Craig Sjodin/ABC
April 08, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT

Despite a much-improved dance-off performance, higher judges’ scores, and the glaring fact that he’s a much better dancer than most of the remaining men, David Alan Grier left the Dancing With the Stars ballroom last night in what we can only hope was a slow shuffle peppered with his signature ”peeing dog”-style high kicks and arabesques. I never quite warmed up to the guy in the past few weeks — I’ve enjoyed his comedic acting whenever I’ve seen it, but his stern, non-effusive manner in real life was simply not a good fit for this bright and shiny show. Talent-wise, Chuck, Steve-O, or DAG’s dance-off opponent Lawrence Taylor should have gone home first, but to be honest I’m not surprised it was DAG instead. I think he (unintentionally) made people uncomfortable. I’m sad for the self-proclaimed ”old, wet food stamp” of the season, because he was clearly one of the hardest-working contestants. Looking forward, we can only hope that DAG’s elimination will go down in history as The Night The Powers That Be Finally Realized The Dreaded Dance-Off Was So…Incredibly…Abysmally…POINTLESS!

Aggghhh! So much tension last night! Backstage with Samantha right after their paso doble, Lawrence took huge, ambiguous pauses before straining to answer two questions in the upbeat, positive way he’s supposed to on live TV. I’m guessing he acted so weird right then because he thought (as I did) that his Tuesday night performance was no better (not even any different, really) than Monday’s, and that the judges only raved about it for dramatic effect. Put simply, he felt played. At this point, I think LT is supremely fed up with the contrast between a grueling week of dance practice and the meager payoff of a set of judges’ comments that basically amount to ”meh” each week. Of course, that’s the name of the game on DWTS, especially if you’re not that talented and stick around anyway due to the popular vote. He kept himself in check this week, but LT might snap pretty soon — that is, if the normally serene Lady Legwarmer doesn’t snap first. LT seems like he’s dying to fly back to Florida to play golf…and engage in possible lap dances with his buddies. Golf never demands that he don a bolero (though his lap-dance customers might splurge for that, as an ”upgrade”). The Giant just misses his golf! This probably explains his watery eyes (!!!) during the final group hug.

The legendary Etta James showed up to sing a very different version of ”At Last” than the one we’re used to hearing in restaurants (or, in my case, on a playlist entitled ”Calm The **** Down”). You may recall how not happy Etta was that Beyoncé had performed her signature song for President and First Lady Obama at ABC’s Neighborhood Ball in January. (Ever the bedazzled patriot, I went ahead and critiqued the First Couple’s inaugural waltz as if they were DWTS contestants in this ridiculous PopWatch item. Looking back, the feathers on Michelle’s gown significantly upped her performance value.) Accompanying the seated Etta were Maks and Karina, the recently inaugurated First Couple of Dancing With the Stars. Sorry, Alec/Edyta and Jonathan/Anna, but work on becoming a bit more Flashy/Polarizing and you’ll all have a decent shot at the next term! Some of Maks and Karina’s lifts were incredible, especially the ”Allow me to introduce my fianceé’s crotch to your face” one they did early in the dance for one lucky corner of the crowd. I also loved how excited Samantha was to announce that Etta was performing ”live!” At first I had love/hate issues with Sam’s screechingly pink Ballroom Barbie gown, but after a few lingering shots of her, I realized the color perfectly matched the rest of the crazy set, not to mention she looked amazing in that thing. Could anyone else not stop staring at her lightly beaded ”belt”?

Speaking of things that are screeching, Disney darling Demi Lovato, a.k.a. the teenager my colleague Michael Slezak once referred to as ”something called a Demi Lovato” as if she were a gross side dish he refused to let the rest of his higher-quality food touch, murdered our ears with a half-growling, half-caterwauling performance of something called ”La La Land.” Luckily, Benji Schwimmer and Tori Smith were in da ballroom to distract from the audio element of this segment with an outpour of horrifying tongue wags from Benji and the giant pink bow on Tori’s butt. Perhaps that costume was a ”subtle” nod to this tragic Ugly Betty outfit from early March. At least none of ”our pros” had to dance to this monstrosity — in fact, I’ll put a positive spin on this and say the frantic nature of both song and dance complemented each other quite nicely. Don’t put nicely in quotes. Don’t put nicely in quotes. Did I say nicely? I meant ”nicely.” If you get the chance, go back and watch the way poor Tom slightly winced right after delivering the awesome news that ”Tickets for Demi’s summer tour go on sale April 25th.”

NEXT PAGE: Your nominees for Hidden Gems of the Week!

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