Jason & Cristian: New BFF Alert! Who was the first person to congratulate Jason Taylor after he was saved from last night’s elimination? Cristian de la Fuente. “That’s what this is all about,” Taylor said of their friendship. “Over the last two months we’ve become best buddies.” Though competing directly against each other–and with a hectic dance schedule–Taylor says that the two new BFFs “text and talk throughout the week to see how each other is doing… in the future, I’ll be in Miami, and he’ll be there for my games, and I’m looking forward to going to Chile, and learning about where he’s from.” Cue Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Pack Your Bags, You’re Going to the Semifinals! Having fallen into the bottom two–again–Marissa Jaret Winokur figured that her DWTS days were numbered. “I was convinced that I was going home,” she said after the show, admitting, “I packed up my trailer, I even flew my parents in, because I didn’t want them to miss my ‘last’ show! While Winokur unpacks and gets over the shock that she’s in next week’s semifinal, her pro partner Tony Dovolani is still jumping for joy. “I was this close to running around the green room with my arms out like an airplane, I was so happy, but that would have been ridiculous,” said Dovolani. Underneath It All, They’re Pals After his surprise elimination, Mario said, “I guess it was what the fans wanted,” adding graciously, “Ultimately, I appreciate the fans that kept us around this long. I was the youngest guy in the competition, and this was a great way to challenge myself, but more importantly, it was a great way to meet some amazing new .” And yes, he even means judge Len Goodman. After the show, the 21-year-old and his paddle-wielding nemesis had a short, but intimate chat. “Len said that he admired me for doing the show, and that he never meant to say anything in an offensive way,” said Mario, adding with a laugh, “We finally had a chance to talk like men… I told him that I was going to ship about four boxes of new underwear to his home, and he’s happy about that.”
More Stuff You Didn’t See: • As Jerry Springer he made his way to his seat, the crowd erupted in the familiar chant of “Jerry! Jerry!, Jerry!” Springer smiled kindly and waved to the audience. • Wayne Newton was a hugging machine, grabbing just about everyone that walked by his front- row seat and pulling them in for a long hug session. He got host Tom Bergeron twice, and would have happily made his way down the aisle of celebs if not for the stage manager insisting that everyone stay in their seats. • When the tape of Sabrina Bryan getting eliminated from the show was played, Joey Fatone let loose with a loud cough that sounded remarkably like “Bulls—.” Fatone then looked over to the nearby Cheetah Girl, and the two shared an open laugh. •Shannon Elizabeth and her former partner Derek Hough managed to reconnect–by playing musical chairs. Elizabeth left her front-row perch to squat on the steps next to Hough’s seat, with the pair sharing a lingering handshake. •Is Jennifer Capriati taking a page out of fellow tennis player Monica Seles‘s playbook? Capriati who was a front-row spectator, admitted that she was “investigating” her chances as a ballroom dancer.