Notes after the jump ...
Going to avoid some of the boilerplate between the dancers, like the blah blah that has led us to the first performer.
Marlee Matlin and Fabian the new guy (Sanchez) lead off. She's going to do the jive this week. Joking around in studio, Marlee with her feet on Fabian's. She calls it the hardest dance she has done, "no more fun and games." Dance begins. Song: "You May Be Right." She's very good on the spins. I've seen a lot of non-deaf dancers on this show who weren't as good. Len says she never ceases to amaze him and calls it a great job. Bruno says she seems to have the ability to connect to everybody; notes some things like the underarm passes needing to be smoother but a good job. Carrie Ann says she needs to keep her hands from being "pancakey." Scores: Straight 7s. I think the judges are worried about giving her too much credit for being deaf, and are giving her lower scores than they would have if she could hear.
The Gute and Anna Trebunskaya. Tango this week, and he vows to be more serious. Jonathan Roberts shows up to help when Anna (his wife) is not feeling well. Man on man tango, eh? Would that be the mango? (Chris Kattan, where are you?) His attempts at seriousness are still comical -- too much face scrunching -- and his moves seem too stiff. Gotta do something about his jaw-jutting. He then "prepares" for the judges with goggles and a metal bowl on his head. Carrie Ann then calls it his best dance so far. Len calls the footwork "fantastic." Bruno declares it manly. Scores: Straight 7s. If he was 7s, they were definitely dogging Marlee Matlin.
Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke. Jive. Cristian worries. Cheryl is firm. They talk to a seal at Sea World. We used to have a Sea World. Sigh. Dancing very energetically to a bad cover of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now." Good times, but he's flatfooted in spots. Bruno calls it CdlF's best dance yet. Len says he could have been sharper and his free arm was hanging too loose, but it was his best dance so far. CA likes the energy but also brings up the arm; much talking over. Scores: 8s from CA and Len, 9 from Bruno. If that's a 9 ... oh, I don't know why I bother. But doesn't Cristian have "Futurama" hair?
Mario and Karina Smirnoff. On the road with Mario as he tours -- rehearsing here and there, including an airport. He worries about running on empty. Tango. "Roxanne." (Younger son informs me that this is the "Moulin Rouge" arrangement.) Mario seems to be having trouble with his shoulders, and his attempt at facial intensity is a bit odd. Len says it had flair but was a mess; didn't like his posture or his hold. CA says Len is right, that Mario has style and the judges have high expectations -- but there were missteps. "It wasn't you. You're better than that." Bruno calls him charismatic, notes a mistake but says it wasn't "that bad." Mario is not pleased. Scores: 7 from CA, 6 from Len, 8 from Bruno. Nonsense. Mario vows that he will focus more.
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough. Jive. She worries that her long legs will make her mess up more. Learns via kickboxing. "Goody Two Shoes." She's pretty good but the fringe on her costume is very distracting. And some of the changes between moves have the slightest overlong pause, taking away from the smoothness. Bruno loves that she "goes all the way." But she needs to work on her finish and her precision. Len says it was really good. CA says she's always surprising, and "so much fun to watch." Scores: Straight 8s.
Adam Carolla and Julianne Hough. He says Julianne deserves a better partner. She still wants funny Adam. Tango. JH in a strange wig. What is this, tribute to Louise Brooks week? Carolla is such a klutz, and really letting her do most of the work. When they're done, Carolla mocks her outift. CA says Carolla was "quite sexy out there." What? Bruno says he's not a master technician but is getting better. Len says Julianne made Adam look like a dancer. Looked more like a stander to me. Scores: Straight 7s. OH COME ON!!!!! Carolla makes a joke about Mormons. Julianne smiles but is obviously uneasy. Carolla tries to recover, finally says, "I love the Mormons!"
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani. Tony likes to tell jokes. But does it badly. Jive. "Girlfriend" as if done by the Angels, and without a certain word Avril Lavigne used. Sloppy. Judges rip her. CA calls her boring. Bruno tells her to live up to the talent she has. MJW fights tears. In the post-performance chat, she seems so young -- especially when you remember that she's in her thirties. Scores: 6 from CA and Bruno, 7 from Len.
Priscilla Presley and Louis Van Amstel. Tango. She wants to look as if she has been doing it all her life. Song: Allan Sherman's "Kiss of Meyer." (Well, that's how I think of it anyway. "What does he need it? He'd never use it. To him the late late show is YOU." And now back to our dance.) Competent but not exactly hot. Bruno calls it hot and "beautifully acted." Len praises "passion, drama, fire and ice." CA calls the tango "the actors' dance" and praises Presley. I am unmoved. Scores: 9s from Len and Bruno, 8 from CA. Puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! By that standard, Kristi Yamaguchi should get 11s without even dancing. (Yes, 11. Insert "Spinal Tap" joke here.)
Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska. Jive. He had no idea it would be so tough and worries that he will look fat and uncoordinated. "I Got a Woman." Very polished. But he still seems a little too organized -- not quite charismatic enough. CA likes him but thought he was dancing a little small in his upper body. Bruno thought it was a "cool" jive -- restrained but powerful. Len said the lines were good and he liked the tricks but thought the kicks were sloppy; "one week you're a rooster, the next you're a feather duster." Scores: 8s from CA and Bruno, 7 from Len. They thought that was worse than Priscilla Presley?
Bergeron feigns a cough; Jeff Probst does the tease into the commercial. Probst? Was he on that list of reality shows ABC announced for this summer? (See below.)
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas to close. Tango. Isn't she about due for a 10? But admits she has trouble being as expressive as the tango requires. She does get very tango hair. "Rio." Great movement, but Ballas's face looks as if he is trying to catch flies as they pass. Len liked it very much especially the "no messing about" but her head went a little bit forward. CA says her technique can't be faulted, but her anger was one-dimensional; "I don't feel much when you dance." Bruno calls it sharp, clean, clear but he wants lust; "I want you to be a dirty girl." No 10s then? KY gives Mark a little bit of dirty-girl leg to the groin. Scores: Straight 9s. Tops for the night but the judges didn't let them run away with it.
Recaps, hype for tomorrow night, and I am out.