S14E2: This year's cast of Dancing With the Stars have already proven they have some serious skills on the dance floor. But it's going to take more than fancy footwork to make it through to the following week now that the audience has a say in the matter. The judges' scores can only get the contestants so far, meaning a couple's popularity is extremely important. It's time to prove their worth, and as of now, the bar is pretty high.
But as the very first week indicated, this group of stars thrive under such pressure and managed to, once again, pull off incredible dance numbers. For the second week, half of the couples must dance the Quick Step, while the other half take on the Jive. And remember -- for their first dance, each star was given several weeks to practice, whereas this time around they were only allotted one week. Let's see whose talents stretch farther than just beginners luck.
So as each couple took another spin on the dance floor, we ranked each performance from best to worst.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Jive: "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" by Robert Randolph
Last week, Katherine proved she could show us grace and elegance, but this week she demonstrated that she can be more than America's sweetheart; she can be downright sexy. Her kicks and flicks were incredible. Her posture and timing was spectacular. In truth, she seems just as flawless in dancing as she is in personality. That "Welsh Wiggle" came in handy because this blonde bombshell is a force to be reckoned with. When it comes to the competition factor, this girl is the one to watch. The judges gave the pair a well-deserved 26 out of 30, tying them for the highest score of the night.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Quick Step: "Nice Work If You Can Get It" from George Gershwin's "A Damsel In Distress"
The hunky William Levy didn't disappoint with another great performance. Even fully clothed in a tuxedo this guy radiates sexual energy, sending women and men into a swoon-crazed tizzy. His movements were fluid, his timing was great, and Carrie Ann called him the Harry Connick Jr. of the ballroom. But not everyone was feeling the love. Len didn't like frame or body contact and called the performance as a whole "good," not "great." But the rest of the world could not disagree more. Amid all the boos circling in Len's direction, the couple earned an impressive 25 out of 30 points for the night. Something tells us he'll be back to dance another week -- hopefully in a little less clothes.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsea Hightower
Quick Step: "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" by Good Charlotte
This is where we learn just how versatile each of these contestants really are. Roshon was completely out of his comfort zone since hip hop is more his style, but he pulled off the Quick Step with flying colors. His moves were precise and he was the epitome of ballroom sophistication. This guy is just enjoyable to watch no matter the dance routine and the judges agree. Len called the performance young and fresh, while Bruno revealed that he loves Roshon's swagger that he brings to each and every dance. The couple ended up with an impressive score of 26 out of 30, giving them a three point increase from last week. It's safe to say we'll be seeing him again next week.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Jive: "Marry You" by Bruno Mars
Having risen to the top of the leaderboard so quickly last week, it's hard to not go anywhere but down, especially when it's only the second week. The dance was well rehearsed and thoroughly enjoyable, however, the performance did lack of bit of the energy it had in the previous week. For some reason, he seemed less light on his feet, which can be a noticeable mistake when you take on something like the Jive, and the judges seemed a little disappointed by it. Len said that while the dance wasn't terrible, it needed to be sharper and pack more punch. Carrie Ann also remarked that Jaleel seemed a little flat-footed and needs to work on that in the future. They earned a 22 out of 30 points, losing their first place title.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Quick Step: "Sexy, Sexy" by Brian Setzer
Maria showed significant improvement in her Quick Step this week. She seemed comfortable in her movements and once again showed great chemistry with Derek. Granted, she took a misstep at one point in their run-and-kick portion of the dance, but overall she had great speed and control. Carrie Ann seemed a little more concerned with her timing mishap than Len or Bruno, but overall it was an enjoyable, fun performance that sould be strong enough to carry them into next week. The judges gave them a 25 out of 30 for the night.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Quick Step: "Stay The Night" by James Blunt
Donald made the dance floor his new football field by dancing a superb version of the Quick Step. It was fun and definitely one of the best executed performances of the night. The timing, the steps, the fluidity, everything flowed together so nicely, which shows this guy has a real knack for dancing. And the judges were delighted with what they saw. In fact, Len even admitted to giving him too low of a score last week and said he deserved better than that. Bu that was more than made up for this week when the judges gave them a 24 out of 30. This guy certainly has both the charm and skill to go far in this competition.
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chermkovskiy
Jive: "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
If Sherri had to be summed up in one word it would be: energized. This girl is so full of life and it just radiates in her dancing. She lit up the dance floor and even though she and Val lost step a few times together, she just took charge and went with the flow. It's important to be able to recover quickly if things don't go exactly how they were planned and she handled it in the best way possible. She had just as much fun dancing as we did watching her, and the judges loved it. The duo scored a 23 out of 30 points.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Jive: "Real Wild Child" by Buddy Holly
Gavin is probably one of the most currently popular stars on the show, which makes him a great underdog to root for. He's not one of the best performers in the bunch, but he's certainly not the worst. His kicks and flicks definitely need some help, but his overall performance was highly enjoyable to watch (who knew he'd look so good in leather?). Dancing doesn't come naturally to Gavin, so he'll have to work harder than some of the others to reach up to their potential, but this routine was a significant improvement from last week. So if he keeps on improving he could be in this competition for the long haul. The judged granted them a 21 out of 30.
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
Jive: "Gimme Some Lovin" by The Spencer Davis Group
This Jive was filled with fast, complicated dance moves and given that this is still only the second week, it's understandable that poor Jack feel a little out of sync at times. Sure his kicks weren't all that precise and sometimes he lost step with the beat, but he was able to hold it together and still manage to give an enjoyable performance. In fact, the judges felt his only problem was that he put a little too much energy into the dance, which made him loss control at times. But overall, they were impressed with what he had to offer and earned a respectable 21 out of 30 points.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Quick Step: "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol
Mel and Maks were tied in last place the previous week, so they were hoping to kick their performance up a notch. And they did to an extent. Melissa still seemed a little hesitant at times and you could see she was in her head a lot, not focusing on being in the moment. And when you can see worry or concentration on someone's face, it distracts the audience from fully enjoying the performance. That being said, it was a slight improvement from last week, but she just needs to get more comfortable and fluid in her movements. And unfortunately, when you're working with a group that's this talented, the bar is set pretty high. The judges awarded them 20 out of 30 points -- the same score that they had during their first week out.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Quick Step: "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder
Once again, the empress of soul proved that age knows no bounds on this show. She had a great connection with Tristain and her footwork was amazing. However, the Quick Step is all about technique and the judges felt she wasn't quite up to par in that area. Bruno warned her to watch her frame since it seemed relatively loose throughout the dance and Len admitted that while he respects her a lot for who she is, he didn't care much for the performance at all. From a non-professional standpoint, she was lovely to watch. But sadly, the judges take more than that into consideration when it comes to handing out scores. The pair received a 19 out of 30.
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani
Jive: "Tell Her About It" by Billy Joel
It's always hard when you know a contestant has worked really hard on a routine and it ends up not going the way they planned. Unfortunately, Martina experienced a situation just like that. Right from the beginning, she messed up and stepped with the wrong foot, and she was never quite able to get the rhythm back. There were times when she seemed more on the beat, but for the most part it was sufficiently lacking in timing and energy. She was so concerned with trying to remember her next move that she wasn't able to bring much of a wow factor out on the dance floor. But she maintained a great attitude throughout the whole thing, so she deserves major props for sticking with it. She earned a 17 out of 30, placing them at the bottom of the leaderboard. I fear she may be in jeopardy of going home.
What did you think of tonight's performances? Tomorrow night someone will definitely be eliminated -- who do you think has the biggest threat of being sent home? Sound off in the comments below or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Set against the background of 1920s Spain where repression and political upheaval enveloped a nation on the verge of civil war Little Ashes focuses on the emergence of three young artists Salvador Dali Luis Bunuel and Federico Garcia Lorca. When Dali arrives fresh-faced at the University at the age of 18 Bunuel and Lorca welcome him into their decadent group and the trio become fast friends. Their budding friendship is soon threatened however when Dali and Lorca develop a special bond in which their sexual and artistic explorations collide with personal ambition love of country and their own passion for each other.
WHO’S IN IT?
In a performance shot before Twilight made him an international star that women swoon over Robert Pattinson may surprise fans with his spot-on portrayal of the sexually confused over-the-top artist Salvador Dali. With his signature handlebar mustache and a serviceable Spanish accent Pattinson captures the essence of the young Dali convincing in his depiction of the artistic tirades bisexual encounters and egotistical conceit that informed the great painter’s early years. As the object of Dali’s early affections newcomer Javier Beltran is intriguing as the fatalistic and seductive playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca while Matthew McNulty is quite fine as Bunuel who himself would go on to become one of Spain’s - and the world’s - most important film directors. As Magdalena and Gala the women who try to tame these artists Marina Gatell and Arly Jover are beautiful and effective even though their roles are really sideshows to the film’s true focus and intentions.
Despite the low budget Madrid in the '20s is nicely suggested and meticulously recreated. Director Paul Morrison has a nice feel for the period and a good eye for casting these tricky roles.
The film tries to bite off more than it can chew covering too much of the era and coming off as a mere overview of these times and key relationships. The idea of seeing the artists as young men is good but not enough time is taken to really show what they are made of. The artistic fire and sexual freedom that must have been prevalent then is glossed over and not totally convincing. This probably would have worked better as a TV mini-series.
BUT SHOULD TWILIGHT FANS LINE UP?
As his first film post-Twilight it won’t matter. Robert Pattinson may be de-fanged here but this independent art-house item won’t be around long enough to become a blip on his new fandom’s radar.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
This small flick probably won’t find its way to the local mall. Considering the hard “R” nature of the material Pattinson’s adoring young flock will probably have to wait to see it on DVD anyway.
Despite what the trailer might have you believe In the Land of Women isn't exactly a sweet sigh-inducing romance. Yes main character Carter Webb (Adam Brody)--a slightly snarky screenwriter who makes his living writing soft-core porn--leaves Hollywood for Michigan to get over a hard break-up by taking care of his aging tart-tongued grandmother (Olympia Dukakis). And yes he subsequently ends up getting entangled with angsty blond teenager Lucy Hardwicke (Kristen Stewart) and her lonely mom Sarah (Meg Ryan). But the trio's tenuous relationships are complicated by confusion resentment illness and misunderstanding all of which add up to a situation that's hardly straightforward--and frankly not all that romantic either. Brody is no stranger to playing sarcastic pop culture-savvy Southern Californians: After four seasons on The O.C. as Seth Cohen he's got the type down pat. As Carter he balances wry quips with a nice dose of empathy--you can tell that he truly cares about both Lucy and Sarah (not to mention his grandma as crusty as she is). But to be honest it's a little hard to see why. Stewart plays Lucy with a shy sullenness that's not very endearing--she gets a little more animated toward the end but it's too little too late--and Ryan's trademark perkiness has worn thin. She gives Sarah's dramatic scenes her best shot but the character's confusion and pain don't seem at home on her unnaturally tight face. Dukakis gets in a few zingers as Grandma Phyllis but the character is essentially one-note--as is Lucy's sister Paige (Makenzie Vega) who swiftly goes from "cutely precocious" to "awkward yapping." In many ways Paige seems like a character lifted out of the John Hughes playbook which isn't that surprising given Carter's fascination with the '80s director's oeuvre--and the movie's Hughes-ian high school subplot. Unfortunately the "classic" high school movie scenes (the party Lucy takes Carter to their movie outing at the mall her dawning realization at the end etc.) while fun for folks who grew up watching the movies they're obviously inspired by have a light tone that's jarring compared to the rest of the film's drama. When it comes down to it Carter--who's looking for a reason to stop drifting through life--has a lot more in common with Garden State's Andrew Largeman than Hughes heroes like Ferris Bueller and John Bender. Trying to squeeze him into a teen-centric story rather than focusing on helping him grow up doesn't do him--or the movie--any favors.
The film opens as teenagers Katie (Amber Tamblyn) and Becca (Rachael Bella) are having a sleepover and spooking each other with ghost stories. Trouble is the urban legend Becca retells is all too true as Katie is just about to find out in the most grisly of ways. The story centers on a mysterious videotape that should you be so unfortunate as to view it will kill you in seven days (you know this because someone calls right after you watch it to alert you that you're gonna kick). Katie and her friends watched it and sure enough they're all dead a week later--sparking Katie's aunt an investigative journalist named Rachel (Naomi Watts) to uncover what happened and why. When the trail leads her to the sinister tape she watches it receives the foreboding phone call and consequently sets off on a race against time to somehow save her life by finding out the meaning of what she's seen. She enlists the help of Noah (Martin Henderson) the father of her rather strange and solitary young son Aidan (David Dorfman)--who like all kids in horror movies these days is seeing frightening visions too--and over the course of seven days the two find themselves embroiled in a mystery that involves the tape a twisted family and dying horses.
The acting by all involved is generally good. Naomi Watts who hit the radar with David Lynch's Mulholland Drive last year ably carries the film although there are times in close-up when she looks too self-aware with an almost smug expression as though she's about to smile when the situation isn't the least bit funny. Maybe it's because she knows her Rachel does some pretty mind-blowingly foolish things the most noteworthy among them leaving the deadly video out where her curious son (who annoyingly invokes Haley Joel Osment and looks absolutely nothing like either of the folks playing his parents) can pop it in the ol' VCR. Though Watts is a basically likeable fresh face any number of up-and-coming actresses could have done this role--as well or better.
It's been awhile since jaded horror fans have had something to get excited about. Gore Verbinski justifies his career after the miserable The Mexican with this taut thriller which opens with the teen girls in a truly terrifying sequence reminiscent of Scream. Verbinski is keenly aware of the value of keeping things just out of sight and not resorting to cheap horror movie shlock so there are genuine chills to be had (animal lovers will want to cover their eyes during one particularly horrifying scene). Although the moments that'll really make you jump out of your skin are few and far between the secret behind the videotape is compelling as is the imagery. Without overdoing it The Ring displays some fantastic cinematography particularly with the Buñuel-esque videotape (you could have heard a pin drop as engrossed as the audience was at this review screening) and the shots of gloomy mist-enshrouded Washington State are disquietingly atmospheric. However the last third of the movie is somewhat disappointing and contains several utterly ridiculous scenes--particularly one at the ending (which actually has a nice twist).