''Dancing With the Stars'': After a paso doble night marked by weird musical choices, the popular vote leads to a surprising elimination

By Annie Barrett
Updated June 13, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Dancing With the Stars”: Crying bull

Poor Vivica. It was now or never. She wasn’t going to live forever. She just wanted to live while she was alive, even if living meant dancing the paso doble to Bon Jovi’s ”It’s My Life” on a karaoke night gone wrong. I’ll miss her. Every time she came up on the screen, I’d say, ”Yes! Vivica!” (I even like saying ”Vivica” out loud. Do it.) Sure, she may come from another planet, but she’s so committed to that planet. Who’s to say it’s not better than ours?

Vivica, a fox, also didn’t suck at dancing, so her elimination was a surprise — especially to her. Anyone else catch her reaction to Sara Evans’ being deemed safe? Vivica mouthed a slow ”wow” twice — first in Sara’s direction and then right at the camera. You knew what she was thinking. ”Vivica’s not happy about this. Vivica’s better than you. What will become of Vivica?” Yes, exactly that. I would have paid at least the price of a cheap spray tan to witness the pep talk Vivica gave Vivica during the commercial break, because after that, she was all smiles and graciousness, shouting out, ”No worries!” and ”Drop it like it’s hot,” which was essentially what the show had just done to her.

The popular vote saved Sara and Jerry Springer, who had received the week’s lowest scores from the judges. Ah, the Jer and Sar phenomenon. Jerry I can handle. I ”get” that he’s recognizable and that people like to watch him on TV. But I really don’t understand why Sara’s country-music fans — if they really love her — would want her to stay on this show. She looks like she’s just not that into it. Sara seems like an all-around cool person — very nice, down-to-earth, a little sarcastic at times, relatively drama-free. In other words, not cut out for reality TV. I wouldn’t mind chilling out with her, but I don’t want to watch her dance anymore. Fans: If you love her, set her free! Put her back in her element. Sing for me, my angel of music!

During the dances, there was no funny business like last week, when Mario Lopez, Joey Lawrence, Emmitt Smith, and Willa Ford all got criticized for incorporating showy, nontraditional moves into their ballroom routines. ”It’s nawt a leeft,” insisted Mario’s partner, Karina, regarding a kinky floor move the pair used in their paso doble. That routine scored them two perfect 10s, after which Mario continued to scowl…because he thought he deserved three? Because he thinks it makes him look hot? Either way, it’s annoying. Willa the Thrilla (great one, Len!) was ecstatic after winning her first 10 for the waltz. That’s what I like to see! Less attitude, more gratitude. I can’t believe I just typed that, no matter how true it is.

Not too many zany field trips this week — usually, there’s at least one gimmick per couple per week, and I hope this slacking doesn’t become a habit. Joey and Edyta went out to lunch with his family so he could ”enjoy the baby.” Mario and Karina attended Mario’s Big Fat Mexican Family Reunion in San Diego. Willa and Maksim rode a carousel. Yawn, burritos, sexy yawn. So by default, the week’s gimmick award goes to Emmitt, who got to stare down a massive, drooling bull at the Texas state fair. You could almost hear them, silently bonding. We both have a single piercing, and wear it well. Where would Emmitt and Cheryl’s paso doble have been without that visit to a barn? I particularly liked it when Emmitt did that demi-plié with grand, sweeping arms right at the ”dip” during that (oddly appropriate) song. He looked so determined, like a real bull.

Oh, and big news! Eva Longoria showed up on Tuesday night. I’d only seen her 30 times that day on commercials, on billboards, on TV shows, and in magazines, so it was a real relief to catch another glimpse — lucky 31 — before bedtime. It’s scary when she falls off my radar for a few hours. Eva? Eva? Oh, there you are. Whew!

Nick Lachey stopped by Wednesday in order to give us a glimpse of his season-2-winning brother, Drew, and also to sing, although to be honest I spent his entire song clicking through my scheduled recordings for the evening. (They totaled an extremely irrational 13, so I needed to tone it down.)

There was also that junior-high-talent-show thing involving Ashly DelGrosso and her five identical sisters. Their names all began with A. Yes, really! (Hmmm…so does mine. I wish I’d been invited to join in as the way-taller stepsister twirling around with a Nutella sandwich in the background. Would have fit with the ”pointless” theme.) Their dance was kind of a joke, but it did serve as a supremely challenging ”Find the Ashly” exercise. It was hard! She was like Waldo. I kept focusing on the wrong girl, one at a time, and that was a mistake. I should have de-focused entirely and treated the spectacle like a Magic Eye poster. Ultimately, a giant, smiling Ashly face would have emerged from the tableau of her spinning siblings. But too late; it was over too soon. Unlike this paragraph.

Jerry’s final thought: ”I have touched you all, and it felt great!”

What do you think? If it wasn’t Vivica’s time to go, whose was it? What should count more, talent or personality? And will Monique and Louis ever let anyone else into their Cult, Party of Two?