This week it's the Paso Doble and the waltz. Len says that he's researched why "everyone's the same" so far on this season of Dancing With the Stars, and says it's because nobody's practicing enough to really stand out. Last season the average practise time was 19 hours; this time it's 13 hours, and Len says nobody's polished enough.
First up with the Paso Doble are Laila
. They recap their rule-breaking tango of last week, and Laila says she won't point fingers, but clearly blames Maks, who says he's going to do better this week. And they do okay, but not spectacularly. Len says they didn't have enough fire, and Bruno says they started like a blockbuster, but now they're bringing reruns. Carrie Ann says Laila's strength might be causing her to tighten up in the shoulders too much. They all give sevens.
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Next, it's Apolo
with a waltz. In rehearsals, Apolo fears the waltz is too slow and old, which he says they're not, and maybe they don't have the maturity. They also fear they have too much of a "brother-sister" dynamic to pull off the romantic dance. (Uh, that's not at all what the Dancing with the Stars fans are saying.) However, they do amazingly well – Bruno calls them a "dream team" and Carrie Ann says it was really romantic, and both give them a nine. Len disagrees and says it was "riddled with bad footwork" but still ends up giving them an eight.
are up next in the Paso Doble. Leeza says "the competition is heating up." Is she just noticing that, after almost getting booted last week? They call in professional mixed martial arts fighter Randy Couture for some sort of fighting tips, which I don't quite understand. And it doesn't really help them – Leeza still can't dance. Len says their Paso Doble is "dull, dull, dull." Carrie Ann says there's "no way" Leeza is 50, but that her dancing is still not so good. Bruno tries to make a comparison between a juicy steak and "the diet version" which doesn't quite come off. They get fives and a six.
. Man, I hate Cheryl's wigs. Cheryl thinks Ian might be too goofy for the elegance of the waltz. He seems to wear a tux to rehearsals. I guess it helps. My own note on their dance was "meh" but Len says it was "really really good" and gives them a nine, but Bruno says it "started McDreamy, but went to McStiffy." He still gives them an eight, though. Carrie Ann agrees, but backs her opinion up with a seven, saying Ian's not breathing right and losing balance because of that, but that they can "go far."
try to learn the Paso Doble. Edyta tries to go for the Joey Fatone-style Dancing with the Stars gimmick, dressing John as a wizard and saying she's a witch, but it doesn't really come across. Bruno says the magic took fire (or something like that) and they were cursed. Carrie Ann says she couldn't tell if John was really trying or "being funny" and Len says it must have been humor because it made him laugh. Edyta tries to explain the "story" behind their dance which was apparently something about a bird in a swamp. How exactly do they think mentioning a swamp is the way to go? Poor Billy Ray only just got out of that swamp. They score the same as Leeza, two fives and a six.
are supposed to waltz. Clyde thinks last week sent fine because he "didn't fall down" and is finding rehearsals hard, saying that nobody understands how much work it is. Carrie Ann says every dance Clyde does looks like the same dance. Len says he's not even trying, and looks like he's just walking around the dance floor. (I agree.) Bruno says there's more romance between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell, and nobody scores them very high at all, with a four, five, and six. (Carrie Ann just gives him the six because she still finds his ungainliness sort of cute, I think.)
Next up is Billy Ray
. In rehearsals for the Paso Doble, Karina has such a hard time getting Billy Ray to even bend his knees that she ends up crying in the ladies' room at one point. But they pull it all out on the dance floor, and score sevens all round. Len says "this bear is turning into a lion," if not actually a great dancer. Bruno says he was "like a mad bull in Pamplona" and Carrie Ann is confused about whether she found it awkward, hot, strange, or sexy, or maybe all at once. Wow, Billy Ray & Karina scored as well as Laila & Maks tonight. That's surprising.
practice the waltz, which Heather finds particularly difficult, saying she's "absolutely rubbish" at it, plus finds it hard to act romantic toward Jonathan. They do okay, nothing special tonight. Bruno says she continues to amaze him, and that the choreography was great. Carrie Ann says it's not as good as previous performances, and their body language was bad. Len liked it, especially the spins. The judges argue a lot and are cut off; Carrie Ann seems especially annoyed as she wanted to offer them some constructive criticism. They get two eights and a seven.
Last up are Joey
, who promise "no gimmicks" for their Paso Doble. Rehearsals focus quite predictable on Joey's bum-sticking-out problem, with Joey's little daughter joining them to whack him with a ruler when he makes mistakes. They should keep her around; Joey & Kym score two nines and the first ten of this season, from Carrie Ann, who says someone "lit a fire" under Joey's bum. Len says they really captured the flavor of the dance, and that it's the best Paso of the night.
Joey & Kym – 28
Apolo & Julianne - 26
Ian & Cheryl – 24
Heather & Jonathan – 23
Laila & Maksim – 21
Billy Ray & Karina – 21
Leeza & Tony – 16
John & Edyta – 16
Clyde & Elena – 15
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-Mel Harris, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Photo courtesy of ABC