Two stars go home, and Annie Barrett explores this week's Hidden Gem options

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Dancing With the Stars | Somehow Michael Irvin evaded the judges' paddles of doom and Louie Vito went home
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Last night’s double elimination on Dancing With the Stars provided the perfect opportunity for Weepy, Grumpy, and Dopey to use their special ”name of couple” sparkly paddles for the second night in a row…and also to revive their faux-dramatic ULTIMATE DECIDERS roles from the Ballroom Kids competition of seasons past. Ballroom kid Melissa Joan Hart was eliminated first, to zero fanfare. I think her crazy two-toned eye shadow last night and Mark’s perma-pissed facial expression for the past few weeks are what I’ll remember most about this couple, though Mark would prefer we remember their Charleston. That left Louie Vito and Michael Irvin to compete in a dance-off with 30-second routines they’d learned the same morning, then get chastised for not putting more preparation into the dances. Shut up, judges! I was actually surprised that the Paddles of Pre-Determinism ended up stacked in Michael Irvin’s favor considering the air of overwhelming indifference with which they’ve treated him this season, but maybe they just feared for Chelsie’s life after Louie dropped her twice Monday night. So it’s bye-bye to Louie, then, and bye-bye to his final aerial trick about a split second too soon. The harsh cut away from the full-twisting back flip off the technicolor platform is always the deepest.

Can I just pause and ask everyone to give a resounding Bruno Tonioli ”Tehhhhhhhhnnnnn!” to the constant presence of ultimate married ballroom couple Jonathan and Anna in the pro exhibitions this season? The pair choreographed a beautiful routine to Taylor Swift’s ”Love Story,” and in doing so provided a much better visual (stretching away from each other from within the audience) to that song’s line, ”I was crying on the staircase, begging you please don’t go,” than I could ever come up with in my head or with the help of a Taylor Swift music video. Maks & Edyta and Tony & Cheryl helped complete the autumnal fantasy scene. When the three ladies in their dark, rich gowns convened in the center, I thought it looked like the perfectly twirling harvest of my dreams, while my mom DANCMSTR Dee, mesmerized by Edyta’s gorgeous garland of flowers and ribbons, likened the sight to the Mad Men Maypole Dance via email. I win; I’m in the correct season. Oh, how we love Our Pros!

Next week, the Stars will design costumes for their pros (no! OUR pros!), so we got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of that process — and of what heaven looks like: rainbows upon rainbows of shiny fabric, sequins lining the work tables, fringe everywhere. DWTS costume guru Randall Christensen delivered some gems in ”Ya think?” (to Aaron, after he suggested to Randall that they show off Karina’s nice body) and his simple, polite giggles after Louie Vito asked what chiffon was. Only on Dancing With the Stars is the man who cannot distinguish chiffon from organza in a police lineup considered the outcast. Check out my interview earlier this year with the hilarious costume designer, in which he named — and described in great detail — Randall Christensen’s 10 Favorite Costumes of Season 8.

NEXT: Hidden Gem

To flesh out the rest of the hour, Cuban musicians Tiempo Libre performed ”Tu Conga Bach” with the ”help” of two dancing spokeswomen for tropical punch. In the night’s secondary wiggly-butt dance-off, yellow ruffles was just slightly out-jiggled by pink-orange tutu with an extra pouf out back. Later on, Nadia Comaneci, Greg Louganis, and Bill Walton talked about practice and champions and I don’t even know what else, but the point was that they’d all received perfect 10s in their careers, except for Bill Walton, because he played basketball. I liked that Walton was shown in front of a massive vanity display case featuring his own jersey and other relics, while Louganis appeared to have taken his interview at the municipal pool, complete with ugly chain-link fence. (Why am I making fun of what is maybe his personal property right now? That is awful.)

You commenters went above and beyond the call of duty for Hidden Gems this week, particularly Jemecad, who wrote an entire paragraph of creepy, ballroom-worthy prose: ”Hidden Gem (?) nomination: Maybe not a ‘gem,’ but it did weird me out a bit. A short way into Michael and Anna’s dance, she leans back and he has her in sort of a strange neck-rub, choke-hold. When she straightens up, the camera comes in close on their faces, and for a brief instant her expression looks like she’d like to take Michael’s head off. Did anyone else notice or know what may have been behind this brief but frightening “Long Kiss Goodnight” water-wheel scene-like glare?

(I hope I got the right moment there; Anna looked meaner a split-second before this, but ”glare” had me all confused…and terrified.) And after last week’s gem featured literal tiny gems, Colleen Dermody made the connection: ”Like Lacey’s ear rubies, Anna Demidova for the waltz had 2 gems right above her forehead and in her hair part.” Andrea caught it, too: ”I originally thought it to be a shiny bead of sweat coming out of Anna D.’s hair…Turned out to be some kind of jeweled ornamentation?!?” I know!!! Berg marveled further: ”It’s so subtle…I saw it and thought, Wow there is no end to the lengths DWTS will go to make their stars ‘shine’ and glitter!”

And then there was Lin: ”My nomination for gem is the look on Joanna’s face when she and Derek were standing in front of the judges after the mambo. She was so winded, red-faced, looked dazed and her lips were even bigger than usual after all of the blood pumped into them from Derek bobbing her up and down for eternity at the end of the routine. I actually shivered at the thought of what a split-screen of her and Lisa Rinna would look like at that moment!”

Shiver away — I made that part extra-small to prevent rare October frostbite. Like I said, an excellent week. Double the elimination, triple the hidden gem. It’s like I’ve always said, for at least the past 12 or so hours. Have at it in the comments, DANCMSTRs, and I’ll see you next Monday…liiiiiiiiive.

Episode Recaps

JENNA JOHNSON, ADAM RIPPON

Dancing With the Stars

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seasons
  • 29
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  • ABC

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