The stage is set for the finale of "Dancing with the Stars" after the latest elimination gives us the final four.
CLEVELAND - "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars" just went off the reservation for country week.
Not that the show is suffering for ratings, but I hope the producers, desperate for new twists, continue to subject these celebrities to Hunger Games-style challenges.
So here's the breakdown bonanza for week six eliminations:
The judges first ask for an encore of Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina's Viennese waltz. It's just as pretty as Monday night, blah, blah, let's get onto the drama.
Time for the first results, and host Tom Bergeron says they'll be doing the eliminations a little differently this week. Wuh?! They will start with the stars who got the lowest judges' scores, before viewer votes were added in.
The bottom two are actress Kelly Monaco and Val, and NFL retiree Emmitt Smith and Cheryl. And they are both safe.
Uh oh. This doesn't bode well for a high-scoring star. Major upset alert!
But first, another performance. Singer Jason Mraz croons his "I Won't Give Up" song for us. Why is he on country week? Another mystery for the ages. Either way, it looks like Jason stopped grooming himself since he got kicked off this show. Mark Ballas is back to dance through the Jason's song, though. Why should we care Mark is back to perform? We'll find out soon enough.
Host Brooke Burke questions singer Sabrina Bryan and Louis. Brooke points out week six is the exact week high-scoring Sabrina got sent home on season five – and it just so happens to be week six this time around. Will the week six curse haunt Sabrina again?
Brooke turns to Olympian Shawn Johnson and Derek, pointing out Derek has an injury to a vertebrae in his neck. He says, if Shawn comes back next week, Mark will replace him. That works because Mark was Shawn's original partner her first time around.
Brooke tells them to go down to the stage for results. Sabrina and Louis start to follow Shawn and Mark, but Brooke quickly stops them. Uh oh…
More results: Tom says Shawn and Derek are safe. So are actor Gilles Marini and Peta. Awkward actress Kirstie Alley and Maks are left standing there… but, yep, they're safe, too.
ALL safe? Hmm. A camera cutaway shows us Sabrina, who mouthes words that suggest she fears her dancing days are done.
Kirstie tweeted, "Thank you again for all your votes for
@ MaksimC and me...you allow us to entertain you yet again.. Much love and we LOVE you!! Smooches!!"
Performance alert. Macy's Stars of Dance this time. This circus looks like the French Revolution at Studio 54. They could call it "Dangerous Liaisons: The Musical." With all the powder-faced prostitutes in neon pantaloons and dandies in bedazzled white pants, it looks like they stole the idea for Lady Gaga's next music video. At some point, girls are dangling in the air while holding onto clear plastic chairs, like some sort of reverse striptease. To wrap it up at the end, a bunch of rose petals fall on the dancers. Practical.
Tom and Brooke inform the stars that next week is fusion week. What exactly is fusion week? It's obviously when the stars must perform two dances styles during one song. Kirstie says she dreads getting a Vietnamese waltz. Good one.
Fusion dances? How could what's fun for us, be any more cruel for the stars? By making them pick styles for each other live, of course. This gives them a chance to sabotage each other. Bwahahaha!
Kirstie and Maks pick first, selecting a tango/cha cha for TV host Melissa Rycroft and Tony. Actually Maks suggested it, and Kirstie snapped at him, "You gave my favorite away!" before slapping his arm. Ahh, the Kirstie crazy train hurtles on.
Next, Kelly and Val pick Argentine tango/samba for Gilles and Peta.
Gilles tweeted, "When I heard that I had to fuse an argentine tango with Samba, I was OMG!, but now I see the possibilities and PETA and I are excited! ;)))."
Emmitt and Cheryl pick tango/foxtrot (isn't that a phrase from "Airplane?") for Sabrina and Louis.
Apolo and Karina pick quickstep/samba for Kirstie and Maks. In five seconds, Kirstie's face runs the gamut of every emotion she's ever acted.
Melissa and Tony pick tango/paso doble for Shawn and Mark, since Derek is sidelined.
Shawn and Derek pick rumba/samba for Emmitt and Cheryl.
Sabrina and Louis pick cha cha/foxtrot for Kelly and Val.
Gilles and Peta pick cha cha/paso doble for Apolo and Karina.
Another time-filler… err, performance. Taylor Swift sings "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." She looks like a stewardess and seems taller than the Freedom Tower. The whole number looks like "High School Musical" (though my knowledge is based on commercials for those movies). Funny, I remember a singer
named Taylor Swift who did country music.
Either way, her appearance and country week on DWTS are one big plug for the Country Music Awards… which air, by the way, Thursday night on ABC. Taylor's got three nominations.
Elimination time: The remaining three – and highest scoring – couples are all lined up. Sabrina looks like she's facing a firing squad.
Tom says Melissa and Tony are safe. It's down to Apolo and Sabrina. She's at the top of the leaderboard and, with two weeks combined, he got the most perfect scores in the history of the show.
Tom says… nailbiter!... Sabrina and Louis got the least viewer votes.
The week six curse strikes Sabrina again! The judges looked legitimately shocked. Carrie Ann Inaba is holding her stomach like she just got sucker punched.
Wise sage Brooke jams a mic in Sabrina's face and caws, "How much does this hurt?"
Probably not as much as the punch Sabrina held back would have hurt, Brooke.
Sabrina says she's grateful to have had a second chance.
This high-scorer getting the boot early is somewhat ironic because she was the one star that fans voted back for the All-Star season.
The remaining couples flock around Sabrina, who is tearing up more than any other eliminated star I've seen. Aww, back to obscurity, Sabrina. She had an impressive run, though. At least, the Bristol curse didn't eliminate her early on. That'd be a harder pill to swallow.
Sabrina tweeted, "THANK YOU Team Sabrina, yes tonight was sad but we wouldn't even be on the show without you!"
Melissa tweeted, "What an emotional and bittersweet night. As thankful as I am for all of your votes, I love
@ SabrinaBryan and am going to miss her..."
Emmitt tweeted, "Tonight is a sad night for Dwts. We lost a great person and a beautiful young lady in Sabrina. We will miss your spirit and presence."
But maybe the judges will stop passing out 10's like candy and give tougher scores while sparing them the attitude.
It is now down to seven stars who will perform two dances next week, including that fusion number. The other will be a competition swing dance marathon. They better get the chiropractors on speed dial now.
The competition returns Monday night at 8 on ABC.
More information can be found at: beta.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/index .
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