(CBS News) When there are only six stars left, how do you choreograph an elimination, when two dancers have to be sent back to the uncoordinated place from which they came?
On Tuesday night's "Dancing with the Stars" elimination show, the producers decided to get right into the excitement - they immediately showcased Donald Driver and Katherine Jenkins. Surely, neither of these two very pretty people could possibly have been placed into peril by the fickle fingers of voters.
The backstage footage showed just how driven Driver is. When one judge only gives a nine, he believes it must be his fault, never his professional quarterback's. As for Jenkins, her partner Mark Ballas admitted he was bursting to go to the toilet before their elegant first performance Monday night.
"It's a bad time, honey," explained the ever-rational opera diva.
Talking of nothing, we were again subjected to former contestants, Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice - and judge Len Goodman - in an attempt to fill time with attempts at humor. At one particularly difficult juncture, we were treated to images of Goodman running down the street in nothing more than his swimming costume. Well, one assumes it was his.
As if the treats wouldn't stop raining down, Chris Brown then appeared on stage and, um, danced. There certainly didn't seem to be too much singing going on.
While Jenkins claimed to be "petrified," we were shown more backstage footage. Before Cheryl Burke began her threesome with partner William Levy and professional Tony Dovolani, presenter Tom Bergeron sidled up to her to offer words of encouragement. "Don't f--- it up," he said.
As if sponsored by a local manufacturer of defibrillators, presenter Brooke Burke-Charvet suddenly announced that either Levy or Roshon Fegan were in the bottom two and would be cast aside immediately.
It had to be Fegan. Yes, he'd had two 10s the previous night, but he had struggled for votes every week. No one knows him and he was a little exuberant at times. He took it with fancy - rather than Nancy - grace.
As one then scanned what remained, it had to be Melissa Gilbert who joined Fegan. Yes, she used to date the fully pouting Billy Idol, but she simply hadn't suffered as many injuries as Maria Menounos - who has managed to break two ribs, two feet and one chin. If she'd had a double chin, she'd have broken the second one too. Gilbert's injury chart was a mere haiku in comparison and this show rewards the warriors.
Menounos' Bollywood samba threesome was still an object of controversy. We were shown footage of Goodman offering it a mere seven and professional Val Chemerkovskiy turning to the camera and offering his highly professional opinion: "That's f----- up!"
Talking of cursing, the next imagery offered by the producers was Melissa Gilbert swearing as she made a mistake, while being dragged around the floor by Maksim Chmerkovskiy. It was unclear whether the word began with "s" or "f", but she was certainly self-frustrated.
Menounos seemed ready to explode in a veil of Greek tears. And yet she was safe. Which meant that Gilbert was inserted into the dreaded jeopardy.
It was either Jenkins or Gilbert to go home. In dancing terms, this barely required eyes, never mind brains. Jenkins has been an excellent and charming performer, while Gilbert has tried so hard, but stumbled with regularity.
Gilbert wept. Jenkins wept. The latter's tears were of relief. The former's were of dreams shattered - or perhaps relief that she wouldn't have to go through another grueling week of rehearsals.
It was then that the pathos was turned up to Mach 11. For Burke-Charvet, one of the most sweetly anonymous presenters ever to appear on television, revealed that this was Gilbert's birthday.
"I can't even describe what a learning and growing experience this had been," said Gilbert. She was, I think, referring to the show, rather than life itself.
"I'm amazed that I made it this far," she added. Again, I don't think she was referring to her birthday, but rather to the show.
In truth, the judges and the viewers combined to make the right decision. Fegan can at least blame his grandmothers for advising him during rehearsals. Gilbert should be proud that she survived the Crime and Punishment (and, of course, joy) that is dancing with Chmerkovskiy.