“Dancing with The Stars” Recap: Season 11, Week 4

October 11, 2010

It’s Latin Week on “Dancing With The Stars,” meaning the dancers performed sultry rumba and Argentine tango routines to “heat up the competition,” as the saying goes. In reality, the results were mostly lukewarm (with the exception of Florence and Corky—their way-too-sexual dance creeped me out and gave me chills!), but it’s clear that many of the celebrities are getting more comfortable on the dance floor.

This newfound sense of home couldn’t have come at a better time because this week the judges raised the stakes by giving the dancers two sets of scores: one for performance and one for technique. Lifts were also allowed for the first time this week.

In other surprises, the producers replaced the traditional, rectangular ballroom floor with a smaller, round stage. The professionals complained that it posed new choreographic challenges (i.e. they have to keep themselves and their dancers on the raised platform at all times), but I found there was a pleasant extra element of suspense every time the couples got too close to the edge. (They should have done this while Kate Gosselin was still around. I love a good train wreck!)

On to the performances:

Kurt and Anna (Rumba)

Kurt and Anna charmed us last week with their upbeat foxtrot, but this week Kurt seemed to lose a bit of his magic. His technique has always let him down, but he usually makes up for it with his natural performance quality. It seemed he just couldn’t get over his guilt about performing sexual moves with a woman who isn’t his wife (gotta admit, I kind of love him even more knowing that he’s such a loyal husband!). In rehearsal, his wife gave him permission to put some passion into his movement, but it wasn’t enough.

Technical Score: 15

Performance Score: 19

Total: 34/60

Brandy and Maks (Rumba)

Like Kurt, Brandy claimed during rehearsals that she was having a hard time connecting with the sexy mood of the Rumba. But in her case, it was because she doesn’t have anyone special in her life right now. Maks came to her rescue by taking her on a staged “date.” The exchange felt awkward for me, as a viewer, but it must have worked for Brandy. Though her movement wasn’t always as fluid as it needed to be (guess Shakira’s right, hips don’t lie), Brandy was still able to create a believably romantic vibe through her facial expressions. She’s still got some work to do, but I still think there’s a chance she could make it pretty far in this competition.

Technical Score: 22

Performance Score: 26

Total: 48/60

Rick and Cheryl (Argentine tango)

When Rick and Cheryl began their steamy Argentine tango, they had the look, the mood and the moves. But, as the routine continued, Rick started to loose steam and he seemed to grow more and more hesitant to perform his movements full out—presumably out of fear that his long limbs would take up too much space and cause him, or his partner, to go over the stage’s edge. Here’s hoping that he’ll make it through to next week and figure out a way to start dancing without thinking so much.

Technical Score:  19

Performance Score: 20

Total: 39/60

Kyle and Lacey (Rumba)

Last week, the judges clobbered Kyle for his poor footwork, so last night he was on a mission to regain their respect. In my opinion, he did a great job. He moved with intention and he managed to maintain his energy throughout the dance. His lines aren’t exactly pretty, but he’s definitely stronger than he used to be. Best of all, he didn’t sacrifice his killer performance quality for his steps. He’ll probably never be the best technical dancer in the bunch, but he’s still got an undeniable magnetism. I simply love watching him dance.

Technical Score: 18

Performance Score: 22

Total: 40/60

“The Situation” and Karina (Argentine Tango)

It looks like “The Situation” is in a bit of a pickle after last night’s disastrous performance. I give the guy a lot of credit for trying, but he’s just not a dancer. His extreme pigeon toes and complete lack of musicality prevent him from even beginning to put meaning behind his movement. He made so many mistakes that his performance was rather painful to watch. His famous abs, on display thanks to his belly-baring costume, may be his only saving grace. For his sake, let’s hope the TV audience was so mesmerized by his core that they didn’t notice his feet.

Technical Score: 12

Performance Score: 16

Total: 28/60

Florence and Corky (Rumba)

One word sums up this performance: Ewwww. Corky challenged Florence to tap into her sexual side for the Rumba. Boy, did she. This routine was downright raunchy and, in my opinion, tasteless. Though Florence’s moves were slightly less stiff than they usually are, her vampy attitude and hungry eyes made me cringe.

Technical Score: 17

Performance Score: 18

Total: 35/60

Jennifer and Derek (Argentine Tango)

It hardly seems fair that the other stars are expected to compete with Jennifer: she’s in a class of her own. Her body is amazing (she’s 50? No way), her technique is virtually flawless, and she’s got the acting chops required to take her characters to the highest level. Combine her raw talent with Derek’s always-amazing choreography and you’ve got a killer combo. Jennifer breezed through the fast, intricate footwork and made her lifts look effortless. Audrina and Tony may have momentarily edged them out of the lead last week, but if you take the long view, Derek and Jennifer are clearly still the couple to beat.

Technical Score: 27

Performance Score:  29

Total: 56/60 (They scored the first 10 of the season!)

Bristol and Mark (Rumba)

Like Brandy and Kurt, Bristol, the self-described “19-year-old mom” was also worried about being able to pull off the rumba’s sensual vibe. Though the notion seemed hard to believe when she said it during the video package, once the performance began, I understood. Though her footwork and timing have improved incrementally since she show began, poor Bristol is still plagued by insecurity and it comes shining through thanks to the “deer-in-headlights” look she gets in her eyes every time the music cues up.  Mark attempted to make up for Bristol’s shyness by showboating and taking off his top (one can’t help but wonder if his dad, Corky, advised him to do this), but the whole thing just came off as cheesy, stilted and uncomfortable.

Technical Score: 18

Performance Score: 14

Total: 32/60

Audrina and Tony (Argentine Tango)

Unlike Bristol, Audrina’s eyes are beginning to show some signs of life! Though we’ve complained week after week that her surprisingly strong performances have been tainted by her vacant stares, it seems that she’s starting to put a little more feeling into her moves. Things are also improving below the neck. Audrina managed to pick up he Tango’s intricate footwork. With a little polish (pointier feet and sharper movements), this reality star may just make it all the way to the finale!

Technical Score: 24

Performance Score: 22

Total: 46/60

Tonight’s results episode is just a few hours away! Be sure to watch and come back tomorrow for our review.