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Image: Margaret Cho, Louis Van Amstel
Adam Larkey  /  AP
Margaret Cho and pro partner Louis van Amstel struggled with their samba Monday night.
TODAY contributor
updated 10/4/2010 11:26:14 PM ET 2010-10-05T03:26:14

The ballroom was filled with sambas, foxtrots and waltzes Monday night, but the performances were really all about the plot on “Dancing With the Stars” — or at least they were suppose to be.

Week-three saw the return of story night. The now biannual tradition has a history of producing cringe-worthy performances (recall Kate Gosselin’s oh-so-literal take on “Paparazzi” last season), and this time was no exception. From elaborate props to inexplicable costumes, the celebs were big on set up, just not follow-through.

In fairness to the best of the bunch, the usual top performers continued their trend. The positions on the leaderboard shuffled a bit: Dance-floor favorite Jennifer Grey passed her top spot to reality star Audrina Patridge and settled for a three-way tie for second-place alongside Brandy and Rick Fox. But otherwise, there were no surprises from the can-dance crowd.

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The same can’t be said for the cannots. Now that Michael Bolton has left their ranks (that is until he returns for Tuesday night’s performance show — watch out, Bruno!), those occupying the bottom half of the scoreboard have found new ways to bring the bad moves.

Celebrity-by-relation Bristol Palin continued her three-week struggle streak, and for once, the judges took notice. In a super-slow foxtrot, Palin and pro partner Mark Ballas told the story of a homeless man willing to “dance for food,” and a woman danced with him (but didn’t give him any food). Eh, the story sort of fell apart shortly after the start. The moves never took shape to begin with.

Not an unusual position for the teen mom to be in, but it was certainly a change of pace to see head judge Len Goodman and the gang pass out something less than praise for one of her dud dances. The performance left the former first-daughter of Alaska with 19 points, and a tiny lead over her closest competition, comedian Margaret Cho.

Cho hit the stage in the stage in rainbow-colored fringe and a feathered headdress for a gay-pride samba, which fell short on story as well as consistent footwork. The first part of the routine saw Cho at her shimmy-shimmy best. Unfortunately, by the time the “Copacabana” was in full swing, she had completely lost her timing.

Luckily for both Palin and Cho, before the night was over, another star stole their bad-ballroom spotlight.

Story: Is this the video that broke up Bristol and Levi?

Yes, the ladies took last place, but Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino deserves (dis-)honorable mention at the very least for his time-machine-themed foxtrot.

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In order to avoid “an elimination situation,” Sorrentino hopped behind a giant fog-filled beaker and traveled to the future. (Spoiler alert: Years from now, it’s all about peak-a-boo shirts and pleather trim!)

The passage of time did nothing for the fist-pumper’s dance skills. It was just more of the same for the Jersey boy, only this time, for some mysterious reason, he landed some of that misplaced praise that usually goes Palin’s way.

Video: Bristol 'too busy' to date (on this page)

Ree Hines thinks it’s too bad Michael Bolton’s long gone. OK, not really, but his “Hound Dog” routine — the story of one pooch’s failed attempt to dance — would have fit right in. Follow @ReeHines on Twitter and tell her your favorite soft-shoe story.

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Photos: 'Dancing With the Stars' season 11

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  1. Bristol Palin

    Bristol Palin, former first daughter of Alaska, first entered the national spotlight when her mother, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was selected to be John McCain’s runningmate in the 2008 Presidential election. After giving birth to her son, Tripp, and becoming a single teen mother in 2008, she became a spokesperson for the prevention of teen pregnancy and for other teen issues. Palin recently guest starred as herself on an episode of ABC Family’s "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Her partner is Mark Ballas. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Kurt Warner

    Kurt Warner is the first quarterback to participate on "Dancing with the Stars." In 1999, led the St. Louis Rams to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. He eventually moved on from the Rams to the Giants and finally to the Arizona Cardinals in 2005. In 2007 he led the Cardinals to their first ever Super Bowl and was voted to his fourth Pro Bowl. He is partnered with Anna Trebunskaya. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Jennifer Grey

    Nobody puts Jennifer Grey in a corner! Grey starred as Frances "Baby" Houseman in the iconic 1987 box office hit "Dirty Dancing" with the late Patrick Swayze. Some of her other films include "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Red Dawn" and "The Cotton Club." Her partner is Derek Hough. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Kyle Massey

    Kyle Massey stars as Cory Baxter in the Disney Channel sitcom, "Cory in the House." He originated the role of Cory in Disney's "That’s So Raven," the first show in Disney's history to produce over 100 episodes. He will partner with Lacey Schwimmer. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Rick Fox

    A three-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, actor and producer Rick Fox has appeared in a number of film and television projects, sharing the screen with actors ranging from Whoopi Goldberg to Henry Winkler, Angela Bassett and Shia LeBeouf. His partner is Cheryl Burke. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Brandy

    Brandy is a platinum-selling R&B and pop singer, actress, songwriter and record/television producer. In 1994, at the age of 15, Brandy released her eponymous debut album, selling over 6 million copies. She is currently filming Season 2 of the VH1 reality show "Brandy and Ray J: a Family Business." She will dance with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Michael Bolton

    He can sing, but can he dance? Michael Bolton has sold more than 53 million records, released 18 studio albums, won multiple Grammys for Best Male Vocalist and countless other honors, all while selling out arenas worldwide. His partner is Chelsie Hightower. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Florence Henderson

    Florence Henderson will always be best known in syndication worldwide as "America's Favorite Mom" and matriarch Carol Brady on the classic TV series "The Brady Bunch," which aired for five seasons (1969-1974). Henderson has been a celebrity spokeswoman for Oldsmobile, Tang, Polident, Rain Soft, Pepsi Light and Wesson Oil and maintains a busy schedule as a sought after motivational speaker. She will be partnered with Corky Ballas. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Margaret Cho

    Comedian Margaret Cho first performed stand-up in her native San Francisco at the age of 16. Her best-selling tours include the off-Broadway hit/concert film "I’m the One That I Want," "Notorious C.H.O.," "Revolution" and "Beautiful." She is also a regular cast member of the Lifetime series "Drop Dead Diva." She will dance with Louis Van Amstel. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. David Hasselhoff

    Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as "The Most Watched TV Star in the World," David Hasselhoff has gained international fame in music, television and film. Hasselhoff got his start in entertainment on the soap opera "The Young and the Restless" and was pursued to play the lead role of the 1980's cult favorite, "Knight Rider." His famed skyrocketed thanks to 11 years in a swimsuit on "Baywatch." Don’t hassel the Hoff! He will dance with Kym Johnson. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Audrina Patridge

    Audrina Patridge starred in six seasons of the MTV reality series "The Hills." The aspiring actress made her debut on the big screen last fall in the thriller "Sorority Row." Other film credits include "Into the Blue 2" and "Honey 2." Last summer, Patridge made headlines steaming up TV screens in a commercial for Carl’s Jr. Her partner is Tony Dovolani.. (Bob D'Amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Mark Ballas, Bristol Palin
    Bob D'Amico / ABC
    Above: Slideshow (12) 'Dancing With the Stars' season 11
    Adam Larkey / ABC
    Slideshow (19) ‘Dancing’s’ worst outfits

Video: Bristol 'too busy' to date


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