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Palin and Cho go from bad to worse on ‘Dancing’

Now that Michael Bolton has left their ranks, those occupying the bottom of the scoreboard have found new ways to bring the bad moves.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

The ballroom was filled with sambas, foxtrots and waltzes Monday night, but the performances were really all about the plot on “Dancing With the Stars” — or at least they were suppose to be.

Week-three saw the return of story night. The now biannual tradition has a history of producing cringe-worthy performances (recall Kate Gosselin’s oh-so-literal take on “Paparazzi” last season), and this time was no exception. From elaborate props to inexplicable costumes, the celebs were big on set up, just not follow-through.

In fairness to the best of the bunch, the usual top performers continued their trend. The positions on the leaderboard shuffled a bit: Dance-floor favorite Jennifer Grey passed her top spot to reality star Audrina Patridge and settled for a three-way tie for second-place alongside Brandy and Rick Fox. But otherwise, there were no surprises from the can-dance crowd.

The same can’t be said for the cannots. Now that Michael Bolton has left their ranks (that is until he returns for Tuesday night’s performance show — watch out, Bruno!), those occupying the bottom half of the scoreboard have found new ways to bring the bad moves.

Celebrity-by-relation Bristol Palin continued her three-week struggle streak, and for once, the judges took notice. In a super-slow foxtrot, Palin and pro partner Mark Ballas told the story of a homeless man willing to “dance for food,” and a woman danced with him (but didn’t give him any food). Eh, the story sort of fell apart shortly after the start. The moves never took shape to begin with.

Not an unusual position for the teen mom to be in, but it was certainly a change of pace to see head judge Len Goodman and the gang pass out something less than praise for one of her dud dances. The performance left the former first-daughter of Alaska with 19 points, and a tiny lead over her closest competition, comedian Margaret Cho.

Cho hit the stage in the stage in rainbow-colored fringe and a feathered headdress for a gay-pride samba, which fell short on story as well as consistent footwork. The first part of the routine saw Cho at her shimmy-shimmy best. Unfortunately, by the time the “Copacabana” was in full swing, she had completely lost her timing.

Luckily for both Palin and Cho, before the night was over, another star stole their bad-ballroom spotlight.

Yes, the ladies took last place, but Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino deserves (dis-)honorable mention at the very least for his time-machine-themed foxtrot.

In order to avoid “an elimination situation,” Sorrentino hopped behind a giant fog-filled beaker and traveled to the future. (Spoiler alert: Years from now, it’s all about peak-a-boo shirts and pleather trim!)

The passage of time did nothing for the fist-pumper’s dance skills. It was just more of the same for the Jersey boy, only this time, for some mysterious reason, he landed some of that misplaced praise that usually goes Palin’s way.

Ree Hines thinks it’s too bad Michael Bolton’s long gone. OK, not really, but his “Hound Dog” routine — the story of one pooch’s failed attempt to dance — would have fit right in. Follow @ReeHines on Twitter and tell her your favorite soft-shoe story.