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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Dancing with the Stars – Week 8

“It’s midnight and it’s time to go home.”

The five remaining couples from Week 8.

When did Mary Poppins join the cast?

Guys, we’re almost there. These are the last episodes before (I imagine) we’ll hear the word “finals” used so incessantly we won’t even know what it means anymore. The NBA will start calling their championship rounds “games for winners” and students will start calling the last week of the semester a time for “Bigtests.” That warehouse grocery store will start being called Smart&Something-Something. Finals. Finals. Finals. It’s lost all meaning.

Contestants will start to trade in their “It’s Week n” rhetoric and, much more emphatically, beat the “this is the semifinals/finals” rhetoric into the ground. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

Let’s face it: the lead up to the finals is a competition to see who’ll get that third spot in the last episode. Going into this results show this week (and probably next), we can already presume who’s certainly going to be in the final three despite Ricki’s sniveling about failure. Unless something cataclysmic happens, she’s not going anywhere. Then again, I was pretty certain about Kristin, too. And America seems to be really into watching Nancy Grace embarrass herself. It’s like when high school jocks and cheerleaders (the mean ones from the movies and TV, not actual people) vote for the special-ed kid to be prom king. You guys are just mean.

Furthermore, this week Double Dance Week, which means the performers do a dance and then pick a song at random to do another dance. So, basically, it’s a week that benefits people with natural ability and adaptability (JR) and punishes those that’ve just limped along on pity votes (Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy).

Now, Nancy seems to have lost all meaning. Let’s talk about how the remaining five couples did.

Rob Kardashian
Last week I made a special effort to acknowledge that my sticking Shemp down at the bottom of the pack with Nancy and Chaz is mostly about his celebrity and not about his moves. I have to admit that he has certainly grown as a dancer, going from shuffling lazily through his routine to actually trying to succeed. Dancing with the Stars is, in fact, a dance boot camp and it’s nice to see some of those results. I still think he’s stiff and lacking in the flair necessary to win this competition but the judges seem to be more impressed with improvement than with natural ability. Len says it’s his best dance so far and he’s right but it’s still kind of lame. The judges completely disagree with me and give him across the board nines. I’ve come to realize that, when it comes to Rob Kardashian, we grade on a serious curve.

Hope Solo
Who is doing her costuming? Ricki always gets pretty dresses and the female instructors always look impeccable. Why does Hope always come out looking frumpy for some “big reveal” that really just shows off another weirdly terrible outfit? I thought they looked better last week (when Maks wasn’t teaching) and looked completely out of synch but the judges commented on how in-synch they are. Clearly, I don’t know any about dancing. The pre-dance video and all the interactions between the two when not dancing put some heavy propaganda on how they were starting over, that they were dysfunctional, and the dynamic needed to change. You would think that meant Maks could stop being a jackass for a little bit. Instead, it really starts when Hope admits, “I’m just a girl.” Not my favorite thing that’s happened. Judges all feel the performance I thought was pretty meh was a fulfillment of her potential and also give her all nines. I’m 0 for 2 so far.

Ricki Lake
My feeling before the dance: if you give those two all nines, where can you go once a proven good dancer actually hits the floor? Ricki’s dance was sweet and nice, just as expected, but I was really taken by the set designers and crewmembers in this episode. Not that I’m having spells over it or anything, but these people have to dress and redress the stage many, many times over the course of a live episode and everything looks just about right every time. The canopy-like scarves are hung high, the lighting is right, cameras are set-up precisely for big moments in the dance. It’s pretty impressive. Maybe my thoughts about the set were an indication about Ricki not doing so hot on the hardwood. Judges were nit-picky but still gave her two nines and a Bruno 10.

Nancy Grace
Freaking Nancy Grace. She isn’t just the dark horse in this competition. She’s the worst horse. And while she’s killing it with her partner in the pre-dance videos, she’s losing it on the dancefloor. Her movements were stiff and she missed steps and her partner is constantly having to make up for her. The judges gave her the lowest score they gave anyone this evening BECAUSE THAT’S ALL THEY CAN DO, AMERICA. Stop voting for her and she’ll stop coming back. Come ON, guys. Work with me.

JR Martinez
Aaron Rodgers of the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers is having a terrific season. He has the highest passer rating of anyone playing the quarterback position, more touchdowns than anyone so far, fewer interceptions than most anyone in the league (only behind a quarterback who’s been benched for the last three weeks, and two quarterbacks barely in double-digit touchdowns but have prolific running backs), and a completion percentage of nearly 75%. Why I’m telling you this is because he’s playing out of his mind right now and JR is commanding this competition with the same level of play. No one can touch him. The judges actually thank him for dancing. They had a standing ovation in the middle of the dance. It’s unreal. And just like Aaron Rodgers gains sentimental if not necessarily meaningful awards throughout the season (like the FedEx Air Player of the Week), JR, although a shoe-in for the finals, received a 10 from Len, the first one the judge has awarded all season, which led to a perfect score. If only JR had done the belt.

Then came the instant dances, which, to me, sounds like the worst possible thing to happen to me. Send me to swim with sharks. Drop me from a building hoping it’s tall enough for my chute to open. Sit me down in an old folks home and ask, “Who wants to talk about The War?” Don’t make me dance to a song I didn’t know was coming with a routine I only have 20 minutes to polish. Horrific.

Rob Kardashian
The idea behind this little game is, clearly, to separate the people with natural ability from the people that have gotten through on Stalinist preparation. Rob has a little bit of both going for him here and it shows. The dance wasn’t bad but a little clunky in areas. Carrie Ann totally has a lady boner for that booty shake. He scores all eights.

Hope Solo
Not bad but didn’t know when the song was going to end (routine was really long, no plan for a quick ending, Maks’s fault). The dance actually was pretty on par with her normal dances so put a check in the “Hope can probably, maybe dance” column. Judges were nit-picky on her, except for Len who was super into it. I think Len has a lady-boner for Hope. He even score her higher than everyone else (I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that all season). Also, Steve Nash is in Hope’s corner so she has to move through. Right? He’s like a gorilla and a leopard.

Ricki Lake
I thought she did fine but the judges were not into it. At all. They gave her a Nancy Grace score which caused Ricki to well up a little bit. Stop your whining, Ricki. You’ll be fine. Right?

Nancy Grace
Finally some vindication from the judges for how I feel about Nancy Grace. They’ve been sparing her feelings the whole competition but Len mercifully blurted out the opening quote. It’s time for her to go home. It’s been time for her to go home. Go home.

JR Martinez
It’s not even fair. Even throwing in random elements, these two kill it. It brought Bruno to song. Carrie Ann brought out superlatives. Len was thrilled. The crowd went crazy. The scores were, again, perfect. 60 out of 60 on the day. If this was the ending to a movie, we’d all be rolling our eyes. But it’s not a movie. So we’re okay with it.

One Thing I Liked:
I was not expecting DanceCenter. But then I got new commercials in the style of “This is SportsCenter” and biting commentary ten times better than I’ve been doing on this blog. It was magical. Literally, the only reason why I’m glad I watched this series so I could better appreciate the punchlines. When it ended, I was sad that we still had show to watch.

One Thing I Didn’t Like:
The dance corps dances were weak sauce. I get that it’s supposed to be filler anyway but at least entertain me. Flo Rida could’ve had something better than fly girls. I know Andrea Boccelli is blind but even he yawned at the dance performance. Have you ever heard of the song “I Am Woman?” Where did that come from?

And One Thing I Still Don’t Understand:
Why is Flo Rida here? That’s it. What’s he doing here?

“The final revelation of the night?” Is that something they say every week, like they’re revealing biblical secrets? It’s a little dramatic for such a foregone conclusion.

For the love of Jesus. The greater tragedy is that Nancy Grace was able to hold on for this long. We (people on the internet and the judges) have done everything we can do in order to tell you that Nancy Grace is awful. And, yet, you kept bringing her back. I know that her partner is charming and foreign BUT COME ON. Her getting her walking papers this late is an affront to a show that really had very little integrity in the first place. Goodbye, Nancy Grace. I won’t have you to kick around anymore.

So next week will be the semi-finals with four couples that can actually dance. Who’s grabbing that third slot? What’s your wild prediction? I’m going to go watch DanceCenter videos now.

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