Welcome back to Dancing with the Stars. Here’s a story problem for you: If six couples dance in tonight’s quarterfinal round of competition and each of them has to dance a couples number plus a “trio” dance, how much longer until Cher comes back? There’s no correct answer, because it’s unlikely that head judge Len Goodman will cede his seat to Cher again. And probably won’t wear one of Cher’s discarded costumes no matter how nicely we ask. Luckily, we have the trio dances to entertain us instead.
Here’s what happened on Dancing with the Stars:
Best Argument for Rehearsal: Glee star Amber Riley has double knee injuries, but quick-stepped right through the pain even as her partner Derek Hough whined that he, since the beginning of time, never rehearsed so little before a competition. He had reason to complain: they earned a low 24/30.
Best Len-ism: After Len noted that, “Choreography is a lot like make up, it can cover imperfections,” the audience booed him. At which point Len got on his high horse and reminded the audience that today was Veteran’s Day and that he’s a veteran. And the entire audience felt very bad for what they had done and sent themselves to bed without their supper.
Best Reminder: Len noted that it is “the beginning of the end” and there are only six contestants left. Which means there is a light at the end of the tunnel — and, yes, we can go into that light.
Most Delicious Critique: Leah Remini “brought the flavor” to her tango, according to
Guy Fieri Len. The actress calling herself a “contender”and scored a 27/30
Best Redemption: High School Musical star Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff had to dance a waltz, but more important, they had to earn back their cred with the judges who hated their (awesome) Game of Thrones-inspired Viennese Waltz. To make up for it, Corbin and Karina’s waltz was the dance equivalent of a Lifetime movie with Karina in a white gauzy dress twirling to smooth, crooning adult contemporary tunes. They earned a 28/30, including a 10 from Bruno Tonioli.
Best Birthday Present: Cheryl Burke gave birthday boy Jack Osbourne a mini-mirror ball trophy engraved with “Best Partner Ever”. That was nice and all, Cheryl, but the real present was a 29/30 for his Viennese Waltz.
Weirdest Time To Do Laundry: Comedian Bill Engvall and Emma Straub kicked off their Charleston by hanging a rope of laundry across the DWTS ballroom. Unfortunately, that only opened the door for Bruno to offer his critique of Bill’s shaky footwork in all-laundry lingo: “You forgot to set the timer!’ “You need to reset the cycle!’ Bill earned 21/30
Most Likely To Get Divorced: Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy sittin’ in a tree, D-A-N-C-I-N-G, first comes casting, then comes wearing a wedding dress to dance a Viennese waltz on national TV. 26/30
Most Helpful Reminder: Just in case you forgot who took home the Mirrorball Trophy at the end of the show’s 16th season, it was former American Idol contestant Kelly Pickler.
The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: And then it was time for a return to the dirtiest-sounding dance segment in dance segment history: The
Threesome Trio Dance, in which two professionals take a newbie to new heights (and could very well be the plot to the porn version of Step Up). To kick things off, Derek invited Mark Ballas to join him in teaching Amber a thing or two in the ballroom. Their shirtless samba earned 27/30.
Best Music Choice: Leah and Tony Dovolani were joined by troupe member Henry Byalikov for a jive where they impersonated the judges while dancing to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” 27/30
Best Reaction: Corbin and Karina were joined in their jazz routine by Witney Carson. The results were wild (and not just because Corbin was shirtless). Carrie-Ann was so overwhelmed by the routine, that she forgot where she was and swore. After getting bleeped, she pulled herself together enough to call Corbin the “Bob Fosse of his generation” and pronounce it “the best routine ever seen on this show.” (To Karina and Whitney, she confessed: “Sorry girls, I didn’t even see you in the number.”) Len raved, “You came out and exploded!” Which sounds messy, but was meant as high praise. Yes, he got a 30/30.
Least Latin Lover: Jack Osbourne had a hard time getting in touch with his inner samba-ista for his threesome with Cheryl and Sharna Burgess, but he managed to pull himself together to save Cheryl from jungle Sharna. 25/30.
Least Helpful Comment: Bill and Emma were joined by Peta “Heavens To” Murgatroyd for their Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-themed routine. Dolled up in a mini-skirt and pigtails, Emma dubbed it “a sweet-candy threesome,” which put it right over into creepy territory since Bill looks like everyone’s uncle.
Best Bergeron-ism: When Bill’s threesome dance ended, Tom announced, “Your wife and her lawyer loved this routine!” Carrie-Ann pig- piled on: “That was just so weird.” They earned 21/30.
Best Eastern Bloc: Elizabeth and Val were joined by Gleb Slavchenko for a fast-paced salsa party where all the men ripped their shirts off and Elizabeth barely blinked. It earned them a perfect 30/30.
The Results: After two rounds of competition, Corbin and Elizabeth are at the top, followed by Jack and Leah, Amber and Derek with 51 and way, way back of the pack Bill with 42.
Who Went Home: Elizabeth and Val, who earned one of the best scores of the night, were pitted against Bill and Emma, who are consistently in the bottom of the leaderboard. So who went home? Elizabeth and Val, of course. If this is a paradigm-shifting turn of events for you, remember: this is not a talent competition. It’s unclear what people are basing their votes on this season, but it must have something to do with a deep and abiding love of Blue Collar comedy. Or a deep love of watching older men shake what their mamas gave them while wearing polyester pants. Or, perhaps, Bill Engvall has paid off every man, woman and child of voting age in the entire country. Whatever the reason, he’s headed to the semi-finals.