Guess what? You no longer have to head bang in secret. Why do you no longer have to hid your lust for life, The Stooges, and black leather? Because it’s Rock Week on Dancing with the Stars and now everybody’s doing it. To make the black celebration a party, the contestants and pros alike are dressed in their longest hair extensions and most metal looks, ripped from everything from the wardrobes of Mad Max the Insane Clown Posse and/or The Warriors. The only thing wrong with this week is that Jack Wagner isn’t here to shake what his mother gave him, since the former soap star was sent home last week. Well, that and that it’s clear no one on the show listens to anything resembling rock.
Let’s see who bit the head off a bat this week:
Highest Score: When Gene Simmons founded KISS a thousand years ago, do you think he considered the possibility that when he was pushing retirement age, he’d be performing “I Want to Rock and Roll All Night” in full costume on primetime television for an over-30 demographic while clown-faced dancers pirouetted around him? Probably not, but kabuki makeup covers a lot of wrinkles and they band rocked it out. The judges give them 11s, of course.
Best Makeup: With KISS in the house, there was a lot of competition for over-the-topness. Host Brooke Burke Charvat is laughably pretending she’s a rocker at heart, but the only thing she is rocking is a weave. The real winner tonight was musical director Howard Wheeler, who took the prize by popping past the cameraman with a full KISS makeover.
Worst Crimes Against Metal: Hey, have you ever wanted to watch someone tango to “Come On Feel The Noise”? No? Me neither, yet Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy danced their straight-faced tango to the Quiet Riot classic anyway. The judges were unimpressed, doling out a mere 21.
Strangest Prep Work: Who’s up for Thai? Mark Ballas is, because he thinks that the best training for the paso dobles is a round of Muay Thai boxing. Poor Katherine Jenkins has no idea whether it’s weirder to be in the boxing ring, or dancing the paso while dolled up like an extra from Underworld. The outfit was so strange, Bruno Tonioli accused her of looking like Storm from the X-Men, which was generous.
Most Shocking Revelation: Kym Johnson tells Jaleel White that he has “Lips Like Jagger,” and he believes her because he has never heard nor seen Mick Jagger before, which is bewildering. Their tango to “Satisfaction” is uninspiring until Kym throws Jaleel to the ground and spins him around. The judges liked what they saw, but they only scored a 22.
Worst Near Death Experience: Melissa Gilbert and Maks Chmerkovskiy didn’t get the metal memo and are dressed like gilded toreadors, which is much more appropriate for their paso dobles. Then at the end of the routine, Melissa killed Maks in honor of the poor women who came before. The judges didn’t like her killing off their sassiest pro and gave her a mere 22.
Best Color Commentary: Despite being a proud member of Gang Green, Superbowl winner Donald Driver is dancing to “Purple Haze.” Carrie-Ann Inaba declared their routine one of the most memorable moments of the season. Brooke made sure to thank Peta Murgatroyd for instructing Donald to dance sans shirt. They got 27 out of 30 for their efforts.
Most Disturbing Visual: Tonight it’s a tie between Glady Knight measuring Gene Simmons’ tongue and the disembodied heads of the judges singing the opening notes of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Strongest Rock Lineage: Before taking her spin across the dance floor, Gladys Knight reminds America that she is the only competitor who has actually been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sadly validated rock and roll roots, sparkly eyeshadow and Rod Stewart’s hair, don’t guarantee great dancing. The judges dock her for sloppy posture, and she gets a 20.
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Best Cross Cultural Moment: William Levy knows nothing about ’80s hair metal bands, so Cheryl Burke brings in purportedly famous hair metal band Steel Panther to help him learn the part. Despite the fact that William initially thought they were extremely “ugly women,” they showed William how metal is done in America. His jive set to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Going to Take It” was fun to watch, but the judges felt he was sloppy and getting complacent and gave him only a 22.
Least Metal Moment: It’s a good thing that the judges don’t detract points for not sticking to the week’s theme, because Roshon Fegan and Chelsey Hightower dressed for a Disney prom at an institute that was definitely not a rock ‘n’ roll high school. The judges raved about the performance, giving them a 26 and, of course, the homecoming crown.
Most Truly Hardcore Moment: Maria Menounos has finally found the perfect accompaniment to go with her her cracked ribs — a stress fracture in right foot. But Maria doesn’t let any pesky broken bones get in the way of her love of the dance. She knocks out a performance, earning a 26 and a well-deserved piggyback ride from Derek Hough.
Best Extra Credit: Gavin De Graw is determined to dig his way out of the bottom and he thinks tangoing to “Paint it Black” in a velvet vest is the way to do it. It’s one of his better performances and he earned a respectable 23 points, but I’m pretty sure some of those points were for knowing who the Rolling Stones are. (Yeah, we’re looking at you, Jaleel White.)