Image credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
PACK LEADER Cha-cha captain Susan's stilted moves led her team astray
The contestants have to learn two dances, including a team dance that highlights some of Susan's weaknesses| Published Nov 4, 2008
'Dancing With the Stars' recap: All together now
On last night's Dancing With the Stars, two teams danced against each other in a much-touted ballroom battle for the first time in the series. 'Twas one for the ages, dance masters. Look for Monday's date in an upcoming advanced U.S. history book, in a section just above ''Election Day 2008.''
Team Paso (led by Warren Sapp) and Team Cha-cha ("led"or, better yet, doomed by Susan Lucci) faced off at the end of the show, an orange-fringed and blue-taffeta'ed spectacle that might have left viewers struggling to remember the stars' individual efforts. Scores from the team and solo efforts were combined, which basically means that Lance Bass gets to be in fourth place instead of second because his teammate Susan Lucci has no rhythm. Or soul. Or time to practice. Or...skill, whatsoever. Anyway. Here's how the couples ranked:
Brooke Burke and Derek: 59 out of possible 60 (30 out of possible 30 for solo dance) First of all, there are like five people in the world who would look good in the color (kind of an olive-toned gold) and style of gown that Brooke wore for her fox-trot, so props for that. Here, Brooke, have a park bench! Nah, she doesn't need it — the returned-to-form front-runner scored a perfect 30 in what Bruno, who thought he was still in Britain, called ''a gob-smacking beautiful performance from start to finish.'' I loved the occasional aerial views we got of this dance, and thought Brooke and Derek were both so flawless that they almost seemed like animated royals at the end of a Disney movie. In the group dance, Brooke and Derek anchored Team Paso's performance with a series of whip-fast pivots, and Brooke definitely held her own while sandwiched between professional contortionists Cheryl and Kym.
Maurice Greene and Cheryl: 54/60 (25/30) So far, Maurice is hands down my pick for most improved of season 7. Yes, his hyperextended leg hurt and he was ''sad'' about things on Saturday, but you can see the guy's developing confidence both performance-wise and technically. I'm digging his (WARNING: Carrie Ann's favorite word ahead) musicality and the way he punctuates each beat with the proper hand gesture. DANCMSTR compared Maurice's cha-cha to cheap jewelry (maybe he was just focused on Cheryl's fringed gold necklace?), then gave it a 9. Which was an excellent move, as it allowed Tom the chance to utter possibly one of my favorite sentences ever: ''Len, you're such a marshmallow!'' For the group paso, Maurice and Cheryl danced the second solo, on Cheryl's suggestion because she and Mo hadn't danced the paso yet, and Brooke and Warren had. Maurice missed a few cues, but the song was so freakin' fast it barely mattered. He and Cheryl made up for that in their final few solo steps — when she swung through his legs and never looked back. Be sure to check out Mo's Hidden Gem of the Week on the next page!
Warren Sapp and Kym: 50/60 (21/30) As captain of Team Paso, Warren was granted a pardon last night — his fox-trot scored much lower than Lance's rumba, but the group score bumped Warren up to third place. Warren's solo effort just wasn't up to par with his other, more charismatic, dances. I've enjoyed his trademark sass and cooler-than-thou attitude during the in-between moves of each dance, but even those moments seemed less energetic last night. Maybe it really was his shoes' fault, as Warren claimed, or maybe he was a little more focused with two dances to learn this week and therefore came across as more serious, less fun than usual. I honestly think the difference had to do with dance order — Warren's performed last so many times that he was just not properly revved up from everyone else's energy by the time he went onstage (first) last night. It just seemed like a nonevent. Or, as Bruno so sensitively put it, ''a recession.''
NEXT: Cody's crush