Season 10's hungriest contestant heads home for a burger, and ''DanceCenter'' returns on Week 8's results show

By Annie Barrett
May 12, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
Craig Sjodin/ABC
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On the week 7 elimination episode of Dancing With the Stars, Niecy Nash made a classy exit — thanking her partner, calling attention to her various C-section surgeries, and using that joke about hula-hooping a Cheerio for the final time. Niecy would like to thank her fans, that childhood teacher who kicked her out of a school play, Mr. Wonderful, Mr. Van Intensité, and the promise of a cheeseburger and curly fries for keeping her going throughout the competition.

Here’s hoping Niecy can find time between work and snack to cohost future installments of DanceCenter. The ballroom will miss her. Luckily, the image of Niecy’s hungry hands grabbing for the beloved mirror ball trophy that’s just out of reach! will be seared in my mind forever along with some sea scallops and foie gras. This ”the ball’s barely in your court” image is the first and maybe only thing I would show to a DWTS newcomer who wanted to know what the series was really all about. I’d provide no explanation whatsoever and just hope he or she would ”get it.”

I am having some serious trouble concentrating right now because I can’t believe I never called our fallen star ”Niecy Nosh.” It’s all for the best.

Chad and Cheryl joined Niecy in the bottom two, and Erin and Maks had to wait it out ”in jeopardy” with them. The Week 8 encore performance went to Derek and Nicole for their 1950s-style paso, after which Derek whipped out a tiny comb (to swish it up a bit) and began directing the traffic of the audience’s cheers. DANCMSTR said their paso could be THE dance of the entire series. Really? Maybe I haven’t had time to ruminate on it properly (read: roll around in my heap of tiny jewel-toned pillows as I watch reruns of DWTS) but I’m not sure I’d even put this in my top five. It was cool, but the best?

DanceCenter has stood the test of time, even if it seemed a bit more subdued and less caustic than usual. I blame Jerry Rice’s unimposing blonde bob, which was as inexplicable as most of the wigs foisted onto us by the show… which I guess was the point. Jerry took every opportunity to flash his three gleaming Super Bowl rings at the camera. Chad has zero of those! Derek has danced with many beautiful girls, including Mark Ballas. That Nicole-Derek gum ”trick” was disgusting, but I might shudder at the idea of coconut-scented armpits even more. Evan hates roller skating and has one of the true iconic haircuts, along with Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, and DANCMSTR.

Three best uses of footage in DanceCenter: 1) Maks and Erin stomping around like children after Kenny rolled the ”wrong tape” of two old-timey spoiled kids fighting over a pony; 2) Evan’s monotonous description of his current level of excitement, to which all three commentators fell asleep (the way he just kept going and going and going, it seemed like he was in on the joke); 3) A former Hidden Gem of the Week to illustrate Niecy’s jiggly parts: Louis pointing emphatically at his partner’s yellow-fringed boobs. Meanwhile, my favorite text-based gem on the players’ stat cards was that Chad ”moonlights as a jeweler.” Hello!

The guys poked fun at Niecy’s food obsession and weight (hey, she provided the material), and I hadn’t realized how much thinner Niecy has become until Kenny suggested she was one of the rare performers to actually gain weight during the competition. Check out this pic of her and DANCMSTR a.k.a. ”Lynn.”

NEXT: You’ve got a friend in me; specifically, Ross Gellar

Welcome, Gipsy Kings! They first sang a Flamenco-flavored ”You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from that movie Disney wants us to know about called Toy Story 3. Tony/Cheryl and Dmitry/Kym somehow danced a paso doble to that thing. Kym has new darker yet still gold-toned hair, which I love. I barely recognized her. Then I really didn’t recognize the legerrific pros who danced to ”Bamboleo.” Tom was no help. Usually he and Brooke/Sam (¡Samantha mention!) rattle off some Eastern European names at the end and I just google them phonetically. Not this time: ”Our guest pro dancers!” Oh, Tom. And just for good measure: Oh, Brooke. Your casual cocktail dresses. Seriously. On another note, I had no idea the concept of lip syncing extended to hand claps!

Hi, Gilles!

I guess there’s a ”college dance championship” now. Well slap my ass and call me Sally. Up first: The University of California San Diego (samba) vs. Purdue University (mambo). You could tell the Purdue kids were super laid-back because they did their interviews from the grass. Grass, man. It’s amazing. Anyway, Team Purdue’s routine seemed pretty slow and they got lower scores. One of those girls was killing me with her hilarious refusal to smile pretty during the critiques.

Meanwhile, Team San Diego exhibited better formations and transitions, but Carrie Ann told them they suffered from ”Evan Lysacek Syndrome” and weren’t feeling the dance enough. I’m not sure singling out a current contestant was the best way to go about this. What if they’re not caught up on the season? If I were a competitive collegiate dancer and got diagnosed with the ”disease” of being too much like an Olympic gold-medal-winning athlete, I’d think it was AWESOME. And then I’d let my Evan Lysacek Syndrome run rampant throughout my body, flit around untreated for years and years and maybe DIE. But it would be okay because I’d have such amazing hair. Oh, and even on my deathbed, I could surely deliver a more convincing impression of the British announcer guy who sings out the judges’ names than Tom. Get it together, Bergeron! Duty calls.

Hidden Gem of the Week This week’s standouts include an old Friend, the 2010 Percussion MVP of Planet Mirrorballus, an enthusiastic design lady, and a latent reminder of food.

”If you darken Evan’s eyebrows and spike up his hair, he looks like David Schwimmer.” — Amanda, ali427, AmyLSays, Foxy, heej, nllls, Dee, Terri R, Lexa

”ENTHUSIASTIC CHIMES LADY ON THE TAMBOURINE. Not so hidden, but still a gem. Just like Enthusiastic Chimes Lady.” — Lemon, Sami, Liz, Leila, Tiffanie, kittyvan, Manda, MelindaLu, Hunter, Gem Hunter (imposter), Sarahj

”After Evan & Anna’s waltz, did Vera Wang flash some gang signs? It looked like she was trying to give him the thumbs up, but it turned out a little wonky.” — Scarlett O’Samba

”In Niecy’s second dance, a side view of her chest looked like a big pineapple.” — April

See this week’s complete gem collection over at PopWatch!

Annie’s Week 8 Crazy Costume Watch photo gallery

‘TreasureQuest: Readers pick Hidden Gems of the Week!

Join the EW DANCMSTRs group on Facebook

EW.com’s Dancing With the Stars Central

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

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