Intense doesn't even begin to cover it when it comes to this week's "Dancing with the Stars." Kristi and Mark finally fell off the top of the leaderboard and one star went home in an ambulance! Even the elimination show was a little off kilter, it seemed. Time to take a look back as the Top 6 took the stage with two dances each.
As if it wasn't already hard enough to do what they do, the middle point of the competition always means performing both a Latin and a Ballroom dance in the same night.
Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska climbed to the top of the heap with their wild and athletic Quick Step followed by a Paso Doble, oddly enough, to the "Monday Night Football" theme. Again, I wasn't crazy about either dance but it was good enough to put them in the number one slot and safe from elimination.
And when you're at the top, there's no where to go but down and that's what happened to Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas, though not by much. They did a lovely Viennese Waltz that had so much story to it, gorgeous costumes and a sweet umbrella prop that sparkled as if it was raining. Still Len got on them for too much messing about and gave them only an 8. He was equally hard on their Cha Cha because it had a hip hop flair to it and with Len, I agree. 8 it is. Low for Kristi and Mark, but plenty high enough to keep them in the competition.
The real surprise of the night was Marissa Jaret Winokur and partner Tony Dovolani. Marissa performed a sexy Tango that was reminiscent of a silent movie siren. She followed that up with a sexy Rumba. I knew you had it in you, girl. She rose to third place and was safe for the week.
Mario and Karina Smirnoff started off with a Foxtrot that fell a little short. Mario redeemed himself, though, with a hip rolling, macho Mambo. This boy is built for the Latin dance and it saved him from being eliminated.
But Monday night's drama had nothing to do with who landed where on the leaderboard. It had to do with an injury that sent Cristian de la Fuente to the hospital. After showing a sweet video clip of Cristian dancing with his little princess at home, he performed an elegant Viennese Waltz. Next up it was the sexy Samba which started out with bang. Then suddenly, Cristian stopped dancing. His partner, Cheryl Burke, continued even as Cristian clutched at his left arm in obvious pain. Though it was easy to see how hurt he was on the TV screen, I'm sure it was different down on stage with the adrenaline flowing and Burke dancing on autopilot. She twirled into the final move, a drop to the floor with Cristian catching her, but catch her he did not. She hit the floor and he collapsed on top of her.
Host Bergeron suggested a commercial break but Cristian wanted to go straight into judging. But as he started to walk across the ballroom, it was clear that he needed a moment. After the break, he stood there with his arm on ice, was battered again by low scores and in the end was taken away by ambulance. Though the set medic said it was a muscle cramp, it turned out to be a torn tendon. Would he be able to continue in the competition? Would the voters keep him in with such low scores?
Enter Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough with their stiff Tango and vivacious Mambo. The judges declared the Tango her best ever but neither dance really grabbed me. I think there's no doubt that these two are in major love with each other but it seems to be having an effect on their dancing. Not enough time practicing maybe? I swear that in the rehearsal clips, an angry Shannon made a comment about Derek 'going home alone tonight' if he didn't lighten up on her. Or did I mishear that remark?
In the end, the voters saved Cristian to dance again (which he decided to do, even though he needs surgery on his arm) and Shannon was sent packing. Many people cry when they're eliminated, but she cried as if someone had just died. It will be interesting to see how that all pans out.
As for Cristian, don't know how he's going to keep up with only one good arm, but you gotta give the boy props for trying. I still figure next week will be his last.
Photo courtesy of ABC
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