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‘Dancing’ results: More filler than a Twinkie

The Wednesday results show is always a rough go for ‘Dancing With The Stars’. As difficult as it is to drag 10 dances out over two hours on a Tuesday night (one dance every 12 minutes), it’s even harder to drag zero dances out over one hour.

The Wednesday results show is always a rough go for “Dancing With The Stars” (ABC, Tuesdays/Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET). As difficult as it is to drag 10 dances out over two hours on a Tuesday night (one dance every 12 minutes), it’s even harder to drag zero dances out over one hour.

Of course, “no dances” means “no competitive dances,” but not quite “no dances.” It means, among other things, that Joey Lawrence and partner Edyta — who has to think she’s living the good life after spending the last two seasons dancing with Evander Holyfield and George Hamilton — repeat their quickstep at the request of the judges. This week, given that the couple had received the first 10s of the season and been crowned the obvious winners of the night, that they would get the encore performance seemed like a foregone conclusion. Still, it was fun to see Joey’s nearly manic energy, which has only increased as a result of the confidence he gained from Tuesday night’s strong showing.

Just as Tom Bergeron promised on Tuesday night, we also got to see a group jive by the celebrities’ professional partners, performed to the house band’s well-intentioned rendition of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” The dance itself was impressively kinetic and certainly imposingly aerobic, but it felt like both a waste of the jive and a waste of “Rebel Yell,” as the song and the dance were markedly ill-suited to each other.

Another one of the new season’s time-fillers is the audience feedback segment, in which those who were “lucky” enough to see the dancers do their stuff live offer their opinions about the performances. Unfortunately, the segment has fallen flat both last week and this week, as the show is too generously inclined toward its participants to show anyone saying anything genuinely negative. A clump of fans lining up just to proclaim in rehearsed chirps that Mario Lopez “has it going on” do not contribute very much to the entertainment.

When the first three couples were finally pronounced safe from elimination, the script was a repeat of last week’s, where two of the safe celebrities were not entirely surprising (Joey and Emmitt Smith) and the other was something of a head-scratcher (country singer and apparent non-mambo enthusiast Sara Evans). If Sara’s fans are formidable enough to protect her during a week when she struggled with a wiggling Latin dance, it’s safe to assume she isn’t going anywhere soon.

The filler gets oilyAnd then: Julio Iglesias. Following in the footsteps of last week’s performance by Tom Jones, Iglesias showed up to accompany a rumba by professional dancers Cheryl and Maksim. He apparently has a new album of romantic covers out, and he offered ‘80s relic “I Want To Know What Love Is.” Between this show and “American Idol,” the light hits of 1980 to 1995 certainly can’t claim they haven’t been given every opportunity at a renaissance. His rendition was so oily that it could have slid across the floor on its own, making the results shows two-for-two in offering awkward visions of aging practitioners of the music of love, both of whom were corny even before they entered the realm of self-parody where they currently reside.

You will recall that in the Slim-Fast Dance Challenge, we are following the adventures of dance student and shake drinker Tysonia, who this week encountered the tango. In the segment’s undeniable highlight, Tysonia was taught proper head position by being forced to peer at her trainer through intentionally misapplied false eyelashes. It may sound like insanity, but Tysonia’s partner is a professional, so if he says eyelashes, then eyelashes it is. Come to think of it, that may be exactly what Harry Hamlin needs to loosen up and find his inner Astaire. Between that and Tuesday night’s laughter yoga, Harry would almost surely rise to the top, or at least he would look gorgeous at the bottom.

After the professional jive and the professional rumba, there was a professional tango even more tangential to the show, as the dancers weren’t even ones who regularly appear as celebrities’ partners. Undoubtedly, the tango was technically skilled and would score high in competition, but in offering several minutes of a discipline few are familiar with performed by dancers few have heard of, “Dancing” is probably overestimating its viewers’ true passion for quality ballroom dancing and underestimating the importance of familiar personalities and the possibility that Jerry Springer will pull a hamstring.

The unwelcome return of TuckerNext, and perhaps inevitably, was the unwelcome return of Tucker Carlson, booted last week to the relief of many and back this week to the delight of none. He sat down for a “hard-hitting” interview with the judges, in which he questioned them about the scoring system and got them to admit the scandalous truth that they consider both technique and presentation in scoring the dances. To borrow from Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?” doesn’t even begin to describe it. If this show had a doctor, the prescription would be 100 percent less Tucker Carlson, even if it meant filling the time with footage of Jerry Springer soaking his feet.

Two more celebrities were told that they were safe from being eliminated: Monique Coleman and Harry himself. Harry’s partner Ashly proved that if nothing else, she is certainly the loudest and most celebratory of the professional dancers. And then there were even more commercials.

When the bottom two were finally announced, Vivica was safe. Willa was kicked to the bottom two. Jerry was safe. So the other spot in the final two came down to Shanna Moakler and last week’s darling, Mario Lopez. Unsurprisingly, given Mario’s high level of talent in spite of his poorly chosen routine, Shanna was in the bottom two. So Mario will be back next week, and one suspects that he will perhaps do the dance that’s assigned.

When it was all over (after another commercial break), Shanna was eliminated. It was unsurprising and therefore anticlimactic that it would come down to those two women, and that Shanna would exit. Just another week at the mercy of the fickle public. Next week: tango and jive. If you’re not hoping it’s the men doing the jive, you may not have fully explored the comedic possibilities presented by the rhythm-impaired Harry Hamlin.

Linda Holmes is a writer in Bloomington, Minn.