'Dancing with the Stars' Season 18 Episode Two Live-Blog

As with almost every show I cover or have covered for Bustle, I knew nothing about Dancing with the Stars until about 11:30 this morning. I mean I knew it existed -- I'm not some bunker-dwelling culture hermit -- but I've never seen more than 2 minutes of the show. So ask me to differentiate one obviously Russian dancer (Maks Chermovskiy, who Martha Sorren has taught me is something of a HOTHEAD) from the next, or have some opinion as to the relative merits of this duo's foxtrot versus that duo's Macarena...well, I'm woefully out of my element. I am not your best recapper.

Hopefully that changes tonight and over the course of the next 9-10 weeks as I assume the role of your (presumptive!) DWTS friend and guide for this 18TH SEASON of the show! That's crazy, by the way -- eighteen seasons. We've lived and watched long enough to see shows that were once unassuming babies -- Survivor, The Bachelor, American Idol -- grow into immovable television rocks. The revolution became the institution.

...Anyway, let's judge some dancing!

9:56pm: Who’s going home?

NeNe and Tony? SAFE. So between Sean and Karina and Cody and Witney, who will it be? My guess, based purely on the signs I saw in the audience, is that Cody will stay and Sean will go.

Sure enough — Sean and Karina are gone. And it’s a shame, because their dance showed such promise for next week. Oh well. Life marches ever on.

9:44pm: Cody and Witney dance the tango

Sean and Karina land a 21/30, which is one point up from last week.

Last up, with a tango are Cody and Witney. Last week they danced to “Timber,” which earned them mixed reviews from the judges. Witney tells Cody that his technique has to be on point. Cody’s got to pull his pants up in rehearsals! They keep falling down!

The dance: Stiff upper body from Cody, which is exactly what he and Witney were working on in rehearsal. Good movement across the stage, I think, but the dance itself leaves something to be desired. Kind of blah. “I really do hope you make it into next week!” says Carrie Ann, in a backhanded compliment. Maybe he’d do better with another, taller dancer?

Score: 22/30

9:35pm: Sean and Karina keep on smiling

Sean and Karina work on smiling, which seems to be a minor problem for the former NHL player. Karina has no problem smiling. They put together a salsa number with a lot of arm movement and ground covered on the dance floor. It was a great dance!

9:26pm: NeNe and Tony do their thing

NeNe and Tony kick things off with a funky number that reminds me a lot of the final dance scene in Silver Linings Playbook. It’s fun! And then NeNe heads into the audience to kiss her husband. It’s sweet. I really like this show! Infinitely more than The Bachelor, that’s for damn sure. May it never return.

9:15pm: Charlie tries to be Sharna’s “bad boy”

James and Peta land a 25, which puts them at the top of the heap tonight with Meryl and Maks.

Charlie and Sharna try to practice “bad boy dancing,” which Maks needs to teach Charlie. “James Bond was never about one chick,” says Maks. Charlie’s had a girlfriend for five years! How can he be a bad boy?!?

On stage, Charlie doesn’t do a great job convincing us that he’s the bad boy he’s been trying to be, but the moves are still stellar. He is, after all, an Olympic gold medalist. They land a 25.

9:01pm: Amy and Derek tackle swing dancing

You move fast in swing dancing, which might make it difficult for someone like Amy with prosthetic legs. And in practice, we see her legs come undone a few times. Her legs could literally go flying off the stage (which hopefully does not happen).

Their dance is great! Confident and assured — frankly mind-boggling when you consider that Amy can’t really, you know, feel her legs/feet. Really impressive. Score: 24/30.

James and Peta discuss how they’re going to tackle their upcoming salsa dance. James desperately wants them to take their clothing off, which makes sense. And, true to form, Peta does not wear much clothing. Almost to the point of absurdity? I don’t know, I’ve never seen this show before.

But they’re both very, very good! In my estimation at least the second best we’ve seen so far (behind Meryl and Maks). Bruno loves James’ abs. Everyone loves them. Me too.

8:51pm: DJ Tanner does the Rumba

“My life revolves around my relationship with Jesus Christ,” says Candace Cameron, trying to downplay the sexy of the wardrobe. Uh-oh.

I had no idea that slow, sad “Say Something” song could be used as a rumba. But now we know! And, just like Candace wanted, the dance was sensual without being sexual. Carrie Ann suggests they could actually use more rumba in their rumba.

“I am a sexual woman!” says Candace. “I reserve certain things for my husband.” OH BOY LET’S NOT GET INTO THIS ONE. Their score: 21, 7s across the board.

8:41pm: Bye, Diana!

New viewer observation: are the dancers waiting in the wings forced to keep dancing in the background while Erin interviews the latest couple on the stage.

Meryl and Maksim’s score: 25. “If he’s happy, I’m happy,” says Meryl. She seems very into this brooding Russian. I'm into the whole thing.

Gone now: Diana Nyad (the swimmer) and Henry Byalikov. But Diana is decked out in a sexy ruby red number, and to not let her dance would be a travesty. So like the Bobby Fuller Four we’re gonna LET HER DANCE. His shirt is basically off. She’s feeling saucy. It’s a hot little number.

8:33pm: Swing time for Meryl and Maksim

Meryl flirts with Maksim as they prepare for their swing dance. It’s cute. There is obviously a lot more movement here than we saw with Billy Dee and his tango ladies. Flips and vaults and energy the likes of which I was never able to conjure at my middle school dances. It’s really impressive! We’ll see how they score!

Len says “you’re gonna be here for a while.” Bruno notes the “degree of difficulty” while highlighting a few mistakes they made, which pisses Maks off. But who cares, they’re going to make it straight to the finals, right?

8:20pm: Billy Dee does the tango

Danica and Val got across the board 8s, for a total 24. There was fire, apparently (I missed it)!

Billy Dee and Emma were the lowest scoring dancers last week — which is deeply upsetting to consider from Lando Calrissian — but who knows, maybe this week they get it together. Billy’s upset that he looks and feels like an old man, which — I would be, too. Then BDW summons his Empire Strikes Back Lando energy to get things going.

Tango time! He’s basically led across the stage by three nubile blondes while the theme from Dragnet plays (a classic tango track!). Lots of exaggerated arm movements, capped by his sunglasses and a series of kisses from the dancing ladies. Carrie Ann tells him he’s going to need more “vocabulary movements.”

Scores: straight 5s,

Image: ABC