‘Dancing with the Stars’ Recap: Chest Hair Debate

Dancing with the Stars Recap: Episode 2

It’s an elimination episode and Tyra did not come to play. How do we know? Easy. Look no further than her gladiator dress. There’s a bunch of symbolism going on in that one outfit. I’m not sure what her visible pair of black Spanx are trying to say, but I know it’s something fierce. 

Producers read the blog last week and took my note. I barely remember the piped in crowd cheers from Tuesday night’s festivities. I’m glad they toned the volume down. Thank you for listening, Mr. Sound Guy.

This week’s note has to do with lighting. I understand that the Dancing with the Stars budget had to be reorganized due to stupid COVID. I also understand that each and every penny clearly went into Tyra’s wardrobe, dramatic lighting, and confetti cannons. What I don’t  understand is why powers that be insist on the performers dancing in the shadows. 

It wasn’t until Chrishell stepped from her blue-tinted spotlight to receive her scores that I realized she was in a purple dress. I know I uttered, “Turn the lights on,” at least three times during the two-hour event. 

Where’s Len when you need him? He would never allow such nebulous frivolity. 

Now, let’s see who nailed their dances and who would have benefited from darkened spotlights to cover floppy feet and poor frames. 

Nev and Jenna
“Dynamite” by BTS

Jenna is super proud of Nev for a “job well done” last week and she wants to see him soar during their cha-cha-cha. That’s why she plucked a yellow parakeet of its bright feathers and sewed them on her bra. It’s called method acting dancing, people. 

The colorful plumage doesn’t faze Nev. That’s because he has his own plumage vying for the winner of “Best Chest Ornamentation.” In his case, the lack of shirt coupled with the deep V of Nev’s bright yellow vest showcases a considerable patch of glorious, curly hair. 

Dear reader, I hope and pray that Nev does not let one of the Dancing with the Stars official beauticians rip him of his masculine foliage. Both Derek and Bruno suggested he participate in some light “manscaping.” Is an oiled up, tan, shaven chest a good thing? Sure! 

But what I would love to see is Nev choose to forgo the ballroom norm in lieu of his natural fleece. AXE THE WAX, NEV!

Here’s another thing: Nev can dance. He has gorgeous arms and fingers and he knows how and when to smile. He’s a raw blob of talented clay and I think Jenna is going to mold him into something great. I just hope his relative obscurity doesn’t keep people from voting for him. 

Skai and Alan
“Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo

Once again, Skai’s adorable personality and teeny tiny body make me want to protect her like a little sister. Or at my age, a young daughter. That’s why I grew angrier and angrier as the night progressed at the judges’ unfair scoring of her samba.

Skai shimmied in a hot pink skirt and turquoise bodysuit. Alan’s jacket and shirt were a perfect match. The butterflies and flowers in her fabulous hair were on point. The dance was everything a samba should be. You can imagine the catch in my throat when she swung her short little leg around Alan’s crouched down body, only to clip him in the forehead (stupid height difference!) and almost fall. Notice I said she ALMOST FELL.

Such a bummer. I’m glad Skai was able to grab onto Alan’s helmet hair to maintain her balance, but I understand why the judges will have to score her on that one little bump in the otherwise great routine. I even appreciated that they all gave her props for handling herself professionally and encouraged her that “it happens.” 

Then they all hold up their 5 paddles and I shout at the TV.  

Johnny and Britt
“Poker Face” by Lady Gaga

I said it last week and I’ll say it again. I expect Johnny to be better than the performances that end up on television. He has the resume to be a natural on the ballroom floor. He understands movement and space. He has been on national television before, so his nerves shouldn’t be as much of a contender as others. He totally gets artistry and knows how a good costume and makeup can enhance a routine. 

Someone needs to remind his face. The tango is a serious dance and it requires a certain intensity, but Johnny’s face remains stoic the entire time. Carrie Ann said it best when she commented that he “hasn’t found the floor.” Maybe his ice skating background is the culprit of why he appears so floppy? 

With that said, the goth Jack Frost hair and makeup combo was a nice touch for a Lady Gaga song. 

Justina and Sasha
“When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston

Justina and Sasha are a great couple. Once again, Justina proves to the audience (both watching from home and fake) that she enjoys what she’s doing. Her foxtrot was smooth and enchanting. Her pink sparkles shimmered in the spotlight. Justina knows how to move and she knows how to act, which makes up for any botched dance moves. I even enjoyed the pink flowers that cascaded down at the end of their dance when Sasha spun Justina into the official Dancing with the Stars ending move: “Woman in Backbend Position.” 

FYI, the judges L-O-V-E Justina. 

Monica and Val
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Yikes. This one is tough. I understand that Monica is not a powerhouse athlete like her cheerleaders. Perhaps my expectation of her being a smidge better than she is comes from the folds of my memory when I hear her explaining the importance of technique in the Navarro Junior College gymnasium. She’s a hard worker, though. And Val is doing everything he can to bring her up a level.

Unfortunately, the jive is not an idea dance to work out rough hedges. That’s right. The word “hedges” is not a typo, because for some reason, they begin their dance hopping around a box hedge. As in shrubbery you would see in front of my parents’ house. Strange.

Monica is in a short, pink overcoat (clearly a theme this year) and white go-go boots. Val has on a matching pink jacket, no shirt, green suspenders, with nary a chest hair in sight. If I had to put a number on it, I would say that twenty-percent of the dance was actual jive. The flicks and kicks were absent for the most part. Len would be so disappointed.

The worst part was the miniature squabble between Carrie Ann and Val during judging. She casually told Val that he didn’t need to “include that lift” at the beginning. He immediately shot back and said it was a jump. Carrie Ann barked, “I know the difference, Val,” and then proceeded to award him a dismal five. I’m officially behind the couch cushion at this point.

AJ and Cheryl
“Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” by Dean Martin

AJ talks about his wife and kids in the opening package and I cry. Then he talks about them again after his scores and I cry a second time. 

AJ is a mystery to me right now. I’m rooting for him in a nostalgic way, for sure, and I do like Cheryl, but I think there are several other contestants who are better than him. He is doing a great job dancing. He seems to be loving the moment. But there’s something off that I can’t put my finger on. Is it that I’m distracted by his open mouth all the time? Maybe. Or is it the lack of fellow Backstreet Boys at this side? Perhaps. 

He wasn’t as smooth as Justina’s foxtrot, but he was good. Not great. Carrie Ann thought he was as smooth as silk and I question that evaluation. I thought he was a little stiff and choppy. But I trust Cheryl and I like AJ and will root for him to succeed. Especially when he endeared himself to me at the end when he got all verklempt talking about how his bride is pretty much amazing in every way. Awwwwww! I want it that way!

Anne and Keo
“Counting Stars” by OneRepublic

Sometimes I worry about myself and how the smallest things can distract me. For example, I could not stop thinking about Anne’s dress and how it was a burnt orange color. Every ballroom competition program I’ve watched on PBS (beginning in 1988 when I became obsessed with the sport) the majority of performers wear a bold color. Or black. I’m not sure why a burnt orange gown is a good choice, unless you went to the University of Texas. Pair that with Keo’s Aztec-inspired jacket and you have one perpetually bewildered Lincee.

Therefore, I don’t remember anything (good or bad) with the dance. According to the judges, the chemistry was there, Anne’s footwork was questionable, and her legs are “along for the ride.” For those who don’t know, that’s a bad thing. 

Nelly and Daniella
“Let’s Groove” by Earth, Wind, and Fire

In direct contrast to Anne’s color of East Texas mud dress, Daniella’s vivid emerald green fringe dress was a vision. I’m not sure what Nelly’s animal-print with green splatter paint was trying to say, but I do know that a company jumped on the chance to make Nelly a special custom pair of dance shoes that look like sneakers. 

The man has power. Ten bucks says he wears a signature Band-Aid on his face before the season is up.

Daniella danced around Nelly in a way that reminded me of a Fly Girl. It’s like Nelly was on stage singing his rendition of “Let’s Groove” and Daniella was part of his dance company who tours with him in North America. The frustrating thing is that Nelly can dance. I hope he loosens up and uses the floor in future performances. 

This also may be Daniella’s fault since she’s new and probably doesn’t feel that she can boss Nelly around just yet. I imagine that will change as the weeks progress.

Chrishell and Gleb
“This is Me” by Keala Settle

As I mentioned in the intro, I was unable to recap half of this dance because it was executed in the dark. At first I thought it was Gleb trying to cover some things up. Once the lights came on, I realized that was definitely the case. Poor Chrishell is all over the place with her arms, hands, feet, and legs. But her head, hair, teeth, and smile are great.

My biggest complain with this performance was the song. They are twofold:

  1. Let’s not rumba to anything from The Greatest Showman. Ever. It just feels wrong.
  2. Okay, maybe you can pull off a sexy dance to the song in the middle of the movie where the red-headed lady sings about life never being enough. “This Is Me” is NOT a rumba song, thankyouverymuch, and the fact that they kept in the fast, exciting bit at the end proves that whoever chose this music doesn’t quite get the gist. 
  • Note: If this was Skai and Alan dancing the rumba, I would allow it. She’s eighteen and should not be grinding on anything or anyone. Give her Jenna’s yellow bra and let her soar in other ways.

Charles and Emma
“Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross

Both Charles and Emma wore outfits that resembled a mirrorball. It didn’t help. The dance was better than last week, but still not great. I’d like to point out that he received the same score as Skai. I’m still upset about that.

Jesse and Sharna
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

Remember what I said last week about Jesse’s face and how it’s doing something weird? Well, Sharna agrees with me. She tells Jesse in the opening package that “if we can bring that face to our performances,” they are unstoppable. The face she was speaking of was the attractive, smiling, perfectly sculpted face that stared back at Sharna with admiration. And heat.

They are totally dating. I say that about all of Sharna’s partners, but I’m really, really hoping for this one to come true.

Sharna is gorgeous in her flowy ice blue dress. If Elsa were to perform a foxtrot, this is what she would wear. Jesse is handsome and strong with a face that looks like he’s constipated. Someone needs to put him and Johnny in a room and teach them how to relax their brows and use their face muscles to smile in a pleasant way. 

Otherwise, it was really pretty. I especially liked the part where Jesse found the camera and raised an eyebrow. 

Jeannie and Brandon
“Roses” by Saint Jhn

I’m not sure why, but all I have written down for this routine is: “Why is Brandon wearing a turtleneck?” 

Carole and Pasha
Viennese Waltz
“What’s New Pussycat” by Tom Jones

I never watched Tiger King, so I don’t officially know why Carole is crying, but I gathered it’s something with media woes AFTER the show aired. Whatever happened has devastated her life. On the other hand, whatever happened has afforded her the opportunity to dance on Dancing with the Stars, so I guess that’s a positive thing? I just wish they would tone down the cat theme. We get it. She likes tigers or whatever.

For some reason, the set department ships in every rose within a five-mile radius and covers two staircases with the flowers. I should point out that neither Carole nor Pasha ever stepped foot on said staircase. I should also point out that she did a better job than last week. 

Vernon and Peta
Paso Doble
“We Found Love” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris

Oh I wanted to like this more than I did. Sweet Vernon is trying so hard. And I can sort of see Peta holing back her fire so she doesn’t show him up. Peta’s referee paso doble outfit was to die for. So were Vernon’s abs. I think he should keep the bedazzled football if he doesn’t win the mirrorball trophy for sure.

Kaitlyn and Artem
“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

I didn’t know that Kaitlyn’s mom was a professional ballerina. I also didn’t know that Kaitlyn tried to be a dancer, but she didn’t have what it took and had to relinquish those dreams when she was young and vulnerable. Then she went on The Bachelor, lost, was asked to be The Bachelorette, found love, lost love, found love in the franchise another way, and ended up spinning around the ballroom with a bum ankle in the arms of a man in a pale pink suit. Who would have thought? 

Kaitlyn nailed it. With an injured foot. The only thing she has to be aware of now are the hater voters who think it’s unfair that she is in a competition when she’s already a dancer. We shall see. 


One-by-one, Tyra announces who is safe and we watch as the pair scurries off the stage. It was so very random. In the end, it was Carole and Charles who were stuck at the bottom. I found it ironic that there was no red light of doom. I guess they switched all the red lights for blue ones? 

It’s Charles who is sent home. He didn’t look like he minded. Neither did Emma. The judges save Carole to dance another week. I’m sure she and Pasha are already working on their paso doble to “Cat’s In the Cradle.”

What did you think? Did the right person go home? Was Skai robbed? Do you think Nev should shave his chest hair? 

Let your opinion fly in the comments section!

Photo By: ABC.com
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September 23, 2020 4:20 pm

OK. Two things… First, why did it seem like every celebrity was on their phone texting whenever the camera would cut to them after another couple’s dance? Second, even though they toned down the fake crowd noise, there were a couple of instances where the fake boos came in during a dance when there should’ve been fake cheers or fake applause.

September 24, 2020 4:05 pm
Reply to  Lisa

I noticed that about the phone checking too and thought it was very rude. Oh, where is Tom?!
I also noticed how Carole (who I really don’t like) had on such a fake smile while clapping it was disturbing! But at least she wasn’t on her phone! LOL

Sally H
September 23, 2020 4:50 pm

The fake noise is still very distracting and obviously loud cause the dancers had a hard time hearing Tyra and her inane questions. Why they cut the judges comments short then she had plenty of time to ask two long questions to Carole I have no idea. Tyra was less “street” than last week but she still bugs.
I want Vernon and Jesse to be in the top -they just exude grace on the dance floor.

September 23, 2020 11:39 pm

I’m glad you brought up the lighting, Lincee. I was finding myself annoyed about not being able to see what I wanted to see of the dances. I think it was partly the lighting. But I also feel like they are using too many views from HIGH above the dancers. The dancers are so small on the floor in those shots. It seems like they don’t use as much of the full couple view when filming. It’s either a tight shot on their faces and shoulders, or a long distance shot from the side or way above. I feel like I can’t see their feet more that half the time. They must have a new camera crew, or something. I’m not liking it, whatever the difference is.

I could go on forever, but I’ll spare you most of it.

Tyra. NOPE. And that business messing around in the beginning with her on the mike coaching the contestants to “smize.” (Yikes–I’m starting to sound like Len. I guess I’m just a old fogey now.) But what a waste of time. I did not find it entertaining in the least and I felt bad for the contestants to have to play along with it.

Tyra talks too fast, too rough, is sometimes rude by talking too much. She’ll ask a question and then interrupt the dancer while they are trying to figure out what she just said and are starting to answer. She just comes off very choppy to me. And I still think that she thinks it’s ALL ABOUT HER. She talked to Nev too long about how he got his word “catfish” in the dictionary, and she’s been trying to get “smize” in for years. See–all about her.

So that leaves no time for the judges to give their critiques. They must be very frustrated when they can only say one or two sentences.

I’m not impressed with the “new direction” or “next level” that they promised after announcing Tyra as the new executive producer and host. Tom, Tom, Tom, I really miss you!!

Oh, and Lisa, I noticed that too, that the waiting contestants were busy with their phones. That’s just disrespectful to the other dancers.

I still like the show for the dancing, by the way. And several of the contestants have a lot of potential. And as always, I adore the amazing talents of the pro dancers.

Cindy S
Cindy S
September 24, 2020 12:52 pm

I got tired of Tyra continually telling the judges to hurry with their comments and then droning on herself. If Len were there I think he’d put her in her place!

September 24, 2020 5:39 pm

I too noticed that quite a few people were on their phones when they weren’t dancing, which seems unprofessional. LOL.
Justina is blowing everybody else away in terms of skill and personality. She reminds me a lot of Bindi. Kaitlyn was good this week, and Vernon as well as Jesse have potential. Tyra isn’t working for me. More than once, her attempts at “banter” were SO awkward I felt bad for her.

September 25, 2020 10:27 pm

Lincee, so glad you are back recapping. Currently I’m not watching DWTS (staging a personal protest about the whole Tom-Erin-Tyra thing.) Yet your recaps are calling me back! Guess I’ll return when Carol goes. Just can. not. with her.

Dawn F
Dawn F
September 26, 2020 3:45 pm

I still don’t like Tyra as the host. We need LESS of her and more of the judges’ critiques. How are these “stars” going to improve without feedback?

I was hoping that Carole would go home. I did not watch Tiger King, but I find her extremely annoying. I can’t believe that her dance actually scored higher than Skai. Ridiculous! Other than the leg-fling-gone-wrong, I thought Skai’s dance was great. Inconsistent scoring will be the bane of DWTS!

To be honest, I’m losing interest. I watched this episode whilst putting together an IKEA nightstand. Not one team was compelling enough to make me put down my allen wrench. Between Tyra’s self-adoration, the crowd noise (did you notice there was random booing at one point?), the bad lighting, and the lack-luster lineup, I may shelve this show for this season. I do enjoy Jesse and Justina though. I’ll give it a few more weeks and hope it improves.

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