Great abs can only take you so far. That's the message from this week of Dancing With the Stars, which saw MTV's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino voted out after a flop of an Argentine tango that inspired unusual harshness from the judges.
Much about the performances this week was a departure from the norm. The stripped-down, acoustic format and the smaller, elevated round stage did appear to bring the audience closer to the dancers, and lent an intimate feel to the proceedings. But the dual scoring, with the judges evaluating technical merit and performing ability separately, seemed to free the judges up to be more critical. Jennifer Grey received the season's first scores of 10 for her tango, and Brandy also thrived. But everyone else struggled compared with their high-water mark thus far, and no one more so than The Situation.
It appeared that the philosophy The Situation and Karina Smirnoff employed with the tango was to hope that his lifts were athletic enough to make the judges forget that he has never really cared much about getting the steps down. It didn't work. Bruno Tonioli, so criticized for being too harsh on Michael Bolton two weeks ago, called his dancing "really, really, really terrible;" and while neither Len Goodman nor Carrie Ann Inaba went that far, all three judges gave Mike just a 4 for his technical merit. His performance score of 16 didn't come close to compensating. The Situation stormed out of the confessional area after the show, upset that his hard work wasn't being recognized.
But in truth, while he was more likable and self-deprecating than his often boorish Jersey Shore image might have led us to expect, it was obvious The Situation wasn't working quite as hard in rehearsal as the others. He got off to a late start this season, since his MTV duties did not end until a week before the first live show, and he never did catch up. But by the time of his elimination, he was back in good spirits and seemed satisfied that he had introduced himself to a non-MTV audience as a nice young man who just likes to have fun.
The final eight now moves on to a week devoted to TV theme music, with Bristol Palin (the last declared safe for a second straight week) and Florence Henderson probably next on the chopping block. Bristol is trying to do something about her less-than-sparkling personality, but Florence and her hammy partner Corky Ballas may be a lost cause, after their rumba on Monday made a nation gag.