A shocking, controversial elimination becomes the most dramatic thing any ballroom has ever seen

By Annie Barrett
November 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM EST
Adam Larkey/ABC(2)
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Well, well, well. On week 9 of season 11 of Dancing With the Stars, Bristol Palin edged out a fallen American pop treasure in a shocking, controversial elimination that was the most dramatic and powerful thing any ballroom has ever seen. Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were banished. She was at least the second-best dancer left, so obviously this made no sense. But name one thing on Planet Mirrorballus that ever has. That’s right. You can’t!

As you tilt your depressed noggin closer and closer to the computer screen to test your tragic theory that when you breathe, the selected area on your monitor will no longer shimmer because you have lost faith in the series, I beg of you, fight the urge! The show must go on, even though we may never get to spot Maks’ leather-clad ass again…. unless we stalk him on Twitter and he regularly uploads pics of himself wearing DWTS costumes as street clothes. Fat chance! (Also, oh no, what if he loses that delectable derriere?) Nonutilitarian garter belts and man thongs only work in two places: The bedroom and the ballroom.

Bristol still doesn’t seem to be trying, and I think she’s uncomfortable with the whole idea of the show. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. If she’s not having a good time, I’m glad for her sake that it’ll all be over in a week. Brandy wanted this so badly, and we at the EW TV Insiders podcast like our Dancing With the Stars contestants to be as desperate as possible. It’s a devastating loss for everyone. But whatever, it’s up to the voters, and Bristol’s getting the votes. Let’s get on with it! (I can barely wrap my feather-fringed brain around the idea of a possible online Tea Party “conspiracy” responsible for this….or why anyone would vote for Dancing With the Stars having not even watched the show. That’d be soooooo much lamer than watching the show and not voting, like I do.)

It’s not a conspiracy, people! Ridiculous pet campaigns for reality show contestants are what the internet is all about. The bottom line is that we never know how many votes anyone is getting. The ominous RED LIGHT may as well be purple, or not a light. ABC will always guard that dirty little viewer-vote tally like Mark Ballas protects the secret meaning of his side tattoo.

After Tuesday’s results show, DWTS executive producer Conrad Green told EW that the audience is still the great equalizer of the series. He compared Bristol’s final-three run to Marie Osmond’s in season 5. “[Marie] was almost the opposite of who Bristol is, who is technically a strong dancer but as a performer she is a bit weak. But when Marie got all the way to the finals, people weren’t screaming blue murder then,” said Green. EW.com’s interviews with Green, Brandy, and Maks are all here.

I loved that even though my DVR brutally cut off the episode at 10:01 as usual, the last line uttered was this two-parter from Tom: “They’re gonna be on Jimmy Kimmel later; I need a hug.” Better that than Bruno tossing Brandy and Maks the raggedy bone of “Please come back and dance next Tuesday. Will you?” As Michelle Tanner would say, “How rude!”

NEXT: Annie Lennox and Her Pros, Enrique Iglesias and Our Pros, and Hidden Gems of the Week!

Good musical guests this week! Annie Lennox is someone I never expected to see on Planet Mirrorballus, but there she was, fitting in perfectly to the atmosphere despite not visibly sparkling. Perhaps Jamie Lee and her hair helped ease the transition. I love Annie, and I hope it doesn’t downgrade her in any way for me to say that my favorite part of either of her two segments was when Brooke called her new album “A Christmas Cornutupia” and Tom barely — barely! — gritted his teeth. She copped a knowing, apologetic look when he pronounced the ‘c’ after Annie sang “Universal Child.” The whole thing was pretty damn endearing!

As far as decoys go, I thought all of Annie’s Pros (excuse me while I pant a little at those two words next to each other) were pretty great. I always appreciate a strong So You Think You Can Dance contingent. I picture the ballroom, along with Our Pros, who are possibly hiding out beneath the technicolor staircase, asking the decoys directly and maybe a bit sarcastically if they think they can dance. The four dancers for Annie’s second number, “Little Bird,” were particularly fascinating with their shredded costumes and whackadoodle makeup. It was as if Our Pros had been dipped into the world of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, gently wrung out, and flung onto the dance floor, still slightly mad. Just the way I like ’em!

Our Pros themselves delivered with a routine for Enrique Iglesias’ “I Like It.” Are you ready for this? I liked it! That guy is so cheesy, but hello, consider the setting. Louis, Cheryl, Dmitry, Kym, Damian, and Peta (again!) expertly wove in and out of partnerships, forming pointy star patterns I previously assumed were only possibly with my favorite geometric drawing toy, Original Spirograph.

Ooh, I don’t want to forget Derek and Cheryl and their retro routine for the Macy’s Design-a-Dance. I liked when Derek positioned himself within the convertible of dreams only to have Cheryl slam the door into his crotch. It was helpful that he spent a few more seconds grabbing his crotch, to emphasize what could have happened. Or maybe Derek wears a cup?

I’ll leave you DNCMSTRs with a sprinkling of EW.com’s ‘DWTS’ Hidden Gems of the Week — Tom Bergeron’s favorite collection of reader-submitted ridiculata in all the virtual land!

“After Kyle and Lacey’s first dance, Brooke said, ‘We’ve all been watching you…’ and the Celebriquarium was empty! ” —Addison, endorsed by Enthusiastic Comment Lady

“Was Kyle wearing Theo Huxtable’s Gordon Gartrelle knock-off that Denise tried to recreate after Cliff made him take it back because it was so expensive?” —Elizabeth, endorsed by kfran, melissa

“During their paso rehearsal clip, Maks channeled Phil Keoghan from The Amazing Race and showed us his ‘Browsie.'” —LAG Award Winner

Hidden Gem enthusiast Tom Bergeron did a jaunty little Charlie Chaplin walk before Kyle’s intro. (That was just for us, right??) —JH, endorsed by Enthusiastic Comment Lady, Elizabeth, Annie, tkemoses, Kristie D

“Brandy got a standing O from Monica…I guess their heated ‘The Boy Is Mine’ rivalry of years ago is over. They were frenemies for years!” —CoolWhipLite, endorsed by Lorie, Riley, clandrithbamagirl, neetsie2000, jury’s out, dj, gigi, Manda

“Enthusiastic Activia Lady gave Monica a b**** glare with just the slightest hint of a forced smile.” —Stephanie, endorsed by Anonymous

BYE BYE, BRANDY

Ball Room Hero (got stars in his eyes…): “Tom kissing Brandy on her cheek while Maks was hugging her from behind.” —Time For Bristol To Go

Click here to see all of this week’s Gems.

Well, as Brooke would say, “I’m not gonna take any more of your precious time,” DNCMSTRs. See you next week — discuss the semifinal results below!

Read more:

Week 9 performance recap: Semifinal Show-Stoppers

All Hidden Gems of the Week

EW.com’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Central

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

EVER WISH EW.COM HAD A RADIO STATION? Quit living in the past, man or lady! In this week’s TV Insiders podcast, Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, and Michael Slezak grade the first week of Conan, pick the funniest Modern Family character, and discuss the trouble with the Survivor: Nicaragua cast and Bristol Palin’s improbable run on Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!

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