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Previously on Dancing with the Stars, my friends: Misty May and Maks bowed out of the competition, and so no one was eliminated. But that did not stop our dear show from packing the results hour full of junk. Loving and watching this show is like eating Cheetos in a way; you can’t stop even when you know there is absolutely no nutritional value to be gained. But, unlike Cheetos, this show doesn’t leave its cheesy residue in telltale orange spots on my fingers; I guess that’s a perk worth coming back for week after week.

Disco Isn’t Dead, But It Kills

They get one more drop of drama out of rerunning Misty’s tendon pop of horror by way of reminding us that she’s no longer in the competition. As for the folks who still are in the game, well, they’re all in varying stages of shook-up-ness. The lackluster performers (you know, the ones who rhyme with Boris and Blocko), are the only ones whose positions seem pretty much set in stone, but for everyone else, the standings are in a state of flux. We know that last week’s and this week’s totals will be added together, and the standings are close enough that the following is actually true for once: anything can happen.

Maurice and Cheryl are first up, and what I notice first is Cheryl’s impossibly cute afro of teased curls. I sense some awesome 70s action coming our way. Score. What I notice second is the red and black sequins all over her and Mo’s costumes. Score times two. They’re doing samba this week (score again), and Maurice is finding it difficult, because while it’s a party dance and he’s a party kind of guy, the technical side of the samba is getting to him. Cheryl brings in Mo’s adorable daughter Ryan to help him loosen up and enjoy the dance. And verily, it works: he looks to be having a great time out there rocking his hips to “That’s the Way I Like It.” His arms a little stiff, and the turns are kind of jerky, but I liked it. Len thinks it was fun too, but says Maurice’s moves need refinement. Bruno says they’re too loosey-goosey with getting the proficiency down and says they need to work harder to get Maurice the precision he needs. Carrie Ann thinks Maurice is not showing the progression of skill-building that she wants to see. So just to sum up, the judges think they’re a plate of meh washed down with a glass of suck. Backstage, Maurice puts on his best Dolemite voice and says he’s just trying to get the judges to feel the groove. They say no thanks: he gets a 6-7-7 for a total of 20. This gives them a combined total of 44/60.

Flaky, but Tender

Cody and Julianne are trying to bounce back from how much they sucked out loud last week. It’s tough going according to Julianne because Cody is an idiot – cue footage of Cody staring at his reflection in the mirror making bird noises while Julianne looks askance with with exasperation written all over her face. To straighten him out, she gets his high school principle to record a message for Cody, wherein she says a bunch of stuff that amounts to “Straighten out, you flake; you’re the best chance this school’s got of being on MTV in some capacity.” Cody seems to take that message to heart, but will it show on the dance floor?

I can’t really tell. They do a pretty slow, sultry tango to the Dandy Warhols’ “Bohemian Like You,” but the disconnect between the music’s rhythm and their moves really gets me discombobulated so I can’t judge. They look really slick; Julianne put together a great routine full of floor spins and somehow they end up with Cody pinning her to the ground. Bruno thinks Cody’s finding his mojo. He liked the drama involved in the dance, but thinks that Cody leant a little too much on Julianne’s skills. Who wouldn’t? Carrie and Len kind of exactly parrot Bruno, which is new, and a little disconcerting to be honest. Backstage they talk more about how Cody’s a flake, and then they get scores. 7 from Carrie Ann and a pair of 8s from Bruno and Len for a total of 23. So they also now have a total of 44 out 60 points.

A Shot in the Rear

Toni and Alec are up now. Last week’s Bavarian crème of a Viennese waltz went down more like a fruitcake with the judges, so they have some ground to gain back this week. Toni says all the dance training is improving her blood pressure-y heart troubles, so that’s good news. They’re performing samba tonight, Toni in little more than a beaded bikini and Alec in the ever popular black vest and tuxedo pants combo. Their samba is a little spin heavy, but there’s also some cool rolls and footwork in the mix too. It earned a thumbs up from me. Carrie Ann, of course has a different view. She thinks Toni and Alec are sensual enough to make really weird noises about, but she says Toni needs work on her shoulders because she’s shrinking into the moves too much. Len noticed that Toni stumbled on one move and got thrown out of whack for a bit, but thinks mainly the dance was awesome. Bruno calls them sugar and spice; he compliments their samba rolls and Toni’s butt. She shakes it for him in appreciation and maybe this isn’t suitable for the family hour? They score 7s from Carrie and Len and an 8 from Bruno for a total of 22, and yet another combined total of 44. Hmm. Also, apparently they’re introducing four new dances to the format next week? Please let one of them be the hustle! (Do it!)

Ready for a Close Up

Clorky! That’s an extremely fun word to say, but I doubt I’ll have the pleasure much longer. Cloris is still lamenting her low standings; she says she’s even okay with losing as long as she does a good job. Aww. Heart. Corky is trying to bring more, um, actual dancing into his choreography for the week. Also, all of Cloris’s great big family shows up for some reason. So they have the tango, and Cloris wants to balance the dancing with the entertainment so she can stay a while longer. I hear you, honey. And to her credit and Corky’s she actually dances tonight and is beautiful. I’m sorry, I’m a fan, she owns me. When they’re done Cloris tips over to a cute little kid in the audience (I think it’s Toni’s son?) and sweetly asks if he liked the dance, he smiles widely and sweetly nods. If there had been a puppy or a hunting rifle somewhere in the mix I think Cloris could’ve earned herself a last-minute bid for the vice-presidency in that moment. But alas.

Len is shocked by the proficiency and … actual dancing that sprung up from nowhere and congratulates Cloris on her musicality and theatrics. Bruno invents a whole noir story about a duchess and a manservant. This man has got to write a novel someday. He could just fill it with simile after purple simile, and it would still be awesome. “She was like cool rain on a hot sidewalk. He looked at her like a pitbull eyes a fresh steak,” and so on for a hundred or so pages. I would definitely buy such a book. Cloris wanders over to Carrie Ann to hear her pronouncements, but she ends up in Carrie’s shot. Mustn’t do that, Cloris. Carrie goes on to say that she underestimated Cloris and thought she would always go for the visual gags (at which Cloris says “Yeah we did, did you miss it!”), etc. but that tonight Cloris pushed herself to the edge of her capabilities (at which Cloris says, “No I didn’t,” and we’re pretty much done here while the audience and I try to get our giggles under control). Scores now: 8 from Carrie Ann and to 7s from the boys for their highest total ever. That 22 added to their previous 16 makes 38. Cloris says she expected 8s but that Len and Bruno might be prejudiced. It’s the blue eyes. Allegedly.

That’s a Spicy Meatball!

Rocco and Karina now get to dance under the specter of doom that is the fact that they would’ve been kicked off last week were it not for someone else’s personal tragedy. Rocco at least is taking this second chance extremely seriously; his focus is all on learning the steps, but his clinical attitude is worrying Karina. So she brings in Rocco’s mother (she of the world famous meatballs) who, according to Rocco, is a “walking, talking party.” She breezes in and exhorts Rocco to shake what she gave him and smile more. His mother is frickin delightful. I think ABC should give her and Cloris a show wherein they do nothing but drink tea and say precocious, snappy things that may or may not make sense. OMG, Rocco’s costume has the full-on ruffled sleeves. Awse! He is taking this seriously. He and Karina samba to “I Go to Rio;” he’s still quite jerky and there’s some trouble with the legwork but overall it’s really fun to watch and it looks like they’re having a blast.

Rocco kids that he’s been waiting all his like to wear pink chiffon ruffles, but Bruno tamps out all of that congenial mood by stoutly declaring that Rocco as no musicality about him whatsoever. Yeah well, you can cram it with walnuts, ugly! Carrie Anna agrees; she congratulates Rocco for getting into the spirit but says he really needs to work on his movement. Len says “well done” because he can tell Rocco had a great deal of fun. That was uncharacteristically nice and abbreviated from him. Backstage, Rocco says he’d gladly have left the show last week if it meant Misty would be healthy and whole and still in the game. Aw. That’s so sweet I don’t believe a word of it. They get triple 6s for an evil omen of 18, and Rocco tries to pass that off as something awesome. Their combined total is 38. Hey, same as Clorky. Hmm.

I’d Like To Teach the World to Dance

Susan and Tony jumped the jive last week and it was a bit “timid” according to Carrie Ann, so she and Tony are dedicated to bringing some Erica Kane into their tango this week. This for some reason necessitates Tony appearing as a walk-on in an episode of All My Children. This apparently makes Tony completely understand Susan. Wow. If only we all could be extras on AMC for a brief, shining moment, I bet all our misunderstandings would disappear. I see a world, a better world, where young and old, rich, and poor, black and white come together at the coffee shops and schools and churches of Pine Valley before engaging in spontaneous exhibitions of ballroom dance. It almost makes me want to shed a tear.

So, Susan and Tony’s tango to the techno beat. It has all the elements – the moves are sharp and striking, but it’s still kind of dull to me. I don’t know how to quantify that. But Carrie Ann says, “Holla!” and calls it “moving art,” so what do I know anyway. Len thinks this is their best dance so far. Bruno congratulates Susan for stripping off some of her polish and connecting with some real passion. Backstage Susan says she thinks Erica Kane needs to learn how to dance now. Don’t we all, Susan. Don’t we all. They score triple 8s, which brings their two-week total to 45.

Hot Like Fire

Brooke and Derek had a spat of some sort, but it must not have been very interesting because I have absolutely no recollection of it. Also, they earned the first 10 of the competition. Derek wants to reward Brooke by taking her out to see some real samba before they get in the studio and DWTS-ify it. Brooke appreciates seeing a looser, freakier side of Derek in the studio and is having more fun than ever with the samba. It shows. Brooke looks like a yellow bird of paradise, and Derek is the strait-laced nerd who needs the rhythm to set him afire. Corny story aside, all of their forms are excellent, and they actually make me wish I was doing this dance instead of sitting in my living room wondering why I don’t have any Cheetos. Len, however found it too erotic. Bruno says “a sex bomb has hit the building” and he loved it. Carrie Ann says athleticism, grace, and a bunch of other stuff that rules about Brooke.

Tom drops the bomb about the 4 new dances we’ll be seeing on the show: hustle (!), jitterbug, salsa, and west coast swing. Right on. Brooke and Derek earn 9s from Carrie and Bruno and a 8 from grumpy old Len. That 26 plus last week’s 28 gives them 54. I think they win.

Tripping the Dark Fantastic

Team Edgy McWeirdHair a.k.a. Lance and Lacey have struggled with striking a balance between being the hip young things that they are and turning in a creditable ballroom performance. This week they’re working on making the tango “their own,” but Lance is struggling with the rigid posture that tango requires. It’s true; no one wants to tango with a pool noodle. Out on the floor they look like a bride and groom really into purple and eyeliner; their tango is set to “Disturbia.” It’ll do. Bruno thinks this wek they’ve nailed the compromise between quirkiness and ballroom. Carrie Ann thinks up until now Lance and Lacey haven’t “shined, shined, shineded?” but this week they’ve proven they have the goods. Len makes sure there’s an appreciative silence before he dubs Lance … “Sir Dancealot.” Oh, I laughed until I cried. It took about half a second. The dark-tinged tange earns them 9s from Bruno and Carrie and an 8 from Len for a total of 26. So they’s got 48 points in all.

Big Boy’s Bubble Burst

And we’re nearing the end! Warren and Kym are our caboose for the evening. They’re doing samba, and Warren’s ready to get his party on. Before that though, Kym takes him to get schooled in capoeira to strengthen his physicality. As you might guess hi-jiks ensue; he defends Kym from the instructor and threatens the judges all in one fell swoop. And then, my friends, they samba. They dance to something I’m going to guess is called “Bounce with Me.” Warren’s pretty much got it down. His toes are pointing in the walks, his hips are rolling in the rolls, and he and Kym are just awesome sauce out there. Plus there’s a handstand. All the judges think the choreography was a bit too junior jumble and they wanted more complexity from the routine, but all are also in agreement that Warren’s dancing is to be reckoned with. They give him 8-7-7 for a total of 22. They’ve got 47 total. Cloris wanders into the shot to inform them that they each got the same score tonight, and Warren and Kym better watch out. I’m ready to see that rumble right now. Come on with it, Pay-Per-View people. I hope it goes down like the Sharks and the Jets in West Side Story. Uh, but in the beginning though. Not the end.

Well, now. Thanks to Cloris’s rise and the others dipping their toes in the mediocrity pool, the field is wide open. Even though we all know who’s leaving us this week, the weeks thereafter are primed for wacky unpredictability. Results night holds the promise of more Ballroom Kids and Ne-yo, but also flamenco! That last bit might actually get me to tune in, but if you go the wiser route and skip it you’ll certainly be rewarded by a much more fun and less nutritionally questionable wrap-up of all the gory details courtesy of MsFroggy.

My money’s on Cloris, my friends.