Notes during the telecast after the jump. ...
Michael Flatley is a guest judge (Len is off this week). Group dance coming. Also, they should say something about Julianne's medical issues.
Maurice and Cheryl are first up with a Viennese waltz. Very solid opening, nicely elegant. Cheryl is again avoiding bare-midriff garb. As I said in my print column on Saturday, it's ridiculous that she is being dogged about her weight; she's very good-looking. But the more demure costumes take some ammunition away from people analyzing her middle. Good dance, too. I'd have given it an 8. The judges, with mixed praise, go for straight 7s.
Lance and Lacey. Jive. It's an obvious response to last week's unfair criticism that Lacey was doing too much of the work. (It's common for professionals to cover for their celeb partners' limitations.) And it appears that Len's absence has let Lance relax and enjoy himself. (Even Bergeron notes that it's better for Lance that Len is not there.) I'd give them an 8 or 9. The judges, very impressed, all give 9s. Considering how mediocre this season has been so far, Lance and Maurice are making it seem as if we're starting anew.
(I started off making brief notes for use here but have decided instead just to post as I go along, so there may be more detail in the notes from this point.)
Susan and Tony. Mambo. I have an ongoing problem with La Lucci, and it's evident again tonight. She's a tight-ass. She never seems to let loose emotionally or physically. So even when she's trying to do some interesting technical moves, as she is tonight, it's fundamentally dull. 6. Carrie Ann, in contrast, thinks she "broke the box." Bruno thinks we're seeing "the devil lurking" but the timing was off; CA argues. Bergeron apologetically tells Flatley "they do this." Flatley calls her the epitome of grace and calls the dance "intoxicating." Meh. 8s from Flatley and CA, 7 from Bruno.
Brooke & Derek, the judges' darlings. Jabber about Brooke's injured foot (tendon strain), cutting into practice time and what they can do. Rumba. Extremely cautious dance; big ovation from the crowd, supposedly because she is still standing up. I'm not impressed. 7, just to be nice. Flatley says she took his breath away. But CA says it was not her best dance, that the injury held her back. Bruno says she smolders when she's just standing, but that the dance was not that good. Scores: 8s from Bruno and CA, 10 from Flatley. Bruno looks at Flatley with disbelief when he sees the 10.
Oops, missed part of a bumper as Channel 5 squeezes in one more political ad. But we're getting Corky and Cloris. Cha cha. Corky is doing all he work at first; Cloris can barely stand up without fumbling. Let's hear the judges call out Corky for dominating. This is pitiful. She can't keep time, she can't do the fancier moves. But she gets a standing ovation for not breaking a hip. I give her 4. Bruno manages to make a compliment out of her ineptness. Flatley says his father told him not to say a bad word about him, then praises Corky for helping her. CA says "we lost Toni Braxton for this" and that makes her "sad." Cloris plays to the crowd. After a break, the judges all give her 5s. The crowd boos.
Cody and Julianne. Discussion of missed practice time because Julianne was ill. No specific about it at first. Samba. Good but a little low on chemistry and charisma. I say 8. CA calls it the most intense samba she has ever seen, and that she sees improvement every week. Bruno thinks Cody got it completely wrong; no exuberance. More arguing with CA. Flatley says he has "everything it takes" but he's not convinced this was Cody's best night. In the post-interview, Julianne says she is having surgery Tuesday to remove her appendix and that Edyta will fill in until Julianne can dance again. Judges: 8s from CA and Flatley, 7 from Bruno.
Warren and Kym. Rumba. On the so-so nights in the competition to date, Sapp has looked pretty good. Tonight, there have been several very good performances, and Sapp doesn't look all that great, either on his own or in comparison. 7 from me. Flatley calls it very entertaining but wished there had been more dancing. CA thought it was very sexy and that he has an emotional quality; but notes a mistake in the middle. Bruno says Warren gets the character right every time but that he made some mistakes in footwork. Judges: 8s from Bruno and CA, 9 from Flatley. Grossly overinflated.
And now ... the group dance. The rehearsal video uses Cloris for comic relief, plays up Brooke's sore foot again. The actual dance isn't all that interesting -- except for the way they move Cloris out of the group, off the dance floor and to the back of the stage as quickly as possible.
So the judges scores -- if I can add correctly -- go, from top to bottom: Lance, Brooke, Warren, Susan and Cody (tie), Maurice, Cloris.
My scores: Lance, then Maurice and Cody (tie), Brooke and Warren (tie), Susan, Cloris.
Could we therefore agree that Cloris must go home? Please? Don't make me get emotional in the next vodcast.