‘Dancing’ pays tribute to TV theme songs

Spoiler alert: Megatron as Steve Urkel and an injured Jana Kramer both impressed judges

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Television honored itself on Monday’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars.” The celebrity dancing competition saw 13 stars dancing to TV theme shows from throughout the years.

Former Lion Calvin Johnson was pure comedy as he dressed as iconic television character Steve Urkel.

Two stars with Michigan connections — former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr. and singer and actress Jana Kramer from Rochester Hills — danced well enough to score average or above after the second episode.

Early in Tuesday episode Kramer, who is teamed up with pro partner Gleb Savchenko, impressed judges in spite of an injury. Their sexy tango to “I Don’t Want to Be,” performed live by Gavin DeGraw earned them 29 points out of 40 from the four judges.

The song was the theme to the WB show “One Tree Hill,” on which Kramer played fallen starlet Alex Dupre.

“You are very good dancer, you are naturally gifted,” said judge Julianne Hough. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba saw through Kramer’s smile and knew she was in pain.

“Everything was a lot less than you were capable of,” she said “Next week I hope you feel better.”

Last week an Kramer and Savchenko — who call themselves #TeamGlamer — scored 27 points, the fourth highest score of the evening.

Kramer, 32, sprained a rib muscle off-camera before last week’s premiere.

“The doctor said I shouldn’t dance,” she said during Monday’s episode, followed by a montage of her wincing and crying out in pain while practicing. “I’m very worried that we’re not going to be able to get through the dance. I don’t want to leave the second week in.”

If she was in pain during her the leggy performance, she wasn’t going to admit it.

“I feel great,” Kramer said to host Tom Bergeron after her performance.

“Would you lie to me if you weren’t feeling okay?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said, breathless and beaming.

While Kramer’s performance was nail-biting because of the injury, NFL star Johnson was pure comedy as he dressed as iconic television character Steve Urkel for a foxtrot with his pro partner Lindsay Arnold to “Family Matters” theme song “As Days Go By.”

The pair got two more points that last week, earning straight 7s for a score of 28.

“The Detroit Lion has come out with a roar,” said judge Len Goodman. “Watching you dance gives me joy. It was terrific, well done.”

“I’m in enjoying the hell out of it,” said Johnson in an interview before the performance. He tried to beg off doing an impersonation of Urkel and his famous catchphrase, but did give the camera one weak “did I do that?”

Before giving Johnson and Arnold their scores, “Dancing” surprised the 6’ 5” athlete with the real Urkel, actor Jaleel White.

“These are the longest suspenders I’ve ever seen,” said White, meeting Johnson for the first time back stage with hugs and high-fives. “I’ve had this dude on my fantasy squad for so many seasons ... and then they call me and they me me you’re doing me, well you did that.”

Johnson and his pro partner Lindsay Arnold do the foxtrot to the “Family Matters” theme song “As Days Go By.”

White wasn’t the only celebrity cameo, Florence Henderson made a cameo at the beginning of Maureen McCormick’s dance to “The Brady Bunch” theme song with Artem Chigvintsev (McCormick played Marcia Brady). McCormick was praised by the judges for seeming more relaxed than last week.

“Dancing” touched on the interruption during last week’s season premiere, which drew more than 12 million viewers. Protesters rushed the stage after Olympian Ryan Lochte’s performance. Monday night, “Dancing” showed footage that was cut out last week of people on the dance floor and the audience wearing shirts with a circle and a slash through Lochte’s name. While the swimmer was in Brazil for the Summer Olympics, he faced criticism for false claims about being robbed and was banned from the United States team for 10 months.

Lochte and his pro partner Cheryl Burke tied with actor Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson for the second lowest score of the night, 24, beating only Republican Rick Perry and Emma Slater, who earned 22 points.

So far the judges’ favorite couple have been Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and partner Val Chmerkovskiy. They earned the highest score both nights and have a combined score of 63.

Tuesday’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars” will see the first elimination of the season. Eliminations are decided on by combined judges’ scores and viewer votes via phone or web from the first two episodes.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

“Dancing with the Stars”

8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday