Dancing With The Stars
Season 11 Performance 7

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Return of the Champions (And Near Champions)

Hey, it's the big 200th episode! Where they're going to bring back past contestants! And hopefully show some of the older routines, so I can figure out if they really were better or if I've just become jaded. Brooke actually has a really pretty dress on tonight. It's not a bandage dress.

The first routine is all of the pros who have been on the show (or at least the ones that would come back) dancing to the first song from the first episode -- "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce. I totally remember this! I also do not recognize some of these pros. It's Tony and Chelsie and Louis and Karina first. Then Kym and Dmitry and Blonde Anna with Jonathan. Then it's someone I don't recognize -- Elena, maybe? With Fabian? And Ashly with someone so short that I can't see him, so it must be Corky. Do you think Edyta will come back? And Alec? And Julianne? This is kind of exciting. Damn, Louis and Tony do this thing where they THROW Chelsie over Karina, and it was pretty awesome.

Time for the next round of pros to come out, and it looks like Cheryl, Redhead Anna, and Maks. Then it's Lacey and Derek and Mark. Well, we know who the stars of the show are, huh? Or are those just the pros that are still in it this season? I guess that's more likely. They do this awesome circle dance with the women rotating to different partners around the outside, and then finish up dancing in a pyramid formatting with Louis at the point in front. Good job, pros. They have a really hard job and don't get the recognition. Think about something you're pretty good it. Now think about having to teach someone else to do it, someone that probably has little to no prior experience. Now try to make that person an expert in a week. Now do it on national television. So there you go. Also, all of those people I was asking about earlier? None of them came back.

And then I don't know what happens, but the camera is focused on the dance floor while the pros walk off and then weirdly on the audience clapping for way too long because it finally goes back to Tom. Usually this show is well-directed (at least it ends on time each week, Idol), but that was wacky. So they're going to introduce stars from various seasons who have returned (i.e. who was most desperate for some publicity). First up are the stars from season one, and it's only Trista and John O'Hurley. Granted, it was a smaller season but that's pathetic. And I really want to see Joey McIntyre dance again. He was my favorite. From the second season, we have Tia Carrere, Stacy Keibler, Lisa Rinna (of course), and Giselle Fernandez, who I forgot existed. Season three has Harry Hamlin, Joey Lawrence, and some lady in the middle that I seriously cannot identify. I'm looking at the list of contestants and I have no clue. They're also sitting right next to Season Five and I get all mixed up. Bad lighting, people. The spotlight was on Jane Seymour and I was like, "She wasn't on that season!"

Season four was a joke -- John Ratzenberger made it halfway? Anyway, he's there along with Shandi Finnessey (I think that's who that is). Okay, now they go to Season Five and it's Cameron Mathison, Jane Seymour, Sabrina Bryan (again, I think -- she's dyed her hair) and possibly Josie Maran? She's wearing a hat. This sucks. Apparently no one from season six showed up, so they move right on to season seven, and it's Jeff Ross, Lance Bass, and Warren Sapp (and obviously Brooke Burke is there as well). From Season Eight, they have Ty and Melissa. And from Season Nine, they have Donny Osmond, Michael Irvin, Chuck Liddell, and Kathy Ireland. Oh, wait, and also Louie Vito who is so short that I couldn't see him because he's standing behind DONNY OSMOND! Who is tiny himself. And also Ashley Hamilton, who I didn't recognize as a contestant. And FINALLY, it's Season Ten's representatives, Erin Andrews, Evan Lysacek, and Jake Pavelka.

I'm going to assume that there are more people there from each season, but they are being judges as promoed last week. Because the winners from each season were missing, right? That was also really poorly produced, as the contestants looked confused as to which camera they should be looking at, and what they should do.

So they are doing something with teams this week. I am all out of sorts. This is confusing. Anyway, Kristi Yamaguchi is one of the team captains, and her team is Rick and Cheryl, Bristol and Mark, and Kyle and Lacey. Her opponents are captained by Apolo Ohno, and his team consists of Kurt and Anna, Brandy and Maks, and Jennifer and Derek. Really? Brandy and Jennifer are on the same team? That doesn't seem fair at all. I mean, who's the star of the other team? Bristol? KYLE? Come on.

So they're going to show us how the teams were chosen. Apolo chose Derek first, and then Kristi chose Mark, because Mark was her partner. Apolo, no fool, picked Brandy and Maks next, so that's how the teams ended up so lopsided. Kristi is dumb. I wonder if the producers made her do that. So Kristi's team works together to put their cha cha cha in place. Lacey kind of takes the lead because they have done the cha cha cha once and got good marks for it. I think Bristol especially warms to rehearsing with other women; she's not as self-conscious, and Lacey and Cheryl are very sweet about cheering her on. Rick is struggling, though, and looking to Kyle for pointers. When Kristi shows up, she sees that Rick is struggling and simplifies the choreography for him.

So how is the actual routine? Well, it's pretty good. Better than I expected. When they dance all together in the beginning, it looks pretty good although Bristol forgets some steps near the end of that section. Mark overdances as usual. Each of the solos are okay. None of them really wow me. Mark has Bristol in hold the whole time, but I will say that she does a good job performing. Maybe better than she's ever been. So is "better than expected" good enough to win? The judges compliment them for doing good work despite being the underdogs. Well, at least they are admitting it. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8 for a total of 24. That's pretty good! I think the other group is going to crush them.

Apolo's team gets together to figure out their routine, which is based on Apolo and Julianne's freestyle. Kurt feels a little left out, since the other male dancers he's working with are Maks and Derek. So that would kind of suck. When the group gets together for their second rehearsal, things seem stressful. Jennifer has to take a twenty-minute break every two hours, according to her doctor. Brandy and Maks are sniping at each other. Wow, do they not get along AT ALL. Poor Kurt is just confused. Apolo shows up and watches them practice. He pretends to be confident but it doesn't look great.

So how does the routine turn out? Well, first of all, the three dudes have Apolo-style chin strips, which cracked me up. And Kurt, clearly the weak link here, does a passable job. He's relaxed enough on the floor that he doesn't stand out, which is kind of the point. I actually thought Brandy and Maks's solo was the weakest because, for some reason, Maks was WAY overdancing it. Like he was taking these huge steps and hamming it up like he's Mark Ballas or something. It made me uncomfortable. Overall, it was fun to watch but it wasn't as good as some of the team dances of the past. I wonder if it's because they had to base it on Apolo's routine instead of just coming up with their own. And also, the guy trying to rap "Bust a Move" was terrible and screwed up the lyrics. Carrie Ann thinks that they didn't dumb down the routine or fit it to the lowest common denominator. Hmm, I don't know about that, but whatever. Bruno and Len also have good things to say, which makes me think that they're going to get high scores, and it was kind of predetermined. Scores: Carrie Ann 9, Len 9, and Bruno 9 for a total of 27.

Okay, so the gimmick of this episode is that each couple will have to do a routine based on a former contestant's routine, and the first will be Mel's paso doble. So Mel B comes out (and reveals

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