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Misty heads home; Brooke shines on ‘Dancing’

The big news out of Monday night's "Dancing With the Stars" performance show involved a dancer who didn't even dance. Misty May-Treanor dropped out of the competition after tearing her Achilles tendon.
/ Source: contributor

The competition was in full swing Monday night on “Dancing with the Stars,” as the celebrities put the dismal dances of last week behind them. Well, at least those lucky enough to make it to the dance floor. Unfortunately, thanks to a weekend rehearsal injury, that didn’t include one promising celebrity soft shoe.

In what may mark the official return of the “Dancing” curse (you know, that bad juju from seasons past that knocked the wind out of Marie Osmond, led Jennie Garth to take a tumble, and earned Cristián de la Fuente a ruptured tendon), Olympian Misty May-Treanor was forced to end her dancing days early after she suffered a torn Achilles tendon.

The Olympic volleyball player returned to the show briefly to explain the extent of her injury, which she expects will not only keep her out of the ballroom, but also out of volleyball for at least the next year. Misty’s now-former partner, the gruff Maksim Chmerkovskiy, joined her onstage for a surprisingly sentimental farewell before the gold medallist declared that the show must go on — just not for her.

As for the remaining stars, they braved the dance floor once more, and none took to the task better than this season’s “Dancing” queen Brooke Burke. After spending her performance prep bickering about the steps with partner Derek Hough, who suffered a setback of his own (the curse in action), the TV host offered up her best dance to date.

In the Viennese waltz, Brooke displayed subtlety and grace through the endless, sweeping counterclockwise spins, and proved, once again, she deserved the top honors. The judges were happy to oblige by giving her 28 points, the highest score this season and the first to include a perfect 10 — from head judge Len Goodman, no less.

Never far from Brooke’s lead was NFL vet Warren Sapp, who toned down his intense dance floor presence to put on a surprisingly fluid Viennese waltz that earned him a personal best score of 25.

The retired defensive end promised to show everyone “the softer side of Sapp,” and true to his word, he didn’t disappoint. Bruno Tonioli pegged what may be the big guy’s biggest strength when he said Warren had “an uncanny ability to get the character of each dance.” For the waltz, that character was smooth and seductive.

Rounding out the top three contenders was the real shocker of the night. Maurice Greene came alive alongside Cheryl Burke in the jive. His footwork wasn’t always perfect, but the sprinter had all the charisma he needed to pull off the ballroom’s bounciest routine.

Channeling what Carrie Ann called his inner “untamed beast” was enough to land Maurice 24 points out of 30, beating out his previous high score by three points.

Marie Antoinette takes a bowA mixture of kudos and criticisms rolled in for the dancers in the middle of the pack, including Lance Bass. The ‘N Sync alum learned his lesson after a failed attempt at dancing on the wild side last week, and tried to show a different side of himself in the Viennese waltz.

Lance and partner Lacey Schwimmer went with a play-it-safe approach that mostly paid off. The traditional-if-not spectacular number showed that Lance doesn’t need gimmicks to get attention from the judges — or does he?

Bruno enjoyed the dance, but missed the “sparkle” he’d seen before, Carrie Ann thought the routine was fantastic, and Len … well, there’s just no pleasing some people. Still, Lance gained two points on last week with a score of 22.

The judges couldn’t come to a consensus after seeing Toni Braxton’s performance, either. Decked out in Marie Antoinette attire, the R&B singer and pro partner Alec Mazo tried to spice up the dance by adding out-of-nowhere kicks and unexpected transitions.

Bruno and Len panned the performance, but Carrie Ann called it a matter of taste. Thankfully for Toni, the resulting 22 only marked a one-point drop from last week.

Susan Lucci, who sported a wrapped ankle Monday night due to a rehearsal fumble (minor curse?), kicked up her heels for a 21-worthy jumping jive that showed some of her finest moves so far. The problem for the daytime diva is that she still looks like she’s unsure of her steps, even when she lands them all.

“It bums me out,” Carrie Ann said of the star’s timid stage persona, a sentiment no doubt shared by fans still hoping to see the brazen Erica Kane take the stage one day.

Starting out strong, Cody Linley might have landed among the top performers of the night if only Julianne Hough had choreographed a better routine. The judges loved the first half of the “Hannah Montana” star’s fast-paced jive, but could have done without the filler-filled second half, complete with two rounds of Cody playing Julianne’s gams as a guitar.

“You started like a twinkling Twinkie,” Bruno told the teen actor, but by the end of the dance, the panel decided the half routine was only worth a whole lot of sevens.

With the help of a blindfold, Rocco DiSpirito looked better in rehearsals than he has on the dance floor so far. Too bad the blindfold came off after he hit the stage for the Viennese waltz. Shortly after he found his grove, the celebrity chef lost it again. He just can’t seem to keep up with the beat or with pro partner Karina Smirnoff.  With 20 points for the night, the celebrity chef was just happy to graduate his score out of the teens

And then there’s Cloris Leachman. It’s hard to describe what the feisty octogenarian did on the dance floor, but it’s safe to say there was very little dance involved. She and Corky Ballas put on show that featured more shtick than smooth moves, and when the baffling number was over, a campy Cloris took a victory lap around the ballroom.

Bruno summed the spectacle as “beyond comprehension,” and truer words were never uttered in the ballroom. Somehow the not-a-dance still earned Cloris 16 generous points.

Unless the show decides to keep them all to make up for Misty's loss, one more “Dancing” dud will waltz off the stage Tuesday night. Look for rhythm-impaired Rocco or movement-impaired Cloris to land in last place with fans this week.

Ree Hines is a frequent contributor to