Annie Barrett
May 11, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EDT

It’s not too late to dive into ABC’s quicksand-like cesspool of sequins. Season 8’s penultimate performance round begins tonight at 8 ET….liiiiiiiiive! Below, a crash course in Dancing With the Stars’ final four contestants

Shawn Johnson: Olympic gymnast/tiny dancer. She and partner Mark Ballas have taken to calling each other “baby,” but it may be because she’s only 17 and the producers WILL NOT LET US FORGET IT. Appears in dictionary next to the word “spry.” Smiley. Seems to have no concept of how badly the stylists consistently murder her hair. Routines would look phenomenal on a balance beam. Standout dance: Cha cha cha.

Gilles Marini: Naked guy from the Sex and the City movie. (Is what Kara DioGuardi would call a “package artist.”) Exhibits even less desire to wear clothes on TV than in the movie. Occasionally opts for sheer shirts as a middle ground. Tall. French. Hot. Humble. Can actually move hips. No one has any idea how popular he is. Could he be going home tomorrow instead of Ty? Standout dance: Argentine Tango.

Ty Murray: Cowboy. Adorable personality. Wears extra-furry leopard print robe at home and allowed this to be filmed. Cowboy. Prefers routines during which he can “hold on” to his partner Chelsie. Hardworking. Earnest as heck! Relatable. Cute. Cowboy. Performed hilarious, off-rhythm “solo” in which he “shook his hips” for his wife, Jewel. Cute. But. Come on. Can’t really dance. Standout dance: Lindy Hop.

Melissa Rycroft (pictured): Got dumped on national television, and don’t think they’ll let us forget that either! This season’s Brooke Burke: great dancer, hot-bodied, totally pleasant, [zzzzz]. Pretends to be shy in front of the cameras — and, to be fair, this is only her third reality show, so all the attention must be rough. Long-suffering partner Tony Dovolani may have a stroke if they lose. Standout dance: Samba.

Who are you rooting for? Who’s going home? And are you playing the DWTS drinking game correctly by taking a shot every time Samantha Harris burrowed one hand into the inexplicable pockets of her expensive evening gown?

More on Dancing With the Stars:
Carrie Ann Inaba’s blogs: Week 9, Week 8, Week 7, Week 6, Week 5, Week 4, Week 3, Week 2
Last week’s ‘DWTS’ elimination recap: Booted Booty
‘DWTS’: Season 8’s Crazy Costume Watch!

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