In Week 4 of “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars,” we were treated to an extra score and a little bit of slapstick courtesy of special guest judge Paula Abdul. The former Laker girl, choreographer and “American Idol” mainstay straight up lent her epic reality TV show critiques to the "DWTS" all-star world. She stated that this was more like Week 14 rather than Week 4, asked where Simon and Randy were (“I want to be Randy,” Len Goodman pitched in), threw down a challenge for dancers to get outside their comfort zone and became fast friends with Bruno Tonioli. I’m forever your girl, Paula. Can’t wait for you and Bruno to have your own spinoff variety show. Please continue to touch him so I can tell you how I feel.
This week, each of the remaining nine couples had to perform an unfamiliar dance style chosen for them by a competing couple. Some donned Cookie Monster glitter wraps. Others put on a cloak of uncomfortability (Kelly and Val, ahem). And we got our first 10s of the season!
Though the top of the leaderboard looked like a redux of Season 8, with Gilles Marini and Shawn Johnson tied for first place.
PHOTOS: 'Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars': Meet the Season 15 cast
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd had arguably one of the hardest tasks of the week, assigned Bollywood by Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas. Though how hard could life be when you’re sitting poolside in Miami? Still, Gilles and Peta had their share of frustrations: First with learning Bollywood dance, which neither of them had danced before, and then putting the routine together before Monday night. Their dance started in silhouette, with Gilles coaxing the genies out of the lamp, set to “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire.” The bright colors of the Bollywood costumes fit right into the “DWTS” universe, though Gilles’ outfit could have used more sparkle. Gilles’ “Brothers and Sisters” costar Rachel Griffiths liked it. So did all the judges. Len Goodman said he knew nothing about Bollywood, but he knows what he likes, and this “was hotter than a curry.” Paula took on a Bruno persona and called it “smoky and spicy.” “A Bollywood superstar is born!” Bruno boomed. “Stylistically, it was perfection.” Carrie Ann Inaba went to India by way of the Middle East, saying “Namaste – that was beyond belief. Aladdin has nothing on you.” And Gilles and Peta were treated to the first 10s of the season, as well a standing ovation by Maks and Val. Total: 39.5 out of 40.
How are Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough ever going to top their epic crash pad performance from last week? Derek worried that people think they’ve peaked. But to Shawn, “I think it’s just the beginning.” And lucky for us, they have turned into quite the dynamic duo. Shawn has matured in her dance and still has the energy and optimism and competitive drive of an Olympic athlete. Derek is a choreographer extraordinaire. They are the team to beat. Added bonus: A cameo by the Fab Five, the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics team when Shawn took Derek to her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. Loved how McKayla Maroney pretty much clinched a spot in “DWTS” Season 16 with her sass and “not impressed” face. And Shawn and Derek’s subsequent mambo was my favorite routine of the night. Shawn did all the flashy flips and tricks, made all the more impressive this time because she did them in heels. The routine was fast, and she was on point. And that lift onto Derek's shoulder that went immediately into the back flip was pretty jaw-droppingly terrific. Sure, Derek had to put one of his signature crotch bob moves in there, but Shawn owned this routine, and has stuck the landing as my favorite competitor this season. Not only was the mambo crazy, awesome, impeccable — it had 3/4 of the judges and the rest of the audience hooting on their feet. It even brought out a grateful Bruno. Shawn is “mesmerizing sexy out of this world,” he crowed. “You think you’ve seen it all, and it keeps getting better! Thank you!” “If I were the other contestants, I would be a little scared of you guys right now,” said Carrie Ann. “It’s not just about the tricks, it’s how you finish every single line.” “Good news from Goodman – I really liked it,” Len said and smiled. “To get that speed and all that athletic movement, and yet still keep rhythm and timing, that is brilliant.” Paula went all tactile, stroking Bruno’s chest in an effort to tell Shawn how she feels. “Shawn, you have turned into a sexy young lady. You were down and dirty with the hips, you were elegant and shining … To me, my most favorite dance.” Total: 39.5