The official “Dancing With the Stars” theme for week five of the competition was TV tunes, which meant each of the celebrity hoofers moved to the music that makes opening credits a bit more bearable.
The unofficial theme was more of the same, which meant last week’s elimination of Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino didn’t really raise the ballroom bar by much.
Not that it was immediately evident. After all, Monday night’s show didn’t begin with the latest performances. For the first half-hour, fans hoping for “Dancing With the Stars” were instead treated to “Talking With the Judges,” wherein Len Goodman and the gang offered up some long-winded critiques, followed by extended clips of past performances.
Consider the filler-fest the hallmark of week five — too few dancers to fill two hours, too much ad revenue to shrink the running time.
Eventually, all of the “she just needs more confidence” and “he doesn’t know what to do with his hands” gave way to actual live dances — some good, some bad and all better than a bunch of blah blah blah. Heck, after that, even Bristol Palin’s presence in the ballroom was appreciated. Not due to talent or improved form — perish the thought — but simply for the welcome distraction.
And oh, what a distraction the teen mom made. As if Palin’s typical flubbed footwork wasn’t enough to catch the eye, pro partner Mark Ballas came up with the zany idea to dress up in matching ape suits while they jived to “The Monkees” theme song. Allegedly. Doing the twist while aped-out isn’t usually called the jive, but whatever.
A few moves into the routine, the fur went flying and Palin finished the dance in the form of a human — one who still couldn’t dance. When it was all over, head judge Goodman admitted he wished the pair had just kept the costumes on.
So with a score of 18 out of 30 — the lowest of the night — Palin can’t really blame her out-of-nowhere “Monkees”-monkey theme.
At least for some stars, it wasn’t hard to connect the dots between the tune and the talent. Florence Henderson tangoing to “The Brady Bunch” song was a natural fit. Audrina Patridge’s “Hills” rumba came as no surprise. Heck, considering how good Rick Fox looked in a police uniform, his “Hills Street Blues” rumba almost made sense. But the logic behind Kurt Warner’s “Bewitched” quickstep, Jennifer Grey’s “Married … With Children” foxtrot and Palin’s monkey business seemed lacking.
Still, no complaints about the absolute randomness that paired Kyle Massey with the “Charlie’s Angels” theme. It made no sense, and the resulting '70s-style hustle-foxtrot fusion wasn’t by the ballroom book, but it sure was fun. Unfortunately, due to one grumpy judge (yeah, that would be Goodman), Massey’s not-a-foxtrot landed him with just a narrow 2-point lead on Palin.
Who could go? (Palin.) Who should go? (Palin.) Only Tuesday night’s results show can say for sure.
Five weeks in and Ree Hines is still rooting for Brandy. The singer’s getting better and, well, there’s still no other way to keep Maksim Chmerkovskiy around. Follow on Twitter and tell her who has your vote.