Right away, during the mostly-filler intro to the show, Tom Bergeron starts dropping the secret code words for “most of you aren’t going to like tonight’s results” – he reminds us that only 5 points separate the entire leader board, so it’s all up to the fans (and the rabid fangroups with hair-trigger voting fingers). Also, he prepares us for a “shocking” elimination. Unless the singers end up being led away in handcuffs, I have a feeling this hour won’t be pleasant.
Fresh Salmon Frying
Wasting no time, Tom & Brook do not disappoint. The two couples tied for 2nd place on the leader board are called down, Nicole & Derek and Erin & Maks. Tom says that one of these couples is in the Bottom 2. BAM, right in the gut. And who is this week’s sacrificial lamb, forced to sweat out the entire hour? Why it’s Erin!
Apparently, the show feels this week hasn’t been stressful enough for her, what with being called out by an idiot with an influential TV job, who felt Erin is basically asking to be stalked, by wearing such allegedly revealing dance outfits. What a nice birthday present for her. At least she has the backing of her peers in the sports news industry – oh wait, a colleague derided her in his blog, reducing the incident to a “catfight” and referring to her only as “Sideline Barbie” throughout his piece. Happy Birthday!
But I digress. After delivering this sucker-punch, a sympathetic Tom remarks, “Yes, it’s going to be one of those nights.” Len’s pre-taped analysis of the week’s activity is quickly introduced:
The encore dance goes to Team Gaga, with a last-minute replacement: Pamela injured herself earlier in the day, so Chelsie steps in to dance with Damian. You can see the raw fun they’re both having as they push it to the limit with the rest of the team, and the dance is even fiercer than last night’s winning version. Also, and I have to say this: the singers didn’t ruin “Telephone”! That in itself makes this week a miracle.
- Beginning with a spin of his own, Len is as happy as a little girl, squealing, “What a night!” (I’d really like to see this man’s diary)
- All the dancers hit personal highs, and the team dances charmed, prompting Len to pronounce it “the best week of the season.”
- Erin & Maks’ quickstep was “fun, fast and fabulous.” Erin is equally happy at how her “Russian” was able to rock out in his salmon tux.
- Chad impressed with his “gentility” and “smoothness” during his Viennese waltz.
- Len is more and more impressed with Nicole’s ability to handle Derek’s advanced choreography. Backstage, Nicole and Derek laugh at a moment when her dress got in the way as he spun her on the floor. “I’m goin’ down!”
- Pam & Damian’s waltz was quiet and understated, but “excellent in some ways.” Hmm, how…qualified. Pam feels that she’s just beginning to get the hang of this dancing stuff, where her brain and her body are starting to communicate properly.
- Niecy & Louis’ quickstep was a knockout that surprised all the judges. Niecy is surprised at how surprised everyone is that she’s dancing well.
- Then, Evan & Anna came along and “blew everyone out of the water” with their Argentine tango, receiving Len’s first 10 of the season.
- As for the team dances, Team Gaga’s cha cha cha was “fantastic” enough to make Len do a little dance, while Team Madonna also did a very good job, if not quite as stellar. Overall, Len is spent from having witnessed such a great night, as I am from watching him talk about it.
A Strong Cat Without Claws
The songs of tonight’s musical guests are very familiar with fans of the show. In fact, some of the songs need to be put to rest forever from chronic overuse. The band Train demonstrates by playing “Hey, Soul Sister”, making it, what, the third time this season we’ve heard it? I’m not worried that Train will ever starve, thanks to its catalog being so criminally over-licensed for TV shows and commercials. I can’t shake them no matter where I go. But I digress. The more notable aspect of this song: Mark Ballas is out there dancing to it! So much for his career-threatening knee injury, I guess.
Did you just hear something pop?
By the way, did you know that in addition to their official Twitter pages, Mark and Derek have also opened accounts for their most notable body parts? Visit MarkBallasRight Knee and DerekHoughsHair to find out the latest. Not to be outdone, Evan has opened up EvanLysaceksToe. I’m not making any of this up. But I digress…
Continuing with the results, Tom asks Chad & Cheryl and Evan & Anna to step forward. Guess what happens? You’re right! Evan is safe, and Chad is sent to “In Jeopardy” Purgatory. What a shock! I wonder what ChadsBaldHead thinks of this…
Unfettered and Alive
Brooke interviews Pamela and Niecy, who have yet to hear their fates. Pamela’s foot injury is “minor” but she didn’t want to risk aggravating it, although she was jealous watching Chelsie dance with her man Damian. Niecy and Louis agree that less clothing would have helped their scores this week, and Niecy promises a “wardrobe malfunction” in the coming weeks should she survive tonight’s results. Time to run out and buy that 3D-TV!
A clip package follows, where the remaining pro dancers try to express how much more pressure there is on the couples at this stage of the competition. Twice as many dances per week, constant rehearsing, exhaustion, crankiness…oh, and you have to get better with every dance! Maks reminds us how a season-long frontrunner can blow it with one bad routine in the finals. All the dancers agree in their intense, shadowy close-ups that at this point, all of the couples are in it to win it. It’s go-time. All or nothing. Insert sports cliché here. What’s that? Evan’s used them all up already this season? Darn.
I love Photoshop.
For the last round of preliminary results, Pam & Damian and Niecy & Louis take the stage, and we receive the second shock of the night: Niecy & Louis are safe! This means that Pam & Damian join Chad & Cheryl in Final Jeopardy, and the category is “Famous Jiggly Parts”.
You Want Too Much, You Want Too Badly
I’m sorry to report another Melissa Rycroft sighting. This week, she was found crawling all over the production, trying out everyone’s job on the show for a few minutes. This could be a reaction to not getting Samantha’s job, we’re not quite sure. This segment suffers from the same problem shared by most Melissa segments: they purport to give us a backstage look at the show, but end up being all about how cute and funny Melissa supposedly is. “Look at me!! I’m on TV!” No thanks. After the clip ends, Brooke gives us the line of the night by cracking, “I’m glad we don’t have her job!” Game, set, match. I’m starting to like her…
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Because Elvis Gave ‘em Cars, You Think I’m Cheap
Next up is…I’m not quite sure what it is, but it’s tonight’s Macy’s Stars of Dance segment. The cast of the Cirque du Soleil production Viva Elvis left Las Vegas to perform their interpretation of the classic “Blue Suede Shoes”. Former DWTS contestant Priscilla Presley is in the audience to bestow her blessings on the endeavor. The acrobatics incorporated into the choreography are up to the insanely high Cirque standards, but overall, the number gets lost out of the context of its original environment. What must be magical as part of the bigger experience in their home theater in Vegas, seems kind of gaudy and tacky on the DWTS soundstage. Picture the cast of Lazytown at an Elvis karaoke night. I still encourage people to go see the show in Las Vegas, but maybe they should have saved on airfare and performed the number live via satellite.
Train returns to perform their galaxy-wide hit “Drops of Jupiter (Tell me)”. Yeah, it’s a classic, but again I’ve heard it too many times against my will. Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age. But I digress…Louis and Karina (yes, she’s back!) perform a light, fluid routine to accompany the song.
Edith and the Kingpins
Back in the Star Tank, Brooke interviews Niecy once again, this time next to frontrunners Evan and Nicole, just to make sure she can’t feel too happy about just being pronounced safe. Nice! Asked how she is going to up her game against these fierce competitors, Niecy relies on comedy to get out of such an awkward situation. (Author’s note: That is one of the earmarks of a true star, in case you needed a litmus test) Nicole and Evan try to remain humble despite their current status, although Brooke can’t help but keep inadvertently digging into Niecy by asking Evan just how awful it is that Erin is in the Bottom 2, tsk tsk. I would imagine the phrase “cut a bitch” is crossing Niecy’s mind right about now. Tom comments on the seeds of paranoia being so easily sown on this show. I’ve always liked this guy…
Back on the floor, it’s time to find out who will join Erin & Maks in the Bottom 2, and it is..interrupted by a commercial. Ouch, bad form! That’s so Howie Mandel/Deal or No Deal, Tom! A few minutes later, we finally learn that Chad & Cheryl are safe, which means that Pam & Damian are in the Bottom 2 once again.
Like Some Surrealist Invented This 4th of July Night Ride Home
Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann all register their shock and dismay that either one of these couples is leaving this week (did you hear that back there, Niecy?). But the moment has arrived, and we must say goodbye to…Pamela & Damian. Tom thanks her for her beautiful performances, and for turning him into a 12-year-old boy all season, which is a sincere compliment in the end. We get to view Pam’s “Memory Lane” package, including my favorite line of the season from Pam, answering a benign question from Brooke about seeing all the sides of her this season: “I think everyone’s seen all the sides of Pamela.”
Farewell, Pamela. I really could drink a case of you.