By the end of last night’s episode, it was pretty painfully clear which celebridancer would get the boot on the results show; Bruno Tonioli’s relentlessly harsh critique of Michael Bolton’s jive seemed to be the omen of the end of Bolton’s Dancing career, but there was a part of me that was hoping fan outrage at Tonioli’s cruelty would result in a pity-save of the singer and his professional partner Chelsie Hightower.
At the beginning of the results show, it seemed that head judge Len Goodman, as well as host Tom Bergeron, were still pretty much incensed at Tonioli’s treatment of Bolton, and the show started with Tonioli “defending” his comments from last night. Goodman, however, had no problem blatantly disagreeing with him as he told him that their job was not to tear people down, but to offer advice, encouragement, and deliver critiques with at least a pinch of something positive, which elicited applause from the audience.
I don’t think Tonioli should have been given the chance to try and “explain himself,” because he was out of line last night, and there should have been no doubt that he would not take back anything he said. Of course, no matter how encouraging it was to find out that not even his fellow judges supported his rudeness and cruelty, allowing the three of them to verbally duke it out on live television was a little bit unprofessional. Enough damage was done last night, and they probably could have spared Bolton the further embarrassment of continuing to talk about his dance.
It was, however, probably the most exciting moment of the show. After that, the usual parts of the show began to fall into place: the musical guests performing while the professional dancers got to show off – tonight’s guests were Janelle Monae and Seal – and they also featured a “Macy’s Stars of Dance” performance that was at once intriguing and also really kind of unsettling as the dancers displayed insane ranges of flexibility that often looked like a whole lot of double-jointedness. Sprinkled in among the dance performances were also the usual time-fillers: the backstage looks at the celebrities, the professionals, and what goes on to put the dances together week after week.
The eliminations – done in groups of three – weren’t very dramatic at all, even though Bergeron (and Brooke Burke, continuing on in her vein of insipid behavior) tried to make it seem that way. There was never any doubt. When Bolton and Hightower were revealed as one of the bottom two couples, it was obvious that the other couple – The Situation and Karina Smirnoff – would be the ones to go on in the competition. This was a results show that probably could have been five minutes long, if only to have given Bolton some of his dignity back.