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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: tango, paso and hustle

Sorry for the delay on tonight's Dancing With the Stars recap. I'm in a different time zone than usual, which is throwing a wrench in things. (Also, I'm posting from an unfamiliar -- and small -- computer, which is messing with my typing, so please forgive me if there are fewer details than usual.)

This week, the 10 remaining couples are taking on the challenges of a group hustle -- and the flu. And Samantha Harris' outrageous hairdo!

The two individual routines are the paso doble and the Argentine tango. We also learn in the intro that Joanna Krupa is paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy because her usual partner Derek Hough has the flu.

The first couple of the night is Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo. They are one of the couples doing the paso. She's excited to ditch the romance and focus on power. They dance to  "American Woman," and she's in a red,  white and blue skirt and top,  and he's in a motorcycle jacket. I enjoy the performance, but something about it doesn't quite hang together for me. I'm not sure why. Head judge Len Goodman says she is clean and precise, but he felt this lacked a little bit of aggression and character. Bruno Tonioli says she lacked conviction in the performance. Carrie Ann Inaba says she's a great student but she needs to extend her movement "out past your body." Oh, and she calls lift. Scores: 7-8-7, for a 22/30.

Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff want  to have a better week after being in the bottom two last week. They've got the tango. This character works much better for him than last week's lambada (thankfully), and they also have some awesome leg flicks. Bruno says he's done exactly what they asked him to do. He said it was a little like watching Robert Pattison tango in Twilight. Carrie Ann gives him kisses on the cheeks and says it was great. (Shouldn't they be skipping cheek kisses if there is a flu epidemic on set?) Len says Aaron's been like a little boy lost in the wilderness looking for his Daddy the past two weeks, but that "you've come back to me!" Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.


Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova are doing the paso doble. Michael takes it to the next level during training -- when Anna tells him that he needs to bring his hips forward and act as if he is holding a coin between his butt cheeks, he actually puts a coin there during practice. Finally, finally, he's actually performing with some power and finesse, though some of his movements are still too small. He's a big guy, he's got to extend those arms! Carrie Ann says this was her favorite dance so far. Len says it was expressive and great. Bruno tells him to keep that nickel in his butt because it's working for him. Scores: 7-7-7, 21/30.

Mya and Dmitry Chaplin prepare for the tango -- and they're excited because they can do lifts. In the performance, they are spot on and sexy and intense. Plus, Mya manages to not kick Dmitry in the crotch during one of the moves she was having trouble with during rehearsal. (Gotta say, though, that would be one event for which Host Tom Bergeron would be more than qualified for coming up with a one-liner, had it come to pass.) Len says he didn't mind that they spent a lot of time at the top of the stage, but he liked it. Bruno calls it intricate like lace. Carrie Ann loved the moves, but she feels like there needed to be a little more character. Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.

Mark Dacascos and Lacey Schwimmer are struggling to find Mark's most aggressive side for their paso doble. Lacey's given him a solo to try to get them to stand out from the middle of the pack, where they've been all season. In the performance, he seems to be channeling that aggression, at least in his face. Bruno says he is turning into Mephisto and that he looked like he was about to sprout horns. Carrie Ann says there is a subtle difference between force and power and this was power. Len says he had posture, performance and passion. Scores: 9-9-8, for a 26/30.

Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson have had a tough schedule with two dances this week, plus he is having to work in Vegas four nights a week. Their performance is good, but it kind of lags in the middle a little, so it seems a little longer than the others. But it ends strongly. Carrie Ann says the Argentine tango loves Donny Osmond, that this kind of transformation is what this show is about. Len loved the intensity and the quiet moments,  the light and shade. Bruno says it's bonanza time. Scores: 10-9-10, for a 29/30. Huh, maybe I'm just tired that I thought it was a little laggy? I do have jet lag after all.

Louie  Vito and Chelsie Hightower are hoping to bounce back from last week's lame-o two-step with this week's Argentine tango. His competitive side comes out and he dances a lot more than last week, but it's still not in the same league as some of this competitors. Len says he wasn't expecting a lot, but he was pleasantly surprised. Bruno says they had great storytelling, but he is still stepping instead of dancing. Carrie Ann says he was a great partner to Chelsie. Scores: 7-8-7, for a 22/30.

Melissa Joan Hart  and Mark Ballas fought through Mark's flu while they prepared their Argentine tango. They had a great week last week, but want to prove it wasn't a one-time thing. Their performance seems to have way more content than some of the others -- tons and tons of leg flicks and intricate steps, and they carry off the characters pretty well, too. Bruno, however, says she lost it more than a few times, step wise, and that he never believed her as the harlot. He adds that she looked more grumpy than intense at times. Carrie Ann: "DISAGREE!" She says she sustained the character, but agrees that she had some stumbles. Len says it lacked a little seduction, but the performance was "full-on." Scores: 8-8-7, for a 23/30.

Kelly Osbourne and  Louis Van Amstel, like Melissa and Mark, shone last week during the Charleston, and they want to rock their paso doble. They're dancing to "Crazy Train," which is awesome. Perhaps I should say potentially awesome because it appears to have psyched Kelly out just a touch. Still entertaining and powerful, though! Carrie Ann says this is why she loves this job, that it's so surreal, but that she needs to keep her intensity and stay with it. Len says she was dancing with more authority, but it was well done. Bruno says it was very difficult and that she didn't go wrong but she had a little case of nerves. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.

Joanna Krupa did a great lambada last week with Derek Hough, but then he ended up with the flu, and Joanna ends up performing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy for the Argentine tango. They ended up together last minute, but they handled it well. There is, however, a pretty bad stumble toward the beginning. But I'd like to point out, as one of my friends mentioned, we couldn't even tell because at the time, they were in close up. I don't care about close-ups during the performance! I want to see the lines and the feet and everything. Bruno says he was living his fantasies until the stumble. Len says getting a new partner is like getting a new pair of shoes and that they did a great job under the circumstances. Carrie Ann liked the chemistry but says she needs to work on her flexibility. Scores: 8-8-8, for a respectable 24, but it does make you think of what might have been.

Last up is the group dance: Do the hustle!

Kelly Osbourne will be performing in the group dance, but barefoot after hurting her foot during the individual dance. Anyway, the performance is like half fun and half disaster (and most of that disaster is contained in the guys' wigs). A couple of the guys look like they have their wigs on backward, and for some of them, the wigs are a giant hotness-killer.

So what did you think of this night of dancing?


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