This week on Dancing with the Stars was America week, where Latin dances were performed to America-inspired songs – because there are no American dances that didn’t evolve from Halloween parties at roller rinks. This theme was a complete failure, but not because the Samba or Rumba have no place in an American reality show (America’s a huge melting pot, etc). But it’s completely outrageous to force the contestants to perform specifically Latin moves to songs that really only lend themselves to ballroom movement. So of course they’re going to look ridiculous doing the Rumba to Proud to Be An American! COME ON YOU JUDGES. That song is only benefits someone if their driving through Kentucky!
Kirstie Alley told Maksim that she was shocked they had reached the halfway point during the competition, but she was troubled with how much issues they’d had with their previous two dances. With the intention of making it to the top of the leader board this week, Kirstie asked The Dance Doctor (otherwise known as John Travolta, otherwise known as movement himself) to come and watch their rehersals and offer his feedback. After he spent a few minutes critiquing the dance pair, Kirstie and Maks went on to perform a Foxtrot to American Woman, where Kirstie seemed to benefit from the slow tempo of the song. Carrie Ann Inaba called it “borderline crazy,” but remarked that it was their best dance ever. Len Goodman, however, said “there was very little excellence in it.” They received 23 points.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson entered this week on a very high note after they received a standing ovation for last week’s Paso Doble. This time around they were tasked with dancing the Rumba to Proud to be an American, and it was a little harder because instead of being able to make it a sexy Rumba, it had to be more romantic (on account of how our country isn’t just some floozy with no tolerance for tequila). The style of the Rumba required that the tempo of the song be dramatically faster than it’s supposed to be, and even though Hines kept up with all the steps, it seemed like he did dramatically less movement than he has in his previous dances. The judges gave him 27 points.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas were told to find a way to dance the Samba to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA, and rather than doing something unconventional again, Mark decided to do a more traditional dance in hopes of displaying Chelsea’s technique to the judges. I think they have some of the best choreography in this competition because in addition to highlighting the style of the dances they’re assigned, they pepper it with extra moves that give the dance a pulse. The judges thought it was fantastic and gave them 27 points.
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke had to dance the Viennese Waltz to America the Beautiful, and Chris’s goal this week was to get a score higher than a 7 from Len. Chris also felt pressure dancing a style that made him feel like he was riding the teacups at Disney Land to a song that was so heavy in meaning. Their dance was all right, but it was pretty graceful. Len said it was a little flatfooted and he needed to give more attention to his footwork, but they a very good 26 points anyway.
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower got the best song of the night to dance to: New York, New York. Romeo dedicated most of his time in rehearsals to figuring out how to combine today’s definition of “swagger” with its ‘60s definition and inject it into the Foxtrot, all while reworking his posture. It was pretty enjoyable, but I felt they could have had a lot more fun with the song. They got 26 points.
Petra Nemcova and her partner Dmitri had to do the quickstep to Viva Las Vegas. Petra explained that she’d never heard any of Elvis’s music before because she grew up in the Czech Republic under Communism, and it was very sweet how she thanked America for allowing her to pursue her dreams and take advantage of all the opportunities she could. Considering how in rehearsals she said she felt like a kangaroo performing the dance, she did an incredible job. Carrie Ann mentioned she thought the got a little bit out of sync during their routine, but Bruno thought that despite their errors in footwork, the dance was amazing. The judges gave them 22 points.
Ralph Macchio and Karina had to do the Samba to Sweet Home Alabama, and he was the only one to point out how silly it is to dance a Brazilian dance to an American song, so in my book he automatically gets a 30. The footwork was decent, but it was pretty impressive with how Ralph took a shot at performing the line dance and a few other distinctly southern movements. Len criticized Ralph for not being a consistent contender, and Bruno said there wasn’t enough spice in his performance for it to be truly considered a Samba. The judges gave Ralph and Karina 22 points.
This week, Kendra was having trouble getting over Carrie Ann’s comment from last week that said Kendra was afraid of being elegant. At the time, Kendra replied that it wasn’t that she was “afraid” of it, but that she just didn’t care about it. As they left the stage after their dance, Louis told Kendra he didn’t like what she said back to Carrie Ann, and he explained that Carrie Ann’s remarks meant well and weren’t meant as an attack. After Kendra finally brushed off the remnants of last week she practiced her Foxtrot to Yankee Doodle, with top hats and everything. She reassured viewers she really did care about the competition and informed them she was going to put her heart and soul into this Foxtrot. It was great compared to last week and the judges commended her for gaining confidence since last week’s performance. They gave her 22 points.