The Washington Post

‘Dancing With the Stars’ 2012: One couple leaves, and the competition gets a new twist

View Photo Gallery: Season 14 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Is “Dancing With the Stars” taking a page from the “American Idol” playbook this season?

On Tuesday’s results show, Tom Bergeron announced that starting next week, and for the next three weeks after that, the show will institute a “judge’s save”-esque twist. The bottom two couples, determined through the judge’s scores and viewer votes as always, will have a “dance duel”at the end of the show in which they dance simultaneously — and then Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann will decide who leaves.

No reason for the change was given, though Tom Bergeron assured everyone that the show has been listening to feedback from viewers who are especially sad to see their favorites — and presumably, the more talented dancers — leave early in the competition. And now, look at the bright side! They’ll get to see them dance one last time, no matter what.

However, the rule doesn’t go into effect until next week, and the couple eliminated this time was ...

Actor Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya.

Jack looks genuinely stunned to be sent packing, especially since he’s standing next to Gavin DeGraw in the bottom two, who was also on the chopping block last week.

“It was a great time,” Jack says, with a frozen smile and not answering Brooke Burke Charvet’s question about whether he was surprised. “It was fun to test myself.”

So long, Jack and Anna — if you could have held in there one more week, you could have had a dance battle.

Other highlights of the show:

• We’ve been disillusioned about Seal since the news of his split with Heidi Klum, but still — that was one haunting version of “Lean On Me.” The gospel choir providing background vocals definitely helped.

• Apparently, Gladys Knight has an “inner rock chick” just waiting to emerge, which is Brooke Burke Charvet’s way of telling us that next week is Rock Week.

Cheryl Burke and William Levy (Adam Taylor/ABC)

* Best reaction to finding out they’re staying on another week: Sherri Shepherd, whose scream terrified everyone when Brooke announced that Sherri was safe. Sherri’s reaction also involved a hair-whip move that’s sure to give her whiplash.

Do you think the right couple went home? And what do you think of the new “dance duel” twist?

Related reading:

Last night: ‘DWTS’: Everybody cries in Week 3

Last week: Martina Navratilova gets the boot as the first couple is eliminated

Last week: Judges get harsh in Week 2

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.


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