Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
Co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet opened Dancing With the Stars' Week 3 performance show Monday promising "two major bombshell announcements."
And she wasn't talking about Sarah Palin in the audience sporting a sexy little black dress. Nor was she talking about the donkey that was mentioned on Twitter as being in the ballroom, but was never seen on TV.
One of the "bombshells" was that next Monday, Paula Abdul will be a guest judge, helping to score the dances. And the second was that on Tuesday's show, the celebs will be picking dance styles for each other for next week. (That's a bombshell?)
As for this week, the 11 all-stars were tasked with acting as creative directors of the routines for Iconic Dance Week, which meant each celeb picked a dance from a season in the past and had to update and re-work it. They were all feeling extra pressure because two celebs will be sent home on Tuesday's results show.
Here's how they fared with judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman:
Kelly Monaco opted to re-create a paso doble done by Maks Chmerkovskiy and Laila Ali in Season 4. Why? Because, Kelly told partner Val Chmerkovskiy: "I think you can do it better than your brother." With a traditional matador theme, Kelly twirled and marched around the floor, waving her skirt. The crowd loved it. Bruno said, "I'm tingling with pleasure." When it was Carrie Ann's turn, the camera cut away. Did she say something naughty or was there a wardrobe malfunction? If so, host Tom Bergeron didn't mention it. When the camera cut back to her, Carrie Ann said, "Val and Kelly, you are the couple to watch." Len cited their "focus." Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.
Melissa Rycroft worried about not playing it safe for her samba, done to Conga. (J.R. Martinez danced it last year.) And her fancy footwork paid off. Carrie Ann raved that it was "stellar." Len said she had "great technique." Bruno praised her complicated steps and difficult choreography. Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough picked a quickstep performed by Helio Castroneves in Season 5 and decided to break some rules by adding tricks and jumps. "We're definitely taking a risk," said Shawn during rehearsals. They performed last and blew the place away with flips, splits and high V-jumps and a fall into the orchestra pit at the end. "Wow," said Tom Bergeron. Carrie Ann was on her feet. Bruno said, "One of the best dances, if not THE best dance I've seen in 15 seasons." Carrie Ann shook her feet in the air. "That was by far the best dance we've ever seen," but she did say she had to slam them for breaking the rules. Len said it was fantastic but he said "in fairness" he was going to have to drop a point because they broke the rules. Scores: 9, 8, 9.5 = 26.5.
Gilles Marini resisted the whole idea of re-doing someone's dance. He wound up choosing Erin Andrews' tango from Season 10. But he wanted to do something that had never been done on the show before. "I want to fly." He added, "I want this dance to be iconic in its own right." So up he went, in a harness, flying -- more like dangling in a dream state -- above the stage to start his sexy tango with Peta Murgatroyd to Sweet Dreams. The audience loved it. Bruno: "That was strong, dominant, powerful - Fifty Shades of Gilles!" But he thought he "lost it" a couple of times. Carrie Ann said, "Wow. You are so good at the drama." But they were out of sync, she said. Len criticized his hold and his footwork, but loved his performance. Scores: 8, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.
Apolo Anton Ohno picked Gilles' foxtrot from Season 8 in 2009. "I'm trying to emulate Gilles' sexiness without taking my shirt off or showing my manboobs." Wearing a suit and tie, he was sure-footed and fluid, pulling partner Karina Smirnoff to him. Len loved his "musicality," but quibbled a bit about hold and footwork. Bruno thought it was "sensual and classic," but quibbled about his hands. Carrie Ann said it was a dance "we'll never forget." Scores: 9, 8, 8.5 = 25.5.
Sabrina Bryan, last week's top performer, picked Mel Brown's paso doble from Season 5. It was sharp, ending with a fling onto the floor that caused her strap to fall down (but we didn't see anything). Len loved her technique. Bruno said, "You're such a good dancer, my darling." Carrie Ann didn't think she "brought anything new" that we hadn't seen before, but acknowledged it was "outstanding dancing." Scores: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.5.
Helio Castroneves decided to re-create Apolo Anton Ohno's quickstep in Season 4. Wearing a zoot suit, he zoomed around the floor, but he got caught in partner Chelsie Hightower's dress at one point causing a minor flub. Carrie Ann said he was the "quickstep king," nonetheless. Bruno said it was "absolutely brilliant," but noted that Helio "lost it" a little after the dress problem. Scores: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.5.
Emmitt Smith chose a paso doble Mario Lopez did in Season 3. The NFL star turned on the charm, stomping around the floor, and ended the dance with a dramatic running slide move. Bruno: "You were so tough!" He criticized his shoulders. Carrie Ann called him "the human torpedo." Len loved his "attack," but would have liked "a tad more finesse." Scores: 8.5, 8, 8.5 = 25.
Drew Lachey decided to re-do Joey McIntyre's Cha-cha from Season 1 in 2005. Drew wanted to "completely make the entire number like a concert." Sporting a sleeveless hoodie, which was torn open by partner Anna Trebunskaya, her rocked his Cha-cha as brother Nick Lachey and wife Vanessa cheered him on from the audience. Len liked the "concept" and "content." Bruno said it was like "rock God goes Magic Mike." Carrie Ann said the "creative direction was great." Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24.
Kirstie Alley picked Carson Kressley's Moves Like Jagger Cha-cha from Season 13. Her plan: Maks would be Mick Jagger, popping out of a Mini Cooper in tight pants and no shirt (just a vest). And a bad shaggy wig. Their fun routine ended with him kissing her until she fainted. Carrie Ann said, "That was the most fun I've had all night." Len said she had "nice timing, good foot placement, the whole package." Bruno said Maks was "like an extra from boogie nights." Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24.
Bristol Palin was stinging from being in last place last week, and now she's there again. During rehearsals, she told her partner, USA TODAY blogger Mark Ballas, "I know you're bummed that you don't have Sabrina or Shawn." Chewing her gum and getting upset, she said, "I feel like you're bummed that you have me as a partner." Ballas defended himself, saying, "I've never not once stuck up for you." She accused him of not showing up for rehearsals, and then she started crying. "I feel like you want to go home. It's so weird." He said, "Don't be like that." And she walked out.
But they took the floor to dance a paso doble to re-create a 2009 dance done by Derek Hough and Joanna Krupa in a chess board motif. Len said the dance was Bristol's "best." Bruno said he "liked the concept" and agreed it was her "best dance." Carrie Ann thought her movements were "nice and fine and clean," but she needed to work on her expressions. "That was our first fight that we've ever had, so I'm glad that's out of the way," Bristol told Brooke Burke-Charvet. Ballas added that they "have gone past it." Scores 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 = 22.5.