'Dancing With The Stars' Season 13, Episode 9 Results Recap
Good news, everybody: this week’s “Dancing with the Stars” elimination makes barely more sense than Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas’ surprising Week Three elimination.
Bad news: there’s no way I could stress “barely” enough.
The viewers spoke and Tuesday night, the curtain came down upon Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani’s run toward the Mirror Ball Trophy.
The duo’s “Mission: Impossible”-themed tango fell flat after what looked like a challenging week-long rehearsal. If the pair’s performance show video package suggested anything, it was that Phillips and Dovolani couldn’t get on the same page deciding when Phillips felt uncomfortable and wanted to keep drilling Dovolani’s routine, and Dovolani wanted instead to move quickly through learning it and to reassure the former Wilson Phillips singer that he’d pick up the slack on the floor if needed.
Upon watching their number again, Phillips looked lost and flustered. Watch closely enough and you can indeed see where Dovolani talked her through step-to-step.
Even looking a touch stumped, the dance still didn’t look necessarily “bad,” despite being the pair’s weakest of their routines, especially following their Week Three rumba that had judges Bruno, Len and Carrie Ann praising what a quick study Phillips has been. Almost equally as puzzling was that Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke landed beside Phillips and Dovolani upon the chopping block despite Kardashian only getting stronger with each passing week.
That being said . . . bring forth my dead horse, for I must kick something.
That Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer got another mercy pass with yet another week-low score (though the pair at least climbed past the ‘teens this week) is a touch boggling, but with every week that he survives, it’s more and more a testament to Schwimmer doing her damnedest with well-planned choreography to compensate for everything Bono just physically can’t muster. But good grief, this week it was schtick, pandering and cheese from the moment they entered the ballroom.
I was behind Bono’s inclusion in the cast from the beginning. I found the right-wing uproar absurd, and continue finding Bono’s optimistic pluckiness in the face of all of it genuinely admirable. His body’s clearly racked with pain each week but he just won’t quit. His heart alone is bigger than the ballroom.
But Ye Gods, the coasting on his backstory this week reached an eye-rolling perfect storm of processed cheese. Really, that’s exactly what I did the moment he and Schwimmer entered the ballroom wearing boxing robes.
Oh, and it just happened to be “Famous Hollywood Scores” Week. There’s no way I could possibly need to spell out how obvious and desperate the pair’s campaign this week was going to be from the onset.
Phillips had one off-week. Bono continued a three-week streak of "off-weeks."
Not that there’s any possible way anybody with a memory longer than Guy Pearce’s in “Memento” could’ve forgotten this by now, but just in case it’s slipped someone’s mind why producers selected Bono, he’s a transgender-male author and LGBT activist who’s faced a similar long history of persecution, marginalization and exclusion that many LGBT adults experience almost every day of their lives from the time those individuals become aware of their sexual identities.
Week-in, week-out, it’s alluded to by the judges after every routine without really calling the elephant sitting in the middle of the room by name. He’s so “courageous” and has “so much heart” doing what he’s doing. That’s usually followed by a few honest words about how his actual dancing – though, the judges always fairly acknowledge, is hampered more than Bono can help by severe pain in his knees and ankles – is often pretty lackluster next to the other contestants’ routines.
This week? Consider the pretense dropped. It was out-and-out “Please, vote for our sob story” theatrics – right down to Schwimmer enlisting Richard Simmons to lead Bono in a silly boxing-themed conditioning montage.
Yes, complete with Bono running up steps . . . which, in case you didn’t watch the embedded video, is also how he finished his Performance Night routine.
It was a lot like the scene in “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” when the Miss Teen American Princess choreographer tells pageant contestants to smear Vaseline on their teeth before their physical fitness dance number, suggesting “if the judges are looking at your teeth, they won’t be looking at your feet.”
Here’s the thing about the cheap “Rocky” campaign that the cheese-sauce masks.
Consider J.R. Martinez. He served his country, suffered severe injuries during a landmine explosion he could’ve neither desired nor obviously expected, and barely escaped with his life but nearly lost his sense of self-worth in the wake of severe and permanent scarring.
Though he’s cited as a soap star and Army veteran every week, nobody who’s actually watched an episode this season could possibly convincingly argue that he hasn’t been right beside Ricki Lake and Phillips as one of this season’s strongest performers. He actually dances so well for someone with so little experience, that you forget his backstory and just wait on pins and needles to see him perform. He’s that enjoyable to watch.
His real story this season has been Martinez finding a whole new soul and confidence on the floor that even he seemingly never realized he had. His backstory hints at immeasurable heart, but it shows most in his performances and his refusal to coast on wounded-veteran sympathy.
Consider Ricki Lake. In 2010, she lost her worldly belongings to a fire. Her marriage failed. In 2011, she’s found love, danced 13 inches off her waist just during pre-season rehearsals with pro Derek Hough, and is the contender nobody saw coming. Yet she’s handling it all with a humble grace that is a joy to watch every week. Her Week Four routine with Hough to the score to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” gathered two perfect-10 scores from Bruno and Carrie Ann respectively. It’s been all ability and will.
Consider Kardashian. He admittedly wanted out of his famous, over-exposed sisters’ shadows. He went from shy and unsure, to getting visibly better every single week to the point that I couldn’t believe the fellow dancing with Burke to the theme from “Superman” was the same guy I watched during Week One.
Let’s get outside “Dancing with the Stars,” even. This past weekend, I watched a UFC Lightweight Championship rematch between champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard. For the uninitiated, Edgar started out fighting cutting down to fight at 145 pounds from his natural 155-pound weight. Maynard, on the other hand? He comes down a good 15 pounds at least to fight in the same division.
This past January, the two fought for the second time – the first being a Maynard decision win years ago, Edgar’s only career defeat. During their January fight, Edgar got rocked early and absorbed a staggering almost 200 punches in the first five-minute round. Announcers Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg expressed amazement that Edgar wasn’t knocked out.
Edgar did a lot more than that. He not only went the distance – another four five-minute rounds – but won nearly every round, keeping it close enough for a draw that made a rematch inevitable. This past weekend started out as nearly a repeat. Edgar got shelled in the first round, nearly finished, and went back to his corner bloodied. This time, Edgar didn’t go four more full rounds.
He only needed two-and-a-half or so. In the fourth, he scored a TKO and handed Maynard his first career loss.
Those are the “Rocky” moments: competing like you’re completely unaware that anyone overlooks you or counts you out, or like nothing’s ever held you back before.
That’s what the “Rocky” anthology was about. It’s pretty conspicuous that this week, it wasn’t until Len gave his critique – noting backhandedly that the dance wasn’t by any means great, but was still the pair’s best so far – that there was a single comment about the actual dance itself. If I hear the word “heart” come out of a judge’s mouth one more time during a critique, it had better be from a scrawny South American kid and punctuated by a flying blue man with a green mullet telling ABC viewers “The power is YOURS!”
That Bono competes every week without fail sends a positive message: “I came too far to quit. If you want me gone, vote me off, because I won’t step off willingly.” Actively hamming up his underdog story is blatant pandering masking the fact that unfortunately, there’s no way his actual dancing itself will win a dance competition.
At this rate, the contestants trying to win this competition with ability alone are the ones playing “underdog” to Bono’s deck stacked with sympathy-vote cards.
Dancing with the Stars