The five remaining couples dance one normal routine and one nerve-wracking instant nightmare in the Week 8 performance show

“The only theme this week is stress!” boomed out Tom Bergeron’s voiceover to set the tone for two hours of tension, yelling, technical difficulty, and acute pain due to a ruptured cyst. Just another excellent party time on Planet Mirrorballus! Week 8 saw one chilled-out normal dance from each of the five remaining couples, then an understandably half-assed second “instant effort” after they’d had a decent hour or so to scurry around like fatigued lab rats in a spray tan study gone awry. Tom says “elaborately decorated holding pen,” I say “torture chamber.” That’s right —’s Fringe Fairy is not a fan of the instant dances. Haven’t these sparkly rodents suffered enough?

Also, FEED THEM! Give Kirstie Alley a freaking granola bar already. What good are you, Maks? Besides that.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhh-ber!

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas 29 + 26 = 55 out of possible 60 Chelsea rightfully stood up to Mark after last week’s fiasco, when Mark let the judges know he was unhappy with their scores and tossed off a “rolling the dice” hand gesture (according to Tom) on their way off the floor. “I don’t want the people watching the show to think that I’m overly confident and cocky,” she said (as cheesy, sobby music tinkled in the background), somehow without emphasizing the word I’m. Wow, she is talented. If that’d been me, I’d be all over the emphasis and might even take Mark by the neck or possibly even the tattoo on the special side of his torso, and throw in a “LIKE YOU!” for dramatic effect. (Not really. I’d probably just roll my eyes and continue to dance poorly, but this is why I am not ballroom material.) I very much enjoyed Chelsea and Mark’s sepia-toned waltz, which reminded me of Jennifer Grey and Derek’s semifinals waltz from season 11. The “waves” visual effect at the opening really kicked it up a notch, too. Len complained about the emphasis on story, but Bruno insisted this waltz was “Fab-u-luss.”

NEXT: The disembodied British voice who announces the dances is misbehavin’ Another season 11 fave, Kyle Massey, was on hand to cheer Chelsea on during her instant salsa training. “They can see your confidence and whether you believe you can dance,” he reminded her, but it turned out no confidence boost could have prepared Chelsea for this horrifying technical difficulty: Her music and the voice of Our Enthusiastic Disembodied Head started “playing” at the same time. The horror! It didn’t even matter — Chelsea and Mark jumped right into the salsa and delivered a jam-packed routine that I’m sure was very impressive to an official ballroom judge. (Only Carrie Ann, who appeared at the Contrarian Cotillion later that night, disagreed.) To this official fairy of fringe, Chelsea’s white pants alone were hot enough to warrant at least a 26. A record-high three instant-dancing women wore fringed pants this week, DANCMSTRs. It was a Festivus for the best of us!

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: 28 + 26 = 54/60 For the foxtrot, Kym informed him, Hines would need to be a master of cheese. “I can do cheese,” replied a suddenly confident Hines, and suddenly Hindquarters Ward and I had more in common than ever. I do so much cheese all the time. It’s like Tom with tequila. Another round/wheel, please! Hines pretended to propose to Kym with a huge diamond rock. I first expected a medium-sized mirrorball instead of a huge diamond, but that would have been a bit too Wendy Williams for Week 8, mmm-hmm girlllllll. Their spirited foxtrot reminded Bruno of Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire’s “Dancing in the Dark” in The Band Wagon, much to Kym’s delight. (Do watch it. I love that Cyd’s wearing flats.) I was so glad Hines eventually threw away his hat, because I had trouble getting over the color clash with Kym’s billowing pink satin skirt a.k.a. the third and possibly most important character in their foxtrot. Off with your hat!

NEXT: Black leaf lettuce: a rare Planet Mirrorballus delicacy? Hines’ instant jive became an instinct jive for him, and he really pulled it off. I noticed him falling into the dreaded mental mode of dancethink just twice — at the beginning, like Carrie Ann said, and during the side-by-side footwork. But even that was so high-energy and out-there that it all just worked. Hines showed a lot of much-needed abandon on a tense night. Not to mention, Kym’s green and black ruffled skirt definitely upped my intrigue here. Indeed, black leaf lettuce must be a rare Planet Mirrorballus delicacy. Available at Tom Bergeron’s All-Organic Supernatural Charmer’s Market just one week out of the year! Sorry. Enough. Bruno complimented Hines’ fantastic energy in the jive, but compared his stance to a penguin, saying he really had to push through his knees. The audience really let Our Lady of Flowering Imagery have it when they booed him following his score of 8. The nerve of that guy! But Our Lady, via Tom, had the last laugh. “See, when you boo Bruno, he loves that. He basks in it,” Tom pointed out. Silly crowd. I’ll have to show them some proper ballroom etiquette when I’m there next week.

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 28 + 25 = 53 Maks’ method of blunt intimidation — “MOVE YOUR ASS, AND BY ASS, I MEAN YOUR FEET” — certainly paid off for his and Kirstie’s Argentine tango. Our self-proclaimed fat actress looked light as a sequined feather floating above Maks’ head as he descended the platform, and again as he dipped her into a treacherous angle later on with nary a thigh spasm in sight. Still, was a 10 worth starving for? Kirstie nearly passed out during a shaky rehearsal session that also saw her tumbling from Platform Jr. and pretty much dropping dead all over the place. That woman needed a shot of pulp-free O.J. like American Idol contestant/temporary Mirrorballus citizen Casey Abrams needed a nap. Oh, well. Who needs nutrition when you can look thin and succeed on TV? “Your body is shrinking, and your talent is huge!” cried Bruno. Mission accomplished.

Maks backstage: “She’s not eating.” Brooke Burke: “I can relate to that.” UGHHHH. Are the McDonald’s characters available for hire? We need Mayor McCheese to advise these chicks about proper nutrition, stat!

NEXT: Maks rips off his mic pack and flashes some nipple. Everybody drink!Rehearsals for the instant salsa were even scarier, as Maks ripped off his mic pack and refused to have his words heard. Silly, you know they have subtitles for that s—. His antics nicely foreshadowed the dance itself, during which Maks took an important timeout to flash a nipple and after which Kirstie totally ran her mouth and dropped what I can only assume were multiple f-bombs in response to Bruno’s comment that she and Maks eventually lost sync. No worries! “Let ’em earn their money on the button back there,” Tom jumped in, jauntily. Then the DANCMSTR made everything a little weirder by complimenting Kirstie’s rhythm and calling their slower salsa nice and “oily.” Well this is new! I’ve been known to coat a pan with olive oil before whipping up a salsa-riffic egg scramble, but I also have no idea how to cook and execute this mess maybe once a year. Are salsas better when they’re oily? Discuss.

Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: 27 + 25 = 52/60 Agggggh! Don’t dance on the scary lasers, you two! I thought Romeo and Chelsie killed it in their red-pleather tango — it was lively, dangerous, and fiercely quick. As Romeo said, “Chelsie Spice, Romeo Spice. Salsa gumbo, baby!” With nearly head-to-fingertips pleather, the huge black bow on Chelsie’s butt, and another in her ongoing series of ridiculously flattering sequined bra tops, Chelsie and Romeo were ready for any outdoor Showgirls-themed ’80s prom during a rainstorm the ballroom could throw at them. Instead, the weather was mild, the only wind being the one generated by Romeo’s “breathing out like it’s the end of the world” puffs of air and the torque of Chelsie’s hair as the couple violently changed directions. I was rocking a rather unsightly open-mouth gape after their staggering final pose. Come to think of it, Chelsie is amazing with final poses in general. So is Karina.

I loved that Romeo didn’t have a boring, rehearsed series of plugs for his and Chelsie’s first backstage Brooke chat — he attributed his newfound intensity and leadership in the dance to the fact that he “hates seeing her stressed.” This is how you do it, Romeo! Please don’t mention your movie. Please don’t mention your movie. (He did, but 1 out of 2 ain’t bad.) Romeo’s instant salsa was inspired by a trip to a real salsa club as well as by one of the official sponsors of Planet Mirrorballus sponsors, tequila. There Chelsie went again with the bra top, but this time it had giant gemstones. That’s what we like to see! (Sometimes I realize I sound like a total pervert, but then I relax because everyone knows by now that like any gold-digging floozy, I am truly only in it for the jewels.) This time, DANCMSTR Len Goodman shocked the other two dwarves, Weepy and Dopey, by siding with the youngsters on a particularly raunchy routine. “You’re the cool dude, she’s the hot chick, and you dance.” End of story.

NEXT: Ralph ruptures a cyst but, on the bright side, looks pretty good in guyliner

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: 25 +21 = 46/60 Because of the ruptured cyst in Ralph’s leg, he and Karina only had about a quarter of their usual training time this week. Enter the Deadly Smoke Machine (which, according to Tom, smells like “Godzilla farted,”) to mask his sure-to-be-questionable footwork during the Viennese waltz! It was so intense and dark and drenched in eye makeup that I was sure the British robot had simply announced the wrong dance and that we were watching a paso doble instead. The judges appreciated Ralph and Karina’s imitation of “fascinating, mesmerizing, dangerous creatures of the night” (and even awarded them a seated high kick in addition to a 9), but were less impressed by Ralph’s wince-worthy instant cha cha. Most disturbing of all? Karina still had that awkward braid-along-forehead/forehead-obscuring squiggly decal situation going on for the second dance. Question of the night: Does Ralph Macchio actually look good with eyeliner? Is he among the few, the proud, the most divinely possessed of all men? (The painkillers definitely helped with his overall look last night — if “stress” was the theme of the night, then “fog” was the theme of Ralph.)

Ralph and the doc claimed his injury will have vanished by next week, but it may have done them in with these scraped-together performances. I feel terrible for him and their partnership in general (I’m loving Karina this season), but it really was like they didn’t fully participate this week. Then again, I was never into class participation as a deciding factor on how students should be graded. Shouldn’t talent and ability override effort sometimes? Maybe that girl who’s really good at written French just prefers to not speak it out loud because she knows she sounds like a moron. I’m as torn as the Karate Kid’s hamstring on this one, DANCMSTRs.

Final thought on Ralph: Dr. Kenith K. Paresa’s field — Electrodiagnostic Medicine — is slightly more fabulous than his name.

Anyone else catch Tom pronouncing salsa like Seinfeld — seltzah? I’ll have to demand a do-over during our chat tonight. And what about Brooke Burke muttering “I’m exhausted!” as the show closed? You’re exhausted? Well, okay. As reader DebraD said last night, maybe we should cut Brooke a little slack. After all, “Poor thing had to run between the celebriquarium and the backstage area 2 or 3 times! Hope she had her Skechers on!”

Big news, DANCMSTRs! I will be IN THE BALLROOM….liiiiiiiive….for next Monday’s semifinals! Here’s a reminder of what I look like. Someone’s gonna need a spray tan before Monday.

Do you like my new business cards?

Look for me! Keep in mind that I’m (somewhat horrifyingly, especially when in close proximity to tiny famous people) six feet tall, so I won’t even need a big ol’ gem on my lap in order to stand out in the crowd.

If you missed it last week, listen to my post-results chat with Tom Bergeron. In this installment:

  • On his hair: “I don’t mind if it’s graying, as long as it’s staying.”
  • Tom and the DWTS production staff have nothing better to do than stand around and talk about the brilliance of’s Hidden Gems. How awful!
  • When throwing to Diane Sawyer — with whom he has a strictly flirtatious professional relationship thanks to a Good Morning America stint — Tom had to make a conscious effort to tone down the jauntiness and “maintain a certain level of ballroom gravitas.”
  • Tom believes Mark Ballas’s explanation of Monday’s “wanker” hand gesture: It was intended for his dad, Corky, as a “You gotta roll the dice with the choreography” inside joke. But as Tom counseled Mark after the show, “If that was a gesture of self-gratification, you’re really bragging about your size, because that was WAY off to the side.”

Press the “play” triangle to hear my imaginary friend in all his alternate-universe glory!

‘Til tomorrow, DANCMSTRs.

XOXO,’s Fringe Fairy

Episode Recaps

Dancing With the Stars
  • TV Show
  • 31