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Chelsea Kane and pro partner Mark Ballas easily displayed the best moves of the night Monday, but you wouldn't know it based on the judges' scores.
TODAY contributor
updated 4/18/2011 11:07:51 PM ET 2011-04-19T03:07:51

“Dancing With the Stars” marked this season’s halfway point with a tribute to the U.S.A. on Monday night. For America Week, the ballroom gang pulled out all the patriotic stops with star-spangled costumes, an anthem or two and some sky-high scores.

Sure, those over-the-top judges’ scores weren’t officially part of the theme, but there’s just no denying the impact they made. After all, from the top of the leaderboard to the very bottom, the inconsistently inflated numbers confused the standings.

Take the best dancer of the night. No, not 27-point earner Hines Ward. The charming wide receiver might have swept the judges away with his romantic rumba, but when his moves are compared to those of supposed second-place dancer Chelsea Kane, the Disney star easily comes out on top.

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Too bad head judge Len Goodman and his fellow panelists didn’t see it that way. The trio heaped 9s on Ward’s enjoyable but somewhat stiff routine, rather than the 8s it deserved. That left Kane’s hip-shaking samba, which fairly earned 9s — despite one odd 8 from Goodman — trailing behind.

Ward should have been the one sharing second-place honors with Romeo, who put on a presentable but also overscored 26-point foxtrot. As for Chris Jericho, who found himself lumped in with Kane and Romeo instead of Ward, well, he has a likable personality and an easy-on-the-eyes appearance, but his Viennese waltz should have seen him sharing a tie for third place, not second.

That would have put Jericho alongside Kirstie Alley, who for the first time in three weeks actually managed to avoid a single dance-floor mishap — at least a noticeable one. It was hard to see what was going on with Alley’s main moves, what with her distracting (in a bad way), bright periwinkle costume and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s even more distracting (in a good way) lack of costume.

Story: Chat with Ree and Anna about 'Dancing'

Things were just as mixed up at the back of the pack. While former favorite Ralph Macchio was off his ballroom game during the performance show, his flawed samba (complete with the return of the dreaded “spatula hands”) was comparable to Petra Nemcova’s off-step quickstep. But Macchio’s effort wasn’t nearly as bad as the flow-free foxtrot Kendra Wilkinson delivered. Still, the three routines tied for back-of-the-pack status with just 22 points each.

Did the judges actually believe there was just no difference between Wilkinson’s simple marching moves and the real efforts the other hoofer hopefuls brought to the dance floor? Maybe the 7s and 8s were meant to boost Wilkinson’s confidence after her minor meltdown last week and convince her that she shouldn’t be “a-(expletive)-fraid of elegance.” Either way, it’s unfair for her fellow last-place competitors.

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Macchio won't peek at Karina's Playboy pics

As the weeks go by, it’s bound to become difficult to predict just which ballroom wannabes will get the boot on the results shows — especially when the judges don’t give the viewers much help with their muddy mix of numbers — but not this week. There’s still one obvious cut in the competition, whether the judges are willing to admit it or not.

On the heels of a bad attitude last week and a bad foxtrot this week, Tuesday night’s show should see the end of Wilkinson’s “Dancing” days.

Ree Hines hopes “Dancing” isn’t due for due for a shocking elimination just yet. Follow @ReeHines tell her who you think is ready to waltz out of the competition.

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Gallery: Rate the dancers

How did the celebrities do? Score their performances along with the judges.

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    Above: Gallery Rate the dancers
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Photos: 'Dancing With the Stars' cast

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  1. Time to dance

    "Dancing with the Stars" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke announced the 11 celebrities heading to the dance floor this season during a live news conference. As always, the cast includes athletes, models, actors, and a few people whose names aren't recognizable to your average American. (Adam Larkey / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sugar Ray Leonard

    Retired boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who has a cameo in the Oscar-winning film "The Fighter," surely had fast feet in the boxing ring, but can he fit in to the ballroom?

    Leonard is paired with pro Anna Trebunskaya. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Petra Nemcova

    Czech-born model Petra Nemcova is perhaps most famous for surviving the 2004 tsunami resulting from an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Her then fiance died in the tsunami, while Nemcova broke her pelvis and managed to cling to a palm tree for hours before being rescued.

    Nemcova is paired with pro Dmitry Chaplin. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ralph Macchio

    Ralph Macchio came to fame as the star of "The Karate Kid" in 1984. He was a teen idol of the 1980s, but has played only minor roles in film and TV since.

    Macchio is paired with pro Karina Smirnoff. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Kirstie Alley

    When Shelley Long left the hit sitcom "Cheers" in 1987, Kirstie Alley stepped in as bar manager Rebecca Howe. Recently her yo-yoing weight has become a public issue, as she was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and starred in a show called "Fat Actress."

    Alley is paired with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Hines Ward

    Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward was voted MVP of Super Bowl XL in 2006. He is half Korean and half African-American, and has worked as an advocate for biracial youths in South Korea.

    Ward is paired with pro Kym Johnson. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Chris Jericho

    Chris Jericho has had plenty of success in the wrestling ring, but he's also served as a radio and television host as well as a rock musician.

    Jericho is paired with pro Cheryl Burke. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Mike Catherwood

    Mike Catherwood, known as Psycho Mike, is assistant producer for the syndicated radio show "Kevin and Bean," and is also co-host of "Loveline" with Dr. Drew Pinsky. A former addict, he uses his own experiences to help callers.

    Catherwood is paired with pro Lacey Schwimmer. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Romeo

    Rapper Romeo withdrew from the second season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2006 and was replaced by his father, Master P, who is infamous in "Dancing" circles for barely moving his feet. He's now back for the 12th season.

    Romeo is paired with pro Chelsea Hightower. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Chelsea Kane

    Chelsea Kane is an actress who is best known for playing Stella Malone in the Disney Channel sitcom "Jonas L.A.," and has also appeared in other Disney shows and original movies.

    Kane is paired with pro Mark Ballas. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Wendy Williams

    Wendy Williams hosts her own syndicated talk show, "The Wendy Williams Show," and is a former New York radio DJ.

    Williams is paired with pro Tony Dovolani. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Kendra Wilkinson

    Kendra Wilkinson is best known as a former girlfriend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and as such starred on the reality show "The Girls Next Door." She is now married to Minnesota Viking Hank Baskett and has her own reality show, "Kendra."

    Wilkinson is paired with pro Louis Van Amstel. (Bob D'amico / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
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