“Dancing with the Stars” was ready to rock and roll after having said goodbye to soap star Jack Wagner last Tuesday during confessional week. Rock week has always been a mixed bag as it doesn’t easily lend itself to ballroom, but it seemed as though musicians Gavin DeGraw and Gladys Knight would have a small edge on Monday night’s performance show. The show even left Melissa Gilbert in tatters, as she was sent via ambulance with a neck brace (here’s the story).
With apologies to The Who and David Bowie, would we be shouting “Long Live Rock” or witnessing a “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” on ‘DWTS’? Read on….
In the press room, we were treated to a rare backstage view of the red room before the show began. There was Derek Hough dressed up in what looked like a black leather studded jacket and Chelsie Hightower drinking a Red Bull. Derek and his partner Maria Menounos were horsing around, covering the backstage camera with a towel—now you see them, now you don’t! Darn. I would have liked to have seen more behind-the-scenes action.
Rock band KISS opened the show by performing “Rock and Roll All Nite,” fresh off their appearance at the Country Music Awards. The veteran rockers sure have been on the TV show circuit—what’s up with that? It was a typically great performance by KISS; they know what they’re doing by now.
Time for the parade of stars, accompanied by the drumming of KISS, which joined Harold Wheeler and the band. Donald Driver was flashing his abs and so was Val Chmerkovkskiy and his better known brother, Maks Chmerkovskiy. Loved Gladys and Gavin’s’ elaborate eye makeup. My friend in the press room quipped that the eyeliner budget tripled this week!
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: Tango
Val is telling Sherri the tango is a passionate dance of love and hate. He was yelling at the TV hostess in rehearsal and she was disgusted that he was always looking at himself in the mirror. “Did you call me fat?” she yelled at him and later punched him in the gut. There went Sherri, playing the ever popular weight card on DWTS. They sure were getting into the spirit of the tango in rehearsal, though! Sherri began her dance by gyrating alone on the judges’ table and then joining Val on the floor. His hold was very firm and it seemed like Sherri was holding on for dear life. Was she stiff from rehearsal or was it overcompensating in the tango? I didn’t know if I dug their black studded look, either—seemed a little too, er, shiny for a big gal. They ended the tango collapsed on the floor. It just wasn’t sexy. Judge Len Goodman said overall, it was a good job but he didn’t sound that enthusiastic. Bruno Tonioli praised her spirit, also the kiss of death. Carrie Ann Inaba said her face was unusually expressionless so she was disappointed. There were some boos but I thought the judges were right—the dance didn’t suit her outgoing personality and she looked scared rather than confident. She got a weak score.
Katherine Jekins and Mark Ballas: Paso Doble
She is a classically trained singer so how would she do in rock week? Katherine, for unknown reasons except the producers’ whim, got a boxing lesson to learn how to become a warrior in the paso (wouldn’t it be better to fake it in the dance and spend more time in rehearsal instead?). She learned how to be a bad ass, at any rate. On to the dance—more black studded outfits in this dance and it looked like Katherine had borrowed Mel B’s swirling skirt from a season past (memba that?). Katherine and Mark appeared to be warriors fighting behind a chain link fence—I wasn’t too sure what that was all about but who cared? Katherine really acted out the dance; she was tough, she was sultry, she was sure to get big scores . Bruno said she unleashed a whirlwind of fury but forgot to finish it cleanly. Carrie Ann thought her feet were out of position. Len said it had promise but didn’t quite deliver. I was shocked because it looked to all of us backstage to be a perfect paso. The judges protested too much and then gave her great scores—straight 8s. They were just nitpicking the best dancer, methinks, to make it fair for everybody else.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: Tango
Jaleel was still talking about his alter ego, Stephan, and how he needed to be put back in the vault. Why did Stephan need to be sealed away—explain?! The Family Matters star, who was exposed for allegedly berating partner Kym last week, seemed to be getting along with her well in rehearsal. Jaleel started off prancing around to the Rolling Stones I Can’t Get NO Satisfaction then took Kym into hold The music didn’t seem to go with tango at all, which wasn’t really Jaleel’s fault. They did a very good traveling move and his high kick was right on the mark. He whirled Kym around like he meant it and they ended the dance the way many people would enjoy—with Jaleel lying on the floor and Kym triumphantly standing over him (was this an inside joke aimed at the recent gossip?). Anyway, I thought it was Urkel’s best dance yet; he was very imposing looking in the tango and didn’t seem to make many mistakes. Carrie Ann said she loved it and he kept great hold while Len liked the humor the actor put into it. But Len said it needed more attack and foot action. Meanwhile, Bruno loved the Jaggeresque beginning but thought it lacked enough drive and aggression. Boy, the judges were being tough tonight. I hadn’t seen any of those flaws. Backstage, Jaleel inexplicably said George Jefferson walked just like Mick Jagger and that was his inspiration in the traveling part of the dance. What—Jagger wasn’t good enough and he had to mention another TV icon? Hmm—has Sherman Helmsley been asked to do DWTS yet? I wouldn’t be surprised!
Watch Maks and Melissa’s Ill-Fated Dance:
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Paso Doble
Maks and her partner were shown talking about the paso doble and Melissa’s body sure looks rockin’. But her dancing was another story in rehearsal and Maks was back to his old tricks, yelling at Melissa and telling her not to cry. She shoved Maks to the floor and he told her not to harm his jewels. The dance began with Maks in the red light as a matador and Melissa his Spanish darling? IT didn’t sound like a rock song to me; I didn’t recognize the song. M and M actually did this one quite well except later in the dance when Melissa looked terrified as Maks backed her into a corner. The former “Little House” star ended this Spanish-themed tango by killing the bull, i.e., Maks!, I felt it was better than last week and certainly her best dance yet. Melissa got a rose as she waited for her critiques; she seemed, if not, confident, a little more comfortable with the whole DWTS process. Len said he liked it because she attacked the dance. He pointed out Maks had fallen in the dance; I hadn’t noticed that. His buddy Bruno said they messed up the ending and Melissa needed to step it up. Carrie Ann agreed with me (ha), saying it was her best dance yet. In the red room with Brooke Burke, Maks apologized about messing up—the nice Maks was back.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: Paso Doble
The Super Bowl champ got his highest score last week and he was looking forward to competing in the paso doble. Peta loved his spirit in rehearsal and she decided the football player would be shirtless on Monday night. He was covered in tattoos! He put on an old lady sweater in rehearsal to cover up a bit. This dance started with Donald playing a Jimi Hendrix guitar and tossing it aside to join peta on the floor. He shirled Peta around and they did a lot of side by side moves before going into hold. He tossed Peta’s head around aggressively and ended it all by spinning her on her back which led to applause in the pressroom. Bruno stood up and called Donald “great guns” and magnificent. Carrie Ann said what the heck did I just see? “One of the most memorable moments of this season,” she raved, practically falling behind her chair (was she tippling tonight?). Judge Len said he frightened the life out of him but he meant it in a good way–it was his “best dance.” In her way backstage, Brooke reiterated what just happened and what the judges said—why?
Watch Donald Driver Turn in One of the Most Memorable Moments of the Season:
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus: Tango
The singer said class would go out the window this week and she wouldn’t be Miss Goody Shoes. She even said she’d be a “slut” this week. TMI! Gladys will perform to the famed Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” this week, which they couldn’t possibly mess up, could they? Before cutting to commercial, Gladys was shown examining Gene Simmons’ tongue backstage with her partner Tristan recoiling. There was Gladys dressed in black, but the judges and host Tom Bergeron started the number by singing the Queen song in a taped clip behind the couple—very freaky. It sort of distracted from the dance, in which she looked a bit wobbly. She did well in the high kick part, especially for a woman her age. The singer had a pissed look on her face throughout the dance, though, and there was tepid applause afterwards but we got a Tutti Fruiti treat– a shot of Little Richard in the audience. Carrie Ann said it was a hard song to dance to and it didn’t quite all come together. Len praised Tristan for his choreography but said her posture wasn’t right. What did Bruno think? He hailed her as a class act (did he hear her say slut?) but it was a difficult song and had no impact. Uh oh—Len gave her a six! She could be in danger tomorrow night.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: Jive
After the high of his salsa last week, our resident hunk was baffled by rock week, not knowing the meaning of Twisted Sister. Well, he was about to learn as they would be dancing to the rock anthem “We’re Not Going to Take it.” Cheryl brought in the band Steel Panther to give Wills a rock and roll makeover and learn how to handle a guitar. “He’s got great thighs,” one of the rockers gushed. These show packages have been getting more and more corny! Anyway, William looked like a colt in his first jive walk and was a little slow on the side-by-side moves with Cheryl, too. The ABC cameraman zeroed in on the telenovela star’s butt, which was easy on the eyes, but then William botched his handling of Cheryl in one of the moves. After that, the whole dance seemed kind of forced, even if you overlooked the bobble. In fact, Cheryl had lost her shoe while Len was grousing that the couple went wrong, their timing was off. The nasty judge also reminded them they weren’t good last week, either. Bruno said he was off (he always stands up when critique-ing these days). Only Carrie Ann was sympathetic and told the hottie to stay focused. Brooke announced they have a new staircase on the set and asked William and Cheryl how they felt after getting majorly dissed. I couldn’t understand what William said but I guess he mumbled something. Only Bruno had pity and gave them an inflated 8.
Watch William and Cheryl Mess Up:
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: Viennese Waltz
Roshon was ready to get serious and be a gentleman again. But he was having big trouble in rehearsal and Chelsie was being uncharacteristically harsh with him. They talked it out, though, and Chelsie gave him a hug and talked about how he could go all the way—on DWTS, that is. Roshon walked slowly down the stairs in the dance as the DWTS fog machine was pressed into service. Roshon kept his posture very straight and held onto Chelsie very well during the dance; they covered a lot of ground and were rewarded with a Busby Berkeley overhead shot as they spun around. The waltz ended with the youngsters walking off into the mist, a nice touch. Bruno loved the way Roshon extended his arms because it was so graceful. Carrie Ann named him the best male dancer of the show! “Good job, dog!” Len smiled. Dog? What show am I watching? Had Len been watching Randy Jackson on American Idol? Two nines! Roshon sure wasn’t in the doghouse.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: Tango
The Extra hostess was talking about a stress fracture on her foot. First her rib, then the foot—what was going on with Maria? A doctor told her the bad news—the first doc’s visit of the season! Despite falling apart, Maria was always smiling before this, which was kind of creepy. Now, finally, her veneer broke and she actually cried! “My feet have been killing me,” she told Derek in rehearsal. But Maria decided to fight it out and was determined to have a rock star moment. They started dancing to Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Maria’s boyd looked incredible in a sheer, black, backless dress. Again, the two looked like professionals and I had to admit this one was much better than Katherine and Mark’s dance—I wanted to watch it again! Carrie Ann asked if she was okay first, then ate her earrings in giving high praise. Len thought it lost a little bit of control—what a lame quibble. But Bruno talked about her beauty as Derek held Maria on his back. They make such a cute couple but, no, they are not dating.
Gavin DeGraw And Karina Smirnoff: Tango
The couple were having problems in rehearsal. The tango is a sexy dance and Karina wasn’t feeling ti from Gavin and she wanted him to stop talking! [This reporter knows he DOES go on and on. Ha] He was wearing his trademark hat again in the dance and added a burgundy vest to the black look. Oh, dear. I like Gavin but that slow move in the middle with Karina just looked awkward. The Stones song Paint it Black should have been accompanying a great number but sadly, Gavin just didn’t have it tonight (will he suffer in the bottom 2 again this week?). Surprisingly, Len said he liked it, thinking it had flair and attitude, if not the right posture. Bruno said his frame was bad and his shoulders crept up like a turtle. The singer looked disappointed but Carrie Ann made him smile by saying he looked just like Johnny Depp? Say what? Gavin told Brooke he wouldn’t break out of the pack—he WAS funny. Still, 23—better than some people tonight! Yay, Gavin!
Tom Bergeron announced at the end of the show that Melissa got injured and was going to the hospital as a precaution. Fellow dancer Gavin DeGraw, who carried Melissa backstage after she collapsed, shares details on the incident.
Watch a Quickie Recap of All of Monday Night’s Performances: