The ballroom hopefuls delivered two routines on “Dancing With the Stars” Monday night, and while that meant two times the opportunity to impress for some celebrities, others simply had a double take at dance-floor disasters.
Ralph Macchio fell into the latter category — and then some.
The flubs and major flaws from the '80s star came as no surprise. As Macchio explained during Monday night’s ballroom bash — and as he’d already warned fans on Twitter earlier in the day — he suffered a ruptured cyst on the back of his knee, leaving him with severe pain and without adequate rehearsal time. That combo caused plenty of problems for last week’s leaderboard topper.
No amount of dim lighting, dark clothes and smoke machines (not to mention distracting Liza Minnelli hair and makeup) could hide that fact that Macchio’s Viennese waltz lacked preparation and good form. Still, the judges barely spotted the problems. Oh, sure, Len Goodman and the gang mentioned a few of the flaws, but they were quick to applaud his “astonishing” and “inspiring” motivation.
“That spirit of (“Karate Kid”) Daniel LaRusso lives on tonight!” Carrie Ann Inaba cheered.
Meh. Not so much. Nemesis Johnny Lawrence would have won that round (and totally swept the leg, too). But hey, LaRusso ... er, Macchio ... limped away with 8s and 9s, so it hardly matters.
Later in the evening, the injured actor faced the night’s real challenge — the Instant Dance, otherwise known as the pro-style performance where the music remains a mystery until the last moment. That’s where everything, from Macchio’s basic steps to his still-generous scores, really slipped.
Like a sort of reverse greatest hits, Macchio hit the floor with every lowlight in the book. Spatula hands? Check! Bad form and frame? Oh, yeah! Lost timing, skipped steps and obvious gaps? Yes, yes and yes.
Even by week-one standards, that was bad. And although the contestant’s injury made it all understandable, there are no sympathy scores in the ballroom.
Except when there are. Maybe 5s would have seemed cruel, but the 7s Macchio earned for his cha-cha-cha were beyond generous.
Then again, the “Kid” wasn’t the only one benefiting from the kindness of the panel. While the judges rarely agreed with each other, they did agree to stick to their season theme of scores-ain’t-nothing-but-a-number.
For instance, just look at the night’s other dud, Romeo. Despite a limp tango and a seriously sloppy salsa, the rapper-actor saw nothing but 8s and 9s for the night.
One could argue that Kirstie Alley was another beneficiary of unduly big numbers. Her first dance, a sweeping Argentine tango featuring plenty of allowed lifts, was near perfection but near shouldn’t mean a 10. And the insta-salsa she later delivered, the one Goodman oddly and yet aptly called “oily,” gathered at least one oh-so-generous 9.
Of course, given the fact that Hines Ward also raked in a 10 for an almost perfect and thoroughly fun foxtrot, maybe Alley’s score wasn’t so out there. Then again, he had her beat with a couple of out-of-nowhere 9s for his insta-jive.
Not for the first time this season, one dancer waltzed away with a lower than deserved score. This week’s front-runner (and past week’s should-have-been front-runner), Disney Channel star Chelsea Kane, put on a slow, sexy and seemingly perfect waltz, but landed only two out of three possible 10s. (Chalk that one up to the never-ending style battle between her pro partner, Mark Ballas, and the esteemed Goodman.) And her salsa should have at least seen a matching set of 9s rather than two 9s and an 8. (Chalk that one up to Inaba’s sudden score battle with Bruno Tonioli.)
At least Kane and her nearest competition this week, Ward and Alley, won’t have anything to worry about on Tuesday night. Despite the now de rigueur scoring oddities, the next results show showdown should come down to just two ballroom blunderers — the injured Macchio and the frequently flawed Romeo.
Ree Hines truly felt sorry for the always likable Macchio, but she would have pulled out her 4 paddle for that last dance. Yikes! Follow @ReeHines on Twitter and tell her your score.