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Dancing with the Stars delivered the best show of the season so far tonight with every star doing some solid work. Unfortunately, this is the point in the competition (there are only three more weeks to go) where you expect great things from everyone since there are fewer choices on who can end up in the bottom two. You can tell the judges are really expecting the dancers to pull out all the stops. Len was relentless on Apolo, claiming both of his dances were good but not great. That hurt him in the scoring at a time when he can’t afford to not constantly build on his previous weeks.

This week everyone did two dances, a ballroom and a Latin. Here are my rankings for this week:

  • Laila looked stunning tonight! For the first time in the competition she looked completely at ease in both dances. The Quickstep was beautiful and flowing and the Samba was sexy. In particular, it was great to see her let her body move freely in the Samba (which was the best Latin number of the night). In the past two weeks, Laila learned to let her body go and that has improved her performances dramatically.
  • Joey (pictured above from last week’s show) delivered the best ballroom number of the week with his Foxtrot. Len didn’t care for the “razzle dazzle” as he called it, but for me it struck the right note of sophistication and dazzle. I think we’ll see this come back as the dance of the week tomorrow night. The Jive was also spot on and really showcased Joey well… who knew he could do a one-handed hand stand!
  • Apolo was strong again this week, but not as strong as his closest competitors. I enjoyed both his Foxtrot and Mambo, but there was something missing that didn’t raise him to the level of Laila and Joey. I don’t think he was as far off the mark as the judges scores, but he still landed in third for me.
  • Ian let himself go, finally last night. His Tango and Mambo were both his best performances to date and you finally got these sense that he might actually be enjoying himself on the dancefloor. I disagree that his work was as good or better than Apolo’s, but it did show that Apolo, Joey and Laila can’t let their guard down because Ian just might be coming up from behind. In terms of celebrity cheering section, Ian had the best all season as his 90210 castmates (Jason, Jeannie and Tori) showed up last night.
  • Billy Ray continued to deliver on the entertainment. His choice to let the Waltz showcase Karina was a mistake for his scores, but his heart was in the right place and for pure entertainment it was great to see her work the floor. The Samba was also good as he once again showed his determination to do the best he could. His time on this show is getting limited, but he is fun to watch week after week.
  • John delivered the most disappointing dance of the week. I completely disagreed with the judges, who found his Rumba to actually be good. I found in dull and felt that he looked lost during the routine. On the other hand, I found his Foxtrot to be quite good and in my opinion his best dance of the season.

As for who is leaving… It’s a difficult call this week. Bottom two could go to John, Billy Ray or even Ian depending on where the strongest fan-base is. I think Billy Ray will be spared the red light and we’ll find John and Ian there. After three times in the bottom two, John will depart.

Post Results Show Update: Excellent performances this week. Meatloaf was great. His songs are so dramatic that they translate perfectly to the ballroom. The youth performance was also fun. We’ll see those dancers as the pros somewhere around season 20. “DanceCenter” with Kenny Mane and Jerry Rice was also fun, albeit it seemed to drag on just a bit too long. In terms of the eliminations… I missed by half again. John was a shoe-in to the bottom two, but Billy Ray took the other spot. And after three weeks in the bottom two, John finally went home.

Next week, the commentary shifts to Tuesday night. I’m starting a hockey skills clinic next Monday so I won’t catch the show on Mondays. I’ll be watching on DVR Tuesday night and rolling straight into the results. So, the commentary will continue but it will all get posted on Tuesday nights.