The little billionaire that couldn't, Mark Cuban, makes his long-awaited exit, but at least Jennifer Lopez is there to provide star power

By Annie Barrett
Updated October 24, 2007 at 04:00 PM EDT
Credit: Craig Sjodin

‘Dancing With the Stars” recap: J. Lo sings

Thanks mostly to J. Lo, this week’s results show wasn’t the filler-fluffed suckfest it usually is. Minimal dwelling on Marie Osmond’s collapse, a few awkward cue-card malfunctions that really kept us guessing, and the long-awaited elimination of billionaire and computer user Mark Cuban all made for a rather enjoyable hour — albeit one that still could have been cut in half. Or quarters. Or maybe triangles? For the last time, producers, no crusts!

After five weeks of Cuban’s understandably strained dancing (considering the titanium rod in his hip), most people probably appreciated his determination and work ethic but were also very ready for him to head back home. One more week of his ”I refuse to quit” speeches, and security may have had to drag him out of the studios on a noose-like leash fashioned out of his Apple extension cord. And then how could he have Googled himself? Disasters all around.

Did Mark’s dramatic weight loss all happen this past week, or have I just been subconsciously not focusing on his body this whole time? Perhaps he should have been on The Biggest Loser: Average-Size Billionaires Edition, because this is something he actually could have won. After Tom called Mark and Kym down to the stage, Mark boasted that he’d lost ”30-some pounds.” I am more than a little ashamed that I know the accurate tally was 34, because I watched Cuban on Kimmel and he said so, just before showing the audience his diminished gut and animatedly discussing the hypothetical shaving of his butt.

By the way, if you’re easily amused like me and enjoy playing back uncomfortable moments in your recordings, do relive Len and Bruno’s reaction to the professional Lindy Hop exhibition — it was the perfect marriage of indifference and disgust. And you’ll definitely want to watch Jane Seymour, who landed in the bottom two with Mark, attempt for about 10 whole seconds to swoop in on Mark’s face for what was surely an ”elegant” and ”classy” cheek kiss. (Speaking of which, we should start placing bets right now on when one of the judges is going to trip up on the mainstay Jane adjectives and accidentally just call her ”old.”)

Some uncomfortable moments, though, shouldn’t even be played once. I’ll admit that I used to think Samantha Harris’ constant screwups were somewhat endearing. I’d smile when she started talking because I knew something slightly ridiculous was about to happen. But at this point, her gaffes have become so painful I cringe not when she starts speaking but throughout the second half of all of Tom Bergeron’s sentences, as he’s winding down and possibly about to hand off the baton. My intolerance for Sam is at an all-time high. Asking Scary to name who should be in the bottom two? Contributing nothing but a slow-paced ”Well…there ya go!…Tom?” after a useless Helio Castroneves ”interview” backstage? Seriously, I’ve had it. Samantha could be replaced by literally anyone and I’d be psyched.

Ugh. Well, on a positive note concerning the hosts, I freakin’ loved when Tom sang, ”Liiiiiiive!” while making googly eyes, and how he read every viewer’s mind at the elimination by saying, ”Let’s get the scary music going.” Yes, it’s about that time!

NEXT PAGE: J. Lo gets loud, and Maksim further expounds on the genius that is Maksim

Jennifer Lopez completely exceeded expectations by singing not only live but well. As in ”Do It Well.” Since when do we get an ambitious aerial shot of the musical guest and her army of backup dancers in the middle of the ballroom? ”Let’s Get Loud” was maybe my favorite pro-dancer-and-popular-singer combo yet — and definitely the best this season. J. Lo got soooo into her signature now-let’s-really-belt-it-out crouch and connected heavily with the audience. When she screamed, ” ‘Cause I’m gonna live my life!” into the mike, she was basically challenging everyone around her to do the same. One might interpret her unbridled enthusiasm as ”Dudes, you’re in the audience of a televised ballroom-dancing competition — you’re halfway there!” The pros, sheathed in black fringe and featuring one mystery man who partnered Karina, had a ball with this one. I loved the standing O they and everyone else gave Jen, and how she totally flounced off the stage, all God’s-gift and divalicious, as soon as she had finished. Fab!

The audience-reaction bit gets lamer every week. Do we really want to hear Heather Mills say she thought Marie had faked it, or some dimwit pronounce it ”Heel-io,” or Carol Brady exclaiming, ”There she is, bright as a penny”? Okay, maybe that last one’s a yes, just because I don’t think anyone had said that yet during the 21st century.

This week’s It’s Hard Out There for a Choreographer segment fared much better, especially with gems from Derek like ”The key to choreographing a good routine is you gotta be a good choreographer.” Huh! It was cool to see the different pros’ approaches to coming up with routines. Each of them made sense, considering the type of routine they usually pull off. Kym is type A and comes super-prepared, Edyta dreamily feels out the music on 50 repeats before committing to steps, and Maks basically just shows up and starts directing what’s going on in his head. (It’s a wonder that all his dances aren’t composed of two simulated Maksims staring into a mirror.) Maks’ timing while he explained his out-of-the-box choreographic method was the best: There’s no ”run, jump, split, kick — we dance.” He could seriously have his own show titled I Call Bulls— With Maksim Chmerkovskiy. I’d watch! Or at least DVR it on Bravo at like 3:30 a.m.

What do you think? Which ill-conceived backstage slang came off more aggressively: Sabrina’s ”So rad!” or Julianne’s ”Oh, snap!”? How on earth could DANCMSTR be mistaken that M&Ms are fruity? And which couple can best handle the pressure of double dances next week?

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