Welcome to the recap of Week 8!
(We’re out of quarantine now, so it’s a little earlier. Yay!)
Week 8 had its own unique spin: each couple had to perform not only the standard assigned dance, but also an “instant dance”. For the instant dance, the couple knew only the style of dance beforehand; they didn’t get their song until about twenty minutes before they were to perform it. After completing the assigned dance, each celebrity chose their instant song from the mirror ball bowl. They then got to work in the wings perfecting their routine while the other contestants took the stage.
Kyle Masse/Lacey Schwimmer (27/30 & 29/30)
After a few blasé weeks, Kyle has burst back onto the scene. His Viennese waltz had the whole package: character and technique. His posture was much improved, his movements were smooth and he had an appropriate level of charm – sophistication, even – for the waltz. He pulled “Good Golly Miss Molly” for his instant jive…and then he pulled out all the stops. For such a quick, fun and upbeat dance, he and Lacey were incredibly synced. There was so much energy! This was one of the first dances in this entire, borderline-lame season that I really enjoyed. The judges appreciated it too, and handed Kyle a 29.
Jennifer Grey/Derek Hough (27/30 & 30/30)
Jennifer seemed slightly off-balance on her quickstep, but overall it was good. Bruno called it “classic” and I remember thinking that was the perfect description. It wasn’t a showstopper, though, and I wonder if Derek toned it down a bit to save some wear and tear on Jennifer’s aching knees. Fortunately, they had a much lower-impact instant dance: the rumba. They nailed that – it was beautiful and smooth and they even pulled off a little passion, despite their brother/sister (or maybe aunt/nephew) type of relationship. It earned the first perfect 30 of the season. Let me say that again: it earned the first perfect 30 of the season. Week EIGHT and we’re just now seeing 30’s. Now you know why I call this season “borderline-lame”.
Kurt Warner/Anna Trebunskaya (24/30 & 24/30)
I hate to sound like a broken record, but Kurt is still leading with his chin. He did have a nice rise and fall in his waltz, however, and the chemistry between him and Anna is so interesting. It is very sweet and not at all sexual. They are clearly only good friends…but it works. In their instant cha cha cha we finally saw some real dancing from Kurt! He broke loose and just shook it. Even though he had some missteps and got out of sync a couple of times, the ad-libbing of the instant dance seem to be just what he needed. It busted him out of the stiffness that comes from trying too hard. He was disappointed with his two sets of three eights, but I think the scores were just.
Bristol Palin/Mark Ballas (24/30 & 23/30)
Bristol’s Argentine tango was actually one of her better dances. This is because in the tango it’s okay to have absolutely no expression on your face. It can pass as intensity or anger. I guess. Regardless, I didn’t think her moves were sharp enough for a tango and I certainly didn’t see any chemistry between her and Mark. Carrie Ann did, but I think Carrie Ann took a few hits off the ol’ crack pipe before coming to the show. (Okay, not really, but how else can you explain all her 9s to Len’s 10s?) Bristol and Mark drew the samba for their instant dance and it was a mess. Bristol was constantly off and confused. She did truly put in a Herculean effort to be expressive, but it was as spotty as usual. And, as usual, there was no flow in between steps. Just dance. Wait. Dance. Wait. I like Bristol and I really do think she’s sweet, but in this context, she’s completely out of her league.
Brandy/Maksim Chmerkovskiy (29/30 & 28/30)
Brandy and Maks really raised the bar with their waltz. There was an emotional quality to it that was just exquisite. If I were to be nit-picky, I could point out that sometimes her expression looked a bit like she was in pain…and once her neck did a weird thing – but only for a half a second. I guess that’s why Carrie Ann gave her a nine. Silly Billy. For their instant, they did a cha cha cha that was great fun and well done…once it got started. As much as it pains me, I do have to agree with CA that it seemed to take them far too long to begin dancing. She and Maks practically got into a full-on brawl about it, so I guess the emotions are as intense as they usually are by Week 8 – even if the dancing isn’t.
My pick to go home this week: Bristol
Who actually went home: Kurt Warner
(Please, please, America – don’t vote Bristol into the Finals. She has done well and exceeded expectations, but, despite that, she doesn’t have much to offer to the Finals.)