'Dancing With the Stars': Chad Ochocinco, Niecy Nash face elimination in Week 8

chad-ochocinco-dwts0426.jpgIf you watched the " Dancing With the Stars" performance show, the Bottom Two shouldn't surprise you. Will the elimination prove more shocking?

Hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke (who's got this shark fin ruffle thing going on on her shoulder) kick off the show by baiting "fans" of the UC Santa Diego and Purdue dance teams into cheering before tossing to the Len-narrated recap from last night. His final decision on Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya's Futuristic Cha Cha was too much concept, not enough legit Cha Cha.

Clearly the encore dance goes to Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough with their 50's Paso Doble. When introing it, Len said it's "possible the best dance of all ten seasons." Hmmm...I don't know about that but it's up there.

Our first special musical performance comes courtesy of The Gyspsy Kings (heart them). They're doing a twist on "You Got A Friend In Me" that's featured in the upcoming Toy Story 3. Our pro Paso Doble-ers are Dmitri Chaplin, Tony Dovolani, Kym Johnson, and Cheryl Burke. The choreography, by Tony and Cheryl, is the inspiration for a sequence between Jessie and Buzz Lightyear in the movie. I really like this version of the song. A lot.

We've come to that time, ladies and gents. Dance Center is back and it's bringing Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice (both dressed wonderfully ridiculously) with it. Sitting in as always is Len. The first segment has the guys talking about Niecy Nash, Chad Ochocinco, and Nicole. It was amusing. It's frankly the most consistently entertaining filler the have so I'm fine it chugging along.

Now our first results of the night. Nicole and Derek move on to next week but Chad and Cheryl on in the Red Light of Doom for the first time this season.

Instead of returning to the kid dancers well, this marks the debut of the "College Dance Championship." The inaugural match-up pits the aforementioned UCSD Tritons versus the Purdue Boilermakers. Each team will get judged and scored based on half the judge tally and half audience votes.

1. UCSD Tritons
Dance: Samba
Their get-to-know-us package reveals they've won four national championships in the Collegiate Formation Division. Not shabby. The team treats us with a Samba. I've never seen a dance competition with their particular specialty so I'm not sure how it stacks up but it was a fun little number. The guys didn't have much to do but they did it well.
Judges: Len says one of the keys to their specialty is interesting pattern changes, which he thought were fantastic. There were a few muddled lines but it was good. Bruno agrees and says the overall effect was good. Carrie Ann loved the staging and transitions but thinks, like Evan, it was so clean they lost a little of the style.
Scores: 24 (8-8-8)

2. Purdue Boilermakers
Dance: Mambo
Apparently a lot of people at the college don't know they have a dance team. I'm sure this will help. Based on these two dances, I'll score the guys on this team higher. I liked the choreography in general but they needed a little more zest...perhaps because the band played the song a few clicks too slow.
Judges: Bruno appreciated the hip shaking but pointed out they had some timing issues, giving the tip to include more pattern changes in future choreography. Carrie Ann thinks they're fantastic performers and have great movements but agrees with Bruno about the patterns. Len thought it was rhythmic and crisp and rounds out the "more patterns" opinion.
Scores: 22 (8-7-7)

The Gyspy Kings return to perform their massive mega-hit "Bambaleo." Yay! I don't recognize any of the guest pro dancers but they're very good (naturally). I dare you not to want to shimmy to this song. It's impossible.

Dance Center returns to finish their coverage with Evan and Erin Andrews. This segment was funnier to me than the first. Jerry predicts Nicole to win while Kenny picks Niecy. Len was going to make a prediction but Kenny cut him off.

More results. Evan and Anna are safe but we've got to take another commercial before we learn anything else.

Erin and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have made it into the semi-finals leaving Niecy and Louis Van Amstel to languish under a sanguine spotlight. So, it's between Chad and Cheryl and Niecy and Louis. Did I accurately predict the eliminee again? (Yes, I know that's not a real word.)

Holy crap, I did. That's like four or five in a row. I'm sad to see Niecy go but I think we both were expecting it. In her exit interview, she says she's proud to make it this far as a 40-year-old mother of three against some great dancers. Tom, admitting he's a fan, compliments her on achieving moments of great elegance with Louis. And, on top of everything, she requests that the band play something lively so everyone can "get krunk." Heart her.

Your thoughts on tonight's axing? Do you like the College Dance Challenge better than watching the lil'uns compete? What about Len's declaration of the 50's Paso being practically best dance ever? Which dances do you think are the cream of the ten season crop?