Howdy, y'all! I'll be filling in for Dancing with the Stars recapper and celebrity birthday expert Joyce Eng tonight and I should warn everyone that this is my first time watching a full episode of Dancing with the Stars. So please bear with me as I catch up on all the All-Star drama! I say "howdy" because it's country week which means there's a hot mess of cowboy hats, flannel and denim. Oh, and there's a faux cow on stage. Or is that true every week? I kid. I kid. So whose hoedown was hot and whose was, well, not? And which two couples got perfect scores?! Find out below!
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: Cha-Cha
Ok so I don't watch DWTS, but I love me some Switched at Birth so to see Gilles and Peta dancing on the set is pretty cool. Gilles is boasting a big game and calling it one of the hardest cha-chas he's ever seen on the show. How about we let the judges determine that? Most of their lines are very clean and these two obviously have great chemistry, but Gilles' solo doesn't seem as poised and perfected as the rest of their dance. (Maybe I was too distracted by those pleather pants he had on — shiny!) Also, when Peta leans forward and he is supposed to pull her back, it looks for a second like he's going to drop her. Be careful, Gilles, I'm pretty sure you only get one partner. Len compliments Gilles' control, but criticizes his loose legs. Bruno says Gilles sold the "kinky" and "sexy" dance, but also notes it wasn't as clean as it could have been. Carrie Ann tells Gilles to watch his — as he calls it — "T-Rex hands."
Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel: Rumba
Sabrina is brought to tears during rehearsal, but it's because of an ex-boyfriend who was addicted to drugs. Who knew this show was emotional like Parenthood? Sabrina says she really wants to bring emotion to their performance. Sabrina nails that almost immediately on the dance floor. After her fluid solo at the very beginning of the song, she aggressively grabs Louis' face and the passion continues throughout the sensitive but seductive performance. Bruno says her solo was "seamless" and Sabrina starts tearing up. Carrie Ann says it was "breathtaking" to see Sabrina dancing from her heart. Insert more praise from Len here.
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: Tango
Kelly starts out by complaining that her season was only six weeks-long so she's in unchartered territory. Does that mean her trophy isn't as legit? Just kidding! Kind of. After hitting the bottom last week, they put in extra hours in rehearsal. It seems to pay off, but it's a little frustrating that Kelly is wearing such a distracting, long and fluffy gown that a) totally doesn't go with country week and b) makes it hard to really look at her fancy footwork. The biggest problem is that she does this weird head thing that seems very frigid. I almost get whiplash just watching her whip her head back and forth like so. Also, there doesn't seem to be any chemistry whatsoever between these two, despite that awkward kiss at the end. Side note: does Kelly ever smile? Or is that like a thing about her? She finally loses the scowl when Carrie Ann says nice comeback. Len calls the dance a little "hectic" but says she did what she needed to do. Bruno says she is "back in the game big time," but she needs to watch the top line.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Waltz
After her neck injury last week, Melissa is understandably freaked out about aggravating her injury. Her doctors have said she is OK to perform but she will still have soreness so thank goodness they have the waltz, which lends itself so naturally to less neck movement. There's a lot of staging going on here, with the fake campfire and the trees, but all of the attention quickly turns to Melissa's stunning and truly graceful dance. Her solo is perfect and the segue into the regular dance is really impressive. Len stands up to applaud them and Bruno calls her solo "absolutely exquisite." Carrie Ann gets booed and then stands up to argue with Bruno when she says Melissa was looking down and was still too internalized.
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: Cha-Cha
Uh-oh! Shawn re-aggravates her knee injury that forced her out of the Olympics when she was horsing around during the group dance rehearsal. Now she's teary because it reminds her how she missed her chance at an Olympic comeback. It's obvious during the performance that her knee injury is still plaguing her, especially during the solo part of the dance, but this girl knows what she's doing and more than makes up for it with some really fancy upper arm movement and splits! This dance is probably the most fun of the night. Bruno says it was "incredible," and Carrie Ann says they did a great job of blending country and cha-cha. However, she calls Shawn's solo stiff and gets more boos from the crowd. Len criticizes all the gimmicks, aka the cow and the tractor, but how come he didn't say that about Melissa and Tony's fake campfire?
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Rumba
Kirstie overanalyzes her own breakdown from last week and in between shots of her getting interviewed by Barbara Walters — book plug! — she starts getting stressed again in rehearsals with Maks. The pressure to stay out of the bottom is on! The set-up is very simple, but who needs bells and whistles when you have Kirstie and Maks dancing so passionately? I detect a little bit of the T-Rex hands on Kirstie, but only so briefly before her slightly less confident but still strong solo. Maybe the hand problem is contagious? Carrie Ann names Kirstie the queen of sexy, and Len says he would have liked more hip action — as Maks grabs her butt — but says it was classy. Bruno says her arms are so expressive and her solo was spot on.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: Waltz
Apparently Apolo and Karina got into a big fight the night before their dance last week. Things got awkward because, according to Karina, Apolo is not good at showing his emotions. However, he's determined to change that and knows their chemistry is important this week. Apolo spins so effortlessly on the floor when he first picks Karina that you would think he's wearing skates. Their chemistry isn't the best, but it's very strong in the moments when it needs to be and he holds her close. The spin at the end where Karina leans her head back is really wow-worthy. Len says it was two people in perfect harmony with each other, and Bruno says Apolo was weightless. Carrie Ann labels it "poetry in motion" and says every moment had intention.
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: Foxtrot
"I've never had a solo by myself," says Emmitt Smith. Um, yeah, not going to make a snarky comment right now, but it's so difficult. It's hard to pin my finger on it, but there is something missing from this dance. Emmitt seems bored at times, that is until he gets to the solo when he suddenly has a big smile plastered across his face and jumps around and shows his cowboy roots (get it — Dallas Cowboys?) Bruno thought it was absolutely a "country fun fair." Carrie Ann says it felt a little out of sync throughout the dance, but Emmitt redeemed himself on the solo.
The Freestyle Group Dance
In the past group dance was just for fun, but tonight there are two extra points up for grabs. Cue Kirstie having another mini-breakdown, Kelly still not smiling and then Gilles rocking a white glitter vest straight of Ke$ha's closet. Oh, and ABC re-airs footage of Shawn injuring her knee in case you forgot! Big and Rich perform "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" and Kirstie looks like she is just now learning all the moves five steps behind the rest of the ladies. This whole dance, which even gets less synchronized when you add the guys, is a little hard to watch. During the freestyle dances, Kirstie effortlessly jumps into Maks' arms after giving his butt a good fake-spanking and Apolo nails his pick-up of Karina, while Louis looks like he's about to drop Sabrina at one point. Eek! Apolo's lift gets high marks from Bruno, as does Kirstie's spirited moves from Len. Carrie Ann likes Kelly, Sabrina and Gilles' solos the best. So who was the most "entertaining" and will get those extra points? Kirstie and Maks! Butt-smacking wins every time. Their new total is 82 points.
That means Sabrina and Louis stay on top of the leaderboard, and Kelly and Val are still in last place.
What do you think? Did the right couples get perfect scores? Will Kelly and Val be able to stick around? Did you finally feel the chemistry between Apolo and Karina? Will Shawn and Melissa's injuries be their downfall? Who's your current pick to win?
Howdy, y'all! I'll be filling in for Dancing with the Stars recapper and celebrity birthday expert Joyce Eng tonight and I should warn everyone that this is my first time watching a full episode of Dancing with the Stars. So please bear with me as I catch up on all the All-Star drama! I say "howdy" because it's country week which means there's a hot mess of cowboy hats, flannel and denim. Oh, and there's a faux cow on stage. Or is that true every week? I kid. I kid. So whose hoedown was hot and whose was, well, not? And which two couples got perfect scores?! Find out below...