'Dancing with the Stars' : Kellie Pickler Is Back on Top

The country singer and actress Zendaya are neck and neck once again

Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Stevie Wonder was the guest of honor Monday night on Dancing with the Stars. Between performances by the iconic singer, the eight remaining couples competed with two dances each to his hits.

Once again, Kellie Pickler and Zendaya were atop the leaderboard – and both earned 10s for their respective routines.

Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy’s cha cha to “Do I Do” was “full of snap, crackle and pop,” according to Len Goodman. Carrie Ann Inaba called the routine “perfection in motion.” They earned 29 points.

Kellie and Derek Hough’s quickstep to “Part-Time Lover” was “the best dance I’ve seen on season 16,” Len said. Carrie Ann added, “Everything about it was perfect except there was some space in your hold.” They also earned 29 points.

But Kellie and Derek finished slightly ahead of Zendaya and Val after the second routine, a team dance in which four couples performed at the same time.

Team Samba – Kellie and Derek, Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd, Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess and Alexandra Raisman and Mark Ballas – earned 25 additional points for their disco-inspired routine to “Superstition.”

Meanwhile, Team Paso – Zendaya and Val, Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff, Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold and Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson – scored just 22 points for their routine to “Higher Ground.” “It was just too sloppy,” Carrie Ann said. “It was kind of a mess.”

Here’s how the other couples fared in their individual dances:

• Andy and Sharna struggled through a samba, though the judges appreciated the entertainment factor and awarded the pair 18 points. “I couldn’t quite make out the samba steps,” Bruno said.

• “There were plenty of samba steps there but you’re like a lumberjack,” Bruno said of Sean and Peta’s 21-point routine that was “riddled with mistakes,” according to Len.

• Boston native Alexandra had trouble focusing in rehearsals in the wake of the terrorist attacks on April 15, but she and Mark still earned 27 points for their foxtrot. Carrie Ann praised the routine, telling the gymnast, “I see you are heading for perfection.”

• Ingo and Kym’s tango impressed the judges and earned the pair their highest score so far, 24 points. “I can tell you like the tango,” Carrie Ann said. “Welcome to the game!”

• Jacoby and Karina’s quickstep to “For Once in My Life” was “not your best but it’s not your worst,” Len told the couple, who earned 23 points.

• Victor and Lindsay did a rumba to “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and heard praise for their “wonderful chemistry” rather than for their moves. “You’re not the first one that kind of failed at this,” Bruno said.

Which couple is better, Kellie and Derek or Zendaya and Val? Tell us in the comments below!

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