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'Dancing With the Stars': Samba smackdown!

March 25, 2009 |  9:19 am

115996_1562_ful Well, this results show was quite a nail-biter, wasn't it? It started with a shock, had its fill of sneaky twists and surprising turns, and ended with Bond girl/reality TV maven Denise Richards performing her last dance.

The first surprise came early on, when by the sheer voting force of Wozettes everywhere, Tom and Samantha announced that Steve Wozniak was saved from the stresses of having to dance off. Despite having what Tom called the lowest score in six seasons (a quick Internet search revealed Master P held the title of having the lowest score in "DWTS" history, scraping a total of 8 way back in Season 2), the Wizard of Woz conjured up enough votes to keep him from the bottom two. (Or maybe, just maybe, the Woz has created this program that votes for him. He is a computer genius, after all.) And it was a pleasant surprise to see Karina, who has looked as though she was already making mental plans about her spring break in Cabo, jump up and down in genuine glee. “I haven’t been more shocked than any time in my life, except maybe when I got served divorce papers,” quipped the Woz. And you know what that means: Next week we’ll be treated to Wozzy bear and Karina’s not-so-secret weapon: The Pillsbury dough-boy poke and giggle. Wonder how that’ll figure into the Lindy Hop?

Which brings us to the next tightly wound twist:

What was going on with Karina’s hair? That striped outfit was already like Beetlejuice meeting Prison Break while running through a flock of seagulls. But it was her hair that had me doing double takes. Monday’s chic ringlets had transformed into perms gone wild. Luckily, the Little Orphan Karina ’do was for a reason, and I sighed with sweet relief to see that it was part of her 1980s flash-dancing persona in Hall and Oates’ “Maneater” segment that ended with her and her bare-chested betrothed, Maks Chmerkovskiy, in a passionate embrace.

Grammy-winning singer Adele also performed, belting “Chasing Pavements” while Alec Mazo chased his scantily clad wife, Edyta Sliwinska, on the dance floor. And while there were no Stars of Dance this evening, Cloris Leachman and Corky Ballas strutted their stuff in a pretaped tutorial on next week’s new dances, the Lindy Hop and the Argentine tango. Which was cute enough, but it’s going to take more than just soap and water to erase that last searing image of Cloris and Corky in a lusty lip-lock (eesh). How much mileage is Cloris getting out of "DWTS"? And that fringy tequila sunrise of a dress?

115996_1631_ful So it came down to the dance-off, which, due to the Woz’s immunity and Steve-O’s extreme popularity with the ballroom-loving jackasses, was left to the fembots, Holly Madison and Denise Richards. Going into the dance-off, I would say Holly had the edge. She was determined to do better this time around, and seemed to have a better, looser attitude about it all. Denise seemed sadly resigned to her fate, and almost seemed like she was secretly begging the dancing gods to be sent home.

Both improved on their sambas: Holly made sure not to lift her foot during the routine, which earned her that extra point from stickler Carrie Ann for a total of 18. And it also gave Dmitry Chaplin a second chance to improve on his commentary.

Denise was still awkward, but at least she was able to wipe that look of petrification off her face for her samba. Bruno commended her for improving by “leaps and bounds,” and the judges awarded her a whopping score of 20, despite some phantom numerical difficulties from Samantha and whatever voice was piping in her ear.

At this point, I was sure that Holly would be told to pack her stuff and make her way back to the Playboy mansion. But no -- despite her two-point advantage, it was Denise Richards who got the boot. And was it me, or did I detect a huge sigh of relief when the announcement was made? She looked more relaxed than I’d seen her this entire season.

What do you think? Do you think the right person left this week? Who would you have liked to have seen make his or her last dance? When will the Woz’s luck run out? Come back next week, when we go through the Lindy Hop and the Argentine tango, and the contestants face the “dreaded double elimination!”

-- Allyssa Lee

Photo credits: ABC (2)