‘Dancing with the Stars’: Jeffrey Ross is out; is Kim Kardashian next to go?


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I think my love affair with Cloris Leachman might be over. Yes, yes, it was only one day long, but in the age of the Internet, that was real commitment. You see, while on Monday night she served as a welcome loose cannon, on Tuesday night she just struck me as a one-trick gadfly. And don’t tell me gadflies can’t do tricks. Anyway, this isn’t to say I didn’t get some laughs from her presence –- like when she was informed that the mambo was created in 1940, and she replied, “I’m older than the mambo –- that’s a strike to the heart!” And this isn’t to say I don’t wish I’m one-third as sharp as she is when I’m 82, assuming I even live to 82, which, frankly, doesn’t seem all that likely given that soon we’ll all be living in a post-apocalyptic world where everything is tainted with melamine and hurricanes are the size of the former Greenland and the American dollar is worth less than the paper it’s printed on. My point is simply that Cloris can’t last too much longer. Or will her fans keep her in? I won’t underestimate her. But she did end Tuesday night’s competition in last place with 16/30. She also referred to judge Carrie Ann by using a slang term for, let’s say, “shrew.”

After the second night of competition, I wouldn’t say things are too terribly much different than after the first night of competition, but that is to be expected since those nights of competition were separated by a mere 24 hours. In the future, do you think “DWTS” will just be on every night? And that they’ll start with a cast of, like, 36? Brooke Burke and Derek remain in the lead, with several other couples not far behind, including Misty May-Treanor and Maks, Lance Bass and Lacey, Warren Sapp and Kym (who must be delighted to be paired with an actual contender this season), and Toni Braxton and Alec. And several couples made material improvements between the first two nights of competition: Maurice Greene and Cheryl, Cody Linley and Julianne, Rocco DiSpirito and Karina, and Susan Lucci and Tony. Ted McGinley and Inna remained about the same, and Kim Kardashian and Mark got even worse scores than the night before. I would have to say that they’re the most likely choice for elimination tonight – unless, that is, the fan base of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is larger and, more importantly, more proactive than I imagine.


So let’s talk about Kim and Mark.

Their foxtrot the first night was derided for lack of chemistry, but the mambo would seem to offer a good chance to get a little zippier. In the rehearsal scenes, this led to several predictable ruminations about whether Kim’s ample behind would be an advantage in the hip-shaking mambo. Kim insisted that this sort of thing doesn’t come easily because she is a very shy, private person. Are you even allowed to say that if you’re on a reality show? And appeared in a sex tape? I felt as if some siren should go off somewhere when she made this claim, and that sprinklers spraying truth serum should drench all of America. Anyway, you know how often in the rehearsal scenes, the star looks as if they’re really struggling with something, but then the performance is great? This was the opposite. It looked as if Kim might be making some progress towards being able to shake her booty with conviction, but when it came time for the performance, 82-year-old Cloris Leachman had more groove in her hips than young Kim. Oh, and Mark looked like he’d been electrocuted, so hard was he bouncing all over the place to distract us from Kim’s listless moves. I guess he learned that from Julianne, but it’s just less effective on a man. I suppose that’s sexist. But I’m not sure which direction. In the end, Kim and Mark scored an 18/30, a mere two points higher than Cloris and Corky, and I bet Cloris gets more viewer votes.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Brooke and Derek danced a very elegant, lively quickstep. This was a good night for me because I totally love the quickstep. It looks so effortless on the surface, but when you look at each component – the steps, the hold, the speed – you realize it must be incredibly difficult. Brooke and Derek received two 9s from the judges and a total of 26/30 – very impressive for the second night. I wonder if Shannon Elizabeth is jealous, not just because Derek landed another good-looking partner but because the quickstep was Shannon’s best dance last season, and Brooke scored higher.

Warren and Kim were again very entertaining to watch, although the quickstep was perhaps not designed with a 300-pound football player in mind. Still, I thought Warren did a great job with what he was given, which included a heinous purple sportcoat. They received a 22/30. But, man, they look like they’re having more fun than anyone else.

In general, the athletes this season are better at doing this – having fun – than the other stars. Misty May-Treanor and Maks performed a very sassy mambo, and although the judges told Misty not to tighten her super-buff shoulders so much, they did well and scored 21/30. And the mambo proved to be right up Maurice Greene’s alley as well – he even did the worm (you know, from your break-dancing days). Naturally, Len disliked that component, but they still scored high on exuberance and received a 21/30.

Lance and Lacey are also a very energetic pair, and you know Lance has a strong fan following, so I expect them to be in this for a while. They did the quickstep, which I found to be quite enjoyable, though the judges cited some technical problems and gave them a 21/30.

I have to say that the inclusion of Cloris Leachman (who, the show continually reminds us, is 82) and Toni Braxton (who, the show continually reminds us, has heart disease) does add an element of peril to the whole thing, although we on the West Coast are watching it on a few-hour delay, so if anyone died they probably wouldn’t show it to us. There’s always YouTube. But Toni was worried about the quickstep and its attendant cardiovascular demands – in rehearsals, she was constantly having to take breaks and couldn’t even finish an entire routine – so I felt rather tense during her dance. They started out a bit stiff but ended well, with good facial expressions and energy, and the judges gave them a 23/30.

Now that my flame for Cloris Leachman has dimmed a bit, I kind of love Ted McGinley. He’s not really all that good, but he’s completely, totally, 100% into it – no inhibitions at all. He’d be a fun wedding guest. Inna, his partner, is a new pro, and she seems very good to me – what do you think? In the end, their mambo was extremely energetic, if not technically perfect. Or technically good. They scored a 19/30.

Cody and Julianne are also a fun pair, and their rehearsal scenes amused me. Julianne tried to get Cody to tighten up and be more masculine for the quickstep, and although the actual performance was occasionally a bit spastic, they have a great deal of potential and did a very good job. They scored 23/30.

I’ve read that Rocco DiSpirito could come across as kind of a – a what? I can’t think of a word that isn’t a naughty word. I guess “difficult person” would work. But so far he’s been nothing but charming on “DWTS.” Although his hip-shaking rehearsals seemed even less promising than Kim’s, his and Karina’s actual mambo was a major improvement over his first performance, and the judges gave them a 21/30.

Finally, Susan Lucci and Tony found that ballroom was more up Susan’s alley than Latin. While I thought their quickstep was still rather precise and controlled, it was undoubtedly an improvement, and the judges were very impressed with their footwork. They received an impressive 22/30, up from 15 the night before.

Jeffrey Ross and Edyta, being destined for elimination, did not get to dance their second dance. Edyta looked almost weepy the whole time she was forced to stand on stage waiting to learn their fate, but Jeffrey gave her a nice shout-out at the end of the show.

Tonight will be a typical results show, with special guests Adam Carolla, the Jonas Brothers, and Jesse McCartney. My money’s on Kim being knocked out, though Cloris is a possibility. What do you think?

-- Sarah Rogers