"Dancing with the Stars": The night of very personal dances

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff in "Dancing with the Stars," Oct. 4, 2011.

(CBS) Many will have had their tear ducts torn asunder by the performers dancing their most deeply-experienced moments from life: tragedy, tragedy and, um, Cavallari. But true aficionados of "Dancing with the Stars" will have been far more focused on the experiences that are, allegedly, being felt deeply right now.

Rob Kardashian, he whose bottom is trying to become as taut as his personality, happened to reveal that "some professionals that are married are having an affair with their partner."

Pictures: "Dancing with the Stars" Season 13

Surely the whole of America was, therefore, observing whether particular married bodies (but not to each other) would seem excessively bonded, or whether intimate gestures would be offered that would be yet another blow to the great institution.

Marriage, that is, not "Dancing with the Stars."

The theory was that each star had to express the most memorable year from their lives. Kardashian himself was first. He chose 2003, the year his father died. Many might remember his father as one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers. Some might remember Kim Kardashian being shocked that Casey Anthony was acquitted. But Rob Kardashian, though mentioning the O.J. trial, referenced the fact that when his father died he had to grow up with only women around. And what women.

So he danced to one of his Dad's favorites - Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." On this evidence, Kardashian would have trouble flying to the moon under his own propulsion. His arm movements suggested a swan with a severe case of arthritis. His leg movements suggested surgery from the same doctor who had created the Two Thousand Dollar Man. Still, this was better than his previous performances.

"You just put the dash into Kardashian," gushed judge Len Goodman, presaging an excessive niceness on this night of excessive sensitivity.

Bruno Tonioli said it reminded him of "Guys and Dolls." Kardashian had no clue what this was. Host Tom Bergeron offered that it was a new video game. Carrie Ann Inaba almost cried.

Chynna Phillips, one of those married stars under scrutiny after Kardashian's less than dashing revelations, chose 1990 - the year of her first hit, "Hold On". She wasn't a happy woman then. She was drinking. But then she met Billy Baldwin.

As she struggled with the intensity of the rehearsals, her professional partner, Tony Dovolani did hug her very tightly. This is merely an observation, not an accusation.

Phillips' rumba was highly intimate - just another observation. At one point she punched herself into Dovolani's body, lifting her left leg in a manner not entirely dissimilar to that seen in several Pia Zadora movies. However, she described lines that Kardashian would not have managed, even with the help of an illustrator.

"You are a smoldering siren," said Tonioli. "You belong in a museum." Inaba was deeply emotional.

Chaz Bono was also tasked with the rumba. Bono said that this year, 2011, was his most memorable. He chose one of his Dad's songs, about "being a different kind of man."

Unfortunately, for much of this dance Bono was a static kind of man. While his partner, the indefatigably wonderful Lacey Schwimmer, danced all around him, Bono too often resembled a cowboy standing at a bar while the dancing girls tried to attract his attention. Still, he rolled his hips once or twice, perhaps in anticipation of another beer.

Inaba's voice was, surprisingly, cracking when she commented. She did, however, offer that Bono seemed distracted.

"That was your best dance," said Goodman.

Surely Kristin Cavallari wasn't going to offer us a sodden story. She talked of moving to L.A. in 2005. Yes, she'd graduated from high school. Thankfully, she had the samba. It is very hard to do a samba in memoriam. Sambas have to be cheerful, sexy and redolent of long, dark, loud nights.

Cavallari tried to bring out her inner Beyonce. She doesn't quite have the bottom for it. Moreover, her legs seem just a little too slow and spindly in trying to express sexy energy. It was like watching an elongated sparrow trying to bring out its inner Beyonce.

But, wait, some scandal. That was the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler in the audience - her former fiance. What could this mean? That he wanted to prevent her from having an affair with her partner Mark Ballas - an affair that wouldn't really be an affair anyway?

"The Beyonce stuff isn't my cup of tea," groaned Goodman, whose tea is chamomile. But he was otherwise oddly complimentary. Inaba seemed emotional.

Carson Kressley incites many emotions. He always has. He was "the dorkiest kid in high school." He struggled with being gay, with being unable to tell anyone about it. So when "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" came out in 2003, Kressley found joy.

He began his tango in a flasher's overcoat, perhaps another memory from high school. To the tune of Talk Talk's "It's My Life," the overcoat was removed to reveal a pink dinner jacket - far more appropriate for the tango.

His violent head turns reminded one of at least Paraguay, if not Argentina. He strutted with immense purpose, if not always grace. He high-kicked to hugely entertaining effect, if not precisely to the music. He finished with partner Anna Trebunskaya's shoe in his right hand, as if choreographed by Leni Riefenstahl.

"That was insanely brilliant", shrieked Tonioli.

Inaba had tears in her eyes. She mentioned that she loved him.

"You put the boy in flamboyant," said Goodman, who puts the "is" in miserable.

Still, we could surely discount that Kressley is having an affair with Trebunskaya, couldn't we? Or could we?

What could one possibly expect from J.R. Martinez? When a landmine has burned 40 percent of your skin away, are you going to choose the year that you first heard the Beatles?

"The last thing I remember was being in Iraq and feeling that my life was going to end," Martinez said. He was 19.

His song was Tim McGraw's "If You're Reading This," about a soldier writing a letter home. If his wife reads the letter, it means her husband didn't make it.

This rumba was his second chance, a "tribute to the men and women who didn't make it home".

Though Martinez is possibly the best dancer in this competition, at times it seemed as if he was doing a lot less of the dancing than was his partner, Karina Smirnoff. Still, this was clearly a moving experience for him, one that the judges were hardly going to nitpick.

Inaba was so moved that her voice wobbled and her words jumbled. "That was one of the most profound and honest dances I've ever seen," she said, ultimately.

Goodman, at least, offered a little fair criticism. "It could have been a little more musical through the arms," he said.

Nancy Grace is married. Could she possibly have been the one referred to by the mischievously revealing Kardashian? Surely not. Still, she is a powerful woman and her partner, Tristan McManus is an attractive man.

Grace spoke of the fear that her children wouldn't survive childbirth and remembered the first lullaby she ever sang her twins. Her waltz was a slightly cumbersome affair - if one can use the word "affair" safely here. The choreography was conservative as was her dress. It was all a little dull and stiff.

Goodman begged her to find better posture.

Inaba was "transported". She believed all the animals from the forest had come to watch Grace dance. I am not making that up.

Ricki Lake remembered last year, when her house burned down with her children in it. Yet, this was the time she found true love again. Ah, if only most of us could find it once.

Her dance was all about the first few months with her new man and her struggle to give in to her feelings. She certainly gave in to her rumba, which was characterized by a speed and decisiveness of movement very much contrasted with her alleged reticence to give in to love.

"Every step was as expressive as a word in a poem," said - no, not Inaba - but Tonioli. Inaba was strangely untearful.

Hope Solo declared this year to be her most important. She and her team got to the World Cup final - and lost. She chose her team song, an emotive ditty by Enrique Iglesias. Her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, was desperate for Solo to be sexy.

For this cha-cha she was dressed as a lady of the night - and not an especially expensive one. In the first moments, Chmerkovskiy ran his hands right between her breasts, as if he was sure children wouldn't possibly be watching - or understanding.

Solo, regretfully, looked like one of those 6-year-old pageant contestants, desperately trying to look older and vampier than the reality. It was all a little uncomfortable, even if she tried to get her lips to do as much dancing as they could.

Inaba thought it was sexy and hot, but she didn't like Solo's walk. She made reference to a lack of femininity.

"I found the costume and the routine a little bit provocative for me," grunted Goodman.

But Kardashian can't have been talking provocatively about these two. Solo is most certainly not married. And Chmerkovskiy, not so long ago, was "The Bachelor" in the Ukraine.

Our last candidate was the still-technically married David Arquette. He also chose this last year. He spoke about his collapsing marriage, alcohol and his daughter.

His dance was a rumba that began with thunder and lightning and Arquette with his bare chest thrusting out to the world. Like Bono, Arquette was largely a statue as partner Kym Johnson danced around him. This didn't suggest an affair at all.

He buttoned his shirt for the judging.

"Wonderful," gushed Tonioli.

Inaba was tearful.

In conclusion, the judges weren't entirely rapt in truth. Neither, some might suspect, was Rob Kardashian.

TOP THREE: Ricki Lake, Chynna Phillips, Carson Kressley
BOTTOM THREE: Nancy Grace, David Arquette, Hope Solo

  • 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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