Image credit: ABC
POOL PARTY! Val's hidden gems got their day in the sun.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 27.5/30 "Caveman Hustle" + 30/30 Argentine Tango to "Dirty Diana" = 57.5/60 Tony had no idea what to do for the Caveman Hustle. Zero! Poor guy went through a pretty traumatic bout of existential terror for a moment there as he walked (not hustling) in circles, demanding "Why?" "WHY?" to the dance gods, who in turn were like, "We also have no idea." Tony also mysteriously hurt his back during rehearsal and was cleared to dance just that morning. The odds were against them and the only force that could possibly save them was…. come on. You know what the answer is. What is the one thing that just SCREAMS "rousing success in a televised ballroom dancing competition"?
A CGI DINOSAUR. Of course! This one -- perhaps a distant relative of Triceratovskiy (the tattoo on Val's left tricep) -- bounded across the ballroom, jostling the Harold Wheeler Band and reclaiming Planet Mirrorballus for cavemen everywhere. The dance itself was stupid-funny and so incomparable to anything else that it didn't really matter, but do we care? I mean, this dance had everything: the aforementioned dinosaur, a giant revolving rock to signify Mirrorballus itself, the triumphant return of the Well-Behaved Bonfire, primeval chest-pounding, ankle fringe, a bone hanging from one of Tony's braids, TONY'S BRAIDS, Melissa's abs, Tony's bad back, a bejeweled bow tie, and perhaps best of all, a colorful "cobblestone gems" pattern superimposed onto the floor. It was "the perfect way to bring the two most random dances together," said Carrie Ann, prompting everyone at home to wonder when The Caveman became a dance.
Melissa and Tony's Argentine Tango was one of the best (real) dances I've ever seen. I'm always blown away by the A.T.'s and I'd have to watch them all side-by-side to make the call, but MAN this was good. Excuse me, CAVEMAN. I thought Melissa delivered on "character" within the dance better than ever this season -- every time she'd complete a crazy twisting lift or just rest in a ridiculously difficult position, she'd tilt her head back and ever so subtly toss off a super-confident air of sultriness combined with "Y'all jealous?" that was great to finally see. Some of those tricks they pulled off together (like when she spiraled down his leg as if it was a fire pole) were just staggering, and both Melissa and Tony brought the tears (unexpectedly, I think, for both of them) when it was over. They seem to think they're definitely going home tonight and danced like this was their grand finale. I hope it wasn't.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 27/30 "Big Top Jazz" + 30/30 "Man in the Mirror" rumba = 57/60 Their first routine was disappointing -- Apolo stumbled during his speed-skate-y dart up to Karina in the first few seconds, and then the entire dance was a somewhat embarrassing mess. No one really needed an answer to the question "Can Apolo Ohno dance modern jazz?" let alone "Can Apolo Ohno keep a straight face while making Mickey Mouse jazz hands?" The answers are "Sort of" and "Absolutely not," but I thought this competition was supposed to take place in the ballroom. That Big Top Jazz number was some So You Think You Can Dance s--- done poorly, and it seemed even more out of place than the others. They definitely pulled short straw on that one.
Carrie Ann complained about the routine being "disjointed," but, like....lady, how could it not be?
Apolo redeemed himself later on by unbuttoning his shirt. Let me continue: His rumba with Karina was the most sensual we've seen Apolo all season, earning him a "You don't have to over-dance to achieve perfection" compliment from Carrie Ann and a comparison to the sea from Titanic enthusiast and ancient mariner Len. I was slightly disappointed that we didn't get to see how Apolo's legs ended up as the camera cut away during his final "smothering handstand" onto a floor-bound Karina, but some gems are best left to the imagination.
NEXT: Surf's up in Val's Speedo!