THE BLOG
10/16/2012 09:30 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2012

'Dancing With The Stars' Recap: Paula Abdul Joins The Judges On 'All-Stars'

With just nine couples left, the competition is starting to get fierce on "Dancing with the Stars: All-stars." This week. the pressure was further intensified with new and exciting dance styles thrown into the mix (think Bollywood and hip-hop) and, of course, the addition of guest judge Paula Abdul.

Paula fit right in on the panel (she really does work well next to aggressive British men) and made for the most exciting episode of the season yet. The couples didn't hold back and tackled their routines with all the ferocity of a true all-star. So which couples rose to the occasion? And who fell short? Find out below.

THE DANCES OF THE NIGHT:

Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: Gilles and Peta's refreshing Bollywood routine had all of the judges raving, with Len calling it "hotter than curry" (mildly offensive) and Carrie Ann telling Gilles that Aladdin had nothing on him. (Aladdin's definitely not Indian, Carrie Ann). Despite the judges' slightly awkward praise for the couple, they were definitely on target with their scores, awarding them with a nearly perfect 39.5/40. Score: 39.5

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: After their rule-breaking and gravity-defying quickstep last week, it seemed nearly impossible for Shawn and Derek to live up to their own standards. But the couple pulled through once again with a sexy mambo full of Olympic-status lifts and quick moving hips. Carrie Ann pretty much said it all when she told Shawn, "If I were the other contestants, I'd be a little scared of you." Score: 39.5

THE STANDOUTS:

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: After two hours of dramatic glances at the camera and intimate embraces (we're definitely sensing a romance), Kelly and Val closed the night with an emotional contemporary routine(set to Coldplay, obviously). The judges loved their connection and Carrie Ann felt that Kelly laid her heart on the floor. Score: 37.5

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Melissa, anxious to show up Shawn, packed her and Tony's jitterbug with difficult lifts and tricks. While she may have slipped up a couple of times, she performed with incredible ease, leading Bruno to call her "fearless and fierce." Score: 37

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: This week, Emmitt and Cheryl tacked the bolero, a new style for both dancers. Once again, the couple's amazing chemistry brought the dance to life and Paula called it exquisite and sensual. Score: 36

THE GOOD:

Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel: Sabrina, outfitted in what Tom aptly described as a combination of the Cookie Monster and Lion King, took on a traditional disco with Louis and brought all of the magic and vibrancy of the '70s to the stage. Though the couple had a few missteps, the judges thought it was great overall. Score: 35.5

Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: When Apolo and Karina were assigned to hip-hop, Apolo wasn't the only one anxious. In fact, Karina seemed much more uncomfortable with the style than the all-star. After a lot of practice, the couple managed to pull off the routine, but a slip on Karina's part left her in tears by the end of the dance. Despite the mistake, the judges still felt that the couple had given it their all. Score: 34.5

THE MEDIOCRE:

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: Bristol and Mark took on rock and roll this week, and in typical Bristol style, the judges praised her for her improvement, but not exactly for her actual dancing. Still, the couple earned their highest score of the competition so far and escaped their lowest-score-of-the-night curse. Score: 32

Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Stuck with the Charleston this week, Kirstie was determined to prove that she can dance and isn't just fun and games. She may have wanted to show off her dancing skills, but thankfully, it didn't stop her from popping out of a cake at the beginning of her number. The routine certainly wasn't perfect, but it was entertaining in a way that only Kirstie could pull off. Score: 30

What was your favorite performance of the night? Who do you think will get eliminated on Tuesday night? Sound off in the comments.

"Dancing with the Stars" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm E.T. on ABC