Last week we saw many rather generic people do rather generic dancing in non-generic outfits. The scary tiger lady did a scary tiger dance, not very well. The tiny Disney robot performed precisely, the happy One Day at a Time actress made us feel less sad, and number 34, Charles Oakley, made us remember drunk uncles at raucous weddings after grandma has gone to sleep.
This week, there will be eliminations! And I will note the names of partners and which dances were danced! So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Dancing with the Stars, Season 29, Episode 2
We begin with a little human interest, videos of the Tiger Queen and Nelly and others worried about the fact that eliminations are coming. (Like Nelly should be worried about anything — those Hot in Herre checks are going to keep coming until we’re all dead and buried. Which, at this rate, is next month.)
But then! Tyra gets on the PA system (why is there a PA system? Are they all living in DWTS barracks?) to tell all the contestants that when things are at their worst and the stress if getting to you, just SMIZE. For those uninitiated, a smize is a smile with your eyes. As a former America’s Next Top Model watcher, I can tell you that Tyra’s been selling this smize shit for the better part of two decades. A montage of the “star” contestants trying to smize follows. I believe this is supposed to be funny, but in fact it just makes me want to remind everyone of the time Tyra gave out bedazzled jars of Vaseline to all the guests at her (short-lived) talk show. Please enjoy:
I don’t want to dwell on this too long, but Tyra is, maybe, insane. And I hesitate to say that only because I don’t want to stigmatize people with mental illness.
Moving on, The live portion of the show begins with Tyra in an outfit very reminiscent of Automaton Maria in Metropolis.
First up to dance is Nev, the inside kid who was catfished and really loves his wife! He would like us to know that he feels that Catfished is a “positive show about self love.” We are going to move forward assuming he doesn’t mean that kind of self-love. His partner is Jenna, and they dance the cha cha. They are good, it’s smooth and romantic, and Nev (pronounced “Neev”) has an absolutely astonishing amount of chest hair. The judges are incapable of commenting on anything else. 7/7/7.
Next we have an interstitial about how to vote (for DWTS, not the kind of vote that might actually matter, but just in case, go HERE [link: https://www.vote.org/ ] to check your actual voter registration). It’s complicated and also boring, next!
Skai, the little Disney pixie, is up next. Her partner is Allen and they do the samba. Brazilians might be confused by this samba, and sadly Skai gets a little confused on a weird ground move. Why are you dancing on the floor? 5/5/5. Don’t worry Skai, next week is Disney week and I bet you’ll do great.
Now we’ve got ever-fabulous and odds-on winner Johnny Weir. Johnny is going to do the tango to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face with his partner Brit. We are treated to a long bit about how much Johnny loves Gaga and knows her mom and has skated to Poker Face and and and snooze. To me, this dance was surprisingly stiff and I could see Johnny counting out loud. Also he wears a glitter harness (OF COURSE) and his nip slipped out and it is distracting. 6/6/6. Up your game, Weir.
Next is One Day at a Time actress and ray of sunshine Justina. She and Sasha do the foxtrot. She’s so happy to be here she actually laughs while dancing. I found the dance kind of awkward but the judges love. 7/7/7.
Monica, the cheerleading coach (?) is next. She is Very Driven. “Pushing myself to see how hard I can go is very rewarding to me,” she says, which is a sentiment can I admire but cannot for the life of me understand. She and Val dance the jive, which is not the fun thing they do at the dance contest in Grease but something else. Sad to say, but her costume and choreography are a little too juvenile and it’s all a little off. The “kicks and flicks” are not there, apparently. 5/6/5.
AJ, the Backstreet Boy (or possibly the ’NSyncer?) once again wants us to know how much he loves his wife. She made him work for her love! He dedicates the dance to her and her kicking of his ass. There is a story here. He and Cheryl do the foxtrot and they are quite good. He tears up talking about his wife again after, and again, there is a story here they are not telling us. 7/6/6.
Anne Heche is next, and not to be outdone, she dedicates her dance to her children, who also kick her ass. She and Keo also do the foxtrot. Honestly I don’t know what a foxtrot is because everyone does something totally different. I think she’s great, but the judges are meh. Something about her frame. They just don’t appreciate her woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown style. 6/6/6
Tyra changes into a black lacy outfit now.
Next up is Nelly! He and Danielle will dance the cha cha. Nelly is wearing sneakers again, despite specifically being told by the judges to wear dancing shoes. I respect this crazily. They dance is good, obviously Nelly can groove, but he doesn’t fully commit and you can tell.
BUT WAIT, I WAS WRONG!!!
Nelly is wearing dancing shoes specially painted to look like elephant skin Jordans. This is absolutely the pinnacle of anything and everything possible and I am in awe. Wow. Wow.
Now we have Crishell, who is a TV person, I believe. There’s some videotaped drama where she cries about something with her dance partner but I was fast forwarding because have I mentioned that EVERY DAMN EPISODE OF THIS SHOW IS TWO HOURS? It’s juuuuust possible I didn’t know what I was getting myself int when I volunteered for this. She and Gleb (his real name) dance the rumba. She doesn’t really dance so much as strike a few poses, but whatever. 6/6/6.
Now it’s the man of the (two) hour(s) CHARLES OAKLEY!
Cute video of Oak with his partner Emma. Emma says that because Oak is an athlete he will work hard. Charles says they might be getting 4s the first week, but then it will be 5s, and then 6s, and so on. They dance the cha cha as well, to Luthor Vandross. Oak wears a open sequined jacket with a faux-leather tank underneath. It looks better than you might think. The beginning of the dance is no good at all, but they settle into it and even groove a little. It’s not great, but it’s better!
The judges note improvement: “Timing better, footwork needs work, but huge improvement.” Oak mentions that dancing is a bit tough when you wear size 18 shoes, and I think this is a humble brag. 5/5/5. (He was right — 4s last week, 5s this week!)
OK, let’s run through the rest of these folks quick-like.
Jesse Metcalfe and Sherna (?) do the foxtrot. It’s stiff, whatever, judges like. 7/7/6.
Jeannie, the TV host who is Asian, does the cha cha with Brandon. There is a stereotypical Asian mother pushing too hard video bit, and then they dance. She is good but a little uncontrolled. 6/6/6 (she was robbed!)
Carole Baskin, the Tiger Woman, is next doing the Viennese waltz with her partner Pasha. Pasha! There is video of her confessing to Pasha that the past year and being accused of killing her husband has been rather tough on her family. You think? She also cries.
But enough, we are here for dance. Their set is really, really too much. (Have I mentioned each dance has its own little set design? And confetti cannons?) There are staircases and gold stuff and a giant framed picture of a cat and she’s wearing a LOT of lamé and also leopard print and a headpiece and there’s a projection of the cat portrait on the floor and I would just like to say that tigers are not leopards are not housecats so STAY IN YOUR LANE, tiger woman. They dance to What’s New, Pussycat (of course). It is better than last week.
“I can’t imagine a greater escape [from everything going on] than dancing every day,” says the tiger woman and you know what? She’s right. 6/5/5.
Oh my god there are still more. Help me.
Vernon Davis and Peta dance the Paso Doble and they wear weird football-inspired outfits (but sequined) and very grim expressions with really weird choreography but still pretty good. He does a cute little leap. 6/6/6.
Kaitlynn, the bachelorette, and her partner Artem are last. They do the foxtrot as well. Kaitlynn has some kind of ankle injury but she’s been cleared to dance. We also find out that she has been taking dance since she was three, and attempted to become a professional dancer out of high school, which sort of seems like cheating at this. They dance well, it’s pretty, she messed up a little at the end. Every woman on this show is wearing such enormous false eyelashes its like they have caterpillars on their eyes, it’s very distracting. Judges are impressed with her fortitude. 7/8/7.
Now that everyone has danced all the couples come back. Apparently people have been voting online and by text this whole show (but… doesn’t that mean that the first couple to go has an unfair advantage? Who cares, I guess) and the online votes and the judges scores for the first two weeks are added up and then the bottom two couples face off and the judges decide who goes home. In true reality show form, they list off the “safe” couples first, leaving increasingly nervous couples clasping each other in the middle of the ballroom.
The bottom three are Tiger Lady, Oak, and the Disney Pixie (who does not deserve this). Pixie is deemed safe and skibbles off, leaving a choice between a clear hero and a clear villain (unless you’re James Dolan). Asian Lady Judge votes for Tiger Lady (boooooo!). Excitable older male judge goes with Oak (woooo!). then Tyra talks for too long and everything is rushed and so final judge (former dancer dude) has to spit out his deciding vote in one second: “Carole.”
Boooooooooooooo, Oak is the first contestant eliminated!
Shenanigans, the masses cry!
I feel like #dwts keeps having awkward mistakes during it’s live broadcast, anyone else noticing this? Also feel like Charles Oakley shouldn’t have been eliminated! He was cool!— k a y l e y (@KayleyHamilton) September 23, 2020
But the “why” is clear:
#DWTS I’d have kept Oakley, but the cat lady brings more attention. I get it.— Bunni Wabbit (@BunniWabbit) September 23, 2020
Oak did manage to bring in some fans
Charles Oakley on #DWTS brings me so much joy. He’s trying so hard. I adore him.— Erica Shea (@ericashea13) September 23, 2020
And, in true OAKAAK fashion, brought some controversy as well.
If you can’t beat ‘em, at least hate on ‘em.
When @derekhough saved that evil bitch Carole Baskin just now, instead of legendary Charles Oakley, that was the LAST STRAW, @DancingABC. It's bad enough it's become the "All About Tyra's Ego" show but I'm not watching any show with that horrible Baskin woman. I'm done, #DWTS. pic.twitter.com/zomYGlEDLK— A4NY14 (@A4Ny14) September 23, 2020
And that’s it! Our man is off the show. He took it with a shoulder shrug and a smile. As much as I’m sad for Oak, and that we will not have a glorious run of wonderful recaps, I’m also happy not to be spending hours watching this, so in the end, all’s well that ends well.
I leave you with a final thought: if you’re having a hard time dealing with everything these days (*waves around vaguely*), listen to Carole Baskin and try dancing every day.