Only two weeks in and there have been death threats, broken toes, aching muscles, exhaustion, boiling tempers. And that's just what went down between Kate Gosselin and Shannen Doherty after last week's elimination!
Totally kidding about that last part, but we aren't exaggerating when it comes to all the obstacles strewn across the contestants' path to glory on this season's Dancing With the Stars.
From Evan Lysacek's aching tootsies to the heightened security presence around Erin Andrews to the frustration Pamela Anderson must be feeling after being in the bottom two last week...
Let's just say, the celebs had a lot to overcome as they attempted to tell a story through dance Monday. So which ones spun a good yarn—or totally disturbed the judges—while cutting a rug?
Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya: Um, what broken bones? The Olympian supposedly has a couple of busted toes, but you'd have been hard-pressed to notice them during his bouncy, Chicago-era quickstep. As far as the story element went—husband mad at his tardy wife—we didn't see much anger on Evan's part, but the dancing was pretty grand as always. All the judges bought their story, however, and rewarded them accordingly. "When she turns up, you're euphoric, you're dancing on air, and that's what you showed us," applauded Len Goodman. "It really cheered me up to watch that."
Buzz Aldrin & Ashly Costa: The story they were telling, a daughter whose father has just returned from war, was certainly apropos for their waltz, considering Buzz wasn't just an astronaut, he flew jets during the Korean War, too. So once again, what negative things can you say about Buzz Aldrin?! Interestingly enough, though, we felt that this waltz was almost too slow for the octogenarian, who dazzled us more last week with the fox-trot. "Regal," Bruno Tonioli called it, except for the part where they moved. "As much as I like you, and I thought the dance was charming, as a dance it wasn't that fantastic," Len said.
Jake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower: There must be something in the water. This week it was the ex-Bachelor who had to take a dramatic breather during rehearsal because some of Chelsie's teaching was coming across as "disrespectful." But, seeing as how he isn't a certain other contestant, the duo patched things up without a major meltdown. Then it was time to focus on the quickstep. After starting off as one of the most talked-about contestants, Jake has kinda been flying under the radar, not really doing anything to distinguish himself just yet. (Beyond being so dashing, that is!) "What you're doing in the sarcophagus, I'd like to know!" Bruno teased, referring to the discovering-Cleopatra's-tomb theme. "The production was very slick but the dancing kind of slack," Len observed.
Niecy Nash & Louis van Amstel: Going by potential and personality, Niecy has proved to be one of the most delightful surprises of the season so far. She and Louis went for a hard-hitting story with their waltz, a mixed-race couple falling in love in the 1960s, and pretty much nailed it, although the dancing itself was a little rough. "You must work now on better technique," Len advised them. "The emotion, though, you've got it just right." Carrie Ann Inaba appreciated that Niecy kept her foot on the ground during a liftlike spin, though it caused her to stumble.
Chad Ochocinco & Cheryl Burke: The iron was back on the grid as Chad tried to win Cheryl over (in Danceland) with a strapping paso doble. Any time the Bengal has an opportunity to leave his shirt open, he should take it—combine the rippling abs with his enthusiastic approach, minus the wobbly technique, and you have yourself a pretty decent performance. And thank you, DWTS, for having them dance to a proper Spanish bolero and not some pop song. "The power is back, the presence is back, the determination is back!" a heated-up Bruno exclaimed. "You were focused on her like a laser and that worked perfectly with the paso doble," Carrie Ann said approvingly. "Much better than last week," Len agreed with the rest.
Pamela Anderson & Damien Whitewood: It was a dance with the devil as the animal-loving Pam pretended to be in love with the bull-killing Damien for their paso doble. But while she looked killer in a tight, white ruffled number, the buxom babe moved more hesitantly than she did the last two weeks, before the voters put her in the bottom two. "Your body moves so beautifully," Carrie Ann said, while Len praised her for coping very well with the inevitable nerves. "It was like watching the gypsy queen played by Brigitte Bardot at her peak!" announced Bruno, who also agreed with the others that Pam's got more potential than she's let on so far.
Aiden Turner & Edyta Sliwinska: Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" has to be about the worst quickstep song ever, and at first we thought they were tackling a really fast waltz—but that's not Aiden's fault. In fact, the yummy Brit was almost light on his feet, perhaps spiritually lifted by the presence of his wife and young daughter in the rehearsal room. His timing seemed off a few times, but he moved with much more ease than in previous weeks. Carrie Ann and Bruno felt he may have been a bit too light on his feet, a little too "bubbly" and "skippy." But, as Bruno pointed out, Aiden "looked as happy as a clam today compared to last week."
Erin Andrews & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: In the face of death threats against the already put-upon ESPN reporter, the duo refused to skimp on the sexuality. Yes, blindfold equals kinky, but it also in this case equaled sleek and elegant, with the two of them turning in the most graceful waltz of the night. "Breathtakingly artistic," Carrie Ann called it, while Bruno offered Erin a warning: "It starts with a blindfold and then you end up in handcuffs." Len liked what waltz there was but took issue with the long intro.
Kate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani: Well, this paso doble set to poor Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" wasn't the travesty that last week's jive was, but it still lacked finesse. Kate kept up with Tony far better than she did last week, though all she did with that stoic mom mask of hers was turn it into one of those scary "because I said so" faces. Hey, it's hard to pretend to be completely furious at something, such as cameras, that you also kinda like. "That was odd," Carrie Ann said concernedly. "It was very hard to watch." "It wasn't very good, Kate, and I'm sorry," Len added. But Bruno found the bright side: "I think, for once, you played the character! You had the look of the superbitch from hell, the face of thunder!" he offered. Gee, why don't the judges just instruct America not to vote for her?
Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough: Finally, Dancing WIth the Stars decided to save a real treat for the finale. The reliable pair were as crisp as ever on their Anchors Aweigh-channeling, Broadway-caliber quickstep, despite Nicole's brief, "Oh, the pressure of being so good is really getting to me!" breakdown during rehearsal. The duo got reamed by the judges though for doing a lift (Nicole picked up Derek, big whoop), breaking hold, not doing enough quickstep, you name it! But Carrie Ann still wants front-row seats when they take their act on the road.
Score: A schizophrenic 23 (That's an 8 from Carrie Ann, a 6 from Len and a 9 from Bruno.)
Here's the rundown of tonight's leaderboard:
Evan & Anna: 26
Erin & Maks: 23
Nicole & Derek: 23
Jake & Chelsie: 21
Niecy & Louis: 21
Pamela & Damien: 21
Aiden & Edyta: 20
Chad & Cheryl: 20
Kate & Tony: 15
Buzz & Ashly: 13
One of the remaining 10 couples will be eliminated tomorrow.
So who inspired you to pick up the phone, and who made you want to go a few rounds with the ol' punching bag?
(Originally published April 5, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. PT)
It's here today, gone tomorrow on Dancing WIth the Stars. But check out our gallery to see where some of those stars, after going, are now.