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'Dancing With the Stars': Rocco DiSpirito 86ed

October 14, 2008 | 10:30 pm

Dwts290 After all of the cooking/restaurant metaphors this season, there was simply no way to avoid one in this headline. As was foreordained last week –- and with nothing occurring this week to alter his fate -– Rocco DiSpirito had to say goodbye to “Dancing With the Stars.” The show tried to draw it out, mainly by keeping the majority of the couples standing on stage until after all of the guest stars had performed and filler had been aired.

Speaking of the filler, it was cleverer than usual: fake negative campaign ads trying to win over “undecided voters,” ads complete with sinister music and menacing voiceovers. The first one was allegedly from Brooke Burke against Cody Linley, asserting that he has not successfully manned up -– rather, “Cody Linley is a baby.” The second was from Warren Sapp against Rocco: “Never trust a skinny chef.” The third was against Brooke Burke from the rest of the cast: “Say no to hot chicks who can dance.” The fourth was from Lance Bass: “Maurice Greene must think this competition is a joke.” Next up was the Accounting Department versus Cloris Leachman, attacking her for bribes, stealing props and delaying live television: “Hasn’t Cloris Leachman cost this production enough?” That one was particularly good. The sixth was from Toni Braxton: “Lance Bass is probably crazy.” The next was from Rocco DiSpirito: “Hasn’t Toni Braxton been successful enough?” (or something to that effect). The eighth conflated Susan Lucci with her character, Erica Kane, and was approved by Cloris Leachman. The final ad accused Warren Sapp of wearing a fat suit and was approved by Erica Kane herself.

The encore dance was, to my delight, Lance Bass and Lacey’s tango. I liked it even better the second time. It’s one of the handful of times that I’ve really liked a contemporary song paired with such a traditional dance -– the performance really captured the essence of the tango.

Tonight's first special guest was a flamenco troupe from Spain. I cannot really say whether this was good or not because I’ve never seen a flamenco performance. Do they always rip their shirts off? I will say that there wasn’t any extra fat on these lads. And they finished with a nice wave of back handsprings. The other musical guest was R&B star Neo with his hit “Closer.” The dancing in this performance was quite entertaining –- better than some of the official “Stars of Dance” performances, I thought.

Tonight also saw the return of the Ballroom Kids competition. Dancing the cha-cha were Mitchell and Jessica (ages 11 and 10, respectively), and dancing the samba were Kirill and Hannah (also 11 and 10). All of them sure were cute, but Kirill and Hannah just had more of that dancing je ne sais quoi, and the judges selected them to compete in the finals. We'll have two more weeks and four more Ballrooms Kids couples before we get there, though, which I applaud.

Cloris and Corky also ended up in the bottom two tonight, so I guess the question after this week is whether Cloris can really hang in there. The only other pair I could see getting voted off next week would be Maurice and Cheryl, whose performances have been erratic and whose fan following is uncertain. What do you think?

-- Sarah Rogers

(Photo courtesy ABC)