Image credit: Craig Sjodin
SMOOCH OPERATOR Helio gave Julianne a big, supposedly spontaneous kiss
Helio kisses Julianne! Richard Simmons coaches Jennie Garth! The series proves you don't need writers to create contrived moments| Published Nov 13, 2007
''Dancing With the Stars'' recap: Unscripted magic
A bunch of people have asked me if I'm glad Dancing With the Stars is a reality show, because that means it won't be put on hiatus during the WGA strike. I've been answering that yes, I am psyched. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't comment on the against-my-will glimpse of Marie Osmond's undies, or the Battle of the Beige waged last night between Cameron's cha-cha pants and his prominent, well, Bulge. So yes, I am very grateful. Howevs, I am wondering who exactly is laboring on such TelePrompTer gems as Helio Castroneves' ''My ballroom mechanics have fine-tuned me; I'm ready to get the motor running and take the lead.'' Lines that consummately lame don't just appear out of nowhere, you know. Who is responsible for this? My money's on the water delivery guy, or Bruno Tonioli just before ingesting his special performance-night uppers.
Helio's expertly penned prediction came true. (Shocker!), He's back at the top of the judges' leader board this week, even though — on my watch, anyway — Scary Spice out-finessed him. Sure, the ''dancing pit crew'' Julianne (or more likely the producers) commissioned to help Helio grasp the character of the paso doble lent him a lot more convincing bravado than usual for that dance. He didn't crack a grin the whole time; plus, I love me some distractingly dramatic cape work, so I suppose I was on board. I might even join Tom Bergeron on eBay to duke it out with strangers over who gets that discarded cape.
Helio's quickstep reminded me of Julianne's glory days with Apolo last season — it was loaded with flashy moves, and the tempo changes in the music worked in their favor because the audience never knew what to expect. Unfortunately, Helio forgot what he learned from his dancing pit crew and left his mouth hanging open in ''excited smile'' mode the whole time. This especially came in handy at the end of the dance, when Helio's smiling, excited, hanging-open mouth kissed Julianne. She fell dead to the ground, then recovered in mere seconds to act surprised that he really did that! The thing she'd told him to do, and that they'd practiced! DANCMSTR compared Helio to ''a great big dancing banana,'' then awarded him a 10. The quickstep was his first perfect 30 of the season.
Mel B., the only other remaining star to have scored a 30 this season, should have earned one for her and Maks' second dance, the mambo. But Carrie Ann decided to give them a 9, thus nudging Mel into second place, one point behind Helio. The mambo featured the most unabashed fun I've ever seen from Maks, maybe in the entire series. I loved the role-reversal moves, like the one where Maks balanced on one leg and Mel spun him around like a teetering bottle of Russian vodka. But the highlight of M&M's run on last night's show was obviously when they tag-teamed Tom Bergeron's cute little behind. I'd been clued into this special moment by both my mom (via voice-mail: ''Mel and Maks spanked Tom!'') and my sister (via text message: ''Double butt slap! Haha!'') by the time I started watching my recording at 11 p.m., so maybe I'm giving it too much credit.
No, it was that funny. Mel's obsessed with touching Tom, by the way. She's been pawing that great bear cub of a man for weeks now.
M&M's first dance, a tango that, because this is Dancing With the Stars, was set to a humorous rendition of Depeche Mode's ''Personal Jesus,'' scored them triple 9s and the title of the night's Best Goth Couple Featuring Palazzo Pants. I was pleasantly surprised by Maks' choreography on both dances this week. I loved the tango's forward-leaning dip, and the couple's final pose really spoke to me because when I was younger, I always thought the line in the song was ''Reach out and touch face.'' And they did.
The rest of the pack fell significantly behind Helio and Mel, if you count a five-point spread ''significant,'' which, if you're at all versed in this program, you most certainly do.
NEXT: Cameron, Jennie, and Marie — none of whom can stand Samantha's antics backstage