Dance fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Steve-O, the former "Jackass" star who has been making a jackass of himself for six weeks on "Dancing With the Stars," was finally sent home tonight.
In sharp contrast to his missteps on the dance floor, Steve-O exited the show gracefully. (Host Tom Bergeron had pointed out that Steve had received the lowest week-6 vote in the history of "Dancing With the Stars," the 4 from judge Len Goodman.) "It’s forced me to grow as a person," Steve said. "I’m super grateful." Since he has recently been talking about the show almost as if it were the thirteenth step in his rehab program, we can all hope he’ll find something else to keep him on the road to recovery.
Prompted by co-host Samantha Harris to say something about his partner, Lacey Schwimmer, Steve-O said, "Lacey’s been extremely patient with me. Sometimes I tend to manstruate." Sam, panicking, assured no one in particular that "that was a clean word, don’t worry."
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The traditional ironic final-dance song was a Harold Wheeler version of Rascal Flatts’ "What Hurts the Most." Presumably, the line about "being so close" was an ironic allusion to Steve and Lacey’s brother-sister dynamic, which, as they explained Monday night, involved a lot of passed gas and scratched rear ends.
For some unexplained reason, the show didn’t stage the usual bottom-two dance-off, so we didn’t learn which couple had come in second lowest after the viewers had weighed in. In no particular order, four of the remaining eight couples were called out in pairs to be told whether they were safe. First rapper Lil’ Kim (with her partner, Derek Hough) and football player Lawrence Taylor (with Edyta Sliwinska) were told they’d be coming back next week, then gymnast Shawn Johnson (with Mark Ballas) and "Bachelor" star Melissa Rycroft (with Tony Dovolani) got the go-ahead. But host Tom Bergeron employed a Seacrestian pause with the last couple, saying, "Melissa and Tony…yeah, you’ll be back too."
Now that "Dancing With the Stars" is inching up on "American Idol" in the ratings, this isn’t the time to be stealing from that show. "Yeah, that was awful," said Tom. "I am ashamed."
Later, with all four remaining couples lined up, Tom told actor Gilles Marini and his partner, Cheryl Burke, that they were safe, and Samantha added, "We’ll reveal who is ultimately going home this week, next…live." An awkward silence followed, then Tom said, "Well, that was abrupt," then the band jumped in, and the producers cut to a commercial. It’s unclear who messed up, but Sam was in general having a below-average night, stepping on the contestants’ punch lines or following up with awkwardly timed non sequiturs.
After the break, country singer Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough were waved through, leaving rodeo star Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower to stand alongside Steve and Lacey. Tom made judge Bruno Tonioli say that Steve-O should go home rather than Ty, even though Bruno tried to waffle out of it. It all almost made you miss the dance-off.
The lack of dance-off left plenty of time for filler. Last night’s top scorers, Lil’ Kim and Derek Hough, reprised their jive, which was just as enjoyable as last night and even more obviously not really a jive at all.
"Some of the cast" of the current Broadway revival of "West Side Story" did a lively version of "America"; they probably got thrown off when the audience erupted into applause for a not particularly impressive bit of choreography.
The weekly [Department Store Name Goes Here] Stars of Dance segment was problematic. Usually, the skilled guest professionals give a performance that serves as a nice palate cleanser after Monday night’s often mediocre numbers.
But the star of dance in tonight’s segment was Carmen Electra, who is really a star in the "Dancing With the Stars" sense: a person who is famous for something other than dancing and who isn’t quite as famous as he or she used to be. Carmen’s cabaret routine, a Fosse Lite group number choreographed by an original Pussycat Doll, Lindsley Allen, probably would have earned Carmen a 6, a "seVEN!" and a 7 from the judges and polite applause from the audience.
Rascal Flatts performed their current hit "Here Comes Goodbye," with Julianne Hough and Tony Dovolani getting all hot and bothered in front of them. Lead singer Jim Rascal was in fine voice, and guitarist Randy Flatts performed a nice solo. (Just kidding, but didn’t you used to think they were one of those two-name bands, like Wilson Phillips?)
For Rascal Flatts’ second number, a cover of the Beatles’ "Revolution," Chelsie Hightower and Dmitry Chaplin (Holly Madison’s partner from earlier this season) played black-clad ballroom insurgents leading the Sequin Revolution against two military types danced by a pair of unrecognizable professionals. The lesson of the choreography seemed to be that we can all get along if we learn to lead with our toes and not our heels. (This kind of lesson was really popular in TV variety-show dance numbers back when "Revolution" was first a hit.)
For comic relief, the producers had one of those body-language experts who get interviewed in supermarket tabloids talk about the "real" messages the stars are sending out during their performances and during elimination segments. It turns out that body language is even more literal than regular language: For example, if you’re looking up and down during the announcement of eliminations, it means you think the results could "go either way."
In a deliberately funny segment, we saw scenes of the stars designing outfits for their professional partners to wear on next week’s show. Gilles held up a thin piece of ribbon and asked the designer if he could make a top for Cheryl out of it. Lawrence, by contrast, was threatening to create a modest outfit for Edyta, because "she’s allergic to clothes."
Steve-O found a piece of fabric he liked for himself. "If you want to whip me up a cheetah-print banana hammock," he told the designer, "that’s fine with me." Sadly, we won’t be seeing that outfit next week.