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'Dancing With the Stars' results: Par for the course?

April 22, 2009 | 12:11 am

116274_9260_pre In what may have been the least contentious elimination of the season, it was revealed that football great Lawrence Taylor received the lowest tally and was booted from the competition. Which was a surprise to absolutely no one: It was no secret that LT was itching to get back to the golf course. His scores were the lowest and the erstwhile Giant looked like he was ready to leave three weeks ago. What was surprising, however, was that the elimination this week seemed almost beside the point because of everything else that took place in between.

I think we can all safely assume that the dance-off between the bottom two couples has fallen by the wayside and been discarded like some really off-putting tassels. It seemed as though the show was jam-packed with so much other stuff that it put the competition itself on the back burner. First, the encore performance of the group dance (still fun and swinging! Though Chuck was sans wig). And then the recap and reactions to Monday night’s performances, where I was tickled to see Julianne rapt with excitement backstage, gleefully recounting the judges’ positive comments about her and Chuck's sizzling samba to big brother Derek (And then Len said…! And then…!). After a couple of seasons on the show, and particularly in light of her comment that she's not going to return next season, it's nice to see that Julianne can still get pumped about a good performance.

Next came the segment examining the physical stresses of dance on the competitors, featuring none other than Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Who is far from being just some “expert” Googled from the ’Net. We’re talking about a guy who was approached to be surgeon general of the United States. Can’t tell where an appearance on “DWTS” talking about working out the core muscles figures into this famous doctor's list of accomplishments, however. But it sure gave the segment some weight. Speaking of which, can you believe that you can burn about 15,000 calories per week by dancing? Incredible. Wonder how many calories you can burn by watching and writing about all this dancing while consuming a box of Trader Joe's cheese crisps?

Then there were the performances. Natasha Bedingfield came out in a ruby red dress and performed “Soulmate” while bare-chested Dmitry Chaplin and Lacey Schwimmer (whose scanty bikini outfit kind of reminded me of something one of Jabba the Hutt’s slave dancers would wear) threw themselves at each other in heated embraces. Then there were the hot young things doing a sultry cabaret act from the show 116274_0334_pre “Burn the Floor,” which is coming to Broadway this summer. I liked how it looked as though they were playing spin-the-bottle with the woman as she twirled on the floor at the end.

Which then brought us to the mini-competition within a competition, where six professional ballroom dancers face off against one another to win viewers’ votes and ensure a spot in “DWTS' ” next season. And while I admit I was excited by the idea of this professional smackdown, I was a little disappointed when none of the contenders were named Artem (though Snow Urbin was also a “SYTYCD” competitor). But didn’t this whole affair have distinct “So You Think You Can Dance” echoes? They were all young dancers who were in direct competition with one another even as they performed as couples. There also seemed to be a bit of nepotism going on, with younger siblings of previous “DWTS” pros in the running.  Though I have to say I liked Genya Mazo (younger bro to Alec), and did indeed feel like he could be a good partner. And Afton DelGrosso (lil sis to Ashly) was also a spitfire of a dancer. I liked Mayo as well, though that may be because he’s tall like a bean pole and has a name like a condiment. All of this got a little long for me, however, and as the clock neared 10 p.m. I was getting antsy to find out whom they were going to eliminate.

But first: A performance by the Irish outfit Celtic Woman, who sang a rousing performance of “You Raise Me Up” while dancer Eric Luna proceeded to bench-press partner Georgia Ambarian into various lifts and positions. And all that lifting was impressive, bordering on ridiculous, especially at one point where she seemed to be break dancing on his back, and then when she ended up standing on his chest.

By this point it’s 9:53 p.m. and I’m rocking back and forth and wondering if all this filler will force the show to pull an "American Idol" and go over its allotted time. We still have four couples left whose fates have yet to determined, people! But then they break to commercial. It’s freaking 9:58 p.m. when they finally announce Lil’ Kim and Derek and Gilles and Cheryl are safe. And finally -- finally, it’s revealed that LT was going home. Man, the producers really make you work for this elimination, don’t they? Though LT remained a good sport about it all. Perhaps because his mind has already taken its sunny trip back to Florida. And, indeed, it had: “I want all my boys to know in Miami: I’ll be on the practice range at 9 o’clock, tee off is at 9:30,” he announced jubilantly. And there you have it.

What do you think of this episode, and the competition within the competition? Do you mind having to make calls both Monday and Tuesday nights? Whom do you want to see next season? Was it LT’s time to go home?

-- Allyssa Lee

Photos: ABC