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Now on to round seven of "Dancing with the Stars: All Star Edition." Will "Fusion Week" be full of fun, or cluttered with "con"-fusion? The judges explained this new twist as a mixing of two different dance styles but using only one song.
Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli are excited about the prospect of originality; the stars seem just plain worried! But there's one thing the couples DON'T have to worry about this week: elimination. No one is going home this week.
There is also a "swing dance marathon" that allows the judges to award extra points to the couples. So here's a rundown of Monday's scores, from highest to lowest, including the bonus points:
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani - 29 out of 30 for cha cha/ tango fusion; 10 points for marathon - 39 points total
I love that Melissa is a realist about this show. As we saw last week with Sabrina's elimination, it's not about the best dancer. The audience is in charge. And Melissa may not have the highest profile of the celebs in this show. But that makes her want to dance even better. Tony Dovolani has the extra pressure this week of not only melding together the polar opposite dances of cha cha and tango, but he's also worrying about his wife and kids on the East Coast who have been riding out the storm.
None of that showed on the dance floor, and the duo earned a perfect score from Carrie Ann, and near-perfect from both Len and Bruno. Their style and stamina also gave them the most points from the judges for the swing dance marathon.
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough - 30 out of 30 for tango/ paso doble; 8 points for marathon - 38 points total
Producers: "Hey Shawn, how about dancing the toughest week yet with your old partner since your new one is injured?" Shawn: "Sure. Whatever."
Ok, it might not have been that simple, but it may as well have been. Yes, rehearsal seemed a bit tricky with both Derek Hough and Mark Ballas tossing in choreography ideas. As Shawn said, it was like having two chefs in the kitchen. (And I loved Mark's line "I knew you'd come back, they always do!") But Mark and Derek have too much history for this not to work. I mean these guys have been almost-brothers since they were kids.
I'm sure there's a choreography short hand. And while I wasn't sure what "fusion" meant, once you saw this dance, it all became clear. Carrie Ann said "if you look fusion dance up in the dictionary, this is what you'd see."
Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy - 27 out of 30 for foxtrot/ cha cha fusion; 9 points marathon - 36 points total
Everyone keeps talking about Kelly and Val Chmerkovskiy's chemistry and connection; they know it's there too. Kelly can't explain it, but is happy to have it! As for their two dances Val says these are the last two styles he'd ever choose to "fuse." But his choreography is really shining through this season and he puts them together beautifully.
I'm not sure how Kelly stayed standing after all those spins! Len called the dance smooth and crisp; Carrie Ann said it was tight and sexy; and Bruno told Kelly her booty was working overtime! Eyes up, Tonioli, eyes up! Nine points from the judges for the marathon help bump this couple up on the scoreboard.
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke - 27.5 out of 30 for rumba/samba fusion; 7 points for marathon - 34.5 points total
I love that each week Emmitt says he's worried about the choreography, but each week he performs just fine. Cheryl Burke had the hip-shaking challenge of combining the romantic rumba with the fast and fun samba.
Emmitt trips over his feet a few times during rehearsal but of course he gets it down. Bruno called the dance smooth and balanced, and Len told him he would not have been able to do it as well as Emmitt did!
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd - 28.5 out of 30 for Argentine tango/ samba; 5 points for marathon - 33.5 points total
Gilles really, really, really wants a perfect 30. He came darn close this week, with each judge scoring him just a half point away from perfect. Peta Murgatroyd choreographed a great mash-up of the two different dance styles.
Len complimented the duo for paying tribute to South America with these dances; Bruno called the routine exciting and erotic. Carrie Ann has trouble with his "arm thingies." Whatever that is, I'm sure he'll work on it.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff - 27 out of 30 for cha cha/paso doble fusion; 6 points for marathon - 33 points total
Apolo brings out the speed skating sports analogy for this week and tells Karina Smirnoff that it's not the beginning of the race but the last few laps, and who finishes first, that matters. He also tells us this is the first time all season that he's been really stressed out about learning the choreography.
Karina starts with the cha cha cha, and ends with the paso doble. And you know when the dances change because Apolo rips off his jacket and goes shirtless ... for the first time! (And Twitter exploded!) The judges gave them kudos, and Len had the clever line "Apolo Ohno... I'd say Apolo Oh-yes!"
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy - 24 out of 30 for quickstep/samba fusion; 4 points for marathon - 28 points total
"Generous." That's how Kirstie described the tripe "8" judge's scores for her dance. She has such a great attitude! Kirstie told Maksim Chmerkovskiy that she realizes that even though she's not the best dancer on the show, she's come to realize her value: entertainment, along with the fact that people see her and think "maybe I can do that too."
The duo spent a chunk of their time this week organizing a relief effort for the people on the East Coast. Kudos for that!
Again ? no one goes home this week. The scores from fusion night will be combined with next week's scores, plus viewer votes, and TWO, count 'em, TWO people will be eliminated on November 13.