'Dancing With the Stars' Diary: Who danced their way under the guillotine?
It's a redemptive night on "Dancing With the Stars" -- the only time all season when the competitors have the chance to improve on previous scores and performances before the dreaded first elimination, when one of the eleven will join the ranks of such epic "DWTS" losers as David Hasselhoff, Tucker Carlson and Jeffrey Ross. (Ahem, who?)
Stakes were especially high for Mike Catherwood and Wendy Williams, both of whom languished at the bottom of the week 1 leader board. The pressure was also pretty high for Kirstie Alley and Ralph Macchio, who had the imposing challenge of following up two very well-received dances.
So who came through and who lost some steam? The answers might surprise you. And by "surprise you," we mean "shake you to your very sequin-covered core." And by that we mean "chill out." It's only week 2.
- Though their scores didn't reflect it, we noticed a huge difference for Kendra Wilkinson Louis Van Amstel -- especially in demeanor. The former "Girl Next Door" seemed much more confident and comfortable in her floor-length ballgown and gloves than last week's more revealing number. If she's still worried about looking like a tomboy, she may want to watch a tape of the night's episode.
- Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas made a gutsy move when attempting such a loose, stylized interpretation of the Jive -- and though it's something that may have been more well-received later in the season, it was still pretty shocking to see them get raked over the coals by the judges. Stars should never be penalized for choices in choreography. Shame!
- Is Hines Ward already emerging as this season's frontrunner? We would have had our money on Kirstie or Ralph last week, but with his improvement on already solid scores (and clear favor with the judges), we've got to wonder if he's already destined for the final.
Scores and steps
- Speaking of Kirstie and Ralph, they both faltered a bit in the eyes of the judges this week. Len, in particular, seemed especially harsh. But with a 20 and a 21, respectively, they still go into the first elimination at the top of the cumulatively-ranked pack -- along with Hines (23).
- Romeo (23) and Chris Jericho (23), scoring two of the favorite performances of the night, are also safe on high ground.
- Slight improvements and steady performances leave most of the competitors -- including Chelsea (18), Kendra (19) and Petra Nemcova (18) -- in the lower but likely-to-return bracket.
- And then there's the folks on the bottom. Sugar Ray Leonard (17) was the only lower-ranked competitor to actually lose points in week 2, and though he tied both Wendy and Mike (17s, all around), they showed improvement and, perhaps, a bit more personality.
- Romeo is quite flattered that the judges dubbed him "one to watch." He's also a little confused. "Were they blind or what?" he asked Zap2it backstage when going over the night's high scores. But he has a simple explanation of why he did so well: "This is one of my favorite songs," he says of "You're the One That I Want." "You know, I love 'Grease' the movie, and I didn't want to let down any 'Grease' fans." Go figure.
- We got a bit of a medical lesson from Dmitry Chaplin, who explained what the judges were referring to when they addressed Petra's core issues. "The core is the strength in your in your lower back and your abdomen," he says. "It keeps you balanced and keeps you moving." Petra's core is lacking, in part, because of her past injury to her pelvis, but Dmitry says they're already making a lot of improvement on it. "The best thing to do in the short term is to take ballet lessons," he says, "and that's what Petra's doing. She's already improved, vastly."
- "I don't know what the judges were reading," Wendy Williams says of her perceived attitude difference from week 1 to week 2. "It was the same Wendy, the same mindset."
So who's going home, dance fans? The numbers would tell us it's going to be Mike or Wendy, but we can't imagine losing their personalities this soon -- and there's no telling what kind of tricks a fanbase (or lack thereof) can do to offset the scores. At this point, we're inclined to go with Sugar Ray, but we're not putting any money on it.
Sound off in the comments.