Monday’s Dancing was a night of F’s: a few dancers fell flat, some contestants fought with their partners during practice and others vowed to fight on and stay at the top. It was also an evening of firsts, with Brooke Burke earning a perfect score, Cody Linley dancing with new partner Edyta Sliwinska and the contestants teaming up to battle head to head in the group dance.
Warren Sapp and partner Kym Johnson started the night on a bland note, performing a foxtrot plagued by stiff posture and flat footwork. “You didn’t look secure,” said a disappointed Carrie Ann Inaba. “You didn’t wow us. You didn’t make it fun.” Sapp’s explanation (or perhaps an excuse): “These aren’t my shoes!” he said, referring to a new pair of dancing footgear.
During practice at the All My Children studio, Susan Lucci bickered with partner Tony Dovolani, accusing him of yelling at her while teaching the dance moves. The couple managed to resolve their issues before hitting the dancefloor, executing a passionate yet graceful paso doble that earned rave reviews from the judges. “I thought that was right up there with all your best dances!” proclaimed judge Len Goodman, who marked his return to the judges’ table with a double dose of crankiness. Maurice Greene cha cha’d his way out of the bottom of the leader’s board by not “stepping on egg shells,” as partner Cheryl Burke accused him of doing during his previous performances. The Olympian’s hip shaking dance showcased a “natural sense of rhythm,” according to judge Bruno Tonioli. “You got to trust your instincts!”
Dedicating his Viennese waltz to partner Julianne Hough (who was recovering from surgery for endometriosis), Linley quickly connected with new partner Edyta Sliwinska — but failed to pick up points with the judges. “It was like watching a fledging bird stretching its wings,” Tonioli explained, “but not being able to take off. You were clumsy.” Inaba, however, offered some words of encouragement: “You’re working on your technique… I think Julianne would be proud.”
Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer once again took a risk, putting a contemporary spin on traditional ballroom dance by starting their rumba on a park bench … sans shoes. The duo, dancing to John Mayer’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” pleased Tonioli (“barefoot in the park has never been more seductive and romantic”), but Goodman? Not so much. “I didn’t get it,” the head judge said, as the audience booed.
Slipping to second place for the first time last week clearly didn’t sit well with Burke. She came back with a vengeance, danced an elegant foxtrot with Derek Hough and earned 10’s from every judge – the season’s first perfect score. “WOW!” Inaba shouted. “Our front runner has returned!”
The group dances wrapped up the night, with Team Paso Doble obliterating Team Cha Cha. While Goodman praised Lance and Lacey for doing an “excellent job” with the cha cha, Inaba slammed the troupe (which also included Susan and Cody) for their “terrible” unison and an overall performance “that was brutal to watch.”
The Paso Doble aramada … featuring Warren, Maurice and Brooke … on the other hand, showed off high-energy coordinated moves that prompted all three judges to give them a standing ovation and near perfect score of 29, crushing Team Cha Cha’s 20. (The team’s score will be added to the individual performance scores.) –Eunice Oh
Here’s how the remaining six contestants stacked up after Monday’s dance: •Warren & Kym: 50 out of 60 for their fox trot and group paso doble •Susan & Tony: 44 out of 60 for their paso doble and group cha cha •Maurice & Cheryl: 54 out of 60 for their cha cha and group paso doble •Cody & Edyta: 42 out of 60 for their Viennese waltz and group cha cha • Lance & Lacey: 45 out of 60 for their rumba and group cha cha •Brooke & Derek: 59 out of 60 for their fox trot and group paso doble