The heat was on tonight on Dancing With the Stars as the nine remaining celebs hoofed for their lives in advance of Tuesday's double elimination.
First off was either a waltz or jitterbug, and the retro vibe continued with a Grease-style dance marathon, minus the hand jive, of course.
You could tell that Aaron Carter has been emotionally hurting from being in the bottom two, two weeks in a row, Mya is physically hurting from being tossed all over Dmitry's hunky shoulders, and Kelly Osbourne sprained her ankle last week. Melissa Joan Hart had to deal with taking a 7-point dive and Donny Osmond, poor lad, was saddled with the pressure that comes from entering the week on top.
And no one had scored a perfect 30 yet!
The contestants had no choice but to up their game or face the wrath of the increasingly contentious judges, not to mention the prospect of viewer unappreciation if they focused too much on fancy footwork and left their hearts at home.
At least there was one thing the judges could agree on—nothing.
Mya & Dmitry Chaplin: Probably the best jitterbug we've seen on this show yet—technically. Mya proficiently hid any pain she may have been suffering, but you also couldn't tell if she was having any fun. Her feet were perfect, but she very likely has the same expression on her face when she's running on the treadmill or waiting in line. Len Goodman quibbled with the janitor-meets-maid opening, and Carrie Ann Inaba also thought Mya was underperforming. Bruno Tonioli, however, dug her dusting skills. "Cleanliness is next to godliness!" he exclaimed. The discordant trio offered up a 7, 8 and 9, respectively.
Melissa Joan Hart & Mark Ballas: There was nothing particularly light and airy about the Melissa half of this waltzing coin, but at least she kept her puppies up. Bruno had nothing nice to say, noting that the self-defeating actress looked less as if she was dancing and more like she was trying to remember what she'd been told by Mark's Latin-dance-champ mum, Shirley Ballas. Carrie Ann thought Melissa danced as if the "floor was sticky." Len, the usual lone dissenter, liked her musicality and elegance and found his colleagues' critiques "a little bit harsh."
Mark Dacascos & Lacey Schwimmer: Giving him less time to overthink, Mark was at his best moving a mile a minute! Full of tricks and—most important—energy, their jitterbug lacked a wee bit in precision but otherwise fully embodied the spirit of the traditionally frenetic, high-flying style. Carrie Ann loved it and, unlike Bruno, was unwilling to punish them as much for a slight stumble at the end. "Sometimes less is more," began Len. "But not in the jitterbug!" he added quickly. "More is more!"
Aaron Carter & Karina Smirnoff: Hey, hey, Mr. Carter! Aaron turned in a very slick waltz, we felt, with just enough razzmatazz to spice up what tends to be a very boring style on this show. He vowed to Karina that he would bring the romance, and he brought it—along with poise, grace and humility. "The boy has become a gentleman," Bruno declared, though both he and Carrie Ann docked a point for an early misstep. She was "falling in love with the lyricism," while Len felt it was Aaron's best dance to date. Accordingly, the kid got his best score to date.
Michael Irvin & Anna Demidova: Leave it to these NFL stars to radiate charisma during a slow dance. This Hall of Famer can't help but be a bit clunky, but he upped the grace factor just in time for tonight's waltz. And once again, Michael looks so damn happy to be out there—it's irresistible! Bruno thought his performance wasn't "premiere league," Carrie Ann spotted a verboten lift...and Len really liked it! "It's amazing—three people can watch a dance, and two of them get it totally wrong...You had the best footwork of any waltz we've seen so far tonight." And so on with those compliments.
Kelly Osbourne & Louis van Amstel: Kelly's jitterbug was more adorable than anything else, minus the heinous literal-baby-doll look she was sporting. It was a tad on the low-energy side, especially when compared to Mark Dacascos', but even if she wasn't in full control of her feet, she was at least master of her emotions for a change. Carrie Ann heralded the return of Kelly's confidence, but Len, head judge and resident food critique, compared it to a "blueberry muffin with no blueberries—it looked tasty, but it disappointed." "Everything was beige," added Bruno.
Louie Vito & Chelsie Hightower: Their jitterbug was a study in "I can't look, he's gonna drop her..." But other than that, it was a whole lot of fun. Louie's obviously putty in his partner's hands, and Chelsie's done a good job molding him into a cute little amateur. "Really great...other than the dropping," noted Carrie Ann, though both Len and Bruno caught way too many flubs for their highbrow tastes.
Joanna Krupa & Derek Hough: The reunited pair cut a stunning figure out there as they easily turned in the most romantic and flowing waltz of the night. Lots to like about this one, even for those of you who might find Joanna too cool a customer in general. Tom Bergeron called it the "get-a-room dance of the season." They got an A-plus for performance, but Carrie Ann noticed "hesitation" and Len thought Joanna's footwork "wasn't too brilliant." It was brilliant enough though—he gave her a 9!
Donny Osmond & Kym Johnson: Not so sure about this train-engineer getup—but all the better for Donny to ogle Kym's caboose, we guess! But as we expected, we couldn't stop smiling throughout their whole darn jitterbug, which was bouncy and, if you put it in water, probably quite buoyant. It being week six and all, the judges were compelled to comment on a few nearly unnoticeable missteps, and Bruno said at times it was "like watching a steam engine trying to keep up with a gleaming bullet train." (The bullet train being Kym, we imagine.) But we doubt they'll be in any trouble tomorrow night.
This odd experiment started off promisingly, with each pair shining in their own way. The judges started yanking stars—starting with Michael and Anna—about 30 seconds into it, however, ultimately leaving Joanna, Derek, Mya and Dmitry to shimmy it out for the highest score.
Check out the leaderboard, mambo scores included:
Joanna & Derek: 36
Mya & Dmitry: 35
Aaron & Karina: 33
Mark & Lacey: 32
Donny & Kym: 31
Kelly & Louis: 25
Louie & Chelsie: 24
Melissa & Mark: 24
Michael & Anna: 23
Another shuffling of the stars, scorewise, as we head into tomorrow night's double elimination. The pair with the lowest total will be automatically kicked off, while the next two have to battle for salvation in a dance-off for the judges' picky pleasure.
Taylor Swift will be performing as well, but the important question is, Where are the perfect scores, people?! It's week six and the highest solo score was 26?!
Let's step it up here!
Gotta love the DWTS costumes, just as you gotta love celebrity get-ups in general. Critique to your hearts' content in our Fashion Police gallery.