'Dancing with the Stars' Live Recap: Tell Us a Story
'Dancing with the Stars' Live Recap: Tell Us a Story
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It's Week 3 of Dancing with the Stars season 10. Let's refresh: last week, in a not-so-surprising move, America chose scandal over potential, and so we said goodbye to Shannen Doherty rather than Kate Gosselin--whom we can all agree was the worst dancer, can we not? The worst dancer who isn't 80 years old, anyway.

See where Kate, Pam and the other stars landed in our DWTS Week 2 Performance Rankings

But despite her wimpy jive last week, the scoring slate has been wiped clean, and Kate's back to try again as the 10 remaining stars take on the paso doble, waltz and quickstep. Each dance must tell a story. Whether the story they tell is happy or sad, it's up to the stars to make sure their dancing will be classified as fantasy, not tragedy.

Will these storytellers do their tales, and their dances, justice? Or will their characters, and their moves, fall flat against the music? It's time to find out, because I'm recapping this Dancing with the Stars Week 3 Performance Show ... "Liiiiive!"

The night starts out with a run-through of tonight's three styles, starring past pro favorites Jonathan Roberts, Lacey Schwimmer, Dmitry Chaplin and more. It's a group routine about the power of "true love," says Brooke Burke.

Then it's time for the stars' routines ... First up:

evananna-dwts3.jpgEvan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya
Dancing: Quickstep
Song: Instrumental from Chicago

Story-ography: They're husband and wife, and he's mad because she's late. "Do we make up? You'll have to wait and see," says Evan.

Judges Say: "It was bright, it was light, it was full on with control. You've gotta work on your feet." - Len
"She might have been late, but you were ready to give her the ride of her life. Good for you. Teach her a lesson!" - Bruno
"It was like a nice, twinkling, athletic, energetic ... I love the way you took the characters in and out throughout the dance." - Carrie Ann

I Say: What a fun way to kick off the night! Evan had a couple broken toes, but he was so light on his feet, you'd never know it! This was a lovely, energetic and adorable quickstep with very few, very small posture problems from Evan. He's really coming into his own. Watch your back, Nicole!

Scores: 9+8+9=26

buzz-ashly-dwts4.jpgBuzz Aldrin & Ashly Costa
Dancing: Waltz
Song: "It's a Wonderful World"

Story-ography: A father comes home from war to his doting daughter.

Judges Say: "It was more like the return of the kind. Royal, monumental ... When you started to move, it didn't really go anywhere. It didn't really flow. But you look very regal." - Bruno
"This week it was about storytelling, and I believed you completely in the role ... There was definite affinity, something pure and innocent." - Carrie Ann
"It had an innocent charm about it. The technique was poor, the routine was oversimplified. As a dance, it wasn't that fantastic." - Len

I Say: Perhaps more than his age, Buzz's analytical brain is keeping him from achieving much lyricism in his movements. He plays the role of the dignified soldier very well, but he slowly shuffles through the movements like they're military orders, and fails to achieve the musicality and grace of a ballroom dancer yet again.

Scores: 5+4+4=13

jake-chelsie-dwts4.jpgJake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower
Dancing: Quickstep
Song: "Walk Like an Egyptian"

Story-ography: An explorer opens a tomb and inside he finds Cleopatra, alive and kicking.

Judges Say: "I think when you have that much production value, you make it hard to make it good. ... Your knees were a bit funky." - Carrie Ann
"You have to straighten up. Overall the production was very slick, but some of the dancing was a little bit slack." - Len
"What you're doing in the sarcophagus, I'd like to know! Sometimes you lose the frame. But, as a performance, very good." - Bruno

I Say: The judges are right on. This was a bit like a Michael Bay movie: lots of investment in the production, not much invested in the substance, a.k.a. the dancing. The result? A fun and entertaining story as the main course, with a mediocre quickstep sitting on the back burner.     

Scores: 7+7+7=21

niecy-louis-dwts4.jpgNiecy Nash & Louis van Amstel
Dancing: Waltz
Song: "I'm Born Again"

Story-ography: They're a cross-racial couple in the 1960's who fall in love despite discrimination.

Judges Say: "You must work now on better technique, gotta work on your feet. Emotionally, though, you got it just right." - Len
"It was a tale of love surviving against all odds. And you did it well, but you stumbled in the beginning." - Bruno
"It's a very important story to tell. What confused me was I didn't understand the ending. The bittersweet energy stayed the whole way through. Niecy, you are one emotional dancer." - Carrie Ann

I Say: This was an emotionally charged waltz that perhaps wasn't as technically charged as it could have been. Regardless, Niecy is proving to be a fierce competitor and actress out on the floor, and her routines are lovely to watch, even if they could still be sharper. You can teach footwork, but that sort of no-holds-barred vulnerability on national TV comes from her being a natural performer.
Scores: 7+7+7=21

chad-cheryldwts4.jpgChad Ochocinco & Cheryl Burke
Dancing: Paso Doble
Song: ?

Story-ography: Chad's trying to seduce Cheryl, but she wants nothing to do with him. "Sounds familiar," says Chad. "It's art imitating life for us ... for real."

Judges Say: "Chad, you released the Krakken! The power is back. The presence is back. The determination is back. But be careful, because at times you still dance like the Krakken." - Bruno
"Miles ahead of where you were last week." - Carrie Ann
"Got to work on your posture. Other than that, you dominated the dance. Well done." - Len

I Say: I got my wish: the name 'Ocho Cinco' on the back of a bull fighter's jacket! That might have been enough to appease me, but--bonus!--then I got my other wish for Chad: he got his mojo back, and brought a fierce, crisp and sexy paso doble to the floor. He's more in his element in these fast and fiery routines, but the grace and posture are still up in the air.

Scores: 7+6+7=20

pamdamian-dwtsweek4.jpgPamela Anderson & Damian Whitewood
Dancing: Paso Doble
Song: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

Story-ography: Pamela is a gypsy flamenco dancer, and she's in love with the bullfighter, but she despises what he does for a living. It definitely plays off of Pam's passion for PETA.

Judges Say: "I definitely got the story. The anger was great. You have this certain artistry to all your movements. You threw just a little too much into it, and you threw yourself off sometimes." - Carrie Ann
"It had intensity. You need refinement in the dance, that's all." - Len
"Underneath this sex-bomb exterior, there is a really good performer. You have the ability to do it." - Bruno

I Say: Right on, Carrie Ann ... This routine was full of excitement and passion, but certain times Pamela seemed to slip fully into character, and forget her steps. Nevertheless, a fiery and sexy routine that was very fun to watch. Pamela's got it, even if at times that "it" isn't perfect technique.

Scores: 7+7+7=21

aiden-edyta-dwts4.jpgAiden Turner & Edyta Sliwinska
Dancing: Quickstep
"Hey Soul Sister"

Story-ography: Aiden is a painter who paints his dream girl, and then she comes to life. (Also: Happy birthday, Aiden! Seeing his wife and baby girl show up to surprise him warmed this little blogger's heart.)

Judges Say: "The quickstep should be carefree, and this for me was a little bit careful. Let it go a little bit more." - Len
"You look as happy as a clown compared to last week. You look like a kid skipping around a meadow." - Bruno
"The confidence is growing. You were a little too light on your feet. You were a little too bubbly. I definitely see improvement." - Carrie Ann

I Say: Aiden is making progress from week to week, and seeing those improvements is gratifying. He was light on his feet--true, maybe a little too light at times, where it felt like the choreography might fly away from him--but we're starting to see more of his personality shine through. He possesses a strong, masculine posture and presence on the floor.


erin-maks-dwtsweek4.jpgErin Andrews & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing: Waltz
Song: "See the Day"

Story-ography: She's blindfolded, and putting all her trust in him to lead her around. (Is that really a story, or is it just a gimmick? You be the judge.)

Judges Say: "You kinky thing ... You have to link movement." - Bruno
"Beautiful storytelling. Breathtakingly artistic. The prop added dimension. I loved seeing you trust him, but your hand grip gave it away that maybe you weren't trusting him enough." - Carrie Ann
"The most boring start I've ever seen. It's a waltz, sunshine. The waltz you did, I liked. There was not enough of it." - Len 

I Say: This routine really divided the judges, and it divided my own tastes as well. On the one hand, Erin is definitely one of the most lyrical and beautiful dancers in the competition. But on the other hand ... ehhh. I may be responding to Erin's lack of progress (because she started off so strong to begin with!) but this routine bored me a little bit. I love (LOVE!) Maks, but I found this blindfold story less "profound" (really, Carrie Ann? "Profound?") than a gimmick to spice up some smoldering stares and slow-going (but still lovely) waltzing. 

Scores: 8+7+8=23

kate-tony-dwtsweek4.jpgKate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani
Dancing: Paso Doble
Song: "Paparazzi"

Story-ography: She's Kate Gosselin (duh), and she's pissed off at the paparazzi (Tony) for following her around all the time.

Judges Say: "That was odd. In all honestly, it was very hard to watch. I don't feel that the emotion got to your face." - Carrie Ann
"You got through the dance. The whole thing was too pedestrian." - Len
"I think it was a good thing. You played the character. A face like thunder. That has to translate into movement. You looked like you were walking." - Bruno

I Say: After last week's jive, Kate had nowhere to go but up. Or so I thought. Instead, she stayed about where she was before: doing the moves, but without much feeling. She still held back, even when, in her face, she looked like "the super bitch from Hell" (Bruno's words). She claims the dance helped her channel her frustration, but the frustration stayed put (like lead deposits) in her arms, legs and hips throughout the whole routine. 

Scores: 5+5+5=15

nicole-derekdwts4.jpgNicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough
Dancing: Quickstep
Song: "Anything Goes"

Story-ography: "Two sailors slacking off," says Derek. Okay then.

Judges Say: "That was not a quickstep, it was just a load of vaudeville. Beautifully done, but not a quickstep." - Len
"As a performance, it was incredible. But I have to say Len is right. You should keep hold all the way through." - Bruno
"Lift ... broke hold ... two rules broken. But when you guys take that act on the road, I want front-row seats." - Carrie Ann

I Say: I'm not much of a stickler for rules, so I have to say I adored this routine, which was exuberant and bursting with appeal. That said, I can see why the judges would come down hard on Nicole and Derek's literal "anything goes" choreography. The point of ballroom is to work wonders within the traditional techniques assigned to each style. I think Derek got greedy after his double tens last week and tried to top his jive with a stunt-tastic quickstep, which made it a little less quickstep in the end. But still ... bravo! I'd love to see that quickstep-ish again, and it was danced almost flawlessly.

Scores: 8+6+9=23

That's it for the week 3 performances of Dancing with the Stars season 10. What do you think of our new leaders, Evan and Anna? How about Kate's paso doble: did she redeem herself just a bit? And what about Buzz's waltz: should America keep this moon man around just for his heartwarming personality? Because, hate to say it, but Buzz's feet, patriotic as they may be, might be a lost cause on the ballroom floor.

Check back tomorrow for my performance rankings from tonight's show. Tomorrow evening I'll be live recapping the results show once again, when the field of stars will shrink to nine. See you then!

(Images courtesy of ABC)