Photo Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor
Jack Osbourne may have been speaking for all the contestants of Dancing with the Stars, Week 7, when he complained about feeling tired. "I think I have a little of the midseason blues," he said, early in the show. "The dances are longer, and now we have two dances. It's pretty heavy." In the rehearsal footage, Elizabeth Berkley fought with her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy; Amber Riley and Derek Hough both groaned from the pain of injuries; and Snooki proclaimed, "My brain feels like scrambled eggs."
But they can't fool us anymore with their expectations-lowering ploys. Nearly all of the eight remaining couples nailed their dance steps, and a few of them had the judges (well, Carrie Ann Inaba) shrieking in delight.
And all the contestants showed creativity and spunk during the second half of the show, when they divided into two teams and then faced off in a group competition. (The pairs each earned the score that the judges gave to their group.) Each team was assigned a wacky song, which in turn inspired the team names, Team Spooky Bom Bom and the Foxing Awesomes. Though Team Spooky's zombies-in-a-graveyard extravaganza was highly entertaining (and received a 27 score), the Derek Hough-led Foxing Awesomes scored a perfect 30. Here are some other highlights:
Best line of the night: "I'm about one shot glass away from mispronouncing that," cracked Tom Bergeron when announcing the name of the winning team, the Foxing Awesomes. By the way, let's pause and commend DWTS for figuring out a way to incorporate "What Does The Fox Say?" into the show. (Who didn't see that one coming?)
Best dance performance: Riley and Hough "lit the ballroom up" (Inaba's words) with their bullfighting-themed pasa doble. This, of course, came after Riley complained throughout the rehearsal footage that she was "in pain" and "just frustrated" and "can't think." We're on to you, Amber. You always crush it; there's no need to pretend you won't.
Most fun performance: Brant Dougherty and Peta Murgatroyd scored triple 9s for their super-fast-paced jive, but not before bashing their triple-decker ice cream cones into one another's faces. So cute!
Most lovable contestant: Underdog Osbourne earned a 10 (and a total of 27) for his jive with Cheryl Burke. He also got to keep the 10 paddle, since Inaba broke the handle while hoisting it up. "I'm built for comfort, not speed," he said, holding the paddle to his heart. "So this is a big deal!"
Who went home: The genuinely high-scoring Snooki was the contestant viewers sent packing -- which was yet another reminder that this contest is about popularity as well as dance skills. (Her dancing has been far superior to, say, that of Bill Engvall.) "This is one of the hardest ones we've had to deal with in a while," said Bergeron, as a fake-bloodied, walking dead-like Snooki cried in earnest. "Why am I leaving as a zombie?" she sobbed. Ah, show business. So cruel!
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Google+.