'Dancing With the Stars' results recap: Sherri Shepherd eliminated
Well, “Dancing With the Stars” fans knew we were in for an unexpected end when the lowest judges’ point scorers from Monday night, Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus, and the couple who had endured two weeks straight of being in the bottom two, Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff, were deemed safe (not even in jeopardy!) early on in the results hour.
Also deemed safe early on were Melissa Gilbert and Maks Chmerkovskiy, though the actress is still recovering. Melissa accidentally whacked her head on Maks’ left leg while attempting a turn during Monday night’s performance, sending Maks crumbling to the floor and giving Melissa a concussion. Singer, songwriter, and knight in shiny armor and guyliner Gavin DeGraw came to the ailing Maks’ rescue, helping to carry Melissa to a couch backstage before she was rushed to a hospital. Melissa wisely eschewed the sequins after being told to take a rest day from her doctor, but Maks was there, spray tanned for the both of them, to represent.
Also absent from the Tuesday program: the Dance Duel. There was no dancing for your life for the bottom two couples, with the judges making the final decision as to who went home, as touted last week. Perhaps the duel was nixed when it was discovered that Melissa wouldn't be around to defend her spot if she was deemed in the bottom two. Still: “This is gonna be one of those nights when one bad dance is going to cost one contestant their spot in the competition,” warned Tom. Who went home? We’ll tell you after the break … liiive!
Exiting the competition this week were Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy. It was as if she knew her end was near: The “View” co-host and actress was already in tears when she discovered she was in the bottom two. Though while it’s super-sad to have this exuberant life force leave the competition (I myself would have liked to have seen her do her “saved” dance of joy one more time), I can’t say that this result was quite as shocking as Tom and Brooke had predicted. Yes, she wasn’t the lowest-scoring competitor this week. But she was second lowest. And while her bubbling font of personality made up for it, Sherri’s dance technique wasn’t quite as advanced as her fellow stars in this extremely competitive season. But I was sad to see her go -- not just because she was entertaining, but because she made it so abundantly clear how much she wanted to stay.
“Thank you for letting me live a dream,” Sherri said through her tears. “... I want to say to every person out there, that the thing that scares you the most ... run toward it, because it’s so amazing on the other side.” She also expressed her gratitude toward her partner Val, a sentiment that he returned in kind. “She’s an incredible person,” he said earnestly. “She fought for me, and I’m just really, really, really, really sorry I didn’t do a good enough job for you.” Cue the waterworks!
KISS kicked off the proceedings again Tuesday night, donning the same makeup and same spiny shoulder armor, and offering a rendition of “Lick It Up” that concluded with pyrotechnics and a cry of “We love you!” In a pleasant surprise, KISS has really integrated itself into the program this week. It seemed like they were present for every big moment of the show. Offering whoops of support as the dancers went up to the sky box. In the sky box itself. In the bumpers before commercial breaks. Standing by with concern when Melissa reclined on the couch with an oxygen mask. Asking Donald Driver his score in the studio’s halls. And showing off their, um, considerable tongue sizes. (“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Gladys Knight marveled. “Yes you have,” Gene Simmons winked right back. Naughty, naughty! It’s a family show, people!)
We got our first encore dance of the season: The psychedelic paso doble, courtesy of “two people with a grand total of 3 percent body fat” -- Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd.
We got to witness reigning champ Karina Smirnoff perform a modern take on the tango with famed ballet dancer Jose Manuel Carreno, with music supplied by the Gotan Project. The ballroom was transformed into a smoky underground nightclub in Buenos Aires, and Karina slunk around sexily with Jose, at one point doing a crazy cool magic trip of a flip that seemed to tangle itself in and out.
There was a segment where the pros talked about the added pressure of having to choreograph and raise standards in a competitive season in which a score of 24 can leave you tied for last place. Kym expressed doubt when Jaleel learned a routine too quickly. Derek revealed he couldn’t save his tricks for later weeks; he had to put them in that week to keep him and Maria competitive.
And we were treated to a performance by the cast of “Dancing With the Stars” Live in Las Vegas tour, which opens April 14 at the Tropicana and features former contestants such as Tia Carerre, Joey Fatone and Kyle Massey. And Carson Kressley! “Does this headdress make my butt look big?” Carson asked during a behind-the-scenes tour. “I didn’t think so.” Lacey Schwimmer, Dmitry Chaplin, Kyle, Sabrina Bryan, and a bunch of pros brought some of the Sin City razzle dazzle to the ballroom to give us a taste of the show that was high octane, shiny, and over the top -- very much like Las Vegas itself. Plus, it ended with a flurry of confetti at the end. Where do I get tickets?
Favorite quote of the night, courtesy of the always-on Tom Bergeron: “If you hear that laugh of Maria’s enough, the pants go right back on.”
Second favorite quote of the night: “Me, You. Let’s text. We’re friends. Give me your number.” -- Roshon Fegan to his new “dawg” Len Goodman.
What did you think of the results, ballroom fans? Did the right contestant go home? Would the Latin-speaking world declare it an act of hostility had William Levy been sent packing instead? What happened to the dance duel? Excited to see Melissa Gilbert get to dance another day? Or are you so sedated that you don’t know what you’re looking forward to?
-- Allyssa Lee
Photos (top) Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC
(bottom) Chelsie Hightower and Roshon Fegan. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC