'Dancing With the Stars' Diary: Celebrating 200 episodes of Tom Bergeron

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Zap2it's weekly "'Dancing with the Stars' Diary" offers fans a backstage pass to everybody's favorite only reality competition that throws celebrities at the mercy of that fickle mistress we call dance.

Readers, the stars will come and go, but Tom Bergeron is forever.

Like a debonair Mr. Belding presiding over the Bayside 10-year reunion, his rapport with the previous cast members who turned out for the big 2-0-0 reminds us all of why "Dancing With the Stars" is such an easy show to love. We get to know these people. And 5 years of our own lives and cultural history are reflected in that damn mirrorball.

Reality TV is sort of deep like that.

But it's also shiny. And there were no shortage of sequins in Week 7, with the remaining 6 contestants donning besparkled suits and shimmering fringe to recreate some of the series most iconic routines as duos and groups.

Our thoughts on each of them and some scoop from backstage and the after party just as soon as we stop thoughtfully scratching this Apolo Ohno soul patch we grew just for the occasion:

Scores and Steps

  • Awesome as those group cha cha chas turned out, we were definitely sold a false bill of goods on our mentors. Apolo and Kristi Yamaguchi were about as hands-on in their coaching as Joe Paterno. So lets not give them any of the credit. Instead, let's pour it all on the fabulous ladies of Team Ohno (Brandy and Jennifer Grey), for bringing it on home. Even Bristol Palin ripping off that bedazzled tuxedo couldn't have swayed the odds in Team Kristi's favor.
  • Someone else who worked it tonight was Kyle Massey (35). Capitalizing on a particularly feisty Lacey Schwimmer -- did you see the hip action in that opening number? -- Kyle continued to show his commitment to the competition with a pasodoble that did us, the judges and Mel B very proud.
  • Kurt Warner (34) continued his ride on the performance teeter-totter with a sufficient rebound this week, once again earning the judges' praises. He even got some heartfelt flattery from Season 3 champ, and fellow retired football player, Emmitt Smith in what was no doubt the most heterosexual exchange this show has ever seen. 
  • Not quite mustering the passable quality of Kurt was Bristol Palin (33), who had a lot less spring in her steps without the promise of an air guitar interlude. What we have to commend her on is her continued resistance to smiling. "That's how I always look." Yes, yes it is.
  • Ignoring for a moment just how absurd Rick Fox (37) looks draped in almost seven feet of kelly green, this quickstep really was a breakout for him. The more we see him perform, the more we like his odds of landing in the finale. (Also, statistically, his chances are just improving.)
  • Can someone simultaneously be perfection and so-so? Brandy (37) blew that foxtrot out of the water, but after three weeks of smoking everyone else, we couldn't help but want more. The duo seemed happy though. Maks says they'll pick that as their favorite dance if they make it to the finale.
  • And then there's Jennifer Grey (37). We saw her and partner Derek Hough practicing their tango right up until performance time, so it's clear that she wants it. But her frequently hysterical rehearsal clips are starting to wear us down. She needs to take a page out of the Florence Henderson school of dancing and suffer in silence.

Backstage banter

  • Ever the competitor, Maksim Chmerkovskiy was quick to point out that the group numbers have turned into a bit of a love-fest rather than an extension of the competition. "The experiment backfired a lit bit," Maks says. "What was supposed to be kind of like 'we're a team but I've got to beat you; has turned into people really embracing it as a team. I love it."
  • Our cherished Mama Brady also stopped by the show, and told everyone how she's staying in shape for her Nov. 23 return to the floor. "Corky had me on a program on the treadmill -- fast, up, down, sideways, backwards -- so I'm keeping that up and I'm back in pilates now," she says. "I'm going to be strong for the finale."
  • Speaking of the senior Ballas, Corky sounded off on how he thinks his son's managed to keep partner Bristol Palin in the running this long. "Bristol has amazing flow and technical footwork," says Corky, "way superior to some of these others, but on the presentation side? No. And on the energy side? No. So that's what keeping her in the game... is the fact that she's cool as a cucumber. She doesn't expect to be here. That's a huge card. When you want something bad, you blow it."
  • Kyle may have mocked the "situation" in his torso, but his time on the show has already had a huge effect on his body. "I've lost 20 pounds now," Massey says. "I'm starving right now. But, at the same time, Tuesday's coming, and that's pizza day."

The night in Bergeron

Watching these shows week in and week out, you tend to miss when traditions start. So episode 200 provided a nice reminder about the origins of the Bergeron butt grab. The perpetrator? Mel B, clearly. Her multiple gooses for the M.C. trumped any of his sass -- which seemed to be in check for the solemn occasion --  and in no way made us jealous.

It's been a great party, but tomorrow it ends early for one of our Top 6. We'd make a prediction about who's heading home, but the last few weeks have shown we'd just  embarrass ourselves.

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Photo credit: ABC