‘Dancing With the Stars’ results: Two for the road


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Alas, guess we’ll never be able to see that awesome waltz that Louie promised. At the end of Season Nine’s sixth week, it was actress Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas who ended up with the lowest combined point total and were booted from the show. But wait, there’s more: Because it was yet another round of the dreaded double elimination, snowboarder Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower also got iced out of the competition as the losing half in the first-ever dance-off of the season. Though I don’t think anyone was much surprised by either of those exits. Melissa was plagued with zero dance experience and couldn’t seem to hold on to the fun of the performance, the attention of her partner, or the viewers‘ hearts. Louie, while coming out like gangbusters, just couldn’t get his dancing act together and threw his partner and his chances for the Mirrorball trophy away in the process. That twisty flip off the stage that he did at the end was pretty darn awesome, though.

It was another packed results show hour -- one that had so much going on it didn’t have time for an encore performance. Taylor Swift came out (sans Kayne) and premiered her new single “Jump, Then Fall,” accompanied by her own fresh-faced dancers who looked convincingly flushed and hopeful in the spring of new love. Cuban musicians Tiempo Libre performed “Tu Conga Bach,” along with some Latin dancers who moved muy rapido and muy caliente on a colorful light pattern that was like a dance floor version of the game Simon.

There was a segment on achieving excellence, in which gymnast Nadia Comaneci, diver Greg Louganis and basketball star Bill Walton spoke seriously about the dedication and drive needed to score a perfect 10 in competition. The gold medal of this clip went to Bill Walton, for being able to say “that Mirrorball trophy is going to take everything” with both a straight face and conviction.


And then Swift performed again, this time toting out her crowd-pleasing chart topper “Love Story,” while Edyta, Maks, Cheryl, Tony, Anna and Jonathan enacted their own lovely Romeo and Juliet romances -- first in different parts of the dance hall, and then coming together on the rectagon at the end. Of course, it was beautifully choreographed and performed (and just proved again how much more I enjoy these dances when they’re done by our own familiar pros. Such a treat to see Maks again!). The lasses were outfitted in medieval chic (and Edyta was so lovely and renaissance with her garland of flowers) and looked like they should be wrapped around a maypole, while the lads got in touch with their romantic side in ruffled poets’ blouses that were, as Tom brilliantly said, straight out of “the Seinfeld puffy shirt museum.”

Speaking of outfits, this was the part of the season where the stars themselves got their chance to play fashion plates and design the costumes for next week’s dances. And of course we got a segment about it. “DWTS” costume designer Randall Christensen dutifully played straight man to the requisite leopard print joke, Joanna asked how many rhinestones or crystals could be fit on a Speedo, and Donny did his best Liza impression, decked out in a white feather boa and a rhinestone headband and all aflutter with a tape measure. Though now, with Melissa leaving the competition, guess we won’t see Mark Ballas in heels and a top hat after all. And Louie has blessedly been let off the hook from having to distinguish any other fabrics besides wool (“What’s chiffon?”).

Actually seeing all the competitors decked out in new outfits on the results stage this week was a little startling and intriguing at the same time. Made me wonder what dance they were going to do if they were, in fact, chosen to be in that dreaded dance-off. Like, what could Donny possibly have performed in that leprechaun-green sequined jacket -- the jig? Was Mark Dacascos’ choice of vest with no shirt underneath for a paso? Why was birthday girl Kelly Osbourne dressed like a cross between Cyndi Lauper and Minnie Mouse? Were Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas’ bright yellow and purple ensembles an homage to Curious George, like Tom inferred, or the L.A. Lakers?

At least we found out Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower’s black-and-white smooth criminal outfits were part of their dance for your life jive, and Anna Demidova’s gypsy coin dress with fringe was for her and Michael Irvin’s sultry samba. Both Michael and Louie brought out their big guns for this dance-off at the Thunderdome -- and by that, I mean that they ended up going sleeveless. And while I thought the party samba was a risky choice for Michael and Anna at this do-or-die moment, I was pleasantly surprised by their enjoyable performance. Sure, Michael still doesn’t have all the moves down, but at least he shakes it with a great grin and a lot of gusto. There was a lot of content packed into Louie and Chelsie’s jive, but whether the moves were too fast or his head just wasn’t into it, Louie appeared more than a little lost at times during the 30-second routine, and he looked like he knew it. And while I was mostly convinced that the judges were going to punish Michael for his history of bottom-dwelling (for which they themselves were responsible), I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they had, in fact, chosen to reward him and Anna for proving both growth and potential. So while the snowboarder had consistently been scoring higher than the football player every week, Michael’s visible improvement rightfully saved him in the end.

What did you think of the double elimination? Did the right couples go home? How do you feel about this new mid-season dance-off?

-- Allyssa Lee


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