Finally, after some confusion last week, Tuesday night is the debut of the new “dance duel” twist. The bottom two couples must dance simultaneously for their lives in front of the judges on results night; then, the judges choose the unlucky couple to get the boot.
The reason for this new rule (which sounds suspiciously like something on “American Idol”)? Because, explain the judges, it will stop great dancers from going home too early because viewers just aren’t that into them, lie last season’s Kristin Cavallari and Chynna Phillips.
Anyway, with the rules spelled out and a (literal) line drawn on the dance floor, the final two are revealed: actor Jaleel White/Kym Johnson, and singer Gavin DeGraw/Karina Smirnoff.
Gavin looks decidedly un-shocked to be involved — after all, the judges couldn’t stop laughing after his sham of a samba Monday night. Jaleel says he’s determined to stay, and belts out a line from “Dreamgirls” tune “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” (“If it were a singing competition, it might help!” Tom Bergeron helpfully adds.)
Anyway, the show goes split screen, which is confusing, especially when both couples are performing their cha cha in the same spot. So many shiny objects moving around at once.
But the judges have seen enough to know what they want: They politely praise Gavin on his “energy” and “improvement,” but we know what that means: Gavin’s gone. It’s a unanimous vote.
So, the first edition of the dance duel was rather anti-climactic. But there are a few weeks left of the twist, so we’ll see. Meanwhile, other highlights:
* “DWTS” is fighting it out with NBC singing competition “The Voice” on Monday and Tuesday nights, and we saw an epic mini-battle on Tuesday. While Disney pop star Selena Gomez is performing on “DWTS,” at nearly the same moment, “The Voice” has pulled out all the stops over on NBC: None other than Selena’s boyfriend, Justin Bieber.
The Biebs appears to announce his album release date (June 19), and debut a worldwide premiere of his new video...clip! Yes, that’s right — a clip. But even a few seconds of the Biebs whispering in some lucky lady’s ear is enough for “The Voice” crowd to go crazy. As a parting shot, Carson Daly announces that Bieber will come back to perform for the first time in three weeks, which just so happens to be “The Voice” finale. Good luck competing with that, “DWTS!”
* Carrie Ann complained about the mini-makeout session in the middle of Maria Menounos and Derek’s samba last night, but she got hers. Chosen for the encore dance, Derek made sure to stop mid-performance to run over to the judge’s table to give Carrie Ann a big kiss. She did not look unhappy.
* Train hit the stage to perform its new single, proving that dancers can keep with Pat Monahan’s super-fast lyrics. We take this opportunity to point out a truly stellar line from a song on their new CD, as noted in several reviews today: “I stopped believing, although Journey told me, ‘Don’t.’” Well played, Train. Well played.
* Finally, Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke Charvet tell us that next week is Motown Week. Not only will the contestants dance to Motown songs, but the original bands will be on hand to perform the tunes, including Smokey Robinson and the Temptations.
(Of course, they’re no Justin Bieber, so we’ll have to see how it goes.)