I've done basically the same thing as last week: Posted live during "Dancing" until 9 p.m., went over to "Heroes" for an hour, then came back to "Dancing" from my recording. So, as Tom Bergeron says, let's get to it ...
Mel B and Maksim lead off. Quick step. She doesn't like the restrictions of it. Actual dance: She looks uncomfortable in her back position, and has trouble getting off the stage. Gets better once she's on the floor. Decent footwork.
Judges: Len "never dreamt" she could hold the posture. Bruno says she has "the great twinkletoes of Ginger Rogers." Carrie Ann say her posture was "beautiful and gorgeous," but notes a misstep. Bergeron cuts CA off to move along. All these contestants and just two hours, after all. Gotta have room for the promos for ABC.com and what not. Backstage, Drew is sounding especially Bobcat tonight.
Scores: 7 from CA, 8 from each guy.
Mark Cuban with Kym next. Sleeveless shirt, looking bulked. Awkward, though. Some moves look like a limp. He's definitely not going goofy this week, but his expressions can still be comical.
CA says "you certainly made me laugh" but doesn't think it was much of a mambo. Len praises his hard work, but calls it "a little bit wooden down below." Bruno calls it "like a bulldog chasing a squirrel."
By the way, a PR firm sent me an e-mail today including this passage:
Mark is a remarkable guy. He buys, sells and runs companies, works with his charitable foundation every day, and of course jumps up and down on the basketball court. He also has a daughter that he loves to hang out with.
About 8 weeks back he had a hip replacement after suffering from severe osteoarthritis for years. Like many, Mark waited a long time--almost too long--to see a doctor about the pain in his hip. Now, dancing up a storm, Mark's trying to spread the word to let people know that there is life after a hip replacement--and a very active life at that! This is where we come in (and why we need your help).
To keep dancing on the show, Mark Cuban needs lots of votes--tonight!
But I wish he was a better dancer. Scores: Straight 6's from the three judges. Mark is not pleased.
Wayne Newton with Cheryl Burke. Quick step. To "Viva Las Vegas." Like Cuban, Newton works his face way too much. Steps are very slow, especially compared to Mel B. This is bad. He could end up with a lower score than Mark.
Bruno faults the footwork. CA praises the Las Vegas style but sounds as if she is trying to be kind. Len says it was not an improvement over last week. Scores, after commercials: Straight 5's, and deserved.
Marie Osmond and Jonathan. Mambo. Much effort in rehearsal for a back move and jump. Moves: Fair. Acting: Hammy. And no matter how much she shakes her hips. there's no real passion in it. Big ovation, including from Donny and I think Jimmy Osmond in the audience.
Len calls it "absolutely great" but "work to your strengths ... your attitude, the performance." Bruno calls her "real hot." Which is insane. CA also calls her "hot." But she's going to cringe at HD closeups of her face and makeup. Scores: Straight 8's, putting Marie in the lead. Um, no.
Albert Reed with Anna. I thought he was very good last week. He's dedicating his performance to his ballroom-dancer grandfather. Flummoxed by the details of the steps. Gets video pep talk from his grandmother. The model knows how to hold his body -- great posture. Generally solid footwork, with some stumbles.
CA says he'd make his grandfather proud, praises his personality. Len declares him the dark horse of the season, but criticizes the skip in his steps. Bruno says his energy faltered in the middle, but posture is good. The bride predicts straight 7's. Scores: Straight 7's. Undervalued.
And now I will depart for "Heroes."
And now I am back. For Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough. Mambo. Aside from his clown faces, really good. Best of the night so far, even if he let her do more of the work near the end.
Bruno says professionals would find it hard to do some of his moves. CA notes that he was actually leading Julianne. Len says he went into overdrive.
Two guys from "Cavemen" in the audience. (ABC has held back the premiere from advance review, though.) Scores: Straight 9's.
Jennie Garth and Derek Hough. She can't take him seriously as "a big, strong, strapping leading man." He's tired of being thought of as a kid from Utah. Quick step. She's very confident but her posture can be weird, and her steps awkward. Not terrible though. Botched final move.
Len liked some of it, praised her movements around the floor but says her posture needs work. Bruno compares it to "Titanic" with "icebergs along the way." CA tells her to be in the moment. Scores: Straight 7's. Seems too generous, especially considering the way they ended.
Cameron Mathison and Edyta. Mambo. He's uneasy about the shoulder-shaking. Actual dance: He's big and good-looking but the routine feels dull, and his movements aren't all that extraordinary.
CA says he hit some nice lines but he's off the beat at times. Len thought he was tentative at first but got more rhythmic as he went along. Bruno says he looks like Superman but dances like Clark Kent. Straight 7's for scores, though.
Floyd Mayweather and Karina. Who were jobbed by the judges last week. Quick step. Lots of good moves but they're piecemeal. When his steps are strong, he looks uncomfortable. When he gets personable, the steps suffer.
Bruno praises the footwork but wants work on the posture. CA says she didn't miss a single step and likes his spunk but wants him to open his chest more. Len calls it light and fluffy -- that's praise -- but he needs ... something? Not sure what he meant. Scores: Straight 7's. The judges don't seem to be making many distinctions between teams -- good way to make the voting audience feel it is more influential.
Jane Seymour and Tony. Mambo. Tony wants more hip-twisting. Silly bit with a snake. Jane in a slinkier outfit, when I think elegance would be her strength with a lot of voters. Guess you can't do an elegant mambo. Her movements are uninspired, lots of hesitation, uncertainty, with an air of confidence at the end.
Len calls it precise and neat but not raunchy and sizzling -- "an English mambo." Bruno compares it to a tea party at Wimbledon. CA disagrees. Here we go again: Straight 7's.
Sabrina Bryan and Mark to close the show. Recap of the no-hip-hop warnings last week. Quick step. She's worried about posture. In the actual dance, she so knows what she is doing. A little hesitation in a closeup of her feet, but she's mostly comfortable, precise and crisp. She kicks. Put her in the finals now.
Judges: CA, "amazing, you didn't miss a beat." Len, "fast but it's got control" -- but adds that "speed is only one element." Bruno interjects; Len warns him not to be a smart-ass. Bruno warns Len to watch his language. Bruno calls it "a blistering performance." Scores: 9 from CA and Bruno, 8 from Len. I would have expected a smidge higher, but Len may still have been fuming over the Bruno banter.
The overall good news right now is that everyone appears to be eager to win, and to work hard for it. None of the coasting we've seen with some contestants in the past. The bad news should be for Wayne Newton, who was clearly the worst of the night.