History was made Tuesday on Dancing With the Stars, in that two-left-footed dancer Master P has no longer given the most embarrassing performance ever on the show. Thanks a lot, Mark Ballas and Derek Hough! But the major news was the expected departures of Michael Irvin and Mark Dacascos, reducing the field to five. The final episodes of Season Nine air on November 23 and 24.
Some had been forecasting that Irvin would leave since the first week of the season, but when it finally happened, it actually came as a mild surprise because he received the lowest number of votes overall, and thus could not attempt to save himself in the dance-off as he had last week. His beloved fan base had finally run out of gas. But Irvin was not displeased; the extra time his fans had given him allowed him to become legitimately decent in recent weeks. Despite no dance background and a partner in newcomer Anna Demidova who was only adequate at best, Irvin gave it everything he had and pulled himself out of the joke category. It was a nice run for someone who has been more than a little controversial in the past.
It was expected that Dacascos would wind up in the dance-off, as his score has been by far the lowest on Monday. But Aaron Carter had the best score in the individual dance Monday and was second overall. Despite this, he was unable to avoid the dance-off, which doesn't say much for the strength of his fan base. The familiar Carter pout was again in evidence backstage.
But Carter had an ace in the hole in that he and Karina Smirnoff had planned a jive for their dance-off performance: the same dance he had done on Monday and scored a 29 with. The pair was once again terrifically energetic and perfectly in sync, but parts of the routine looked identical to what they had done Monday, which was arguably not fair to Dacascos. The Iron Chef America star dusted off the dance-off routine he had prepared two weeks ago with his then-healthy and currently recuperating partner Lacey Schwimmer. It was a cha-cha-cha that relied heavily on Dacascos's gymnastic trickery, but while it was fun to watch -- "You can turn more tricks than Heidi Fleiss," Bruno Tonioli said, with questionable accuracy -- it did not have the dance content of Carter's routine. And Schwimmer was still not one hundred percent either. The judges' decision in favor of Carter was unanimous, knocking out Dacascos in sixth place. He might have been able to avoid the dance-off altogether had Schwimmer been healthy enough to work with him this week, but bad luck is part of life, and part of DWtS.
It was bad luck that the show did not exist thirty years ago, so that Rod Stewart could have appeared on it at the height of his sexual magnetism instead of croaking out ancient Motown as he did during Tuesday's show. The evening's other professional musical guest, Colbie Caillat, at least sounded decent, though her coffeehouse warbling is somewhat out of place on a dance show. And we can't forget the other musical performance that will land Tuesday's show in the unintentional comedy hall of fame: the "singing" debut of pro dancers Ballas and Hough. They left the ballroom way behind in favor of some technosludge that was so awful, it would not have been out of place on a Saturday Night Live "Deephouse Dish" sketch. Ballas and Hough need to stick to their night jobs.