Mariolopez_karinasmirnoff_dancingstars3__3It’s Mario Lopez’s birthday (he’s 33), and the couples are instructed to "rock the rumba" and "shake the samba." Considering Vivica A. Fox’s sudden ejection from the competition last week, they had all better be on their toes.

Oops, things get off to a bit of a slow start. Somehow, Joey manages to make the "chicken move" that Edyta wants him to do work, but Carrie Ann sees a lot of mistakes and Len wants more spontaneity. It could be worse, but that 25 can’t feel good.

Willa is kind of fun in a rough-around-the-edges way. Thus, the rumba should be perfect for her. She takes the poise and elegance she learned last week for the waltz and tones down some of her trashier tendencies for a sexy, sultry peformance. Bruno dubs her the "Mistress of Tease" and Carrie Ann says that if she and Maksim "aren’t going out, you should." Willa adds fuel to the fire by telling Samantha that she and Maksim have "good chemistry no matter what we’re doing." Nines across the board add up to a 27.

Determined to the show the judges that she can be a "fun, party girl," Sara took to singing while practicing the samba this week. This loosens her up sufficiently to dodge criticisms for her previous dourness. Up four points from last week, she and Tony jump to a 24.

Hey, I call shenanigans. Birthday boy Mario and partner Karina may have gone directly from last week’s results show into the studio to practice the rumba, but that looked like some kissing on the chaise during their pool break. As for their dancing, Bruno says they’re the total "throbbing package," but Carrie Ann wants more breadth and fluidity to his movements. I’m not going to touch either of those comments. Like Willa, they score nines across the board.

Oh, Jerry Springer is still here. You know, it was over 30 years ago, but I just can’t look at him without thinking about how in 1974 a recently married Springer was caught in a police raid after paying a prostitute with a personal check. Hope that doesn’t spoil the sentimental moment of his learning the waltz for his daughter’s wedding for you. Anyway, the samba is definitely not his dance, but the judges give him points for being entertaining: 24 to be exact.

I don’t know what you call that final move, but Monique deserves high marks just for that. It was awesome. Carrie Ann would like her to be a little more "external," rather than "internal," but Monique and Louis still get the third 27 of the night.

Dancing has been taking its toll on Emmitt, but a visit to the chiropractor puts him back in fine form. He and Cheryl truly do shake the samba and the judges reward them with a rousing 27.

The Best: It’s a horse race between Willa, Mario, Monique and Emmitt.

The Not-So-Great: Thanks to a strong fanbase, Sara has dodged being in the bottom two thus far, despite low judge scores. Will her luck hold? How about Jerry’s? Even Joey might not be safe.

Tomorrow Night: Special guest Rod Stewart.

Next Week: Group disco freestyle dance.

Posted by:Brill Bundy

Brill Bundy has spent her entire career covering TV and pop culture. This is what happens when your parents try and limit your viewing habits to three shows a week. Likes: seasons with no more than 13 episodes, anti-heroes and binge-watching. Dislikes: when cartoon characters make out, when TV shows name check their titles, drawn out premieres and finales. TV words to live by: "If every porkchop was perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs."