"Dancing with the Stars": Cue the violins for Classical Night

DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Episode 1407" - The seven remaining couples competed to famous pieces of classical music and returned to the ballroom floor later in the night for their always entertaining Team Dances, on "Dancing with the Stars," MONDAY, APRIL 30 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC. (ABC/ADAM TAYLOR) DEREK HOUGH, MARIA MENOUNOS Adam Taylor

Derek Hough and Maria Menounos on "Dancing with the Stars," April 30, 2012.
ABC

(CBS News) What could possibly follow the deep relevance of Motown Night for "Dancing with the Stars"?

Why, violins, men in wigs and women in bodices.

Pictures: "Dancing with the Stars" Season 14

Yes, this was Classical Night. So what could be more appropriate than beginning with classical singer Katherine Jenkins? And what could be even more appropriate than getting her to dance the rumba?

"You can't spell classical without 'ass,'" insisted her partner, Mark Ballas. Dressed as if they'd come straight from a toga orgy, it was odd to see them prancing to Pachelbel's "Canon in D."

Ballas decided to go entirely topless. Jenkins did not. Though the movements and choreography were sophisticated, it was a pity that Ballas' body is so adorned with tattoos. Somehow, that took a little of the classicism away.

"You kept it elegant," mused Len Goodman. He was pleased it lacked raunch. Bruno Tonioli was not.

"Literally the girl on top all the time," he said, before complaining that he preferred things a little steamier. Carrie Ann Inaba found it all a little false. Perhaps Jenkins should have wept.

Melissa Gilbert, she of the concussion of recent weeks, was the less injured of her pair. Partner Maksim Chemrkovskiy has an injured foot. Fortunately, he has a dancing brother, Val, who doesn't have an injured foot. He shadowed their rehearsals.

Still, Maks decided he would perform on the night. This Argentine tango was an interesting affair - between a younger man and an older woman. There was an enormous amount of up and down. It was as if the performance was sponsored by Otis, the lift manufacturer.

Gilbert seemed a little windswept through the whole thing, as if she were waiting for Heathcliff to rescue her from this Ukrainian marauder. In the end, she cast Chmerkovskiy aside and settled for a bald mannequin.

"It looked like you were riding the cyclone on Coney Island," said Tonioli. He explained that Mozart's rhythms weren't exactly made for the tango.

"It was like Cirque Du Soleil gone terribly wrong," added Inaba, who is often very careful when criticizing women of a certain age.

Gilbert's face dropped toward oblivion. Chmerkovsiky turned away in disgust, a pose he manages extremely well.

William Levy was being asked to dance the Viennese Waltz. Levy has an injured ankle. This dance was overshadowed by the sight (and voice) of Jackie Evancho, a 12-year-old with the voice of a 52-year-old. Levy and partner Cheryl Burke offered something very proper to "Ave Maria", but ultimately it was all a little demure. The ladies in the audience were still moved.

Inaba found it "magnificent." She said the romance had been brought to life. Tonioli spoke of "purity" and "ethereal quality." But you could tell he was missing a little raunch.

It's remarkable that Roshon Fegan is still here, after a couple of visits to the nether regions. "There's one thing Chelsie can't teach me," he mused during rehearsals. "And that's how to be a man." I am not sure that would truly be beyond Fegan's partner, but it's good to see that he is at least in touch with his frailties.

His music was classical, um, Gaga. Sometimes it seems as if the judges (and the voters) don't really like Fegan, because he seems to like himself quite enough.

"I'd like to have seen a little bit of tension through your feet," observed Goodman.

Tonioli was also unhappy with his legs. Inaba came out from behind the judges' table and hugged Fegan with some mature profusion.

Donald Driver dancing the Viennese waltz doesn't exactly conjure the emotive juices. Still, he began on a throne and tried to play the part of a man of the court, as opposed to a man of the gridiron. This was a very peculiar "La Don E Mobile." In a coat made out of one of my old posh girlfriend's drapes, Driver's feet were far more persuasive than his arms, which seemed to believe that they were needed to power tomorrow's wind farms.

Inaba desperately feared there had been a lift, which is so verboten in the waltz. Goodman accused him of a bizarre fleckle, something to which many are prone to once in a while.

"Be a female," begged Derek Hough of Maria Menounos in rehearsals. This sent Maria into a crying jag - and, sadly, didn't make Hough think about how, just occasionally, he looks very slightly girly.

However, when their paso doble began, Menounos had jagged teeth. Yes, fangs that emerged from her mouth, as if she was Vincent Price's love child. She scowled throughout and her body trusted Hough, as it fell to the floor with perfect, long lines.

With quite wonderful aplomb, she bit him to death. Then she dragged his carcass to the judges' table.

"That did suck, my friend," said Inaba, with peculiar humor.

Goodman called it "crisp as a Pringle." So crisp, in fact, that all three judges gave her a 10.

Jaleel White, just like Driver and Levy, had to waltz. Dressed in a curious colonial military uniform, White moved with reasonable fluency. But somehow this all seemed slightly insipid.

"I liked it enough not to be cruel," said Goodman. "But I didn't like it enough to be really kind." He felt there was no footwork. Inaba didn't like the handiwork.

Was this all? Goodness, no. This was the most watched TV show of last week. So they had to give us more. Yes, there would be team dances. The team captains were the two highest scorers of previous times by sex: Jenkins and Levy.

The coin toss was so tense that it was amazing punches weren't thrown. In Jenkins' team were Menounos, White and Fegan. Theirs was the tango. Hough and Ballas changed partners during rehearsals. Menounos sulked. Team Tango wore its tails on its sleeve, with high drama and more pouting than in the average boy band. As Ballas and Jenkins danced their solo, Ballas constantly opened his mouth wide as if he was desperate to sing, cry out or, perhaps, eat.

Fegan and Hightower were especially affecting, in a Mad Hatterish kind of way. This was truly one of the most entertaining dances of this or any other season. Even George Lopez liked it.

"Some of the lines were ugly," sniffed Goodman, who knows from ugly. Tonioli appreciated it a little more.

Levy, Driver and Gilbert, aka Team Paso, referred to the other team as "Team Diapers." Or at least Levy's partner Cheryl Burke did.

So what was this team's strategy? Why, it got the men all topless. Driver, Levy and Chmerkovskiy merely had suspenders covering their nipples, as they paraded like Chippendales. This was lacking in both originality and synchronization.

Tonioli, surprisingly, loved it - though he admitted they lost sync.

"Hot in the performance, cool in the execution," opined Goodman.

And so Classical Night came to a close. Mozart and Bach might have twitched in their graves a couple of times. Fortunately, Beethoven didn't hear a thing.

TOP TWO: Maria Menounos, Katherine Jenkins
BOTTOM TWO: Melissa Gilbert, Jaleel White

  • Chris Matyszczyk

    Chris has been a multi award-winning executive creative director with some of the most celebrated advertising agencies in the world. His creative work has been recognized at the Cannes Advertising Festival, the New York Festivals, Clio, the One Show, as well as many other festivals around the world. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Financial Times, the European, the Sacramento Bee and The Singapore Press Holdings Group.

    He currently advises major global companies about content creation and marketing, through his company Howard Raucous LLC.

    He brings an irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes ironic voice to the tech world.

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