In-progress notes after the jump, including a surprisingly pushy inquiry into the Shannon Elizabeth/Derek Hough romance issue. ....
Samantha says it's the most intense night of dancing the stars have ever attempted. Introduction of the performers. Marlee Matlin appears to have been dipped in tanning lotion. Each has to do a dance style each has not yet tried. And a group dance -- country style. Yee haw.
Jason and Edyta to start. Cha cha. Two big JT leaps, then some walking into a dance step. He's dancing more but there are still awkward spots, and Edyta is getting the flashy stuff. Len says there was lots of content (unlike last week) but also notes that he saw JT counting, and he went off time a little bit, but still marvelous. Bruno talks about him being "a little bit chicky" (I think he meant cheeky) but also notes some errors. Carrie Ann says no one can touch him when he hits his lines but his arms don't quite look as if they know where they want to go -- and he's dancing "smaller." Needs to let it go. Scores: Straight 8s.
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough, alleged lovebirds. They're putting some distance between each other before the dance. But DH brings her flowers in the rehearsal video. Rumba. Lots of huggy in the studio, and then beach shots which appear to be from the time when the kissing photos were taken. SE talks about it being a romantic place. Dance routine also plays into the romance speculation. But as a dance it's just OK. Bruno says the romantic interplay was there, but faults her footwork. CA says she has great potential, but at week six she has to go beyond potential. Len says they were all over each other "like a rash" and overall he was very please with the performance. Samantha brings up the "great chemistry," but SE talks about how great it has been to work together. Samantha asks if it's just a "show-mance," pushes them on the romance question; they duck, except for DH saying they got into the part on the beach. Scores: Straight 8s.
Samantha has pushed so hard, Bergeron says she'll be grilling prisoners at Gitmo. (But let the record show that they never flat-out denied a romance.)
Marlee and Fabian. Mambo. Fabian was the world mambo champion in 2006. Marlee gets a pep talk from Henry Winkler. The dance: Lots of spins. Fabian seems to be maintaining far more touch-contact with MM, as if to control the dance moves more. Still she looks a little clunky in spots. This is not a great night so far. Carrie Ann says MM looks amazing. (Uh-oh, a Paula move?) CA thought they were forcing and struggling. Len calls her inspiring but that it looked uncomfortable. Bruno notes mambo is fast and timing is crucial, and that she had problems. Scores: Straight 7s.
Cristian and Cheryl. Fox trot. He starts with a bannister slide. His steps are fair but he constantly looks as if he is calculating every move -- not comfortable or particularly graceful. Len says that, if C&C are in the bottom two tomorrow, "I'll show my bum in the supermarket." Bruno calls it "Cristian at his dashing best" and calls his footwork "excellent." CA -- not sure, since it seems as if the video skipped.
And, just to continue my obsession with Cristian's resemblance to Fry on "Futurama," here's a picture of Fry for comparison:
And here's Cristian:
Scores for C&C: Straight 9s. Absolute malarkey.
Marissa and Tony. Viennese waltz. Pleasant, I suppose, but I'm still not dazzled. Bruno calls her all light and frothy and "you kept your head." CA approves. Len says she was "like a true princess." Bah. We're obviously in one of those weeks where they're trying to make the competition seem close. Scores: 9s from Bruno and CA, 8 from Len. Marissa has a psychotic episode to show her delight.
Kristi and Mark. They dance at a Tiger Woods fund-raiser. Then rehearse for jive. Kristi was born with club feet. The dance: oh, good grief, could we just declare her the winner now? I could use a free 90 minutes of viewing time for the next several weeks. Nobody so far is in her class tonight. CA says "hell, yeah," and calls it her favorite dance of the season. Len calls it "a smorgasbord of dance" and loved it. Bruno says it's "high-definition entertainment" and also says it's his favorite dance to date. Scores have to be triple 10s. And ... they are.
Mario and Karina to close with a rumba.
Paula Abdul in the audience. Maybe that's why CA did the amazing-looks line to MM.
Mario and Karina. Mario's shirt unbuttoned, song's "Let's Get It On," and the steam is rising. I said steam. Solid performance. Second best dance of the night. Len says Mario did a good job but -- and is interrupted by Bruno claiming Len is getting "crusty and stiffy." Len complains that they did "the story of a strumpet and a gigolo" and "too raunchy" and saw a list. Bruno liked it a bunch. CA says "that was better than good sex." But she also notes the lift. Lift shmift. Still second best of the night. Scores: 9s from CA and Len, "a smoking 10" from Bruno.
Prep footage from the group dance. Sheriffs and outlaws. Kristi named leader of sheriffs, Jason of the outlaws. Gee, no suggestion to the audience there. And finally, the dance. (No judge scores, but voters can factor it in.) I think DH almost kicked SE in the face. Judges' comments are general except for Len saying he liked the lifts by JT and Mario.
Recap. Leaderboard. (Kristi top, Marlee lowest.) And I'm done.