…Wants to be the first to say goodbye.
Oh friends. MOTOWN WEEK. So so many feelings this week. FEELINGS.
The Meal: A Motown Soul Food Flavor Explosion! Gar-Bear’s famous ribs, mac and cheese, cornbread, and amazing collard greens. Peach cobbler for dessert. This food was so good, I took crappy cell phone photos just so those not on the couch would be jealous:
Oh baby baby.
On the couch: Tsarina Deb, Sloman, Neighbor Wendy, Silent Partner Rob, Rib Master Gar-Bear, Susan and the blogger.
The Show: Dancing With The Stars, season 14, ep. 10
Assessment: First of all the FOOD. Below, I’ve transcribed the following conversation that took place after we all began eating:
Gar-bear: [Coming in from the grill] How are the ribs?
Next the show — How kickass was it that the stars got to dance to the actual singers? Yes, most of the Temptations were replacements (Otis Williams being the only original still alive) and Smokey Robinson might have looked like he had arrived to the ballroom via Madame Tussauds — but still! They all sounded great.
Hi Tristan! Tristan, do me a favor — don’t get rid of those sexy geeky specs. You all know I love me a good nerd and seeing Tristan in those glasses literally made me squeal with delight. I feel like this was Tristan and the costume department’s way of giving me a personal shout-out. Thank you.
Also, while we’re talking about outfits, look at the vision Gladys is! She looks great in that color and her hair and makeup is flawless! She looks about 40. Well played, costume and makeup team.
Oh right, the dancing. So, I know I’m biased towards the team my boyfriend is on, but: I really loved this rumba. I thought it was so cute. I totally got that they were trying to put signature Motown moves into it. And sure, it wasn’t the most difficult or perfectly executed dance, but man — I grinned the entire time I watched it.
Over on his interview with EW.com, my boyfriend says he got in a “fierce bad mood” at Bruno criticizing the dance for not being steamy enough.
“I thought that was stupid. It wasn’t about being steamy and hot, and no one wants to see me steamy with Gladys. I don’t think it was appropriate. They said, well maybe you’re not the best dancer, and things needed to be more steamy. Being steamy doesn’t make anyone a better dance either, does it? That’s just a gimmick.”
Those glasses aren’t just for show, friends. My boyfriend is smart.
Still, I get what the judges were getting at. The best parts of this dance were when they were out of hold and Gladys could give it some of her delightful sass. And I think what Bruno was not articulating well is that the rumba seems to be about connection as well as passion. And if Gladys isn’t comfortable in hold… you get where I’m going with this.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 7
Maria and Derek had a foxtrot to Martha Reeves singing “Jimmy Mack.” I should point out something kind of hilarious about this night — which was that Gar-bear pretty much had no clue what any of these songs were. He had never heard them. Unless John Williams composed it, you can pretty much guarantee that Gar-bear doesn’t know it. He doesn’t listen to music… and pretty much never has. So when we were all couch dancing Monday night, Gar-bear would be all, “I’m sorry, what song is this?” This left him clueless for the bonus question of trying to guess what songs would be danced to. He kept asking if it was on the list or not.
Anyway. Another point in the costume department — I loved Maria’s mirror ball dress. So swishy and sparkly!
Aside from Maria almost biting it on the stairs and thus getting out of sync during their little interlude, I thought this was pretty good. Not Maria’s best dance (I think I liked their quickstep better) but it was fairly solid. I think Derek’s choreography was delightful and fun, too. Over the past couple seasons, I’ve really come to admire his style as well. Think back to when he was with Ricki last season — dude’s got a really good handle on both his partner and their needs as well as what the judges want to see.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 9 Bruno: 9
Roshon and Chelsie had a rumba, danced to Smokey singing “Cruisin’.”
First of all, Gar-Bear referred to Roshon as “Ferrero Rocher,” which I found pretty hilarious. What with his name and the hazelnut-colored shirt, Roshon, you are a luxurious bon-bon. From henceforth I shall refer to you on this blog as “Ferrero.” Hat tip to Gar-bear.
The prepackage was once again all about Ferrero trying to be sensual and sexy… I don’t know why this bugs me. I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that Ferrero looks so young. I get he’s 21 and capable of being steamy, or whatever. But something about these clips just bug me.
As for the dance, I thought it was a little frantic at spots, and apparently there was a LIFT, OMG, which I totally missed, but could see when I watched it again. (That lift was totally accidental, but eagle-eyed Carrie Ann was not having it.) Ferrero’s background as a freestyle/hip-hop dancer is both a blessing and a curse, I think. Either that, or he’s watched Legally Blond a few times, because he’s got the “bend and snap!” movement down.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 8 Bruno: 8
Katherine and Mark did a samba to “Can’t get next to you” sung by the Temptations.
Costume people did another awesome job with Katherine’s outfit and hair. Doesn’t she look fab. So fun and kicky! I’m less thrilled with Mark’s hat, damnit, because I lost bonus points on it. (It’s my own fault, really — I should have known better.)
As for the dance, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I feel like it was well-executed and had great content. It was also fun to watch. But I could not get past that this was a weird song to samba to. I mean, it’s Motown. Samba isn’t exactly what one thinks of when you’re listening to these songs. It was just an odd choice for my tastes, and as such I felt it lacked some traditional samba moves.
Another problem I had: the return Mark “Look At Me” Ballas. More ham than in a butcher shop. For the most part, he’s been pretty good this season. I think it all went to hell in this dance though, and the inner jumping bean had to come out for a good mug.
I will say that I enjoyed this dance more on rewatching it for this recap. It’s a fun number. Just simmer it down, Ballas.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10
Donald and Peta had a foxtrot to “The Way You Do The Things You Do.”
Whoa. First of all, that color. Across the couch, most people hated that suit Donald had to wear. Tsarina emphatically proclaimed, “THAT SUIT MAKES ME WANT TO VOMIT.” I actually just think it’s not a horrible color, there’s just a lot of it going on. Oy. Also, those feathers on the bottom of Peta’s dress crack me up for some reason.
As for this foxtrot, I agree with Len. I think Donald can handle more content. But it was a perfectly fun foxtrot and solidly performed. High-fives and chest bumps, Driver.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 9 Bruno: 9
Melissa and Maks danced a Viennese Waltz to Smokey’s “Ooh Baby Baby.”
Melissa is my Romeo of the season. I keep marking her down as the one to be voted off and she keeps sticking around, defying the odds. Must be some big Little House fans out there.
I have to say, though, this is the dance I enjoyed Melissa in the most. She was I think the most relaxed and seemed to enjoy this dance more than others. It’s like she’s (finally) getting comfortable on the dance floor. Or maybe the Viennese Waltz is just well-suited to her. I feel like this dance is where she should have been two weeks ago. So improvement has been noted, Half-Pint. Keep it up.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 8
Speaking of improvements…. wow, Jaleel. Way to recapture the magic. Jaleel and Kym danced a cha cha to “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
I don’t know if it was the music or what, but Jaleel looked like he was just having a blast. And Kym’s choreography was fabulous and perfect with this song. Very fun to watch. This is the Jaleel we were rooting for in week 1!
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 10 Len: 9 Bruno: 10
And to wrap up the night, William and Cheryl rumbaed to “Being With You.”
A lot was made in the prepackage about how this would be the hottest rumba ever.
Yeah, not so much. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I just didn’t find it sexy at all. It was completely blah to me. I know a million fan girls (and Bruno) scream each time William moves his hips. But I saw absolutely no connection between him and Cheryl. Zero chemistry. I just rewatched it, just to make sure it wasn’t just the mac and cheese making me sleepy on Monday night — nope. Still not doing it for me. Len went as far as calling it “raunchy” (which Neighbor Wendy predicted). Aside from Cheryl making the O-face a lot, I didn’t even see that.
Judges’ scores — Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 10
Bruno, stop judging with what’s in your pants, man.
I guess I also should address the cha cha marathon — which was fine. I know these dance marathons are done in all the time in ballroom competitions, but I don’t think it translates as well to TV. There’s just too much going on at once. I will say that I think Katherine and Mark rightly won (and holy lime green outfit, Batman!). But I call absolute bullshit on William and Cheryl making it to second place when all he was doing was sliding across the floor with his shirt open. I’ve embedded it below so you can watch it again, and perhaps catch something you missed the first time around (complete with victory hamming from Mark, of course).
I have to say, everyone present on the couch did very poorly with their personal scoring — Not including bonus points, I think the high score was 6. This week it helped to be in Paris or house-sitting, apparently, as the absent trashers were the ones who did best. As the Tsarina said during the inconsistency of the paddle waving, “Fuck you, asshole judges!” (We were all a bit frustrated looking at our score sheets, ok?)
But now the Empress of Soul has left the ballroom. I am obviously bummed — not just because it means also the exit of my boyfriend from the dance floor, but because Gladys was a joy to watch. I know it was time — she couldn’t keep up with the demands (especially, as the dance duel showed, there’s just no way to go head to head with someone who’s 21 and not currently on a concert tour). But you guys! On Motown Week? Feels wrong to me. Still, she was the picture of poise and joy as she made her farewells and both she and Tristan seemed to be at peace with it. Way to be Gladys. Keep on being fierce and sassy.
P.S. – Tristan, call me!