We say farewell to Cody, after all the requisite filler, of course, and Brooke, Warren, and Lance get ready for next week's final round

By Annie Barrett
November 19, 2008 at 05:00 PM EST
Craig Sjodin/ABC
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‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: With all due respect

On last night’s Dancing With the Stars extra value meal of a results show, we saluted eyebrow-y Hannah Montana actor Cody Linley for the last time…until next Tuesday, when everyone will return because it’s in their contracts! Cody’s ouster certainly came as no surprise, even to Warren Sapp, Cody’s ”still in jeopardy” co-captive, who gamely acted shocked for a split second after the announcement, then went back to having no cares in the world beyond how tightly the sequins will be sewn onto his shirt for next week’s freestyle. If he even wears a shirt! Sorry about that. Cody and Julianne looked way more adorable in those military costumes when the outfits weren’t clashing with their weird paso doble and an atrocious song choice, so I was glad they got some decent farewell screen time before my DVR’s random 10:02 p.m. cutoff. Best place to press pause all evening? When Cody and Julianne were hugging in two different places (and two different times!) at the end of Cody’s ”Memories” package. Well, that was almost the best place to pause. You can see its closest competition in the video player on the next page.

For once, Tom’s sensationalistic opening line — ”It’s our biggest results show ever” — was actually true! Case in point: Aretha Franklin shuffled on over to the ballroom to perform two classic songs. I’ll get to those in a sec, but I just have to point out how psyched I was that Bejeweled Forehead Singer Lady, one of my favorite forces of DWTS nurture, looked positively giddy to be singing backup for Aretha. So that’s why she’d donned a giant eagle-like sparkle structure on her face this week in addition to her usual diamond doily. For ”Chain of Fools,” Louis and Anna returned to dance with a tragically be-wigged Karina and a newcomer: the ever-dashing Dmitry Chaplin from season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance. As a former student of Louis and current proponent of baring his chest, this fine specimen fits right in to DWTS. Please, show, put him on season 8. He’s so tall!

The hits kept coming: Aretha sang again, and out of R-E-S-P-E-C-T for ”the greatest singer of all time” (according Tom), shiny happy Mark Ballas and season 6 winner Kristi Yamaguchi gave Aretha some ample solo time before flying out of the gates with some killer figure skating lifts in just their first few seconds of dancing. Kristi looked fantastic for not being ”in training” at the moment, and I sadly realized that — in terms of her signature, completely mesmerizing hand flicks — you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Still, it’s not like Kristi’s dance mastery overshadows what Brooke, the ”technician” of season 7, has accomplished. They’re just different. Kristi’s super-quick and programmed, and as much as we might wonder why Brooke never seems to truly emote on the dance floor, she does seem more grounded and sensual to me than her tiny doppelgänger from last season. I’m sorry we didn’t get to see them stand side-by-side; that could have been hilarious, and I might have been shocked into submission of finishing this recap before 4 a.m. just from the sheer precision! of it all.

NEXT: Maks and Karina slow dance

Julianne Hough also sang. I’ve been trying to ignore this non-phenomenon since it was originally announced, mostly because every time there’s been a press release about her music career, at least 10 of my colleagues who think I’m the only one in the office who cares about Dancing With the Stars (they are correct) will forward them to me immediately. So I’ll have 11 Julianne Hough-is-a-singer e-mails clogging my field of vision, at which point I usually just sigh and click over to Maks and Cheryl’s Latin Cardio Dance DVD, which is always conveniently open in another window. Anyway. She sings, she sings, oh baby when she moves, she moves. Julianne did both during ”My Hallelujah Song,” then quickly stomped up to the stage so that Lacey could fill in as teen queen for the rest of the exhibition with fellow cool kids Derek and Mark. I really dug this dance, and I think that was mostly due to Lacey. I loved how, at the end of her center-stage solo, Lacey ran up to the platform like a spry woodland creature and sprinkled imaginary fairy dust in Julianne’s face. Check it out, I’m barefoot! might have been an appropriate subtitle for that moment.

The youthful energy you just wanted to bottle up and drink for breakfast continued during John Legend’s green-and-purple-lit performance of ”Green Light,” as a troupe of concertgoers-turned-dancers circled around Legend at all times. His voice sounded great if he was actually singing (unlikely), and the dim lights and random solo spots by his dancers worked well, too, even if they weren’t enough to keep DANCMSTR from looking dead in the face in the background. Oh, and the night’s best unintentional humor definitely came from Tom and Sam forcing the audience to stand up and cheer as if the night’s previously taped performances (Aretha, Legend) had just occurred right in front of them. The guy and girl over Sam’s shoulder after ”Chain of Fools” could not stop cracking up.

Neither could I, during the return of the creepy warehouse/boiler room filler segment for ”THE FINAL FOUR.” My lingering visual from last season’s installment was Kristi showing off her perfect red manicure against a wall of fake graffiti. No, seriously…why? This time around, Warren had the perfect opportunity to don his Matrix uniform again. Meanwhile, Lance waved his arms around the most, Cody’s collar adjustments and fierce gazes into the camera were more convincing than any of his ballroom dances, and Brooke plus wind machine equals one damn hot sequin-y dominatrix.

Saved the best for last — and no, I don’t mean the ballroom kids. (I missed them because I couldn’t record the recap hour, but here’s my uninformed recap: They were adorable.) No, my results show highlight was absolutely Maks and his not-so-secret lady-love Karina dancing slow and sultry to Leona Lewis’ ”Bleeding Love.” I can’t shake a weird habit of thinking Leona reminds me of Edyta (don’t worry, no one I mention this to agrees with me either — or, in the case of the aforementioned coworkers, they just ask, ”Who’s Edyta?”) So with Leona and her purple tiered ruffles (a subset of fringe!) up there, and Maks down below, I was one happy dance master, dance masters.

Okay, dance masters, how did you like the ”biggest results show ever”? Whose freestyle are you most pumped for on Monday’s performance finale? And who most deserves to win that silly mirror-ball bauble: Lance, Brooke, or Warren?

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