Post-Halloween ‘DWTS’ Offers One Last Surprise

Hope and Maks (Photo: ABC)

Hope and Maks (Photo: ABC)

Dancing with the Stars” backstagers were sure that Nancy Grace’s jiving days were done after her performance with partner Tristan MacManus received the show’s lowest score of 21 on Halloween night. But would the feisty TV prosecutor somehow squeak through to the next week, in shoes that Judge Bruno Tonioli said looked too small for her? After all, American women could surely identify with her no-nonsense strength, age (52), late in life motherhood, and weight loss (23 pounds so far from doing the show).

Some even wondered if “DWTS” fans were so repelled by Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s unnecessary roughness with partner Hope Solo in televised rehearsals that they would get the boot instead. Of course, David Arquette had a score of only 24, just like Hope, putting him in danger with partner Kym Johnson.

The suspense was killing us, and here was how Tuesday night’s elimination show went down:

Justin Bieber opened the night, singing his hit “Never Say Never.” The “DWTS” judges boogied oddly behind Justin like a troupe of Muppets as he vamped it up in a shiny purple jacket. The press room haters said he still looked like he was eight years old and his menacing attitude was just wrong, but Miss Cougar Carrie Ann Inaba applauded wildly for the teen superstar.

Carson Kressley (he just keeps showing up) did a time-filling segment in which he interviewed audience members, including David Arquette’s daughter, Coco. He asked the little one if she liked magicians and she said “yes.” She’d better, as her daddy played a magician on Monday night’s show. Meanwhile, should Tom Bergeron be concerned? Buoyant Carson looked like a very plausible “DWTS” host-in-waiting.

Last night’s Team Paso Doble gamely performed “DWTS’” traditional encore dance. Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke charged across the floor, Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy looked more dynamic than last night, and Ricki Lake and Derek Hough went through their paces again as the TV flames burned behind them. The dance ended with the same twirling cape flourish and it was even better this time. Rival Team Tango wasn’t mentioned. Sad.

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Time for some backstage secrets from last night. “Intense, intense,” Cheryl told Rob while coaching him through the tango. Rob said backstage he’s comfortable with his butt. Tristan told Nancy not to be scared and to just have fun. The judges were shown imitating Nancy’s lackluster performance. Unflappable Nancy said she hoped America liked it as much as she did.

The first couple is announced for the bottom two—shocker! Nancy and Tristan. But Rob and Cheryl are called safe and Rob, with a hood over his face, gave Cheryl a huge hug and picked her up off the floor. Brooke Burke Charvet questioned Rob, and he called himself the dark horse of “DWTS.” Cheryl said he had improved every single week. J.R. Martinez imitated Justin Bieber, singing that he’ll never say never as the competition intensified.

Then it was time for the AT&T spotlight performance, showcasing dancers with hard luck stories. Tonight, Victoria Rose Viren, 16, told viewers how she was diagnosed with brain cancer but ballet helped get her through the treatment. Miraculously, Victoria got back into her toe shoes. On “DWTS,” Christina Perri accompanied the teen to the music of her song “Arms.” Victoria thought she could dance again and she can, gliding across the floor in her white ballerina outfit. The cynic in me thought the sob story ground the show to a halt but Victoria did bring something new to “DWTS”— ballet. We haven’t seen that here often and it was a pleasant surprise.

Derek Hough, one of the most talented choreographers on “DWTS,” took off his shirt to perform an experimental dance with “So You Think You Can Dance” hoofer Alison Holker. Many in the press room applauded, which rarely happens for an exhibition. Derek can’t be stopped and he is in the hunt again this season with Ricki.

J.R. and Karina’s pre-dance footage segment showed the war veteran saying, “Oh my gosh” about trouble with his chainsaw prop. The judges were shown chattering and Bruno made a snide comment about Nancy’s dance. “It was a tough dance,” a downcast J.R. said to Karina afterwards. The dance “ghostbusted me.” No more charmed “DWTS” life for J.R.!

Producers then switched to Derek and Ricki before their Monday dance. The pro reminded Ricki to keep track of her feet and he shouted “left, left!” at her during the dance. Ricki was “so happy” after her Red Riding-themed dance got great judging and Derek howled at the moon.

Where did these two couples stand? Tom told Ricki and Derek they were safe. Brooke said J.R. and Karina were going to dance another day, too.

Justin Bieber and Boyz II Men then performed the TV premiere of “Fa La La,” from the singer’s new Christmas album, “Under the Mistletoe.” This time the Beeb stood in front of the microphone as pro dancers Mark Ballas and Chelsie Hightower gyrated sexily around the floor. Sounded like the perfect song for a teen mistletoe party!

“Werewolves of London” pair Hope and Maks prepped for their dance with him telling her to have fun. After the dance, in the kiss-and-cry room, Maks said he was proud of her. Hope looked genuinely happy to get his praise. Aww! Could this troubled couple actually be getting it together?

More pre-Monday footage unfurled as David seemed confused before his Monday dance, looking for a prop? It turned out he and pro dancer Kym Johnson were supposed to start with a magic trick but things went awry.

How did they stack up? Hope and Maks were told they’re coming back next week. But David and Kym were in the bottom two.

Spoiler Alert!

Ready for the red light—Nancy versus David. Halloween was fatal for….surprise! David and Kym! Sadness in the ballroom for Courteney and Coco. David said there must be a mistake because “this is MY show!” He was funny ‘til the end, making fun of Maks’ meltdown from last week. David waved shyly to the crowd and credited his partner, Kym, for being so sweet. David smiled as he viewed his “DWTS” footage as Kym gave him a kiss.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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