So as you’ll recall, we had two weeks of dancing and two weeks of voting before anyone got kicked off. Kind of like those Double Stuf Oreos, only the filler is worse for you.
The two-night totals going into Results Night are:
Martina Navratilova & Tony Dovolani: 37
Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 40
Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff: 41
Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus: 42
Jack Wagner & Anna Trebunskaya: 44
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd: 45
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough: 46
Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy: 46
Jaleel White & Kym Johnson: 48
William Levy & Cheryl Burke: 49
Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower: 49
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas: 52
Yes, you are correct in your observation: A certain greatest tennis player to walk the face of the earth has some ground to make up.
The results show opens with The Troupe, dancing their hearts out with the boys wearing suits and girls wearing not much of anything. They all look fantastic, but you’ll never know if I really mean that, because the DWTS site has failed to post any photos of them.
The hosts talk. I didn’t recap them last season and I see no reason to start now.
And then, bang, they’re into the lowest scoring women for…
The first round of Safe-or-Whats
Once again, the dancers are on hot mics, so you can hear Melissa say “Oh my God! I almost ate it up there.” Melissa says she won’t cry, which she did a lot of in rehearsal. This confounded Maks, because I’m pretty sure that when he and Hope Solo felt any stress last season, they would simply head-butt each other until one of them fell down.
We see a clip of Len the Mandatory Cranky British Judge giving Gladys Knight some legitimate criticism and a 5 for a score and Gladys sweetly (and firmly) says “That’s OK, that’s OK,” to the enraged crowd over and over so they don’t rush forward and tear him to pieces with their teeth. I respect Gladys even more now for sparing Len’s life.
Martina and Tony also get the hot mic treatment, and in a bit of dancing confusion we hear him say, “We’re trying, I know.” Oh, dear. Martina is sad after their dance. She says, “I just blew it.” She is not a woman to go is easy on herself.
Melissa & Maks: Safe!
Gladys & Tristan: Safe!
Martina & Tony: Aw, I just realized they made her wear the shirt again. Note to the costume department: You do many wonderful things, but Martina is a living legend here. Do not dress her as a naughty Fabergé egg ever again.
Martina learns that she is in jeopardy and does a very funny over-the-top sarcastic pantomime of surprise. I like her a lot. Psst, Martina, you should do a show called Just Relaxing and Having a Drink or Two with the Stars.
Care for some filler?
Sugarland plays a song. The singers want you to know that they are super in love with each other and just have to express that in front of the whole wide world. They don’t want to, you guys; they have to. Fine. Also, the lead guitarist may be making eyes at you. I’m just saying. No, I totally think he checked you out while he was doing that groiny thing.
There is some lovely dancing by Peta and Tristan, and, oh, for crying out loud, the singers are still singing deeply into each other’s magical faces instead of looking at the audience or the camera even once. I wish I had more tolerance sort of thing, but I don’t. To hell with them. I’m on Team Emotive Guitarist.
The second round of Safe-or-Whats
This round is with all the highest-scoring men! Are we really going to go through with that pretense? Apparently so!
We learn that Jaleel has a daughter who is cute, and that no matter what William says, the women in the audience scream. If he has any moxie, he’ll start just saying random words. (“How did you feel about that dance?” “Camelopard.” “EEEEEE!”)
Roshon is charming, and wow, does he look great on the dance floor. Like he made some sort of deal with gravity and it gets to go take a coffee break sometimes while he air hockeys around.
We see footage of William being post-dance happy and he actually seems to be a pretty fun guy. Which the Dancing with the Stars audience will never notice because OHMIGOD, HE SAID “UM!” EEEEEE!
Jaleel & Kym: Safe!
Roshon & Chelsie: In jeopardy! Oh, please.
William & Cheryl: Oh, how sweet, William actually looks anxious. Safe!
The stars are realizing that one of their new friends is going home and it is sad. On the other hand, it’s not like they have to Hunger Games it, so maybe they should settle down. Also, no one says anything original. Oh, dear, Martina fell for the thing where the producers tell you that they’re recording everyone saying, “It won’t be me going home! No way!” so it’s safe to say it on tape. I fear this is a bad omen.
William says he can’t go home because he hasn’t danced shirtless yet. Dude knows which side his bread is buttered on. And I guess where the milk is coming from for the churn. Melissa earnestly says she has so much more to learn. Okay.
Hey, let’s meet some new troupe dancers!
There is a lot of sexy gyrating, but we haven’t actually “met” anyone yet. I guess dancers skip the formal introductions. Lifts! One guy sticks his tongue out at the camera! We eventually find out that Emma and Henry are the new Troupers! Hi, Troupers!
We get a wondrous shot of Katie Couric clapping and wondering how the hell she ended up there.
The third round of Safe-or-Whats
Oh, stop it: They’re pretending that Katherine might be in jeopardy. Give Cindy Lou Who a ridiculously charming Welsh accent, some killer gams, and real dancing chops. Are you sending her home? Didn’t think so.
Maria is being very brave about her broken ribs. She’s bummed that she got off time a bit during her performance. Girl, YOU DANCED WITH BROKEN RIBS. Cut yourself some slack.
Sherri really hits the Venn diagram intersection of fun and exhausting. Katherine is Welsh and adorable.
Katherine & Mark, Maria & Derek, and Sherri & Val are all safe!
Are we surprised by this? No, we are not. I wrote in “safe” for everyone in this batch as soon as I finished typing their names. Sherri Tina Turner–dances with joy and Katherine hugs the broken-ribbed Maria. Damn, that is some coldblooded strategizing. You go, cute-as-a-bug, possibly evil Welsh girl.
This number is a bouncier song and I’m less resentful of them this time, even though they are between me and the final results. I’m even enjoying it, damn them.
The troupe does some excellent jumpy spinny dancing. Hello, midriffs! ABC doesn’t have pictures of this troupe number either, and in this case, it really would be worth firing off an angry e-mail. You have been robbed.
The final round of Safe-or-Whats
Jack is on, on, on, smiling and ON, in the very high-strung way that actors sometimes get when they have lost their faith in the notion that you will still like them if they step offstage and stop being a character and just freaking relax. He is tense and clench-smiling and he makes me sad. I wish him good dances and some less-troubled thoughts.
Donald is sweet, and he and Peta seem to really get along. I hope they stay in it for a while. GAVIN, WE KNOW WHY YOU ALWAYS WEAR THE HAT. Everybody knows why. People on the International Space Station who have never heard of you know why. And no one cares or judges you for it.
We just wish you wouldn’t wear a hat all the time to try to hide it because we can smell your fear and it makes us uncomfortable on your behalf. Tape a picture of Captain Picard up by your bathroom mirror, find your sexy, and give the hat a day off.
Donald & Peta: Safe!
Gavin & Karina: In jeopardy! Why did we do it in this order? There are only three jeopardy slots. Jack and Anna have known they are safe for 12 minutes by the time they get their announcement. Oh, all right.
Jack & Anna: Safe!
Roshon & Chelsie are safe after all. A thousand duhs.
Gavin & Karina and Martina & Tony are the bottom couples. Martina has a game plan for future improvement and cannot wait to get out of her bra and disco fishnet top. Gavin still has his hat on.
Kicked off this week:
Martina Navratilova. Boo.
She departs with grace, saying it was an amazing experience and cuts herself no slack.
Well, hell. She turned out to be funny and cool, and that was nice to find out. She danced with honor and determination, and I suspect she had about the right level of taking it seriously.
You’re awesome, Martina! Enjoy picking out your own clothes and not having to do a dance in honor of an awful moment from your childhood, which is what the others are in for next week.
And whatever you decide to do next, we’ll recap it.
It’s kind of a relief to know that whatever it is, it can’t be Dancing with the Stars.