On ''Dancing With the Stars,'' Sara Evans leaves because of trouble at home, and Mario and Joey step front and center

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

”Dancing With the Stars”: A little less country

Owwww. My brain. So many things about this week’s Dancing With Eva Longoria were just painful: The excruciatingly lengthy interview with Sara Evans, Jerry Springer’s expression when he found out he wouldn’t get to go home and begin bed rest for the rest of the year, Edyta’s ”dress,” Samantha Harris’ existence…

But as Louis told Monique a few weeks ago, deep down, whether we know it or not, we all crave pain. We would like very much to be tortured. The part of me that slightly wants to slide into the splits I cannot do while Louis Van Amstel squeezes my armpits must be the same part that greedily snatches up the remote so I can rewind rehearsal footage of Edyta’s leg warmers. It’s sick. But whatever.

The verdict: No one was eliminated. Shocker! Between Tom Bergeron pointing out that the dancers ”have no idea what their fate is” and Samantha’s less subtle ”No one knows what’s going to happen later on tonight because of Sara’s departure,” I had absolutely no idea! And no idea why I even bothered watching anything on Wednesday except Lionel Richie and the professional exhibitions. Lionel was great! I would like to fiesta forever, thank you!

You know who also likes to fiesta? Eva Longoria! Gosh, I’ve missed her.

Mario ”emerged” as the ”clear leader” this week. I feel the need to put quotes around those terms because even though Tom pounded the idea of Mario as front-runner into our heads multiple times Wednesday night, I don’t exactly agree. After Tuesday’s mambo, Carrie Ann Inaba told Mario he was ”close to our professionals.” That’s offensive to professionals, and also reminiscent of what the judges constantly told Stacy Keibler last season before she wound up finishing in third place. Personally, I can’t get into Mario or his dancing because he acts like he’s doing everyone a favor just by showing up. Stacy was technically too good to be true, but at least she got excited by high scores and made sure to eat a humble energy bar before each interview. When Mario got the encore this week, I had to fast-forward through it — watching carefully, of course, to see if somebody fell down, because I’d definitely want to write about that!

Emmitt Smith, Joey Lawrence, and Monique Coleman all finished within three points of each other with basically solid routines. Emmitt got help from Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders during rehearsal, because cheerleading has a lot to do with ballroom dancing. Joey’s wife, Chandie, hit up his rehearsal with a large coffee and an I’d rather pour this scalding beverage over my face than have to sit here and pretend I want my husband and this woman to grope each other harder expression. But the Most Excessive Rehearsal Gimmick of the Week award goes to Monique, who met with krump daddy Tommy the Clown, flailed around for what seemed like almost an illegal amount of embarrassing screen time, and somehow worked that into a ”solo” during her samba. Poor Monique — you could tell by the way Louis had to probe her that she was never really insistent on having a solo, and that it (like most everything else) was probably the producers’ idea in the first place. Join me in a sigh.


Eva Longoria!

Then there was Jerry, or ”the Jer-meister,” as Samantha called him during one of her gross miscalculations of timing and appropriateness in an interview setting. Jerry was supposed to be a bullfighter for the paso doble, but to me he looked more like the sort of pirate you’d find in a really gimmicky seafood restaurant. So the whole time he and Kym were dancing, I had this elaborate character sketch in my head of Jerry as the sleazy old manager and Kym as the sexy waitress he forced to dance with him in between courses during large dinner parties, because he was still under the impression that people wanted to be entertained at restaurants instead of simply fed. I’m aware that this is the most random thing to ever be thought or written. But it helped.

The group disco? What was that? Way too much hype for what was essentially an entire segment of Mario grabbing his crotch. We get it — you’re a guy. The best part of that skit was right before the performance started, when the 10 dancers crammed into a huddle and yelled, ”Group disco!” It was like that Pointer Sisters pinball video on Sesame Street that taught me how to count; at random yet key points, everyone screams out a new number. This has to be exactly what the choreographers had in mind.

Jerry’s final thought: ”I need oxygen!”

What do you think? Should someone in addition to Sara have left the competition? What was up with her comment about Tony being Albanian? And who ate Mr. Belding?

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Dancing With the Stars

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