If you thought the Dancing with the Stars season 17 premiere was muy caliente, tonight will be even mas. The 12 couples will all perform again (and it’s Latin Night, in case my awesome Spanglish wasn’t obvious) and one will be eliminated at the end of the noche.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Latin Night and the First Elimination

Will this new format help the show maintain strong ratings against The Voice, which just won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition? Or will the appeal of Emmy-winning choreographer Derek Hough reign supreme (as I suspect he will on the leaderboard with Amber Riley)?

There isn’t a second to lose, so join me for this exciting two hours of hot Latin dancing action complete with Rumbas and my single favorite dance of all-time, the Paso Doble.

Vivo de Hollywood…es Bailando con las Estrellas!

I’m not a fan of these group dance introductions. I miss the old music with the awesome voiceover guy as the couples descended the staircase.

Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy: Samba

After a beautiful contemporary routine, this week is all about the passion. She moves with fiery speed and precision. This should easily cement herself as a serious contender and frontrunner. Len Goodman says it’s close to perfect and calls her “Queen Elizabeth.” They all praise how many of the difficult moves she got right. A very sweaty Val takes all the blame and does a great job supporting his partner.

Judges’ Scores: 8+9+8=25
Two Week Total: 24+25=49

Christina Milian and Mark Ballas: Paso Doble

It’s a  king and Queen theme with big ferocity, which is what I want in a Paso. It’s definitely fast with great musicality to Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” I feel like this entire dance is a response to my complaints about her dullness last wee. Definitely an improvement with lots of attitude.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+8=25
Two Week Total: 22+25=47

Wow, two dances and two 25s, these judges are in a great mood.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: Jive

Uh-oh, the other stars doing the Jive are Amber and Corbin. Emma’s plan is to steal Derek Hough’s choreography. Pretty sneaky. Bill is a tad stiff, but he’s got some crazy feet and, just like last week, he’s a whole lot better than I ever would’ve imagined he’d be. Carrie Ann Inaba thought it was the most fun of the night, but with some funky footwork.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7=21
Two Week Total: 18+21=39

That’s a generous score based mostly on entertainment value. If a different star had done that, there would be 6s and 5s.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: Rumba

It’s supposed to be sensual, which Jack has trouble with. His mom shows up during rehearsals, and doing a sexy dance in front of your mom is awkward. The performance itself is incredibly steamy and Jack is quite great, especially doing a nice split. Len thinks he does weird things with his hands, but for the most part the judges are positive. Carrie Ann thinks he comes from Game of Thrones times. Yeah, I could see him as Robb Stark or Jon Snow, which would make Ozzy and Sharon Ned and Catelyn.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
Two Week Total: 23+24=47

Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess: Samba

He knows he’s the underdog, but this isn’t the comeback story he was hoping for. He lumbers around the ballroom like Frankenstein’s monster, and a moment when he motorboats Sharna feels desperate. I stand by my prediction that he’s going home later tonight. During the criticism he starts to get emotional about how far he’s come, because he probably agrees with me that he’s in serious danger.

Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6=18
Two Week Total: 17+18=35

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Sasha Farber: Rumba

Tom Bergeron is still trying to make “Snoocole” happen, or as I call her, “Snook-Hole.” It’s not as funny as Tom thinks it is. The routine is about a man who makes a mistake and asks his woman for forgiveness. Snooki assumes he killed someone or went to jail or had multiple affairs. She’s worried about getting too sexy with Sasha.

Who is this woman? Because she’s pretty and sensual, and it’s not at all what I expect from Snooki. Motherhood has done wonders for her. The judges didn’t like it as much as I did, complaining about a lack of fluidity. Carrie Ann is on Lift Patrol and sounds her siren. Basically, it was pretty, but too staccato and lacked character.

Judges’ Scores: 6+7+7=20
Two Week Total: 23+20=43

Aww, poor Snook-Hole, she’s the first person to do worse than she did in week 1.

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani: Samba

During rehearsals, Leah reveals her fears that the Church of Scientology wants her to fail so they can say it’s because she left. I think “I was sabotaged by Lord Xenu” should be the new “The dog ate my homework.” The performance itself is kind of dull for me. It seems stiff and she lacks the Latin fire I want, but the judges love it. I need to pull out my E-Meter, because something is wrong with the judges’ Thetan levels.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
Two Week Total: 21+24=45

Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein: Paso Doble

Hot Knowledge is OK with all the negativity from the judges because they know they have the fans on their side. A bunch of MENSA members in lab coats are in the audience for support. Bill is dressed as Beethoven, and it’s a wonderfully funny routine, but the dancing is still not very good. He’s definitely a master of creating characters and memorable routines. Bruno Tonioli gives the backhanded compliment of being shocked that there was actually some dancing in there.

Judges’ Scores: 6+5+6=17
Two Week Total: 14+17=31

He stayed within 4 points of Keyshawn, which might be all he needs with all the love he’s getting.

Guest Judges

Len Goodman is going to take a few weeks off this season, so they’ll bring in guest judges, including Julianne Hough in two weeks! Um, that’s gonna be awkward with her judging her brother. But I’m excited.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: Jive

Since they’re dancing to One Direction, they go for the full High School Musical feel. It’s energetic and a ton of fun. Seriously, this kid is way, way too good to be on this show. He’s jumping, jiving and wailing all over the place and it’s so freaking good. Corbin got to third base with Len, which sounds so dirty and so wrong. Corbin does say that he got lucky with these first two dances, but once he gets into things like the Quickstep, it will probably get more difficult.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9=26
Two Week Total: 24+26=50

Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus: Paso Doble

Her knee gave her some trouble during rehearsal, but she’s working through the pain. She puts it in perspective, saying she’s 74 with terminal brain cancer, so she’s not about to let a little knee sprain stop her. I love her so much because she embraces the fact that she’s playing with house money. The dance is spicy and fun, but it’s obvious she missed a lot of steps and seemed totally lost. Carrie Ann is willing to call Valerie out on forgetting at least one-third of the dance, but only because she knows Valerie wants to be judged just like everyone else.

Judges’ Scores: 6+6+7=19
Two Week Total: 21+19=40

Seriously? You can forget one-third of your steps and still get a 19? I know she’s an inspiration, but that dance deserves a 16 at the most.

Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd: Rumba

The sexiest couple of the season is back for another sexy dance. You gotta have a gimmick, and these two know that sex appeal is theirs, so I’m fine that they play it up every week. Their strategy is to have Brant stare at Carrie Ann as Peta undresses him. It’s definitely steamy, and by the end I feel like I need a cigarette and a cold shower. Carrie Ann correctly points out that these two are more than just sexual chemistry, he also has great moves. She and Len get into a fight over the fluidity.

Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8=23
Two Week Total: 22+23=45

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: Jive

There’s a concern that the Jive will cause Amber’s bouncing breasts to knock Derek out. The dance is good, but she definitely set the bar too high last week. Her feet seem a little slow and off to me, but it’s still energetic. The judges all agree that her feet were the biggest problem.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
Two Week Total: 27+24=51

The Two Week Leaderboard

51: Amber Riley
50: Corbin Bleu
49: Elizabeth Berkley
47: Christina Milian, Jack Osbourne
45: Brant Daugherty, Leah Remini
43: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
40: Valerie Harper
39: Bill Engvall
35: Keyshawn Johnson
31: Bill Nye

The First Elimination

Corbin and Karina are…SAFE
Leah and Tony are…SAFE
Bill Nye and Tyne are…SAFE
Christina and Mark are…SAFE
Amber and Derek are…SAFE
Valerie and Tristan are…SAFE
Snooki and Sasha are…SAFE
Jack and Cheryl are…SAFE
Brant and Peta are…SAFE

So that leaves Elizabeth and Val (no way they go home), plus Keyshawn and Sharna (my pick) and Bill Engvall and Emma as the last three. It’s funny that Dancing with the Stars is proving that every hour-long results show for any reality competition can be condensed into less than 15 minutes if you just read the names all in a row.

Elizabeth and Val are…SAFE

Whew. Since I picked them to win, it would’ve been embarrassing if they went out first. We learn that Bill and Keyshawn don’t necessarily have the two lowest combined scores.

Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess are eliminated!

I was right! Also, I’m not sad because he was the least entertaining as far as I’m concerned. But it’s stunning, because NFL stars typically do extremely well, so for him to be the first dancer gone is an embarrassment. In fact, as far as I can tell, no NFL player has ever been eliminated in the first six weeks, let alone first. But I think it’s also an indication of how strong the field is this season.

Next week the dances will salute Hollywood. I predict Brant and Peta’s dance will start with them sitting at a pottery wheel as “Unchained Melody” begins to play.

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.