[VIDEOS] Review: Monday’s episode of Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars LogoLast week, I wrote about the new season of Dancing With The Stars. It occurred to me that it would be fun to keep you updated about things. Again, in alphabetical order by first name, here are my impressions from last night, which saw all the dances shaped around theme songs from TV shows.

Amber Rose and Maks danced a waltz to the theme from Game of Thrones. Rose displayed a good work ethic between week one and week two, which is something I always appreciate when watching DWTS. She was not vulgar (which her history indicated she would be) and she showed unexpected grace and control, something difficult given how thunderous and un-waltz-like the Game of Thrones theme music is. I doubt she’ll get the boot tonight and expect her to last at least a few more weeks.

Calvin Johnson, Jr. and Lindsay danced a Foxtrot to the theme from Family Matters. Once again, Calvin (aka Megatron) left me absolutely charmed. He moves with surprising grace for such a huge man and, as was true last week, he is radiant. His happiness reaches out through the television and just grabs you. I don’t see him winning the trophy, but I certainly hope he sticks around a long time.

Jake T. Austin and Jenna danced a foxtrot to the theme from Go, Diego, Go, an animated children’s show that gave Austin his big break (he was Diego’s voice).  Maybe if I were forty years younger, I’d see something in Austin. At my age, he has no charm, plus he lacks spark and style. A nice enough guy, but a nonentity. I don’t see him lasting long. He may even get the boot tonight.

Jana Kramer and Gleb danced a tango to the theme song from the show Kramer was on. During rehearsals, Kramer apparently tore some muscles between two of her ribs. I’ve had rib injuries from martial arts, and the pain is absolutely agonizing. Despite that, Kramer did a strong tango with Gleb. I was impressed. I still don’t know if I like her personality, but she’s got courage and, arguably, the most beautiful legs ever to appear on DWTS. Unless she has absolutely no fan base, she’ll be around for a while.

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna danced a Paso Doble to the theme from some zombie show. He has a winning personality and seems to be a natural-born dancer, with great rhythm, precise movements, and natural theatrical skills. Unless he has no fans (hard to imagine), he’ll be around for a while.

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison danced a tango to the theme from The X-Files. Wow! That was a surprise. Edmonds’ personality is so buttoned-down that I had no idea he could bring it on when he stepped onto the dance floor. For a tango in the second week, he was moving beautifully: sharp, rhythmic and strong. I look forward to seeing Edmonds in upcoming weeks, because I think he will have surprises for the audience every time.

Laurie Hernandez and Val danced a jive to the theme from Duck Tales. As I said before, unless something goes very wrong, Hernandez is going to get the Mirror Ball. She’s like a Kewpie doll mixed with Betty Boop and then brought to life: completely charismatic. Her gymnast chops help her do the moves, but it’s her personality that puts her over the top. Teamed as she is with Val, one of the best dancers and choreographers, I don’t see much stopping her. Indeed, she’s so good, I barely noticed Val at her side.

Marilu Henner and Derek danced at waltz to the theme from Taxi. I didn’t like Henner last week because she was too giggly and shrieked too much for my taste. This week she calmed down a great deal to reveal an intense, but nice personality, and lovely, graceful dancing. I’d show you a video, but ABC, for reasons unclear, didn’t load it onto YouTube. Between the fact that she dances like a woman half her age (fluid and strong) and that Derek is one of the best choreographers, she’s another who has great potential.

Maureen McCormick danced a quick step with Artem to the theme from The Brady Bunch. McCormick, like Henner, toned down her giggles which made her more likable. Her dancing was better too — less panicked, more competent. The music obviously made McCormick happy. From my perspective, and for reasons I can’t articulate, I just find her lacking, both as a person and a dancer. Nice enough but . . . meh!

Rick Perry and Emma did the quickstep to the theme from Green Acres. I have the same review as last week — he’s no dancer (although he actually improved from Week 1 to Week 2), but he’s fun to watch, since he radiates this happy energy. I’d like to see Perry stick around for a while, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s off as soon as tonight or perhaps next week.

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl danced a quickstep to the theme from The Muppets. I don’t like him, so I’m relieved that he’s a boring dancer. It would be hard for me if this unlikable person was a wonderful dancer. I’ll say what I said last week: He won’t last. The sooner he goes, the better.

Terra Jolé and Sasha dance a quickstep to the theme from Bewitched. Terra got one of the highest scores of the evening for her technically strong quickstep. This is one admirable woman: She gave birth to a baby less than two weeks ago, and her dwarfism means that she has extremely small limbs — and yet, she pulled a fast, technical dance off with panache. Kudos to Sasha Farber for his beautiful choreography and for his lovely way of dancing with Terra. I can’t imagine Terra winning the Mirror Ball, but I’m going to enjoy every minute of watching her grow as a dancer during the show:

Vanilla Ice and Witney dance a foxtrot to the theme from Married, With Children. I had no expectations about Vanilla Ice as a contestant, least of all about his personality. It’s therefore a pleasant surprise to see that he has quite a nice personality, combining a mellow happiness (hard won, given his suicide attempts) with a strong work ethic, and that he can bring his hip hop dancing chops to a very different style of dance. I was actually a little miffed that the judges gave him scores as low as they did. I see Vanilla Ice lasting at least three more weeks and even longer if he’s able to develop more dancing skills.

I’m continuing to enjoy this season of Dancing With The Stars. There are a lot of strong, interesting personalities on the show, and an unexpected number of them show real dancing potential. I continue to believe that Hernandez owns the top spot, but life and reality TV both have a way of throwing out surprising curve balls.

Tonight the first person will be eliminated. I’ll try to remember to tell you tomorrow which person got the boot.

If you like unexpected variety in your reading material, be sure to check out WOW! Magazine, the collaborative site from the Watcher’s Council.