So, this all-star season is actually shaping up to be some kind of awesome, at least when it comes to the level of dancing we're seeing. Of course, with the dancing being pretty impressive across the board (with a few exceptions), this season may be more of a popularity contest than usual -- and great choreography is going to be more important than ever. We've already seen some stinker routines, and there's only been one week of dancing -- so I hope that the stars aren't the only ones committed to bringing their A games to the floor.  

Melissa & Tony 

The Background: She was injured trying to do the jive in her season, and had to be judged on her rehearsal footage. This is her shot at redemption.

The Dance: This starts out strong, but it seems to become a little tentative. Granted, if she was injured doing this before, she might be unintentionally tensing up. Still, it’s good overall.

The Judges: Len thinks she’s set the bar high. He loved it! Bruno says it was one of the fastest jives he’d ever seen, and he thought it was great except for some flawed footwork. Len does not agree! Bruno also thinks she flapped her arms. Carrie Ann thinks she’s made to jive.

Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 8 Bruno: 7.5

 

Bristol & Mark  

The Background: She’s so excited to quickstep to “Redneck Woman,” because she is a redneck woman. Because of this, she takes Mark to a shooting range to show him who she really is. She likes to kill animals? Intruders? I have no idea.  

The Dance: She seems a little more withdrawn this week, and she's dancing as if she just learned the routine twenty minutes ago. This just isn’t very good. Was she too busy to practice? Or is this as good as it gets for her?

The Judges: Bruno thought she wasn’t in hold and her frame wasn’t great. She needs to work on technique. Carrie Ann thinks she’s come so far, but she didn’t follow the rules, because you can't just go in and out of hold. Basically, the judges are putting the blame on Mark instead of Bristol, but I would argue he was just trying to find a way for her to shine -- and line dancing is more her speed. Len liked the fun but he didn’t like the break in the middle. 

Carrie Ann: 6 Len: 6 Bruno: 6

 

Helio & Chelsie

The Background: Because this is the week for ducking out of practice to do something unrelated, Helio takes Chelsie to the racetrack. This will translate into a zippy jive… for some reason. 

The Dance: Well, maybe the field trip did Helio some good after all, because this is great. He's excited, his footwork is pretty strong (though he's going to knock himself out with a kneecap) and it just looks fun.

The Judges: Carrie Ann thinks he was underwhelming last week, but this week he was right on it. Len thought it was style with a smile. Bruno says he pumped his legs a little high, but it was fun.

Carrie Ann: 8 Len: 7.5 Bruno: 7.5

 

Apolo & Karina

The Background: He wasn't thrilled about his performance last week, so this week he's determined to try harder. Even if that means letting Karina kick him in the face.

The Dance: It's easy to see why he's a frontrunner, really -- this is so slick and so peppy. Usually when these celebrities get a fast dance, their technique falls apart, but this is sharp.

The Judges: Len says it was gold medal – speed with control. Bruno thought the footwork was incredible. Carrie Ann thought he was in control of the dance. 

Carrie Ann: 8.5 Len: 8 Bruno: 8

 

Sabrina & Louis 

The Background: Sabrina was too wild last week, so she's determined to practice this week to master the quickstep. Or she is, right until Louis falls on top of her during a tricky stair climb. He feels awful and asks her, "Do you want to keep the move in or leave it out?" Yeah, I'm betting she leaves it in.

The Dance: And she does leave in the tricky stair step, plus the rest of this looks amazing. I was thoroughly unimpressed last week, but this week? She might be a contender after all. 

The Judges: Bruno says she’s like Ginger Rogers.Carrie Ann hoots.Her lines were incredible. Len thinks it was great.

Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8.5 Bruno: 8.5 Highest score of the season thus far!

 

Kirstie & Maks

?The Background: Given that she was closer to the bottom than she wanted to be last week, she wants to do better this week. Maks tells Kirstie she needs to move. Actually, he yells that she needs to move. Kirstie doesn't understand why she feels like she's moving quickly but she really isn't! Three lifetimes of Shawn is how old she is, she explains, and I'd suggest that's why she isn't moving as fast as she thinks she is. 

The Dance: This is what your grandma looks like doing the jive. If your grandma tries to sex it up, of course, but this is just so dreary. And a little disturbing.

The Judges: Carrie Ann thinks she’s proved age is just a number. Huh? She's phoning it in, you guys! Len thought it was precise and thought it was much better than last week. Bruno thinks she played it beautifully. What dance did they see? I think they've realized working with Maks is punishment enough and there's no need to pile on.

Carrie Ann: 7 Len: 7 Bruno: 7

 

Emmit & Cheryl

The Background: He was at the top of the leader board, but he's not worried about losing ground. He’s not intimidated by no stinking celebrity dancers! He's an athlete! And because of that, he can no longer turn his head. Emmitt got a lot of hits in the NFL.

The Dance: This is a cute quickstep, but is it great? Not really. He looks like he's having fun, but he could be having fun at a wedding for all the passion he's pouring into this. 

The Judges: Len loves that he plays it cool, but he thinks his upper body was lacking. Bruno thought his timing slipped. Carrie Ann thought he didn’t improve this week.

Carrie Ann: 7.5 Len: 7.5 Bruno: 7.5

 

Drew & Anna 

The Background: He was devastated about being in the bottom two last week. So this week, they’re starting out with a slap, which is supposed to be a reference to Anna not appreciating his performance. Or something. Drew does not want to go home, and that's all you need to remember.

The Dance: This is so good and so unlike what we expect from Drew. He’s kinda tough. I like the bad boy thing, and the dancing is strong.

The Judges: Bruno thought it was muscular but flat-footed jive. Carrie Ann thought it was cool and edgy. Len is sure he won’t be in the bottom two this week

Carrie Ann: 7.5 Len: 7.5 Bruno: 7.5

 

Joey & Kym

The Background: They can’t believe Drew was in the bottom two! Joey is working his prodigious butt off, but it isn’t easy.

The Dance:  Quickstep. He’s right; for a big guy, he moves with surprising grace. But there are some problems. It doesn't matter that much, though, because it's so impressive that he can move as well as he does.

The Judges: Carrie Ann thinks he nailed the performance but there were mistakes. Len says frame wasn’t constant, lost posture and a ton of other stuff, but he was entertaining. Bruno thought it was fun, big and bold. But technically, it could have been better.

Carrie Ann: 7.5 Len: 7.5 Bruno: 7.5

 

Shawn & Derek

The Background: She knows they’re in the middle of the pack, which is great, as it has lit a fire in her. She wants to incorporate gymnastics, because she can.

The Dance: She's dancing a jive to a song from "Hairspray," and it's perfect for her. This is very, very cute. Is it amazing? Maybe not, but she's clearly having fun.

The Judges: Len thought it was a just-enough jive, but he wants to see more. Bruno thinks Len is being crabby. He thought it was vibrant. Carrie Ann thinks they’re the all-star sweethearts. 

Carrie Ann: 8.5 Len: 8 Bruno: 8.5

 

Kelly & Val

The Background: Kelly is having fun! Know what’s more fun? Making Val wear a bra packed with water balloons so he knows what it’s like to be her doing a quickstep.

The Dance: This is adorable. I only wish you could see her feet. The ball gown is dreamy, but it distracts from her footwork. But maybe that's the point.

The Judges: Bruno thought it was extremely elegant, but he thought she lost her frame and messed up some steps. Carrie Ann wants her to watch her lines when she’s out of hold. Len liked her spins but thought she hunched up in hold. 

Next week, the dancers will be their own creative directors, which seems like a dumb theme, as I think they'll just get to pick songs and outfits. Len wants to see things they’ve never seen before. He wants eye-popping stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Carrie Ann: 7.5 Len: 7 Bruno: 7.5

 

Gilles & Peta

The Background: Gilles will not be dragging Peta to some French-themed event, because he will be going to a doctor. He pulled a hamstring and/or something else and he needs to rest it. Which is always a possibility on a dancing competition. 

The Dance: I am completely distracted by the 1980s horror of his “Miami Vice” suit, but he’s always wonderful to watch. If he’s in pain, I can’t see it. 

The Judges: Carrie Ann thinks his kicks and flicks are the best of the night. Len thinks it was a fast, dynamic jive. Bruno thinks he has the cleavage. Yeah, he said that. 

Carrie Ann: 8.5 Len: 8.5 Bruno: 8.5

So, Sabrina & Louis are at the top and Bristol & Mark are at the bottom. I would be surprised if Bristol and Kirstie aren't in the bottom two, as their performances were so much weaker than the rest of the pack. But hey, I've got to stop predicting outcomes for "Dancing with the Stars." 

 

Who did you think was the best? The worst? And who do you think is headed home?