Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: 27/30 "This is cool. It hurts, but it's cool," said Corbin re: the paso doble. (I say generally the same thing whenever people ask me to explain my love of Dancing With the Stars!) This dance really made us appreciate the pairing of Karina, who to me is the best female choreographer, with a guy who's basically a pro already. No one is buying that "I see some hip hop in there" crap, Carrie Ann, especially not two weeks in a row. She strove to make this paso "as traditional and technical as it could possibly be." Somewhere over the pond, DANCMSTR Len Goodman just shuddered with delight and had no idea why.
This paso doble really kicked in about two-thirds through, for me -- before that, I was somewhat dismayed that Karina's deep red ruffled gown was blurring into the background. I know it's supposed to be about him, but I always want to see 'em both. Suddenly the shots zoomed in, the orchestra sped up, and we saw about a zillion intricacies just bam, bam, bam, one after the other. They ended with this incredible high kick by Corbin that took Karina's neck down to the floor with it. "Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing no gimmicks," said the judge in the middle. My my, Len, how your side boob has grown.
Amber Riley and Derek Hough: 27/30 I sort of hate this tango for making Kanye West seem ballroom-appropriate to me. Never thought I'd see the day. The non-Harold Wheeler music, dramatic lighting, and especially Amber's costume all contributed to an eye-popping routine I wasn't expecting after Amber spent the rehearsal footage in tears over her injured knees. Everything about that dress worked for her -- the sheer black sleeves, the two panels jutting out from the hips, and a skirt long enough to hide those big honkin' knee braces. Only Derek could take a hobbling crier and somehow whip up a production this fierce. I mean, look at this quote: "I can't really support my own weight on my knees." Insane!
"I was hoping something would go terribly wrong, so I wouldn't get in trouble," said Julianne -- you know, for up-scoring her own brother. "You were so, like, a tight little explosion that hadn't exploded," she told Amber. I don't even wanna know where Bruno's head was during that comment.
Just gotta highlight this choice pause on my DVR:
Sharna Burgess is a freaking force of nature. I love her so much!
NEXT: A lifetime of hating Mark's fashion hats has geared Julianne up for this moment