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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: seven couples perform

Seven stars have made it to the seventh week. The costumes, at first glance, look especially atrocious; that's because the stars designed them this week. (The women are definitely more covered up!)  And ... this episode features the group dance! Lucky us!

First up are Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani. They are performing the Argentine tango, which is the perfect dance for her to bring out her "inner man eater," Tony says. The couple go to Teri Hatcher on the Desperate Housewives set for inspiration. Is her character an inner man eater? I wouldn't know. I only saw Season 1, and Hatcher's Susan was pretty clumsy and googly-eyed for neighbor Mike. As for their dance, the music is cool, and so is the dance. She has fabulous lifts (if a bit balletlike) and some awesome footwork. Judge Len Goodman thought it was fantastic. He said he saw a "hint" of a blunder. Judge Bruno Tonlioli disagrees about that blunder. He says her legs were like "magic tools in the hands of a master." He says, "Let's do it over again." Judge Carrie Ann Inaba says it was the best Argentine tango they've seen. I agree. Scores: 10/9/10 = 29

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Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska have horrible costumes. Awful costumes. The couple take a trip to the golf course, so Edyta can see how hard it is to do something you're not trained in. Now ... back to the studio. They work on being graceful, not heavy, for the waltz. Smooth, not groove. While dancing ... wait ... she takes off the dark blue Cruella de Vil cloak to reveal a gorgeous blue-toned dress. Tricky, tricky! The dance is better than I expect; it is lighter than usual. Bruno says that he got the romance right, and that the waltz reminded him of Dr. Zhivago. He says he lost balance and was a bit clumsy at times. Carrie Ann says she saw more freedom in his movement. Carrie Ann notes the gorgeous dress. Len said it was tender and elegant, but noted that Edyta's dress got in the way a bit. He was shocked at how well Lawrence performed it. Scores: 7/7/7 = 21

Lil' Kim and Derek Hough are doing the rumba. Derek thinks he needs to tone down Kim's sexiness to make Len happy. A tough challenge! Derek stresses out a bit about the choreography. All that stressing pays off. I think it's a gorgeous rumba. They have great chemistry and are really fun to watch. But Carrie Ann says it was understated and underwhelming. She says she needs to bring her best game forward. (What do I know?) Len says parts were great, but that she must go with what she knows. "Don't try to please one person," he says. Bruno says it was a good rumba, but it was like a margarita without tequila. "Give it to me!" he says (not the tequilaless margarita). Scores: 9/8/9 = 26

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Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough will do the samba. Chuck goes to a country music fest in Alabama, where he is performing. He tries to rally fans to vote for him. In the studio, Julianne says she's going to focus on the technique. "All I want is a nine!" Chuck screams. The practice pays off, because it's their best yet. It's so fun to watch, and Chuck gets to perform a lot of great choreography. I finally feel like I'm watching dancers, not a young couple trying to dance. Len is really excited. "I liked it a lot!" he says. No dirty dancing this week, right Len? Bruno says Chuck was working "those hips like you never have before!" Carrie Ann does a little dance. Seems there are some good scores on the way. Scores: 9/9/9 = 27

Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower are doing the waltz. Ty says it's a bit awkward because Chelsie is like his adopted daughter, and the waltz is supposed to be romantic. He also likes that he can hold onto Chelsie again. Cute! Jewel comes in during practice to "help," and he dedicates their dance to her. During the performance (woah, weird camera action!), you can tell Ty is more comfortable than he was last week. It's a fun waltz to watch, too. "Sweet" is probably a good word to use here. Bruno says that last week Ty was in the gutters, but that now he's back in the game. Carrie Ann says Ty was a beautiful frame for her to dance with. She says his frame and posture were great (Len echoes this), but says just occasionally he got the "I'm afraid to be out here" look. Len says it has more rise and fall than a ... bride's nightie? I tried to rewind that three times, and that's what I heard. Scores: 8/8/8 = 24

Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas are doing the cha cha. First, we see her getting the Sullivan Award in New York, then she needs to pick up another award in Iowa (where they end up practicing). She's really tired and not picking up steps as quickly. Back in Los Angeles, they cha cha to Michael Jackson's "PYT." It's Shawn, so naturally, it's awesome. It might be my favorite choreography of the season; she's sharp yet smooth. I'm loving Mark's Jackson-esque socks and shoes. Carrie Ann enjoyed it. She says that she gets caught up in Shawn's technique, but tonight the gymnast pulled it all together. Len, again, agrees. Bruno says he's starting to see a young Debbie Reynolds or Mitzi Gaynor. He finally sees the "cheeky devil" he's been looking for. Scores: 9/9/10 = 28

Last up are Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke with the Viennese waltz. Cheryl says it's time to show the calm side of Gilles, so they visit a synchronized swimming coach. The resistance in the water helps him realize how fluid the dance needs to be. (Side note: Gilles has made Cheryl look a bit like Belle from Beauty and the Beast.) The dance is really good. It's very flowing and beautiful. Len said it had romance and great rotation. He tells him to work a bit on his footwork, but, overall, it was superb. Bruno says that it was glamorous and that Gilles managed to put some sex in it. Carrie Ann said Gilles is the most graceful male contestant she's seen. She says she's nitpicking, but he needs to watch his posture. Scores: 9/9/9 = 27

It's time for the 1960s-themed group dance! (Mark brings a cardboard cut out of Shawn. Ty is dressed like a '60s hippie! Ha!) We see the stars practicing. They do the monkey, alligator and mashed potato. There are a lot of hysterical looking people. Lawrence says it's like "Dancing With the Clowns." There are several references to time machines.

After the commercial break, it's time for the dance. They film the beginning in black and white, which just doesn't work for me because black and white in HD is just not the same. But, then, it fades to color, and I have to say, this dance is a vast improvement over the late 1980s rap number of last year. No one is painful to watch (ahem, Susan Lucci), and the choreography is super cute. Bruno says it was fantastic fun. Carrie Ann says the girls nailed it. Len says he's not going to pick out one person; it says it was fun and energetic, and it took him back to 1964 when he used to go clubbing. And that's what we leave with. The image of Len clubbing in 1964.

Who do you think is going home? I think Monday's contest was the toughest yet.

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