'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Week 5: Attack of the '80s

1980s fever struck 'DWTS' this week, complete with live performances of "Eternal Flame," "Walk Like an Egyptian" and "Manic Monday" from The Bangles, who also graced the show to promote their NEW album "Sweetheart of the Sun" and tour. Who knew?

The theme pretty much ensured this episode would have the worst costumes of the season. And that held true. Neon, crimped hair, side ponytails and lots and lots of eye shadow — ouch!

Consistently nailing it: J.R. Martinez

J.R. Martinez danced a fast-paced and technically difficult samba to Gloria Estefan's "Conga." And that man can D-A-N-C-E. Week after week, he conquers new styles with impressive performances. He said he hoped his Latin roots would serve him well and that he would deliver "Jose Rene" on the dance floor. Jose Rene earned two 9s and a 10 from Bruno.

Most improved: A tie between David Arquette and Rob Kardashian.

"Tainted Love" provided the soundtrack for David Arquette's tango. And leather and lots of zippers provided his costuming. This week and last marked great improvement for David.

Rob Kardashian's rumba was set to Lionel Richie's "Hello." (Awesome song choice, BTW.) Rob pulled off a performance with better acting and masculine confidence than in previous weeks. He even gratuitously felt up partner Cheryl Burke's legs and butt (choreographed, of course) twice during his sensual rumba, earning him a 9 from his biggest fan, judge Carrie Ann Inaba. This guy is slowly improving week after week. I might have to eat my preseason prediction for his early demise on the show.

In danger: As usual, Carson Kressley and Chaz Bono.

Carson Kressley set his cheerleader-themed jive to Wham!'s (talk about breaking punctuation laws) "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." There were short shorts and even a cartwheel (both on Carson's part, of course), but little true technique. With a 19, they once again ended up near the bottom of the leaderboard. I'm guilty of being a cheerleader for Carson, but at this point in the show the dance technique should really be stronger.

Chaz Bono showed improvement this week in his samba to Kool & the Gang's "Get Down On It" although he said he still needed his fan base to carry him through. Perhaps helping this week was a visit to rehearsal by partner Lacey Schwimmer's father, someone she brought in to show Chaz that bigger men can still dance very well.

In the murky middle: Nancy Grace, Hope Solo and Ricki Lake.

Hope Solo performed a tango to Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer." During rehearsal, Maks tells her she loses points from the judges for "being whack" and not selling her performances well enough. She counters that she isn't an actress. While aggressive, judge Len Goodman criticized Hope for being "too willowy in the body" for a proper tango.

Nancy Grace's rumba to Spandau Ballet's "True" was less-than-exciting. Len seems to be Nancy's biggest fan, judging both her rumba and her quickstep two weeks ago as technically proficient. But there's just some ... thing ... missing from her performances.

A bit off her game this week was Ricki Lake. She got some flak from the judges for falling off her rhythm with the running man and Roger Rabbit dance moves in her foxtrot to Phil Collins' and Philip Bailey's "Easy Lover." The highlight of her segment, I think, was the surprise visit during rehearsal from Baltimorean John Waters, who as Ricki put it "plucked her from obscurity" as a teenager to star in "Hairspray."

Enlightening moments:Maks Chmerkovskiy looked like a Keebler elf as a child. Nancy Grace got choked up to receive a score of an 8 from judge Bruno Tonioli. In the '80s, Len Goodman looked like a cross of Gene Simmons and Orville Redenbacher, in host Tom Bergeron's estimation.Rob Kardashian hopes he doesn't have to take his shirt off to remain on the show.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World