Dancing With the Stars: Dazzle Me Steamy

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"Tonight is Latin night, and things are about to get steamy," Tom Bergeron intoned over the opening montage of last night's Dancing With the Stars. Half of that statement is true. This is week three, when the contestants sack up and start showing some real fire, or in the case of Tom "Dazzle Me Dreamy" DeLay, the creepy vibe you get off that old guy that shouldn't be at the bar hitting on your friends.

Lady Co-Host looked different. Like, a whole new person. Could this be possible? I couldn't pick her out of a line-up; all I know is brown hair, braying voice. I'll act under the assumption it's the same lady, but really, it doesn't matter.

Possibly bad news: It seems that Dazzle has developed a stress fracture from being a scummy old ratweasel dancing his wacky heart out, and Lady says it's been "touch and go" all day as to whether he'll dance and "how this will affect the competition." Um, it seems like if he doesn't dance, he'd kind of be forced to lose a dance contest, but you know reality TV. The real question: Does the injury count as a pre-existing condition?

Mark Dacascos, who I keep mentally referring to as "Kakistos," kicked things off with a bland grindy thing that would have been a rumba had it not been garishly paired with a weird reggaeish pop song. He took the best approach possible: try not to fall, let your partner do all the flourishes, remember to smile. Swimsuit model Joanna -- who looks like Jan Hooks if Jan Hooks had decided to be a stripper in Flagstaff -- just kind of hopped around. Mya apparently has an accent over the y, which MS Word won't even let me reproduce.

This whole show is like the "rock and roll" dance sequence from 1987's A Chipmunk Adventure, without a trace of irony. It's not even so much bad (well, it is) as it is curious. Who watches this show and actually gets invested in it? What's gone wrong in that person's life?

Snowboarder flirted with his partner in the behind-the-scenes stuff, which was disconcerting. "I can't wait to get on the floor with Chelsie and rock this romantic rumba," he said to the camera, but his line delivery was stilted. The least people on reality shows could do is learn their lines, you know? Then they danced to "Total Eclipse of the Heart," which doesn't sound normal to me unless it's being belted out by a crowd of drunks on karaoke night at Backstage.

Holy buckets, Paula Abdul and Lance Bass are in the audience! John intro'd an interview segment saying, "Lance Bass and I are here with our friend, Paula Abdul." Like they're just hanging out somewhere. John asked Paula what she thought of the show, and she barfed on his shoes and passed out. I saved it on my DVR.

But oh, Dazzle saved us all. After creepily stating his intent to dance by asking, "What's a little pain when you can party?" the old wall-eyed cheat went ahead with his performance. His striped shirt even had a Republican elephant on the back! The actual dance was his worst yet, too, just awkward and mincing and sad. Then again, if every disgraced elected official was forced to dance with broken feet on network TV, maybe this whole process would be a lot more fun. The guy even got a standing O, like he'd walked on the moon or something. Plus he got a 15 total score, which means he outscored other contestants! Unbelievable. They really want this guy around.

That's it for the contest round. Mya's in the lead with 27 points from the judges, while Michael Irvin is at the bottom with 14. That's right, a Hall of Fame wide receiver couldn't dance better than a retired politician with cracked bones. I'm scared of what he'll do when/if he gets eliminated. Bring on the results!

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