This is the night to sit back with a big batch o' popcorn, turn up the volume on the TV to enjoy the enhanced orchestra, and watch the nine remaining "Dancing With The Stars" couples move to familiar music of the movies.
But who am I kidding? I'm really glued to the set, watching every cutaway shot of the audience, waiting to see if Cher is really there. She tweeted she would be, to cheer on her son, Chaz. And there she is! Our first Cher sighting: 25 minutes into the show! There's another one: 40 minutes in! And her reactions to Chaz's performance: priceless! (Warning: Spoiler Alert)
Okay, now on to the dancing; here are the scores, from highest to lowest:
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough - 29 out of 30
First 10's of the season! Ricki tackles the tango but the real test was dropped on Derek Hough's shoulders; he had to choreograph the dance to the very difficult theme from "Psycho." But, hey, this is Derek! He can do anything! And of course he pulls out another fantastic routine.
Ricki almost has a breakdown during rehearsals, but I'm sure that's long forgotten once you see two judges give you a 10. Carrie Ann Inaba said it succinctly, but perfectly: brilliance in the ballroom.
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff - 26 out of 30
After last week's emotional rumba, J.R. and Karina Smirnoff get to have a little more fun with a foxtrot to the "Pink Panther" theme song. The music is lighter, but the dance is not easy. J.R. is struggling a bit, so Karina brings in another pro, Nick Kosovich, to help show J.R. what the man is supposed to do in this dance. It gives J.R. an "Ah-Ha!" moment, and things start to click.
Both Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli loved the dance, with Len saying this was the best male dance of the night. Carrie Ann thought it fell a little flat? not sure what she was watching!
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy - 24 out of 30
The dancing stars finally aligned for the soccer star: right dance plus right music equals good routine. (I could have lived without the pajama pants, though). Hope and Maksim Chmerkovskiy appear to butt heads quite a bit during rehearsals... that's what they like to show us anyway... but the two swear they are the best of friends. So when they foxtrot to "You've Got a Friend in Me" from "Toy Story," it fits.
Hope seemed more comfortable on the dance floor this week, and it showed in her smile, and in her steps. (But wow, those pants!) Len Goodman again told Hope she has what it takes to go all the way, but he doesn't feel she's putting in enough rehearsal time.
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke - 24 out of 30
This show is doing great things for Rob and his confidence. The kid may never dance again after the season is over, but you can tell he's learning a lot about himself and the big sister in me is happy to see his growth.
Cheryl Burke choreographed a paso doble to the "Superman" theme song, and Rob is a perfect Clark Kent. The judges all gave Rob words of encouragement, and triple 8's to prove he's worthy of hanging around.
David Arquette and Kym Johnson - 23 out of 30
David channels his best Harrison Ford and performs a paso doble to the theme from "Indiana Jones." He swings in on a rope, has the fedora and the whip, and most of all, the bravado of a hero like Indy.
The audience goes nuts and gives David and Kym Johnson a standing ovation. Bruno and Carrie Ann are completely enthralled; Len called it the "temple of doom." Spoilsport. The judges get in to a bit of a tiff over their David disagreement, with the audience is clearly on the Arquette bandwagon.
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer - 21 out of 30
Chaz and Lacey Schwimmer get the great song "Gonna Fly Now" from "Rocky" and that fits them perfectly. It's no secret Chaz has struggled in this competition, but he embraces his underdog position (like Rocky) and works very hard this week on the paso doble. I'm still trying to figure out why Lacey felt Richard Simmons would be a good trainer for Chaz; that's the bit that fell flat for me.
But once he hit the dance floor, Chaz did better than he ever has before. And there's Mama Cher screaming and cheering him on! The dance brought Carrie Ann to tears; she told Chaz he's courageous and magical, and makes her want to root for him. I think there were a couple tears in Cher's eyes too!
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani - 21 out of 30
The tango proved to be an impossible mission for Chynna. The dance starts out on a high note, literally. Tony Dovolani flies in from the ceiling on wires, ala Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible." A few eight counts into the tango, though, Chynna loses her place and you could clearly see it on her face: panic.
To her credit, she didn't stop. And, she didn't burst into tears. (Although I think that was close). She also couldn't find her way back into the choreography. The judges gave her kudos for not giving up or losing her composure.
Nancy Grace and Tristan McManus - 21 out of 30
With Kristin Cavallari gone, it's now Nancy Grace who has become a little bland on the dance floor.
Tristan McManus taught her a paso doble and I think Len's review summed it up best: she's competent, but her dancing is nothing to get excited about. Carrie Ann was a little more kind, telling Nancy she needs to connect more with the audience.
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya - 20 out of 30
Again, Carson proves to be immensely entertaining and just plain watchable. He and Anna Trebunskaya do a Viennese waltz (sort of) to one of the songs from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Carson had the line of the night when he realized how much he had in common with pirates; they are guys in tight pants, and open shirts, looking for jewelry!
Carrie Ann also loves Carson for his performance, but said he seemed to ignore any sort of technique. Len did not mince words: no finesse, no technique, but great fun.
So who goes home? We'll find out tomorrow on the Results show. Plus- the return of Julianne Hough to the ballroom!