I’ll admit it: Sometimes I get a little impatient when it comes to Dancing With the Stars‘ Tuesday-night festivities. Really, a one-hour “Road to the Finals” recap, followed by an additional hour-long telecast, just to tell us which sparkly couple got the lowest combined total of viewer votes and judges’ scores? Certain weeks, sitting through the likes of some benign chart-topper and the DWTS Dance Troupe is akin to those DVD previews you’re not allowed to skip.
But tonight, DWTS packed enough action into its two-hour running time to distract me from my weekly “Will Kirstie survive?” palpitations. After all, what reality TV fan wasn’t just a little curious to see a DWTS–American Idol summit in the form of a performance by recently/shockingly evicted Idol star (and rumored object of Marc Ballas’ affections) Pia Toscano? Especially when her rendition of “I’ll Stand By You” served as the backdrop to a dancing duet by Ballas and fellow pro Karina Smirnoff? Throw in a boy band smorgasbord — an appetizer of Hanson, followed by a heaping meal of Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block! — and this is what I call must-see TV. Or, in other words, smart counter-programming to Fox’s supersized Glee and NBC’s premiere of The Voice. Bring it on!
And did they ever. The first hour was a tad bloated, with insights from old favorites such as Donny Osmond, Kyle Massey, Jennifer Grey, Drew Lachey, Gilles Marini, and even Bristol Palin. But then the fun really began. Just seconds in to Hour No. 2, NKOTBSB (all nine of em!) hit the stage to perform “Don’t Turn Out The Lights,” and returned later for some nostalgia: “I Want It That Way” and “Step By Step.”
Though my old impatience returned briefly during that schlocky royal wedding-inspired “Stand By Me” dance, all was forgiven as a resplendent Pia tore spectacularly through the Pretender’s epic power ballad, and Mark and Karina tore up the floor. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m in a good place now, it’s all good,” Pia modestly explained when Tom Bergeron asked her how in the heck she got booted from Idol so early. But is Mark a good kisser?, asked our sly host. “He’s a wonderful person,” was Pia’s diplomatic answer.
Okay, not exactly a juicy sound bite, Pia, but way to stay classy! Anyhow, with that out of the way, here’s the real moment of truth — tonight’s results:
FINAL TWO COUPLES LEFT “IN JEOPARDY” (THOUGH NOT NECESSARILY THE BOTTOM TWO)
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke
“It’s actually good timing that I got eliminated because I have to fly over to England for the royal wedding,” joked Chris, who joins Mike Catherwood, Wendy Williams, Sugar Ray Leonard and Petra Nemcova on the DWTS Season 12 sidelines. “I’m proud of all the dances we did and I’m proud to show that a WWE guy and a rock n’ roll singer can go this far and do this.” Added Cheryl: “You’ve really exceeded my expectations every single week and I’m so proud of you. You’ve turned into an amazing dancer and an amazing friend.” We’ll miss you, Chris!
And with that, it’s your turn. Did Pia blow you away with her performance? Can the remaining six dancing duos actually go debacle-free next week?? Sound off in the comments, and let us know in our poll if the right couple went home! –-Mitch Rustad