Country Music Week! To add to the "hoedown" fun, each dancer had to perform a short solo during their dance, and at the end, all of the dancers performed an all-group Freestyle, with one dancer picking up an extra couple of points for their solo.
Kirstie Alley was surprising in her Rumba. While her dancing with Maks could have used just a bit more hip, her solo made up for it. She did a couple of absolutely dazzling moves that I certainly wasn't expecting from her.
Sabrina Bryan danced an elegant and emotional Rumba that, at the end, even had Louis in tears. She has definitely reigned in her fast'n'furious, especially in her solo. Her Perfect 30 - the first of the season - was well deserved.
Shawn Johnson's gimmick-heavy Cha-cha-cha might have raised the Wrath of Len, but from what I saw (it ended up being put to a small screen, interrupted by a Hurricane Sandy update), it was fantastic. Incredible kicks, lovely precision, and fun. Her solo seemed a tad reserved, tho. I have to agree that riding in on a tractor was too much.
Gilles Marini also had the Cha-cha-cha, and seemed to add a bit of extra leg action. His legs were especially active in his solo. I definitely enjoyed it more than the judges did (although they still gave him decent scores).
Kelly Monaco's solo was probably the best part of her Tango; the rest was, in Len's word, "Frantic". It just didn't seem right somehow, and I'm not just saying that because she was dancing to a Carrie Underwood song.
Apolo Ohno deservingly received the second perfect 30 of the season - AND the encore - for his heartbreaking Viennese Waltz to the Rascal Flatts "hidden" track, "Skin". I'll be honest; I was crying so much (that song always makes me cry) that watching was difficult. I was glad for the encore. His solo was so seamless that I almost couldn't tell where it was.
Melissa Rycroft danced an almost unbelievably graceful Viennese Waltz, with a solo that was almost a ballet, it was so gorgeous. Why she didn't get a better score, I'll never know.
Emmitt Smith was rather open with his distain for country music, and it showed...especially in his solo. While the judges heaped praises on his solo during his rather off Foxtrot, I felt that the whole solo was making fun of country music. I'm sorry, but it's how I feel.
Then it was time for the All-Star Freestyle! I had two major disappointments with it. First of all, Big & Rich's "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" and Cowboy Troy's "Playing Chicken With a Train" are two of the absolute WORST songs in country music (or, in ANY music), and the freestyle was done to a Medley of the 2, with the artists performing there live. Second, if I see the "woman-dancer-straddling-pushup-doing-male-dancer" bit one more time, I may just scream. It's not particularly clever, and has been done to DEATH. Please, stop...just stop.
THAT said, the actual DANCING was fantastic! For the most part, everyone stayed relatively in-synch during the group dance. The pairs flew in from every which way. While Sabrina, Gilles and Apolo had the most impressive solos technically, the judges decided to go with the fun factor, and gave the extra points to Kirstie for her fun, silly and entertaining solo.
The Results show had musical guests Jason Mraz and - much to my daughter's delight - Taylor Swift. I had never heard Mraz before, and found him to be very good. I particularly liked his low-key approach. Taylor's performance was up to her usual standards, although host Tom Bergeron caught her off guard - and had me in stitches - with his Sean Connery connection joke.
Before the final results, the dancers got to choose a Fusion Dance for each other for next week's show. A "Fusion Dance" is literally two different styles done one right after the other. The lowest cumulative scorer got to choose for the couple that Tom drew from the Mirror Ball. Of course, one dancer would be sent home and not able to do their Fusion. It was also announced that, next week, due to the election, there will be no elimination.
The final results were a complete shocker: the bottom three were the Top 3 scorers: Apolo, Sabrina and Melissa. The sixth All-Star sent home was...Sabrina Bryan!
(Interesting note: it was in Week 6 that, in the most shocking elimination in the show's history, Sabrina Bryan was originally eliminated as well!)