<p>Lil' Kim keeps workin' it in rehearsals to try and stay in the game.</p>

Lil' Kim keeps workin' it in rehearsals to try and stay in the game.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' - Performances - Week 9

Can Lil' Kim pull through with two dances in one night?

It's the "hooome stretch of the competition," "Dancing With The Stars" co-host Samantha Harris asserts as our five remaining couples - including the will-she-be-there-or-not Melissa Rycroft, who sat out last week with an injury - head down those stairs and into ninth competition episode of the season.  It's a two hour format again (oh, yay!), as made possible by a complicated new format (two dances per couple, a ballroom round and a latin round, in which for the first 15 seconds the stars will dance alone), and many extra montages.

The Ballroom Round:

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

Shawn breaks down in tears in preparation the quickstep, alleging "it's just so fast."  Being an Olympic gymnast and all, you'd think she'd be able to handle it, and she makes it quickly clear she most certainly can.  Dancing to "Friend Like Me" from ABC owner Disney's "Aladdin" (which unfortunately provides an excuse for one-too-many goofy facial expressions care of a too-in-character Mark), Shawn is on fire.  Fast, fun and focused, her and Mark rouse the crowd and put on a serious show.   It turns out they broke some sort of quickstep rule by separating (who knew?), but the judges love them anyway.  Bruno calls her "Spunky Spice," unaware Spice Girls jokes have been kind of over for about a decade.

Score: 27


Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower

Lucky to be here, and unless there's another injury care on the part of the others, the likeliest to go tomorrow, Ty is pretty proud of himself for making it so far. Chelsie reminds us exactly how:  "What Ty may lack in talent, he makes up for in hard work in determination."  But, as we know, work and determination can only go so far... and Ty & Chelsie's Argentine Tango exemplifies this.  While certainly not anywhere near their worst work this season, the whole time Ty looks intensely frightened, and at one point he starts doing these little kicks that make him look like some cowboy-robot hybrid.  Somehow, Len is love with it, but Carrie Ann and Bruno rightfully acknowledge Ty's shortcomings.

Score: 25 (his highest yet, but certainly the lowest of the night)


Lil' Kim & Derek Hough

Coming off a first-place finish last week, Kim's aim this week is to show off her versatility this week with a waltz.  But I question whether that's always a good idea.  Wearing a floral, unrevealing dress she tries to do just that with a very lady-like, refined performance.  And I hate to say it - Kim's my favorite - but it's kind of boring, and even a little sloppy.  She just looks awkward up there - like she's trying so hard to not be herself.  Though, once again, the usually crabby Len is all over it, the others generally agree.  Bruno puts it kind of perfectly: "You're more comfortable being a tramp."

Score: 25 (a tie with Ty.. eee)


Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke

Gilles goal this week is very simple. He wants to reclaim the top slot.  And so far, his competitors are making that potentially easy for him.  Gilles decides to do a little research for his foxtrot, heading to a ballroom to witness some examples. It pays off.  Gilles is smooth, sexy (he even goes a blows a kiss to Carrie Ann, which frankly, might be a bit much), and - most importantly - accomplished.  He's the only dancer that consistently gives performances in which it's totally unclear who's the "star" and who's the professional dancer.  Len points out some technical issues I was unaware of, but generally the judges are very impressed ("you are in a class of your own," Bruno says).

Score: 29 (on his birthday!)

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani

Despite being judged on some horrible rehearsal footage due to an injury, and getting the lowest score of the week, Melissa was previously saved by those rapid Bachelor-fans.  And apparently, the treatment for her injury is working, and she feels capable of taking on tonight's double dose of dancing. Her first effort - set to Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" with dressed very much like (a trampy version of) one - doesn't show signs of her injury, but isn't her best work either.  It's definitely a graceful performance, but it doesn't seem particularly challenging, and despite a pity standing ovation, I - and the judges - are left relatively unimpressed.  Gilles for the win.

Score: 27


I cannot believe I have to do this all again. And as some torturous intermission, the competition-within-the competition (where people compete to become a "pro dancer" next segment), gets a recap, and we learn that Brent and Snow have been eliminated.  If you care, and want me to elaborate, I'm sorry.

The Latin Round:

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas

Not surprisingly, we get TWO rehearsal montages. This time around, I have really nothing to note re: Shawn and Mark other than potentially quote about how Shawn is "determined to make this work," or something. But I won't. Instead, I'll cut to the performance, which starts off with an intense solo from Shawn.  Perfectly dramatic in the midst of some wild pasa doble moves, Shawn brings that intensity to her moves with a shirtless Mark.  They are totally in sync, and Gilles officially has some competition tonight.  The audience, Bruno and Carrie Ann all flip out for it, and the thing I like I about the Shawn is how genuinely affected she seems by their praise.  Len is slightly less enthusiastic, and the audience almost jumps him for it.

Score: 29 (their best score yet, which + 27 = 56 for the week)


Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower


Jewel gets her fourth close-up-from-the-audience of the night as we head into her hubby Ty's second montage, which gives us his umpteenth explanation about a being bull rider and latin dancing don't mix.  Allegedly ready to rumba (to "Free Fallin'"?!), the pair do offer some impressive moves, but they are mostly care of Chelsie, or Ty's ability to lift her up and throw her around a lot.   His solo is downright horrific, some sort of awkward striptease-esque number that leads him into the audience and to, who else, Jewel.  The judges go on about how likeable he is (really?), but all question whether he belongs to be here.  Let's make it happen, voters. It's time.

Score: 21 (which + 25 = a pilthy 46)


Lil' Kim & Derek Hough

Alright, Kim, its the salsa, be the tramp you're met to be. "I'm going to bring back the bionic booty," she announces.  Yes.  Wearing, well, not a lot, Kim is the ball of energy we all know she can be.  Her in-the-middle solo ups the ante, complete with a splits and some serious bionic booty shaking (its nearly pornographic, seriously).  She's obviously in her element and having a lot of fun, and Derek goes right along with her.  The judges' main complaint is that maybe she was having a bit too much fun, and thus missed some technical requirements, but it was difficult for anyone unaware of professional dancing rules, or even remotely attracted to women, to notice.

Score: 27 (+25 = 52)

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke

Gilles ultimate goal on this show was do to the Rumba, and he's ready to show the latin lover deep inside him. This bodes well.  Starting off with a unspectacular solo (is he moonwalking and stripteasing at the same time?), him and Cheryl move into a dance set to "Sexual Healing" that's as pornographic as Lil' Kim's solo. At one point they are actually rolling around on the floor, dry humping (I'm not exaggerating). But  despite the over-the-top quality of it, the two of them are very impressive together, and like earlier tonight - they are clearly the most accomplished couple.  But I don't know how that solo's going to play out with his scores (the judges were all very confused).

Score: 27 (+29 = 56, that's - deservedly - a tie with Shawn...)

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani

The Samba seems suited to Melissa, so this could be her chance to show she's still a contender. She's freaked out about doing the solo, but I can't help but think: I've been watching this show for 1 hour and 55 minutes now... Just. Be. Over.  Melissa opens with the solo, going the sexy stripper route like her competitors Kim and Gilles.  Its effective. She moves into her Samba with Tony, which involves a whole lot of shaking, and very impressive execution of moves that must be particularly challenging in the wake of an injury.  Though I'm not a big fan of Melissa, it's clearly the best dance of the night.  She is totally overjoyed by pulling it off so well, looking like she's going to burst into tears as she heads over to hear the judges essentially call her flawless.  

Score: 30! (+27 = 57, putting her in the lead).

So, I'd say still a four way race, but Lil' Kim is just barely hanging on.  Still, if she goes instead of Ty, its as much of a travesty possible on a d-list celebrity dance competition. But my guess is that if there are in fact a few heterosexual males that watch this show, she's safe.

Who will survive?  Check Peter's recap tomorrow on HitFix.

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<p>Kiefer Sutherland of '24'</p>

Kiefer Sutherland of '24'

Credit: FOX

Recap: '24' Episode 21 (4 a.m. to 5 a.m.)

On this week's '24,' racial profiling pays dividends and one character explodes

If the scenes from *next* Monday night's episode of "24" are any indication, *this* Monday (May 4) night's episode was the last dead-weight filler episode before the three-episode charge to the end of the season.

With the exception of one explosive surprise (not all that surprising, mighty explosive), there was almost no purpose to anything that happened in Monday's episode other than making several characters feel really bad about themselves. If guilt and misery turn out to be a key motivation for the remainder of the season, then this will have been time well-spent. If not? Well, it was just another way to kill time with the Yankees-Red Sox on in the background.

Recap of what events there were, after the break...

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<p>Jaime and Cara of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

Jaime and Cara of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'He Made Me Look Like Alice Cooper'

A Reversal of Fortune and a potty stop lead to a thrilling 'Amazing Race' leg

There's been some debate in the past few days as to whether or not the recently completed Celtics-Bulls series was the best NBA postseason series of all-time. The answer, obviously, is "No." A first round series can't be the best postseason series of all-time, nor can it be the best postseason series if the only reason it was close was because the winning team was missing a future Hall of Famer. But it was still an outrageously exciting basketball series. Can't that just be enough?

Similarly, I'm not completely sure if the ending of Sunday (May 3) night's "Amazing Race" was necessarily the greatest ending in the show's history. There have been some tight final legs and there have also been several classic legs were likable teams soared past clear villains at the last second. Sepinwall's already given me several legs that he thought had better endings.

But can we all agree that the ending to Sunday's episode was pretty outrageously exciting? Can't that just be enough?

[Full recap of Sunday's episode, "He Made Me Look Like Alice Cooper," after the break...]

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<p>Alan Tudyk of 'Dollhouse'</p>

Alan Tudyk of 'Dollhouse'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Dollhouse' - 'Briar Rose'

Echo reads childrens' books, Ballard gets close to his objectives and we finally meet Alpha

So. We’re looking at a downwardly mobile member of society dumpster-diving, when he finds a human hand in the trash. And that hand is attached to a muscular arm that immediately clutches our scavenging buddy around the throat. The moral of this story, kids: never be poor.

[A full recap of Friday (May 1) night's "Dollhouse," with spoilers, after the break...]

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<p>Debbie of 'Survivor: Tocantins'</p>

Debbie of 'Survivor: Tocantins'

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Tocantins' - 'They Both Went Bananas'

Coach and Debbie are lying liars. Sierra's just a whiny truth-teller. Which is better?

 

Pre-credit sequence. Heading back to Forza after the latest Tribal Council blindside, Sierra is grateful, very. Very, very grateful. She figures she just witnessed a miracle. The actual miracle workers (No, not Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan), Stephen and JT,  are trying to smooth things over with Debbie and Coach, who were nearly as blindsided as Tyson. Both Coach and Debbie nod and agree that they're glad they didn't know in advance. Because being in the loop is such a drag. Stephen isn't displeased that Coach and Debbie are being diplomatic, but part of him would prefer that they be open with their well-deserved discomfort at what just took place.

[Full recap of Thursday (April 30) night's "Survivor: Tocantins" after the break...]

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<p>Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) returns to 'Lost' this week with a bang on the 100th episode of the series</p>

Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) returns to 'Lost' this week with a bang on the 100th episode of the series

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Lost' #514 'The Variable'

Jeremy Davies delivers in one of the season's defining episodes, as Faraday takes center stage and explains his plan

In an episode written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, "Lost" reaches the first of the pinnacles of the season, conclusively (to my mind) answering one of the season's biggest questions.  They do it in a way that is cruel and sad and absolutely in keeping with the show's history.  And it caught me off-guard.  And it did it playing fair and square.

What's odd is that this special hundredth episode of this show, this heavily promoted milestone, is really fairly simple, if you're just talking about what happens.  Daniel Faraday decided to change things after all.  For all of his talk of "constants," Faraday gives in to the idea that he can change things, and from the moment he arrives back on the island, everything he does is toward that one goal... change the future.

Daniel Faraday has always been a sad and sketchy figure on the show.  His reaction in "Confirmed Dead" when the plane showed up at the bottom of the ocean was a vintage Jeremy Davies moment.  This actor's had the market on twitchy, thoughtful young men sewn up since his debut in "Spanking the Monkey" and his breakout role in "Saving Private Ryan," and for many actors like Davis, having a persona as recognizable as his, as stylized and extreme as his, might be a trap.  But Davies continues to wring new life out of what he does, and he came out swinging last night in an episode that seemed to exist primarily to set him up as a prime example of hubris in motion.  In order to make his destruction most potent, the episode takes its time setting all of its tragic clockwork into motion.

When Daniel Faraday showed up at the end of the last episode, number ninety-nine for the series, it was a welcome sting to an episode, because it held a promise.  Faraday had to have a purpose showing up again, and sure enough, he's on a mission from the moment he steps off that sub at the start of this episode.  And considering Sawyer's got his security guy stashed in a closet and it's just a matter of time before the Oceanic survivors are revealed to be infiltrators, Faraday really couldn't pick a worse moment to show up and start spreading the crazy.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Celia of 'America's Next Top Model'</p>

Celia of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: Jim DeYonker/Pottle Productions Inc

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 12 - 'Let's Go See the City'

Go-sees cause the usual problems with punctuality, while a debate brews over age vs. height

Ay carumba! What’s Portuguese for “You walk like a squid with scurvy?” Whatever the proper translation is, Allison, prepare to hear it, girl, because it’s time for go-sees! Your eyes may channel the most lovely of sirens -- or perhaps just a very fresh flounder -- but your walk! Last time I checked, you could not walk a runway to save your scales.

Can the five remaining models do all of their go-sees and still make it back by 3:30? Can they? Can they? Can they?

[Results of the go-sees and Wednesday (April 29) night's "America's Next Top Model" elimination after the break...]

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<p>Adam Lambert of 'American Idol'</p>

Adam Lambert of 'American Idol'

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Results - The Final Four is set

Adam Lambert makes a shocking appearance in the Bottom 3, but would the favorite head home?

8:59 p.m. Oooh, tricky. Not only did FOX skip Obama tonight for "Lie to Me," but "Lie to Me" ended at 8:59, putting a minute of "American Idol" into the 8 p.m. hour. That's bound to either confuse several DVRs -- you only missed an over-dramatic recap of last night's show -- or bump up the ratings for Tim Roth's bubble drama.

9:01 p.m. 47 million votes were cast last night. I'm honestly not sure if that's impressive, given that there were two lines per contestant, meaning much less chance of getting busy signals. A couple million more votes than last week just isn't all that stunning, no matter what Ryan implies.

[Recap after the break...]

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<p>Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks of 'Dancing with the Stars'</p>

Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks of 'Dancing with the Stars'

Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' - Results - Chuck vs Melissa

Viewers are surprisingly warm toward Ty, keeping the rodeo legend around

In what Tom deems "the most exciting elimination yet," the eighth elimination of this season of "Dancing With The Stars" seems to me to be clearly between Melissa (who is injured, and thus forced to be judged on her very weak rehearsal video), and Ty (who is clearly the worst dancing star standing).  As I suspect some serious pity votes from "Bachelor" fans already pitying poor Melissa, I'd be surprised if Ty wasn't the one to go.

[Results after the break...]

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<p>Kris Allen of 'American Idol'</p>

Kris Allen of 'American Idol'

Credit: Chris Cuffaro/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - The Top 5 sing Songs From the Rat Pack Era

It's another standout night for Adam Lambert, but Danny and Kris have their moments

Tuesday (April 27) night's "American Idol" features our Top Five singing Songs of the Rat Pack (toned down to Songs of the Rat Pack Era). It also prompts a key question: With only five people singing only five songs and getting only four critiques apiece, how will "American Idol" possibly still manage to run two minutes long? That's the challenge faced by our producers!

Our contestants were guided through the standards by that Rat Pack legend, Jaime Foxx. And what a coincidence! Jaime Foxx, who just happens to have a movie currently in theaters, walked in at exactly the moment Matt Giraud was doing his Ray Charles impression. What a truly spontaneous moment.

Foxx promises he'll tell the contestants exactly what's on his mind, just as he recently advised 16-year-old two-time "American Idol" guest performer Miley Cyrus to go make a sex tape. Who knows what wisdom he'll have for newly 17-year-old Allison Iraheta?

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