Hurricane Sandy caused billions of dollars of damage, cost many lives, knocked out power to millions of people and got this song stuck in my head for hours [Click at your own risk.] As a resident of New York City, it also made it impossible to watch the Dancing with the Stars All Stars kick it up country style or watch Taylor Swift perform. Luckily, the powers that be at Dancing with the Stars knew my pain and knew that the spirits of countless residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware and everywhere else would be lifted by watching Gilles Marini dance in a scoop-neck mesh shirt. So ABC graciously put the show online to watch (for those lucky enough to have steady Internet access) and left voting open so that fans could call in for their favorite stars for hours after the usual closing bell would have rung. But none of these efforts were enough to spare Sabrina Bryan ,who failed to connect with fans despite being the putative fan favorite and earning the first perfect score of the All Stars season. Hopefully, her Cheetah Girl family won’t reject her if they smell failure (let alone Louis van Amstel) on her.
The big ballroom buzz this week is that Derek Hough won’t be competing because of an injury, giving up his spot at the side of Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson to Mark Ballas, who has probably finally emotionally recovered from his weeks with Bristol Palin to make a return to the dance floor. Also on the agenda is the aptly named Dance Fusion, which surprisingly fuses two styles of dance together.
Let’s see how the lords and ladies of dance did it up this week:
Best Description: Olympic medalist Apolo Anton Ohno is tasked with making a cha cha/paso doble hybrid, a dance that Karina Smirnoff says is difficult because you have to switch back and forth between a cha cha and a paso doble. Got that?
Clothing Drive Opportunity: To ease the transition between cha cha and paso doble, Karina wore so little clothing that she would make a Victoria’s Secret Angel blush. Feeling overdressed, Apolo ripped his jacket off too, much to the delight of the ladies in the audience (and, of course, judge Bruno Tonioli).
Worst Compliment: Bruno told the half-nude Apolo, “You should be in Twilight!” Ugh: Team Buffy. Almost as egregious was Len Goodman’s punny “Apolo Ohno? Apolo, oh yes!” They got a 27 from the judges and a letter from the Red Cross asking if they need clothes.
Most Egregious Campaign Ad: As we reach the tale of end of the election season and the campaigns are squeezing every last drop of PAC money into buying ad space during primetime, having a fake DWTS campaign ad for Actors (Kelly Monaco, Kirstie Alley, Gilles Marini) vs. Athletes (Shawn Johnson, Apolo Anton Ohno) is eyeball abuse!
Most Confident Color Choice: It takes a certain amount of confidence in your masculinity to wear a head-to-toe hot pink ensemble and dance a rumba/samba hybrid on national television. Of course when you’re an NFL champion and a Dallas Cowboy legend like Emmitt Smith, you can rumba/samba that outfit anywhere (Whole Foods! PTA meeting! Rodeo!) and no one will mind one bit. Emmitt and Cheryl Burke earn a respectable 27.5.
Best Fantasy Life: For her quick step/samba combo meal, Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy engage in a little-lord-of-the-manor-meets-maid role play. Highlight? Maks wearing thigh-high leather boots. Lowlight? Maks appears to have swiped the Seinfeld puffy shirt for the night.
Proof that Bruno Doesn’t Go to Strip Clubs Very Often: At the end of her dance, Kirstie is dressed as a French maid with a tear-away skirt, causing Bruno to tell her: “Only you could turn Cinderella into a stripper!” Oh Bruno, you really need to spend more time in strip clubs. They got a 24, which was not paid in dollar bills.
Best Way to Steal Votes: Val Chmerkovskiy and General Hospital star Kelly Monaco are given the job of combining a foxtrot and a cha cha. To distract the viewers from judging them on their fusion of incongruous dance steps, Kelly shows a lot of leg and then rips off Val’s shirt mid-dance. A+! Hopefully neither Presidential candidate tries that trick today. They get a 27 out of 30 and 100% of the horny old lady vote.
Most Delicious Dance: A tango/cha cha fusion sounds like something you would overpay for at Jamba Juice, but it’s actually just what reality star Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani have to work out on the dance floor. It was so good, the judges want to order another one next week. They get a 29.
Strangest Song Choice: Not only are Shawn Johnson and stand-in partner Mark Ballas blending a tango and paso doble, but they are also dancing to the dulcet tones of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” while wearing frocks from Elvira’s wardrobe. It’s like the Inception dance with layers built into layers. The judges loved the Queen-of-the-Night-meets-dock-worker leitmotif and gave her a perfect 30.
Best Pep Talk: Gilles Marini’s best friend promised to punch him in the face if he didn’t cheer up about his middle-of-the-pack fan scores. Guess the pick-me-up worked, because Gilles and Peta Murgatroyd seemingly effortlessly blended an Argentine tango and a samba like they were a veteran barista making a Frappucino. They earned 9.5s across the board
Proof that Derek Hough Is More Than Just a Pretty Face: Host Tom Bergeron felt bad for Derek, who was sidelined with an injury this week, so he let him read a cue card. Derek only kind of messed up once! Well done.
Utah Tourism Board Product Placement?: For this week’s installment of The Future Stars of Ballroom, Mark Ballas and Chelsey Hightower decide to only take dancers from Utah, a state they swear is filled with nothing but incredible dancers and some state parks or something. The dance was nice, but needed more Utah (and probably cowbell).
Fastest Marathon Ever: While the New York City marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, the Dancing with the Stars swing dance marathon is still on to help you get your marathon fix. Basically everyone dances nonstop until the judges take mercy on your legs and kick you off. Kirstie and Maks were ousted first, followed by Gilles and Peta, Apolo and Katrina, Emmit and Cheryl, and Mark and Shawn. After a few not very exciting moments, Melissa and Tony were declared the winner, and given 10 extra points.
Best Reason to Come Back Tomorrow: Because Dancing with the Stars won’t be on! Ha ha! But seriously, DWTS isn’t on tomorrow and there’s no elimination this week because our nation has to elect a President. Go vote! And not just for the DWTS All Star of your choice.