The all-star season of "Dancing With the Stars" has seen its share of ups and downs, from sexy fun to a dance-floor breakdown, and from wacky scores to an unexpected ouster. But for one all-star, the last couple of weeks have seen more downs than ups.
Past dance champ Emmitt Smith proved he mastered the ballroom basics when he took top honors back in season three. He even started out this season with a strong premiere performance. But recently, he's failed to recapture his winning ways.
Last week, Emmitt's countrified foxtrot failed to impress, and while the judges pointed out the problems with the lackluster routine, they still handed him two 8.5s and a 9.5 for the night. This time, it was more of the same, right down to the big scores for the bad dance.
For fusion week, in which each of the all-stars had to tackle a mash-up of two distinct dance styles, Emmitt performed a part-rumba and part-samba routine. But just like last week, he just didn't seem invested in the moves. Sure, he had moments of hip action and he displayed a little of his charm, but there were plenty of hiccups in the dance, and his upper body moves were off throughout.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba noted some mid-dance problems, but her fellow panelists didn't seem to see a thing -- other than praise-worthy maneuvers. Bruno Tonioli "loved it," while head judge Len Goodman raved, "I don't think I could have done as good as that."
Given Len's past pro days, that last line seems unlikely. But he must have meant it, as he as Bruno gave the Hall of Famer just a half-point shy of perfect numbers with matching 9.5s. Carrie Ann went with a still-generous 8.5.
In fairness to Emmitt, he wasn't the only bad dancer of the night. And certainly not the only overscored one.
In fact, actress Kirstie Alley would likely be the first to admit that her Cinderella- themed quickstep-samba combo was worse than Emmitt's dance (though perhaps a bit more fun). But she had a heck of a good excuse.
Kirstie spent much of her intended rehearsal time working to organize relief efforts for those affected by Superstorm Sandy. So instead of polishing her samba shake, she rounded up canned goods. Instead of remembering her steps, she stepped up to something bigger.
On the dance floor, the lack of rehearsals showed. After delivering a respectable quickstep portion, Kirstie struggled through the remainder of the dance.
The judges were nice but honest, pointing out the number of "incidents" she suffered. And just as they were generous with Emmitt, they were kind to Kirstie when they handed out a set of 8s.
The difference seemed to be that Kirstie realized that the scores were more than merited. Heck, even her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, couldn't hide his surprise when the paddles came out.
The rest of the night's routines were considerably stronger. Shawn Johnson topped the fusion efforts with a blend of tango and paso doble alongside replacement partner Mark Ballas -- with whom she won season eight. (Pro Derek Hough was sidelined with an injury.)
The mixture of two dark and intense dance styles seemed a natural fit, and Shawn's moves had the judges loving what they saw so much, they gave the Olympian a perfect score.
Hot on Shawn's heels was Melissa Rycroft who nabbed 29 points for a seamless blend of cha cha and tango that featured her best moves as well as Tony Dovolani's best choreography.
Gilles Marini trailed Melissa by just a half of a point with his Argentine-tango-meets-samba routine. Perhaps his score would have been a bit higher if he didn't have problems with his "arm thingies," as Carrie Ann pointed out.
Kelly Monaco found herself tied with Apolo Anton Ohno (or "Ohyes" as Len called him on Monday night after his 27-point cha-cha-paso), with her sexy foxtrot and cha cha dance with pro Val Chmerkovskiy.
(And for those who think Kelly and Val seem to get closer and closer to each other every week -- you're not wrong. Brook Burke quizzed the pair about their chemistry and asked, "At the rate the two of you are going, what can we expect in the finale?" Val joked, "Children!")
But that wasn't all the fast-footed action for the night. Each couple added to their scores in a marathon swing dance that awarded points based on who stayed in the mishmash competition the longest. The judges tapped out Kirstie and Maks first, and then seemed to randomly remove dancers regardless of their moves (Gilles and Peta Murgatroyd were out next -- for no good reason). In the end, Melissa and Tony stuck it out and got an extra 10 points for their efforts.
But all those points -- and the viewer votes from Monday night -- won't help or hurt the all-stars on Tuesday night, because there's no results show this week. Instead it all carries over until next week, when they'll perform again before facing a double elimination.
Who do you think delivered the best dance Monday night? Take our poll below and then share your thoughts about Monday's scoring on our Facebook page.
- Shawn Johnson: We had to tie 'Dancing With the Stars' pro Derek to a chair
- Kirstie: Patrick Swayze and I fell in love during 'North and South'
- Sabrina Bryan on leaving 'Dancing With the Stars': 'You can't be shocked to go home'
- 'Dancing With the Stars' pro: I'll spank Apolo Anton Ohno to get more points
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