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This week, Dancing With the Stars: All Stars celebrated country music as the stars kicked up their heels to America’s favorite country songs. Since there was no elimination round last week, the judge’s scores and fan votes from last Monday and Tuesday’s performances were carried over. For the first time, we saw a freestyle team dance with all of the couples, and every celebrity had to perform a short solo dance during their performance with their partner. In the sixth week of competition, there were more injuries, more tears, and this season’s most shocking elimination.
Gilles Marini struggled to balance rehearsal time with his work schedule, but he was able to pull it together to perform an amazing Cha Cha Cha. Gilles and his partner Peta chose not to play up this week’s country theme, instead focusing on the technical steps required and Gilles’ ability to swivel his hips in a pair of black vinyl pants. Bruno commented, “I don’t know what country that was, but I would like to pay a visit.” The couple received a total score of 27.5 out of 30 points.
Sabrina Bryan and Louie were at the top of the leader board after last week’s performance. The judges had been asking for Sabrina to show more vulnerability, so she chose a song that conveyed her feelings about a difficult relationship in her past. Sabrina and Louie’s Rumba clearly moved the judges and the fans. Carrie Ann gave even Sabrina a hug! Bravery was rewarded as the couple received a perfect score of 30 points.
Dressed like Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind, Kelly Monaco and Val once again captured the hearts of the audience with a daringly dynamic Tango. Val planted one seriously real kiss on Kelly at the end of their dance (Frankly my dear, he does give a damn!). Carrie Ann called Kelly “the most exciting competitor,” while Len and Bruno offered constructive criticism. Kelly and Val earned a total of 27 points.
Melissa Rycroft, still suffering from soreness and pain in her neck from last week’s injury, pushed herself through it to pull off a beautiful and graceful solo dance during her Viennese Waltz. With a cute campfire scene as their backdrop, Melissa and her partner Tony glided across the dance floor as if they had been dancing together forever. They received a standing ovation and a perfect 10 from Len (!) and a total of 29.5 points.
Shawn Johnson also struggled with injury this week, and it seemed to affect her confidence. In the past, we have seen Derek get a little upset with a few of his partners, but this time he seemed genuinely concerned for her health despite his frustration. However, Sabrina’s pain was invisible during their Cha Cha Cha performance. This was the most “country” performance of country week, complete with a cow and mini tractor (much to Len’s chagrin)! Bruno called it “incredible” and Carrie Ann agreed, although she felt that the solo portion fell short of expectations. Shawn and Derek earned a total of 28 points, including a perfect 10 from Bruno!
Last week, Kirstie Alley received such sincere praise and encouragement from the judges that it actually brought her to tears, but she continued to physically struggle during this week’s rehearsals. Putting my personal opinion aside regarding the fact that Kirstie received higher scores than Kelly Monaco last week (okay, I’ll say it — ridiculous!), Kirstie and Max’s Rumba “floored” Carrie Ann; however, Len said, “I liked it, but not that much.” They received a total of 27.5 points (Again, higher than Kelly — ridiculous!)
Apolo Anton Ohno and his partner Karina revealed that they argued off-camera after last week’s performance. Apolo has been working on showing more emotion in his dances, so this week the couple chose a very powerful song by Rascal Flatts about a woman fighting cancer whose only moments of solace are found in the arms of the man that she loves. Who wasn’t crying during this Viennese Waltz? Len loved it and Carrie Ann called it “poetry in motion.” The couple earned a much-deserved perfect score of 30 points.
Emmitt Smith was a Cowboy in the NFL, but he certainly didn’t seem comfortable with the idea of this week’s country theme, especially the solo dance requirement. As usual, Emmitt and partner Cheryl rose to the occasion with a charming Foxtrot to a country classic, “Islands in the Stream.” The judges were uncharacteristically critical of the performance, but gave Emmitt credit for his great attitude and ability to entertain the crowd. Emmitt and Cheryl received a total of 26.5 points.
For the first time this season, all of the couples performed together in a freestyle dance. Rehearsals were nothing short of complete chaos, and with all of the couples on the dance floor at the same time, this was a high-risk performance! Country stars Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy performed live as the couples pulled up their bootstraps and tipped their cowboy hats in country style. Each couple had an opportunity to receive bonus points based on their standout portion of the group dance. Despite the fact that Carrie Ann named Kelly, Sabrina, and Gilles as the best solo performers, the judges were in agreement that Kirstie deserved the bonus points. While watching Kirstie smack Max on the behind may be considered entertainment, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the dance in dance competition this season. On the bright side, everyone looked adorable in their cowboy costumes!
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the well wishes and encouraging words all of the celebrities and professionals gave to those affected by Hurricane Sandy this week. Hopefully those that could watch the show were able to escape reality for a little while to be entertained by these wonderful stars.
The elimination round was intense. Kelly and Val fans held their breath and hoped that their votes would be enough to save their favorites from elimination. The actual bottom two couples at risk of elimination were not revealed this week, but the two couples left standing in red spotlight of jeopardy were Sabrina and Louie and Apolo and Karina. To everyone’s surprise, Sabrina was eliminated from the competition. The judges were speechless, the audience was booing, and even the hosts looked uncomfortable. This elimination is especially bittersweet for Sabrina because she was voted in as the final contestant of the All Star season by fans.