Note to self: Being crazy doesn't always pay off. You'd think Steve-O would have made that mental note by now, but apparently not. He did not appear in tonight's show due to a back injury sustained during dress rehearsal just two hours before the show. More on that to come.
Plenty of surprises came out of the ballroom tonight, where the salsa, introduced to the show for the first time last season and dubbed by Maks to be a "street tango," was danced by half the couples, while the other half did their best version of a traditional quickstep.
Here's a rundown of how the stars ranked, in order of the two-week totals of judges scores, which, as always, will be calculated with viewer votes to determine who will be leaving the show tomorrow night.
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke: I don't know who decided to dance a quickstep to the rock song "Kryptonite," but it was a stroke of genius! The unusual song choice was a make-or-break move, but Cheryl pulled it off with stellar choreo, and Gilles rocked it with stiff frame, fancy footwork, and French attitude. Judges' score: 27/30; two-week total: 51/60
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Finally, the salsa hits the perfect note of sexy, wild, and precise! Previous dancers gave us a little of each, but she is the first to deliver the whole package. I've got to say though, although she's certainly talented, I don't know that I want to root for a professional cheerleader who happened to make it to the "finals" of a romance reality show. Does that make her a star? Discuss. Judges' score: 26/30; two-week total: 49/60
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas: I think we saw Shawn do a grand total of three steps in the practice footage, with the rest of it consisting of Mark demonstrating the female's hip action and Shawn grinning, grimacing, and squealing in embarrassment. Cut to the perf, where she danced the cutesiest salsa ever to shimmy across the dance floor. She did Mark's fun choreo pitch-perfectly, but showed very little of the Latin dance's wildness. Judges' score: 24/30; two-week total: 47/60
Li'l Kim and Derek Hough: The exuberance in this quickstep looked like it belonged in some 1940s musical! Classy, precise, and fun! For Len to have said there was quantity, but not quality, he sure didn't sluff too much in his score of 7. Judges' score: 23/30; two-week total: 44/60
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough: I really can't tell you much of what Chuck did on the dance floor tonight; all I saw was Julianne's flying, two-tone fringe. I did, however, catch two uses of the "stanky leg" in this sexy salsa. The judges' criticism seemed directed more at Julianne than Chuck really, especially Carrie Ann, who said the dance itself was not salsa, but was instead a showy mish-mash of several Latin dances. Judges' score: 20/30; two-week total: 40/60
Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Last week's stiffness in the cha-cha became beautiful lines and crisp hops in the quick step. By the by, did anyone catch what the Bruno said Denise was grabbing? Toes? Twills? All I know is Maks told her to grab Tom's tush while he was diligently reading cue cards, bringing back fond memories of Mel B.'s gleeful obsession with the host's booty. Judges' score: 21/30; two-week total: 39/60
Holly Madison and Dmitry Chaplin: This Playboy Bunny goes for classy quickstep and… falls flat on her face. No, Holly wasn't terrible, but she did look a little like a marionette getting jerked a bit too roughly by her puppeteer. Front-heavy, Len? You try going from an A-cup to a D-cup and holding your shoulders up straight. Judges' score: 18/30; two-week total: 36/60
David Allen Grier and Kym Johnson: Again, this funnyman shocked me with his physical prowess, and this time, the judges crucified him for it! Just goes to show you buddy, you do NOT mock the Bruno in your confessional! This blogger knows squat about technique, but can talk entertainment for days, and from my seat, that salsa was entertaining. Technique, schmechnique! Judges' score: 17/30; two-week total: 36/60
Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska: Although LT said last week that his cha-cha was his best dance, one week was the time he needed to make his quickstep his better one! I saw flashes of Emmett in this smooth, joyous dance. This is a great example of an athlete's mindset toward competition: compete against yourself, and you win every time you do your best. Wow, that was a big hunk of cheese, but that's what this show inspires in me! Judges' score: 20/30; two-week total: 36/60
Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts: If that salsa was all Belinda, Belinda is one bad girl! Talk about loose, wild, and crazy! She was all over the place, plumping her boobies and rocking the slo-mo hip action that is the signature of the 50+ ladies. And speaking of ladies, I don't think they stick their feet in the air to let their fringe skirts dangle down to their bra straps! Yikes! Judges' score: 18/30; two-week total: 35/60
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower: This cowboy jumped back on the horse with his quickstep! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Anyway, when it comes to keeping time with a frenetic beast, Ty is an expert, and he actually translated that onto the ballroom! This guy is exactly the reason this show is so much fun to watch. I've gotta say though, I'm a little peeved at Chelsie for having planned on them being in the bottom two dance-off even before they've danced their second dance, as she clumsily revealed in Samantha's post-dance interview! Judges' score: 20/30; two-week total: 34/60
Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer: The "King of Pain" has experienced too much of it in his lifetime, apparently. The few clips of Jackass from last week's show are enough to explain why he has back problems. His attitude must be: "What's a few more flips on a hardwood floor going to hurt it?" Well, enough to merit a trip to the ER after a couple dress rehearsal flops. Lacey, looking on the verge of tears for most of the night, appeared alone tonight, and faced some tough criticism for their dress-rehearsal salsa. Yes, it is an informal dance, but the one Lacey choreographed looked more like a freestyle. Perhaps there was a salsa buried somewhere beneath the hip-hop beat, goofy pantomimes, and tricky stunts, but these rebels are definitely eating some crow now. Judges' score: 14/30; two-week total: 31/40
Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff: I suppose it is the judges' job to judge based on technique, but really, do they have to be so patronizing to this teddy bear of a genius? I found myself giving them my own version of Karina's patented cold-as-Ukraine evil eye during their comments and scoring. Granted, it was a slow quickstep, but it was off the charts in sheer delight to watch. Judges' score: 17/30; two-week total: 30/60
So what surprised you most about tonight's show? What did you think about the salsa replacing the tango? How about Steve-O and Lacey's decision to load their already-rebellious routine with stunts? Ty Murray's transformation into a butterfly? Who are your favorite couples so far?
The results show will air tonight at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central on ABC. My prediction? The bottom two will be Steve-O and the Woz, but I'm thinking Steve-O will have to pull out after his injury, giving our teddy bear genius another week to make us smile.