STEP OFF: Mutually Assigned Dances (Surprisingly) Don't Equal Mutually Assured Dance-truction

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Tonight's decision of inviting Paula Abdul to guest judge on the same panel as Carrie Ann Inaba, an act known as turning the entire cock-a-doodie universe on its head, can only be described as either the most ingenious or most cruel thing broadcast television has ever done to an audience. I mean, those women, as shrill and confusing as they are, make for great TV.

Announced last week, the contestants of DANCING WITH THE STARS: ALL-STARS were left to the mercy of their quick-stepping peers; the teams each chose the style of dance another would perform for tonight's episode. And it mostly turned out pretty well. Surprisingly.

Here's a breakdown of the leader board:
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Charleston, 30/40
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: Rock & Roll, 32/40
Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel: Disco, 35.5/40
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: Bolero, 36/40
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: Bollywood, 39.5/40
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Jitterbug, 37/40
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: Mambo, 39.5/40
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: Hip Hop, 34/40
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: Contemporary, 37.5/40

After tonight's round of performances, Shawn Johnson and Gilles Marini, with near perfect scores of 39.5, are tied for the top spot. Which mainly causes a universal reaction of…who's Gilles, again? Anyway. They're clearly the ones to watch, and the ones we love to. Abdul, on Johnson's routine, said, "You were elegant, you were perfect. The choreography was outstanding and it was my most favorite dance of the evening!"

Alley and Palin are once again on the lowest rungs of ladder, and after Alley's close call last week with being eliminated, it shouldn't come as a surprise if we see find her there again tomorrow. On Alley's dance, Bruno commented, "Oh my darling you are a mad women and I love you. You started out like Debbie Reynolds and ended up looking like Shelly Winters!" And I love Alley, too. Even back in her VERONICA'S CLOSET days. Here's to hoping she stays.

But the sheer "Yeesh" of tonight's pairing of Abdul/Inaba can only be outdone by one other potential shock to pop culture's nervous system: that Bristol Palin would finally get the blast off of our TV screens.

And based off of your comments last week (and her womp-womp performance tonight) that seems to be the general consensus: people wish Palin would go back to riding snowmobiles and staring at Russia from her 10-foot hunting platform in her backyard while her toddler yells obscenities (remember that?) at passing woodland animals.

I mean, let's face it: Palin is not the best o' the best when it comes to DANCING or acting like a mature, responsible partner to Mark Ballas. I.e., don't storm off in the middle of rehearsals like a banshee out of middle school hell, Bristol. And yet, some fan base out there has kept her around, much to the majority's disdain.

BroadwayWorld will bring you the elimination recap tomorrow. Be sure to check back to see if the town yokel managed to survive the cultural stoning, once again!

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