Dancing With the Stars recap: Laughter in the Pain

Julianne Hough returns with some bigger hair; a final four couple says goodbye
Ep. 17 | Aired May 15, 2012

OUCH Maria and Derek count their injuries one last time.

ABC

I can't believe it's not crying! After a "night of triumph" in Monday's semifinals, robotic-giggle-generator/professional tearjerker Maria Menounos and her partner Derek Hough headed home from the Dancing With the Stars ballroom. The overlords of Planet Mirrorballus (viewers like you) have decided Maria is not an asset to the Danceton Abbey. She seemed completely at peace with this by the time Tom announced her fate and she remained miraculously dry-eyed throughout their final chat, in which she wholeheartedly acknowledged "I wouldn't have made it this far without [Derek's] amazing talents and choreography." Nice!

At least now Derek will get to stop disappearing into mirrorwalls to avoid rehearsal studio stress.

I don't think it's a shock that Maria and Derek headed home despite earning Monday's top scores. Just three points separated the top and bottom couples, and no matter who went home, we had the satisfaction of a very competitive final four. This was all up to viewer votes -- any elimination would have been upsetting. Take it from Tom, who stalled to point out the harsh truth as Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd stood "in jeopardy" with Maria and Derek: "No matter which way this goes, it's gonna suck."

We still have no idea "whose fault" Katherine Jenkins' slip-up was during Monday night's salsa -- and I think it's absurd to try and investigate it any further. I never want to see that footage again! But we saw it twice more in slow-motion -- a good chance to live vicariously through the TV screen and imagine our own backs spasming out at any given frame. What fun for everyone.

Katherine looked terrified before she and Mark were announced as safe 10 minutes into the show, but then they practically danced an exhibition Latin routine -- the ya ya ya? -- in celebration of their place in the finals. So it looks like she's physically fine. Dr. Bergeron's prognosis: positive. There was something in the grassy knoll.

Julianne Hough -- long-lost dance pro, acclaimed rocker of ages, and Ryan Seacrest's girlfriend (I always need a few extra seconds to let that sink in...and then bobble back up to the surface) -- returned to the ballroom to thrash around and wail with none other than Mary J. Freaking Blige and costar Diego Boneta in a plug for Rock of Ages. This performance was hilarious and so complicated staging-wise that I couldn't believe it was really liiiiiiiiiiiiive.

But it was! Tom even got to interview Julianne's '80s hair after the group number. I initially typed that as "grope number" which I think would have been fairly accurate as well. I'm glad Julianne wore a seafoam (the universal color of rock and roll) fringed bodysuit to distinguish herself as Our Pro from the other talented dancers. Dynamo choreographer Mia Michaels was responsible for this number, so that might explain why I rewound it three times to relive its general momentum and ridiculata.

NEXT: The Top 7 ("seh-vehhhhhn!") moments of the results show

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