Okay, I gotta come clean. Last week I described the premiere of Season 15 as “predictable,” when I really wanted to say, “lackluster.” But I’m happy to report that week 2 brought back the snap, crackle, and pop. The opening night jitters are gone, replaced by steely-eyed focus from the stars. Let the games begin!
There were lots of standout numbers from newly-partnered teams, who are already forging rock-solid footholds on the leader board. Notably, Apolo and Karina delivered a “gold medal” quickstep that actually had Bruno on his feet, clapping, in the middle of the dance. You don’t see that often. And Carrie Ann dubbed Derek and Shawn the “all-star sweethearts” after their high-energy, Corny Collins Show-worthy jive to “The Nicest Kids in Town.” I mean, seriously. They both started the dance by doing cartwheels down the stairs. I want them to sign my yearbook.
At the end of the night, head judge Len Goodman issued a challenge to the 11 couples who’ll make it through tonight’s elimination. He asked them to really push the envelope and bring us some truly eye-popping routines next week. I just hope no one gets a concussion!
Dance of the Night: Sabrina and Louis wowed the judges with their quickstep to the ‘70s classic “Black Betty.” Quickstep. Black Betty. Possibly the strangest and most brilliant combination of song choice and dance style yet on DWTS. Starting with the genius move of running in from backstage to begin the dance (so rock and roll!), it was an edge-of-your-seat performance from beat one. Fast, precise, and chock-full of content, this dance was elevated even further by Sabrina’s perfect posture thoughout.
Bruno called it “a dazzler,” and Carrie Ann awarded them with the first 9 of the season, landing Sabrina and Louis at the top of the leader board with 26 points. Bam-a-lam, thank you, ma’am!
Ones to watch: I am predicting a battle of the boy bands, here. Joey Fatone vs. Drew Lachey. Former winner Drew and new partner Anna stepped it up last night with a dirty, edgy jive to Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance.” The judges gave Drew notes to watch the flat-footedness, but praised him for his energy and attack. Next up, Joey and Kym nailed the entertainment aspects of their clever quickstep, with a nod to Charlie Chaplin and old Hollywood. Again, the judges pointed out some technical shortcomings. At the end of the night, the couples were tied with 22.5 points. I think Drew wants it more, but this will probably come down to viewer votes and who has the stronger fan base.
Who’s in trouble: Bristol Palin, it’s time to pack your cowboy boots. Choosing “Redneck Woman” for a quickstep was a huge misstep. And speaking of missed steps, Ms. Palin’s limitations are showing in a big way, now that the teams only have 6 days to rehearse in between shows. Len said he liked the “hoe down” but said her technique was “a bit low down.” Even with fairly simple choreography, the performance was sluggish at best. Carrie Ann let the couple know that breaking hold in the middle of the dance was a no-no, which begs the question, is Mark trying to get rid of his partner?
To add insult to injury, after announcing that they’d just received the night’s low score of 18, leave it to the intrepid Brooke Burke Charvet to ask the really tough question. “How’s that feel, guys?”
I’m guessing it sucks, Brooke. But, thanks.
Best moment: Gilles dedicates his amazing jive (“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen) to his father, on the 17th anniversary of his death. After a tough week of dealing with a pulled hamstring, Gilles and Peta pulled off a flawless performance with the “best kicks and flicks of the night.” Seeing the both the relief and emotion on his face… well, that’s why I love this show.
Quotable quote: “Nobody in the band is wearing pants.” -Tom Bergeron, on his view from the balcony. Oh, that wacky Harold Wheeler.
26 Sabrina & Louis
25.5 Gilles & Peta
25 Shawn & Derek
24.5 Apolo & Karina
23.5 Melissa & Tony
23 Helio & Chelsie
22.5 Drew & Anna
22.5 Joey & Kym
22.5 Emmitt & Cheryl
22 Kelly & Val
21 Kirstie & Maks
18 Bristol & Mark