It’s the halfway point of the season and eight couples remain to duke—er, dance—it out for that oh-so-coveted mirrorball trophy. Tom Bergeron, alongside his mermaid-esque cohost Brooke Burke, informs us that it’s TV Theme week: All the couples will be dancing to songs from hit TV shows. I make the early prediction that Florence Henderson will be dancing to the theme from “The Brady Bunch” (Spoiler Alert: I’m right).
But before we can get to the performances, we get a full 27 minutes of filler, with the judges evaluating where each of the couples stand in the competition. To summarize…
Audrina & Tony: Len says “This girl is a bombshell,” but she has to start to improve little things, like distinguishing between her toes and her heels while she’s dancing. He says Tony has to give her “the hardest choreography imaginable.”
Kyle & Lacey: Bruno says “Kyle is our star entertainer” and that he “has an instinct for the stage.” He says Kyle has the advantage of being so young, but also has a lack of experience. Bruno acknowledges the couple’s “great chemistry” but says Kyle has to work on his ballroom style and getting his frame right.
Brandy & Maks: Carrie Ann says that Brandy “has the fire for the Latin dances and the elegance for the ballroom dances,” but she needs to work on spotting during her turns and has to get over her uncertainty. “She’s very uncertain if she’s good,” Carrie Ann says. Find your confidence, Brandy!
Kurt & Anna: I think Len has a crush on Kurt (Sigh, don’t we all?). He says that Kurt “shows that dancing can look macho,” and that he “takes his criticism like a man.” But the judges want to see more musicality in Kurt’s upper body. “Kurt, you can do it,” Len affirms.
Bristol & Mark: “Bristol, I’ve gotta say has got guts,” Bruno says/yells. He’s very impressed with her and calls her a natural mover. “She has great coordination and musicality and she’s light on her feet,” he says. But then the kicker: “She’s not an entertainer and she doesn’t know how to sell a performance.” He talks about her vacant face and says that being sexy is crucial, especially in the Latin dances, and Bristol isn’t comfortable being sexy.
Florence & Corky: “She’s 76 years old and she’s still got it,” Len says. She’s an entertainer, that’s for sure.
Rick & Cheryl: Honestly, I can’t watch Rick Fox without thinking about when he played Dante the blackmailer guy on “One Tree Hill.” But Len says that Rick “embraces his character” and is “one to watch.” They want him to work on the mobility in his upper body, though.
Jennifer & Derek: “Jennifer is always impressing me,” says Carrie Ann. But, as we all know so well, Jennifer has “a tendency to wear emotion on her sleeve,” Carrie Ann says. It makes for great dancing, but she lets her nerves get the best of her. Says Carrie Ann, “She needs to get her emotions in check.”
And now, the dancing can actually begin…
Brandy & Maks
I have to say, I like watching Brandy in rehearsal because she has the best practice outfits. The girl is Lululemon obsessed. They get to dance to the theme song from “Friends” in an adorably playful routine. They definitely seem to enjoy playing off each other while they’re dancing, though once the character fades away, you can see Brandy’s face tense up and her nerves come into play. But she stayed right on beat the entire time, and there was a lot of quick, intricate footwork that she had no problem with. I want her to pull up more and make a better effort to straighten her legs. But overall they did great—Len called it Brandy’s best dance yet—and ended up with the highest score of the night.
Florence & Corky
“Florence’s body is holding up much better than predicted,” says Corky in rehearsal. Then Barry Williams (Greg from “The Brady Bunch”) stops by for some awkward interaction. “Barry always had a crush on me,” Florence says with a wink. “I’m not going to confirm or deny any kind of relationship.” She’s crazy. So yes, as predicted she is dancing to the theme song from “The Brady Bunch.” She’s wearing a long, luxuriously sparkly gown and Corky swirls her around the dance floor, which seems to delight her. She’s got great stage presence and her smile is infectious. Bruno didn’t love the performance, but Carrie Ann did, and called Florence a “sexy senior.”
Kurt & Anna
Kurt says he’s hoping to apply his football strategies to the dance floor. I’m not sure what he means, but he’s hot, so it’s fine. Then he goes on to explain “Bewitched” to Anna, who grew up in Russia and has no idea what any of these American TV shows are. She’s so cute when she wiggles her nose, and he’s looking mighty dapper as well. I usually think the men look a bit silly doing the quickstep—there’s so much hopping and skipping around—but he makes it look pretty darn good. Such a stud. I would’ve liked to see Kurt and Anna connect more with each other, but Carrie Ann obviously wasn’t bothered by their lack of interaction: She compared Kurt to Gene Kelly! Bold statement, but OK.
Audrina & Tony
Of course they’re dancing to the theme from “The Hills.” Is this really as creative as the “DWTS” creative team could get? I don’t even want to know what would have been picked if The Situation was still around… Fist pumping I’m sure. Anyway… Audrina has a slammin’ body, but I still don’t really get the hype about her on the show. I love the way she looks at Tony when they dance. She obviously respects him, which is nice because uh, his last partner…didn’t. (“Paparazzi” anyone?) Audrina and Tony are cute together, but dance-wise this didn’t do much for me. I liked her hot pink costume and Len said Audrina has “lovely feet and legs” and “nice hip action.”
Kyle & Lacey
They’re dancing to the theme from “Charlie’s Angels,” so naturally Kyle needs some angels of his own (he later dubs them “Kyle’s Angels”) for inspiration during rehearsal. Enter Chelsie Hightower and Kym Johnson. They give him some extra assistance with his technique, posture and footwork, and Kyle definitely doesn’t seem to mind the added attention. He is too cute. For the routine, he’s got a big afro-esque wig on, and she’s all Farrah Fawcett-ed out (holy booty, Lacey!). They’re both shaking it and the routine is really entertaining. Kyle has the most showmanship of any contestant. Carrie Ann and Bruno are fans—but Len gives them a 5 (sending Lacey into a fit of giggles). Huh?
Rick & Cheryl
Is it just me or does Cheryl always talk down to her partners in rehearsal? Maybe it’s her way of flirting, but it drives me nuts. Your partners aren’t stupid, Cheryl, they’re just not professional dancers! So be kinder, please. The routine is a “Cops” theme and sadly it. is. so. dull. The costumes were great (Rick is a hot cop) but the droll song is so boring. Their dancing was actually really solid, but I was disinterested—at least until his hands started wandering down her body oh-so-sensually. Then it got interesting. “It should be a crime that you can look that good and rumba,” Carrie Ann tells Rick. Watch it, Carrie Ann. Cheryl will beat you up if you make a move on her man. Len said they lacked chemistry and said it was like watching “a couple that stays together for the sake of the children,” prompting Bruno to say that those children “would be gooooorgeous.” Yup. True.
Jennifer & Derek
I don’t like that Jennifer is yelling at Derek in rehearsal. But that’s because I have a big ole’ crush on Derek. They’re dancing to the theme song from “Married…with Children” and Derek looks awesome in his cardigan. She’s undeniably talented and much more of a dancer than the other contestants. I just wish she was more likeable in the rehearsal footage they always show. The routine is playful and cute, though, and Bruno calls it “pristine and elegant.”
Bristol & Mark
They’re going to be dancing to the theme from “The Monkees” and…OMG. They’re dressed in monkey suits. I am so, so uncomfortable. The costumes are so awkward and Bristol totally forgot the entire beginning of the routine. Luckily we couldn’t see her face because IT WAS HIDDEN UNDER A MONKEY SUIT. They eventually take the suits off (which she also had trouble with—and Len later says they should have kept them on) and get into the routine, but all I can think about is the monkey suit. Carrie Ann says the show is about making a transformation, and Bristol is transforming. Yes, because she put a monkey suit on… She transformed from being a human to being a zoo creature. Sorry, that was mean. But really, Mark Ballas? You’re better than monkey suits.
And there you have it. There were sexy cops, monkeys and… Honestly all I can remember now is those dang monkey suits.
Check back in tomorrow when we’ll reveal who got the boot on tonight’s elimination episode!