‘Dancing With the Stars’: Cloris Leachman’s fans come through; Toni Braxton goes home


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Despite possessing a good deal of innate talent, Toni Braxton had not managed to consistently wow the judges on this season of ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ and tonight she ended up being eliminated. Given that Cloris Leachman‘s fans are obviously stalwart and numerous, I wasn’t entirely surprised that Cloris stayed on, but I was surprised that she wasn’t in the bottom two. Instead, the other couple in the bottom two were Susan Lucci and Tony, which means Susan needs to slip some subliminal messages into ‘All My Children’ so that her fans will call, text, and log on next week to keep her vote count up.

This week’s musical guest was the Brian Setzer Orchestra, every member of which was attired in a leopard-print blazer. They played their hit ‘Rock This Town,’ and Karina and Louis impressively danced a routine that was so fast that I had to be hospitalized for exhaustion just from watching it. Holy cow.


Tonight brought another installment of Ballroom Kids. The first pair, Anthony and Alisa (age 11 and age 10, respectively), were big personalities, as befits children hailing from L.A. Like many of the ballroom kids we’ve seen, they want to be Famous. Really Famous. Their jive was very sharp, and Anthony in particular struck me as having extremely fluid movements and great flexibility. Bruno also mentioned Alisa’s excellent lines, which it turns out she gets from doing ballet as well. That girl must be busy. I worry that she doesn’t have enough time for ‘Gossip Girl’ and video games and the Jonas Brothers and whatever else the young people are into these days.

Next up were Mitchell and Maria (age 12 and age 13, respectively) from Philadelphia. Do I even need to tell you that their taped segment included a scene of them running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, a la ‘Rocky’? They’ve been dancing together for six years, which is 42 dog years. Their paso doble was sharp and sophisticated. Len complimented the shapes of their dance, and Bruno raved about their power and attack.

And the judges’ decision? Mitchell and Maria are going to the finals. I think it’s just hard for the younger kids to compete against the older kids, though the younger kids can have the cuteness factor working for them. As we all probably recall all too painfully, few people look their best at 12 or 13. And if you did look your best then, well, don’t dwell on it.

The much-ballyhooed Macy’s Stars of Dance performance — the most elaborate one ever attempted on the show! — was called “Dancing Through the Decades” and involved 26 dancers, a set that required 20,000 man hours to create, and dance segments from the 1930s through the future. Whoa! In the end, it was indeed impressive, but unfortunately, we’ve all seen Super Bowl halftime shows, which are usually like this dance multiplied by 100, and let’s not even discuss the opening ceremonies to the Beijing Olympics. Still, it featured some nifty tap dancing, a disco sequence, some very acrobatic break dancing, and Future dancing, which, as has been imagined in numerous music videos, involved robot people.

The taped filler had each star talking about who surprises or intimidates them, and, naturally, there was a great deal of trash-talking as well — standard fare for ‘DWTS’ when they don’t have something novel, such as last week’s fake political ads. And, wow, there were a bunch of ads for “Eli Stone” this week. I am now very, very aware that Katie Holmes is guest-starring on that show.

Next week, Len will get a break, and Michael Flatley will judge the performances. Each star will perform two dances — one competitive dance with his or her partner, and one group hip-hop routine.

I have to say that I never expected Cloris to get this far. Is it mathematically possible that her fans could keep her in until the very end? Before we see next week’s dances, would anyone like to make a brash prediction about who will be the next to go?

— Sarah Rogers