If I sound a little depressed, it’s because I’m about to watch my first Dancing With the Stars episode of the season that doesn’t have Terrell Owens on it. If you’ve read my previous recaps, which I’m sure you have, you know that Terrell was my personal favorite. Was it because of his natural dancing ability? Nope. Was it because I’m a big fan from when he played in the NFL? Hell, no. The last time I watched anything that was even remotely related to football was when I caught the last ten minutes of The Waterboy with Adam Sandler while channel-flipping. No, Terrell was my favorite because he’s tall, dark, handsome, and has a six-pack that looks like it was made out of Kevlar.
But Terrell is gone, now just a distant twinkle in DWTS host Tom Bergeron’s eye. So I must forget about him and move forward. I’m going to distract from my emotional pain by focusing on Monday’s episode, which marks the beginning of the semifinals. It’s getting real now, folks — well, as real as a TV dance competition featuring semi-famous celebrities vying for a mirror ball trophy can be.
Each contestant will be doing two dances tonight: one a dance of his or her choosing, and the second, a reinterpretation of an iconic dance from past seasons. Confused? Yeah, me too. But I’m settling onto my couch and getting ready for whatever happens.
Starting off in the first round is real-estate mogul Drew Scott doing a tango to the song “500 Miles” by the Scottish band the Proclaimers. This dance is supposed to celebrate Drew’s Scottish heritage. I guess no one told him or his partner that there is no less Scottish dance style in the world than the tango. To make things even weirder, Drew is performing in a kilt. Luckily he’s wearing underwear, because I definitely catch a few glimpses of his “Scottish Highlands” during the routine.
I’d critique Drew’s underwhelming performance, but I’m too busy staring at judge Bruno Tonioli. Bruno is rocking a fake tan that looks like he spent the past three days submerged in a vat of orange juice. Orange Bruno, Len, and Carrie Ann all give Drew eights for a total of 24.
Next up is ESPN host Victoria Arlen, who, if you remember, spent a large portion of her youth paralyzed. In her pre-taped intro, we learn that her contemporary dance is dedicated to her parents for all they did for her during her illness and long recovery. I have to admit, I’m getting a little misty watching it, but that may be because I just thought about Terrell’s abs.
The judges are also moved — either by Victoria’s dance or the memory of Terrell’s perfect abs — and give her three nines for a total of 27.
Now, here comes the-way-too-talented Jordan Fisher doing an Argentine tango that he dedicates to his younger brother and sister. In his pre-taped intro, we see that his dance partner Lindsey’s knee gave out during rehearsals, so there’s great drama over whether it will happen to her again during this performance. Everything Jordan does is always wonderful and perfect so, of course, it doesn’t. (In case you haven’t read between the lines, I’m jealous of a 23-year-old boy.) Carrie Ann, Len, and tangerine Bruno give Jordan two nines and a ten for a total of 28. And they reveal that Jordan got a scratched cornea during rehearsal, which is the same injury my friend comedian Jeffrey Ross got when he competed in season seven. These guys oughta start wearing safety goggles when they dance.
Next is violinist Lindsey Sterling doing a contemporary dance to celebrate the obstacles she has overcome throughout her life. She doesn’t mention it, but I guarantee one of those obstacles was being forced to learn the violin instead of a cool instrument like the guitar or the drums. Anyway, the judges love her performance and give her two tens and a nine for a total of 29.
Here comes actor Frankie Muniz with a cha-cha. What I love about Frankie — besides the fact that I get to call a 31-year-old man “Frankie”— is how enthusiastic he is when he dances. He puts his heart into his performance and even removes his shirt at the end of the dance. Unfortunately, his abs pale both literally and figuratively in comparison to Terrell’s, so the judges give him two eights and a nine for a total of 25.
Now, we move on to the second round of dancing, and first up is Drew doing a jazz dance from season 17. Drew’s dance moves are a bit stiff and jerky but it’s not HIS fault. It may have to do with the fact that he’s 11 feet tall and a real-estate agent. In his routine, Drew attempts a rather dangerous move, where he spins his partner Emma by the legs, with her head mere inches above the floor. While I’m relieved they do the move successfully, a little part of me would’ve liked to have seen him lose his grip and send her sailing into the judges’ table, where she would emerge unharmed but covered in Bruno’s orange spray tan. But enough of my dreamin’! Drew gets three eights for a total of 24.
Victoria is up next, doing a Charleston, also from season 17. Usually, the dance moves of the Charleston remind me of someone in a bad 1960s sitcom trying to get a squirrel out of their clothes, but she does a remarkable job and gets two tens and a nine for a total of 29.
Here’s Jordan, doing a jive from season 22. I say this every week, but this kid is so damn talented it ticks me off. He and his partner do a flawless performance, of course. Carrie Ann screeches, Len gushes, and Bruno turns a deeper shade of orange. They give him three tens for a perfect total of 30. Damn, kid!
Lindsey Stirling is up, doing a tango from season 18. There’s no mention of Scotland in her performance, so it’s my favorite tango of the night. The judges seem to like it too, and give her two nines and a ten for a total of 28.
Finally, it’s Frankie Muniz doing a paso doble from season four. This seems to be an incredibly hard routine, but Frankie and his partner somehow get through it. I mean, sure, the entire time he has a look on his face like he just pooped his pants, but they DO get through it. (By the way, if you don’t know what that look is, go into a public place, poop your pants, and then look in a mirror.) The judges are not overly thrilled with the routine and give him a two nines and an eight for a 26.
ELIMINATION TIME! I always feel so bad at this point in the show. These people work so hard for so many weeks, only to be voted off and forced to take their perfectly toned abdominal muscles back home in defeat. And the dancer voted off is …
Victoria! Wow, I did NOT see that coming! And if Jordan did, it was only with the eye with the healthy cornea! I give this episode four out of five stars. I’m leaving one off in loving memory of Terrell’s tight tummy.