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'Dancing With the Stars': 12 couples perform

12 dancers! Two hours during which my significant other and my cat will retreat far from the living room TV! Let's get straight to it!

First up are Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. During rehearsal, Maks wears a frilly, two-piece pink outfit with fruit on his head a la Chiquita banana lady to get Denise to loosen up, because she is freaking out. A lot. OK, go time. The couple dance a samba to Filter's "Take a Picture," which I think is a weird song choice (I haven't heard that song since 1998 or so). I still think Denise looks ... well, bad. She kind of flops around in her short black outfit and has no rhythm, which is essential. Judge Len Goodman says the samba is the hardest of the Latin dances, and that they did well (REALLY?). Judge Bruno Tonioli says it was flat (yes!). "We are going backwards," he says. "You didn't have the party feel." Judge Carrie Ann Inaba agrees with Bruno (yes!). She says they can tell she's frightened to death. She tells her to work on her "pancake" hands. Well, I'm glad we all got that over with. Scores: 5/6/5 = 16 (out of 30).

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Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough (not in a Muppet pelt) complain that everyone thinks he can dance -- but he can't! He grew up on a potato farm! In Smyrna, Del.! This week, they are taking dancing seriously, they say. They do a foxtrot to a country song, and indeed, as promised, Chuck does more dancing than he did in his salsa routine last week. I think parts of it are rather boring, but I really dislike the foxtrot. Bruno says he is a happy that he was in the "driving (driver?) seat (sometimes I can't understand Bruno, even with DVR)." Carrie Ann thinks Chuck showed them that he could be a contender. She liked how they looked in their hold. Len gives some teaching-his-wife-to-drive analogy, which his wife shouldn't be happy about, then says, "It was good, but it's not great yet." Scores: 8/7/8 = 23

(And ... on the results show, Hall & Oates will perform. I am constantly teased at The Sun for not knowing who Hall & Oates were [I thought they were a '70s folk duo -- oops!], so I guess I must tune in.)

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Next are Holly Madison and Dmitry Chaplin. Holly cannot shake and is getting frustrated! Complain, complain, complain. She says D probably wishes he had Jewel back. Aw! She's still not very good, but she's better than Denise. Both girls look like they are concentrating too much, no? Carrie Ann says the dance was kind of rough to watch. She calls Holly's body "disjointed" and says she is being dragged around by her partner. Len says it was "hot at the top, wooden at the bottom," like a match! Hee! Bruno says her feet weren't were going the right way -- but "there's plenty to look at!" And, is it just me, or during the interview when they get the scores (5/6/6 = 17) does Dmitry seem kind of like, yeah Holly's not as good as Jewel?

Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer get a second chance. I love how serious this guy is taking his dancing. Lacey goes polar opposite of last week's not-a-salsa and pulls off a traditional foxtrot. Steve-O makes some awkward faces while he dances, though, and I don't think he knows what to do with his hands when he's not in a hold. (Note from SKK: I think he was still in some pain. And after he slid into the stairs feet-first at the very end, I think he injured himself even more.) Len says he had a couple of moments when he lost it, but is pleased he tried to do a proper dance. Bruno says he started well, and then it fell into pieces. "He lost it!" he says. "You rock Steve-O!" someone in th audience yells. Carrie Ann says he's in genuine pain. She respects him for what he did tonight and is sorry he had a rough night. Lacey says he tweaked his ankle and hurt his back again. Will the fans save him again? Scores: 5/5/5 = 15

Lawrence Taylor "doesn't give up golf for nothing," but he likes the samba and will miss the links to get it down. He and Edyta Sliwinska do their best dance yet. Finally, we see that Lawrence can actually move! Bruno says he was light on his feet for a guy of his size. "You can actually do it," he says. "Have more fun with it." Carrie Ann points out his newfound confidence. She says he can probably put in more difficulty next time. Len says he'd like more rhythm coming out of his hips instead of his shoulders. He says he admires his work ethic. Scores: 7/6/7 = 20. (What is wrong with Len? The same score as Denise?!)

Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas do a foxtrot. "There is nothing smooth and elegant about Shawn Johnson," she says. How cute is she? Very. Her dance is great; she glides and looks so mature. These Olympic athletes really have an edge, yes? (Speaking of which, we see Kristi Yamaguchi applauding in the audience.) Shawn Johnson for the win. Carrie Ann says she hasn't seen people glide like she just did tonight, adding that it was like they were on ice. Len criticizes their hold a wee bit, but calls it their best dance. Bruno says it was like watching a "beautiful bejeweled hummingbird." Where does he coming up with this stuff? Host Tom Bergeron didn't even understand what he was saying. I hear ya, Tom. Scores: 9/9/9 = 27

Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke do the samba for his mom -- in rehearsal. She's proud of her son. In the competition, it's firey and fun. He shakes, shakes, shakes, and then shakes some more. Len says he's a really good dancer, but that it lacked a little bit of rhythm in one of the first sections. He says, however, that he made "a hard dance looks easy." Bruno says he "came out here like a throbbing, red-hot poker!" He says he can raise the heat. Carrie Ann says it was excellent, and that Gilles "brings out something in Cheryl that she hasn't seen in a long time." But I'm kind of bored with Gilles. Is anyone out there crazy about him? Scores: 9/9/9 = 27

David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson dance the foxtrot. David looks a bit hesitant, but, gosh, he kind of blossoms. Much improved from last week, in my opinion. Kym showcases him a lot. Bruno says he took the foxtrot to Broadway. "What a transformation," he says. Carrie Ann says it was nice. She says the choreography was difficult. Len says it was the best dance he's done. Scores: 8/8/8 = 24 David sings, "These are the greatest judges in the worlddddd!" Guess you can't take the comic out of the dancer.

Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff, who were second to last last week, are doing the samba. Steve notes that the samba is a sexy dance and a party dance, and that those things are not like him. That's for sure! But ... he pulls a hamstring. He is in pain, but he doesn't want to drop out. They dance to that Beetlejuice song ... you know the one. Steve is bad. Really bad. He's likable, until the awkward worm he does at the end. (Please, no one do the worm. Ever again. Thanks.) Carrie Ann says he's so adorable, but at some point, the novelty wears off. She says they are in Week 3, and ... well, come on. Len says, "You're supposed to be killing these dances, but these dances are killing you." Bruno says it was the worst he's ever seen. Before the scores, Steve tells a bad joke about Smirnoff. Ugh. Scores: 4/3/3 = 10 (Boos ensue. "I think we deserve less," he jokes. But really, is he being punished for his comments, as Sarah posted last night? Weigh in on our poll here.)

(Before the commercial break, Tom calls Lil' Kim the "Queen B." Does he know what that stands for?!)

Melissa Rycroft aka Deanna lookalike and Tony Dovolani do quite a good foxtrot. It's bouncy and fun. The dance goes well with the music. Len says Melissa has beautiful dance expression, but that she needs to work on her feet a tad. She needs to come off her heel. Bruno says, "Beautiful to look at, easy to love." Carrie Ann says she's great, but that something small is lacking and she can't put her finger on it. She wants to see her challenge herself a little bit more. (Maybe I agree with Carrie, because I don't have much more to say.) Scores: 9/9/9 = 27

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Lil' Kim and Derek Hough are doing a samba. She can really shake her hips. There's part toward the end that I think looks a bit sloppy, but otherwise, it is hot. Bruno calls her a "pocket-sized Venus (huh?) with a super-sized sex appeal." He says it wasn't perfect, but she sold it. Carrie Ann says she drew them in, and that she was going for the technique. Len says she has a "bionic booty." Wow. He says he did miss some of the fundamental steps. "Make an old judge happy," he tells Derek. And ... something is popping out of Kim's top. It looks like a ... circular Band-Aid. Whew. (Note from SKK: I think it was a stick-on that was very specifically doing the job it was made for, ahem.) Scores: 8/8/9 = 25

Chelsie Hightower and Ty Murray close the show with the foxtrot. Again, Ty looks more comfortable than he did the first week. There's a fall (Chelsie's), and Ty handles it like a champ. I really like watching these two, don't you? Carrie Ann says Ty is "most improved" by miles. Len says he lacks musicality (Carrie Ann interjects, "No it didn't! I thought it was good!" Len says, "If it wanna get that in my ear, I'll go home and talk to my wife." This is pick on Len's wife night.) He then says it was fantastic and calls him a "hero" for holding her up. Bruno says Chelsie is carving a Fred Astaire from a piece of wood. Scores: 8/8/7 = 23

So, we have a three-way tie at the top. Steve and Karina sit at the bottom with their 10. I'm better at predicting DWTS than my basketball brackets (go UConn!) and will say that the Apple co-founder will be heading home. Perhaps he'll get a higher score in the dance-off?

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