Mel B. rumbas to a perfect score, while Cheetah Girl Sabrina slows down and Marie Osmond at least manages to stay upright; plus, all the stars simulate lovemaking together

By Annie Barrett
Updated October 30, 2007 at 04:00 PM EDT
Craig Sjodin

”Dancing With the Stars”: Mel B.’s girl power

Big night in the ballroom! Fourteen people — pros and laypeople — danced in a group. Scary Spice ground against Tom Bergeron while wearing a bedsheet. Samantha Harris used the word ”volatile.” No wonder judge DANCMSTR called this the most exciting season so far! He must say that to all the seasons. (Actually, he does. We all just sit there every time and think, ”Really?”)

Even though it was cool to see seven different dances tonight, there haven’t been too many knock-your-legwarmers-off standout performances this season, and this episode was no exception. Mel B. did earn a perfect 30, but I’m guessing the judges just felt like giving one out. I still wish they’d waited a while. Sabrina got hers on only week 4. Give it a rest, judges! Bruno’s fist pumping needs at least seven weeks to hit that ”maximum triumph” mark we all know and love. The one he gave Mel tonight was impassioned, but not quite inspired. There was no Lenward-tilting lean. Um, hello…Bruno’s fist pumps need to include Lenward-tilting leans!

M&M’s rumba was beautiful, though — especially because it almost made Carrie Ann cry. Fluidity works for Mel, and so did her toga. I couldn’t believe Samantha called the couple out on only rehearsing for six hours all week. Maks had a quick response: The rumba’s all about mentality, so they were thinking about the dance the whole time. I thought this made Maks seem pretty funny. Maybe lazy. And maybe a bit of a stoner.

Based on his pre-performance edit, it seemed like no matter how Helio Castroneves performed, this would be pegged as his ”comeback week.” Indeed, he scored a 28 out of a possible 30, for a cha-cha that might not have even deserved 9s. The footwork was all there, but Helio just appears to be going through the motions while flashing his ”Castroneves smile.” This grin is very cute, but it can’t possibly be the golden ticket he and Julianne imagine it is — right? Am I missing some technical prowess of his that deserved a 10 this week? Maybe I was too distracted by Helio’s resemblance to a Brady to really focus on the dance. Wait — no paisley was harmed in the making of Helio’s heinous milk-chocolatey suit, so he couldn’t be a Brady. Maybe he was a temp at Mike Brady’s architectural firm. (I suddenly know what I’m going to be for Halloween!)

Jennie Garth (27/30) overcame an increasingly crippling stage fright to score straight 9s on her mambo with Derek. Even though technically Jennie’s not the greatest, her routines have been some of the most enjoyable of the season — thanks mostly to Derek, whose choreography the judges keep praising, as they should. I’m glad this couple, out of all of them, got some private ballroom time during the week, even if the experience did provoke the ”brief” and blurry glimpse of a pantless DANCMSTR wandering toward the camera from beside a bed. Len looked so bewildered and lost, almost like ”a gypsy at a campfire, cooking sausages” (an image he inexplicably-hilariously derived from Marie Osmond dancing the paso doble).

Speaking of unlikely scenarios involving meat, Cameron Mathison and Edyta visited a Brazilian restaurant in New York in an attempt to capture the spirit of the samba. A waitress, a child, and a grandmother all spoon-fed Cameron tips on what to do, or just regurgitated his own words back into his mouth — and suddenly he was ready to be the spiciest, Latin-est Capt. John Smith that ever danced a samba in the jungle. Edyta/Pocahontas created a ”primitive” routine, based on somersaults, gorilla-like stances, and her sleek cream-colored performance legwarmers, that the judges didn’t really understand (at least DANCMSTR and Bruno didn’t) but still scored high enough to give the All My Children star a 25. Cameron’s promised to dance in just a thong if he makes it to the finals. Plan accordingly.

NEXT: Sabrina’s ”off night”

Sabrina Bryan tied Cameron’s score on her first ”off night” of the season. She’s still the most technically proficient dancer out there, but tonight was the perfect chance for DANCMSTR and Bruno to pierce the quivering bubble of Cheetaliciousness for being too ”powerful” and ”hard” during her fox-trot, a dance that should be much smoother. This makes sense, and I welcome the reprieve from the cheese-flavored gushfests Sabrina’s critiques usually are, but I wonder if the problem couldn’t be easily fixed by Sabrina’s partner, Mark. Can’t he choreograph a less forceful routine, or at least point out to her which moves could be softer? Oh, and while I’m halfheartedly wishing for things that probably won’t happen, could Sabrina please refrain from rehearsing in platform wedge peep-toes while whining, ”I keep messing it up….My feet aren’t right”?

Marie Osmond‘s partner Jonathan’s game plan for their paso doble this week? ”I want to make sure that Marie doesn’t faint again.” Mission accomplished, sir. She didn’t faint, but Marie didn’t exactly move, either. The dance was fairly slow and simple (read: boring). Then again, it’s not like Marie’s at her dancing best when she’s getting whipped around like a cracked-out hula doll with a bad weave and a fainting problem. I almost prefer her putting forth minimal athleticism in exchange for guaranteed uprightness throughout the liiiiiiiiiiive! broadcast. In fact, I found their paso downright competent! But was it final-6 competent or merely “Awww, she fainted last week” acceptable?

The ”substance” to Marie’s ”style,” Jane Seymour, scored one point less than Marie (22/30) for the dance we were all dreading from her: a slow-moving jive set to ”Modern Love.” (We didn’t know exactly what we were dreading, but it makes so much sense that this was it, you know?) The judges gently let Jane know this wasn’t her best performance by calling it ”not your most comfortable dance” (Bruno), a ”ballerina jive” (DANCMSTR), and ”not up to the level that Jane is” (Carrie Ann…huh?) Oh, but we’re still supposed to vote for Jane and Tony because they visited a naval base, because jive originated during World War II, because…zzzzzz.

Since it’ll probably come down to Marie and Jane in the bottom two, I should point out that the most painfully awesome part of the group ”rock & roll” dance was right after Marie did an assisted cartwheel over Jonathan’s knees, when she made a two-handed ”in your face, sucka” gesture directly to Jane. Being Marie Osmond, she looked more like a friendly flight attendant going through a safety briefing than…well, a person dancing. Still, go back and check it out if you can. Or watch it tonight, since this cluster f— of a dance — culminating in seven identical mid-coitus final poses — will likely be the judges’ chosen encore.

What do you think? Will Mel and Helio be safe from elimination? Should Tony shut up about Liftgate already? And which star should go home tonight?