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Dancing With the Stars: Double the score, double the pain

This week the judges are switching it up a bit. The couples will receive two scores: one for technique and one for performance.  They will be added together for a total score out of 60.  Last week justice prevailed and Buzz went home, sadly.  Kate is the worst dancer of the remaining celebrities, but will she find a way to survive another week?  The judges will decide whether our couples will be dancing the Tango or the Rumba this week.  Each dance requires at least three specific moves that must be executed properly.

Erin & Maks
Last week Len brought each dancer on stage for individual criticism.  This week Erin will have to be mindful of his advice as she performs the Tango.  He wants her to improve her footwork and this weighs heavily on her during rehearsal.  She has a back injury but tries to downplay it, saying that the athletes she most admires are the ones who don’t talk about their injuries or miss any playing time.  She begins the performance by dancing behind Len at the judges’ table.  I hate when contestants blatantly saddle up to the judges.  I know it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek but I find it annoying.  They perform to the Eurythmics classic “Sweet Dreams,” and I think Erin’s Tango is good but not overly impressive.  Len (of course) liked the beginning and also thought the technique was good.  Bruno says she started well but went wrong and never recovered.  Carrie Ann said that the performance suffered due to her attention to technique.  She still held Maks in the “death grip” that Carrie Ann cautioned against.  Technique: 6s across the board.  Performance: 7s across the board.

Evan & Anna
Evan is an amazing dancer.  Each week I fully expect him to deliver another excellent performance.  Len encouraged him to work on his footwork last week, and Evan is confident in his performance but worried about the technique.  Remember he has broken toes, so Anna is trying to be careful with him.  They focus on details during rehearsal, in the hopes that they can hold on to the top spot.  Their Tango is awesome. Period.  His energy and chemistry with Anna were great and he is easily the best male dancer this season.  It’s not even close.  Bruno said it was strong and powerful.  Carrie Ann said he was a great example of amazing technique.  Len said the Viennese cross is a difficult move and he nailed it.  Technique: Carrie Ann 9 Len 8 Bruno 9.  Performance: Carrie Ann 9 Len 8 Bruno 9

Niecy & Louis
Niecy underwhelmed the judges last week and could use a strong performance.  She and Louis have a good chemistry in rehearsal and they seem to get along well.  She’s been criticized in the past for her footwork, but remains a fan favorite due to her effervescent personality.  Louis explains that the Rumba is a romantic and spiritual dance and says he wants to dedicate the dance to Niecy’s brother Michael, who died 17 years ago.  Apparently it is a great therapeutic dance.  I thought their performance was emotional and tender.  Maybe I only focus on Niecy’s upper body and her arm movements, so I don’t notice the footwork.  I think her brother would have been proud.  Unfortunately the judges didn’t seem to enjoy it that much.  Len enjoyed the musicality but wanted more hip action.  He said there were no highlights; it was boring and remained at one level.  Bruno said it needed more color and she looked as if she were in a trance, it didn’t gel.  Carrie Ann said as a tribute to her brother, she could appreciate it; however, it didn’t ’read’ well.  She did say she liked it though, so that’s something.  Technique: Carrie Ann 6 Len 6  Bruno 6. What an evil score!  Performance: Carrie Ann 6 Len 6  Bruno 6.

Aiden & Edyta
Aiden is a bashful guy, but that won’t cut it with the sexy, romantic Rumba.  To get him to loosen up, Edyta accompanies him to a fan event where the public can meet their favorite soap stars.  He performs shirtless on the ship, and that seems to boost his confidence.  His Rumba is ok, but it looks like he’s trying and over-thinking it.  It doesn’t seem to flow naturally.  Carrie Ann said he was more comfortable but the technique was off.  Len said there was no flow and no musicality.  Just when he thought it couldn’t get worse.  Ouch.  Bruno said the “Blue Steel” was good, but when he started dancing it was like stop-motion animation.  All the movement has to come from the center, and that did not happen.  Technique: Carrie Ann 5 Len 5  Bruno 5  Performance: Carrie Ann 6 Len 6 Bruno 6

Nicole & Derek
Nicole is a beautiful girl and a great dancer, but I’m sensing somewhat of a pouty arrogance with her.  This week she and Derek must tackle the Rumba.  She’s a perfectionist and tries to get the technique correct during rehearsal.  I thought she was very elegant and graceful in her performance.  Once again, I’m seeing something the judges don’t see.  They all had varying degrees of criticism for her.  Bruno said she is beautiful to watch but there were a few stumbles and her hip action needed to be raunchier.  Carrie Ann said she was nervous and had quivering ankles.  Len said she struck the right balance between technique and performance.  One of the steps she needed to execute was the “Sliding Doors” move, and Len was not pleased with the job she did.  Technique: Carrie Ann 9  Len 8  Bruno 8.  Performance: 8  Len 8  Bruno 9.  Despite their tough criticism she got very high scores, so she really should be pleased.  Instead she appears on the verge of tears.

Jake & Chelsie
Last week Jake was in the bottom two and I think it freaked him out.  He shows up wearing a t-shirt inscribed with Len’s advice to shut up and “trust your pro.”  He’s very committed to the Tango and is determined not to face elimination this time.  Their Tango started pretty well, and at the midpoint he executed some very difficult and fancy footwork down the steps on the stage.  It was downhill after that though.  He stumbled pretty badly towards the end and is lucky he didn’t fall and take Chelsie down with him.  Len said he attacked the dance which was great, but that aggression caused his misstep.  Bruno said the energy was good but he was very messy and went wrong many times with questionable footwork.  Carrie Ann said his biggest problem is the way he holds Chelsie.  He’s not emotionally and physically connected, but she still liked the performance.  Technique: Carrie Ann 6 Len 7 Bruno 6.  Performance: Carrie Ann 7 Len 6 Bruno 6

Kate & Tony
Kate knows she’s a weak dancer, and she’s easily frustrated during rehearsal.  She complains about her public divorce, and Tony tells her if she fails this week then ‘he’ wins.  She’s so whiny and says how some of the other contestants have an advantage over her in the Tango.  After watching her performance, I’ll admit that this week marked a real breakthrough for Kate.  Oh don’t get me wrong, she still sucked – let’s be clear.  She was only slightly terrible this week, but hey that’s improvement!  Bruno said she was actually dancing and there was improvement, although the technique is still bad.  Carrie Ann said that she lacks artistry but that she respects her determination.  Len commended Tony for bringing Kate to produce her best dance so far.  Technique:  Carrie Ann 4 Len 5 Bruno 5.  Performance: Carrie Ann 6 Len 6 Bruno 6

Chad & Cheryl
Flirty Chad should enjoy being romantic with Cheryl during their Rumba.  In the package he reveals that he bought Cheryl a diamond ring.  And she’s actually sporting it on her left hand WTF?!  He relishes the chance to flaunt his hip action.  He tries to improve his posture during rehearsal, but sometimes he’s too rough with his partner.  Their Rumba is sexy and Chad has great movement.  One funny moment occurred when he cast a sexy glance over to Carrie Ann while romancing Cheryl during the performance.  Carrie Ann said it was his best dance yet and she loved the improvement in his posture.  Len agreed.  Bruno said his hips were alive and he was fluid.  Technique: Carrie Ann 7 Len 6 Bruno 8.  Performance: Carrie Ann 8 Len 7 Bruno 8

Pam & Damian
The judges decided that the Rumba would make best use of Pam’s *ahem* talents.  Last week Bruno said that there was a real dancer beneath the sexy exterior, and he was right.  Len warned her that the Rumba was a dance for the ballroom not the bedroom.  During rehearsal she struggled with the timing.  Eventually she improves and delivers a wonderful performance.  Her movements were refined and she ably conveyed the sex appeal and vulnerability it required.  Honestly I thought the dance was right up her alley, and the judges agreed.  Len thought it was great.  Bruno said that she can do refinement and elegance and still be drop-dead sexy.  Technically the best dance she’s ever done.  Carrie Ann said there was a beautiful, magical sophistication.  Technique:  Carrie Ann 7 Len 8 Bruno 8.  Performance:  Carrie Ann 8 Len 7 Bruno 9

The stars were stressed out and nervous this week, perhaps because of the double score format.  It will be interesting to see who goes home.

RESULTS
Immediately we find out that Chad and Jake are safe.  I’m sure he was very relieved after being in the bottom two last week.  Next, Len recaps the performances from the previous night.  Erin, Niecy and Aiden were marginal to poor.  Evan and Nicole were decent to good.  But it is Pam that the judges wish to see in an encore performance.  Hopefully the voters enjoyed her performance as much as the judges did.  As I’ve mentioned before, I hate results shows because I have to endure inane filler while they prolong the outcome.  This results show wasn’t too bad though.  They did funny movie trailer parodies for each contestant this time, and I was actually amused by the corniness.  After commercial break we are treated to the wonderful Sade.  What a coup for the show!  That was the highlight of the show in my opinion.  We also get a candid look into the world of professional ballroom dancing as the pros relay their experiences as young dancers on the professional circuit.  Apparently professional ballroom dancing is a very cutthroat business.  Cheryl and Tony recount instances of actually getting physical with other competitors.  Fortunately they don’t have to worry about such antics now, and this provides a good segue into a performance by the current crop of up-and-coming young dancers.  Eventually the numbers get whittled down and we’re left with Kate, Aiden and Niecy.  I silently hope that Kate has danced her last dance.  Somehow she scrapes by AGAIN and we’re left with Aiden and Niecy.  This is a shame, but Aiden did have poor scores and heavy criticism from the judges and it is he who is sent packing.  How long can Kate survive?  This is becoming a compelling subplot, stay tuned!

Season 10, Week 4: Round 3 Performances and Results Show (originally aired April 12 and 13, 2010)

For more on Dancing with the Stars, click here.

Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

Photographs courtesy of ABC, Adam Larkey

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