Ralph Macchio fans watching last night's live "Dancing with the Stars" paso performance were probably a lot confused by a three or four second stretch of near-mayhem when neither he nor Karina Smirnoff seemed to be on the same dance floor, glancing at each other like they were strangers, and almost seeming to ask each other -- well, what do we do next?
There, of course, was a reason -- she had fallen, but had fallen off-camera, so viewers couldn't see what led to that longish stretch of confusion. When Bruno or Len (and Carrie Ann, too) brought it up, 20 million viewers were still puzzled. What are they talking about?
'Course, a tape revealed what happened a bit later, and the culprit was that long coattail.
Macchio, meanwhile, pulled the whole thing off very, very well, and in some respects, last night was one of his better performances. He's safe tonight, but clearly he's falling away from the leaders -- Kane, Romeo, Ward, and even Kirstie A.
But . . . I still think he makes it to the top three by May. This will be a matter of viewer popularity over judge popularity, and the judges continue to cut him a break. (The fall may have cost a point, but I doubt it -- I still think he would have gotten 8s regardless). Fans will keep him solidly in this right up to the very end.
Could he still win?