What happened: The first couple in the bottom two this week was Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff — a duo who had looked like early frontrunners, only to be plagued by Aaron's frenetic but ineffective style. The show then clarified that all the women were safe, meaning, as appeared likely last night, that it would be a man going home Tuesday night for sure. It was then narrowed down to Chuck Liddell, Donny Osmond, and Louie Vito and their partners for the other final two spot (meaning, among other things, that Michael Irvin was spared).
Nobody believed Donny Osmond was going to wind up anywhere near the bottom two, and he didn't. It was ultimately Chuck joining Aaron in the bottom two, and the game but not-talented Ultimate Fighting Champion went down without a fight.
The surprising star: Monday night's big surprise was Melissa Joan Hart, who wound up at the top of the leader board after her Charleston. Len Goodman had sworn to Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough that he would ask to see their allegedly sexy Lambada again for the encore dance, but there was no way to deny Melissa her moment, so she and Mark Ballas repeated their Charleston instead. If anything, Melissa looked even a little happier and lighter on her feet than she did on Monday, proving again that she's going in the right direction.
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Distractions aplenty: A show with lots of references to "hip action" probably had to welcome Shakira sooner or later, and here she was. Accompanied by some dancing drummers in her first number, she later appeared to perform "Hips Don't Lie," for those still fixated on the hits of years past. Shakira is an upbeat performer, but she's probably not quite interesting enough to feature twice in one hour on a show that's ostensibly about dancing.
There was also a demonstration of the Argentine tango and the paso doble, the dances we'll be seeing next week. It's always good to see the professional dancers do their stuff, and particularly to see Alec Mazo and Edyta Sliwinska (who are married in real life) dance together. And even though a simple demonstration isn't the most creative kind of filler material the show produces, it beats the extremely silly dances they're often forced to do while semi-popular singers pull from their latest albums.
The silliest segment of the evening featured some of the celebrities' kids telling you to vote for their parents, as if it were some sort of cute-kid competition where the failure to be adequately adorable could result in mom or dad's early exit from the competition. That's a recipe for therapy, right there.
Linda Holmes is a frequent contributor to msnbc.com