"Dancing With The Stars" Recap: Season 11, Week 2

Last night's episode of "Dancing With The Stars" left me wishing I could fast forward to the middle of the season. Call me impatient, but I can't wait until we get to the point where the promising dancers have some significant rehearsal time under their belts and the competition can really begin! Sigh, a girl can dream.

Anyway, here's a rundown of last night's performances. I'll kick off on a high note, with the top-scoring routine and work my way down to the bottom of the scoreboard.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, Jive
During the introductory video, Jennifer revealed that she recently overcame cancer, but I'd have never known she was sick from the way she dances. The Dirty Dancing star hasn't lost her touch. She looked amazing in her short gold dress, and her energy and stage presence lasted throughout the high-octane routine. It's hard to believe she's just one point ahead of the rest of the pack when you consider they way she expertly fills in the spaces between the choreography. She's got my vote!
Score: 24

Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani, Quickstep
Audrina, the "show pony," has come a long way since last week. I had my doubts when I first heard that she'd been cast on the show, but I'm impressed by her progress. She really held her own with Tony's fast-paced quickstep choreography. Save for a few transitional flubs, she was able to keep up with the footwork and she was even fairly light-footed throughout. If she keeps improving at this rate, I think she'll do quite well this season. I only hope she'll find a way to put a little more emotion into her performances—her facial expressions struck me as vacant through most of the routine.
Score: 23

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer, Quickstep
I know I'm really showing my cards early here, but I really hope we'll get to see Kyle and Jennifer face off in the finale. Kyle is such a fun performer! Granted, his technique needs work and he has to figure out how to control his movement a bit, I still love the way he unselfconsciously throws his entire body into the choreography.       
Score: 22

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas, Quickstep
Bristol's performance was certainly better than last week, but I can't help but feel like the judges are treating her with kid gloves. Frankly, it's hard to believe that she and Kyle received the same score. Her footwork has improved to a degree, but it still feels like Mark is dragging her through the routine. Her technique is still fairly nonexistent and her upper-body movement was awkward throughout the dance. She has no stage presence and looks terrified every time she's in the spotlight.
Score: 22

Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya, Jive
Carrie Ann hit the nail on the head last night when she compared Kurt to "everyone's favorite uncle" dancing at a wedding (in fact, he reminded me of my Uncle Dan!). Kurt and Anna's jive may have lacked technical polish, but it was still entertaining thanks to Kurt's lovable presence. He grinned throughout the dance and he even sang along with the music at times! He struggled with the basic movements (his hands stuck out awkwardly, and he had trouble getting his long legs to kick sharply and quickly enough), but I still thought he was a pleasure to watch.
Score: 21

Rick Fox
and Cheryl Burke, Jive
In spite of his height (a towering 6' 7") and an ongoing injury (a torn tendon in his foot), Rick made a valiant effort with the jive. His basic grasp of the technique was better than expected. "They say tall guys can't jive," said Len. "But this was compact and fun!" Rick's playful personality shined throughout the routine, but it was clear he could have used some more time in rehearsal when it came time for tricks: he hit Cheryl in the face as he tried to lift his leg over her head.
Score: 21

Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Jive
As a performer, Brandy knows how to play to a crowd. Unfortunately, too much of her energy went into her facial expressions rather than her dancing last night. Though Brandy seemed to be able to remember the choreography, she was a beat behind Maks throughout most of the routine, and her feet lacked energy. I think she's still got a chance to make a comeback in the next few weeks, she just has to focus more on her feet than her face.
Score: 21

Florence Henderson
and Corky Ballas, Quickstep
Like the judges, I find it hard to forget that Florence is 76 years old. It's remarkable that she's able to move as well as she does at her age, but it's unrealistic to expect her to dance as fluidly as people five decades younger than she is. I commend her for her effort to learn these dances, but I think America's fondness for "Mrs. Brady" will be what carries her through this competition, not her execution of the choreography.
Score: 19

Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel, Jive
Last night, Margaret put down her gold wings and put on her dance shoes. Though her performance was far from perfect, it was still pleasant to watch her attempt to do a dance routine rather than a comedy act. Margaret was able to keep up her energy throughout last night's dance, but she faltered when it came to remembering the choreography. In a way, she reminded me of a little kid in a recital who relies too much on a teacher in the wings: every time she had to look away from Louis, she appeared to lose her place in the dance.
Score: 18

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff, Quickstep
Holy pigeon toes! It was clear that The Situation put a lot of effort into learning the choreography, but his awkward gait really took away from the performance. I'm not certain that he'll be able to coax his toes out into a neutral position by next week (his toes appear to point in significantly when he's just walking around, too), but I hope he'll make enough progress to get him through a few more rounds of the competition. I love his enthusiasm!
Score: 18

Michael Bolton
and Chelsie Hightower, Jive
Poor Michael. Admittedly, his performance to "You Ain't Nothin' but a Hound Dog" was a disaster, but I think Bruno's nasty comments were unduly harsh. ("You should have kept the bone and gone back into the dog house...You did it all very, very badly. It was probably the worst jive we've seen in 11 seasons...") Though, while I don't agree with the way Bruno spoke, he did have a point. Despite Chelsie's effort to create a cute, fun routine, Michael just couldn't keep up. At times, he was barely moving at all and seemed to be standing there waiting for a part of the routine he remembered so he could jump back in. Worst of all, he seemed to have trouble hearing and feeling the music, which is shocking when you consider that he's a career musician. It's going to take a Herculean effort from the audience to keep these two in the competition.
Score: 12

Be sure to watch the results show tonight, and check back here tomorrow for our review!

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