First Contestant Lands Perfect Score on DANCING WITH THE STARS

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After umpteen seasons, it's clear DANCING WITH THE STARS can't demand its contestants abandon their sexy schtick, the costumes, the puffery that all makes DANCING what it is. So when designated Classical Week comes around, interesting combinations arise. Only so many competition shows can ask its contestants to marry Mozart with an ass-shake. Alas, these two seemingly unrelated aspects of human culture must of course be manhandled by DANCING, and the audience gets Classical Week.

Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Dance: Rumba
Score: 27/30
Classical singer Jenkins fell right into the dubiously named Classical Week. The COMBINATION of Jenkins' Rumba with such pristine music was..odd. Perhaps it was because they were the first duo to dance, but the routine - well - it was as if Game of Thrones was yanked from HBO and thrown onto The Met's stage. "Katherine! The inobtainable object of desire," judge Bruno Tonioli read from his journal of nicknames (the one reminiscent of a high school math teacher's pet-name game.) "You kept it elegant," said head judge Len Goodman, more accurately. "In this competition, you're unmatched," said judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who also said her passion was a bit faked. Not everyone can have the unbridled, flailing passion of The Carrie Ann Inaba.

Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dance: Tango
Score: 21/30
Melissa, the lesser Gilbert sister (Sara, the other, was Darlene on ROSEANNE. It's genetically impossible for two equally awesome sisters to be birthed into the same family) was undoubtedly proven her hardwork has begun to chip away at her stoic, marble-esque (in the sense that she doesn't move) routines. This week, well, we'll just let the judges speak on behalf of this recap: "It was full on, but it lacked a little bit of dance quality," said Len; "It looked like you were riding The Cyclone in Coney Island," said Bruno; "All I can think of is Cirque du Soleil gone terrible wrong," said Carrie Ann. Ouch, Not-Darlene. Ouch.

William Levy & Cheryl Burke
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Score: 27/30
It's safe to say Levy's attractiveness doesn't correlate into an attractive dance. Last week's Rumba was not pretty. But tonight's Viennese Waltz was so pretty it was pretty darn staunch. The judges called it a vast improvement - "true content, true dance," according to Carrie Ann. "I wasn't necessarily in Vienna, it was more Austria," said Len. Personally, it felt more like a wedding reception in a church basement than anything foreignly extraordinary.

Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
Dance: Argentine Tango
Score: 25/30
Fegan's relationship to the show is as follows: he's consistenly one of the best dancers, and then consistently almost kicked out. Maybe it's because DANCING's target audience has absolutely no idea who he is. Or what he's done. Or why he's on the show (and to be honest, I don't either.) But there's no denying Fegan - whose return this week was interrupted by the pesky DANCING logo, a sure sign of a wardrobe malfunction - can dance. "It was clean and it was confident," proclaimed Len. "Roshon The Man," Bruno spat, diving into that journal, once again, later telling him to ground the performance in his frame. Carrie Ann ran from the panel at break-neck speed to throw her arms around Disney-baby Fegan, and proclaim how wonderful he was. The act itself wasn't so much the surprise, more that someone on DANCING didn't snap another ankle or crack a few ribs in the display.

Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Score: 27/30
Driver is a football player. Thus, he is naturally competitive. So naturally, he only wants to receive 10s, just as the rest of the contestants. However, whereas many of the others lose control and show their ineptness, Driver is - for the lack of a better word - good. Looking like a regal linebacker turned European lord, "it was terrific," said Len. But not terrific enough for those elusive triple 10s. 

Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
Dance: Paso Doble
Score: 30/30
Once the plastic fangs come out on the DANCING stage, all applause is drowned out by the sound of millions of eyes rolling. Meounos is a phenomenal dancer - second, in the female division, to Jenkins. Such hokey schtick should have been left behind once Jack Wagner departed. Alas, all one can wonder is: where's Buffy when you need her? Vampiric vaudeville aside, the routine was admittedly extremely, extremely impressive. "The queen of the damned is the queen of the night," Bruno exlaimed. Surprisingly, there's some truth to that, and even more surprisingly, it came from Carrie Ann. "That didn't suck, my friend! You were so on fire - Katherine better watch her back." Jenkins (and no one else for that matter) has yet to land a perfect score.

Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Score: 24/30
Mojo-less in weeks gone by, White has become the perennial comeback contestant. I wish, in future routines, that White continues his spree of dancing prowess so that I may retire the Urkel references. For good. "I liked it enough not to be cruel," said Len, "but not enough to be really kind. There was no footwork in there!" Unfortunately, Urkel, in DANCING and pop culture alike, will never die.

 

Contestants also came together to craft two choreographed group numbers - "Team Tango" versus "Team Doble." The team's score would be added onto the contestants' individual numbers. Both teams were flashy, though impressive - giving more than ample time to showcase each competitor. In the end, it was "Team Tango" who won out by a single vote.

Be sure to check out BroadwayWorld's coverage of tomorrow's results show to find out which competitor isn't quite as impermeable as the classical music itself!

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