Monday night was “story night” on “Dancing With the Stars,” and the overall tale seemed to be expect the unexpected. Some good dancers weren’t so good, some bad dancers weren’t so bad and one usually upright dancer found herself flat on the floor.
The story Kirstie Alley intended to tell with her classic rumba was one about the hope that can be found after despair. It was a lesson Alley learned years ago after losing her mother and nearly losing her father. It was a lesson aptly reinforced moments after her routine began.
Shortly after the music started, Alley’s pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, suffered a cramp or possible muscle pull in his left thigh. The ill-timed injury caused the pro to fall back and take Alley along for the ride. The audience winced, Alley appeared momentarily confused, and no doubt a slew of late-night talk-show types started composing low-blow jokes about the blunder.
The good news for Alley was that soon after her dance-floor despair, she was able to finish the routine with a remarkable rebound.
“You can’t keep good talent down,” judge Bruno Tonioli said.
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But evidently, you can keep a good score down. Even though the panel raved about Alley’s moves, and Chmerkovskiy made sure the judges knew the fumble was his fault, they clearly deducted for it when they awarded her just 21 points out of 30.Story: Chat with Ree and Anna about 'Dancing'
In an equally unexpected but much more pleasant turn of events, back-of-the-pack dancer Petra Nemcova ended the night in the top spot (an honor she shared with still-hot hoofer Hines Ward).
The supermodel’s story came from the courage she encountered when she returned to Thailand for the first time after the 2004 tsunami struck. She hoped to capture that with a soothing, ethereal waltz. She succeeded by not only performing a beautiful and fluid routine that earned her 25 points, but by performing the best dance of the night. (No offense, Ward.)
Another comeback kid, although he didn’t comeback nearly as far as Nemcova, was boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard. After a “let’s get ready to pasooooooooooooooooooooooooo” introduction from legendary announcer Michael Buffer, Leonard took the floor to present his story of beating the odds, and received what is likely to be his personal high mark in the competition.Story: You be the judge! Rate the 'Dancing' contestants
The paso doble allowed Leonard to focus more on the costume, the drama and the fighting spirit and less on the, you know, actual dancing. The improvement via distraction worked, as he left the floor with a 20. That’s a three-point lead on his last two attempts.
Other stars who ended the night on a high note include Chelsea Kane, who more than made up for last week’s not-a-jive with this week’s hip-shaking cha-cha-cha, and Kendra Wilkinson, who put her past pole moves to work in a sexy rumba.
On the other end of the “Dancing” spectrum, the night saw a big slip, too.
After being dubbed the one to watch by head judge Len Goodman last week, Romeo was told he’d taken “a huge step back” with the rumba he dedicated to his late cousins. The son of Master P dropped three points from his previous score to a 20.
Still, it could be worse. A bad week for Romeo means he’s neck-and-neck with Leonard on his best week.
Besides, it’s not as though Romeo has anything to worry about when Tuesday night’s results show rolls around. Neither do the evening’s other lackluster gents, Chris Jericho and Ralph Macchio. No, the next exit looks like a lock for the worst hoofer overall, Wendy Williams. She ended the night — and probably her dancing career — with a 15-point fox-trot.
Ree Hines didn’t cry during Chris Jericho’s tribute to his mom. There just was something in her eye. Yeah. Follow @ReeHines and tell her which moments totally didn’t bring tears to your eyes.
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