“Dancing with the Stars” 2012 resumed April with another dose of happy hoofing as the remaining couples got down and dirty with Rock Week.
KISS, alternately known (to me, anyway) as the clowns from hell, kicked off the show with their legendary smash “Rock and Roll All Nite”. The “DWTS” troupe stepped in with an assist that was a bit too risque for 8 PM, but hey, I’m a mom. It made me glad my kiddos were all tucked safely into bed.
Then some first impressions as the contestants descended into the ballroom. Chelsie Hightower looked beautiful in her hot pink gown. William Levy was totally believable as a biker dude. And holy schmoly boobs, Katherine Jenkins. Tristan MacManus, the eyeliner, well, somehow it totally worked. Egads. Oh, and Derek Hough? What the hell is that?
Leading off the evening was talk show host Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy. Sherri promised to “rock on” with her Tango set to Quiet Riot’s “Cum on Feel the Noize”. She lamented that Val was being “so tough on me this week” but admitted that she loves “his chest”, especially when he shares the view. She said she hoped that her “I love Val and I hate Val” emotions would create an “explosive” routine.
Decked out in totally 80s wear with totally 80s hair, Sherri started her number on the judges’ table shaking her booty for Len Goodman et al. It was the most tentative performance I’ve seen from the usually bubbly Sherri. She seemed to be concentrating. A lot. I get that it was an intense character she was going for, but a little grin might’ve done something to help the girl out. But that’s just me.
Len declared “be still my beating heart” and thought she’d “coped very well”. Though he noted an “incident” with her feet, he enjoyed it overall. Bruno Tonioli purred “I like it when you’re mean and moody” and enjoyed her attitude, but said it needed to be “a bit sharper”. Carrie Ann Inaba called it “good” but missed her “normal exuberace”. She didn’t appreciate her “expressionless face”. Ha! Look at me call it!
Sherri told Brooke Burke that she “felt great out there and had a great time”, and hoped viewers would send votes her way.
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy’s week 4 scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21.
Up next to perform were leaderboard toppers Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas. Katherine joked that Mark needed her to be the “Welsh warrior”, but she struggled with getting into what Mark termed “that fighting spirit”. To help her out, she donned boxing gloves for a lesson. Though the self-proclaimed “girly girl” had trouble getting into the act, she eventually earned her instructor’s praise. And she hoped to be “badass”.
In a black catsuit and cape, she looked badass during her Paso Doble to Muse’s “Time is Running Out”. But the dancing didn’t really add up to greatness this week. She looked more uncertain and tentative than I’d ever seen her look, and though she had moments of looking good –like when she swished her cape– it wasn’t her best work. Not bad, per se, but not her best.
Bruno was amused by her ability to “unleash… a whirlwind of fury” but lamented a lack of “definition” in her movements. Carrie Ann enjoyed Katherine’s “intensity” but thought it’d thrown her off before defensively adding “but it was still pretty”. Len said “it had promise but it didn’t quite deliver”. He noted that her “attack” took away the “artistry”.
A giggling Katherine admitted that she was “totally out of my comfort zone” but that she’d “had a lot of fun with it”.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas’ week 4 scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24.
In the three-spot? Actor Jaleel White and Kym Johnson. Jaleel admitted that there was no rock music in his house when he was growing up. Of Mick Jagger, Jaleel quipped “Who is this man with the scarf who chicken walks all over the place and… has lips like mine?” and thought his walk looked like George Jefferson’s. Ha. Kym Johnson, meanwhile, was really into rock week. Jaleel seemed a little less certain, but promised to rock it anyway.
Jaleel and Kym hit the ballroom to the iconic sound of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. It was a good routine, overall, I think, even if Jaleel’s expressions were a little funny at times. Yeah. It was almost like Urkel was released a few times and then recaptured.
Carrie Ann said “I loved it” and enjoyed how he’d brought “George Jefferson” to the ballroom. She gave him a hint, though, and encouraged him to not be “so smooth” and add some more stacatto. Len enjoyed the “humor” of Jaleel winding up on the floor in a spin, but criticized the dance for lacking “attack”. He told him to make his footwork “more panther-like stalking across the floor”. Bruno liked the “Jagger beginning” but thought it was “little bit underpowered in the undercarriage”.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson’s week 4 scores: 8, 7, 7 = 22.
Following the Mick Jagger/George Jefferson hybrid were actress Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy with their Paso Doble. During rehearsals, Maks said they needed to infuse a lot of “passion and power”, and Melissa was excited about letting her inner bad girl go loose for once. And then they bickered a lot. Melissa called Maks “relentless” and said she’d take the “anger and passion” and put it into the dance. She also said she looked forward to killing him at the end of the routine. Boo yah.
The White Stripes’ “Conquest” served as the basis for their dance. Melissa looked a little overwhelmed during the fast step sequences, but all in all, not a bad job.
Len “liked it” and admitted that he’d worried that she’d be “unsure and unsteady”. He noted that Maks fell over at one point, but eh, it happens. He looked forward to seeing her do something “lyrical” and slower. Bruno said “hot blooded drama aplenty” but noted that they’d screwed up the end of the dance. He loved the “slower parts” but noted that she looked like she was “running” at times. Carrie Ann called it her “best performance by far” but added her two cents, telling them to find “balance” while in hold.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s week 4 scores: 7, 8, 7 = 22.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver kept the show moving forward with his Paso Doble. His partner Peta Murgatroyd predicted that he’d “kill this dance” and gestured toward his huge guns. She called his physique a big advantage because the ladies will “like it” and Bruno will “love it”. He vowed to “rock” it. (Like all of them. Ugh, overplayed guys. Overplayed.)
As promised, a bare-chested Donald hit the floor with Peta to the sound of “Purple Haze”. And proceeded to drag her around the ballroom like a ragdoll. Yowza, those were some serious spins. But still, there was something a little awkward about it. I don’t know what it was, but there was something a little strained about the whole thing. It was good, sure, but not entirely natural, I guess.
Bruno praised his “great guns” as “muscular, masculine, magnificent”. He called the dance “wonderful”. Carrie Ann called it “psychedellic, sexy, raunchy” and thought it was one of the most memorable events of the season. Len admitted to being a little excited about seeing Donald with his shirt off and said he didn’t know if he’d scared the bull, but he’d surely frightened him. Ha! He loved it and called it Donald’s best dance so far.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s week 4 scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.
Up next to perform was the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gladys Knight and her partner Tristan MacManus. Gladys insisted that she was determined to go as far in the competition as she could. She said she knew that people consider her a good girl, but that she’s “the grandma of rock and roll”. She joked that the grapevine hadn’t taught her a thing about the Tango and proclaimed it a “nasty” dance, but said she was “here to rock you” anyway.
Gladys and Tristan hit the floor to the tune of Queen’s iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. She strutted. She moved. She Tina Turner’s a little.
Carrie Ann called it “by far your most ambitious routine” and liked her frame at the start, but didn’t think it all came together. Len commended Tristan for the choreography and Gladys for coping well with “very difficult music”. Still, he told her that her posture needed to improve and her legwork needed to be more crisp. Bruno thought the number “lacked a little bit of impact” but still called it a job well done.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus’ week 4 scores: 7, 6, 7 = 20.
The oft-shirtless telenovela star William Levy was next in line with a Jive. The Cuban export didn’t know anything at all about 80s metal, so Cheryl Burke brought in reinforcements, two members of the hair hand Steel Panther. William’s response? “Who are these two ugly women?” Bwah.
The pair hit the ballroom to the sounds of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. William looked a little lost at times and messed up toward the end. And there wasn’t nearly as much catcalling as usual. Len said “it is what it is” and called him out for losing timing toward the end. He worried that a bad pattern was starting up. Bruno said “your performance always rocks the house” but agreed with Len’s assessment. Carrie Ann noted that the room goes “crazy for you” but agreed that yes, he needs to “stay focused” and nail the routines.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s week 4 scores: 7, 7, 8 = 22.
Viennese Waltz was the word for Disney kid Roshon Fegan. Chelsie Hightower complained that her partner was really struggling with controlling limbs, and he worried that his best wasn’t going to be good enough for her. The two had a heart to heart, and Chelsie said that she really believed Roshon can go all the way and get it done. Roshon hoped to hear three words from Len: “Good job, dog”. Uh, that’s Randy Jackson, dog. Wrong show.
Anyway, in the ballroom, Roshon put the same great form he’d shown during his Quickstep on display once again. They circled the floor the sounds of David Cook’s ballad “The Time of My Life”. I’m not sure how that’s rock, per se, but hey, it works. And it was a cute, romantic dance.
Bruno declared “you’re flying so high you can touch the sky” and loved how he extends his arms and links his movements. Carrie Ann called it “like watching the climax in a Disney movie”. She called him the best dancer of the men in the competition. Len, fulfilling Roshon’s wish, declared “good job, dog” and went on to praise his “style” and “panache”.
Roshon joked that he was pleased that Carrie Ann had called him “a man” and said that he and Chelsie are “perfect partners”.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower’s week 4 scores: 9, 8, 9 = 26.
Second-to-last to strut it and make tired comments about “rocking it” were TV personality Maria Menounos and Derek Hough. During rehearsals, Maria admitted that her feet were “killing her” and she worried that something was really wrong. Derek pushed her to see a doctor, which revealed that she had a series of stress fractures. Maria stressed that “quitting the show has never been an option” and vowed to “keep pushing through”. Derek called her “a fighter” and was confident that she’d “nail this Tango”. Maria looked forward to having her “rock star moment”.
Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out’ served as the backdrop for their dance. I’m still not sure how Maria’s outer costume blew off at the beginning of the number. It was cool. But anyway, the dance. Pretty good. And I think she got stronger as the routine progressed, too, unlike many of her competitors. Well, until the very end when it looked like Derek was dragging her a bit much. Maria went to piggyback formation with Derek to hear the judges’ comments.
Carrie Ann praised the duo’s “incredible chemistry” and said she was “in love with” their moves. Len thought they had the requisite aggression, but wasn’t sure it was complete control. Her loved her posture, though. Bruno declared “beauty, attitude and sex appeal” and appreciated her links and stacatto action.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough’s week 4 scores: 9, 8, 9 = 26.
The night’s swan song belonged to none other than two-time bottom two survivors Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff. Gavin called rock week “right up my alley” and Karina hoped that his “passion and charisma” would affect their Tango. Despite being out of his element on the dance floor, he promised to keep working at it and “inch my way toward the top”.
Their “Paint it Black” dance was certainly intense. But I don’t think it’s possible to not be intense while dancing to that song. I think it was his best dance so far. Really.
Len said he “liked it”. He appreciated the “flair and attitude” but told him to “tuck your bum in”. Bruno called him “very determined and very focused” but didn’t care for his frame. He cautioned him against being “a turtle at times”. Carrie Ann likened him to Johnny Depp in terms of character portrayal and praised him for “having intention” behind every movement.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff’s week 4 scores: 8, 8, 7 = 23.
So who gets the boot tomorrow night? Beats me, but I’d assume someone unexpected. I’d hope that Katherine and Mark would draw enough votes to keep them safe, but a less-stellar-than-usual performance could really hurt them. Gladys and Tristan wound up at the bottom of the leaderboard, so she could be in the bottom two, but then again she’s a musical icon, so that may grant her some degree of safety. And of course, it could well be Gavin and Karina’s time to go. After two weeks in the bottom two, it wouldn’t exactly be an injustice.
Watch the “Dancing with the Stars” 2012 week 4 results show tomorrow night at 9 PM on ABC. Or you can just check in with me. You know I’ll be watching.
More from this Contributor:
Bruno Tonioli’s Most Outrageous ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Quotes
‘Dancing with the Stars’ Hottest Couples Ever