Dancing Recap: Lil' Kim Wows the Crowd

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Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Contenders or pretenders? This week marked the halfway point in the competition and the dancers showed who’s really it in for the win. A new leader emerged with Lil’ Kim’s jumping jive and Shawn got a rousing standing ovation for her rumba. But Steve-O and Ty just couldn’t nail down their routines and fell flat with the judges.

Ty Murray literally kicked off the night with a jive that incorporated touch line dancing that allowed the rodeo champ to show off some fancy footwork. Looking a bit stiff throughout the routine, Murray then “went for the jive like a wild animal,” Bruno Tonioli said. “You did about 20,000 kicks and flicks and none of them were right.” He was applauded for his charm and effort but that still wasn’t enough to get him more points. “Unfortunately tonight it took a long while to get started and once you did start it wasn’t that good,” said Len Goodman.

Slow dances seem to be Shawn Johnson‘s forte. The gymnast, who’s gotten rave reviews for her waltzes, got the crowd on its feet with a sensual, romantic … and “age appropriate” (as pointed out by partner Mark Ballas) … rumba. Carrie Ann Inaba could “see the discomfort in your eyes at the beginning” but once relaxed she “came to life.” “The rumba is a bit like a fire,” Goodman explained. “It can be warm and it could burn. I think you got this just right.” Edyta Sliwinska got some teaching aid from former Dancing star Warren Sapp, who paid a visit to one of Lawrence Taylor‘s practices. The football champs goofed around but got down to business with Taylor highlighting his lighter footsteps and not-so-serious personality. “You brought your groove back!” Inaba exclaimed about his jive. “You were having a good time. You were on it all the way,” added Tonioli. “You never lost timing.”

Melissa Rycroft mirrored Shawn’s elegance in a rumba that Goodman praised was both clean and precise but could also be “a bit more earthy.” While the Bachelor star may be one of this season’s breakout stars, the judges agreed she’ll have to let go and not hold back to improve. “What I want to see in the future is Melissa the maneater,” Tonioli said. “Go for it, girl, because you’ve got everything to gain.”

Lil’ Kim proved why she’s tough competition for the early front runners, jiving her way to the top of the leader board with an energy-packed number. Dancing along to “Jailhouse Rock,” the hip-hop star and partner Derek Hough had almost all the judges squealing and jumping from their seats. “Guilty! Arrest me! Frisk me!” Tonioli joked. “That was amazing, I don’t know how you do it!” said Inaba. One person who wasn’t as thrilled: Goodman, who slammed the pair for being too “theatrical” and neglecting to put on a “formal jive.”

As for Steve-O, who had the misfortune of following Lil’ Kim’s electric jive, the judges criticized his rumba for lacking hip action and coordinated footwork. The Jackass stuntman was also hit with some harsh comparisons to a “confused puppy.” His awkward moments and hesitancy throughout the dance had responding but for all the wrong reasons, according to Tonioli, who simply described the dancing as “bad.”

The Italian judge also had some choice words for Gilles Marini. “You looked like a mad squirrel,” he told the actor about his fast-paced jive. Goodman echoed the same thoughts, telling him and partner Cheryl Burke that the whole dance looked “a bit frantic.” The head judge, however, did give props to the duo for “very nice footwork.”

Described as one of the most passionate and sexy numbers this week, Chuck Wicks‘s rumba wrapped up the night and had most of the judges begging for more. While the chemistry was there with girlfriend and partner Julianne Hough, the country singer was advised to work on technique … – and to keep everything PG rated. “For me, parts of that was more suitable for the bedroom than the ballroom,” said Goodman. “This was for me too much in the face, a little too raunchy!” —Eunice Oh

Here’s how the remaining eight contestants stacked up after Monday’s dance: Ty & Chelsie: 18 out of 30 for their jive Shawn & Mark: 26 out of 30 for their rumba Lawrence & Edyta: 22 out of 30 for their jive Melissa & Tony: 27 out of 30 for their rumba Lil’ Kim & Derek: 28 out of 30 for their jive Steve-O & Lacey: 16 out of 30 for their rumba (7, 4 5, Gilles & Cheryl: 26 out of 30 for their jive Chuck & Julianne: 23 out of 30 for their rumba

Tell us: Can you believe Lil’ Kim has taken the lead? Did the judges score Gilles & Cheryl too harshly? And who will be in tonight’s dreaded dance-off?

MORE: Dancing POLL: Was Chuck & Julianne’s Rumba Too Hot?Craig Sjodin/ABC

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