It’s Motown Night on Dancing with the Stars and while it sounds like a bad prom theme, it’s an affair to remember with Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and the Temptations all in the house. After last week’s elimination of Gavin DeGraw, there is only one other dancer who has consistently been on the bottom of the leaderboard and that is Gladys Knight. But there’s no way they will send the living legend home during Motown week, is there? In the immortal words of Morrissey, has the Perrier gone straight to my head or is life sick and cruel instead? We’ll find out the answer to that tomorrow.
Here’s what happened last night:
Biggest Insult: When you have Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and the Temptations on the show singing their hits, it’s almost rude not to invite Gladys Knight up on the stage to sing. Instead, they had Human Nature sing their college a capella covers of Motown hits, which made me hope that Barry Gordy would rush the stage and show them how they do things in Detroit.
And the ‘Best Teacher’ Mug Goes To: All eyes are on Gladys this week who was dancing to “My Girl” by the Temptations, a group she claimed to have repeatedly smoked at softball back in the day when they toured together. To guarantee a win, she invited her brother Bubba — who was an original Pip — on to the show to teach Tristan McManus how to dance Motown-style. Unfortunately Tristan is 12 and Irish and potentially more likely to admire One Direction than a Motown legend, but I appreciated Bubba’s step-and-clap moves. Gladys scored a meager 21, despite owning the night according to Carrie Ann Inaba and a promise from Len Goodman that he would rush home and vote for her. Promises promises, Len.
Most Likely to Make a Poop Joke on National Television: Lest anyone in the world think that the graceful Maria Menounos is also classy, she’s here to ensure you that she’s not. Before their performance to the Martha Reeves’ song “Jimmy Mack,” we got a montage of Maria’s most déclassé moments, including a poop joke and something worthy of bleeping. Somehow all of that did not stop Bruno from declaring that her dance had elegance. They earned a 26.
Least Sexy Sexy Dance: Disney Star Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower busted a move to Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin.” It was supposed to be a sensuous dance, and the audience (and their competitors) were on their feet to applaud their Harlequin romance novel–inspired moves, but Roshon is a gawky teenager and, for me, it felt a bit too Mary Kay Letourneau. Also the judges skewered it for being jerky and “paint by numbers.” They got a 23.
Best Bergeronism: When Katherine Jenkins stepped on to the dance floor, she was naturally escorted by her partner Mark Ballas whom Tom Bergeron introduced as “Mark Ballas wearing the Gavin DeGraw hat collection.” Making fun of both Gavin and Mark in one half-sentence on live television? You earn perfect 10s from me, Tom! Katherine and Mark performed excellently, earning a 29 and causing Len to utter …
The Weirdest Compliment: “You’re the midwife, because week after week, you keep delivering.” Hmmm, I think we have a new tagline for Domino’s pizza. She got a 29.
Scariest Prop: In order to help Donald Driver reach greatness, his partner Peta Murgatroyd brought in a life-sized cut-out of Len holding up a 10 placard and we can only assume she insisted that Donald carry it into the bathroom, the bedroom and the shower with him. The ploy worked, because Donald wowed the judge, earning a respectable 27 and a decree from Len (the real one, not the paper one) that the routine wasn’t as big as Donald’s talent and that Peta should push him harder.
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Worst Personality Trait: Maks Chmerkovskiy has a lot of great assets, but patience isn’t one of them. When he tried to teach Melissa Gilbert the Viennese Waltz, his patented technique included yelling, “Are your f—ing legs together?” “Son of a…” and more. We probably wouldn’t have noticed his bad behavior, but for once his shirt was on. His brutality paid off, though, and Melissa got a 24 from the judges.
Biggest Comeback: Last week, Jaleel White was in a dance duel to save himself from elimination. This week he wowed the judges with his routine. What made the difference? In rehearsal, Kym Johnson encouraged Jaleel to be a completely different person. “That’s what’s gonna take us all the way, is if you get out of your personality a bit.” Whatever works, right?
Second Best Bergeronism: It may have been Motown week, but Tom was shining brightest last night. After William Levy and Cheryl Burke finished their rockin’ rumba, Bruno Tonioli raved, “You two are wired for sex!” to which Tom coolly replied: “Okay, stop being an electrician.” And Tom wins the first 30 of the season.
Tiiiiiiime Killlllllerrrr: In the inimitable words of Billy Mays, but wait, there’s more! As contestants are eliminated, the show needs to kill time, god forbid we only have one hour of celebrity dancing a week — hence, the dance marathon set to a Motown beat. The premise was simple: Everyone cha cha and whoever lasted the longest gets the most points. First couple ousted were Glady and Tristan, hinting that maybe being a Motown legend gets you nothing on Motown night. Melissa and Maks were awkwardly eliminated mid-lift, leaving Katherine and Mark and William and Cheryl still dancing. Finally, as expected, Katherine and Mark won, earning 10 extra points.
Best Guess: If it wasn’t Motown week, it could be Gladys’ week to go, but since it is, I’m thinking Roshon Fegan may find himself back on the Disney set this week.
Come back tomorrow night to see who doesn’t make the cut.