In the fifth week of competition, the dancers attempt the paso doble "bullfight" and the Viennese waltz, and a shirtless Gilles slays the competition again

By Annie Barrett
Updated April 07, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
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Craig Sjodin/ABC

Greetings, DANCMSTRs! Inspired by Lil’ Kim (as I am every day), I tried to write this recap on my Buddha Board, but it kept disappearing. What a bust! You’ll have to settle for the non-relaxing, text-based version instead. While I attempt to wrap my head around just how Bob Saget and Cynthia Stevenson managed to travel from a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! studio audience to a cozy sofa in a matter of seconds, why not take a trippy trip (emphasis on trippy) down the sequin-encrusted Mammary Lane of last night’s Dancing With the Stars week 5 performance show? Here’s how the nine remaining couples ranked after performing either the paso doble or the Viennese waltz…

Gilles Marini and Cheryl: 29 out of possible 30 He’s shirtless! He does martial arts! He has an adorable son who calls him ”pah-PAH”! The man can do no wrong. Well, according to DANCMSTR, Gilles’ and Cheryl’s paso doble was ”a bit hectic,” but Tom and Bruno just chalked that up to pec-envy and I think it’s probably just that two 30s in a row for Gilles would seem pretty ridiculous. And this show is never ridiculous. The three-item combo platter of Gilles’ ripply upper half, its burnt sienna hue, and the illusion of heavily applied eyeliner caused me to zone out in one of my typical DWTS-induced hazes wherein all I can see is the vomiting-kaleidoscope graphic again and again and again — so I was actually glad when Cheryl swooped in to barely cloak Gilles in a snug, bedazzled bolero. He eventually got her back for this possibly misguided decision by ”nailing her” in a dramatic final floor-based flourish. ”Gilles for the kill!” He and his multi-faceted triceps are amazing.

Shawn Johnson and Mark: 26/30 We all know what was responsible for ”Shmark’s” lovely Viennese waltz…Mark’s facial scruff! The magical powers of Mark Ballas’ facial scruff (a new season 8 development) range from ”choreographing beautiful yet simplistic routines,” to ”getting away with illegal lifts,” to a feat near and dear to DWTS‘ heart: ”looking hot.” DANCMSTR complimented the pair for the romantic feel of their dance, and I think that had a lot to do with the changing pace of the routine, especially near the end with that slow, drawn-out finish. Mark’s solution to that one-foot-on-the-ground ”It’s not a lift!” move that most couples end up bungling was brilliant: He sort of placed Shawn on the ground so her feet were in a half split, then spun her. Those high heels look insane on such a little person. I loved how, during rehearsal, Shawn spun out of control and fell over on the same double-pirouette move she can easily pull off on a four-inch-wide balance beam, just because she was wearing those heels.

Lil’ Kim and Derek: 26/30 Swathed in a long, peach-hued gown almost too reminiscent of Brooke and Derek’s Viennese waltz in season 7 (right down to the rosette hairpiece), Lil’ Kim floated through her dance in what Bruno called ”total harmony with your partner.” The judges all raved about the pair’s chemistry, but DANCMSTR couldn’t quite get on board with some of Kim’s footwork. (Anyone know the word for ”podiatrist” in British?) Derek’s choreography and smart decisions to cut out some of the moves Kim had trouble with during rehearsal really paid off this week. If Kim had been unsure of her steps (like Melissa was, at times), it’s unlikely she would have been able to make a Viennese waltz look ”sassy” — something Bruno claims to have never seen in his life. But back to that rehearsal segment for a sec: Did I just see a beige scrunchie holding back Lil’ Kim’s mane? Anyone remember Kate’s inexplicable red scrunchie on last Wednesday’s Lost? ABC, stop trying to make scrunchies happen again! They’re not going to happen again. Much to my mom’s eternal dismay….

NEXT: Chuck and the live audience need to grow up

Melissa Rycroft and Tony: 25/30 Melissa’s outfit — the face jewels, the poufy red hair clip, the hot red skirt, the possibly-tacky-in-any-other-setting gold-based belt — could be one of my favorite DWTS ensembles to date. Sadly, Melissa couldn’t execute the dance or the necessary character to match her killer look. But even to a know-nothing like me, that choreography Tony gave her was hard, and at least she kept her puh-puh-puh-”Poker Face” on for most of the paso doble. Some of the angles in that dance were intriguingly strange, and to be honest I didn’t notice Melissa messed up that badly until my second watch, on a much better HD screen. The crowd went nuts over this dance, and that speaks for itself. Speaking of the crowd, is anyone else getting increasingly annoyed at how the live audience has become as immature as the largely teen-based ones for So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol? Come on, people, this isn’t Fox! There are rules! Tom was spot-on with his serious-for-once admonition to the jeering masses: ”You know, sometimes, criticism is a good thing.” He’s absolutely right. Enough with the booing already. Grow up and let the crotchety foreign man speak.

Chuck Wicks and Julianne: 23/30 Speaking of immaturity (how convenient), Chuck’s ballroom-mocking attitude during rehearsal segments is wearing thin. The more times Julianne compliments him for his last-resort, exaggerated, I’ll-do-this-so-she-shuts-up dance moves (”When you’re making fun of it, that’s what it should be!”), the sadder it becomes. I did like the clever segment editor’s inclusion of a tiny clip of Chuck counting out the beat — he actually sang it out, arbitrarily choosing ”2” as the song’s high note. During the Viennese waltz, Chuck’s big, sweeping arm moves came off almost as exaggerated and jerky as his signature full-body ”slap that ass good” gesture, which Chuck executed after DANCMSTR complimented his ”higher performance level.” Later on, it was admittedly weird that Samantha brought up the engagement question backstage, but isn’t it weirder that Julianne choreographed the bent-on-one-knee move in the first place when she could have used basically anything else? I mean, Sam asks only the really obvious questions, and that was a really obvious move. What do you expect?

David Alan Grier and Kym: 22/30 This poor guy. I can’t quite figure out why no one (including yours truly) can bring themselves to care about his plight in the competition. He tries valiantly in practice. He does ”impressive” lower-body work such as high kicks and arabesques. This week, with that red tie/bib, he was even dressed like a real-life matador! Oh wait — DAG and Kym performed the Viennese waltz? Weird…his hyper-intense facial expressions and the couple’s red-and-black theme screamed paso doble to me, but luckily I’ve been watching DWTS for eight seasons and know the difference. (If the announcer guy says ”Dancing the Viennese Waltz!” then the couple in question is totally about to attempt a Viennese Waltz.) The smooth, sultry nature of ”I Put A Spell On You” almost had me spellbound until DAG pulled off another of his pissing-dog leg lifts. He must feel pretty helpless after all the critiques about his and Kym’s disconnectedness…were I to be greeted with such indifference from the judges and audience each week, I’d want out of there! One last thing: It was a nice touch that DAG’s segment focused on him being ”in the middle” of the pack, and there he was performing fifth out of nine contestants.

NEXT: Ty ”transforms” the paso; LT misses the nonexistent beat

Ty Murray and Chelsie: 21/30 Oh no! A bullfighter and a bull rider are two different things! Ty and Chelsie’s paso doble, set to a horrifying rendition of Heart’s ”Barracuda,” had a disappointing ”dance-by-numbers” quality to it. (What am I, a judge?) Instead of embodying the character of the dance, Ty concentrated on following Chelsie’s every move to the point at which he didn’t extend most of his own moves as a result. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Ty a ”Transformer” like Bruno did, but I will take a sip of DANCMSTR’s strange brew and call Ty’s dance ”not my cup of tea.” He’s ill-suited to anything Latin, i.e. any dance in which stiffness is not a virtue. Luckily, the hypnotizing effects of Chelsie’s animal-print, red-lined skirt could have distracted voters long enough to miss anything Ty did. His charisma and endless supply of understated yet hilarious one-liners should keep him around. When asked by Samantha if his bull riding experience gave him any advantage, Ty quickly replied, ”No, that’d be like saying ‘We got a bull named Dancer. I think all the dancers will have a good go at this.”’ Does he have any clue how funny he is? I can’t tell!

Lawrence Taylor and Edyta: 20/30 I immediately identified with Lawrence when he complained that ”the paso doble is like watching TV with the sound off,” because you have no idea how many times I’ve re-watched paso dobles on this very show on mute because the music was that atrocious. His and Edyta’s paso last night wasn’t exactly one of those times, because I did sort of appreciate the completely random, stop-and-go orchestral number for what it was, but come on, song selectors, this is bordering on sabotage for someone who only feels comfortable dancing ”when I know the words to the song.” LT and Edyta’s bizarre music would have fit better as accompaniment to a scary forest scene in a Disney movie, or some incredibly challenging pro demonstration performed by two intimidating Spaniards during a Tuesday night results show. It did not work for the rhythm-challenged football player who’s already dissatisfied that he has yet to achieve the typical DWTS football-player favoritism he may have expected. The judges admired LT’s intensity last night, but their overall response was tepid. Anyone else recognize that full-twisting floor fling from Edyta’s season 5 paso with Superman Cameron Mathison?

Steve-O and Lacey: 18/30 Steve-O’s Jackass gang — Johnny Knoxville, Wee Man, and Jeff Tremaine — showed up at his and Lacey’s rehearsal to morally support and/or make fun of him. Either way, ”It’s a win-win for them,” Steve-O explained to Samantha. He was pretty much beggin’ for it in that striped top, neckerchief, and beret, but Steve-O’s enthusiastic commitment to the Viennese waltz earned him his highest score yet: straight 6s from the judges. Former mime Tom Bergeron (yes, really), earnestly awarded Steve-O his own perfect score: ”a definite 10 on the mime front.” DANCMSTR immediately followed up with an ever-encouraging opener: ”I’ve always been negative about you so don’t get excited.” That’s what they wanna hear! Carrie Ann admired Steve-O’s acting abilities, even though shtick doesn’t usually work on her. I was thoroughly convinced by Steve-O myself, but could not shake a distinct Lenny in Of Mice and Men vibe from the part of the dance where he swiveled Lacey’s neck with his bare hands. (Sorry.)

What do you think, DANCMSTRs? Predict who will head home tonight, and nominate your favorite Hidden Gems of the Week, in the comments!

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