"Dancing with the Stars: Recap: Season 12, Elimination 1

Season 12 of "Dancing with the Stars" is in full swing! As you may have noticed, the DS editors have decided to take a new approach to our "DWTS" coverage. Instead of writing lengthy recap blogs the morning after the performance shows, we've decided to try watching the show "with" our readers by live-Tweeting our reactions and interacting with you as the show is on the air. But, since we're wary of accidentally spoiling the elimination news for our West Coast friends, we've decided to continue posting blogs after elimination episodes. Here's my take on last night's show:

"Dancing with the Stars" kicked off its thrilling two-hour elimination extravaganza with a one-hour clip show to remind you of all the exciting dance numbers you've seen all season long. Yes, there were clips from both this week's performance show and last week's performance show. I laughed, I cried, I left the TV on in the background while I checked my email and waited for the real show to start.

An hour later, the live portion of the program started off with a bang. The show's professionals hit the floor with a sizzling hot latin number. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "Dancing with the Stars" is usually at it's best when it kicks the stars off the stage and lets the pros do their thing.

In a way, my prayers for more great dancing have been answered in the form of the new "Dancing With The Stars" dance troupe, which made its debut last night. The six-member group of champion ballroom dancers performed in the opening number with the pros, and they did their own routine (choreographed by "So You Think You Can Dance" regular Jason Gilkison) later on in the program. They'll also appear on every results show from now on. Exciting! Best of all: if last night's episode was any indication, it looks like the new troupe's performance will take the place of the traditional second-day dance by the judges' favorite couples. Yay! I'd rather watch fresh choreography any day!

Speaking of fun, fresh performances: Chris Brown was on hand to sing and dance to two of his biggest hits, "Yeah 3X," and "Forever." Granted, he's not the most beloved pop star these days, but I do have to give him credit for really being able to dance! Both of his performances were filled with sharp choreography—care of Hefa Tuita!—creative concepts and lots of energy. I was particularly impressed with the light-up costumes he and his dancers wore during "Forever." (It reminded me of Misha Gabriel and Teddy Forance's creative routine from last year's A.C.E. Awards—a DS fave! Check it out here.)

Despite all the exciting performances, the show's producers still managed to do what they needed to do, which was send one couple home. Wendy and Tony, Mike and Lacey, and Sugar Ray and Anna were the three couples forced to wait until the end of the show to learn their fates. Ultimately, Mike and Lacey were sent packing, but neither seemed too surprised or upset by the news. Neither was I. Mike had a lot of trouble picking up choreography, and his poor pigeon toes amplified everything he was doing wrong. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that Lacey's racy attire and attitude may not have resonated with "DWTS" primary audience. As the saying goes, "this is a family show!"

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@Dance_SpiritMag) so that you can be part of next week's conversation. See you then!

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