Latin Night turned into Something to Prove Night on Monday's "Dancing With the Stars" as several of the resident celebs hoped to wipe away last week's dance-floor disasters with one memorable performance.
For Melissa Gilbert, that meant proving she could move across the dance floor at all after sustaining a concussion and whiplash last week. (She can.) For William Levy, it meant proving that he could overcome a one-off dud of a dance and a recent injury of his own. (Oh boy, can he!) Of course, Gavin DeGraw just needed to prove that he should still be in the competition at all after putting on dud after dud. (Umm ...)
But there was one head-scratcher in the night's unofficial theme: Just what was it that actress and TV presenter Maria Menounos and pro partner Derek Hough had to prove?
There must have been something, because despite frequent high scores and a steady stream of praise from the panel, the pair put on by far the most desperate dance of the night.
Sure, it's not unusual for an act to pull out all the stops to get a few more viewer votes -- it's just common sense. But rather than simply rely on a shirt-free look from him and some extra sex appeal from her (which they certainly employed), Maria and Derek took it to the point of distraction. Subtlety went out the ballroom window as the duo even went so far as to share a no-doubt-about-it, way-too-long smooch that literally caused them to momentarily cease the salsa action.
Thankfully the lip lock didn't aggravate the accident-prone star's latest injury -- a smashed chin -- but it did earn her some criticism. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba played the part of the self-processed "fuddy-dud" and warned the pair that "dance is about the illusion of passion" before dubbing the big kiss a "sell-out" move.
Sell-out or not, the judges didn't deduct for it. Maria earned a set of 9s. Whether or not she earned approval from voting viewers remains to be seen.
From the nothing-to-prove side of the dance floor, this season's "Dancing" queen, Katherine Jenkins, wowed the crowd with her precise Argentine tango by simply nailing all the moves in Mark Ballas' beautifully choreographed routine.
For that, Katherine nabbed 29 points (tying her with William's top tango offering of the night).
Just two points behind the leaderboard toppers but miles behind them when it came to moves on Monday night, was Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver.
Donald looked good on the stage, as he always does, and pulled off the best lifts of any Argentine tango of the night, but the problem was with the rest of the dance. While the fault lies with the choreography from his pro partner, Peta Murgatroyd, he spent much of the rest of the dance walking and performing far too few flicks.
As head judge Len Goodman put it, "I thought the lifts were spectacular. But the rest of it? Nearly, but not quite."
Another two points farther down the scoreboard was Disney star Roshon Fegan. His salsa lacked some of the requisite booty shaking, but he made up for it with well-timed moves that mostly pleased the panel.
From there, the high points were few and far between.
Jaleel White shook his way through an uneven samba for 24 points. Gladys Knight racked up a beyond-generous 22 for her cute, confident and unfortunately flub-filled samba. And Melissa's 21-point salsa, along with Gavin's 19-point samba, rounded out the back of the pack
After a night highs and lows, who can fans expect to see go on Tuesday night? That's up to the judges to decide -- sort of. While fans will vote as usual following Monday's show, they'll chime in only on the overall rankings. As host Tom Bergeron first warned fans two weeks ago, a new Dancing Duel twist means that for the next three weeks, when it comes down to the bottom two, Len and the gang will decide who gets the boot based on one final dance. It should be interesting.
Unless the bottom two is anyone vs. Gavin, in which case it shouldn't be an interesting decision so much as a really easy one.
What did you think of Monday night's performances? Did Maria and Derek seem desperate to you? Did all the stars prove their dancing points? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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