LOS ANGELES - Double the dancers in twice the time! The fifth week of the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars” brought us Len’s Side By Side Challenge.
The show opens with hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke offering some solemn condolences about the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon, which happened earlier in the afternoon. They say they hope they can provide some entertainment.
The show kicks off with all the stars and the pros, the troupe members – and bad boy Maks – traipsing around the whole studio. Instead of having the couples all walk down that staircase for their intros, they’re all dancing in different corners of the studio. Soap star Ingo Rademacher and Kym are on the balcony with a short railing. He flips her – thank God she didn’t accidentally go over the edge. Gulp.
For Len’s Side By Side Challenge, the remaining couples each perform with a couple of professionals. The pros start the dance; the two couples then dance side by side for fifteen seconds; the competing couple finishes the dance.
Random alert! We get a cutaway of Kym giving Ingo a massage on an actual masseuse table –when Tony jumps in and starts rubbing Ingo’s shoulders – without wearing any pants – to Ingo’s amused horror.
Ingo and Kym do a cha cha with pro Tony and troupe member Emma. In rehearsals, they keep talking about Ingo’s hip thrusts. The pros look very smooth, and in the fifteen seconds where they dance side by side, the guys’ choreography seems very simplified. Judge Len Goodman said Ingo had good energy but needs more attention to detail. Judge Bruno Tonioli said Ingo got through it by sheer strength. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba rambles something about “below the belt.” More comments about Ingo’s hip thrusts. Does it have its own Twitter account yet? Score: 21 out of 30.
Ingo tweeted, “7's might seem good but not this week :-) really need the votes! Thanks to u all. Was a fun dance. I had fun @kym_johnson ! ”
NFL star Jacoby Jones and Karina pair with pros Maks and Anna for a jive. Weren’t Maks and Karina an engaged couple? And Maks has a fiery temper. Does that mean fireworks?! Nope. Maks is pretty laidback all show. So Maks and Anna set up a busy jive. The side by side is decent. Jacoby has some pretty fast feet, but his posture is abysmal. While his kicks and splits are wicked, he looks like he’s being goofy old Jacoby. Also, he literally jumps over Karina without help. It’s almost more of a freestyle. Bruno says he has great timing. Carrie Ann says he hammered it. Len says Jacoby will never get a 9 with those clumsy feet. Score: 26.
Boxer Victor Ortiz and Lindsay do a Viennese waltz with pro Tristan and trouper Emma. The number opens with mannequins and flashing fluorescent lights. 1987 called and wants its set back. Yikes – the pros look great. Hard act to follow. But the side by side is good. Victor does rather decent, but the lifts look awkward for him, and barring a few unnatural looking moments, does fine. Carrie Ann calls it a victory. Len says it was better than last week. Bruno says Victor is back in the game. Score: 21.
Victor tweeted, “We need your votes please @lindsay9dance and I are workin hard pic.twitter.com/jGn9l0cGDI .”
Olympian Aly Raisman and Mark do a samba with Tony and trouper Whitney. The pros set a strong tone for fun. Aly looks great in the side by side. She’s working her sass with great movement and hip action. She and Mark are easy to watch. Len says Aly was right in synch. Bruno says they show the effortless, carefree attitude to enjoy dancing. Carrie Ann says Aly brought out her sex kitten. In the balcony, we get our Whoops Moment of the night: Brooke asks Aly about her Boston hometown – while Jacoby makes goofy faces in the background, before realizing they’re talking about a serious subject. Aly’s score: 25.
Aly tweeted, “Dedicating my performance tonight to everyone back home in Boston & anyone affected by this horrible tragedy... Love you all.”
“Bachelor” Sean Lowe and the ever-stunning Peta do a quickstep with pros Tristan and Chelsie. The pros make it look fun with impressive footwork, and Sean does a good job keeping up. He looks more natural than his prior dances, but speed is an issue, and he gets a little sloppy near the end. Bruno says he was like a swan. Carrie Ann says he’s back. Len calls him a pigeon. No one knows what that means, and Bruno is laughing in tears, before Len clarifies it as Sean’s best dance. Score: 24.
Sean tweeted, “Thanks to everyone who voted for me and @PetaMurgatroyd tonight! Please keep voting west coast! Love you all!”
Country singer Kellie Pickler and Derek do a foxtrot with Anna and trouper Henry. Kellie looks great side by side. She and Derek sell the dance with great chemistry and fun choreography. This thing is so old Hollywood: big arm movements, silly steps, goofy gimmicks, but none of it hokey. In the end, Derek whips Kellie around by her arms so much, he virtually sweeps the floor with her. Carrie Ann calls Kellie a million dollar dazzler.
Len calls it a hot trot. (See what he did there?) Bruno compares Kellie to Jean Harlow. Kellie says, “I’m just glad my wig didn’t fly off.” (Kinda wishing it had!) Score: 27.
Deep breath. Comedian D.L. Hughley and Cheryl tango with troupers Sasha and Chelsie. Cue the return of the Frankenstein walk. When side by side, D.L. just looks like he’s walking. He’s also lacking the hip movements and the footwork. Len calls it decaf coffee, looks alright but has no buzz. Bruno says it technically fell apart. Carrie Ann says the differences showed side by side. Score: 18.
Breathe again. Disney star Zendaya and Val do the Argentine tango with Anna and Maks. (And again, no Maks fireworks.) Maks and Anna start off with a fierce routine. But, fear not, the side by side is mesmerizing. Zendaya and Val alone are astounding. Some of her leg movements are so unique, I had to rewind and see them again. Her poise and sense of control when he’s in lead are amazing. Bruno says Zendaya was as good as Anna. Len says they were sharp and tangy, crispy and tasty. Cue the first 10’s of the season. Val dedicates the 10’s to Boston. Score: 29.
Actor Andy Dick and Sharna do a paso doble with Sasha and Emma. It’s a Zorro theme. Andy literally ziplines onto the dance floor. He’s fine side by side. Andy is trying, but the macho dancing does not seem to come naturally. He also has a cape malfunction (#zorroproblems). Carrie Ann loved the entrance. Len says Andy is always great fun. Bruno says it was missing Cloris Leachman. Score: 18.
We could probably expect to see some variation of Victor, D.L. and Andy in the bottom. Andy had entertainment factor, which D.L. was sorely missing this week. Victor is right behind them in low scores, but lacks the fan base. (Although he might get sympathy votes because we learned his girlfriend is cheating on him.) It’s also likely that viewer votes will be lower due to the Boston tragedy.
We’ll learn who gets eliminated Tuesday night on ABC. Selena Gomez and The Band Perry are slated to perform.
More information can be found at: http://abc.go.com/primetime/dancingwiththestars/index .