Priscilla Presley says good-bye (eventually), paying the price for her Latin Night stumble; meanwhile, James Blunt drops in for his closeup, and the kids are alright
Priscilla Louis

”Dancing With the Stars”: All shook up

Well, that was certainly a tricky and complicated setup for the not very surprising week 5 Dancing With the Stars elimination of Priscilla Presley. From the way Shannon and Marlee, not to mention Cristián, were scuttled backstage to have the Chat of Possible Impending Doom with Samantha (a title which could admittedly be applied to all conversations involving Sam), it seemed like the producers were giving one of those three the loser’s edit. Not so! They waited until 53 seconds after the 10 o’clock mark to finally let Priscilla speak. Keep it classy, ABC! At least PP did, although she was so pressed for time she didn’t even get to acknowledge poor Louis. But it’s okay. At least the public now knows for certain that PP does not actually run a psychic hotline.

PP’s departure didn’t surprise me, considering her week 5 rumba was a slowwwwwly unraveling mess. Sure, it was an aberration compared to her otherwise very competent, even graceful, previous routines. As DANCMSTR said, ”One false move, one ill-advised routine,” and you’re out of the competition. It was cute how he said his heart wanted Priscilla to come back, but his brain was pining after Cristián — and yet Tom’s astute pickup of how Len was unwittingly setting up an elaborate Wizard of Oz metaphor was even cuter. Not to mention Bruno’s ensuing belly laugh! Seriously, cute overload there. Hmmm…things that weren’t cute last night: too many closeups of James Blunt, Marissa’s screechy gloating after she and Tony were announced safe, and Marlee’s absolutely heartbreaking confessional, filmed just after her disastrous samba. She signed ”I’m sorry, Fabian” and just sat there while two giant tears nearly flooded the frame. She’s poised to make the most dramatic comeback next week, for sure.

DANCMSTR chose Kristi and Mark, whom he called ”consistently top-of-the-tree,” for this week’s encore performance. Kristi’s hair was fluffier tonight, probably to further dramatize the magical moment when Mark pulls the ”ribbon” from her hair and makes her come alive. Look, I loved this dance, but that was a clip in her hair. Not a ribbon. When they kept saying ”ribbon” Monday night, it reminded me of that children’s story about the woman who wore a ribbon around her neck and wouldn’t tell anyone why, and when someone finally untied it (SPOILER ALERT!), her head fell off. You’ve heard this story, right? Well, I literally dreamt that it happened to Kristi. Anyway, the extra few seconds after their encore rumba gave Kristi the chance to wave to the crowd and curtsy, figure skating-style. She didn’t get to address all four sides of the arena, but I’m confident she can make it happen by the finale.

Musical guests Ozomatli, who marched out onto the dance floor Carnival-style, were the perfect accompaniment for Latin week’s professional group dance. Actually, I believe the technical term for the exhibition was ”Fringe Orgy.” Everything about it was cluttered and insane, but it mostly worked. The fact that Derek and Fabian’s red tees had a slight magenta tint while Jonathan’s and Louis’ emitted orange was a bit distracting, but became oddly appropriate once I realized all four of the women’s costumes were different, too. Anna had the most torso coverage with a vertical fabric strip. Kym’s strip was off to one side. Karina had two thinner strips, but they were cris-crossed in the front. Edyta, of course, had nothing. Trying to decipher which midsection belonged to which lady in that whirling mess was like solving a supremely advanced children’s puzzle. Which is exactly the level of difficulty I can handle on Tuesday nights, so: Yay!

NEXT PAGE: The Hidden Gem of the Week, Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian Blunt-ly impress, and more kidding around on the dance floor

Oh, and apologies for the crappy image quality, but we need to address this:

Right after the pro women were all shown dipping backwards, Bruno dropped it himself…on his back…on the freakin’ judges’ table! LOVE IT. ”Teh-ennnnnnnn!”

Later, James Blunt sang his new single ”Carry You Home,” while ballroom pros Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian performed what was basically a three-minute-long lift. That routine was amazing, especially when Eric went from sitting to standing, while still lifting his bare-footed partner. Maybe Shannon should go shoeless next week, to help with balance and leg control. She could afford to lose the height…with a long enough gown, would anyone even notice? (Yeah.) Well, she should still try it.

I’m delighted and also somewhat horrified that this children’s competition is going to keep running. Don’t get me wrong — their routines are jaw-droppingly good and I love the occasional moments when they’re actually shown being kids, like when little Cara wiped her hand on her cha-cha costume immediately after the obligatory ”congratulations” handshakes with Dmitry and Michelle. But it seems a little weird to ”eliminate” half the child guests each week, especially after the judges heap on the praise but offer no constructive criticism, even to the ”losing” couple. Maybe I’m being soft and kids this professionally trained by 8 years old are totally used to on-camera rejection. What do you say — yay or nay on the kids’ segments? (If it’s between them and the Macy’s Stars of Dance segments, I’ll take the wee ones who can’t stop the beat!)

My damn TV Watch teleprompter just stopped working, so I think I’ll just stop writing. No need to drag things out for the last 10 minutes when you’re on the Internet! Plus, these sequins and fringe aren’t going to tally themselves. (Check back here for DWTS Talk, later this week!)

What do you think? Did Priscilla’s ouster surprise you at all? Is it just me, or do all the costumes seem to have completely different (and often more flattering) colors in the backstage confessionals? And will you have your own sterling-silver barf buckets ready, sofa-side, for next week’s group hoedown?

Episode Recaps

Dancing With the Stars
  • TV Show
  • 31