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"Dancing With the Stars": Tonight's blog post

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 24, 2014

If all you care about is Drew Carey, he will be back next week, and was the first announced returner on tonight's show. He also did a jive, got good judges' comments but scored only 21 (triple 7s). Diana Nyad and Sean Avery are out.

Below is my in-progress post throughout the telecast.

Notes and comments on this evening's telecast. Who's out? What's Drew Carey's status? Will Erin Andrews continue to demonstrate that a human co-host is much superior to robo-Brooke? 

And we're off ...

Clips, tears, snarls, fall, big noise, CAPITAL LETTERS. Party music. Montage of dancers, pro and celeb, with names and phone numbers. Beats the walk down the staircase, mostly. The show is trying to hard to go younger ...

A surprise of the week: Double elimination tonight, with it taking place at any time during the show since the scores are based on last week's judge/viewer results.

And Drew and Cheryl are safe. But will dance first. The jive.

Energetic, a bit awkward, but Drew has some OK moves. Bergeron said he danced like someone who knew he was safe. Len says fun but work on footwork and posture. Bruno calls him a stage animal who is in tune with what the public wants -- and he covered his mistakes well. Carrie Ann says she would not have pegged Drew for "a jive guy" but it was often excellent. Scores: Straight 7s.

Billy Dee Williams is safe. Meryl Davis also safe. Danica McKellar safe.

Danica dances next. She moves well, but there's an expression problem: She still has a girlish look even when supposedly being passionate. Bruno is mixed. Carrie Ann thought she dominated the samba -- but she gets a little lost in places. Fussy Len says she has to straighten her legs more but "that was terrific. ... fantastic-o." Straight 8s.

Billy Dee Williams. Bummed about last week. Thought he looked like an old man. Which he is. They gave him three women to dance with this week, but it doesn't really hide how slow and ungainly he is. Judges try to be kind -- except for Len. Scores: straight 5s.

Fan vote for switch-up begins. You tweet #DWTS with the names of the pro and celeb you want to dance together.

Meryl and Maks swing. Lots of lifts, which seem relatively easy since she looks like she weighs about 85 pounds. But she is also damn good. Len loved it (and the band). Bruno says how difficult the routine was, and that he saw some mistakes. Maks wants to know what they are -- and Bruno tells him. Carrie Ann also says she saw two but Meryl is a star in athletic numbers. Maks refuses to take the bait when Erin tries to get him to argue more with the judges. Scores 25, 8s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 9 from Len. Maks says the important judge gave them a 9.

More results: Amy/Derek are safe, Candace/Mark safe. Diana Nyad is out. "We don't even get to do our dance?" she says. "Are you kidding?" Says she wanted to do the show for nine years and wishes that her partner with whom she had "locked bodies" could get more weeks. And Bergeron says they may dance.

She's still bad. "Better than Billy Dee Williams," says my bride.

Candace -- after worrying about her scores compared to Danica -- notes she is a Christian, does not want Mark shirtless, insists the rumba is sensual but not sexual. Pretty dance, if  not rumb-oid, and Mark keeps his shirt on. But there are points where she looks more frightened than anything else.

Carrie Ann found it "a little too contemporary" but she loves watching Candace. Len echoes Carrie Ann about Candace's arm movements, and said it did not come off as a romance -- then plays the "for someone with no dance background" card. Bruno thought she was beautiful but notes flaws, too -- although he is sure she can fix them. Erin raises the Christian/sexy issue; Candace says she wants to save some things for her husband. Scores: straight 7s. Erin also brings up the no-previous-dance-training issue. It's all about the journey, isn't it, DWTS?

Amy, Derek and a swing dance. She says she sometimes needs moments to regain balance; she and Derek hate the sound when her legs click. She says it is possible that her legs will fly off. Smiling as she says it. The dance itself is so-so, very careful with her moves and a lot of "swinging" by Derek. (I know, Derek's dances tend to be about Derek.) Len calls her amazing and praises the nuances in her dancing. Bruno notes a missed arm-pass, which Derek blames on his jacket. Carrie Ann calls it "mind-boggling" except for the arm mishap. Come on. If most other dancers had done that, they would criticize the narrowness of the performance. Scores: Straight 8s.

More results: Charlie safe, James safe. James offers to dance nude. It does not appeasr Peta would object. But they're mostly clothed in performance. Someone in my house who is not me says mmmmmmmm. Bruno likes his abs. Carrie Ann gives him a "day-ummm" and puts him in the DWTS Sexy Hall of Fame (with Mario Lopez, Corbin Bleu and Gilles Marini). Len thinks he was full of attack but lost some of the quality of the dance at times. Scores: 9 from CA, 8 from the guys, 25 total.

Charlie goes to Maks for advice about being a bad boy. Charlie finds him "very inspirational." He's all right, but the dance isn't that great. Still, Carrie Ann says he was like Baryshnikov. No, Baryshnikov was much more of a hottie. Len says he broke hold and that's against the rules -- and Carrie Ann has to agree. Bruno loves Charlie's "predatory, killer instinct." Scores: 9s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 7 from Len. Another 25. total.

Side note: Julianne Hough will be back as a guest judge in two weeks. And no doubt to promote a few things.

Bergeron defers saying who else is out until after the last three dance.

NeNe. Jiving with Tony. Overly expressive face again, but somewhat better dancing than a week ago. Len notes a little mistake on stage but it was a cute routine and the jive is tough. Bruno thinks she can do her thing be-yoooo-tifully. Carrie Ann found it fun to watch; she wishes NeNe's arms could be bigger -- but Tony argues that he didn't want them bigger, but CA says this looked awkward. Scores: Straight 7s.

Hockey Sean tries the salsa. Karina says there should be fun on his face. He is not doing that. He also does not want to be the first to go on.  Mission accomplished: Diana Nyad was. As for the dance, he does remember to smile. But he is still a clunky dancer. Bruno thinks he is light on his feet but there are problems. CA finds him authentic,with rhythm "for real," and worried about him on future dances. Len plays the journey card again, saying the important thing is to get higher marks each week, and he's going to upgrade Sean. Scores: Another set of straight 7s.

Cody's last dancer of the night. His tango is all right, I guess,  but not what I would expect from the last dance. And there was at least one point early on where they hid the footwork behind the audience. CA liked him but wonders if he should have a taller partner. Len found it loose but praised the inclusion of a moonwalk. Bruno compares him to Edward in "Twilight," which seemed to puzzle the dancers. (And me.) He also liked what he saw. Scores: 7s from CA and Len, with Len looking a little bored at giving another 7, while Bruno offers an 8 -- putting Cody just ahead of the many 21s tonight.

Final elimination: NeNe is safe. Sean and Cody are "not necessarily the bottom two," but one has the second-lowest score (Diana Nyad having had the lowest). And that is: Sean.

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