SAN ANTONIO -

This week, the top seven couples all know they’ll be back next week (no elimination). However, the couples will have to compete in the first ever fusion dance – a performance combining two different types of dances. There’s also a swing competition with all the couples on the stage at the same time for a dance off! Before we see the all-stars dance, the DWTS Troupe show us how it’s done. Then, an unexpected time filler: the judges explain what they’re expecting from the dance fusion.

COUPLE: Apolo & Karina
DANCES: Cha Cha Cha & Paso Doble

I’m going to pretend like I don’t know what dances they’re supposed to be doing. I think it will confuse me less. Here goes! Why is Apolo dressed like a waiter who lost his shirt? The first half, it appeared Karina was doing most of the dancing. Then, they lost timing. Apolo kind of fumbled Karina. This was a hot mess! It was fast and frantic and even Apolo without a jacket wasn’t enough to redeem it for me.

Len said there was nothing safe about the dance. He thought it was crisp and clean. Bruno said the cha cha cha was clean and the paso doble was powerful. He called it triumphant. Carrie Ann said Apolo has never taken off his shirt before. She said she liked the approach of the two numbers and the transition. She said the dance started off strong and ended stronger. Maybe it looks different from the judges table?

SCORE: 27

COUPLE: Emmitt & Cheryl
DANCES: Samba & Rumba

OOOH! They’re pretty in pink! And they’re fun! I think Emmitt may have found his groove again! You could tell the differences in the dances, but it was blended like a non-lumpy milkshake (and that’s a good thing in my book).

Bruno said it was a smooth, balanced blend. He said Emmitt did it with such ease. Carrie Ann said Emmitt was in his head in the middle of the dance. Len said he didn’t think he could have done it as well as Emmitt.

SCORE: 27.5

COUPLE: Kirstie & Maks
DANCES: Quick Step & Samba

It makes me nervous when I see a star counting and that’s how Kirstie started off. In fact, it was a long while before I saw her stop counting and just dance. Oh, Kirstie! I wanted to love this. Instead, it looked like forced fun that wasn’t.

Carrie Ann said the second half fell apart. She liked the quick step half. Len said it was a nice mix, the quick step had go. He thought it was an admirable effort. Bruno said whatever Kirstie does is always entertaining. He thought the quick step wasn’t bad, then it lost timing when she took off her skirt.

SCORE: 24

COUPLE: Kelly & Val
DANCES: Cha Cha Cha & Fox Trot

This was another dance that started with one dance, then ended with another. I guess that was the easy (non-Emmitt) way of combining two different dance styles. Hmmm. I like it better when it looks like one dance not two in one. I didn’t love this. I didn’t hate it. Just meh.

Len said they captured the smoothness of the fox trot with the crispness of the cha cha cha. He said there was a little incident in the beginning of the dance. Bruno said Kelly’s booty was working overtime. He said the dance had the sophistication of the fox trot and the cheekiness of the cha cha cha. Carrie Ann said Kelly recovered from a misstep at the beginning. She said it was beautiful. Clearly I’m wearing Len’s old cranky pants.

SCORE: 27

COUPLE: Melissa & Tony
DANCES: Cha Cha Cha & Tango

This started off very tango, then Melissa changed costume and got cheeky with her cha cha cha. If she hadn’t hid behind the smoke for that change, I might not have minded, but it was a waste of a few valuable seconds. The transition to tango at the end was pretty good. Her dance was full of kicks. And fun!

Bruno said Melissa was on fire. He said the shapes in tango were sharp and she was sexy in her cha cha cha. Carrie Ann said Melissa is a star. She loved the transition. Len said the dances were beautifully defined. He loved the way it was all put together.

SCORE: 29 (Carrie Ann gave them a 10)

COUPLE: Shawn & Derek
DANCES: Tango & Paso Doble

Derek has a neck injury, so he’s sitting out. Mark stepped in to dance for Derek (he was Shawn’s partner the first time she was on the show). Shawn’s also still dealing with her knee injury. Oh! Now THIS is how you blend two dances! This was not simple choreography. It was perfectly seamless! If this does not get a perfect score, I don’t know what will!

Carrie Ann said if there’s a picture or video of what dance fusion is supposed to be in the dictionary, that was it. Len said it was a firecracker – the tango was the fierce and the paso doble was the explosion. Bruno said as fusions go, it was flawless. He said the two dances were performed to the maximum purity.

SCORE: 30