wore a yellow tank top and admitted to being a mama’s boy and things started looking up. And thankfully, Maks’ new attitude — and gentler approach during rehearsals — finally allowed Hope to start living up to her potential, as did the fact that Maks choreographed to the soccer star’s strengths (upbeat, playful, flirty) as opposed to her weaknesses (dark, intense, sexy). Their quickstep had a lightness and speed Hope hasn’t shown all season — even more remarkable when you factor in that she was wearing what looked like a 20 lb. skirt. And their instant jive was so robust and energetic, and Hope’s gawky, flying limbs were so energetic and gleeful, I was totally ready for Len to whip out the ’10’ paddle. Ah, but nope, those old things are reserved solely for J.R. and Ricky.

(Side note: Was Hope’s instant jive outfit — a red and silver corset-y top with spaghetti straps, a protruding V hem, and red fringe trim over a pair of black fringe pants — the least flattering outfit of the DWTS season? Discuss!)

“You Don’t Need to Complain (or Name Drop) So Much, Lady — You’re Going to Be in the Finale” Award: Ricki Lake and Derek Hough (Waltz/Instant Jive)
No doubt Ricki’s waltz was pretty stellar — it seems like she rarely if ever makes a misstep on the floor — but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting a little tired of her rehearsal footage and post-dance interviews, especially the whole “only those of us who’ve done it know how hard it is” camaraderie with Robot Host Lady, and the repeated mentions of Jennifer Grey and Nicole Whozywhatzit. At least the judges didn’t overscore that lackluster jive, where Derek got a little too showboat-y and Ricki’s whole “human floor-sweep” segment seemed like a bit of a labored cheat.

Tom Bergeron’s Two Best Lines of the Night
“Before the break, we saw Nancy and Tristan, who doesn’t have a full-time job but deserves occasional hazard pay.” (Side note: I am almost completely convinced that Nancy’s “griping” and “chiding” during rehearsals is completely playful — I mean, she actually said she’s a better dancer than her pro partner — and that even his consistent “exasperation” is all in good fun.)

“Andrea Bocelli performs on the same show as Flo Rida: I’m sure that happens to them a lot.” (Really, can you think of a better results-show promo?)

Brooke-ism of the Night
Tom (standing near a screen projecting a larger-than-life Robot Host Lady): You’re ginormous, Brooke!”
Brooke (completely missing the humor of it all): Hey, Tom, thanks.

And now, for this week’s scores

Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total + Team Dance Score)
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 10, 10, 10: 30 + 10, 10, 10: 30 = 60
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 9, 9, 9: 27 + 8, 9, 8: 25 = 52
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 9, 9, 10: 28 + 8, 8, 8: 24 = 52
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 9, 9, 9: 27 + 8, 8, 8: 24 = 51
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus: 8, 8, 8: 24 + 7, 6, 7: 20 = 44

What did you think of this week’s DWTS? Who was your favorite couple? Who do you think will and should go home? Take our polls below, then hit the comments to expand on your thoughts! And for all my reality TV news and 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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Kate says:

    Its time for Nancy to go! Not only is she a terrible dancer, she has a horrendous attitude. I wonder how hard it is for Tristan to refrain from slapping her when she goes on her tirades, especially tonight when she said he shouldn’t be tired because he doesn’t have twins or a full time job. Free Tristan!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I truly hope Tristan is back next cycle and he receives a much better partner both in potential and attitude. Her dancing is atrocious but it isn’t anywhere near how ugly her personality is.

    • @Kate says:

      I think you’re taking Nancy way too seriously… Half of the time, she’s just joking around, and Tristan, unlike you, knows it. They know that this can be a stressful experience if you don’t make light of things. Even Karina was telling J.R. to stop goofing off, but that is how he gets through things the best way, and for Nancy, she has her tit-for-tat routine with Tristan. They hug and kiss after it’s all said and done, and she geniunely seems grateful for the opportunity to learn, dance, and compete. Go ahead and take this show too seriously, but you really shouldn’t… it says more about you than it does about any of the contestants on the show…

      • J says:

        Too bad Nancy’s jokes aren’t funny. Unlike JR she isn’t making light of things, she is just whining. Poor Tristan has no choice but to play nice, although it would be interesting to see a pro finally lose it on their celeb. It’s not about anyone taking the show too seriously, even the most casual observer can tell she is a giant pain!

        • Lana says:

          Nancy isn’t my favorite dancer but you guys are totally misunderstanding her. She is funny but it is sarcastic humor with alot of one liners and it can go over alot of people’s heads as it obviously has. I’m not a Nancy fan and can’t stand her show but she has suprised me with her humor and I think her and Tristan are funny together.

          • CJ says:

            Did you know Nancy has a set of twins? I got a hint that she does when she mentioned it a few thousand times.

        • grandma says:

          No, her jokes are NOT funny, I think begging for the judges to give her good marks was disqusting, and I bet Tristan was totally embarrassed….

      • Elizabeth says:

        You’re right, it does say A LOT about me. My post said that I don’t like Nancy as a contestant or dancer and think she should go home. And on the other hand I like Tristan as a new pro compared to say Mark Ballas. Man, saying that I would like a certain contestant to go home and a new pro to stay on the show past this cycle really is taking this show WAY TOO seriously. I guess I probably shouldn’t vote on the contestants either, because actually taking the time to vote is way too serious as well.

    • Anna says:

      Send Troll Woman home!

    • shoozeyque says:

      I’m sick of Nancy Grace and her attitude, playful or not. She doesn’t come across that way. She’s too used to bullying people. It is indeed time for her to go home. I’m upset that other more talented people who didn’t have her attitude got thrown out and she gets to stay. She is not fun to watch. JMHO.

      She acts like she’s the only mother in the world who works full time and has twins. LMAO.

      I’m a mother of three and grandmother of four. I worked full time job, raised three teenagers and managed a home, as well as how many other millions and millions of other mothers. I’m sick of hearing about NG and her twins. How about talking about her husband once in awhile? Give him some credit for pete’s sakes, for putting up with her!

      Somebody needs to give NG a few lessons in humility.

    • Grandma says:

      I totaly agree. I bet he will be glad to see her go home!

    • Julia says:

      One think is that Nancy is dancing for a good charity. Whereas Rob can’t even swing his arms right, and think too much influcence from his sister’s blog…Time for Rob to go. Let’s make sure, however, the best win the final week…RJ go go go

    • Rose says:

      Lol. I’m guessing it’s the first time you got to know her through DWTS. That says it all. >_>

  2. Karin says:

    I thought Nancy should have been eliminated weeks ago. Not only is she not a good dancer, she is mean to her partner.Tristan is the dance pro. She should trust her partner and listen to him. I know that Chaz and Carson were not good either but at least they were fun to watch.Even Ron( Metta world Peace) Artest was more fun to watch than Nancy Grace.

    • @Karin says:

      You sound just as negative and mean as you believe Nancy is being… and unlike her, you’re not being humorous… My advice is to enjoy this show for the entertainment that it provides, and not target contestants and then demonize them because they don’t act exactly as you would want them to…

    • CJ says:

      I just want Nancy’s pig snout to be gone from television in general.

  3. Spencer says:

    Ok, Nancy is a big mess but I love her and I would love to see her in the top three! I still hate Hope, because even after her fake positive attitude, she stills seems pissed to be there. For some reason, everyone thinks Rob will make it to the finals, but I think he looks so confused whenever he dances. Finally, J.R. is the best, and he must win!!!!!!!

  4. Stacie says:

    I liked Nancy Grace up until a couple weeks ago. She was kind of fun and feisty, but then as we are getting down to pretty decent dancers it’s becoming more frustrating that she isn’t one of them. I didn’t mind that Chaz left before her, but once Carson left and then inexplicably David left last week I thought that it was her time and tonight was just unbearable to watch. I honestly fast forwarded through both of her dances. I still dislike Hope a lot and hate the phony relationship thing she has with Maks all of a sudden, but she’s a tiny bit better than Nancy, so it’s definitely time for her to go. It was a good run, but no more.

  5. Elena says:

    I loved J.R. tonight!!! How can you not love a guy with such a great personality and dance skills to match? He’s just amazing:) I loved when he grabbed the mike to give his “acceptance speech” after getting the 30. I also really enjoyed Maks and Hope tonight for the first time all season. If only he had taken this more relaxed approach earlier because she clearly does much better when he allows her to have fun. And I hope Nancy goes just so poor, sweet Tristan doesn’t have to put up with her anymore. He’s allowed to be tired, Nancy! He works with you 7 hours a day! That’s enough to do anyone in.

    • shoozeyque says:

      ITA 100%. JR’s a great dancer w/a great personality who has been through a lot.

      I have a problem with Max though and his awful attitude toward the judges. True, Len is very harsh at times, and undeservedly so for anyone, but Max seems to have a problem with any kind of authority, and if he doesn’t like it, why does he continue to be on the show?

    • grandma says:

      this is a nice post, agree completely

    • WB says:

      I totally love JR and believe the judges have been underscoring him for weeks!! I REALLY want him to win as I think he is the best dancer even over Ricki who is good also. And I don’t understand the judges facination with Rob!! He is still not that good! Heck I think Hope even surpassed him this week. I am just praying JR wins.

  6. Donna says:

    Nancy’s continued shabby treatment of her partner makes the judges’ off color remarks seem mild in comparison. Tristan’s doing a great job and I only hope he hasn’t been turned off from coming back next season.

  7. amberjj says:

    Is is just me, or was Hope like a totally different dancer tonight. She was fantastic!! Way to step it up in the clutch!

    • danielle says:

      its not just you! hope did way better this week…must be her athletic competitive nature finally coming out lolz. anyway nancy needs to go ASAP

    • Meg says:

      I think it’s the way Maks handled her this week. Last week, when she was with Teddy and Derek and they weren’t as strict, she looked like she was having fun and was relaxing more. When she was with Maks and he was being a jerk about everything it didn’t work for her. With Maks letting up a little bit with her I think she was able to relax more and have actual fun with the dance.

  8. Brendan says:

    No matter how badly someone dances, if they are giving everything they have and showing that they want to do well (like Nancy has) then I feel that the judges can at least remain respectful. Once again Len has hit below the belt and this time his target was Nancy Grace.

    This is the quarterfinals and I understand that it’s close to the end of the show, but there was no need for him to cut her down like that (giving her low marks will do that nicely enough)… especially when she ended the dance on her knees almost begging for mercy. :( I was very sad to see her like that because I know how badly she wants to stay. So for Len to then throw salt in the wounds was in very bad taste. It’s mean-spirited and non-constructive comments like that which send the professional dancers off the edge.

    • Candy says:

      Len needs to go he is just Nasty with some of his comments. The one to Nancy, Hope, and Chas…he just keeps it up. Hope he is not on next year season. He also over praises and gives high scores to people who should have been kicked off at the beginning like Rob..but Len was probably afraid Rob’s Mother would get on Joy or Drew’s show and pick on Len. LET’S KEEP NANCY FOR ANOTHER WEEK FOR MISSING CHILDREN’S FUND.

  9. susan says:

    I hope Ricki Lake goes home soon. She showed how unkind a person she is when she had her talk show a while back. I don’t like her.

    • Spencer says:

      Oh thank God, someone agrees with me! I have been wanting Ricki to go since the beginnjng! She is rude and stuck-up, and to make it worse, she has Derek for a partner. I guess they are a perfect match though, two camera hogs.

      • Barbara says:

        Oh I so agree. I have loved J.R. from the first day. Such a courageous and nice-warm person and who knew how well he could dance. He is just awesome all around and needs to win it all. I cannot stand Ricki from Day 1 and she thinks she is the best and rides on Derricks dances. J.R. FOR THE WIN WITH KARINA WHO SO DESERVES IT, SHE IS SO AWESOME AND SWEET.

      • Michelle says:

        Spencer – I said almost the same thing on another site. “I’m so sorry I disappointed everyone.” *GAG*!! Can’t stand her. This goes back to when she was on China Beach in the 80s and followed her to her horrible talk show.

    • Marilyn says:

      Thank goodness. I cannot stand her; she is sooooo pompous. So pretentious.

  10. ady says:

    while i do see improvement in hope, there’s no way her jive deserved a 10. i don’t really how to explain it but i still see an awkwardness and wobbliness in her dancing, i’m always afraid she’s gonna trip and fall and it often looks like that.

  11. Sam says:

    I think Nancy will go home…it’s a 3rd place race now. JR and Karina have already been given the mirrorball…Rikki and Derek will be runner up. Hope and Rob will battle it out for 3rd, if Nancy goes home. But I have learned , you never know what’s going to happen. I keep remembering when Bristol Palin stayed over Brandy.

  12. Kevin says:

    Please, oh please, if there’s a God of ballroom dancing, let Carson replace Brookebot next year. Carson + Tom = GOLD

    • Spencer says:

      Yes, we all need to pray to the Dance God for this to happen.

    • Katie says:

      Carson and Tom – much improved over both Brook and Samantha Harris. I’m not sure why they feel like they must choose these robotic women. When they had Melissa Rycroft in there as sub, she was good.

    • shoozeyque says:

      I loved watching Carson. He may not be that great a dancer, and he knows this, but he is waaaaaay more fun and entertaining to watch than Ms. personality herself, Nancy Grace. I hope they keep Carson on the show in the future for entertainment purposes. He’s just so wildly funny.

      I think it’s going to be between Rob, JR and Rikki Lake. JMHO. I had a favorite, but you know, I like all three, and I don’t care who wins. They’re all good and talented dancers.

    • TomFan says:

      Carson would be great! Although I really don’t have an issue with Brooke. That said, I still think Drew Lachey was Tom’s best co-host.

      • shoozeyque says:

        Yes, I was a big Drew Lachey fan. I love it when he does his famous free style dance with Cheryl Burke. Ride a cowboy, save a horse. Even the judges still say that was the best dance of all time! It must be because they have him back all the time with Cheryl.

  13. Winnie says:

    If Nancy does not go home tonight I am going to scream.

    • grandma says:

      We all have to realize, this is NOT a talent competition. When someone has a network behind her, it’s not fair and she promotes herself everynight….has her competition on so they like her, shows her dancing videos continuosly, omg,
      anyway, Winnie I’m with you

  14. Rebecca says:

    Hope just keeps stinking. I want her GONE. J.R. was incredible, Nancy is trying really hard, Rob has his moments, and Ricki is very good at certain dances.

  15. Amanda says:

    Great night for Hope and Maks! Loved their jive. Lots of energy and did not stop dancing at all.

  16. davey says:

    I will never feel sorry for Nancy Grace.

  17. shoozeyque says:

    You know if NG wins, you will never hear the end of it like her twins.

    I’ve seen on some of her Friday nights shows, she devotes the whole show to her dancing.

    I will scream bloody murder to the high heavens and then forsake this show forever.

    Seeing Nancy Grace win will be like watching Donny Osmond win all over again. I just couldn’t take it if that happens.

  18. Jennie says:

    J.R. and Karina for the win!! I love him!

  19. Wilson says:

    Hope and Maks showed up when it mattered. Nancy can’t keep up but her story adds lots of “reality” to the show. We know the finals will be Ricki and JR. Until then the show will be so boring without Hope and Nancy. Agree that Rob’s the odd man out! Let the catfight begin!

  20. grandma says:

    Love this site….

  21. O says:

    I’m with Sleazak on Ricki. She is soo annoying and lacks likeable personality, hard for me to even look at her! But hey, her partner is so like her; the law of attraction in place.

    Like Hope and Rob.

    I ‘get’ Nancy’& her humour.She is really trying to do her best and that’s all anyone can do. Len was totally out of line with his comment to her!

    JR for the win.

  22. Mary says:

    Wow, you guys are so harsh on Nancy Grace. What did she do to you anyways? It was my first time knowing Nancy on DWTS, and I was also taken aback by her attitude towards her partner, BUT! that didn’t mean that I’d jump into the conclusion that she’s a ‘bitch’ or a ‘mean’ person. I watched interviews of her and tristan, that was when I understood that she was just joking, how she jokes, and I did get them now. Lol. Before judging a person based on just a show, thoroughly search for her first. If I let the judgmental part of me took over, I would’ve been one of you guys telling her to go home and saying mean things about her. Lol. Act like adults, and I bet you guys are older than me, sheesh. Be an example to the children. Make the world a hate-free place. ;)