Welcome to week eight of Dancing with the Stars. To recap (before we recap), at the end of the last episode, Ricki Lake had cemented her hold on the frontrunner position, reality star Rob Kardashian somehow managed to maneuver into the top of the leader board and the reliable J.R. Martinez collapsed under the incongruity of trying to tango to the theme from Ghostbusters. David Arquette got kicked off and HLN host Nancy Grace managed to hold on for yet another week, despite a complete lack of ability to, um, dance.
This week, the stars delivered two performances. In the first round the dancers performed rehearsed routines; the second called for “instant dances” for which the competitors had only 20 minutes to prepare jives to music picked out of a giant disco ball.
How did the teams fare this week?
Most improved attitude: The trials and tribulations of whiny World Cup soccer star Hope Solo have been well documented this season. In order to improve her performance, partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy opted to take a different tact this week and actually be nice, encouraging, and kind. He even took her to meet mom and dad. The new attitude paid off. The pair got raves from the judges for their quickstep and a solid score of 27.
Least surprising behind-the-scenes moment: Former prosecutor Nancy Grace is notoriously stubborn, especially in regards to the Italian justice system and taking pointers from dancing pro Tristan McManus. When Tristan admitted that he was tired of her, she acknowledged with a curt, “Good we’re both tired of each other. We should just get married.” Their tango was similarly sassy yet tired, meriting a bleak round of 8s from the judges.
Worst attempt at playing to one’s strengths: After Rob Kardashian’s first round performance, proud sister Khloe tweeted, “Shake that Armenian ass, Rob!” He took the advice to heart and opted to kick off his insta-dance atop the judges’ table. Because when the judges make a meme of staring at your bum, they are kind of asking for it. Unfortunately all Rob got for his whole lotta shakin’ were a string of 8s.
Worst song choice: Even though it’s not ’80s week anymore (except in our hearts, natch), Rob Kardashian and partner Cheryl Burke danced a quick step to a shiver-inducingly peppy and trumpet-addled version of A-ha’s “Take on Me.” The dance gave judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli a chance to get a good look at Rob’s much-discussed “bum,” which he had appropriately tucked this week, earning him nines from the judges.
Best judge interaction: If anyone should be able to deliver a serious kick, it’s Hope Solo. During her insta-jive, the soccer star rocked her unfortunate fringe pants and jived like a pro. Judge Len was so excited by the “bloody brilliant” performance that he even stood up from his chair. To celebrate this highly-caffeinated version of Len 2.0, Maks engaged in some lighthearted sexual harassment, giving the judge a kiss on the cheek and pinching host Tom Bergeron’s behind.
Best comeback: Last week veteran-turned-actor J.R. Martinez and partner Karina Smirnoff flopped during their tango and slipped in the rankings. To make up for it, the couple danced a flawless waltz to the most cloying song in the world (“What the World Needs Now is Love”), and somehow managed to make it not annoying. That alone deserves a few points. Carrie Ann Inaba called the performance magical. And it must have been, because the duo earned a perfect score of 30. J.R. grabbed the mic and thanked the reality show trinity: God, his mother and Justin Bieber. To complete the comeback, J.R. and Karina repeated the feat by earning a second perfect score and a standing ovation for their insta-jive.
Most likely to go home: Nancy Grace lost her way several times during her instant jive causing judge Len to declare her Cinderella story over, “It’s midnight. Time to go home.” When Len gets in touch with his inner wicked stepmother, America is sure to listen.
Join us here tomorrow, same time, to see if we’re right.
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