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