Welcome back to Dancing with the Stars: All Stars where the threat of a looming double elimination has filled the entire ballroom with a miasma of fear, regret and anxiety. Or maybe that’s just the fumes from the aerosol hairspray. Whatever the cause of the edgy atmosphere, the ballroom is bursting with a fiery intensity tonight that only a visible donkey or another Bristol Palin temper tantrum could lighten. Instead we have performances by Frankie Moreno and Karmin and a doling out of dance styles in anticipation of next week’s performances and a guest judge turn by judging professional Paula Abdul.
So who went home? Let’s find out:
Best Repeat Performance: Despite their putative rule breaking, it was clear that last night’s best dance, while not its highest scoring, was the one performed by Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough. As anyone could have guessed, the judges chose to re-visit their “Pachuco” to kick off the show in high-stepping, double split (Derek how could you?) style.
Biggest Disappointment: For some reason Maks Chmerkovskiy decided he was exempt from recreating last night’s memorable Mick Jagger-meets-the-Mighty-Boosh inspired hair and makeup. So here’s a reminder for the fans who may have missed this remarkable look. He’s the one on the right:
Couple in Jeopardy #1: Maks and Kirstie Alley, undoubtedly because voters psychically knew that Maks wasn’t fully committed to his look. Also his hairless chest obviously distracted potential voters from their vote-casting duties.
Most Deserving Save: Since General Hospital was on break this week, soap star and season one winner Kelly Monaco was actually able to practice. She was rewarded with both the night’s highest score and by being allowed to stick around for another week. You know who else is safe? Gilles Marini, because he descended from the ceiling in a harness and tangoed to “Sweet Dreams.” Emmitt Smith is safe, too, even though he didn’t deliver on having a live donkey.
Best Time Killer: Former child prodigy and current Las Vegas singing sensation Frankie Moreno—who is like a Latino version of Jerry Lee Lewis, but with Elvis’s hair—performs a time-killing set for the viewing audience. Time well spent. Sort of.
Couple in Jeopardy #2: It’s no real surprise that Drew Lachey is once again in the bottom of the scoring spectrum. The star (if you’re willing to stretch the definition that far) is seemingly incapable of connecting with his partner, Anna Trebunskaya. I’ve seen more chemistry in a second grade science class.
The Big Boot: In a mid-show elimination, it’s Kirstie Alley vs. Drew Lachey, which is a no-brainer. So Drew disappears into whatever ether where the quasi-famous siblings of questionably notorious B-listers exist.
The Great Shake-Up: In yet another attempt to kill time by shaking up the show’s well-seasoned (15 to be precise) formula, the producers decided that the dancers will choose dance styles for their competition. The dancer with the lowest cumulative score got to hand out a dance style to the dancer with the highest score, which meant Bristol Palin went first picking a Bollywood number for Gilles Marini. Sabrina Bryan got disco; Apolo Anton Ohno was handed hip hop; Melissa Rycroft ended up with jitterbug; Shawn Johnson got the mambo; Kelly Monaco has to do a contemporary number; Helio Castroneves got Broadway; Kirstie Alley will do the Charleston; and Bristol has to perform a rock n’ roll number for guest judge Paula Abdul.
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Tearjerker du Jour: Joshua Johnson is the first spotlight dance of this Dancing with the Season and he has both the pull-himself-up-by-the-bootstraps back story and the dancing chops to make it a doozie. Go ahead and look up a clip of his tap performance to a funked up version of “New York New York” and then watch him cry his eyes out in happiness and see if your cynical eyes stay dry.
Biggest Surprise: They still let cornball dance duo Karmin on television? Even after their notoriously undeserved and unappreciated appearance on cool kid show Saturday Night Live earned the show’s talent booker a critical slap on the wrist? Okay then.
Final Judgment: As the hour ends, it’s announced that supposed fan favorite Sabrina Bryan and Helio Castroneves are in the bottom. So will the Cheetah Girl run (up to 80 mph!) back home? Or will the Indy 500 champ drive off into the sunset? It’s time for Castroneves to say adios and bring a little glitter body spray to race car driving.
Come back next week to watch Paula Abdul pick up a paddle and spank some celebrities!