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‘Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars’ recap: Free(style) falling

It was a night of presidential debates and a night of guilty pleasures. Since Monday night’s “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” program was just an hour long, only four couples performed individual dances set to their favorite Guilty Pleasures song, while the other four couples danced their group freestyle routine as part of “DWTS” High School Team “Call Me Maybe.”

The scores and votes still count, but they’ll be added to next week’s scores for what appears to be another double elimination. This Monday, we got horses and bayonets, thrills and spills, and some sexy fun sambas and a seriously acrobatic cheerleading routine. And we got our first 10 from Len! How did the performances stack up? “Take a souvenir balloon and head to the sky box” to find out.  

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Everyone pause your televisions. Gilles Marini likes the ladies. He’s had a great time with them since he was 15. He likes motorcycles. He likes Whitney Houston. And he wants his and Peta Murgatroyd’s rumba to be “responsible for a lot of babies.” Though initially, the sexy Frenchman declared he wanted his rumba to be “clean, beautiful, breast-taking.” And while it’s not clear whether or not Carrie Ann was gripped in that area, this sultry, hip-swaying “Bodyguard”-themed rumba sure knocked the swooning judge right off her seat. After throwing her hands up in the air in triumph and proclaiming, “Let the babymaking begin!” she leaned over, lost her balance and tumbled onto the floor. Did she take the fall just so Gilles could pick her right up again (certainly, that’s why Bruno collapsed on the table)? The world may never know. Bruno didn’t just call it a dance: “That was master-class theater. You were expressing every movement as if they were words,” he said. Len said Gilles just turned “October into Hot-ober. … It should be Oscar-nominated, it had everything.” His only gripe? “Peta, you seem to lift your leg up a lot,” the head judge said, crinkling his nose. “Up it went!” And up went their scores, to near-perfect levels: 29.5 out of 30.

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Fun fact: NFL legend Emmitt Smith is a Fanilow. Another fun fact: When Emmitt puts on a bright red party outfit and sambas to Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” with Cheryl Burke, you’re in for a real treat. Particularly when there’s a larger-than-life parrot perched in the corner. Cheryl was toasty brown and decked in glitter fringe, looking like she flew in straight from Carnivale without missing a Brazilian beat. And their samba was pretty infectious. “Emmitt Smith plus Cheryl Burke plus Barry Manilow is an unstoppable performance,” applauded Len. “You deliver maximum pleasure,” Bruno declared. “It’s like the best party in the country.” “No one does samba like you,” said Carrie Ann. “You have the samba swagger!” Total: 29. Which is not THE highest score, but HIS highest score.

Now that Bristol Palin’s gone, Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have their work cut out for them. “We don’t have anyone who’s not an amazing dancer,” Maks said of the remaining competition. Kirstie countered “not everyone is a great entertainer.” Still, the actress had a hard time with her guilty pleasure this week. Maybe because it’s a lot of pressure to live out so many women’s fantasies about dancing with Maks. Or maybe because it’s hard to quickstep to a Simon and Garfunkel tune. Not that she was having a hard time playing Mrs. Robinson to Maks’ Graduate, but it took longer than she wanted to learn the routine. Dress rehearsal was particularly frustrating, and it ended in tears. The judges, however, thought the actual performance was her best dance ever. “You were elegant, your carriage was lifted,” said Carrie Ann. “You were dancing to the Maximum,” punned Len. “You’ve got your toy boy where you want it, and you delivered it, my darling,” commended Bruno. “Your posture was better and you look great.” The judges were as kind with their scores as they were with their comments, which again reduced Kirstie to tears—happy ones this time. Total: 25.5.

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Showmantic lovebirds Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy kicked off the evening with the samba, set to “DWTS” performer Cher Lloyd’s “Want U Back.” Val came to visit Kelly now that she’s back and busy on the “General Hospital” set, offering to help as much as he can. “Anything you want,” he said. “Why don’t you wait for me in my dressing room, then?” Kelly responded in kind. And while they were as cozy as two bugs in a rug last week, this week’s samba was a bit disjointed. Len said he’s an “enemy of the unnecessary, and for me it was a little long winded getting started” (it could have been a problem with his cuff). “It was a tad on the raunchy side for me,” Len went on. “I’m a conservative English guy.” Bruno called Kelly a titillating tease, but thought the bounce seemed unnatural. Carrie Ann felt Kelly was “uncertain, and your body was tense” this week. “I thought your runs were not in sync,” the judge continued. “It wasn’t your best, but you did a good try.” Total: 24.5.

My favorite routine of the night had to be the freestyle group dance, courtesy of Team “Call Me Maybe.” The team, led by Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, knew that Team “Gangnam Style” would inject their freestyle routine with a lot of humor on Tuesday, so they focused on the technical and the acrobatics. And their rehearsals showed more nasty spills than an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” reel. Apolo Anton Ohno remarked that this was the first time he’s seen Shawn Johnson fall. Shawn has since developed a fear of “being dropped on my face again” (to which Derek blandly agreed, saying “that’s a good fear”). And then Melissa Rycroft suffered whiplash swinging through partner Tony Dovolani’s legs that resulted in a herniated disc at the top of her neck and a trip to the hospital.

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But Melissa was ultimately cleared to dance by the doctors, and there were no traces of injury or spills during the actual performance. The routine started with Louis Van Amstel, Apolo, Tony, and Derek energetically stomping through the classroom yard, and it just got better from there. Carly Rae Jepsen provided a great soundtrack. And like Len and Bruno said, the transition between each couples’ showcase in the middle of the routine was exceedingly clever. Loved how Louis and Sabrina Bryan passed off the dance floor to Derek and Shawn. And how Derek used Shawn’s shoe as a phone. Melissa was transformed into a human jump rope. Karina Smirnoff and Apolo performed hip-hop as if to redeem their performance from last week. And there were balloons at the end! “This is a touchdown,” said Len. “The individual performances were fantastic. I loved the way you introduced each couple into it.” “The way you introduced each other, it was almost impossible to distinguish the pros from the celebrities,” Bruno proclaimed. Team “Call Me Maybe” got Carrie Ann up and cheering. “You’ve got spirit, yes you do, you’ve got spirit, I love you! That was amazing!” Team “Call Me Maybe” earned a 29.5, to be added to their individual performances. And a 10 from Len!

What do you think, ballroom fans? Think Team Gangnam Style will prance in circles around Team Call Me Maybe? What was your favorite guilty pleasure? Debate!

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