Shortly after receiving the honor of the encore dance for their weird robot-inspired paso doble, Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough became the first couple put through to the semifinals. To no one's surprise, Mya and Dmitry Chaplin were next to be declared safe, followed by Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson. That left only Kelly Osbourne and Louis van Amstel and Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff.
The judges have liked Aaron better overall, but on Monday night, he finished a point behind Kelly. Would it make a difference? It may have, because it was Aaron and his partner Karina Smirnoff who fell just short of the semifinals and were eliminated. Aaron spoke about all the lessons he learned, and judge Len Goodman congratulated him on all his hard work, but ultimately, he was done.
The Super Bowl of filler: Every season, the best segment of all is DanceCenter, a mutated version of SportsCenter featuring former “Dancing” contestants Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice, with help from Len. There were the usual marvelously barbed throwaway jokes (Donny’s age was listed as “Timeless,” and one of Aaron’s weaknesses was shown as “Crybaby”), and Kenny's stubbornly grouchy assessments of everything from the large number of contestants to Aaron's having “the lowest pain threshold of any man I've ever seen in my life” were as delightful as ever.
Singers do their thing: The show went with classics — sort of — for the live performances, featuring popular crooner Michael Buble. Having Buble sing while Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Jonathan Roberts, Anna Trebunskaya and Cheryl Burke are dancing isn't a bad weeknight diversion, if you like your pitches to be right over the plate. Buble predictably returned later with his popular rendition of “Feelin’ Good,” and while there are those who find him a pale imitation of, say, Nina Simone, many of them probably do not watch “Dancing With The Stars” to begin with, so that was probably an effective audience-pleaser as well.
But the big gun, publicity-wise, was Susan Boyle singing her much-discussed and now much-parodied “Britain's Got Talent” offering, “I Dreamed A Dream.” Interestingly, Boyle has changed her interpretation of the song considerably since the Performance That Launched A Million YouTube Pageviews, and what she did on Tuesday night was far more nuanced and expressive than what she did the first time around. She may have had a rough time since her original appearance, but she seems to be rallying.
As you like it: A long gimmick finally came to a conclusion as, in keeping with the wishes of online voters, Sabrina Bryan returned to dance the paso doble to “Eye Of The Tiger” with her former partner, Mark Ballas. Mark is hard to take seriously after the performance last week by the “band” he and Derek Hough have formed, and one oddly choreographed “catlike” move went horribly awry, but overall, it was a satisfactory paso doble, presumably, for those who voted to see it.
Linda Holmes is a frequent contributor to msnbc.com.