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Elections can be exhilarating, suspenseful stuff. After the excitement of Tuesday’s mid-term election results, sandwiched between the DWTS semi-finals, tonight’s results show seems a little…well, anti-climactic. Kind of like a Sunday-morning hangover, and in fact, the dancers look a little the worse for wear in the face of their possible elimination. Joey Lawrence, in particular, looks pretty anxious – the veins are a-poppin’ on his head, and his lips are a-lickin’ at a furious rate. Will underdog Joey’s ship sail tonight, putting the glittery ball trophy forever out of reach?

We won’t know for at least another 55 minutes, because there’s the usual results show business to take care of first. It’s time to revisit the previous night’s performances, and in after-show confessionals the stars are giddy with their success. Mario Lawrence excitedly proclaims the evening “awesome” and partner Karina purrs that she loves Mario whether he’s bad OR good, pretty much confirming that even if the trophy eludes Mario next week, he’s not going home empty-handed from this competition. Emmitt Smith is his normal cool self, but he’s also got a poop-eating grin on his face when he says that the judges’ scores were flattering. Joey…well, Joey is about as restrained as a 12-year-old girl at a Hilary Duff concert. He pumps his fist and howls, “WOOOOOOO! 10, baby!” Veins pop and I fear for his blood pressure.

Host Tom brings up the leaderboard results, which can disposed of in one sentence – everyone is tied with 59 out of 60 points, rendering the judges’ scores obsolete and leaving tonight’s elimination solely in the hands of the voting public. Our DWTS judges still get to pick which couple is most deserving of tonight’s encore performance, though, and head judge Len declares that Mario & Karina’s tango was just that much better than everyone else. The encore is duly performed, and Tom reminds us to stick with the show for the entire hour, as there have been upsets – in the past. We’ve heard this line before, haven’t we? In the non-shocking elimination week when we bid adieu to Jerry Springer, I believe. But I’ve pledged to tune in for the duration, and I have to admit, I’m pretty curious as to how Tom and co-host Samantha are going to entertain us for an entire hour.

Bond is back

Apparently Sony Pictures has bought up a lot – a LOT – of advertising time tonight, to promote the new James Bond flick, Casino Royale. First we’re introduced to the newest Bond girl, Caterina Murino. Like the President of Zambia the previous evening, she looks slightly befuddled at finding herself as a featured guest star. Our attention is quickly diverted to the pros, who are going to be performing a tribute to James Bond. It’s the first time I’ve seen a “tribute” to a fictional character, but no matter. The men are outfitted in Bond-ish black tuxes, and the music is the Bond theme song. Again, not something I’ve ever thought was danceable, expect maybe by naked women in silhouette (and there’s a couple of those as well, in the background).

The pros pull it off as usual, but before we pay too much attention to the participants with actual dancing talent, we’re off to the backstage area with Sam. Poor Sam – now that Jerry’s gone, there’s just no one left to banter with. She gamely quizzes them about feeling the pressure, etc., and everyone politely compliments each other and assures Sam that the fear of elimination is always close at hand. *stifles yawn* OK, well, what about the fans? Do they have any witty bon mots to share about the stars and their last performances? Well, most of the love tonight is for gridiron hero Emmitt – he’s declared the 8th wonder of the world, and one excited fan says that not many men can smile like Emm and make her panties fall off. *stifles vomit* Joey is proclaimed the “sentimental choice”, and another horny gal giggles that whoever goes home tonight can go home with her. You’ve been duly warned, guys.

Footloose and fancy-free

America’s dance fans just can’t get enough, because Dancing With The Stars is going on tour. The tour choreographer will be Zen master Louis Van Amstel, and the stars participating will be Lisa Rinna (no surprise there, as Lisa’s been skulking around for the duration of season 3), Joey McIntyre, Harry Hamlin (to keep an eye on Lisa, presumably, since he sure wasn’t picked for his skillful footwork), Drew Lachey, Joey Lawrence, and Willa Ford (to keep an eye on Maksim, presumably). We’re then given a preview of what the tour has in store, as some of the stars are performing a group number to Footloose, making them all one degree closer to Kevin Bacon. Lisa is dancing with Louis Van Amstel, Harry is back partnering with Ashly Del Grosso, Joey M. is with Kym Johnson, and Willa, of course, is with squeeze Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Lisa must have Louis thoroughly cowed, as she’s featured prominently in the group number, which in spite of the fact that Harry’s part of it, isn’t half bad. The tour starts December 18th, so check your Christmas stocking for your tickets.

There’s more guest stars in the audience tonight – Slim-Fast dance queen Tysonia Sichinga and partner Christian Perry are in attendance. Tysonia is celebrating her performance in the Pacific Dancesports Championship, a national dance competition that she’s somehow qualified to dance in. Tysonia must be putting in some extra hours of practice, because she & Christian manage to nab 2nd place with their rumba. It also looks like the weeks of chugging Slim-Fast is kicking in, because there is noticeably less junk in Tysonia’s trunk. The weeks of public embarrassment are worth it, after all.

Jimmy Kimmel confesses

The musical guests tonight are the Pet Shop Boys. Don’t worry if you have never heard of them. If you weren’t a teenager in the ‘80’s, there’s no reason for you to know who they are. They had one hit song in North America, West End Girls, and it used to be considered “New Wave”. But times have changed, and you know a song can stand the test of time when it can be made into a quasi hip-hop tune, and by the original artist yet. The PSBs are accompanied by an utterly bizarre hip-hop dance, performed by two guys who are each wearing half of the other’s outfit. The whole performance is beyond description, so let’s just leave it by saying it’s fortunate that the PSBs are only doing the one song tonight, ‘kay?

It’s not good enough that there are millions of Americans who are tuning into this show, and making it popular enough to spawn a live tour. Oh noooooo. The producers need extra affirmation, and as befitting a list of C-list stars, turn to the C-list media for some DWTS love. There’s a couple of talking heads from Access Hollywood, Extra, and Inside Edition, along with Rachel Ray (yes, they are still giving out talk shows to pretty much anyone who asks nicely), and Jimmy Kimmel. Everyone says very nice things about the show and its startling popularity, and Jimmy shyly admits that he’s had a crush on Mario & Joey since he was a little girl. It would have been funny if it was at all surprising, I guess. There’s also some gossip about the mini-scandals, namely Shanna Moekler’s tiff with Paris Hilton, and Sara Evans’ departure and ugly divorce battle.

Joey weighs anchor

It’s elimination time, but not before the three remaining guys say some super-nice stuff about each other, and talk about how excited they are to be in the semi-finals. Have we heard all this before? You know we have. So let’s just get to it. After we hit the main stage, Tom calls out the couples’ names, and…we have a four-minute commercial break. OK, back to Tom, who sadly proclaims this to be the hardest good-bye in three seasons. Oooooh, I bet that put Lisa Rinna’s back up.

The first safe couple, unsurprisingly, is Mario & Karina. So the couple going home will be...dramatic pause, wait for it, wait for it…Joey & Edyta. Hey, maybe this really is the hardest goodbye ever, because poor Joey looks devastated. Well, if he tears up, he wouldn’t be the first man on this show to do so – but no, Joey is a steadfast sailor and keeps his cool during the video montage of his DWTS experience. He’s subdued but sweet when he thanks Edyta, DWTS, and the fans, reminds us that he’ll be joining the tour, and touchingly calls his wife the most incredible woman in the world. It’s not as overwhelmingly emotional as Jerry Springer’s farewell, but Joey’s charming naiveté still makes me want to give him a hug. And, perhaps, run a hand over his bald head. And his well-defined pectoral muscles. And…um. Nevermind. Joey & Edyta dance out to the strains of Whitney Houston’s Didn’t We Almost Have It All – appropriate, if a wee bit obvious.

Next week, the two finalists, Mario & Emmitt, will have to learn an unprecedented three new dances, and my recap partner Brandy will be here to take you through the thrills, the chills, and the excitement of the season’s final performances and the awarding of the glittery ball trophy. It’s been a ballroom blitz for me, dance fans – hope it was for you too. See you next season!

It was electric, and so frighteningly hectic! ajane@fansofrealitytv.com