Dancing With the Stars has had some weird ideas in its 12 seasons, but for sheer awkwardness, it’s going to be hard to ever top Monday’s theme: Ballroom dancing set to patriotic music. Did Lee Greenwood ever imagine his overwrought “God Bless the USA” would ever be the soundtrack to a rumba on national television? Did Canadian rockers the Guess Who suspect their anti-USA song (it is -- listen to the lyrics) “American Woman” would one day accompany a shirtless Russian guy in leather pants? I enjoy being an American too, but please DWTS: Never again.
Who shone and who failed on this night of star-spangled silliness?
Party time, excellent: Chelsea Kane might not be the best technically yet, and partner Mark Ballas seems to run afoul of Len Goodman quite a bit, but no one looks more comfortable out there. Their samba to “Party in the U.S.A.” was athletically solid, but Chelsea picks up the nuances of the dances well too. If she can build a fanbase quickly enough, she might be there in the finals.
Lynyrd Skynyrd weren’t cowboys: Ralph Macchio dressed as a cowboy? Doing a samba? To “Sweet Home Alabama,” which if anything has always been music to beat up New Yorkers by? It’s no wonder none of this really worked with the judges, though Ralph going first also explained part of the reason he and Karina Smirnoff may have been underscored with a 22.
I’m not here to say “please”: Former co-star and current co-Scientologist John Travolta showed up at Kirstie Alley’s rehearsal, but instead of channeling Saturday Night Fever, he appeared to be doing a takeoff on “The Wolf” from another one of his films, Pulp Fiction. Kirstie’s foxtrot was OK, but there was a long period near the start of the dance where she was just shimmying in place, and I expect that the impression left by Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his flag-tattooed torso will explain most of her vote totals this week.
Teacher’s pet: I didn’t see much in Hines Ward’s rumba with Kym Johnson to explain why he would receive a 27, the highest score so far this season. Perhaps it was pity for having to perform to the least sexy song of all time, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
This is still family hour, right?: There’s always been an undertone of raunch on DWTS, but what was up on Monday? Kendra Wilkinson had a bleeped f-bomb, Len made yet another one of his remarks about someone’s breasts (Cheryl Burke was the recipient this time), and Disney kid Chelsea thought twice about saying “working my ass off” before deciding, ah what the hell. Of course, it was just another day at the office for Bruno Tonioli, who yelled “I want sex, man!” to a startled Ralph, and asked Maks if he had to go through an agent to hire him for the night. I blushed just writing all this.
Lame excuse of the week: Kendra was still fuming about Carrie Ann Inaba’s very mild criticism of her last week, but all the whining served its purpose, since her extremely elementary foxtrot/march to “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” highlighted by the Uncle Samantha outfits she and Louis Van Amstel wore, got an overscored 22 (including an 8 from Carrie Ann). It was still tied for the lowest of the night, but if she survived last week, she should make it through this Tuesday also. To make matters worse, Kendra appeared to blame last week’s effort on her period, which wouldn’t explain her entire season thus far unless something really medically unusual is going on here.
That’s a lotta cha chas: DWTS commemorated its 1000th competitive dance Monday, and it was Kendra who got the honors.
Not looking good for: Petra Nemcova, who likely has the weakest fan base of the trio who scored 22s. Her quickstep with Dmitry Chaplin wasn’t bad, but she has trouble truly flowing on the floor. Will her frequent expressions of thanks to the American people help her in the vote? Nah, we probably prefer premenstrual Playmates.