January 21, 2008 09:55 PM by Mary
ABC aired the third episode of Dance War tonight after every promotional ad leading up to this series hinted that the real ‘war’ would begin this evening when former “Dancing with the Stars” judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli finally got the chance to showcase their respective amateur dancing and singing troops against each other hoping that all of America would like their team the best. While Inaba and Tonioli may well be ready to engage in war between each other it became clear early on that they wanted nothing less than perfect peace and harmony between their group players as they relied on vocal, choreography and team attitude coaches to help pump up their respective dream teams to focus on winning.
Hopefully, if you missed last week’s episode, you caught the show tonight because ABC devoted the first 30 minutes of this week’s 90 minute episode by recapping what happened last week. Basically, we were reminded that Inaba and Tonioli teamed up after going through hours of auditions to select 14 final contestants. Those 14 contestants had an opportunity to perform for Inaba and Tonioli and 2 out of those 14 were sent home last week. After the initial cut, Inaba and Tonioli then selected 6 performers—3 males and 3 females—each for their respective teams. For the record, Team Carrie Ann is comprised of Allysa, Bradley, Chris, Elizabeth, Mariel and Qis and in Team Bruno’s court are Charity, Kelsey, Lacey, Phillip, Tony and Zack. We are once again reminded that from now on, it’s the viewers who will decide the ultimate fate of the teams and force Inaba and Tonioli to narrow the playing field by sending one of their own team members home when their team draws the short end of the stick when the final number of votes is tallied each week.
Drew Lachey who continues to remain rather lackluster in the hosting department (he needs just a little more wit) introduces Inaba and Tonioli. Bruno encourages his gorgeous team to bring it on while Inaba hugs her team members and characterizes them as a slick, lean song and dance machine.
In the opening momentsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”after last week’s recap and the coaching introductions, both teams assemble and perform an opening act together. Then, it’s down to business. We catch a glimpse of Bruno introducing his team to their new funky red dance studio where they will obviously be working very hard for the duration of the show. His team members are impressed with the studio but they don’t get all that much time to explore the space as Tonioli gets them down to business right away. With only 6 days to train for their opening acts, there isn’t much choice. Initially, Tonioli had reservations about Phillip because in his mind, Phillip had the least experience of all his team members. When Phillip struggles with a hoarse voice, Tonioli brings in his vocal coach to work with him but he is clearly concerned that Phillip is so untrained that he may have burnt out his voice already.
The show must go on as they say and Team Bruno takes the stage for their opening number. Zack, Tony and Phillip rush out in suits, vests, blue shirts and hats with Charity, Kelsey and Lacey wear slick coordinating black and blue sheaths with stilettos and stockings. They perform to “A Little Less Conversation” and Tonioli is clearly happy with the results. While Phillip did not have as much of a vocal presence as did Tony and Zack, Tonioli admits that his fears about Phillip’s voice were totally unfounded. Lachey asks Inaba what she thinks about Team Bruno’s performance and she admits she is very impressed but stresses her team will be going in a very different direction. At this point, we are not seeing much of a war just yet.
We then get a glimpse of Inaba introducing her team members to their dance studio. It’s an airy open studio featuring brick walls and large arched windows. Her team members recall Inaba handing them song lyrics to learn moments after she selected them last week and when she tests them on how hard they studied, they largely fail her test. She tells them they have to know their lyrics almost as soon as they get them because they will quickly have to move on to the next task at hand. It’s clear that Inaba is not going to be easy on these kids. Nonetheless, they get it together and perform to “Run it” once they hit the stage. Allysa, Bradley, Chris, Elizabeth, Mariel and Qis wearing casual outfits that contrasted in the color department give the performance their all but Chris experiences some technical difficulties when his microphone kicks out. Inaba is happy with their performance despite the technical difficulties and Tonioli applauds Chris for going through the motions as if nothing was wrong. Tonioli then sparks a war of words between himself and Inaba when he mentions that the dance content in their routine was not the best. Inaba defends her team by stating they do not need 8 million steps to prove their abilities as dance performers. She then stressed that each week her team will go in a different direction.
Team Bruno takes to the stage again performing to S.O.S. Tonioli calls his team’s performance irresistible and stresses how hot Kelsey was during this difficult number. Tonioli loses it when Lachey asks Inaba what she thought of the S.O.S. number. Inaba claims Team Bruno sounds like a chorus with nobody stepping up to the lead. Tonioli tells her that this is only the beginning for his group of players and continues to explain what a difficult number this was to perform.
For the last time tonight, Team Carrie Ann returns performing “Call Me” and they completely rock. Inaba could not be more thrilled. She claims they nailed it and mentions how far Allysa has come. Team Carrie Ann clearly has some strong female voices on her team—Mariel alone could carry them. Tonioli is more than impressed with the girls on Inaba’s team but he believes the guys are slicker in the choreography department.
The show closes with one last group act and everyone begging for viewer votes and Inaba and Tonioli claiming how difficult it will be to send one of their own members home if their team doesn’t get the most votes. Inaba can’t afford to lose one member of her dream team and Tonioli, who claims his team members are like his kids is not ready to ax anyone either, so it now comes down to the viewers who will ultimately force either Inaba or Tonioli to cut a team member next week. The team coach with the fewest number of viewer votes will be forced to send a team member home and that is most likely when the war between Inaba and Tonioli will truly escalate.
Photo: Credit: ABC