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'Dancing With the Stars All Stars' recap, Fusion night and a marathon

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Last week: Sabrina got voted off and Carrie Ann acted like she'd been shot in the gut when Tom announced it.

Tonight is "fusion" night, aka you got your peanut butter in my chocolate. Oh, and there's going to be some sort of dance marathon. We start with the pros doing essentially a "Latin" melange.  

During the staircase introduction, Shawn walks down with both Derek and Mark, which is kind of cute. And Kirstie's done up like a beer wench/pirate. Heaven help us all.

First up is a montage from the judges which I will sum up in a short sentence for you: Fusion is mixing two dance styles, which may be quite different from one another, in a single routine. There. I just saved you about 5 minutes of fluff.

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: Paso Doble/Cha Cha

During rehearsal, Apolo makes the point that, like in racing, it doesn't matter if you lead the first six laps, it's all about where you finish. 

The weird thing about fusion night, I just realized, is going to be music that works for both styles. Anyway, Apolo is wearing a white jacket, with no shirt on underneath and his hair is so '90s it's ridiculous. Oooh, about halfway through the routine, there's a spotlight and a jet of steam and Apolo rips off his jacket. Apolo's got some GUNS, y'all.

Len says it's "Like looking in a mirror" to see Apolo shirtless. Len says it wasn't safe and it was crisp and clean and ends with "Apolo Ohno? I'm saying 'Oh, yes.'" Bruno compliments his jete and I like it when Bruno actually talks about dance. Carrie Ann points out that this is the first time Apolo's ever taken off his shirt during a performance. I hadn't realized it, but she's right.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Before the results, Tom reminded us that the votes carry over to next week. And then added that there will be a double elimination next week. Another thing to blame on Sandy.

And then we get a brief parody of a political campaign ad. So. Much. Fluff. tonight.

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: Rumba/Samba

In rehearsal, Cheryl finds a way to very tactfully and diplomatically suggest to Emmitt that he needs to rehearse more so there won't be any missteps. We get to see Emmitt at home in Dallas and his children are adorable.

Emmitt is head to toe in shocking pink and he somehow makes it work. That's a manly man, there. I'm impressed with myself for being able to pick out the samba bits from the rumba bits in this routine.

Bruno says it was a "smooth and balanced blend" and goes on and on about how difficult it is to combined those two styles and that Emmitt did it effortlessly, despite some shoulder problems. Carrie Ann felt like his hip action was good, but his upper body needed work. Len jokes that he wore pink so he could take over for Emmitt in case of injury, but he's glad he didn't have to do that because he wouldn't have done it as well.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8.5; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5

Whoa, Carrie Ann really didn't like his upper body movement.

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Quickstep/Samba

Kirstie got very emotional last week. And then she points out that a lot of times, the person that wins the mirrorball isn't the best dancer. And that she feels like she has good things to contribute to the show.  

She collected stuff to send to the East Coast for Hurricane Sandy victims and I appreciate the sentiment but the Red Cross wanted cash more than anything else. But, heart in the right place, blahblah.

Oh, ok, apparently Kirstie's outfit is supposed to be "medieval French maid." Huh. And Maks is the prince. They're dancing to Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" (the "You can feel it all over" song) which is a perfect kind of choice for this fusion thing.

There are parts when it's clear Kirstie has no idea what she's doing and Maks is pushing her into the right moves. I applaud Kirstie's pluck as much as anybody, but she's really outlasted her deserved time on this season.

Carrie Ann says of Kirstie, "This is hard because your heart is so pure and so wonderful." If Carrie Ann were Southern, that would've been a "Bless your heart." She points out that the second half of the song fell apart. Len said the routine had good movement but that there were "one or two incidents." He calls it "an admirable effort." Bruno talks about her losing timing but that it's always great to watch her.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Which even Kirstie admits is "generous." At least she can laugh at herself.

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: Cha Cha/Foxtrot

There's a "Bachelor-style" interview with Val talking about his feelings and emotions and blurgh. And then Kelly says cryptic things that if you want, you can interpret as "OMG Kelly & Val are totally hooking up!" Or not.

Val And Kelly are gradually removing pieces of each other's costumes as the routine progresses. What's up with all the stripping tonight? Wow, can Kelly twist and turn. I'm amazed she's not dizzy.

Len says they captured the smoothness of the foxtrot with the crispness of the cha cha. There's a move that Len mentions he's impressed Val put in and Kelly executed. Bruno points out a small loss of balance but says it was very good. Carrie Ann says it was a difficult routine but overall really beautiful.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Melissa Rycroft &  Tony Dovolani: Tango/Cha Cha

Melissa and Tony were ecstatic over their scores last week. Tony's doing something different with his hair lately and it's cute.

Apparently one of these dance styles is on the toe and the other is on the heel. Yeesh. That would be confusing.

Melissa's hair looks like she stuck her finger in a light socket. And, maybe not coincidentally, that's what the singer's voice sounds like too. Oh, hey, Melissa disappears behind a cloud of steam and reappears wearing a much smaller dress. Again with the losing of clothing. She's also wearing these weird stretch top over-the-knee boots? It's like she's got on stockings that end in boots? Oh wait, I'm supposed to be looking at the dance. 

Bruno says the shapes in the tango were great and that the overall routine gave him a Beyonce vibe. Carrie Ann calls her a star. Len says the two styles were beautifully defined and that the fact that they switched back and forth between the two styles made it a true fusion.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: Tango/Paso Doble

Mark dances with Shawn during rehearsals, but it's unclear at this point which partner she'll be dancing with. I think I finally figured out what's weird to me when Shawn talks, she doesn't move her mouth very much, so it's like she's always talking the way I do when I take a bite of food that's too hot.

Derek's doctors haven't cleared him to dance, so Shawn is partnered with Mark tonight. I would think these two styles are easy marry because they have a similar sort of performance sensibility, even if their tempo and posture is different.

Carrie Ann says the two styles were executed perfectly. Len says they have his vote and Bruno says it was flawless.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10

I get that Shawn is technically a good dancer, but she gives me Kristi Yamaguchi vibes in that she doesn't seem to have any sort of personality that interests me. I mean, nice, but boring.

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: Argentine Tango/Samba

Gilles says this is the most difficult yet because the samba is out of control and the samba is "still." To relax himself Gilles goes and shoots pictures with a UFC fighter, where they're both shirtless. Whatever works for you, man. (Apparently they've been friends for a long time and the picture is a cover shoot for a muscle magazine.)

They're dancing to that a song that samples a disco song that bastardizes a piece of classical music: perfect for fusion. Oooh, their samba rolls look great. And let's see, so far, Gilles has lost his jacket and his tie and now Peta's unbuttoned his shirt. DId I miss the amendment to the thesaurus wherein "fusion" is synonymous with "undressing"?

Len gives him a well done and Bruno salutes them. Carrie Ann wants him to work on his arms more, but she did think it was a fantastic fusion.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5

Before we get to the swing dance marathon, we get an unpaid ad for the Utah dance community. My favorite thing out of Utah is still their chapter of the Flying Elvises in "Honeymoon in Vegas."

The up and coming dancers in Utah are being choreographed to do a fusion routine. They're in black, there's a lot of dry ice, and no one's wearing shoes -- so you know what that means? This is Serious Dance That Is Like Art.  And then it gets all strobe lights and I close my eyes to avoid a headache. Ooh, part of someone's costume has fallen on the floor -- mind the debris, kids.  

Ohmigosh you guys -- Mark gets up after the routine and faces the audience in a way that totally says, "I give you this -- my body, my dance -- as my art. I am grateful to you as you should be grateful to me." He's so insufferable.

This show tonight could probably have been 90 minutes long -- there's more filling in this thing than your average Twinkie.

Swing Dance Marathon

Apparently, whatever couple lasts to the end gets 10 extra points on their score. The judges will knock couples out. Maks admits that they won't have stamina on their side. Gilles has ridiculous floppy hair in rehearsals. Kelly lands literally flat on her face practicing a trick -- it looks like it really hurts but she plays through the pain.

So each couple is in an individual spotlight. Kelly & Val are wearing red canvas high tops. Apolo's rocking some plaid pants with suspenders.

Kirstie and Maks are the first ones out. That almost feels like a mercy elimination so Kirstie doesn't fall down dead. They get 4 points.

Emmitt & Cheryl are doing a lot of lifts, and why not? He's strong enough. The same goes for Val & Kelly.

Gilles and Peta are next out. I blame her horrible fringed pants. They get 5 points.

Tom points out, "Emmitt & Cheryl putting a lot of bank in the 'upside down theory.'" 

Apolo & Karina are next to get the boot and get 6 points. With only four couples left, the couples can move around the entire stage, employing what Tom calls "floorcraft"(rhymes with warcraft).

Emmitt & Cheryl are next out and get 7 points. Which is a shame, because Emmitt just did a mighty fine "worm."

Tom's commentary cracks me up -- although it'd be even funnier to have Jim Nantz doing it golf style.

Shawn & Mark are the next to go, getting them 8 points.

Is there something to the final two being the skinniest female celebrities?

Kelly & Val are the next to go and get to add 9 points to their total. That is a TREMENDOUS boost for them.

Melissa & Tony, then, are the winners and get 10 points and a moment with the dance floor all to themselves. And then the whole ballroom gets covered with red, white, and blue balloons because elections, patriotism, USA USA USA.

Scoreboard, with the individual routines and swing dance marathon points combined:

Melissa & Tony: 39

Shawn & Derek: 38

Kelly & Val: 36

Emmitt & Cheryl: 34.5

Gilles & Peta: 33.5

Apolo & Karina: 33

Kirstie & Maks: 28

So what did the swing dance do for/to the couples? Well, it pushed Kelly & Val from a tie for 5th to 3rd. Gilles & Peta went from 4th to 5th. And Melissa and Shawn switched places atop the leaderboard.

It's pointless to speculate at this point who might go home, because there will be more scores next week.

And if you're reading this and you haven't already voted, get out there and vote for something even more important than a mirrorball trophy.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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