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We’re one-third of the way to the end of the 11th season, and already the voters have (appropriately!) claimed David Hasselhoff, Michael Bolton, Margaret Cho and The Situation. Too bad the voters didn’t have to good sense to cull the cast so discriminatingly — we would have been able to have fewer nightmarish Kate Gosselin performances. But who’s moving in on the Mirrorball trophy and who’s on the way out?
8. Bristol and Mark
During this week’s results show, we wanted to offer Bristol a little cheese to go along with that whine. Wah, wah, the judges are so mean. They’re judges: that’s the point. They consistently compliment her dance skills — and consistently point out that she’s often completely blank from the neck up. It’s great that she could paste on a smile to cover her nervousness on week 1, but when she couldn’t convey even a modicum of fake desire while stripping the shirt off of a sweaty Mark Ballas, we became unsure that she’d ever get her performance skills to begin to match her burgeoning dance skills. And whining about how mean everyone is to you might work for her mom’s fans... but on DWTS, viewers expect the celebrities to take criticism graciously. Watching them get it is sort of the whole point.
7. Florence and Corky
Florence is the real deal, and far more than a foolish joke candidate or obvious pander to the patriotism of the audience (cough, Buzz Aldrin, cough). But her magnificent performances aren’t going to be able to sustain her as the technical requirements continue to get more difficult. It’s sad, but Florence’s sassy side is going to have to say sayonara (eventually).
6. Kurt and Anna
America may like him, but the judges hate Kurt and his dinner-plate hands, period. In his case, size matters: and the size of his hands (and length of his arms) is just not something he’s going to be able to hide. He’s so cute, but he’s not long for the competition.
5. Rick and Cheryl
Maybe this week’s ‘stache was like a reverse-Sampson situation, in which adding hair made him weaker? Or maybe he just needs to growl and be campier — goodness knows, Cheryl’s pretty comfortably going campy. But whatever it is, he needs to start moving up, not sliding back. This is Dancing With the Stars, not the Electric Slide.
4. Kyle and Lacey
We’re as surprised as anyone, but there’s no one on the cast who is as able to consistently listen to the judges’ criticisms and then take them into account week after week after week. No one expected this goofy 19-year-old to pull of a sensual samba and yet it wasn’t under-emoted or overly creepy. He might goof off for the cameras but he’s obviously taking it all pretty seriously when they aren’t around.
3. Audrina and Tony
Look, she’s getting to be a technically good dancer. But we’re not sure whether she’s really so worried about wrinkles that she insists on keeping her eyes expressionless, whether she has some Botoxian assistance with that, or whether she really is practically incapable of expressing human emotion. But it hurt her this week — and it seems likely to hurt her going forward.
2. Brandy and Maks
We can’t tell whether they hate each other, secretly like each other, or Maks misbehaved with one of her friends. But whatever their off-camera ish is (and why ever the producers aren’t showing it), their chemistry is certainly improving. And unlike another leaderboard topper, Brandy has the ability to express several different, complex emotions in her performance.
1. Jennifer and Derek
Yeah, we’re partisan. But, look: any 50-year-old mother and cancer survivor that can dance that well, week after week, improving all the while and looking darn hot? No reality show star is going to stop her.