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Dancing with the Stars: In the Presence of Greatness

We’re down to six couples, and it’s time to separate the best from the rest. There’s a mirrorball trophy on the line, people.

Tonight, each couple must perform two dances, their usual routine plus the dreaded (for me, anyway) team dance. And tonight there was an addition to the judges’ panel – Donnie Burns, 16-time Latin World Champion. Did the ballroom neophytes manage to impress the legend?

First up – the team dances!

Team Cha ChaChelsea/Mark, Ralph/Karina, Romeo/Chelsie
Verdict: If the goal was to keep formation, then they did that well. It wasn’t always perfectly in sync, but as far as team numbers go, this was a fun, youthful routine and each individual couple nailed their solo sections.
Carrie Ann: “I thought you guys did very well as a group.” – 8
Len: “I thought you did a terrific job.” – 7
Bruno: “Gaga Cha Cha Cha!” – 7
Donnie: “I thought you all did really well.” – 8

Team (Also) Cha ChaHines/Kym, Kendra/Louis, Kirstie/Maks
Verdict: I think this is going to come down to a matter of personal taste. I didn’t like the choreography as much as I did in the previous routine, but all the couples held their own. Hines was the obvious standout here, but overall I thought the first team had much more energy.
Carrie Ann: “Great job.” – 7
Len: “I know which team won the boobie prize.” (whoa, Len, whoa.) – 8
Bruno: “A little bit of extra butt doesn’t hurt!” – 8
Donnie: “The spacing between the couples is important, and some of the spacing wasn’t quite right.” – 7

Then, onto the main event! This week, the couples got some extra help from the crème de la crème of the ballroom world … including Mark’s mom. Ah, nepotism.

Chelsea and Mark
Dance: Paso Doble
Verdict: This was a totally different side of Chelsea – dark, dramatic, intense. It worked really well, and it never felt false, or like she was a happy person trying to look angry. Hanging out with Mark’s mom totally paid off!
Carrie Ann: “Out with the old, in with the new!” – 9
Len: “I got really confused – you did get the aggression, but I think it was too much aggression.” – 8
Bruno: “You came out here and you danced with almost violent intensity. The creativity was outstanding.” – 9
Donnie: “You’re very together – I know what you’re trying to characterize […] but instead I got Hell’s Angels.” – 8

Kendra and Louis
Dance: Tango
Verdict: The tango is a tough routine on a night like tonight, because it doesn’t always have the pizazz of other styles. And while Kendra performed this well, she didn’t always keep up with Louis and sickled her feet a few times … but more importantly, I just don’t think this dance was enough to inspire people to pick up the phone and vote.
Carrie Ann: “I was so proud of you.” – 8
Len: “The steps were clean and clear, but I would have liked it a tad more crisp.” – 7
Bruno: “You’ve never looked more ladylike and elegant.” – 8
Donnie: “The content that you tried was massively difficult, and I thought you did a pretty good job.” – 8

Kirstie and Maks
Dance: Jive
Verdict: Kirstie has adopted a very smart strategy – if you can’t beat ‘em, out-entertain ‘em. This jive was occasionally sloppy and bordered on “hot mess” at times, but it was silly enough to make you smile. I mean, this kind of shtick worked for Marie Osmond, and she made it to the top three.
Carrie Ann: “It wasn’t quite enough of a jive.” – 7
Len: “It was fun, it was high energy, it was playful. As a jive, it was most uneventful.” – 6
Bruno: “You might have gone wrong, but as an entertainer, it was superb.” – 8
Donnie: “I really liked it. What you have is the talent in between the steps, and you fill it with who you are.” – 9

Ralph and Karina
Dance: Quickstep
Verdict: Yay, Ralph is back! This Prohibition-style quickstep hit all the right notes and still showcased Ralph’s natural charm and showmanship. Thankfully, these two seem to have realized they’ll never be able to do all the crazy tricks that some of the other couples can hit – so they’re sticking with what they know … which is pure entertainment.
Carrie Ann: “Boo-ya! You’re back!” – 9
Len: “I liked the energy, I liked the movement, your footwork was great.” – 8
Bruno: “You’re a great performer … you sell it like nobody else can.” – 9
Donnie: “Your footwork was fabulous this week. You two rocked.” – 10

Hines and Kym
Dance: Tango
Verdict: Okay, THIS is how you do a tango. This performance oozed passion and masculinity. It was like watching James Bond attracting a mate … but with better ballroom technique. He’s going to win this thing, isn’t he?
Carrie Ann: “You take command of every dance.” – 9
Len: “Some of it was full of drama, then it goes into a fairy mode.” – 8
Bruno: “I like the way you play it – that was a killer tango!” – 10
Donnie: “Dance from your heart, but use your head – and I think you do that.” – 9

Romeo and Chelsie
Dance: Samba
Verdict: Hmm. I’m conflicted on this one. It was … cute, but it didn’t have the intensity or the flair or the wham-pow that we’ve come to expect from sambas on this show. He did all the steps, but it was just meh for me.
Carrie Ann: “There was a lot of bounce going on, but I don’t think it was sending a samba message.” – 8
Len: “I didn’t like it at all – you didn’t dance the dance. You’ve got to up your game.” – 7
Bruno: “You can definitely get down and shake it.” – 8
Donnie: “You might have a party in your pants, but you have an earthquake in your shoes.” – 7

Eeeeesh, it’s too close to call – who do you think will go home tomorrow?

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