Tom Bergeron & Samantha Harris shockingly welcomed all of their competing stars for this third week of Dancing With The Stars, with no fractured feet or separated shoulders keeping any of them on the sidelines (both Steves, O and Wozniak, have struggled in the competition thus far, and two contestants - Jewel & Nancy O'Dell - had to drop out before filming began).  And with no drama for Tom to tease us with this week, we can quickly move on to the performances:


Denise Richards & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Last week's alleged "most improved" (I beg to differ), Denise Richards announces that she hopes she's "on a roll."  But Maksim is concerned. "She needs to get out of her head and enjoy the dance," he says in recap of their practicing.  To me, I question whether this is really the problem. Denise just always looks like she's pretending to be into what she's doing.  And, bad actress that she is, it's easy to see right through it.   Dressed in a whorish black cocktail dress, Richards looks dazed and confused during the routine, and at one point a piece of her dress (or is at a feathered hair clip?) falls to the ground.  Somehow, Len doesn't hate it, but thankfully Bruno and Carrie Ann are with me (Bruno called it "more a waffle than a samba... nothing really worked").

Score: 16 (down from 21 last week)

[More results after the jump]

Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough

Pleading to the camera to understand that "he grew up on a potato farm" and thus never learned how to dance, "celebrity" Chuck Wicks and his dancer-wife Julianne Hough are pledging to get down to "biz-nass" this week after a lackluster prior performance. Their bizznass turns out to seem relatively inspired, with Chuck doin g a decent job with the fox trot - actually dancing with his wife as opposed to following her around and hoping for the best.  The judges all rightfully enjoy it, but I'm still struggling to care. I know the producers want us to eat up the "real couple" thing, but these two are just so dreadfully boring.

Score: 23 (their best score so far!)


Holly Madison & Dmitry Chaplin

Can she keep them in tonight? That's Tom Bergeron's question as Playboy model Holly Madison is introduced.  Last week, the judges complained of her "bust being too far forward" ("Well, duh," is Holly's response).   As they start to practice, Holly quickly realizes she doesn't like the samba, whining that she "doesn't understand."  Expectedly, Holly's performance ends up more striptease than samba. Unless she's humping Dimitry or shaking her barely contained breasts, Holly still seems like she "doesn't understand." The judges do, and make numerous bust-inspired jokes as they tear down Holly's dancing ("there was so much on display on the top shelf, but not enough on the bottom," Bruno says).

Score: 17 (higher than I expected)


Steve-O & Lacey Schwimmer

Out of the hospital, Steve-O is back and ready "to totally step it up." Trying to keep his medical problems into consideration, Lacey tries to nurse him back into the groove, but Steve-O is frustrated he can't take the "go nuts" approach he's obviously used to.  Dancing the fox trot, Steve-O comes out uncharacteristically restrained. But within seconds, it's clear he's in pain and struggling to keep up the program.  As the dance comes to its climax, he trips and stumbles.  The judges appreciate him trying to dance, and try to spew mostly positive spins instead of the blasting his understandably pitiful dance deserved. It's unfortunate Steve-O is in pain, but it remains that he really sucked.

Score: 15 (much higher than he deserved, and better than last week)


Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Silwinska

Determined, increasingly endearing Lawrence Taylor announces that he has given up his golf game to research the samba. "And I don't give up my golf game for nothing," he says.   Their hard work shines through for the most part, with Lawrence displaying quite a bit of comfort in his steps that had been missing in previous weeks. He still seems like it takes it a little too seriously, though and this hurts his rhythm.  The judges concur.

Score: 20


Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

Tiny, delightful gymnast Shawn admits a special hope for this week's dance:  To prove she can be transformed into a lady. She definitely makes a case: The first contestant of the night that made me second guess who's the professional dancer and who's the "star," Shawn glides across the floor with a lovely elegance, and her and Mark have a - so far tonight - unparalleled chemistry.  Bruno, calling Shawn a "beautiful bejeweled hummingbird," agrees, as do all the judges.

Score:  27 (her highest score, and by far the highest of the night so far)


Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke

Resident sexpot (and definite favorite) Gilles Martini is back, and this week has brought his mom with him. Standing in on their practices, she tears up as she tells Gilles and Cheryl how incredible they are.  The cameraman seems to think the same thing about Gilles' ass, as he or she once again, opens the performance on it as it begins to gyrate. It continues to do for the pretty much the remainder of the performance, and Cheryl brings it too. They burst through the dance floor with more sensuality than that married couple could ever dream of.  Len dares to say he lacks a bit of rhythm, but Carrie Ann struggles not to pounce on Gilles ("you shook things I didn't know guys could shake!")

Score: 27


David Alan Grier & Kym Johnson

Unfortunately following Gilles is David Alan Grier, apparently making serious progress (according to Kym) after two poorly received weeks. On the dance floor, her suspicions materialize: Grier seems to finally be taking the competition seriously (not that I blamed him before), looking determined and performing much more intricate choreography than he's ever done before. This leads Carrie Ann asks him whether he became a rockette.

Score: 24 (by far his highest score so far)


Steve Wozniak & Karina Smirnoff


Barely making it past the first elimination, lovable Apple co-founder-turned-D List celebrity Steve Wozniak is at it again.  The practice videos show Steve is still having medical problems, pulling a hamstring and getting taken away in an ambulance.  This results in him and Karina losing a few days of practice, and the show tells him that if he wants, he can drop out. Steve declines, and shows up on stage in better shape than Steve-O. He still can't dance, but he certainly knows how to try.  It's adorable, and he even busts out an attempt at an impressive move toward the end (he does the worm! barely!). Carrie Ann, cold-hearted bitch, wonders if his "novelty has worn off," and Len and Bruno go even further (Bruno calls it the worst dance he's ever seen!), but I truly didn't find it any worse than Steve-O's.

Score: 10 (the worst score so far this season.. the audience intensely boos, and Steve takes it with a smile).


Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani

Potentially Gilles' biggest competition, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader (and infamous "Bachelor" dumpee), brings it yet again this week (though also has the most boring intro video I've ever seen on DWTS... she goes back to hometown Dallas and NOTHING happens).  Even though I'm not biased like the scores of "Bachelor" fans that will probably vote her into the final few no matter what,  I'll admit Melissa can really dance. Looking totally at ease on the dance floor, tonight's performance is no exception. But as Carrie Ann notes to the intense hisses of the audience, "this obviously comes very easy" to Melissa.  She needs to find a way to make people think she's actually being challenged.

Score: 27 (that makes a three way tie for first tonight)


Lil' Kim & Derek Hough


Distinctively adorable Lil' Kim continues to surprise me with her sincere determination.  She wants Derek to push her to the limit, and she keeps up just fine as he does just that.  She informs us that the samba is the dance that will let her put the Lil' Kim stamp on the competiton.  At one point doing the splits, and at numerous others shows off a pretty intense sexuality (that perhaps even challenges Gilles), Lil' made clear what that stamp looks like.  It certainly worked for Bruno: "You are a pocket sized venus with a super sized sex appeal."

Score: 25


Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower

Jewel's husband, self-titled "king of the cowboys" Ty Murray, is having problems with the fox trot (and I'm having problems caring - Ty joins fellow country boy Chuck as the DWTS contestant I least care about).  He's having trouble remembering the steps AND "playing the character." "I'm no Robert deNiro," he explains.  No, you're not.  But you're obviously remembering the steps.  Cueing the Jewel close-ups from the audience, and - my personal boredom aside - Ty is pretty fantastic, moving around in perfect unison with Chelsie (who is actually the one that takes a little stumble).  Ty's performance is particularly impressive considering how loudly he sucked two weeks ago.  The judges go on and on about just that, and DWTS is officially three performance shows in.

Score: 23 (by far his highest score).

What did you think of tonight's performances? Can anyone overtake Giles or Melissa?  Share your thoughts below.