It's time for America to cast their votes.
Of course, we're talking about viewer votes for "Dancing with the Stars." No offense, presidential nominees.
Anyway, week seven is Fusion Week and it kicks off with a pre-packaged piece about the show lamenting the shocking "early elimination" of singer Sabrina Bryan last week.
Ehh, she made it to week six. If viewers wanted her on the floor, they'd have voted her back. Get over it, DWTS. Democracy in action.
It's Fusion Week, but what's a fusion dance, you ask? In case the show's incessant explanations about two dance styles performed during the same song is lost on you, we get frantic example by the DWTS troupe to start the show.
First star to fusion, Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina with a cha cha-paso doble. Their number opens with confident, smooth moves across the floor for the cha cha. There's even a little hip hop thrown in, and Apolo whips out a mysterious breakdance. There's a sharp transition to the paso doble, which is stronger than their cha cha. Karina tears his shirt off. It's a powerful dance, ever so slightly frantic, and the transitions could be a bit more polished. Judge Len Goodman says there was nothing safe about this dance, that they really attacked it. Salivating judge Bruno Tonioli says shirtless Apolo should be in "Twilight." That sounds like a step backward. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba says they are still pushing themselves. Score: 27 out of 30.
Apolo tweeted, "Team
# ohyes came out strong. Next week are some of my favorite dances!!!"
But it's not just Fusion Week. It's also election week, so the show gives us faux political ads (as if we haven't seen enough real ones), including one against Apolo and Shawn Johnson, paid for by the Committee of Actors Not Athletes, made up of actor contestants Kirstie Alley, Gilles Marini and Kelly Monaco.
NFL retiree Emmitt Smith and Cheryl do a samba-rumba in hideous pink outfits. The samba looks better matched to Emmitt's natural energy, so the rumba seems a bit lacking. But Cheryl's fusion choreography is well-planned out, so it's an enjoyable number. Bruno calls it a smooth and balanced blend. Carrie Ann thinks Emmitt was trying too hard. They get 27.5 out of 30.
Kirstie and Maks have a quickstep-samba. Before they dance, the taped segment shows her collecting food for Hurricane Sandy victims. Their dance has an Old English theme - they even have suits of armor as props. Kirstie is pretty spot on with her quickstep. She clearly likes the samba more, but that doesn't mean she's better at it.. She is not that sharp and seems to be halfway invested in the routine. Carrie Ann says Kirstie got lost in the second half. Len calls it an admirable effort. Bruno says Kirstie turned Cinderella into a stripper. 24 out of 30. Whatever – people will vote her back because she's helping storm victims.
Kirstie tweeted, "this tired dancer is going to sleep with a hot cup of milk w sugar and cinnamon.. feels like home...oh wait.. it is..sweet dreams."
Another "political" ad, this time against Kirstie, paid for by the women of the DWTS cast.
Kelly Monaco and Val give us a foxtrot-cha cha. It's smooth and sharp at first, but they really get into the second half of this one, after tearing a few layers off each other, of course. To end the routine, Val proposes with a ring on bended knee. Kelly looks genuinely surprised at the gimmick. Maybe it's no joke…? Len says they captured the smoothness of foxtrot with crispness of cha cha, and Bruno agrees. In the post-chit chat, host Brooke Burke asks, "At the rate you two are going, what can we expect for the finale?" Val says, "Children!" Score: 27.
TV host Melissa Rycroft and Tony have a tango-cha cha. With Melissa's outfit, it looks like she's channeling Brooke. Anyway, this dance has command and power. Melissa moves like some sort of limber wraith around Tony. She strips off her black dress for a shiny showgirl deal. That should bring in some of the male vote. Melissa even seems to be dancing more than Tony. Bruno calls her the dark mistress of tango. Carrie Ann calls her a star. Len says it was a proper fusion. Score: 29.
Melissa tweeted, "What a great night!!
@ TonyDovolani and I are having so much fun! Thank you for all your support."
Another "political" ad, asking viewers to not let nudity influence their vote, a la stripping stars Gilles and Kelly. Then Kirstie pops up: "I'm Kirstie Alley and I approve this message." It's paid for by Stars with More Than 5% Body Fat. Is Kirstie laughing along at this, or crying?
Shawn and Mark are up with their tango-paso doble. It was a tough week on Shawn - not only is Mark replacing her injured partner Derek, but Derek was still there, to micromanage their entire choreography. Too many cooks in the kitchen, control freak Derek! Anyway, the Shawn on the floor is a whole different woman, the chipper girl replaced with a sexy vixen. Her spins and kicks are flawless. They bring some real heat to this fusion. It has an ending so violent, I thought it was a
mistake before they land the final position. Carrie Ann says a picture of their routine should be next to dance fusion in the dictionary. Len calls her a firecracker. Bruno calls her the queen of the night. Perfect 30.
I wonder if Derek is happy Shawn got a 30, or jealous she got it with his replacement, Mark. Oh, the drama!
Last, Gilles and Peta do an Argentine tang-samba. It's energetic and has infectious vibe. Peta tears his shirt open – I'm sensing a trend here. They give it some charged energy and don't have any obvious missteps. Bruno says Gilles has great command, but Carrie Ann says he still has T-Rex arm syndrome. Score: 28.5.
Gilles tweeted, "Looking at ALL your tweets . I truly appreciate you guys Casting your votes toward us . Thank you. I love ya ;)."
Another "political" ad, condemning Texans Melissa and Emmitt, paid for by the Committee to Reelect Olympians. Save the worst for last, huh, DWTS?
Oh, but it's not over yet, All-Stars. Wipe off your brows and change into your next bedazzled jumpsuit. It's time for the swing marathon.
So, the remaining seven couples all take the floor at the same time. The judges decide the order they get eliminated, until it's pared down to the final couple, who gets the most extra votes.
Immediately, some look to have a deliberate strategy to pacing themselves with ebbs and flows in the speed of their routine.
Kirstie and Maks get tapped out first, earning four extra points. Next, Gilles and Peta are gone with five extra points. Emmitt does a couple handstands. Apolo is getting winded. He's out next, six points. Shawn and Mark do a synchronized flip. Emmitt and Cheryl out, seven points. Shawn and Mark are out next, oddly, getting eight points. Tony flips Melissa around his entire body somehow. Kelly and Val are out, nine points. Which means Melissa and Tony win, getting ten extra points.
No elimination Tuesday night, or show for that matter (thanks to the presidential election). So viewer votes from Monday carry over to next week, when there will be two eliminations.
More information can be found at: beta.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/index .