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Dancing with the Stars recap: Disappearing Act

On the show’s first double-elimination night, Penn Jillette’s feet prove that size matters, and Monica Seles fouls out

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Penn Kym

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

”Dancing” recap: Two down

It’s not an illusion: Penn Jillette has officially disappeared from Dancing With the Stars. America no longer has to suffer through an increasingly one-sided running joke about his huge feet. He would not stop talking about those feet! He would also not stop talking, ever. I don’t think anyone will miss Penn’s dancing (or attend his and Kym’s proposed parking-lot exhibitions, unless Teller joins in and it’s all magic, no dancing, yes concession stand), but I will miss waiting with bated breath to see which trick Penn would pull out while dancing. What? I’m trying to be nice! Monday night’s tie-as-erection was very convincing!

On the women’s side, tennis champ and unskilled dancer Monica Seles was, as the cover of an En Vogue song spelled out for her during Monday night’s mambo, ”Never Gonna Get It.” I’m not sure any female contestant on this show has been as poorly suited to the ballroom as Monica. I love her for that, though. Instead of letting her blatant lack of grace send her tumbling down a shame spiral, Monica maintained a sweet, positive attitude throughout the ordeal. She didn’t need DWTS to revive a lagging showbiz career — as Bruno pointed out, it was the show’s privilege to host a legend like her in the first place. I find such contestants refreshing. And I’m glad she got to attend, like, four whole proms.

Surprise of the night: The Gute was the first man announced as safe. It didn’t mean he got the most votes, but it did provide the setup for a highly unnecessary but pretty hilarious Steve Guttenberg Appreciation Hour — a benign half moon made up of all the men and a tiny, flailing Samantha. I thought it was cute that Marlee Matlin adopted the Gute’s very creative new catchphrase, ”Wow,” right after she escaped the scary elimination spotlight. Not so lucky were Cristián de la Fuente and Marissa Jaret Winokur, who had to endure the bottom-two treatment even though, as Tom and Samantha beat into our heads with the consistency of Steve’s ”Wow”s, they weren’t necessarily bottom two. DANCMSTR, who was perhaps harder on Cristián than his dances warranted, attempted to make up for it by insisting Cristián’s departure would be an ”absolute tragedy.” Right. The judges weren’t so convincing about Marissa’s dancing potential; they basically confirmed that she’s a good actress. Anyone who caught Monday night’s after-school-special counseling sesh with Dr. Tony can agree on that.

Jason and Edyta’s mambo received the first encore call of the season, but the ”safe” contestants who got the most special Samantha treatment were Adam Carolla and Shannon Elizabeth. Adam took the opportunity to point out the Stepford-like quality of the Hough siblings. (Duh.) I giggled when he said it was God who made him and Julianne dance partners, but even better was that Julianne had to stifle the F-word as she asked, ”Who the — who paired us together?” Her permanent smile alongside Adam seems much less pained than it did on week 1 — despite the no-talent factor, this pair could go a lot further than I originally thought.

As a member of the viewing public who’s not even sure she gets the Disney Channel and is not at this time bothering to check, I’ve never seen a Jonas Brother in action, or heard a Jonas Brothers song. Maybe that’s why I was temporarily terrified that I’d accidentally switched over to Fox. There was something distinctly Idol about watching teenagers cover ”Take On Me,” a song that came out three years before the oldest Jonas Brother was born. (However: Whew! On this week’s Idol, the contestants had to perform songs from the exact year they were born. Huge difference.) The boys looked shell-shocked after finishing both songs, like, ”What just happened? Who are they really clapping for?” I forgot how enjoyable it is to watch DWTS‘ guest musicians react to the random, roaring waves of applause that can only be prompted by the likes of Louis Van Amstel with two buttons undone.

NEXT: The return of Super Cameron!