TV Recap: Dancing With The Stars

Sabrina Bryan was queen for a day (no, more like four weeks). Then she was garishly beheaded, thrown from her throne, betrayed by her subjects. Okay, that's a little harsh, but that's what it feels like (to some). Most of the stars last night showed their love for the fallen dancer by donning little cheetah paw tattoos. That is sweet. Curiously, there was no footage at the beginning of the show of Sabrina after being voted off. Hmm ... I wonder why that is?

Now Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown has taken over Sabrina's reign as supreme in the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars. As we've all learned, being on top with the judges means absolutely nothing. Each star's fate rests in the hands of YOU: the viewers, the voters!

So here we are in the seventh week of the competition with only six couples remaining (and for the first time in weeks, no fainting, no hospital trips, no losses of loved ones, no shockers). Each couple got the opportunity last night to dance a ballroom and a Latin dance they had not yet performed. Everybody gets a little taste of everything, and everybody definitely did better at one than the other. Marie and Jane drew the same two dances, and even though each prevailed at one dance, Marie trumped Jane, sending her way down to the bottom of the barrel ... again. I say take a hint and hit the road, Jack (I mean, Jane). Mel and Maksim took home another perfect score, but will it be enough to keep them from standing in the red light tonight?

Helio Castroneves started out the night with a not quite technical enough tango. I thought he looked a little stiff, but he and Julianne were sharp, not to mention their outfits were stellar. The judges thought the dance needed some polish, especially so late in the season. Luckily, his samba later on set off a whole new set of sparks. This Brazilian racer certainly knows how to work his south of the border (and who knew Julianne could move her hips like that, either?). Helio’s smile lit up the room along with his comfortable, natural air. He and Julianne were absolutely full of energy, you could feel the fun through the television screen. (I agree with Len that being from Brazil does not automatically mean you’ll be good at the Brazilian samba, but I pretty much lost all respect for Mr. British Ballroom when he made that crack about Texas and presidents. Boo to you, Len. Not funny.)

Marie Osmond boogied down in a quickstep that was lively and fun, although not quite as quick as one might have hoped. You can always count on Marie to have a good time when she dances, and last night was no exception. Dressed in cute little army outfits, she and Mark put enough “twist” into this dance to earn them a 10 from Carrie Ann. I, personally, don’t think that performance was worth that high mark, but apparently landing on the judges’ table at the end of your routine earns you at least one 10 (thanks, Mel). Later on, Marie and Mark lacked content in their cha cha, although the judges agreed it was a good effort and hard to perform two full routines in one night.

Mel and Maksim warmed up their evening with a fox trot that I liked. I thought their form was good throughout, but the judges noticed their footwork and precision were “a hair off.” Even with “lovely arms” and an overall good performance, Mel and Maksim received their lowest scores since week two. Fast forward to what Maksim promised would “kick (lips sealed - naughty word),” the paso doble. M and M looked hot, first of all, very dominatrix in the black leather. Yes. That performance was full of aggression, adrenaline and passion, leaving Len speechless. And what does that spell? 10-10-10!

Jane Seymour. Still here. Last night, Jane’s first dance, the quickstep, might as well have been the Viennese waltz (minus the romance). It was slow, there were technical difficulties, there wasn’t enough body contact between Jane and Tony, her footwork was off, there was no excitement. Enough said. Later, in the cha cha, Jane looked tired. It was almost as if Tony was sort of leading/dragging her around. Bruno said he thought she did well, but Len said he wanted more fireworks. I want Jane to lay down and take a nap.

I very much enjoyed both of Jennie Garth’s performances last night. Len was right: she is the only person who doesn’t believe she really can dance. I thought she and Derek got gypped in their Viennese waltz. They were romantic, elegant and graceful. Bruno said she looked “like a water nymph on a magical lake.” (I love how you can always count on Bruno for the most inventive similes). Overall, though, the judges said Jennie needs to work harder to sustain enough energy throughout her entire performance, and that this dance needed more strength. However, Jennie and Derek showed them later on with a romantic rumba that had me wishing they were lovers. Bruno said it was her best dance ever, and Lennie gave Jennie another 10. It was good. If Jennie didn’t get at least one 10 for her rumba, I would have been bummed fer sher.

Cameron Mathison rounded out the night with yet another quickstep and a jive. He and Edyta had crazy energy in their quickstep. They were full of smiles and excitement. Unfortunately, Cameron’s concentration on living it up led to some small mistakes, like missing some steps. The judges agreed that the performance was a little too all-over-the-place and that Cameron needs to get it together so late in the game. Like all the other stars faced with harsh first reviews, Cameron came back and wowed everybody with his second dance. I miss the jive. And I miss it because of Cameron. His and Edyta’s legs were right on last night. The jive can be hard for men as tall as Cameron, but he nailed it. He even used his height as a factor to jump clear over Edyta’s head ... twice. He is, indeed, becoming a fine dancer.

I know so many people are upset about Sabrina’s departure, and some even think the competition is fixed (it


reality TV...). However, the hosts and dancers last night made it very clear that you can never assume that just because you think other people are voting that they actually are. If you like someone, get on the horn and let them know. That said, it’s just a television show. It’s fun to get into a live, televised weekly competition, especially when you get to weigh in, but it’s not like you’re voting for your communities’ next leaders. It’s easy to get upset when you’ve been rooting for somebody, but these people will be fine. They all have other careers and families and accomplishments (not to mention all the


publicity. Not too shabby). So they are fine. We are fine. Let’s continue to have fun guesstimating who’ll go home, being bummed when someone we like gets the boot and talking smack in between. (I have a feeling if a certain Ms. Proper McPrisspants doesn’t leave soon, there’ll be a whole new level of discussion...). We’ll find out tonight on another nail-biting episode of

Dancing with the Stars


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