It was two for the price of one tonight!
The remaining five hopefuls on Dancing With the Stars were tasked with two dances—the second being the "dreaded insta-dance," where they rehearse a routine all week but only find out what song they have to dance to after their first dance.
Actually, last season the celebs were surprisingly quite good at the insta-dance. Did the current lineup maintain the status quo? Did Ralph Macchio make it onto the floor? Did Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas tick off Len Goodman yet again? And what was up with Hines Ward?
The answers to all that and more, after the break! Er, jump.
But dance live they did, and by George if he didn't look like a 20-year-old Karate Kid out there! Maybe it was the low lighting and all the fake fog, but Ralph sure didn't look as if a cyst had just ruptured behind his knee.
Standing O for the 49-year-old as he limped his way to the judges' table, where he was thoroughly praised yet marked down for lacking polish. He did score a "vampire lovers dancing from dusk till dawn" comparison from Bruno Tonioli, though.
And though we saw him limping, Ralph was back in round two for his insta-cha-cha to "Stuck in the Middle With You." The choreography was a little lackluster for this stage of the game, but Ralph smiled his way through the pain.
Happily, an MRI didn't show any other damage, but that's not going to make what is wrong heal any faster.
Chelsea and Mark did indeed tick off Len just a bit with their lyrical waltz, though even he had to admit it was quite beautiful. Hence, the affectionate duo ended up just one point shy of the promised land, thanks to Len's 9. Theirs was the first 29 of the season, however!
"You earned perfection tonight," Carrie Ann Inaba told Chelsea, who during rehearsal had explained to Mark that she was afraid his vocal complaints about the judges' scoring would give the false impression that she felt she deserved perfect scores.
They later handled their insta-salsa to Sean Paul's "Get Busy" in stride, but Carrie Ann felt that they were dancing ahead of the music.
Maybe he was a little embarrassed about his run-in with handcuffs last week, or perhaps Hines was just uncomfortable in his blush-and-bashful suit. But either way, the first half of his fox-trot lacked that signature Wardian ease. He loosened up by the end, but the judges didn't seem to care...
Because they loved all of it! We at first thought Carrie Ann was really going to disagree with Bruno's Fred Astaire characterization, but only because she was thinking Gene Kelly. Oh well, we thought the NFL star was a little off his game.
Hines' jive to "Chantilly Lace" was much more fun, though technically a little off.
For their first number, Romeo and Chelsie Hightower danced a tremendous tango, a sweet comeback after last week's iffy samba. It was just as good as Mark and Chelsea's waltz, but it received the same 27 that Hines and Kym Johnson's fox-trot got instead.
Romeo and Chelsie followed up, however, with a killer salsa that Len, of all people, "loved!"
In fact, it was Carrie Ann and Bruno who were the fussypants this time around, pointing out a wee lack of synchronicity toward the end. But we loved the spur-of-the-moment, hot-and-sweaty nightclub feel of their routine!
And Maks Chmerkovskiy had no trouble supporting Kirstie Alley tonight! They performed a divine Argentine tango—yay, lifts!—that was more sultry than any dance performed tonight.
Good enough for their first 10 from Bruno, who raved at Kirstie, "Your body is shrinking, your talent is huge!"
They later managed to bang out a salsa that Len adored for its "oily," rhythmic sensuality. "I thought it was fabulous, well done!" he said in giving them a 9 (though the "oily" thing was a real head-scratcher).
Here's how the leaderboard stacked up:
Chelsea & Mark: 55 (29 & 26)
Hines & Kym: 54 (28 & 26)
Romeo & Chelsie: 52 (27 & 25)
Kirstie & Maks: 53 (28, 25)
Ralph & Karina: 46 (25 & 21)
"I made it to the end of the show, you know, and that was my goal," Ralph said.
Alas, he's in as much danger as anybody of being eliminated Tuesday following performances from Adele and the other-cheek-turning Michael Bolton.
So who doubled your pleasure tonight, and who may be out of luck come tomorrow?
(Originally published May 9, 2011, at 7:15 p.m. PT)