In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known this is the first episode of Dancing with the Stars I’ve ever watched. Debbie Chang, who normally mans this post (or womans it, to be politically correct) is on a vacay, so whereas she can provide insightful commentary on dance moves and flamboyantly glittery outfits, all I can give you is some grade-A mockery and as many pop culture references as you can stomach.
I’ll be here throughout the whole episode with my live commentary on what’s happening. Hopefully someone will fall, someone’s pants will split, and Mahoney won’t get in trouble with the Commandant.
Hey, it’s Tom Bergeron! Does anyone else remember when he co-hosted the morning show on FX with a puppet, back when the premise of that network was all live TV? If memory serves, Jeff Probst was also there and IMDb claims Phil Keoghan was involved too, so that was clearly a hotbed for future reality show hosts.
Cristian de la Fuente is going sleeveless in a turquoise number, while Adam Carolla is sporting an orange, ruffled shirt. I’m already understanding why people love this stuff.
Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez are up first with a jive. Marlee seems like a woman who loves to goof around. She’s very good at the high energy stuff, though her purple dress is dangerously short. Len Goodman is impressed at her ability to do such a fast dance without hearing it. Bruno Tonioli claims she lost her timing a few times. Carrie Ann Inaba nitpicks about Marlee’s pancake-y hands. They score straight 7s for a 21.
Steve Guttenberg and Anna Trebunskaya are doing the tango. During rehearsals, Anna is sick, so the Gutte (I’m not sure of the proper spelling for that nickname) has to wear a surgical mask. Then she calls in husband Jonathan Roberts to help out, ands it’s absolutely hysterical to see the two men dance together. After the tango, Steve hams it up by donning protective goggles and headgear to prepare for the negative criticism he’s used to. They compliment his improvement and footwork. Bruno believes Guttenberg’s man-on-man rehearsal helped him. Actually, that led to the undoing of Mayor Woody Goodman. He also gets straight 7s for another 21.
On tomorrow’s results show, Kylie Minogue will perform! I can’t get her out of head.
Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke are jiving. He’s a bit difficult during rehearsals, so they go to Sea World so Cristian can learn from a sea lion. The sea lion instantly steals the show, and I wish it was Cheryl’s partner. Ha, they’re dancing to a cheesy karaoke version of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I’m no expert, but he’s pretty wooden to me, so he’ll have to keep taking parts of his shirt off each week if he wants to win. They get two 8s and a 9 from Bruno for a 25, so clearly my judgment regarding dance is way off.
Mario and Karina Smirnoff are tangoing. He’s promoting an album, so he drags her along on his concert to teach him when he has some free time, including at baggage claim. They dance to a tango-fied version of “Roxanne.” I would love a crossover in which the American Idol performers sing the same songs these dancers choose. Len thought it was a mess and Carrie Ann agrees, mainly because expectations are higher for his abilities. The judges are very split: Carrie Ann gives them a 7, Len a 6 and Bruno an 8. Either way, they’re tied with Marlee and Steve with 21.
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough jive. He compares it to kickboxing, which leads to her beating the crap out of little boy Derek in a boxing ring. Poor kid. They start with some nice cartwheels. Next to the much taller Shannon, this looks more like Your Mama Don’t Dance than Dancing with the Stars. She’s so out of breath she needs to sit down to avoid a Marie Osmond-style collapse. The judges adore her and they get straight 8s for a 24.
Adam Carolla and Julianne Hough will tango, and Adam keeps up his funny, self-deprecating demeanor. He Googled tango and found it’s about prostitutes and pimps, so he essentially calls Julianne a streetwalker. He basically plays it straight and lets her do all the hard work. He pulls out some crazy chatter claiming the wardrobe guys must be gay since Julianne is virtually covered head-to-toe. Carrie Ann found him kind of sexy while the others commend the way they hide Adam’s shortcomings in the dance department. They score straight 7s for the fourth 21 of the night. He makes more jokes about learning a dance about prostitutes from a Mormon. Wow, he could be going so far with the risque humor that it might work to his advantage.
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani will jive, and during rehearsal, we get a montage of Tony’s awful jokes. Holy crap, they’re dancing to an awful version of Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” Now that song is stuck in my head for the next week. It’s judged as careful, safe, and not at all as good as she’s capable of. They get a 6-7-6 for a 19.
Priscilla Presley and Louis van Amstel will tango, so she has to tap into her inner actress. It starts off very sensual, a little too much so for my taste, and the rest seemed a bit sloppy to me. Once again, I’m off as the judges rave, and Bruno and Len are very, very turned on by this cougar sighting. They score an 8 from Carrie Ann and 9s from the cougar-hungry men for a 26, the highest score of the night so far.
Jason Taylor, in suspenders, and Edyta Sliwinska jive, and Jason is smart enough to shut up and listen to the pro. He’s very hard on himself, because he’s used to being the best. Wow, I have no idea how this dress is staying on Edyta, but what I do know is that I feared a Janet Jackson nip-slip during the whole dance. Jason is to Carrie Ann what Priscilla is to the male judges – total catnip. They’re all impressed by his lines, but Len criticizes the kicks and lack of true jive. They score 8-7-8 for a 23.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas end things with a tango. She seems a bit too silly to handle the heavy emotion of the tango, so Mark brings in a performance coach to teach her to express her anger. Watch out, angry figure skaters are very dangerous. It seems a bit cold and emotionless to me, but technically flawless. Holy crap, Carrie Ann echoes my sentiments exactly! Maybe I learned a little something about dance after all. Bruno wants her to be a dirty girl. They get straight 9s, again, for the third consecutive 27 for these two.
Tomorrow night, tune in at 9pm for the Dancing with the Stars results show.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)