‘Dancing With the Stars’: Double elimination


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The ‘DWTS’ producers are seriously messing with my universe. First, they introduce the dance-off. And then they bring in sparkly new paddles. But then they take away the new paddles. And then they introduce a midseason double elimination. But then they take away the dance-off. Where is your center, ‘DWTS’? You’re sending a lot of mixed signals, and I’m having trouble following your lead.

At least Tuesday night’s results show ended on the right note, with Girl Next Door Holly Madison and computer genius Steve “the Woz” Wozniak going home.


Tom’s announcement that there wouldn’t be a dance-off was a bit of a curve ball, however. Though I fully expected Holly and Dmitry to be in the bottom three, I was kind of hoping Holly would get the chance to redeem her unfortunate stool fumble and show the world her stuff during Thunderdome. And as the always-sunny Woz mentioned, Holly and Dmitry’s routine at Monday morning rehearsal brought tears to his eyes (in a good way). How good was their tango? The world may never know.

It’s not the only thing that the viewers at home were deprived of. Bruno had apparently done something off-screen that sent the studio audience in a tizzy (something to do with crispy pizza?). And then Gilles made a mad dash off stage, though he managed to scramble back to his place in the shadows behind Cheryl lickety split. Must’ve been number one. Who know what else goes on while the cameras aren’t rolling? Maybe leprechauns and unicorns are doing stand-up during commercial breaks.

So instead of the dance-off, the producers brought back the judges’ choice, and Len (whose shirt looked like it lost a fight with a yellow highlighter), naturally, selected Gilles and Cheryl’s perfect-30 Argentine tango for our viewing pleasure. And really, this served as a reminder that it is so much better to be subjected to a routine that is actually good, rather than to have to sit through the dancing equivalent of a root canal.

But other than that, the absence of a dance-off created a lot of empty space to be filled. Some of the young pros rocked the black dominatrix pleather and gave a fun preview of next week’s paso doble with a routine set to Kevin Rudolf’s “Let It Rock,” which may be the most famous song from an artist no one’s ever heard of. Boyz II Men (minus the one) performed a medley Motown-Philly style and then capped it with their own old-school dance classic “End of the Road.” And then there was a demo of next week’s Viennese waltz choreographed by pro Louis van Amstel, which was like pink cotton-candy clouds floating around chandeliers; it was beautiful and light, and it lilted and lulled and right about put me to sleep.

The rest felt like useless filler about how important it is to impress the judges. And impress the fans. Because you have to do both. And don’t forget to vote. The judges restated how they felt about the contestants. And then we came down to the bottom three: Holly & Dmitry, Steve-O & Lacey and Steve Wozniak & Karina. And really, all of them looked like they were ready to say goodbye to all the sequins and the glitz. Particularly Steve-O, who rah-rahed with hands clasped like a champion upon discovering he was in the bottom.

This guy’s already a winner in his own book: “I’m not used to dealing with high-pressure situations without the help of drugs and alcohol, and this is a lot of pressure,” Steve-O stated soberly. “I’ve been under an incredible amount of stress and pressure, and I’ve made it through, you know, so far without getting loaded, so I feel like a complete champion.” (It was my favorite quote of the night, along with Ty Murray’s “I’m not scared of the double elimination or rattlesnakes!” ) Though Tom said it was the finest tribute to the show in eight seasons, frankly, it makes me a little worried: If all the pressure of the show is making him jones for a fix, then shouldn’t he get out of it?

Whatever the interpretation, Steve-O’s supporters saved the Jackass for another week, leaving the brains and the blond to take their final dance at the “End of the Road.” And although it was definitely their turn to go, I will miss Holly’s unapologetically fun personality and the Woz’s geekalicious quips.

What do you think? Were the right people sent home? Did you miss the dance-off? Have you heard of Kevin Rudolf? Do you prefer this Samantha-lite format?

— Allyssa Lee

Photos: ABC