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'Dancing With the Stars All-Stars' recap, Country night, ya'll

It's "Country Night," which is not my thing at all. If I know more than one of the songs tonight I'll be impressed with myself. I gave up on country music right around 1984.

The night starts with a group dance by the troupe to a live performance by Little Big Town of that pontoon song. Pontoon is a word that makes me giggle. One of these women clearly took a picture of Glenn Close from "Fatal Attraction" into her hairdresser and said, "Give me this." Bunnies, watch out.

Tom introduces the cast by calling them "Y'all Stars" -- no, Tom, no. Don't make me not love you. As they pan across the couples gathered on the dance floor, Gilles and Peta stick out like a sore thumb because of their costumes; Gilles is in a sheer shirt with a v-neck that's closer to his navel than his collarbone and Peta is in a top hat and satin jacket -- not at all country.

So, our scores from last week that are carrying over to tonight:

Sabrina & Louis:  58.5

Gilles & Peta: 56.5

Melissa & Tony: 56.5

Shawn & Derek: 56.5

Apolo & Karina: 56.5

Emmitt & Cheryl: 56

Kirstie & Maks: 52.5

Kelly & Val: 51.5

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd

Ok, the costumes I mentioned earlier make more sense when it's revealed they're dancing to Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman." This is what happened to country in the '90s, y'all.

Gilles points out that Peta was born in New Zealand and he was born in France, and this might prove problematic for country week. Peta asks him if he can play a cowboy and he replies, "If I don't open my mouth."

Len likes his "attack" even though he had "loose legs." Bruno says he has no idea what country that was, but all is forgiven because of the vinyl pants. I love how Bruno has given up all objectivity with respect to Gilles and is just a googly mess.

Carrie Ann thanks Gilles for helping her to her feet when she fell out of her chair last week. She liked the dance a lot but wants to give him "constructive criticism" about his hands. She's trying to describe it when Gilles acknowledges his "T-Rex hands" which is the perfect description.

Gilles gives his shoutout to the East Coast and those dealing with the storm, acknowledging that he hopes they can entertain them during this scary time. See, that's a thing I like about Gilles: he knows exactly the level of importance to assign to a celebrity dancing show.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9.5

I think that extra half point from Bruno was for the pants.

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel

Oh yay. It's a rumba. A rumba to country music. I'm not sure you could design a dance I'm less likely to enjoy.  Sabrina talks about a relationship that damaged her in the interview.

Sabrina's wearing the requisite rumba bedsheet. I'm only surprised it's not gingham. Ooh, there's a move where Sabrina's supposed to come through Louis' legs from the back and she comes perilously close to getting stuck.

Bruno says the figures she did were absolutely stunning. Sabrina and Louis are both holding back tears because of the emotion of the dance. Carrie Ann has her come over for a hug and then she praises her for showing such vulnerability. Len liked the content of her solo.

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

So they didn't see the awkward through the legs move that I did. I guess their vision was clouded by tears. But, dear reader, I have a cold, black heart and I saw clearly.

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy

Kelly is hitting what Linda Holmes called "killer fatigue" -- she's just so worn out things aren't making sense anymore.

I tend to like a little more smoothness in my foxtrots -- this feels a little herky-jerky. But it matches the song, so ... The routine ends with a big dip and a loooong smooch.

Carrie Ann says it was a big comeback from last week and calls her the most exciting contestant. Len says it was hectic, but they kept it under control. Bruno says a lot of things that basically mean he likes it and then tells her to watch her "top line."

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

Those were good scores, but with her low total from last week, I'm worried.

Brooke says something about them maybe earning more points later in the group dance. More points?!! This is way too much math for a liberal arts major.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani

Melissa has limited mobility this week because of the injury to her neck less than two weeks ago. But Tony reckons the Viennese waltz will be good for them because it will be fairly gentle on her neck.

It's a graceful, fluid dance, but the lighting is so dark I have a hard time seeing everything. Maybe it's supposed to be like that?

Len stands and applauds them, which makes them giddy. Bruno calls her solo "exquisite" and compares Melissa to Cyd Charisse, which, come on now. Carrie Ann compliments her beautiful lines and says Melissa isn't "dancing out enough," a point with which Len and Bruno both vehemently disagree. By the end of it, Bruno and Carrie Ann are both standing to argue their point. Don't make Tom pull this ballroom over.

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

Tony tells his wife and kids, back in New York, to stay safe and to evacuate if they're told to do so. Preach it, Dovolani.

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough

Shawn's disappointed in their scores from the prior week and Derek notices something's wrong with Shawn during rehearsal. Apparently, during their rehearsal last week for the group dance, she was goofing around with Serena and hurt her knee. She's crying about the injury and Derek interview that they'll have to adjust some of the moves to accommodate it.

So this is a country cha cha to a song about tractors being a turn-on. That is not a sentence I ever thought I'd type. Shawn's solo has a couple of moves that look straight out of a strip club, with splits and writhing around on the floor.

Bruno tells her to forget about the tractor -- she's the sexy one. He likes the fusion of the country two-step and the cha cha cha. Carrie Ann agrees with him and compliments Shawn on how she articulates every move. But then she didn't love the solo. Len thought the choreography was fantastic, the movement was brilliant, but then tells Derek there was too much frippery and too many gimmicks. He doesn't want tractors and cows and whatnot.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 8.5; Bruno: 10

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Kirstie talks about how the other couples seem to look like it's a cakewalk. They have the rumba this week, which Kirstie thinks should be easier for her. Kirstie's having a hard time in rehearsals, with a lack of energy and stamina.

And praise be, Kirstie's wearing more than a bedsheet. See? It's possible to dance the rumba in a real dress. well, maybe not if you're Edyta. I miss Edyta. There's a LOT of dry ice on the floor, so who knows how her footwork is.

Carrie Ann calls her the "queen of sexy" and that every movement was gorgeous. Len thought she coped well with a difficult dance and had good arm movements, but she would have liked more hip movement. He liked it, but not that much. Bruno moves a lot, which I think means he liked it.

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

They REALLY like Kirstie. I'm not sure I'd have scored that better than Kelly & Val.

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff

Apolo admits he and Karina had a fight before their dance last week and that could account for their lack of chemistry in their dance. Their routine is about a woman suffering cancer and the loved one who's comforting her. This is the dance where Apolo is supposed to be showing his vulnerability.

So this is a Viennese waltz and it's definitely pretty, but I'm not sure I'm getting vulnerability out of it. But then again, see above re: cold black heart.

Len says it was light and had great musicality, "two people in harmony with each other and the music." Bruno calls it graceful and fluid and weightless. Carrie Ann says it was poetry of emotion and mesmerizing.

Carrie Ann makes the point that dance without emotion is "movement for movement's sake." Apparently that's what I like.

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

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke

They're going to be dancing to "Islands in the Stream" and Emmitt's nervous about having to do a solo. His exact reaction is "What the front door?" He's adorable.

So here's their foxtrot -- it starts with them on a porch swing (which, why no "Just a Swingin'" tonight?) wearing cowboy hats. The hats get tossed off pretty quickly, which is kind of a shame because Emmitt looked very cute in his.

The routine ends with Emmitt doing this thing where he has his hands on either side of Cheryl's head and they're doing these rolls? I'm not sure what it's supposed to look like, but it actually looks more like Frankenstein's monster approximating romance. "Guuurl. Gurrl. Gurrrl look pretty." And then it's Emmitt's solo and it's bizarre -- karate kicks, rump shaking, and a few other things. He should've just gone Gangnam style.

Bruno loves Emmitt because he just has fun with the dance. He mentions that he did lose a couple of passes in the dance. Carrie Ann says they lost their timing when they came down the steps and never got back. Len says it lacked a bit of finesse here and there, but was overall entertaining.

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

Bruno is full of love.

Scoreboard, after individual dances:

(These scores are out of 90, 30 from last week's individual routine, 30 from last week's group routine, and 30 from tonight's routine)

Sabrina & Louis: 88.5

Apolo & Karina: 86.5

Melissa & Tony: 86

Shawn & Derek: 84.5

Gilles & Peta: 84

Emmitt & Cheryl: 82.5

Kirstie & Maks: 80

Kelly & Val: 78.5

And now it's time for the group dance, a freestyle with all 8 couples. The judges will be giving two bonus points to the couple they judge "most entertaining." TWO FREAKING POINTS? We're going through this for TWO POINTS?!!

They've brought in two choreographers to teach them the group routine. Gilles was three hours late to rehearsal because he was working, so he has to catch up quick. Apolo interviews that he's lost and looks it. Ah, this is when Shawn hurt her knee; they show a close-up of it and it looks red and swollen.

Big & Rich are there to perform "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.: Waitaminute, don't Cheryl & Drew kind of own this song on DWTS? The women dancers are on the stairs on either side of the band and come down to the top of the stairs and then down on the floor where they meet the guys entering in a line across the dance floor.

At one point, all the guys are down on the floor in push-up position so that the girls can "ride" them. They end with a push-up with a clap in the middle. I'm impressed they all did that.

Now Cowboy Troy is on stage to sing that train chicken song and each couple apparently will be doing a solo. Emmitt and Cheryl are up first and seem to get out of sync almost right away. They end their bit with a lift that looks a little awkward but they're saved by a quick cutaway to Cowboy Troy.

Then Sabrina and Louis are up and they end with a lift where Louis has his arms fully extended over his head and he's holding Sabrina under her armpits. The look on Sabrina's face is pure terror as they wobble and almost topple. But no fall and the lift ends in a horizontal split on the floor.

Gilles and Peta are up next and doing some of those swing/jive moves where Gilles swings Peta around at his knee level and steps over her as she goes around. High energy from both of them throughout their solo.

Then Kirstie and Maks come on and it mostly consists of Kirstie miming smacking Maks' behind. So there's that. But THEN they end with Kirstie taking a running leap at Maks and him catching her with her legs around his waist. Way to go, Maks! I like how he gets Kirstie to trust him when he tries things the skinnier women do.

Shawn and Derek come out and do a lot of fancy footwork and then a lift that doesn't tax Shawn's knee. Melissa and Tony enter the stage with Melissa on Tony's shoulders, like you would in a "chicken fight" in a swimming pool. She then somewhat clumsily transitions to an awkward lift position where she has her legs wrapped around Tony from the front and she looks like the prow of a ship.

Val and Kelly come out and Val whips Kelly around like the 90 pound slip of nothing that she is. It looks like tremendous fun. As they do their complicated footwork I'm impressed by Kelly's leg muscle definition. They end with Kelly jumping up, wrapping her legs around Val's waist and then doing that "Whoo! Whoo!" arm thing.

Apolo and Karina's solo seems shorter than everybody else's and at one point in a lift Karina looks likes she hits Apolo in the side of the head with her leg.

Then everybody is back out on the dance floor to do some final moves for the big finish.

Len says it was fun and full of tricks and treats. He singles out Kirstie's bottom-smacking. Bruno calls out Kirstie too. And he liked Apolo's lift and can't say the word "lasso." Carrie Ann calls out the Cheryl/Drew connection. She thought Sabrina, Kelly, and Gilles had the best solo. I guess she didn't notice when Sabrina almost busted it during her lift.

Kirstie and Maks get the bonus points, because our judges like spanking.This puts them up to 82 points, which is a full 3.5 points ahead of Kelly & Val. If I didn't know better I'd think they were either trying to make sure Kelly goes home or that Kirstie stays. Tune in tomorrow night to see who goes home.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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