Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower's quickstep didn't… (Adam Taylor )
The glitterverse lost a little of its glossy sheen in the ballroom on Tuesday night. We said goodbye to not one, but two champions in this, the dreaded double elimination of the “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” season. The two couples with the lowest combined total of judges' scores and viewer votes were Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya, and Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower.
And while it was shocking to see two former champions say their goodbyes before the end of the season, both couples had simmered in the bottom two in previous weeks, so they must have known they were in hot water. And while both the former 98 Degrees singer and the Indy 500 driver got great female screams of approval from the audience, there must have been something about them that didn’t connect with “DWTS” voters.
The first couple to go, announced just before the halfway point of this results hour, were Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya. Season 2 champion Drew couldn’t quite get his foothold in the competition and found himself in jeopardy in the first week. Despite his best efforts to show his chest and bare his b-boy skills, he suffered from performing first in the competition, a placement that usually means lower scores and the short-term memory loss that infects reality TV. Drew seemed sadly shell-shocked by the whole affair, like a Mirrorball spinning without its tiles.
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The other duo taking their final lap this week was Season 5 champ Helio and Chelsie. Guess that trip-up over Chelsie’s dress was the race car driver’s death knell. Still, Helio managed to keep his mega-watt smile, good humor and gratitude on throughout, saying thanks to Team Penske, his partner, and to America.
Host Tom Bergeron elegantly summed up the bittersweet goodbyes, saying that on one hand, he gets to see a lot of his friends: “The bad news is, I have to say goodbye to them on occasion.”
Still, the glitter gods are good, and not just because they selected Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough’s leaping quickstep as the encore dance of the week. And the second time was as good as the first: Great air in the lifts, in the tumbling, and she seriously clears his shoulders in that assisted split leap. The Harold Wheeler Band member did safety duty once again, standing up to make sure they had stuck the landing at the end. “Unfortunately, we only rented the crash pads for last night,” Tom shrugged. Oh, Tom. Such a jokester!
Marking the welcome return to the ballroom were Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer, together again, dancing to a performance by Las Vegas crooner Frankie Moreno. But the hunky Frankie wasn’t content to just let the “DWTS” Troupe and Kyle and Lacey take center stage in his brassy big band number. He got down on the floor and played the piano behind his back, while sitting on the piano, and with the mic stand in between. Lacey had her way with the piano first, though, and she and Kyle made for a fun, high-energy Troupe number that was a sparkly gem in the “DWTS” universe.
In a new all-stars twist, the remaining couples got to choose genres for their competing couples to dance next week. Bristol and Mark chose Bollywood for Gilles and Peta. Kirstie and Maks chose disco for Sabrina and Louis. Helio and Chelsie chose mambo for Shawn and Derek. Kelly and Val chose bolero for Emmitt and Cheryl. Melissa and Tony chose hip-hop for Apolo and Karina. Apolo and Karina chose jitterbug for Melissa and Tony. Emmitt and Cheryl chose contemporary for Kelly and Val. Shawn and Derek chose Broadway for Helio and Chelsie (which, obviously, now they won’t perform). Sabrina and Louis chose the Charleston for Kirstie and Maks. And Bristol and Mark were left with rock 'n' roll. The only couples who seemed genuinely displeased with their genre choice were Kirstie and Maks: Kirstie fell in horror while Maks covered his face in shame.
The heart-tugging AT&T Spotlight Performance focused on the inspiring Joshua Johnson, a scrappy tapper from Harlem who danced in subways to pay his way through college at Penn State. Josh showed his mettle through a rousing tap-hip-hop hybrid set to, what else? “New York, New York” choreographed by JT Horenstein. Apparently, he still travels to NYC every weekend to try and raise enough money to take him to graduation. Let’s hope he can ride that 1 train all the way to his diploma.
And then platinum-selling duo/YouTube sensations Karmin brought out the color tiles and gave a rousing medley performance of “Hello" and “Brokenhearted” accompanied by Chelsie, Charna, Sonny and James on the dance floor.
What did you think, ballroom fans? Were the right two couples eliminated? Are you excited about the new dances for next week? How about Paula Abdul as a guest judge?
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