This week, DANCING contestants now have double the chances to end up in a full-body cast; for the first time this season, the competitors performed two separate routines, unguided by stipulations or other frivolous themes. Also, with two performances, come two eliminations tomorrow. The second routines featured past DANCING pros (both in the competition and the troupe), creating trios that were often, well, off.
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd
Dance 1: Tango
Driver's innate drive for competition from all those organized sports has clearly reared its ugly, pigskin-stitched head. His desire to win has become an obsession, and the audience is left to hear him bark and whine. Dance number one was flashy, sharp, and latexy. His routine drew the stoic Len from his seat, while Bruno said, "you were going after it like there was no tomorrow!" "
Dance 2: Jive
Featuring: Karina Smirnoff
Though these trios are visually impressive, they essentially serve as an exploit to drag the DANCING broadcast to the two-hour mark. Driver's routine was "fun, fun, fun" according to Len, and praised by other judges as well.
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
Dance 1: Viennese Waltz
Following last week's perfect scoring routine, this recapper was semi-hopeful of another poop joke. Just as a good luck charm. Instead, we got a Disney Princess/father-daughter wedding dance. And though it left Menounos in tears, Len didn't think it was quite up to anyone's standards. "Heavenly fluidity," said Bruno, who called her visible emotion "amazing." Carrie Ann wailed about dances "singing" to viewers, etc. You know, her normal schpiel.
Dance 2: Samba
Featuring: Henry (from troupe)
Taking a cue from a (horrific) previous episode of SMASH, Hough and Menounos, in order to maintain their schtick quota after last week's vampiric vaudeville, took the art of Bollywood into their hands. "It was a feast for my Asian senses!" Shouted DANCING's own Paula Abdul (Carrie Ann.) "There was no connection to me with a Samba, it was false advertising," said Len. Regardless of the quality of the Samba, it was Menounos' lowest-scoring routine in recent weeks.
Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dance 1: Fox-Trot
Occasionally, rehearsal footage is more entertaining than the actual routine. This is always the case with Not-Darlene. Generally because her routines are...well, just check out previous coverage. "That was your best dance ever," Carrie Ann shrilly exclaimed. With a meager, grandpa smirk, Len said, "good dancing."
Dance 2: Samba
Featuring: Val Chmerkovskiy
Though the trio dance was better than her first, two Chmerkovskiys wasn't enough to raise Gilbert's second routine to the top of the competition. For the first time this season, she recieved only praise, with the performance being called her best thus far. Side-note: The "hip-shaking" needs to just be eradicated from her dancing repertoire - because they do not move.
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Remember when Katherine Jenkins was the clear frontrunner? Remember when she was...memorable? In recent weeks she's been surpassed by Menounos and Driver, and even occasionally Levy, and has somehow fallen comfortably into the middle of the competition. "Your technique is superb," Bruno said. "You have to be careful, everyone's at risk," Carrie Ann said in a moment of clarity. And it's true. Jenkins' complacency in the competition, partnered with her ill-frame and shoddy footwork this week may prove to put the kabash on Welsh Wonder.
Dance 2: Cha-Cha
Feautring: Tristan MacManus
Traipsing in a tux turned flapper-tunic, Jenkins upstaged her first performance in both theme and style. "It was clean, it was clear, and it was clever," said Len. "Well done." "It was sexy and cool, like watching Charlize Theron out there," said Bruno.
Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower
Dance 1: Fox-Trot
The little Disney-Cherub has managed to survive the results show a remarkable amount of times, even sending former frontrunner Jaleel White back to irrelevancy last week. With a 50s-themed Fox-Trot, he sparked his grandmothers in the audience into a Carrie Ann like stupor of thrashing arms and bursting pride. However, it should be noted: it's way more adorable when they do it. The sharpness and cleanliness of the routine was universally praised by the judges - and garnered him his highest score yet.