Latin dances took over the ballroom Monday night, as the hoofer hopefuls on “Dancing With the Stars” faced off in head-to-head and toe-to-toe tangos and rumbas with mixed results.
While the in-house band unplugged for “Acoustic Week,” the amateur soft shoes were in charge of bringing the electricity to the dance floor. The celebs showed up and the routines were there, but with only a few exceptions, the spark was nowhere to be seen.
That comes as no surprise for a few of this season’s usual suspects. It’s not as if anyone expected a jaw-dropping dance from so-so stepper Kurt Warner. And despite sexy promises to the contrary, Bristol Palin’s not-so-rousing rumba was predictably bland.
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So the big excitement Monday night came from the evening’s few extremes.
On the good end of that scale was this season’s fan favorite, Jennifer Grey. After a small slip from the top of the leaderboard last week, Grey returned to her rightful spot with a near-perfect Argentine tango — a feat all the more impressive considering the fact that Grey remains the only non-pro whose partner designs pro-caliber routines.
Matching Derek Hough move-for-move earned the “Dirty Dancing” star the best score so far, as the judges broke out the “10” paddles for the first time this season. Well, at least two of them did. Head judge Len Goodman left his “10” sheathed for now.
As for Grey, she earned quite a few nines, too. In an effort to make matters needlessly more complicated, Goodman and his judicial gang handed out two sets of scores for each dance — one total for performance and one for technique.
As if “Baby” needed a 27 and a 29 to tell her how great she is. And of course, no amount of poor scores could tell Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino anything. Bad is bad no matter how you add it up.
Still, the Sitch seemed shocked when he saw a string of fours and fives from the panel following his poorly-timed and barely-danced tango. It was as if the Jersey boy believed he deserved big numbers for simply catching his partner each time he tossed her into the air. But how much of a surprise could a combined total of 28 out of 60 have been to a guy who admitted he had trouble with “the steps, the timing and everything else”?
But the spectacle that was Sorrentino was easily surpassed by the night’s most bizarre offering, wherein Mrs. Brady went dirty dancing.
Yes, Florence Henderson, who can usually cut a rug well enough, threw out her rumba skills and her sense of propriety before hitting the dance floor with partner Corky Ballas. In a hands-on routine that sailed past sexy into the realm of really awkward, the actress bumped, rubbed and grabbed her way across the stage. All that while Christopher “Peter Brady” Knight looked on from the audience.
Even Carrie Ann Inaba admitted, “It actually got a little uncomfortable.”
And by “a little” Inaba might have meant “a lot.” Then again, without that moment, as well as the earlier bit of bad and brief glimpse of greatness, “Dancing’s” all-new “Acoustic Week” would have been a big boring dud.
Ree Hines almost wants the Situation to stick around a little longer after his most recent can’t-look-away train wreck performance. Almost. Follow @ReeHines on Twitter and share your take on the ballroom bash.