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'Dancing With the Stars' results: Two for the road

117794_9029_pre Alas, guess we’ll never be able to see that awesome waltz that Louie promised. At the end of Season Nine's sixth week, it was actress Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas who ended up with the lowest combined point total and were booted from the show. But wait, there's more: Because it was yet another round of the dreaded double elimination, snowboarder Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower also got iced out of the competition as the losing half in the first-ever dance-off of the season. Though I don’t think anyone was much surprised by either of those exits. Melissa was plagued with zero dance experience and couldn’t seem to hold on to the fun of the performance, the attention of her partner, or the viewers‘ hearts. Louie, while coming out like gangbusters, just couldn’t get his dancing act together and threw his partner and his chances for the Mirrorball trophy away in the process. That twisty flip off the stage that he did at the end was pretty darn awesome, though.

It was another packed results show hour -- one that had so much going on it didn’t have time for an encore performance. Taylor Swift came out (sans Kayne) and premiered her new single “Jump, Then Fall,” accompanied by her own fresh-faced dancers who looked convincingly flushed and hopeful in the spring of new love. Cuban musicians Tiempo Libre performed “Tu Conga Bach,” along with some Latin dancers who moved muy rapido and muy caliente on a colorful light pattern that was like a dance floor version of the game Simon.

There was a segment on achieving excellence, in which gymnast Nadia Comaneci, diver Greg Louganis and basketball star Bill Walton spoke seriously about the dedication and drive needed to score a perfect 10 in competition. The gold medal of this clip went to Bill Walton, for being able to say “that Mirrorball trophy is going to take everything” with both a straight face and conviction.

And then Swift performed again, this time toting out her crowd-pleasing chart topper “Love Story,” while Edyta, Maks, Cheryl, Tony, Anna and Jonathan enacted their own lovely Romeo and Juliet romances -- first in different parts of the dance hall, and then coming together on the rectagon at the end. Of course, it was beautifully choreographed and performed (and just proved again how much more I enjoy these dances when they're done by our own familiar pros. Such a treat to see Maks again!). The lasses were outfitted in medieval chic (and Edyta was so lovely and renaissance with her garland of flowers) and looked like they should be wrapped around a maypole, while the lads got in touch with their romantic side in ruffled poets’ blouses that were, as Tom brilliantly said, straight out of  “the Seinfeld puffy shirt museum.”

Speaking of outfits, this was the part of the season where the stars themselves got their chance to play fashion plates and design the costumes for next week’s dances. And of course we got a segment about it. “DWTS” costume designer Randall Christensen dutifully played straight man to the requisite leopard print joke, Joanna asked how many rhinestones or crystals could be fit on a Speedo, and Donny did his best Liza impression, decked out in a white feather boa and a rhinestone headband and all aflutter with a tape measure. Though now, with Melissa leaving the competition, guess we won’t see Mark Ballas in heels and a top hat after all. And Louie has blessedly been let off the hook from having to distinguish any other fabrics besides wool (“What’s chiffon?”).

117794_9656_pre Actually seeing all the competitors decked out in new outfits on the results stage this week was a little startling and intriguing at the same time. Made me wonder what dance they were going to do if they were, in fact, chosen to be in that dreaded dance-off. Like, what could Donny possibly have performed in that leprechaun-green sequined jacket -- the jig? Was Mark Dacascos’ choice of vest with no shirt underneath for a paso? Why was birthday girl Kelly Osbourne dressed like a cross between Cyndi Lauper and Minnie Mouse? Were Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas’ bright yellow and purple ensembles an homage to Curious George, like Tom inferred, or the L.A. Lakers?

At least we found out Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower’s black-and-white smooth criminal outfits were part of their dance for your life jive, and Anna Demidova’s gypsy coin dress with fringe was for her and Michael Irvin’s sultry samba. Both Michael and Louie brought out their big guns for this dance-off at the Thunderdome -- and by that, I mean that they ended up going sleeveless. And while I thought the party samba was a risky choice for Michael and Anna at this do-or-die moment, I was pleasantly surprised by their enjoyable performance. Sure, Michael still doesn’t have all the moves down, but at least he shakes it with a great grin and a lot of gusto. There was a lot of content packed into Louie and Chelsie’s jive, but whether the moves were too fast or his head just wasn’t into it, Louie appeared more than a little lost at times during the 30-second routine, and he looked like he knew it. And while I was mostly convinced that the judges were going to punish Michael for his history of bottom-dwelling (for which they themselves were responsible), I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they had, in fact, chosen to reward him and Anna for proving both growth and potential. So while the snowboarder had consistently been scoring higher than the football player every week, Michael’s visible improvement rightfully saved him in the end.

What did you think of the double elimination? Did the right couples go home? How do you feel about this new mid-season dance-off?

-- Allyssa Lee

Related

'Dancing With the Stars': Under pressure

'Dancing With the Stars' results: Shock and awe

Complete 'Dancing With the Stars' coverage on Show Tracker

Photo: Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas; Credit: ABC / Adam Larkey

Photo: Chelsie Hightower and Louie Vito; Credit: ABC / Adam Larkey

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

I'm not a big fan of the double elimination. One a week is enough.
I keep anticipating Michael Irvin's demise but it never happens, I do think he outdanced Louie in the sudden-death elimination though. Quite honestly, Louie never got it together, even with the prettiest of the dance partners, the lovely Chelsea.
The mid-season dance-offs are ok. They have to fill the time somehow.
This is the worst season of DWTS. No big-name stars. Nothing to keep me tuned in each week.

don't particularly like this double elimination, but it seems as if ABC has to finish the show before the Christmas season starts. Why have so many celebrities then?

Taylor Swift: What a snooze. They get some of the dullest, personality-less singers on this show. The Latin group was pretty good, though.

Louie definitely lost the dance-off. I was absolutely floored at how Michael was able to step up and pull off a decent samba. Really makes me think Anna wasn't giving him enough to do for the first month of the show.

I especially like how the dance-off is with different dances than what we saw Monday. Remember they tried the dance-off thing last season? Only then, you were forced to rewatch the crappy night-before dances all over again. This new way of doing the dance-off is much better. Totally new dance and only 1 minute long. (I think; I wasn't timing it, but it was definitely shorter than the normal 1:30 dances.) What more could you want in a dance-off?

@DOUG: "No big-name stars"??? Are you high? Donny Osmond's got nearly universal name recognition. Kathy Ireland and Macy Gray as well. Tom Delay is known to just about any American who was conscious during the last presidency. And anyone who watches football at all knows who Michael Irvin is. Just because three of the big-name stars got kicked off (or bowed out due to injury) at the beginning of the season for utter lack of dancing ability is not a reason to say there were no big-name stars at all.

And while I had no idea who Chuck Lidell, Aaron Carter, and Mya were before the show, when I mentioned those names to my university classmates in talking about the show, THEY knew who they were. It would be unrealistic to expect to have heard of every single star, when the producers are trying to appeal to the widest demographic they can.

Very beautiful side


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