I’m hoping that (the winning team) is Mel and I, but I’m not sure that is going to happen. History shows it’s either a cute man or somebody with a huge fan base and I think Marie has both Helio and Mel’s fan base combined times five.
-- Maksim Chmerkovskiy to "Extra"
Well, let's still see how the dancing itself went, after the jump ...
First, the judges' choice round, with Mel B. leading off. Cha cha. Mel, barely dressed with tattoos in view, runs and jumps into her hubby's lap and has to be pulled away by Maksim. Song is "Car Wash." Smooth, steady, verrrrrry good. Spice Girls in the audience approve. Len calls it clean, crisp, precise with "one or two funny bits." Bruno says she has improved technically and visually she's stunning. Carrie Ann praises footwork but expected "a hair more excitement." Scores: 9's from CA and Len, 10 from Bruno. Uh-oh.
Marie next. Bergeron notes that she never topped the judges' leaderboard and was in the finals thanks to audience votes. Samba. Especially when compared with what Mel just did, she is much heavier on the performance and the expressions than on the dancing, and some of the dancing isn't that great. But I anticipate triple 10s from the judges.
(I should note here that I am have been experiencing some technical difficulties and have been knocked off my blog twice. So if I disappear and do not return, that's what has happened.)
Judges praise Marie's entertainment value and fault her technique. Still, the scores are straight 8's. Maybe the judges have decided that it doesn't matter what they say or do with her.
Helio. Jive. Lots of fun, and I would put him a close second to Mel. So he's promptly dogged by CA and Len, and Bruno isn't kind either. (The bride immediately concludes that they don't want Helio to win. And it's often been said that the show wants a woman to win this time.) While they're giving Marie a pass, they're throwing a block at Helio. Scores: 8's from Len and CA, 9 from Bruno. It's a joke.
Freestyle round. Mel. With Maks and a couple of chairs. Not my favorite routine. Lots of moves, including a dazzling aerial spin around Maks's waist. But there's also something chilly about it. CA says she enjoyed it but she thinks Mel is better than that. Len called it a great performance but slightly disjointed. Bruno calls it a good job. Scores: Straight 9's. Better than the comments sounded. Mel says she expected a 4 or 5 considering what had been said.
Marie. She mentioned her doll business was the inspiration and there she is as a wind-up doll being shown how to dance by Jonathan. Which means she can spend an enormous amount of time staggering and fumbling and mugging. Small fall near the end.
Len says they had a good idea that somehow doesn't work. "I'm not buyin' it!" Marie says, with a giggly shriek. Bruno calls it "the loopiest thing I've ever seen." "You'd better believe it," Marie says. Bruno calls it unique. CA calls her "the queen performer" but that it was an odd choice. Marie also argues with CA. Is she so sure that she has it won that she can mouth off to every judge? In the post-interview, even Samantha is getting of the doll-business plugs. Scores: CA goes 8, Len and Bruno go 7. Marie can't stop gabbing.
Helio and Julianne in racing garb. He has trouble keeping pace with her at first as they "Land of 1000 Dances." Racing suits give way to spangly stuff. Big spins but at least one bad transition. Then a move where they cartwheel each other that had me go "WHOA!" in my living room.
Bruno calls Helio "Mr. Irresistible." Tells the audience how hard the lifts are. CA calls it fantastic, with technique and the entertainment factor. Says he was a little rough coming out of some lifts. Len calls it the best freestyle of the night "by miles." Scores: 9 from CA, 10's from Len and Bruno. Helio's jumping for joy.
Mel leads for the night, Helio close by and Marie well back. I don't have a problem with that. But there's so much still, with viewer votes and a third judged dance tomorrow night. And I haven't forgotten Maks's comments at the beginning of this post.