The Hoff was offed last Tuesday night -- sending dancing show re-cappers the world over into fits of panic. How could a country obsessed with train-wreck television reject the prospect of an endless supply of David Hasselhoff crazy? You're telling me that the Kardashians can have two successful TV shows but we can't stomach a weekly dose of drunken pelvic thrusts from an aging, narcissistic Ken doll? A little too grown up for that, are we America?
You and I both know we don't want to be sitting here weeks from now reading about how beautiful Jennifer Grey's dress was and how an endlessly perky Kyle has mastered the Fox Trot. So, let's get our priorities straight, people.
My first reaction to Rick Fox is to be put off by the movie star smile. I instantly picture him in a champagne room somewhere with Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan doing blow off a Laker cheerleader and I'm annoyed. But I've got to hand it to him -- tonight he took that 6'7" frame of his and bounced around the stage like a Mormon missionary in an "Up with People" revue.
There's always a built-in tug-of-war inherent with the older contestants on this show. No matter how well they do, they never even come close to performing at the same level as the younger ones -- especially when they have to perform dances like the quickstep. Inevitably they end up looking as if a grandchild has taken them for a spin at a cousin's wedding to the sentimental oohs and ahhs of their adult children. Florence, like Buzz Aldrin before her, is as likable as they come -- but likability and admiration will only get her to week three or four before it becomes difficult to reward. In this dance, partner Corky dragged her around with enthusiasm, but his desperate smile couldn't hide the fact that her feet lagged a beat behind him the entire dance. At one point it looked like he might be better off picking her up off the floor completely and asking her to jiggle her feet every now and then to show movement. I love Florence, and I love her even more when she's naughty, but there's no amount of naughty that's going to keep her around for too much longer.
Brandy drew the short straw when she got stuck with Maks -- whose choreography and teaching style always seems motivated by his own character flaws as opposed to his partner's needs. This week, he dressed her up in a baby doll outfit and threw a booty-shaking 50 Cent back-up dancer solo into the middle of an otherwise passable jive. I knew Len was going to have an English hissy when she was done, and to her credit she knew it was coming. "His idea," she said, pointing to Maks, "don't blame me." I have a feeling that her cheery demeanor is hiding a Whitney Houston sized diva-tude, so expect the sparks to start flying soon.
Michael came crawling out of a doghouse at the beginning of this "Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog" jive, but nobody anticipated that he would take the character so literally. There's no hope for Michael I'm afraid. Carrie Ann commented that he looks as if he carries all of his stress in his body but it might be more severe than that. It seems like he's been petrifying for years; he has trouble walking let alone bouncing to a happy Elvis Presley song. Bruno proclaimed it the worst jive that he's ever seen in 11 seasons on the show and it might be difficult to argue with him.
"I'm sacrificing everything for this show," she says at the beginning of her practice session -- which apparently has something to do with not being able to spend as much time with her boyfriend. I guess for a person whose job is to be taped spending time with her boyfriend and her friends for a reality show, and talking incessantly about how it feels to spend time with her boyfriend and her friends, spending time actually doing SOMETHING may be unsettling. But, she cried it out as if she was looking out over the Pacific while the wind gently tousled her hair at sundown -- the music rising up in the background. And it was all better. Cut and print.
I want to dislike her more than I actually do, which is confusing for me. She and Tony performed a quickstep and it was hard for me to take my eyes off of her. She has an oddly captivating presence, which I suppose is what possessed reality show producers to cast her in a role doing nothing in the first place. It will be interesting going forward to see if there is some substance hiding behind the flash.
I love Jennifer Grey and she danced an incredible jive. But it's really hard not to be more drawn to her partner Derek bopping around like a happy bichon frise puppy. Together, they once again set the bar for the rest of the pack.
The funny ladies always have the most compelling journeys on this show -- mostly because a comedian's humor is usually a combination of deep sensitivity meeting intellectual capacity added to a healthy dash of childhood trauma and innate charisma -- a rich pool to pull from. Last week, Margaret came out in full comic character and fell flat. This week, she decided that it was time to start peeling back the layers of her complexity to see if there might actually be a dancer in there. Judges enjoyed her routine but criticized the lack of posture and sharpness in her moves. It will be interesting going forward to see if she can continue to dig deep, open up and continue to surprise us with her latest incarnation.
Kyle and Lacey did a quickstep and once again wowed the crowd with their energy and youthful exuberance. But the judges were concerned that Kyle, who apparently is no stranger to the occasional super-sized quadruple quarter pounder with cheese, is going to rely on personality and chubby boy jolliness at the expense of technique. He should be sticking around for a while but will need to start taking things more seriously if he's going to become a real contender.
Kurt was quite the dandy boy in practice, offering choreography tips and agreeing to spray tan for the love of the performance. I find him disturbingly sexy -- I can only assume because I'm inappropriately homosexualizing his profound love of Jesus in ways that would appall the gays and send me straight to the fiery pits of Baptist hell. So be it. I'm a sucker for simple, sweet jocks -- and I honestly don't think they come much simpler.
I think the dance was fine. I can't actually remember anything specific besides the tight polyester pants.
The Situation reminds me of one of the third grade boys that I used to teach. He was a huge pain in the classroom but had an easy smile and devilish personality that made you like him anyway, so he got away with more than he should. The Situation has the same naughty appeal. The only problem is that he's not a third grader anymore -- at least not the same age as one -- and on a grownup show like "Dancing with the Stars," he's a guido out of hot tub. The dance was once again a disaster, although this week he got a few props for upping the effort level. Situation unknown.
Sarah Palin is a little weird. I already knew she wasn't the brightest bulb, but I didn't realize how socially awkward she was until Bristol took her dance partner to Wasilla to meet her mother who coo-ed and ooh-ed about how proud she was of her daughter without exhibiting anything that could be recognized as a genuine emotion. She also flew in for the performance where she sat in the studio audience with the exact same silly Botox-ed smile on her face, wiggling and clapping excitedly whenever the camera panned to her. Perhaps this is mama bear love -- mavericky Alaskan style?
In contrast, Bristol seems to have loosened up a bit and came across as much more relatable and comfortable this week. Her dance was lovely -- even though it was performed to another not-so-subtle choice of song -- "You Can't Hurry Love" by the Supremes. You watching, Levi?
In bottom three: