It's getting down to the wire on "Dancing With The Stars" and we think the competition is really heating up. The six remaining stars gave it their all during last night's performance show. As the judges pointed out, at least half of the couples had their best performances of the season during the individual round. And even the weakest players brought their A-games to the team performances at the close of the evening. It's a shame that anyone should have to go home. Maybe they should just bring Kate Gosselin back tonight and kick her off again. We're pretty sure that her performances were consistently awful enough to warrant being booted from the show twice. Kate, if you're reading this, come on back and take one for the team, will ya?
Miss last night's show? Here's a quick recap:
Erin and Maks (Quickstep)
Last week, Maks' shirtless performance inspired a mini-tirade from Len. So this week Maks was determined to present a "proper" routine, but he couldn't resist alluding to the controversy by opening the dance with Erin tearing off his tuxedo to reveal yet another tux--this time in an understated (yeah, right) salmon color. Luckily, Len approved!
As for the actual dance, it was a lovely way to kick off the evening. Though most of the choreography wasn't particularly memorable (very technical, not a lot of tricks), it did manage to showcase how far Erin has come as a dancer. Her footwork was beautiful and she did a great job of keeping up with her partner. I still can't decide if I think the duo is dating, or if their chemistry is just that good.
Chad and Cheryl (Viennese Waltz)
Speaking of chemistry, Chad and Cheryl's off-the-floor bond (if the tabloids are correct!) is really starting to follow them into the ballroom. With a little help from Tony Dovolani, the duo performed a dream-like Viennese Waltz, which we believe was their best performance to date. Chad's lines have improved considerably over the past few weeks, though he still seemed tentative before launching into some of the more complicated moves. However, we think the judges' comments about his newfound grace and gentility were spot on. One can only wonder if his tender moves are a reflection of his hard work in the studio or just his true feelings for his partner (ahem, did you see that diamond necklace?!?).
Nicole and Derek (Waltz)
Is there anything Nicole can't do? We know Len was less-than-thrilled with her performance last week because it wasn't as technical as he would have liked, but putting that aside, we honestly don't go a week without being absolutely enthralled by whatever dance she's in. Admittedly, so many of the celebs on DWTS are D-list, but Nicole is just such a talented, captivating performer that we can't help but think she's only just beginning to reach her full potential. This week, her waltz with Derek was technically on point and artistically beautiful. We agreed with Carrie's assertion that Nicole is the best dancer in the history of DWTS. We sense a mirror-ball trophy in her future!
Pam and Damien (Waltz)
Sadly, we fear Pam's getting very close to elimination. We love her for how hard she tries, but unfortunately at this point, she is out of her league. As Bruno pointed out, Pam did a wonderful job of portraying the right character for this week's waltz. However, she's falling behind from a technical standpoint and the look on her face shows that she knows it. We think it was unfair of Brooke to harp on Pam's technical weakness during the question-and-answer segment, but we applaud Pam for fielding the question with grace and humor. No need to beat a dead horse, Brooke.
Niecy and Louis (Quickstep)
If it's not Pam's turn to leave, then it's certainly Niecy's. The lovable comedian did her best to fight her way back from the brink, but we're pretty certain that this will be her second week a row in the bottom 2. She has grown a lot since the show began and we believe she certainly earned the compliments she received from the judges—they said it was her best dance yet. However, like Pam, Niecy is in over her head. It will be a shame to see her go, though. We love her partner Louis, and we admit that we often forgot to watch her while they danced because he's so mesmerizing. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the duo will squeak by again so we can see him dance one more time next week!
Evan and Anna (Argentine Tango)
Like Nicole, Evan has been a formidable competitor from the beginning. Last night he attempted to recover from last week's balletic samba with a fierce tango and he nailed it. He and Anna scored the first perfect 30 of the season! The routine was the hottest of the night and Evan imbued each movement with the sharpness and strength it required. The duo truly earned their standing ovation. We're predicting a close race between Nicole and Evan right up to the end of the season.
Cha Cha Challenge
To keep things interesting, the couples were separated into two teams this week so they can face off and add a few points to their individual scores.
Team Gaga was up first with a sizzling routine set to Lady Gaga's "Telephone." The team was comprised of Nicole and Derek, Pam and Damien, and Chad and Cheryl. The fast-moving number was the highlight of the night. Admittedly, Pam seemed to have a bit of trouble keeping up. But to be fair, we feel guilty judging any 40-something woman gutsy enough to put on a barely-there sparkly number and dance on national television between two women 20 years her junior (both of whom have way more dance experience)—so Bravo, Pam!
Team Madonna, featuring the remaining three couples, closed the show. Their routine was set to Madonna's "Holiday," yet for some reason the women were costumed as if they were dancing to "Like A Virgin." The dance itself was fine but unremarkable, but it just seemed dated, slow and a tad boring compared to the powerful spectacle that preceded it. Also, the solos took up so much of the dance, that we didn't get the same "team" feeling that we got from the other group. Our vote definitely goes to Team Gaga.
Tune in to the results show tonight, or check here tomorrow to find out who goes home!