— Samantha says "this will be the night that defines the season" on Dancing with the Stars. It's certainly stepped up the difficulty, as tonight everyone's getting judged on both a Latin dance and a ballroom. Len says they're expecting everyone to step up their performances.
First up in the ballroom round are Laila & Maks, with a quickstep. They point out that Laila's the only female star left. Laila says she's going to treat this as two chances to "knock one of these boys out." And there's no doubt she's going to – Len says "the heat is on tonight and you're turned the gas on." Bruno says she rose to the challenge, and Carrie Ann says "Mama said knock you out!" They score two tens and a nine.
Next, John & Edyta, who only hope to stay out of the bottom two this week. (Not much chance of that if you ask me.) They foxtrot, and seem to impress the judges. Bruno says John's "been to dance rehab" and pulled out some elegance. Carrie Ann says it's their best dance so far. Len goes on about how he himself couldn't do it, comparing John to himself age-wise. John seems unamused by this. They score two eights and a seven, not bad but not fantastic.
Apolo & Julianne rehearse in Apolo's hometown of Seattle, because he was inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame the other day. Julianne claims they're "stepping it up" for their foxtrot, but they don't quite live up to last week. Carrie Ann says they were "very solid," and Len says that Apolo is "a good dancer, but not great." Bruno totally disagrees, saying he "sold it," and Len and Bruno argue for a bit over whether there was any "badness." There was enough goodness to score Apolo & Julianne two nines and an eight, though.
Ian & Cheryl say they found Carrie Ann's advice ("watch Billy Ray") last week "conflicting." However, they do invite Billy Ray to their rehearsals, where he gives them some "helpful" hints like "Lead with your heel! Slouch!" They look like they're having fun, and it seems to help their tango. Ian still looks a little grim, though Len says he sees fire, passion, and drama. Bruno says it's their best performance to date, and Carrie Ann says she saw that he had fun. They score all nines, not bad at all. Hey, they beat Apolo.
Billy Ray & Karina waltz. For some reason, Karina lets Billy Ray talk her into his plan to "showcase Karina," by which he means he literally stands still and lets her dance around him. Karina's afraid the Dancing with the Stars judges won't like this, and indeed they don't. Bruno says "unconventional" is an understatement, and Billy Ray was like Vanna White, just motioning to look at Karina. Carrie Ann agrees there wasn't "enough content." Len says there was only one recognizable step, and "that was a samba step, so I don't know what it was doing there." They score the night's lowest numbers of two sixes and a five.
Joey & Kym finish off the ballroom round– Joey claims he's nto worried about being number one right now, but just in making it to the finals. Not much doubt about that, as their foxtrot is called "dazzling" and "smooth" by Bruno, and "great" by Carrie Ann. Len claims it had "too much razzle-dazzle," sparking another argument with Len, but gives them a nine, along with two tens from the other judges.
Judges' scores after the ballroom round:
Joey & Kym: 29
Laila & Maks: 29
Ian & Cheryl: 27
Apolo & Julianne: 26
John & Edyta: 23
Billy Ray & Karina: 17
Laila and Maks return for their samba, and as Bruno says "all the right buttons were pressed." Carrie Ann says they were sophisticated, elegant, and fantastic, and Len says it's the best dance so far tonight. Perfect tens all round.
John and Edyta rumba. Len says it's their best dance so far. (Boy, seems like we're hearing that a lot tonight.) Carrie Ann says there's "not enough passion," and comments again on John being "an older gentleman," though she thinks he's one of the best. Bruno says John's improved, and while he's "no Mario Lopez," it was a good performance. They score two sevens and an eight.
Apolo and Julianne rock their mambo, though Len says it's "very very good but not great." Bruno "completely disagrees with Len" and says it looks like Apolo's been dancing his whole life. Carrie Ann says they were "a little off" but still great. Two nines and a ten, taking them out of the top spot but not by much.
Ian & Cheryl mambo and Ian manages to find the joy he misplaced earlier. Bruno says it's Ian's night for a breakthrough, and Carrie Ann likes his "attitude shift" but picks on his posture a bit. Len says that "bizarrely," he agrees with Bruno, that Ian & Cheryl have great chemistry. Nines all round, and they ties with Apolo and Julianne for the night.
Billy Ray and Karina samba. Billy Ray dances this time. Not, you know, well, but anyway. Carrie Ann says his "determination is beyond belief" and that he gets the steps done, at least. Len thinks this was "much better," and Bruno says he isn't sure why but they enjoy watching him. Sevens all round, leaving Billy Ray at the bottom of the board, at least until the audience weighs in.
Joey & Kym finish off the evening with a jive, which is awesome, as Joey is amazingly flexible. Who knew? Carrie Ann comments on this too. Len says a long thing about how they had a freedom but weren't wild, rhythm but not loose, blah blah. And finally goes for the cheap comment that they were "in sync." (Do you think the Dancing with the Stars judges played rock-paper-scissors to see who'd get to use that line?) Bruno says it was a "smashing showcase of talent," and all three judges give them tens, bringing them up to a tie with Laila and Maks.
Total scores from the judges tonight:
Not too surprisingly, the order stayed exactly the same in the second round. Who'll be going home tomorrow night? John scored better than Billy Ray, but does he have the audience on his side? Don't forget that Billy Ray has not only his country music fans but his daughter's Hannah Montana fanbase on his side – but are they still watching Dancing with the Stars? It seems almost certain that John and Billy Ray will be in the bottom two, although there could still be surprises in store.
-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Photo credit: ABC
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