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Tuesday, 2 of March of 2021

Dancing with the Stars – Week 7

“It’s going to be one of those nights. Fair warning.”

JR shoots a Ghostbuster gun at the end of his dance.

Don't cross the streams.

It’s Week 7 so there’s a noticeable uptick in contestants using that number to explain why they did what they did on the dance floor. A lot of “It’s Week 7 so I gotta bring it” rhetoric.

Adding to the obstacle of “Week 7-ness” was a song selection that was like someone went to their iPod and picked six songs that were vaguely about Halloween but not really because who has “Monster Mash” on their iPod all year long? No “Thriller.” No “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” Yes to “Abracadabra.” Yes to a tango set to “The Addams Family” theme. I would say this is a remark on how the DWTS cachet has crumbled (since they’re not getting top flight songs to play) but, then again, Justin Bieber did two songs during the results show. So I don’t know what to think. Maybe he just needs to make some dough to support that kid after all.

But back to that “Addams Family” number. I’ve been making fun of Shemp Kardashian from the beginning of the show. I didn’t think he’d last three weeks (Noel put him at one). I put him at the bottom every time, ranking him with Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono, but that’s probably not fair. I can objectively see that he’s improving in the dance from his limp shuffling about in the early stages of the competition. I’m told that he’s a very likable person though I’m not sure I see it myself. Not that he’s a bad guy. I don’t want to like him. Call it a Kardashian stigma.

But maybe I should cut the guy some slack. Though doing the tango to “The Addams Family” wasn’t as difficult as doing it to, say, “Ghostbusters” (that’s not just raising the handicap for JR — that’s setting him up for failure), it’s still a hard song to do anything to that’s not call-and-response snapping. He tries hard and improves week to week. Though I still think he’s fighting a losing battle, maybe it’s time to give Rob Kardashian his due, let him rise above what made his family internationally famous (big butts, a sex tape, and being quintessential doofuses), and attain the highest level of integrity a dance competition comprised of acutely famous people can afford.

But Shemp Kardashian is such a good name!

Let’s take a spin through the six couples.

David Arquette (“Abracadabra” by The Steve Miller Band)
I had no idea this song was by Steve Miller Band. Absolutely none. My dad used to have a greatest hits CD he’d pound through his giant floor speakers and I don’t recall this song being played once. Maybe he skipped it every time. Maybe I blocked it out. It’s not one of my favorite tracks. It just sounds too 80s in all the worst ways. Why am I talking so much about this song? Because David’s dance was a horror show from pre-dance video all the way through. Total yawn-fest. But, apparently the judges thought it was opposite day and gave him all 8s. I don’t get these people.

JR Martinez (“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr)
That they had to actually dance to this song — I feel like calling shenanigans, especially since the dance was a tango. It’s absurd. I guess they thought, “Well, if anyone can do something with it, it’s going to be JR.” They tried their best and, despite Len calling it substandard (“It’s your own fault”), he was able to squeeze out a nine from Carrie Ann, who might still be crying from Week 3. Sometimes you just have to limp through your bad fortune and know you’re going to survive to the next week because you’re JR and who has the stones to cancel you now?

Nancy Grace (“Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band)
Her pre-dance videos are funny. Her attempting to dance the jive is hysterical. She didn’t move her feet at all and her partner was clearly compensating for her footwork. Think of it like that time James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted the Oscars. Nancy Grace’s feet were stoned and disinterested with being shown about in public while her partner had to hop, spin, and show everything but the goods just to make the dance look like it was working. Everyone knew it wasn’t working, particularly the judges. But, strangely, they can’t give anything below a 7 anymore. Don’t you think it would be fitting to give them a 6 6 6? Come on, judges. Where’s your Halloween spirit? If you’re going to fail Nancy, at least do it with some flair.

Rob Kardashian (“The Addams Family Theme”)
The kid is growing. The dance was good, especially for the horrible song selection, and they’re getting more technically proficient. I don’t have to like him. The judges did.

Ricki Lake (“Sweet Dreams” by Beyonce)
Ricki has an injury but, unlike Chaz, didn’t whine and shuffle through her dance. This was her opportunity since the song selection didn’t screw her like it did everyone else and, you know, she’s a good dancer. Did you ever think you’d say that ever? Ricki Lake is a good dancer.

Hope Solo (“Werewolves of London” by Zevon)
Hope touted on Twitter a couple times this week that she and Maks had the third most points in this competition, which is a pretty solid feat since that only trails the perennial first and second place contestants JR and Ricki (the results of the Week 7, however, have Rob edging her out of the top three by a single point). But she got there by getting middle-of-the-road scores the whole time and this week is no different. Her dance was fine like it usually is. The best part about her entire sequence was the pre-dance video where Maks had to sit out with turf toe (I guess? Something with a toe). If there was a theme for her this week it was realizing her poisonous relationship with her partner. Maybe it’s time to sub out Maks and put in Hipster Dancer. More on this in the team dance.

Team Tango (JR, David, Nancy)
To cap off the performance night, the dancers split up kickball style with captains and everything. Nancy was, naturally, picked last. Their dance to “Disturbia” by Rhianna was disturbing to the judges. I just thought it was boring. Although I probably missed most of it because the flashing lights might’ve sent me into an epileptic fit. Or I might’ve blacked out when Nancy gave a come-hither finger to the camera. It’s like a living nightmare.

Team Paso (Ricki, Rob, Hope)
The far more interesting story was with Team Paso. The pre-dance video featured the rest of the dancers feeling awkward and looking embarrassed by the toxic relationship Hope and Maks employ. Once you put them in a room with other, less dysfunctional couples, it’s readily apparent why they have suffered so much as contestants: they don’t work well together. That’s what happens when you start boning your dance partner: you waste your chemistry doing the horizontal mambo. So it took a village and everyone else helped Hope learn the routine. In the end, it worked out for the whole team. Not only did they knock it out of the park (to “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence — when does Amy Lee go on this show?) but they earned the encore dance. Everyone was sharp, everyone had some flair, everyone worked. Maybe it’s not Hope that sucks. Maybe it’s Maks.

One thing I liked:
I didn’t remark on it last time they had the dancer Spotlight but, even though its fodder for tears, I appreciate that they’re doing it. If this show does anything beyond feed the celebrity addiction of minor stars, they push the pretense of supporting the art of dance everywhere. The set-up to these sequences has all the expert editing of an emotional American Idol contestant introduction to finish with someone achieving a dream. Even if it’s manipulative, it nice that they pluck these people out and show the world anyone can have their talent exploited by network television. I swear I like this.

One thing I didn’t like:
I’m tired of the audience booing anything critical that the judges have to say. Get a grip, people. If you boo everything, your boos will mean nothing. It’s like not tipping your bad bartender: the bartender just thinks you’re the idiot. Not that I think the judges are bad. You’re the problem, studio audience.

And one thing I still don’t get:
Justin Bieber everything. I wondered why he would be performing on this show and it looks like he didn’t know why he was there either. I don’t listen to the radio so I honestly haven’t a heard a lot of his music before tonight. Just as I suspected, it’s not for me. His dancing was half-hearted. His presence really isn’t all that powerful. I don’t understand kids these days. And where is the fourth Boy II Man?

And then there was an elimination. I have to ask: who is goosing the numbers? How many Nancy Grace fans can there possibly be? She continually looks a mess on the floor. She can’t possibly have a connection to the audience. Wait. Are the saucer-nipple fans of the US voting for Nancy? It’s the only thing I can think of. She should’ve gone home weeks ago. And yet.

Arquette’s going home instead. He doesn’t really deserve it especially since he flashes with good dancing that Nancy never really does. I spent a lot of time at the top of this review talking about how I might unfairly judge Rob Kardashian for things outside of the ballroom and even for things he had nothing to do with. But I think I’m pretty dead on about Nancy Grace. She’s funnier than I thought she was (and can pull out a cartwheel whenever she wants — who knew?) but she’s a terrible dancer. Stop voting for her. Stop voting for her. Stop voting for her.

I didn’t catch what’s coming up next week because I was too upset about Nancy staying. But I’ll be here. I’ll always be here.

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