If tonight's show offers any lessons, here they are: Hotness does not a dancer make. It also helps to not have the name Steve.
Tonight's big losers were Steve Wozniak and his inexplicably giggly partner Karina, and Steve-O and Lacey, a surprisingly somber pair. The next two lowest score-getters were the aforementioned hot girls: Denise Richards and Holly Madison, who have the faces and figures of Barbie dolls, and also move like them on the dance floor. A three-way tie at the top between rejected Bachelorette (sorry, but it's true) Melissa Rycroft, Olympian Shawn Johnson, and French actor Gilles Marini solidify their roles as the ones to beat this season.
Sadly, two out of those three are hardly stars, in my opinion. A professional cheerleader turned reality star and a man whose claim to fame is showing full frontal on the big screen are not the kind of stars for whom I want to vote. Readers, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this one. (And Dirtyoldman, we'll have no armpit-licking this week!)
Let's get down to business, dance fans. Here's how the pairs, who performed either the Latin samba or the ballroom foxtrot, landed on the judges' leaderboard, from highest to lowest.
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas: Seriously, where was the one-point error in this beautiful foxtrot? I think our stuffy judges are saving their 10 placards for a little later in the season, because that dance was poetry in motion. Judges' score: 27/30
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: If that samba had been any hotter, I'm pretty sure those high-gloss planks of the dance floor would have caught on fire! Yowza, Cheryl! And Gilles' soap actor background comes in handy in the ballroom: high energy and smoldering looks are over-the-top on The Bold and the Beautiful, but magnifique in the samba! Judges' score: 27/30
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: The biggest shocker for me this week? Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders have jobs? At a desk? I thought professional cheerleader meant you did it, you know, as a profession. Shows what I know. Anyway, Melissa's foxtrot was elegant and all, but I think that certain je ne sais quoi (I'm stuck on the French now) that Carrie Ann said is missing is an emotional connection to the dance. Sorry to get all artsy about it, but her facial expression does not waver from that Go Team! I'm so happy to be here! And I'm so over Jason! grin. She just glides through every dance effortlessly, but with no real performance aspect. Judges' score: 27/30
Li'l Kim and Derek Hough: Li'l Kim has got to be the peppiest workhorse I've ever seen on the show. No tears, no frustration, no apprehension, just chipper high-fives and delighted squeals. Her samba was mostly hot, but her facial expressions, which always seemed a beat or two behind the dance and included a scary impression of the Elvis snarl, threw me off a bit. Judges' score: 25/30
David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson:Color me confused, because David's foxtrot this week looked every bit as polished and fun as his salsa last week! But apparently, this week's Rockette kicks and sliding steps made all the difference, because the judges raved over his improvements. Judges' score: 24/30
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough: Thank you, Julianne and Chuck, for standing up for yourself in the after-dance confessional. The judges are definitely holding Chuck to a higher standard, perhaps because he seems to have untapped potential, and perhaps because he's dating a professional dancer. I tend to to think the former, whereas the couple seems to think the latter, but either way, the judges need to ease up. His foxtrot this week did seem a bit more confident and manly than last week's much-maligned salsa. Judges' score: 23/30
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower: This cowboy went plumb debonair on us tonight! Ty continues to astound me in his work ethic, which I thought would be fairly lax after his wife was no longer a competitor, and his technique, with a strong frame and precise turns and steps! I mean, I'm certainly no technique expert, but his dances are obviously improving by leaps and bounds each week. However, I'm thinking his strengths are effective for ballroom; I'm wondering if his improvements will hold when he goes back to Latin dance. Judges' score: 23/30
Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska: LT's natural rhythm was out in full force for his smooth samba. In the practice footage, he seems more concerned than anyone about how he will do, and yet he exuded confidence and fun tonight. However, I think Edyta needs to step up his choreo in difficulty or he won't be able to climb much higher on the leaderboard. Judges' score: 20/30
Holly Madison and Dmitry Chaplin: I think Dmitry dethroned Maks as the king of unrelenting criticism this week (with Cheryl being the queen). Holly shows she has determination or the ability to completely tune him out though, by not breaking down (because you know they would have shown it if she had had any semblance of a breakdown) and turning in quite the herky-jerky samba. Judges' score: 17/30
Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: I don't know technique, but I know mess-ups in choreo, and Denise's faltering samba was riddled with them tonight. Has Maks lost his touch or given up hope on his partner? Instead of berating and drilling her, he dons one of Karina's skimpiest dance outfits and a pile of fruit on his head, and hopes that will make Denise a better dancer? But I can't say I didn't laugh out loud when he shimmied right out of that hot pink top. Judges' score: 16/30
Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer: You didn't even have to watch Steve-O's body during his foxtrot to track his errors. Every slip was marked on his face with a grimace or an embarrassed grin. The fitting finish to the king of pain's flubbed dance? A collision with the steps as he slid into closing position. Poor guy. Don't beat yourself up over it, Steve-O. Seriously, don't hurt yourself anymore. Judges' score: 15/30
Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff: I can see why the Woz enjoys riding a Segway. For a man who can't walk or spin without bouncing, gliding along noiselessly must be refreshing. The problem is, the foxtrot isn't supposed to be bouncy. That said, his ceaseless determination and positive attitude are inspiring. Judges' score: 10/30
Last week's ouster was a bit of a shocker, as Belinda Carlisle was the fourth from the lowest on the judges' leaderboard, but I'm guessing it will be the Woz this week. It will probably be tough to overcome that abysmal judges score, no matter how many Mac people vote for him. The results show will air at 9 pm Eastern, 8 pm Central on ABC.
I love your comments, readers! Who was your favorite tonight? Do you cheer for stars based on dance ability alone, or do you also like to root for someone with a background and personality that truly makes them a star? Is there any star that you think can approach those top three? I'm thinking Li'l Kim has a fighting chance. Share your thoughts!