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I’d like to make an appeal to all of Jerry Springer’s fans right now. Guys, the man is 62 years old. Unlike most of the stars on this show, the man has a day job – hell, he’s got two day jobs. He’s tired. He’s broken down – he’s probably dodging phone calls from Emmitt Smith’s chiropractor as we speak. You just know how harsh a ribbing he’s going to take from Steve & the boys – and that’s just over the ruffled shirt. We all love Jerry, but please, I beg you, stop voting for him. Let him return to the pregnant bad girls and good-natured political punditry. [\end public service announcement]

And now we come to the recap of the recap portion of this recap, where Tom reminds us that there is a 4-way tie for first place – chemistry couple Willa Ford & Maksim, Monique Coleman & Svengali Louis, hot package Mario Lopez & Karina, and Samba King Emmitt Smith & Cheryl. Joey Lawrence & Edyta are in the middle of the pack, while Sara Evans & Tony along with Jerry Springer & Kym occupy the basement. There’s the usual random comments from the couples – more gushing over their chemistry (I thought The Bachelor had dibs on this word, but I guess since they’re both ABC shows they have to share – next the couples will be jabbering on about how this show a journey like no other) from Willa & Max, a sleazy-looking Louis tells us that Monique’s last move during their rumba – if you missed it, basically she opened up her legs like a cheap pair of scissors teetering on one blade – is in the last page of the Kama Sutra (say it with me now…eeeewwwwww), and the guileless Mario tells us he didn’t realize he was “throbbing” (if you missed Bruno’s comment last night, you can read it here) while Karina assures him that he was. (One more time…eeewwwwwww.) Jerry & Kym decide to make light of their general suckiness and make up a new samba – it goes perfection-perfection-us, perfection-perfection…hum it to a samba beat and you get the idea.

So who deserves the encore dance tonight? Well…the best of the best couples have already had a go, so that leaves the best of the worst – Len declares that for pure entertainment value alone, Jerry & Kym will get the nod. Trooper that Jerry is, he makes the best of it and he & Kym deliver another spirited, though silly, samba. I just hope they have a chair for him backstage.

I’m pumped for tonight’s special guest, Rod Stewart. Rod the Mod is going to perform Hot Legs, natch. At times he looks slightly embarrassed and I’m sure he’s slurring those lyrics on purpose – that sixty-four-year-old “daddy” you referenced in this song is hitting kinda close to home these days, hey Rod? In keeping with Rod’s well-known preference for the tall blonde model type, Kym and Edyta are the hot-legged dancers and manage to keep from letting Rod actually touch them. Still, Rod’s pretty cool in his dirty old man rockstar kind of way, although I’m slightly icked out by the little paunch that he keeps displaying over his belt. Next time get Rod a shirt that fits, please, or an Ab Roller, or something.

Backstage, Sam torments interviews some of the celebrities – Joey, continuing to do his nervous head-bobbing thing, tells Sam he feels vulnerable, Mario vows to unclip himself or something, and Jerry expresses horror that there are TWO dances to learn next week…but then admits that he’s been doing the same dance every day, just at different speeds. Oh, I don’t know about that, Jerry - you shook those maracas pretty briskly for a guy your age.

Why ask the common folk what they think of the performances when you can ask C-list celebrities? Because apparently the studio audience is full of ‘em, probably campaigning for a spot on next season’s show. Most recognizable are Marilu Henner (the redhead from Taxi), John Salley (he used to play in the NBA, but is better-known for leeching onto the rich & famous – see Eddie Murphy, Dennis Rodman, et.al.), and Tia Carrere (best known as the hot chick in Wayne’s World). I have to admit I wouldn’t mind seeing the 6’11” Salley trying to rumba – which dancer would be able to reach past his belt buckle, do you think? Heeee.

By now I’m getting pretty impatient for some results, and Tom gives us the first 2 safe couples – no surprises here, people, because it’s Mario & Karina, and Monique & Louis.

These four young turks will live to dance another week – and get those platform shoes and flared pants ready, because next week is group freestyle disco! And lucky for Mario, lifts are allowed! No, not shoe lifts – don’t take that short-and-stiff comment from Carrie Ann last night to heart, Mario – it means you can literally sweep the lovely Karina off her feet and Len can’t say boo about it! To prepare us for next week’s wanton display of the Hustle, there’s a group routine who performs to Boogie Wonderland. This isn’t our usual group of pros…actually, this bunch looks old enough to have been extras in Saturday Night Fever. They still have all the right moves, though – maybe there’s hope for Jerry yet.

Some quick backstage pats-on-the-back to the safe couples – I notice Sam didn’t ask Karina what she got Mario for his birthday yesterday, nudge-nudge-wink-wink – and we join Tysonia Sichinga, the SlimFast stooge who’s running way late on her 15 minutes of fame. Tysonia complains that her dance of the week, the quick-step, is frustrating her as she has too many other things on her mind. Maybe the SlimFast is making her moody and weak as a kitten. I’m just saying. Anyway, Tysonia manages a quick-step in front of her choir group, and mercifully she got a dress that fits this time. And you wear it well, Tysonia.

Rod’s back, with his new version of Fooled Around & Fell In Love. The producers, ever opportunistic, play video clips of the stars on a giant screen behind Rod – we see all the dancers, but mostly snogging duos Willa & Max and Mario & Karina, giving each other long, soulful looks and gazing into each other’s eyes. Every picture certainly does tell a story, don’t it?

Time for the pros to have their say, as they talk about how difficult challenging it is to work with the amateur dancers. Cheryl says that Emmitt has a tendency to analyze everything, and has a hard time letting go. Karina tells us Mario is a troublemaker and she must be very strict with him. Just like Catholic school, muses Mario. Methinks Karina is going to be getting one of those Wal-Mart “Sexy Nun” costumes for Halloween this year – or maybe even sooner. Not to be outdone, Maksim tells us his method of teaching is for the student to do exactly as he says. And it’s even easier to visualize Willa in a naughty schoolgirl uniform – wasn’t that even one of her album covers? No, wait, that was Britney’s schtick – though these days, Brit isn’t about to fit into any of those old costumes, so maybe Willa could just borrow one from her.

Why are we here again? Oh yes, the results. Tom starts it off by proclaiming Sara & Tony safe, and Jerry & Kym again land in the bottom 2. Oh, wait, we haven’t had the requisite bitch session by the stars yet about how stressful and crazy learning to ballroom dance is. We’ve heard it all before, but we haven’t seen Mario’s parish priest bless him before performance night – he actually comes to the studio to do it. And after he makes the sign of the cross, the priest slaps Mario’s arm and calls him “dude”. If this is helping him dance well AND get the hot chick, I foresee a sudden increase in church attendance in the coming weeks. Hope they’re laying in a bigger supply of those communion wafers. On a more secular note, Joey jumps on the devoted-daddy bandwagon and is shown plastering pictures of his baby daughter – who is admittedly adorable – on his dressing room door.

Back to the remaining three couples, and I’ll spare you the dramatic pauses this week and just report that Emmitt & Cheryl, along with Joey & Edyta, are safe. It’s back to the bottom 2 for Willa & Maksim, and we have to wait out a commercial break to find out who’s going home tonight. And as it turns out, tonight’s the night for Willa & Max to bid adieu. There’s gasps and boos from the audience, and no one looks more horrified and disappointed than Jerry. Jerry, I won’t vote for you next week, I swear! And may I remind everyone, that goes for the rest of you, too!

Willa, surprisingly, is not tearful – she thanks Max, and Max tells us that Willa is his favorite student. I’ll assume nobody missed that particular double entendre. The couple dances their last? dance, and another fringe celebrity is gone. Next week, Brandy will be donning her boogie-woogie-woogie-woogie dancin’ shoes, as the stars prepare for group freestyle disco (let’s hope that it plays as dirty as it sounds) and one other new dance. And in the immortal words of our talk show icon Jerry…until next time, take care of yourselves and each other!

That’s me knockin’ on your door, Rod. ajane@fansofrealitytv.com