''Dancing With the Stars'': Halloween treats
Boo! What's that creeping up on me? No, it's not a goblin, ghost, goon, or the ever-present specter of Lisa Rinna it's Halloween night on Dancing With the Stars! I have to hand it to them for making the most of the holiday. If this were So You Think You Can Dance, Nigel Lythgoe would have celebrated by calling Halloween ''Ameriker's favorite holiday'' once every two minutes. Instead, DWTS went for the details: mandatory fangs, masks, frighteningly horrible music, thigh-high hooker boots it was all there.
Referring to musical director Harold Wheeler as the ''Phantom of the Orchestra'' was particularly apt. But my personal favorite extra Halloween touch was the stuffed spider hanging backstage, situated so that an attack on Samantha Harris' bobblehead was never outside the realm of possibility. I so desperately wanted that thing to come alive.
Monique Coleman got the boot. Not a total shocker, since the judges kind of hate her and someone made her dress up like Slimer from Ghostbusters for her cha-cha (she and Louis danced to the theme from the movie). Actually, not Slimer. She was more like the concept of slime itself, a new and improved house blend with fake crushed diamonds, black lipstick, and a weave! Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd wouldn't know where to begin fumigating that shiz. Maybe Monique's fan base was too busy trading chocolate-based for fruit-based candy with their siblings, post-trick-or-treating, to bother to vote for her. (Go for the chocolate!) It's a shame Monique had to leave, but someone had to, and it might as well have been the girl doing the most difficult routines in the most difficult shoes to the most laughably difficult music. Why not?
In the judges' voting, Monique finished only one point behind Joey Lawrence and Emmitt Smith, who tied for second this week. Emmitt's rumba was one point shy of a perfect score, even though Len Goodman claimed it deserved an 11. The routine was definitely well executed (I almost missed the part where Cheryl accidentally grabbed Emmitt's crotch thank God for DVR), but I personally preferred his first dance, a foxtrot. Len and Bruno complained that it was barely a foxtrot, but I liked the variety of the steps and the classy song. (It was ''Witchcraft'' yeah, it sounds ridiculous, but if you saw the whole show, you'd understand that this one was somehow the least dumb of the bunch.) Emmitt's in a good position to take home the trophy, as he's arguably the most endearing of the three men. And being unable to relieve oneself without counting out the beat can only help.
Joey is inching his merry way up there, too. He and Edyta danced the paso doble and a clonky tango set to the Addams Family theme song. As Tom Bergeron suggested, Uncle Fester was missing a lightbulb in his mouth. But I didn't mind, because I was too mesmerized by the neon green screensaver of a moving skeletal system displayed in the background during this dance. I'm obsessed with why the producers feel the need to overload us with colorful imagery everywhere, all the time. I love it; it's just really weird. For Joey's paso doble, set to (I'm sorry to have to remind you) ''Sympathy for the Devil,'' the screen featured just a blinking skull. This was actually great because we got to focus more on the costumes. Edyta dressed as herself: slutty-looking competitive dancer. (I love Edyta! Just not her wardrobe. Or that unnecessary bad-'80s-perm wig.) Joey's ''costume'' was definitely supposed to be something, but I don't know what. The pants-tucked-into-boots thing made his legs look like tweezers slimming down gradually from the thigh to the floor. Maybe his tiny pincer feet can address his eyebrows by next week. Joey's dances were both solid, as they've been all season. He's in a good position to finish in second place.
Finally, there's top-scoring Mario. ''Supersonic, supercharged Super Mario's at it again,'' said Bruno Tonioli. I'd sort of like to meet the guy responsible for writing Bruno's quasi-catchy opening phrases during judging. (My first and only question: ''What the f---?'') Mario's dances earned half 9s and half 10s. At least in the judges' eyes, he's the front-runner heading into next week's semis, but I'd argue that like Stacy last season, Mario only appears to be in the lead, and his popular vote may not be enough next week. I really enjoyed watching Karina dance this week that woman is crazy good. And crazy random: At one key point during a stressful rehearsal, she blurted out, ''Is there any reason why your head looks like a pigeon?'' I honestly can't see the physical similarity between these two species (Mario: annoying bird that just won't go away?), but I did want to ask Mario after his performances, ''Is there any reason why you're wearing more black eyeliner than your partner?''
Oh yeah, and peeps returned from the grave! How I've missed Anna Tre-bun-skaya, who showed up in Tuesday's audience. And Willa Ford came back with a growl-tastic rendition of ''Fame'' to accompany the professionals' exhibition. The lyrics were perfect: ''Don't you know who I am?'' (No.) ''Remember my name.'' (Maybe.) We ain't seen the best of her yet....
Jerry's final thought: ''I'm seated, and it's awesome!''
What do you think? Are you happy with the final three? Will Joey wear the maybe-a-pirate costume again because the judges couldn't shut up about it? And isn't every night Halloween on this show anyway?