Tonight's Dancing With the Stars features a team dance as well as the usual performances.
The first strangeness is that during the introduction, Tony Dovolani comes down the stars without his partner Melissa Rycroft. More injuries? Yikes. Tom Bergeron explains that she is unable to dance due to an injury that will be discussed later.
The team dance will be the mambo vs. the tango; that's coming later, though.
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke are up first with the lindy hop. In the rehearsal footage, they had some trouble with their lifts thanks to Gilles' painful shoulder, but a cortisone shot helped him out a bit. (He still dumped Cheryl on her head during practice, though.) Their performance is a lot of fun and a little bit goofy -- Gilles has a giant pompadour. And while it is fun, it seems like this isn't Gilles' strong suit. Acting doofy kind of takes away some of his sex appeal. Head judge Len Goodman says he has made the French famous for Lindy hop. Bruno Tonioli says he has shown his versatility and his sense of comedy. Carrie Ann Inaba says he showed off a new side and did fantastically well. Scores: 9-9-9, for a 27/30.
Lil Kim and Derek Hough work on putting the "Queen Bee stamp" on the paso doble during rehearsal. Though they were initially concerned that this didn't fit her style as well as the rhythmic dances, Lil Kim kills it. She brings her strength and intensity to it, and it works quite well. Bruno: "The bitch is back, and she means business! ... It was a classic, classy paso!" Carrie Ann says the paso showcases her strengths and shows how far she's come. Len says the competition is about coping with the dances you aren't so good at, but she surpassed all his expectations. Scores: 9-9-10, for a 28/30.
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough hope to replicate last week's success in this week's cha-cha. I don't know -- they seem to be doing pretty well, but they are starting to bug me a little. I think having a real-life couple dance together is difficult because you end up having all these judgments about their chemistry -- it should be natural, but there's a learning curve with the dancing, so it's not always totally there, and then sometimes it's too in-your-face like a couple of weeks ago. I appear to be the only one, though. The crowd loves him, and the judges, too. Carrie Ann says he is totally in the game. Len says this is turning into a fantastic competition, and he adds Chuck is getting stronger and stronger. Bruno says he had "great bum action." Scores: 9-9-8, for a 26/30.
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas work on the samba and get some help from Mark's mom, Shirley. Shirley pointed out that she was swinging her arms "like a baseball bat" and helped her find fluidity. Len says good isn't good enough, and he thought it lacked hip action and that the dress was doing most of the work. Bruno says it was a nice samba, yes, and she's not a wild child, but it was good. Carrie Ann says she saw a solid performance, nailing every step, making no mistakes, and adds that Shawn is adding a sexy vibe to her repertoire. Scores: 10-8-9, for a 27/30.
After the break, we get an update on Melissa. She had a rib injury that has been plaguing her, and this week, it got so bad that she cannot perform tonight. She is apparently visiting the doctor right now. We still get to see her and Tony's rehearsal for the jive. At the doctor, she learns that she has a hairline fracture of her ribs. Ow! Melissa and Tony did get to do their rehearsal, which we get to see, and which they will be judged on. It's not even a dress rehearsal, which is terrible. Bruno says it's unfortunate they don't get to see the real performance, and the arm and kicks are "marked," which Carrie Ann explains means are reined in for rehearsal. Len says it's like judging a racecar driver on a warmup lap, and it's not really fair, but it's what they have to work with. Scores: 7-7-7, for a 21/30.
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower are doing the salsa this week. During rehearsal, he gets a little help from Dmitry Chaplin. He and Chelsie also make Ty get a spray tan. Ty says he got so sunburned when he was 9 that he had third-degree burns, so he doesn't much like the sun beating down on him. I hear you, Ty. He's quite adorable and trying so hard. He has some great moments, and a few awkward ones, but they sell it pretty well. Carrie Ann woooooooos and says he's so inconsistent, but he did a great salsa. Len says he's had the wildest ride, with highs and lows and twists and turns. He says, though, unless Ty nails the group dance, it's time for him to "hit the trail." Bruno says his hip action came from the knees, and it wasn't a true salsa, but he was still entertained. Scores: 9-7-8, for a 24/30.
Team dance time!
Team Mambo is up first -- that's Shawn and Mark, Melissa and Tony and Chuck and Julianne. (In the performance, Lacey Schwimmer is filling in for Melissa, with only two hours' notice.) So, mambos is the party dance, right? They fulfill that, for sure -- the whole thing is a ton of fun, and the surprise at the end had me half creeped out and half laughing hysterically: To one-up Gilles' sure-to-come shirtlessness, the men rip off their outfits at the end to reveal sparkly leotards matching their partners, and, for some reason, white stockings. Yeah, I don't know. But I laughed so hard I scared my cats. Len says it was entertaining and that Lacey did a great job for having merely minutes' notice. Bruno says it's nice to see men who shop in the women's department. Carrie Ann says the end was a little much, but that overall, she thought the music overpowered them and was more fun than their performance. Scores: 8-8-9, for a 25/30.
Team Tango is next -- that's Kim and Derek, Ty and Chelsie and Gilles and Cheryl. Team Mambo was right about the shirtlessness. When the performance starts, Ty and Gilles are both shirtless, leading Lil Kim onto the floor. When it's time for their solos, though, they have jackets on again. Basically, it's another super-entertaining performance, though this one seems a little more in sync. I'll leave that to the judges, though. Bruno says they were like a pack of voracious raptors. Carrie Ann says she thinks Team Tango takes it, and that their syncronicity was amazing. Len says Lil Kim had a blunder and Gilles' footwork was atrocious, but Ty proved himself. Scores: 9-9-10, for a 29/30.
The group dance scores will be added to the individual scores, which will be combined with viewer votes to determine who is going home tomorrow.
What did you think about tonight's performances?