Leg warmers, big bangs and frizzy hair, oh my! Eighties week on “Dancing with the Stars” 2011 came to a close October 18 with the elimination of yet another celebrity Mirrorball hopeful. But which hoofer got the boot? Here’s a complete recap of the evening’s action.
The show opened with a performance by a quartet of “DWTS” pros and troupe members, set appropriately to a medley of tunes by 80s poster child Madonna. The whole “Like a Virgin” / “Like a Prayer” set seemed a bit risque to me. Call me a prude.
Up next, co-host Tom Bergeron turned to Len “crankypants” Goodman for his thoughts on the eliminations through the first four weeks of “Dancing with the Stars” season 13. Len expressed dismay at the too-early bootings of reality star Kristin Cavallari and singer Chynna Phillips, both of whom he’d pegged as potential Mirrorball winners. But he summed up his thoughts with a pointed quip: “Don’t moan if you don’t phone”. Take that, non-voters!
With all of that in the rearview, Tom and Brooke Burke-Charvet began the week 5 eliminations with the first two couples of the night: talk show host Ricki Lake and partner Derek Hough, and soccer star Hope Solo and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Both duos earned 24 points for their 80s week performances, but both didn’t immediately make it to week 6: Ricki and Derek were cleared to dance again, but Hope and Maks found themselves in danger.
Following a break, Brooke chit-chatted with three of week 5’s hottest male celebs, reality star Rob Kardashian, actor David Arquette and soap star and war veteran J.R. Martinez. Rob quipped that three of his exes called to ask him why he hadn’t been so sexy while with them, and David said he was “floating on a cloud because Len finally accepted me”. Leaderboard topper J.R. was ready to “keep the momentum” and “entertain” with a Quickstep next week.
Then there was a pre-recorded segment featuring the celebs’ thoughts about their partners. J.R. admitted that he and Karina Smirnoff are one another’s “therapists” while fashion guru Carson Kressley shared that Anna Trebunskaya once took a bath at his house. Oh my! Hope said that though she has an “up and down” relationship with Maks, they share a mutual respect that gets them through. There was more. Really. I just can’t type that fast.
Kelly Clarkson followed with “Mr. Know it All”, the first single from her upcoming album entitled “Stronger”. She looked understated but classy, her hair straight and long with not-too-chunky bangs and clad in a simple black dress. Kelly got an assist from pro dancers Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus. She has such strong pipes. You go girl. And Tristan and Kym are way sexy. Woot.
Kelly made an interesting statement post-performance. Referencing Kym and Tristan, she said “if I could dance like that, I would be on this show, but I can’t.” Tom promised to teach her if she joined later on, and she said “it would be a comedy” but didn’t rule it out. But ooh, wouldn’t that be fun? Maybe when her career tanks down the line….
Up next, a new segment featuring an “I beat the odds” story aired. The pack profiled Charm Ladonna, a Compton native whose mom made sacrifices like not paying bills in order to send her to dance classes as a child. She shared her story of rising to success in the world of dance, and then she danced live with “Dancing with the Stars” pros Mark Ballas and Derek Hough. They worked it. Oh yeah.
After a break, the next special guest, CMA and AMA nominee The Band Perry, hit the ballroom with their number one hit “If I Die Young”. Kimberly Perry was striking in a long-sleeved off-the-shoulder number and black knee-high boots. And her distinctive voice sounded sweet live. The band was accompanied by pro dancers Karina Smirnoff and Louie van Amstel. I loved how the pair sang along — I haven’t seen that happen often.
And then more elimination business as 80s week high-scorers Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke, J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff, and David Arquette and Kym Johnson gathered on the stage to hear their respective fates. J.R. and Karina were first to be declared safe, and then David and Kym were sent to the danger zone before Rob and Cheryl were saved.
With five couples of eight in either the safe camp or the danger camp, Kelly Clarkson returned to the stage with “Walk Away”. She was joined by a quartet of pros, including Mark Ballas, Val Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd and a troupe member. Kelly had such a great time performing! Woot!
And then… more results, as the three lowest-scoring contestants stepped up to find out whether or not they’d make it to next week. While Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer and Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus were proclaimed safe, Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya found themselves under the red lights.
After a break, the three final couples stood atop the ballroom stairs before David and Kym were declared safe to dance again. But who gets the boot, Hope Solo or Carson Kressley (who incidentally, weren’t necessarily the bottom two)? After the usual dramatic music, Carson Kressley was eliminated from the competition, and the ballroom uttered a collective groan. A gracious Carson thanked everyone involved with “DWTS” and called the experience “pure joy”. He promised to return every week to “cheer for my castmates”.
Although Carson was certainly one of the weaker celebs in the mix, I’m still sad to see him go. He was the most entertaining character on the show this season, and it annoys me that Chaz Bono managed to outlast him.
Tune in to “Dancing with the Stars” 2011 on October 24 to see the seven remaining couples as they take on Broadway week. It’ll be interesting, no doubt. Or you can just check in with me. You know I’ll be watching.