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'Dancing With the Stars': The first elimination

March 18, 2009 |  7:25 am

115911_5112_fulChalk it up to the luck of the Irish or the revenge of the nerds, but computer genius Steve "the Woz" Wozniak narrowly escaped elimination Tuesday night in this season's first "DWTS" results show.

This was the first results show to introduce the highly touted "DWTS" dance-off, a last-ditch effort for the bottom-two couples to dance for their lives. It's kind of like a glittery, hip-shaking version of Thunderdome: Two couples enter, but only one makes it through to the next week. And this week, cool rocker chick Belinda Carlisle ended up on the cutting room floor.

Early on, we found out that Carlisle and Wozniak were the week's bottom two competitors. Which was not that surprising; the judges were harsh on Belinda, and she was far too easy to gloss over. And the Woz, though charming, was way down at the bottom of the leader board with his scores. So Belinda and Woz danced once more to give the judges a fresh opportunity to re-score their routines. Only, neither of the dances improved much from the night before: The judges collectively gave Belinda and Jonathan’s salsa a point lower than what they received the night before, and the Woz received the exact same total for his quick step with Karina. So it was up to the viewers' votes to determine who was sent packing. And perhaps because of a strong Apple contingent, or the prophetic claim that the geeks shall inherit the Earth, the Woz was saved and Belinda was the first to Go-Go in this competition.

Tuesday also marked the return of rattled but mostly intact Steve-O. And of the requisite live performances and filler: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy did a rockin’ jive, Season 5 competitior Cameron Matheson presented a flat segment on how to succeed in the competition (to prevent injury: Don't sign up), and the Macy’s Stars of Dance hoofed a throwback to old Busby Berkeley musicals, choreographed by Michael Rooney, son of Mickey (who was in attendance and looked as spry as ever). My hands-down favorite act of the night, however, was Jewel’s grand-yodelesque rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (despite that high note at the end), which was made even more terrific by the stellar accompanying routine from bare-chested Dmitry Chaplin and barefooted Chelsie Hightower. Its great big leaps and holds and flowy elegance gave me warm fuzzies all over.

What do you think? Do you think Belinda was the right one to go? Do you like the dance-off? Did Belinda and Woz know they were in the bottom two long enough to rehearse that morning, or was everyone rehearsing, and theirs were the only ones shown? Why did they return to the old score paddles? And does Belinda's exit mean that there won’t be a “centerfold smackdown” after all?

--Allyssa Lee

Photo: ABC