DwtS 6, Week 4: Performances

After remaining under wraps for the first three weeks of the season, the "10" paddles made several appearances during the latest Dancing with the Stars Performance Show.

Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Paso Doble
This routine easily could’ve been ruined by an odd song choice: New Order’s "Blue Monday." But another strong performance by Kristi saved the day. The couple’s striking outfits helped, as well.

Len offered only the smallest criticism for Kristi: "Every dance has a slight sameness to it — not in the choreography." Bruno was full of praise: "You really unleashed the harlot tonight, my darling." Carrie Ann said, "You both set the standard for this competition. That was fantastic."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 29/30

Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Viennese Waltz
Priscilla & Louis spent much of the early part of the dance out of hold, so I never really felt an emotional connection between them. And Priscilla’s dress made her look like a mermaid. Even though this wasn’t my favorite of their dances, it’s hard to deny Priscilla’s considerable skills.

Bruno complimented Priscilla’s "great interpretation." Carrie Ann told Priscilla, "You’re able to create such drama with your facial expressions." But Carrie Ann noticed a lift in the routine, and Len did as well: "I would’ve given you a higher mark, but I’ve gotta drop a point because you did do a lift."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…8 = 22/30

Adam Carolla & Julianne Hough — Paso Doble
In a DwtS first, Adam rode in on a unicycle, and remained on it for the first part of the dance — all while wearing a Zorro mask and a fake pencil moustache. I don’t know what to say about the dancing, although Julianne did manage to work in a number of tricks. But overall, the routine was damn funny.

Carrie Ann almost stole Adam’s comedic thunder with her perfect delivery of the following line: "It was smooth and it was dramatic. Your turns were fantastic. And then you got off the unicycle." Len told Adam, "You are such a lovable character…unfortunately, you’re not much of a dancer." Bruno said, "You are the classic example that genius and insanity goes hand-in-hand."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…7, Bruno…6 = 19/30

Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Viennese Waltz
During rehearsal footage, Marlee explained that her deafness affects her balance, and that the twirls of the waltz made her dizzy. Fabian adapted the choreography, and they spent less time in traditional hold than the other couples. Overall, the dance was nice, and Marlee’s detail work with her hands was lovely.

Len said, "I thought it was very, very good. It was poignant. In hold, sometimes your head is a bit bizarre." Bruno said Marlee was "totally immersed into the role." A teary-eyed Carrie Ann said, "You made me cry. Something about that performance just took my breath away."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Paso Doble
This was much better than their performance last week, but the connection between them doesn’t seem as strong as it was during the first two weeks. and it looked as though they missed a couple of hand holds. Karina ended the routine with a daring flip worthy of the superhero costume she was wearing.

Bruno dubbed him "Mario the Conqueror." Carrie Ann said, "You could tell you spent the hours in rehearsal, ’cause that was a very challenging routine. Sometimes I felt that your movements got just a hair awkward." Len told Mario, "I admire your spirit. You’ve got one style of dance, and it’s sort of wild. Work on the styling a little bit more." To his credit, Mario said he appreciated Len’s criticism because it helps him get better.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…7, Bruno…9 = 24/30

Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Viennese Waltz
This was a surprisingly sexy waltz, especially considering that most of Edyta was uncharacteristically covered in fabric. Jason stayed in character and showed off his great extension, although he lost his footing at one point. That said, this dance was overscored by the judges.

Carrie Ann told Jason, "That was beautiful. You have an understated elegance about you. You stumbled, but I’m gonna forgive you for that because that was great. Len called the performance "a wow of a waltz." Bruno said, "You managed to make the Viennese Waltz sexy, sensual, erotic," and then he added something about a swan mating ritual.

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…10, Len…9, Bruno…10 = 29/30

Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Paso Doble
Cheryl’s costume looked like it came from the set of an adult movie remake of The Matrix, and yet it somehow worked for her. The dancing was very good, and Cristian seemed to embrace his inner matador, shouting and stomping enthusiastically.

Len said, "I liked the passion and the drama. I don’t think you really conquered the music, but another fine performance." Bruno said the performance was "very convincing, totally in character." Carrie Ann disagreed with Len about the music, but she warned Cristian, "Watch your eyes when you’re out of the hold. Sometimes you get a little glazed over."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…8, Bruno…9 = 26/30

Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Viennese Waltz
Jonathan Roberts filled in as Shannon’s partner during rehearsals, as Derek recovered from his neck injury. Derek, who still choreographed the routine, coached from the sidelines and stepped in when he felt he was able. Shannon had to remind him to take it easy.

Derek, the consumate pro, never let a hint of the pain he was surely feeling cross his face during the routine. The performance was smooth and lovely. It might’ve earned straight 10s, had they been able to rehearse with Derek at full strength.

Bruno told Shannon, "The hot babe definitely has graduated into a class act." Carrie Ann said of Shannon’s progress, "Something’s definitely happening. It’s really beautiful." Len said, "For me, I think that’s the best dance I’ve seen tonight."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…9 = 28/30

Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Paso Doble
Their performance was more compelling than last week’s. But it was marred some by harsh stage makeup and a totally unflattering outfit for Marissa. The designers have botched all of her costumes, with no sign of improvement.

As Marissa & Tony took their place next to Tom Bergeron, it was apparent that the long-standing resentment between Tony and Carrie Ann has not gone away. As she started her comments, Carrie Ann joked, "Tony’s giving me dirty looks." Tony muttered a reply under his breath, prompting Carrie Ann to ask, "What?" Tony gave a quick smile and said, "Nothing," and the show went on, but it was an uncomfortable moment to watch.

Carrie Ann said, "I thought it was fantastic. This was a whole different Marissa." Len agreed, "You’re on an upward spiral. If you’re back next week, keep it up." Bruno said, "You let go of the safety net."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30

Judges’ Leaderboard:
29 — Kristi & Mark, Jason & Edyta
28 — Shannon & Derek
26 — Cristian & Cheryl
24 — Marlee & Fabian, Mario & Karina, Marissa & Tony
22 — Priscilla & Louis
19 — Adam & Julianne

My votes tonight go to Kristi & Mark and Shannon & Derek, who I again felt gave the two best performances of the night. I would’ve ranked Jason & Edyta in third place. I could throw a few more votes to Adam because I think he’s funny, but I’ll be surprised if he’s not out on Tuesday night.

This week’s Results Show marks the first time the Bottom Two couples will be announced. Priscilla & Louis seem the most likely to hit bottom with Adam. The only couples I’d be shocked to see at the bottom are Kristi & Mark and Jason & Edyta.

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