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TV Column
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/08/2012

‘Dancing With the Stars’ 2012: Couples dance as trios before double elimination night

With “Dancing With the Stars” Season 14 winding down, the competition gets more intense — mostly because the producers have two hours to fill, and only six couples. As a result, each pair must perform twice. And in the second round, the first ever “trio dance,” in which the couple recruits either an eliminated professional dancer or troupe member to join them for a performance.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd

Dance: Tango

“This week is absolutely crucial,” Peta tells Donald. He is so not ready to go home, so they get down to mastering the tango. The key elements are footwork and posture, and Donald struggles with both. He yells at himself, because he says he really, really wants that hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

Donald is especially intense with the tango, matching Peta step for step as he looks determined not to miss a single step.

An unusually cheerful Len calls it a first round knockout, and Bruno raves about Donald’s aggression and power. “You were just going for it like there was no tomorrow,” he gushes. Carrie Ann says he was in the zone, but suggests that he bring more drama. This sets off a bickering match when Bruno says there was plenty of drama. Donald solves this problem by running up and giving Carrie Ann a kiss, which effectively makes her stop talking. Scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points.

“Extra” co-host Maria Menounos and Derek Hough

Dance: Viennese Waltz

For a couple that scored the first perfect score of the season last week, there sure is a lot of tension in rehearsal between the couple. Derek points out that Maria struggles connecting the emotion of the song with the moves of the dance. As she tries to figure out the steps, a frustrated Derek gets bleeped a lot. To his credit, he realizes that’s not ideal. “Sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most,” he confesses, when Maria breaks down in tears during an especially critical rehearsal.

During the performance, Maria puts on her best Serious Face as they twirl nearly flawlessly around the dance floor, and she’s on the verge of tears when the finish the performance.

“Heavenly fluidity,” says Bruno, and compliments her total emotional involvement. Carrie Ann thinks something magical is happening between Maria and Derek, which is certainly what the tabloids are hoping for. Len likes the dance, but has some criticism about Derek’s choice of choreography that is drowned out by Carrie Ann and Bruno’s disagreement. Meanwhile, Derek tells Brooke Burke Charvet in the Celebriquarium that looking back on rehearsal footage, he was a bit of a jerk this week. Good for you, Derek! Scores:10, 8, 10 for a total of 28 points.

Actress Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Dance: Fox trot

Melissa is getting increasingly stressed out, saying there’s an “uptick in head-butting” during rehearsals. That seems to be putting it mildly as we see the footage. At one point, Maks has to leave because he says he’s about to punch something, perhaps a wall, and berates her for awhile before getting bleeped for a ridiculously long amount of expletives in a row. “It’s so easy for everyone to paint him as a bad guy,” says a possibly brainwashed Melissa.

For the performance, Melissa plays a seductress who sweeps Maks, a professor or possibly a very old student, off the street to do a fox trot. Melissa’s arms move limply, but she lets Maks drag her around the dance floor in some impressive spins.

“You’re shoulders were down!” shrieks Carrie Ann. “That was your best dance ever.” Still, she points out a few mistakes. Len agrees it was the best dance so far, but there were a few incidents that made it less than perfect. Bruno compliments the overall presentation, and Maks looks decidedly unimpressed. It’s turning into quite the therapy session in the Celebriquarium, as Maks also admits he’s been too hard on Melissa, and she starts to cry. Scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points.

Classical singer Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas

Dance: Viennese Waltz

Katherine explains that she has to step up her game, especially since she’s the least-famous performer on the show. She also tears up in rehearsal during an especially difficult move, but it looks like a regular party compared to the other rehearsal footage shown tonight.

Maybe it’s the increased competition, but Katherine seems more timid than usual in her movements — the dance is fine, but a bit on the forgettable side.

Len is pleased, and says the dance has lots of content, but didn’t think the difficult spin room was necessary. Bruno calls Katherine’s technique “superb,” but still thinks there were some issues. Carrie Ann points out she lost her balance, which took her out of the dance, and hints they may be in trouble for double elimination week. Scores: 8, 9, 9 for a total of 26 points.

Disney star Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower

Dance: Fox trot

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Roshon, who’s been in the dance duel for two weeks in a row. Good news: Dance duel is over! Bad news: Nothing can save him from double elimination. The producers try to build up some sympathy votes by bringing in his two adorable grandmothers to rehearsal, who give him some dancing tips and serve as his own personal cheerleaders.

Roshon plays a guy who bribes a woman on a bench (Chelsie) with chocolates to throw down her newspaper and dance with him, and he beams the whole time, swiftly moving through the dance.

Bruno is very impressed by Roshon’s improvement, and compares him to a young Mickey Rooney. Carrie Ann gives a shout out to Roshon’s grandmas in the audience, and says Roshon made everyone proud. Len calls the Roshon and Chelsie two little dancing munchkins, which appears to be a compliment. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29 points.

Actor William Levy & Cheryl Burke

Dance: Fox trot

William brings Cheryl flowers for her birthday, but that won’t get hi out of a tough rehearsal. Cheryl reminds him not to get frustrated, because that will throw off the dance. But William just isn’t a fan of the fox trot because there are so many rules, and he tells us that he really enjoys his freedom.

But the dance looks like it comes easily to William, as he glides around the dance floor with a huge smile on his face, looking especially dapper.

Carrie Ann can barely collect herself, calling William a sexy Pink Panther (?), but also says his moves were exquisite. Len goes with: “I liked it.” Bruno says William couldn’t be more debonair and suave if he tried...which kind of makes Bruno hate him. In a joking way, of course. Scores: 10, 10, 10 for the season’s second perfect score.

Round two: Trio dances

Donald Driver and Peta and...Karina Smirnoff

Dance: Jive

“If anyone can handle two women, it’s Donald,” Karina says admiringly. Donald seems giddy with excitement, as he repeatedly tries to do the splits during rehearsal, even though he keeps falling. Anyway, having two professional dancers certainly boosts the appearance of the one non-professional, as the three of them fly through the jive. The judges seem thrilled. “I liked your threeway! It was great!” Carrie Ann exclaims. Scores:10, 9, 9 for a total of 28 points.

Maria Menounos and Derek and...Henry Byalikov

Dance: Samba

The three of them kick off rehearsal with an ab contest, but it looks like Henry (from the “DWTS” troupe) wins with an impressive six pack. Maria uses the opportunity to gush over Henry and make Derek jealous, and it appears to work. Derek choreographs a Bollywood-themed routine to stand out, and they spend most of the dance attached together. It’s officially much more fun than their first dance. Bruno thinks the choreography was excellent, even though there were a few mistakes; Len dislikes the fact that it wasn’t a traditional samba, and he gets booed for his opinion. Scores: 9, 7, 9 for a total of 25 points. “So they got two 9s and one mood swing,” muses Tom Bergeron.

Melissa Gilbert and Maks and...Val Chmerkovskiy

Dance: Samba

Chmerkovskiy Family Hour looks about as fun as you would expect, though it’s unintentionally hilarious to see Maks and Val try to teach Melissa how to shake and shimmy. Melissa’s shortcomings as a dancer are highlighted more than ever when she’s surrounded by the talented brothers during the samba, but she still manges to look like she’s having more fun than before. Still, Carrie Ann thinks it was Melissa’s best dance ever. Len seconds the motion, and Bruno loves it. Scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points. Tom Bergeron adds that the matching suspenders the brothers are wearing (while shirtless underneath, of course) are from the “Larry King Chippendale” collection.

Katherine Jenkins and Mark and...Tristan Macmanus

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

Mark chooses Tristan to help out because Katherine likes him, but also because he managed to work wonders with Nancy Grace and Gladys Knight, so you know he’s talented. Katherine jokes that between her Welsch accent, Tristan’s Irish accent and Mark’s “whatever” accent, it’s possible no one will understand them. But it doesn’t really matter, as the three of them work quite well together as they shake around for the cha cha cha. There’s a small setback when Katherine’s tear-away pantsuit becomes stuck around her heel, but she smoothly kicks it away halfway through the dance without missing a beat. The judges are impressed by her composure: “Sexy and cool,” raves Bruno. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29 points.

(Wardrobe issue around 40 seconds):

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie and...Sasha Farber

Dance: Paso doble

Troupe member Sasha immediately bonds with Roshon, and he teaches him all kinds of new moves. At first, the dance winds up showcasing Chelsie as the two guys serve as her bookends for the first part of the performance, but third wheel Sasha gets out of the spotlight for most of the time. Bruno notices some errors, and Carrie Ann loves the dance, but also saw some mistakes. Len is practically giddy with excitement, and very much enjoyed the moves. Scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points.

William Levy and Cheryl and...Tony Dovolani

Dance: Paso doble

Cheryl chooses another guy for the routine so that William will be inspired to hold his own against a professional dancer. William tries to get Tony to promise that if he makes a mistake, Tony will make a mistake, too. The performance turns into a dance battle as the two men swing capes around and duel over Cheryl, who spins around to each of them. “I salute you...I think you did a fabulous job,” Len says approvingly. Bruno also loves it, even if they were slightly out of sync. Scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points.

Tomorrow = double elmination night. Who’s going home?

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 05/08/2012

 
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