‘Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars’ review: Bristol Palin, Mark Ballas have it out

“Dancing with the Stars” did something that turned out to be surprisingly fun on the show Monday night: not only did the contestants all perform routines that were done on the show before, but they reinvented them courtesy of some new choreography, wardrobe, and set design. It was easily one of the more creative weeks of the season, and the celebrities seemed to embrace it based on some of their scores.

Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya – This was a rather interesting dance, mostly in that we saw Drew take on something from Joey McIntyre all the way back in the first season. We’re not sure if anyone actually remembers this original dance, but it was solid … though we have a feeling it may be forgotten over the course of the night. Score: 24

Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd – There were a pair of interesting elements to this dance. First, Gilles did a great routine from Erin Andrews back from a few years ago … but he actually did not seem that thrilled about doing someone else’s dance. Then, he seemed annoyed that Apolo was doing one of his dances. This was a slight distraction from his tango, which actually was rather good. Score: 25.5

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani – You may not really remember who Melissa Rycroft is unless you are a “Bachelor” fan, but there’s denying this reinvent of an already-great J.R. Martinez samba was something rather special to watch. The samba moves themselves were stellar, and Tony looks almost rejuvenated with a partner that he knows he could go really far in the competition with. Score: 27

Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff – This is where the judges are clearly nit-picking. We actually thought that this statue-inspired foxtrot (which is the one originally performed by Gilles) was the coolest dance of the night at this point, but Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman all felt as though it was weaker than what Melissa did. Score: 25.5

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy – Now, we turn to a routine that really blew us out of the water. Who would have thought that the season 1 winner would still be so strong? This was a really faithful rendition of the dance first performed on the show by Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Layla Ali. Score: 27

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – This was a really interesting strategy from Kirstie: perform a routine that actually was not that good the first time that it was done by Carson Kressley. This “Moves Like Jagger” was fun and rather silly, but we’re not quite so sold on the idea that it was very good. Score: 24

Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel – Want to know what we are the most surprised about when it comes to this show? That Carrie Ann can give a criticism that is far more negative than the other judges, but then give Sabrina the same score for a dance that was pretty solid, but not necessarily a home run out of the park when it comes to creativity. Score: 25.5

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke – Just for that one crazy move at the end, where Emmitt literally charged from the other side of the ballroom to slide between her legs, this deserved a high score. Thankfully, it received one … but we do have a beef that is coming up here in a few seconds. Score: 25

Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower – Now, we turn to the debate: how does Helio get a higher score than Emmitt, when literally for a good many steps of the dance his timing was off after stepping on Chelsie’s dress? We did find it fun that he emulated a routine from a fellow contestant in Apolo, and there is no question that he still has one of the best quicksteps ever courtesy of his “banana suit.” However, the mistake should have been pointed out a little bit more than it was. Score: 25.5

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas – Ready for some drama? We actually liked that Bristol called Mark out on missin rehearsal, especially in doing it on-camera where she knew it would be shown on TV. She is the one getting threats in the mail, so regardless how you feel about her, she does have the right to be upset that someone is making this competition even harder on her.

As for the dance, Bristol did a pretty good job on reinventing an awesome dance between Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough that was “from the future.” The entire dance floor was a chessboard, and it actually was our favorite one that she ever done on the show. Ironically, it was still the lowest score of the entire night. Score: 22.5

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough – Shawn promised to do something that had never been done on the show before, and when you do that, you pretty much have to prepare for some people getting their hopes up. First, we have to say the fact that they did Helio’s quickstep without anyone wearing a brightly-colored suit (and with no kiss at the end) made this a little bit of a letdown for the sake of nostalgia. Take away the music, though,, and you have one of the craziest, cookiest quicksteps we’ve ever seen. Yes, it broke the rules … but we prefer it when there are no rules! Score: 26.5

Who was your favorite on this show, and what do you think about the twist that is going to see the contestants picking styles for each other next week?

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