Dancing with the Stars Watch: Tango in the Night

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Tom tells us we’ve reached the halfway point of the season, and now we’re looking at the bottom two couples returning on Tuesday for a “Dance Duel” to determine who goes home. In between vacant stares into the abyss, Brooke Burke-Charvet reminds us that Roshon and Chelsie’s bottom-two placement last week means good scores are no longer enough. As the theme shifts to “Latin Week,” Tom reminds us that “If they don’t dance with amor, it’s adios amigo!” Tom Bergeron can even sell THAT line. Amazing.

Strangest Food Metaphor: With Jaleel and Kym first out of the gate and hogging all the good “fire” and “booty-shaking” Latin clichés, the judges had to search a little wider for sufficiently strange critique motifs. Considering the bum-shaking was such a central part of their routine, Len (of all people) described Jaleel’s shaking as akin to chewing toffee. So next time you’re at the club, dropping it like it’s hot, you can also chew it like it’s toffee. You’ll be so cutting edge!

The Bronze Medal for Bronzing: Sweet merciful mocha, Cherkofskiy! Save some spray tan for the rest of humanity. Maks showed up for his salsa with Melissa Gilbert baked to a golden brown and wearing the slightest hint of a pink shirt. And he shaved! (His face; he shaved his face.) Maks’s appearance aside, Melissa practiced in a neck brace all week, after last week’s whiplash/concussion, and somehow struggled to find her sexy. Can’t imagine how the two could possibly relate. After a salsa where Maks basically dragged her around the dance floor while Melissa flailed wildly, the pair ended up with straight 7s.

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Klutziest/Most Resilient/Chin of Steel: Maria Menounos may exhibit the demeanor of a trying-too-hard popular high school girl seeking validation no matter how many times you tell her she’s pretty, but it’s hard not to compliment her resolve after weeks of leg and rib injuries. This week, she look a faceplant during rehearsals that just sounded nasty, but despite her fears (and Derek’s panicked, Bieber-ish exclamations of “Baby! Baby! Baby!”), she didn’t get up spitting teeth out of her mouth. The routine itself, a salsa, was overshadowed by Derek’s gratuitous shirtlessness and a rather forced-looking liplock. Carrie Ann would have prefered that the kiss remain elusive (“save it for back there!”), and the judges award them the Hermain Cain Special (9-9-9, of course).

Highest Scores: After last week’s hiccup, order was restored as Katherine and Mark tied William and Cheryl for the highest scores of the night, with 29. Mark decided to dress up like a Parisian wino for the occasion, while William made the dubious decision to keep all his clothes on (even though he and Cheryl performed their tango to the Pussycat Dolls’s “Buttons,” a song that virtually promises that shirts will come off). Despite this affront to all dance, Bruno still looked about ready to pop as he delivered his perfect 10.

Least Burdened By Shame: Credit where it’s due to Gavin: he’s under no misconceptions about his chances for success with the samba. Despite Karina’s best efforts to dress up like the living embodiment of Carnivale, Gavin just kind of bounced around the stage and smiled that big smile of his. Luckily, he had the foresight to beg for votes at a concert of his over the weekend. Not sure how happy he’ll be to see that the DWTS cameras caught a few fans booing at his shameless vote-mongering, though. The judges were no kinder; they all expressed appreciation for Gavin’s fun-loving attitude, but Len ended up saying it was “sore of a sham-ba than a samba.” Bruno gave him the cruelest blow of all: a pity seven to Len and Carrie’s sixes.

Best Appeal to History: While one could easily ding Gladys for the same “happy attitude, average dancing, shameless pleas to the audience” stuff as Gavin, she has just enough of a spark while she dances to keep her interesting. As Len says, her samba was simple but incredibly watchable. And with a Motown theme coming up next week, Gladys made sure to remind everybody that one more week for her would see her totally in her element. What, are YOU going to shut Gladys Knight out of Motown Week?

Weakest Competitive Edge: Oh, Roshon, what were you THINKING? Sure, it’s cute to play the “skinny kid who still has to work on being sexy” teen-star card, and trying to channel your inner William Levy was a good bit. But hauling out the poster of a shirtless William was a bridge too far. By some miracle, William didn’t take his shirt off in his own appearance. Now you’re just going to hand him free advertising space on your dime? Rookie mistake if we ever saw one. His salsa with Chelsie was enough to make up for it, however, and it have us the chance to watch Chelsie’s utter poise in dealing with a possible wardrobe malfunction (who knew THAT phrase, and not “bringing sexy back,” would end up being Justin Timberlake’s most lasting contribution to the vernacular?).

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Most Impressive Physical Feat: There came a point in Donald and Peta’s Argentine tango when he put his arms around her back and spun her around, while she threw her head back and lifted her legs up, looking like nothing so much as a reverse cannonball. It defied gravity and was one hell of a jolt in what was already a strong performance. That Peta is FEARLESS. Carrie Ann loved the routine more than Grumpy Len did, leading to a 10-8-9 score line that was the most unbalanced of the night.

Looking forward to tonight’s results show, it seems like Gladys and Gavin would be the most vulnerable. But if there’s any week that Jaleel’s going to get bit, this would be it. Performing first + middle-of-the-pack scores could = trouble.