Can Monique and Vivica keep their edge? Will Mario and Joey abandon their judge-tweaking but crowd-pleasing ways? Can Emmitt get his groove back? Don’t you hate it when people ask a bunch of questions in a row? Star-studded, cheez-tastic Dancing with the Stars play-by-play, presently:

Moniquecoleman_louisvanamstel_dancingsta Given the energy Monique and Louis have shown previously, I figured Monique might do the paso doble tonight, but she opts instead for the waltz, and technically she’s fine, but the mournful song is kind of a downer. The judges like her, though, and give her a solid 24.

Ex-Cowboy Emmitt is trying to channel a bullfighter with his paso doble, and in case he doesn’t quite get the matador thing, Cheryl takes him to the Texas State Fair to meet an actual bull (and hey, Emmitt and Cheryl are both Tauruses). It kinda worked, too: This is a pretty fun performance, and he matches Monique’s 24.

Willa and Maksim ride a carousel to get a feel for the rise-and-fall that characterizes the waltz. It was a good choice for her to go more elegant than sexy, and she really glides across the floor (just ask Shannon Elizabeth, who’s in the audience and has a big smile on her face). The judges are euphoric, and "Willa the Thrilla" (eesh) gets her first 10, from Bruno, en route to a 28. Fortunately for her, the judges don’t see her goofy "I can be a lady" face afterward; otherwise they might have deducted a point or two.

Tony is concerned that Sara is too nice for a "mean" dance like the paso doble, but she vows to be the "best cape I can be." A ruffly, sparkly cape, apparently. She doesn’t appear as into it as Emmitt, was, though, maybe because the male is the real star of this dance. And the judges? Not so much: just a 20 for the country girl.

Kymjohnson_jerryspringer_dancingstars3_2_2Jerry has gotten his wish, and gets to waltz with Kym as preparation for dancing with his daughter (in the audience tonight) at her wedding. And the big lug is all teary and sweet — how can you not like that? The dance isn’t bad either. The judges all say they’re moved but award him only a 22. But the score doesn’t really count here, does it?

Vivica is channeling Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zorro this week, which I guess would make her partner Nick Antonio Banderas. She’s dancing to a godawful arrangement of Bon Jovi’s "It’s My Life," which is seriously distracting, but she stalks the floor pretty well. Carl Lewis likes it, anyway. The judges find a few little nits to pick, enough to knock her down from 27 last week to a 24 this time.

Joey and Edyta chill out with the Lawrence family as preparation for their waltz. The singer’s voice cracks on the opening line of the Eagles’ "Take It to the Limit," but that apparently doesn’t distract our couple. They also manage not to flout any ballroom rules this time, which helps get them back in the judges’ good graces, to the tune of a very strong 27.

Mario has a spangly scorpion on the back of his jacket tonight. Is he trying to tell us that, like in the story about the scorpion and the frog, that it’s in his nature to break rules? Guess not. He and Karina stay on the floor tonight, and the dance is pretty damn hot. Eva Longoria, in a "Vote for Mario" shirt, is digging it, and Bruno and Carrie Ann are too. Len, less so, but only by a point: Two 10s give him the night’s top score, 29.

The night’s best: Mario and Joey rise to the top again, with Willa right there too and Emmitt making a comeback.

Good night, and good luck: Sara and Monique are gonna need some serious viewer love to move on.

Posted by:Rick Porter