The ballroom loses a legend: Veteran actress Cloris Leachman took her final bow Tuesday night after her version of the cha-cha-cha, if you could call that, failed to impress the judges or fans.
It’s not as though shtick-filled dances were anything new to the 82-year-old — heck, they were the only things keeping her around — but as Carrie Ann Inaba put it, rather harshly, Cloris took the dance right out of the competition.
After breaking the bad news to the show’s senior soft shoe, co-host Samantha Harris asked Cloris how she felt about coming to the end of her dancing days. The always-cheeky star deadpanned, “You know, I’m not leaving.”
Better than Brooke: Move over, Brooke Burke. Former boybander Lance Bass is the new leaderboard champ after scoring 27 points for his performance-night effort. The unexpected shakeup was due in part to a jive that had Lance leading the dance floor with all the right moves, and was certainly helped by the fact that this season’s dancing queen suffered a setback.
The model-turned-TV host injured a tendon in her right foot last week, significantly reducing her rehearsal time for this week’s rumba. The resulting dance, which would have been a winner for a lesser competitor, relied too much on Brooke’s sexy chemistry with pro partner Derek Hough and not enough on her signature precision steps.
Ridiculous rehearsal moment: Pro Julianne Hough ushered in this week’s preposterous dance preparation when she decided “Hannah Montana” star Cody Linley had the basic samba technique down but needed a meaningless makeover to take it all the way.
“(Cody’s) a skinny blonde-haired boy from Texas,” she said, pointing out the obvious. “He needs to be that dark-haired hunk from the beaches of Rio.”
So it was time to cue the tan-in-a-can and temporary hair-dye montage. When it was all over, the teen actor channeled his inner “Cornelio” with an enormous moustache and flamenco sleeves, none of which, thankfully, made it to the dance floor.
Gone but not forgotten: Head judge Len Goodman took the week off, leaving his seat to Michael “Lord of the Dance” Flatley, but his earthly whereabouts seemed a mystery to Carrie Ann Inaba.
After Lance and Lacey delivered their jive, the former Fly Girl gestured toward the heavens and announced, “I don’t know where Len is right now, but he’d be so proud of you.”
Ever-helpful host Tom Bergeron reminded Carrie Ann, “He’s not dead!”
Group debacle: If seeing the stars stumble through their group dance Monday night wasn’t bad enough, they brought the problematic performance back for an encore on the results show. Most of the celebs just bounced to their own hip-hop rhythm, but a few of them managed to stand out. Of course, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Susan drew attention to herself by looking absolutely lost, while Cloris, who was relegated to the band's stage for most of the routine, looked downright scary. But top distraction honors go to Lance. He busted the right moves, but his clip-on mullet dared viewers to notice them.
Ree Hines is a frequent contributor to msnbc.com