Eight weeks in and Dancing With the Stars is down to five...Wait, that can't be right!
Unfortunately, only five performed tonight because late-preseason addition Melissa Rycroft of Bachelor and now ballroom fame had to sit out Monday—which also featured the first team dance—after hurting herself during practice.
The show started off tonight with a rueful-looking Tony Dovolani making an entrance sans partner, and we later found out that Rycroft went to the hospital today after being bothered all week by what turned out to be a hairline rib fracture.
"I felt a blinding pain shoot down my side," Melissa said.
"She received treatment today for her ribs, and there were complications," a show rep told E! News. "She's resting, and we expect her back here tomorrow."
As they did with Steve-O early on, the judges based their disappointed-sounding critiques on Melissa and Tony's final taped rehearsal, which looked right out of Dirty Dancing—black pants and sleeveless undershirt for Tony, rolled up jeans and a black sports bra for Melissa as they ran through the motions of a jive that looked as if it would have been pretty awesome live, with all the fixin's.
Unfortunately, they only got a 21 for their dry-run-caliber efforts.
Here's how the rest of the group shaped up:
Gilles Marini: With the help of a cortisone shot to the shoulder, Gilles was able to toss Cheryl Burke over his shoulder with relative ease during their Lindy Hop, which was chock-full of traditional swingy steps—that the Frenchman pulled off most impressively. He seemed to spend a little too much time running around sans Cheryl, but apparently the judges didn't mind. "I made a list of the things that the French are famous for—French toast, french fries and French kissing," began Len Goodman. And from today, you can put Lindy Hop on that list."
Score: 27. Still not back in that stellar place yet.
Lil' Kim: Let it be known, Lil' Kim appears to be physically incapable of closing her mouth while dancing. But that minor ailment didn't stop her from stomping out a hell of a paso doble. Great choreography from Derek Hough, as usual, and it really spotlighted the fierceness that everyone seems to feel that the raunchy rapper is known for. "The bitch is back!" raved Bruno Tonioli, while also calling it a "classic, classy paso." "I was expecting 'oh no' and I got 'ole,' " said an approving Len.
Score: 28. Including a 10 from the Kim-loving Bruno and their first-ever 9 from Len.
Chuck Wicks: Well, we've got to hand it to Julianne Hough. Her man is a different dancer than he was on day one. He remains a bit heavy up top—wooden arms, according to the judges—but he matched his little lady step for step in their hip-swiveling cha-cha. "You have hit your stride and you are running!" exclaimed Carrie Ann Inaba, while Len pointed out that, "It's not how you start, but how you finish." "Great bum action!" added Bruno.
Shawn Johnson: Shawn may be incapable of exuding heat like Lil' Kim, but what she lacks in bounce she makes up for with technique. Sometimes it comes off as if Mark Ballas is performing with a wide-eyed enchanted doll that's moving exactly the way he told it to...but they sure look pretty together. "The dress is doing most of the work," complained Len, who feels that "good isn't good enough" at this stage, but Carrie Ann adored the kid.
Score: 27. A range of scores, including a 10 from Carrie Ann and an 8 from Len.
Ty Murray: The rodeo cowboy applied his eager-young-colt thing to the salsa and turned in what may have been one of the most precious Latin dances of all time. Kudos to Chelsie Hightower for choreography that made great use of Ty's strength—and showed off his biceps, finally—and made up for the hip action was lacking. But he just looked so excited to be getting it right...Aw. Carrie Ann just "loved it!" But Len, the ol' fuddy-duddy, thought it might be time for Ty to "hit the trail."
Score: 24. Another split-up decision—9 from Carrie Ann, 8 from Bruno and 7 from Len.
Team Mambo: Our insides are cheering. Chuck, Shawn and Lacey Schwimmer (in for Melissa)—and their respective partners—tore it up in a mambo routine that was so much better than we remember any of last season's team numbers being. Extra points (from us, anyway) for the "Single Ladies" theme, which ended with both ladies and gents in sparkly leotards doing their best Beyoncé impressions. According to Carrie Ann, the music was more fun than the dance was but…come on, you can't really help that when "Single Ladies" is playing.
Score: 25. But it was so much more fun than that.
Team Tango: Killer. Gilles, Ty and Lil' Kim strutted across the floor with fierce aplomb, somehow twirling (or being twirled by) their partners in close to perfect unison. It wasn't as jolly as Team Mambo's performance, but we knew the judges were going to prefer this. "You were like a pack of raptors going for the attack…The end sequence gave me goose bumps!" said Bruno, who gave 'em a 10. "I think Team Tango takes it!" cried Carrie Ann.
Score: 28. Things are looking dicey for Melissa, who has to go with the 25 awarded to Team Mambo in her absence.
Here's a rundown of tonight's leaderboard, combing both the individual and team scores:
Lil' Kim and Derek: 56
Gilles and Cheryl: 55
Shawn and Mark: 52
Ty and Chelsie: 52
Chuck and Julianne: 51
Melissa and Tony: 46
Despite Ty's perch in the middle of the pack, he's still a favorite at 3 to 1 to be voted off tomorrow, according to America's Line oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein. Least likely to go anywhere, once again, is Gilles, at 100 to 1. Melissa, despite tonight's default score, is at 20 to 1.
(Originally published April 27, 2009, at 6:35 p.m. PT)