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IMAGE: Dancing With the Stars
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As many viewers suspected, Misty May-Treanor's early exit from "Dancing With the Stars" meant that all of the other dancers were safe. Even chef Rocco DiSpirito, who presented head judge Len Goodman with some goofy eyewear on Monday night's show.
By
msnbc.com contributor
updated 10/7/2008 9:18:50 PM ET 2008-10-08T01:18:50
COMMENTARY

Lucky break: Misty May-Treanor’s torn Achilles tendon forced her out of the ballroom and into the operating room , but it bought Chef Rocco DiSpirito one more week to get cooking. Here’s hoping he uses that week better than he used this one.

While rhythm-challenged Rocco gained four points over his last dance, his partially blindfolded Viennese waltz was barely worth the 20. On the bright side, the celebrity chef showed off one good move Monday night — fitting Len Goodman with a pair of rhinestone-encrusted Dame Edna-worthy shades. The head judge wore them well.

Near perfection: After performing a Viennese waltz that easily qualified as the best dance so far, Brooke Burke landed the highest score this season with a 28. That magic number also marked the first appearance of the “10” paddle — in the hands of Len, no less.

Of course, where Brooke goes, Warren Sapp’s never far behind. This time, number 99 trailed just three points behind the leader, but there was a shocking comeback kid hot on Warren’s heels. Retired Olympic sprinter Maurice Greene outperformed his previous efforts, and much of the competition, with a jive that raked in 24 points.

Ridiculous rehearsal moment: What’s the best way to ingratiate yourself to a grumpy head judge? Make fun of him in one of those cringeworthy rehearsal skits! At least that was Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer’s bright idea.

After weathering Len’s complaints about their modern moves over the last two weeks, the pair packed up their Viennese waltz and headed to Beverly Hills' Sunrise Senior Living facility to test the dance’s traditional entertainment value — and to lob a few age-related zingers at their favorite senior official.

While the residents of Sunrise gave Lance and Lacey’s routine eights and nines, back in the ballroom, Len settled on a seven. No parking on the dance floor: Dancing on the dance floor seems like a ballroom basic, but this week proved that theory wrong.

Slideshow: Season 7 of 'Dancing' The first offender was Cody Linley, who spent half his time executing a jumping jive and the other half posing and playing leg-guitar with partner Julianne Hough — complete with creepy calf-chomping action.

In fairness to the “Hannah Montana” star, he still managed more moves than Cloris Leachman.

In the first week, Cloris offered up a mix of dance and laughs. In week two, she surprised everyone and played it straight. But by Monday night, the veteran actress gave up all pretense of dance and went for pure slapstick.

Weirdest song selection: This week’s tricky tune went to Marie Antoinette-costumed Toni Braxton, who already had enough problems with Alec Mazo’s creatively choreographed Viennese waltz. The R&B singer’s routine fell flat with two-thirds of the judges, but props to her for keeping time to a tempo-changing modern mash-up of Beethoven’s “Für Elise.”

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Say what, Samantha? Samantha Harris delivered her trademarked confoundery funky-style Monday night when she spoke to a score-celebrating Maurice Greene.

Maurice: We growin’ up!

Samantha: Well, you done grown up good, because, obviously, all the work you put into it when you were so frustrated by it worked!

Viewers: Sigh.

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