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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Dancing with the Stars – Week 9

Bruno’s World sounds like a good mid-season show.”

Tom Bergeron listens to the judges comments with Hope Solo and her partner, Maks.

Is there a mirror ball for Worst Dressed?

Sorry about the delay, everyone. I was just crying so much over the result of Week 9 that I couldn’t bear to recount it for you. I had to take to my bed in mournful repose. O Dancing with the Stars, you awaken the Victorian heroine in me and inspire me to use the vocative!

That was all sarcasm. Really, the result of Week 9 is completely expected. Once Nancy Grace’s deal with the devil ran out, we knew who was going to be in the final three. Why? Let’s look at the contenders. This is JR’s tournament. He’s too good to fail, even when he does fail. Ricki is in the same boat if held up to a lesser standard. The only wild cards were Shemp Kardashian and Hope Solo and Shemp’s got the votes from the celebrity machine his mother and sisters have been working for years now in concert with Ryan Seacrest oiling the gears. Could one summer of media-darlingship and a small following of guys that looked up “hot girl athletes” on Google stand up to the Kardashian Kabal? Not to diminish Hope’s talent but, at the end of the day, there were a lot of forces working against her.

But let’s take a quick spin through last week’s dances anyway. They went three times.

Round 1: Paso Doble

Hope Solo
I forgot all about her shoulder injury, even though I tweeted about it back in March. Interesting that it was brought up here at the end when she needs the public sympathy the most in order to continue. I’m not saying that Hope Solo wasn’t in pain (not at all, I totally think she is after repeated movement and trauma to that shoulder over the course of nine weeks) but that it was brought up in the pre-dance video seems curious. I mentioned in the opening that Hope Solo was up against the a celebrity machine but it didn’t help that she and Maks continued their lackluster routines into the final weeks. She walked through a lot of the movements, staying in character but she lost her technique. No one thinks she’s without potential but she never executed throughout this competition. The judges agreed with me. Three sevens this late in the competition should come with The Price is Right losing horns.

JR Martinez
Good lord, everyone’s getting hurt. Where’s the magic spray? But it doesn’t really matter for JR at this point. Outside of taking a dump on the ballroom floor, the guy has less of a chance of losing than Parker Lewis. He put out a pretty good dance if not to his usual caliber but retwisted his ankle in the process. And, suddenly, everyone was deeply concerned with the injury. Hope Solo was clearly fighting through her own pain but got very little sympathy from anyone. JR twisted his ankle (but didn’t hurt enough to not dance) and everyone from the judges (who apologized to him for saying they have to judge him on his performance despite the gimpy leg) and the hosts all spoke to him with worry in their voice like he was dancing through a heart attack. It’s like the difference in roughing the passer penalties in the NFL. JR Martinez is Tom Brady, a prized possession of the league. I don’t want to say that someone is like Michael Vick but Hope Solo did get knocked around a lot in this competition by the judges, her feelings never spared and no sympathy paid to her for her injuries. Disclaimer: Hope Solo has never hurt a dog. That I know of.

Rob Kardashian
Never have I been so disillusioned by the pretense of sportsmanship or competition in this show that I didn’t think there would be biases. Len has Hope, Bruno has Ricki, and Carrie Ann is into booty. So even though Rob came out with a horrible gimmick in the beginning (really, this late? was there a floatmaking union that demanded to be used more?) and danced a Disney version of sexy, she (and the crowd) went bananas over it. Len and Bruno were into it, too. This is where I have to give up. Clearly, I don’t know anything about dance. To me, he’s still soft on some of these dance moves and, while he’s a lot better than before, he’s filling a void that Chaz left: he’s the guy that the judges are trying to instill with confidence. Not to be too critical but I don’t think his dance was that much better than JR’s and, yet, he scored a 10 (from Carrie Ann). Kris Kardashian kried.

Ricki Lake
Nothing hurting on her (at least that she complained about in the pre-dance video), she and Derek pretty much nailed the whole thing. She looked great, sharp, able. Best couple on the dance floor this round. The judges agreed by giving her all 10s. This dance basically guaranteed her a slot in the finals. She could’ve laid an egg in the next round and still continued.

Round 2: Tango

Hope Solo
Before each dance, a video of, ostensibly, how that celebrity became famous was shown. I felt like, for Hope, her trials with soccer and maybe a dad that was proud of her was enough. The parts about him not being able to stick around and kidnapping her when she was younger, not to mention the part about him being homeless (or comparing him to a homeless guy — either way, not great) was unnecessary. All the best cowgirls have daddy issues. Her tango was okay though she lost it a couple of times. Judges told her it was better than her paso but said it like a soft stool is better than diarrhea. She got a score she’s been accustomed to: all eights.

JR Martinez
Since they’ve been selling his story since the very beginning, there really wasn’t more to tell. In fact, I’m not sure they didn’t just recycle the video from Week 1. Maybe it was just to show that no one else’s story could compete. I’m sorry your dad is a hobo, Hope, but you didn’t get your face blown off. Much more impressive dance this time around, making me almost believe that the ankle thing was a hoax. He was landing on it without wincing. Is there actually magic spray on the set? When he finished the dance, JR looked visibly upset, like he’d screwed the whole thing up despite the standing ovation he received. After more questions about the state of his poor little ankle, the judges showered him with praise for the dance: all nines.

Rob Kardashian
Funny: the pre-dance video didn’t include anything about his sister’s sex tape or his family selling out for a reality show. Oh well. He came out and danced well. His frame was good and his footwork was solid. I just don’t think this guy could look sexy enough for the tango if he’d studied the dance for years in some Argentine tango monastery (there’s probably one of those, right?). He’s too — soft-looking? But that’s not his fault. The judges liked him as you would expect: all nines.

Ricki Lake
Her pre-dance video didn’t really elucidate anything we didn’t already know about her although it focused more on her talk show and her fluctuating weight. It turns out she didn’t really need the propaganda. She and Derek knocked it out of the park. While JR may have been impressive with his lifts as a non-dancer, a real dancer took him to school. The dance was solid and, like Bruno said, for at least this week, she danced “peerlessly.” Scores indicated that: a nine from Carrie Ann (probably because she was still thinking about Rob’s booty) and tens from Len and Bruno.

Round 3: The Cha-Cha Relay

Of all the dancers in the pre-dance video, of course, Hope and Maks were the most hopeless and painfully defeatist. While everyone was ready to mount their obstacles with good cheer and a can-do attitude, Team Dark Cloud was all pessimism and misery. They looked a lot happier in the actual relay but danced flat compared to everyone else, especially Ricki who, despite the narrative that Rob has been peaking at the right time, has been capitalizing on her opportunities to outdo JR. Rob won the cha-cha and Hope got the fewest points, essentially sealing her fate.

What I Liked: Muppets make everything better. SNL really missed an opportunity by not putting them in every sketch.

What I Didn’t Like: Why do they have to have so many dances? UGH. It’s so long. It makes Rubicon feel like an Adult Swim show.

And One Thing I Still Don’t Understand: Why can’t we have “DanceCenter” all the time, again?

No surprises: Hope was voted off this week. Might’ve had the potential to get into the finals but she didn’t show she wanted it. I can’t really say why it looked that way. Maybe it was the dysfunctional relationship that diluted her dances, maybe she was distracted by her athletic and media obligations (and boning her instructor), or maybe, just maybe, at the end of the day, she simply can’t dance. In any case, there was no way a star of America’s most secret popular sport had a chance against the Kardashian monster.

So the reason why I watched the show is gone but just before the final week. So it’s like the universe is playing a big joke on me. “You know you want to know who wins. You know you want to SEE it.” I hate you, universe. See you for the grand finale.

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