Here we go.  Five dancers gone (including my best options for attempts at comedy - Holly Madison & Denise Richards), eight to go. And there are finally few enough contestants that "Dancing " has become the 90 minute show is should be (two hours is just too long).

Suggesting some sort of fancy dance tonight, the dancers walk down those ever-so-glamorous stairs as the "Dancing" theme song plays wearing some very classy outfits (or as classy as Melissa Rycroft's Texan fashion sensibility can pull off).  Soon we learn that fancy dance it is: The Viennese Waltz or the Dance of the Bull!


Chuck Wicks & Julianne Hough

The competition's most boring couple (and apparently the only real one) , Julianne tries to explain to Chuck that he needs to stop playing it safe. She does this by exemplifying how a dancer flails his or her arms, and how someone else does.  This demonstration leads Chuck realizes he wants to really be a good dancer this week!  And he certainly flails those arms during their Viennese waltz, making passionate, dramatic facial expressions along the way. Bu the dancing is still comes poorly refined.  Maybe thats just wishful thinking on my part (I struggle to write their paragraph week after week), because Len and Bruno seem to actually like it. Thankfully, Carrie Ann is "irritated" that their dancing isn't coming together the way it should. The audience boos at this for some reason, I'm smiling into the television.

Score: 23 (up 1 from last week)

Lawrence Taylor & Edyta Silwinska

Once again, Lawrence can't connect to the music.  He needs a beat. He needs to feel the music. But the Dance of the Bill is "like watching TV with the sound off." And once again, Lawrence is determined to approach the dance with the same work ethic he approaches football. Unlike last week, though, his determination seems to at least mildly pay off.  He seems to be very much "connecting" with the music, giving a focused, intense performance. Although it still seems pretty clear to me that the man has a really limited range.

Score: 20 (up 1 from last week)

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

After last week's infamous boner incident (though alleged - I still believe it was just fabric bunching), Mark Ballas made the right choice this week and didn't wear short shorts.  Shawn, meanwhile, feels a little "fuzzy" getting a hold of this dance as the editors of "Dancing" struggle to find a Shawn storyline in the pre-dance video.  As for the dance itself, Shawn Viennese-waltzes it in a truly stunning backless gown (and some sort of magical push up bra), and her and Mark's performance is simple, elegant and classy.   Though I do feel these two aren't quite the challengers to Gilles or Melissa they once seemed like.  It didn't quite wow me, but it seemed to impress the judges, especially Bruno.  Though Bruno lost an opportunity for a punny line or two by ignoring aforesaid boner incident.

Score: 26 (also up 1 from last week)


Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani


America's reality sweetheart giggles her way through rehearsals for the dance of the bull, and Tony is a bit concerned that she isn't quite being serious enough for this particular dance.  She looks plenty serious during the performance (who knew you could "dance of the bull" to Lady Gaga?), but the moves themselves seem a bit messy, especially for Melissa (who has routinely placed in the top 2).  Len and Carrie Ann call her on her "blunders," to which the audience intensely boos. Melissa gets classy and tells the audience to stop boo-ing and admits the blunders. Smart move, Melissa.. modesty will keep every woman in America feeling sorry for you, and voting for you if they can restrain their Gilles-related libido.

Score: 25 (down four from last week)


David Alan Grier & Kym Johnson

I wish I found David Alan Grier more funny.  And I think Kym Johnson does too, weathering his failed jokes as she attempts to get them some half-decent marks. Their Viennese waltz isn't half bad, but its horribly awkward to watch David try his darndest to look serious (which usually results in an odd perch of his lips and a constipationy glare),  and him and Kym struggle to find any real intimacy.  The judges are pretty mixed, and I suspect they might be gone in the next week or two.

Score: 22 (same as last week)


Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke


Coming off a perfect score last week, the seemingly unstoppable Gilles & Cheryl pumped it up the inevitable notch this week.  That's right,  Gilles is dancing shirtless. A few seconds in and Cheryl puts some sort of sparkly jacket on him, but most of his chest remains exposed. Though it was challenging to notice, their dance of the bull seemed as flawless as Gilles' rock hard, tanned pecs.  Standing ovation ensues (including from both Bruno and Carrie Ann), and it takes Tom a good few minutes to calm down the rabid audience. Carrie Ann says she was brought to tears [insert joke about a different bodily fluid here]. Bruno wigs right out, standing on the desk and looking hornier than Carrie Ann.   But Len - oh Len! - he found it "a bit hectic." I half expected some of the women in the audience to come and stab him. Tom - in perhaps his quickest moment in the season's history - tells him he must have pec envy.  I sure as hell do.

Score: 29 (guess who have him the 9?)


Steve-O & Lacey Schwimmer

Johnny Knoxville and the other Jackass boys show up during rehearsals to serenade some bromance about how proud they are of him for making this far both in "Dancing" and his sobriety.  It's actually kind of sweet, and so is Steve-O and Lacey's performance of the Viennese waltz.  It's certainly not great, but Steve-O seems to be in step for the first time, and I agree with the judges in that its far and away his best performance of a youre-lucky-you-made-it-this-far season.  He obviously has a pity-vote factor though, so I'm curious to see if he'll stick around for a bit despite obviously being the worst dancer standing.

Score: 18 (his best score yet, the lowest of the evening)


Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower

Y'all! A dance of the bull! Well ain't that up cowboy Ty Murray's tree!  Ty takes Chelsie to the ranch to ride a bull (though I don't quite understand how that might help the dance, which is not at all like writing a bull), and is excited to finally have a dance in which he has apparently some sort of home advantage.  Not true. Wife and ever-present audience member Jewel cheers him on as he stiffens up in comparison to the last few weeks and shows this bizarrely stone cold face and stiff moves.  The judges call him on just that, and he gives Steve-O a run for his worst-dancer money.

Score: 21 (down 4)


Lil' Kim & Derek Hough


This fan's favorite closes off the show, with a serious window to excel to runner-up status after Melissa & Shawn's relatively lackluster performances.  Multi-tasking this week with a music video and a photo shoot, hopefully Lil' Kim afforded herself enough time to just that.   Looking more elegant than I thought possible, Lil' Kim  Derek takes on her Viennese Waltz  with some serious grace.  Her and Derek float along the dance floor with an intimacy that most other couples should envy, and I suspect this is gonna play pretty well.  A standing ovation from Bob Saget (there promoting the sitcom that airs after this),  and some generally quite positive remarks from the judges prove my suspicion. 

Score: 26 (tied for second with Shawn and boner boy)

What did you think of this week's performances? Share your thoughts below!