Hines Ward Pulls Ahead on 'Dancing with the Stars'

The NFL star is atop the leaderboard after a night of patriotic performances

Photo: Adam Taylor/ABC

Although no one lost a shoe or tumbled to the floor on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars, there was still plenty of sparkle as the contestants performed tributes to the U.S.A.

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson pulled ahead of the pack with a rumba to “Proud to Be an American” that earned them 27 points out of 30. “You make it look so easy,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba told the NFL star. “You have the best hip action I have seen in a long time.” Bruno Tonioli said Ward had “just the right amount of sensuality,” and Len Goodman said he had “an ease and an elegance, which is charming.”

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They weren’t the only couple who had a good night in the ballroom. Performing the show’s 1,000th competitive dance – a foxtrot to “Yankee Doodle” – Kendra Wilkinson and her partner Louis van Amstel redeemed themselves after getting a harsh critique last week. “It’s much better than last week,” Len said. “It was fun and it was entertaining.” Bruno declared Kendra “sweet as apple pie,” while Carrie Ann said, “This is the most confident I’ve ever seen you.” But the couple are still at the bottom with just 22 points – tied with Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff and Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplan.

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced a rocking foxtrot to “American Woman” that Carrie Ann called “bold, ambitious … and borderline crazy.” Bruno “loved it” but Len said, “It wasn’t my cup of tea. There was very little excellent about the whole thing.” They earned 23 points.

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas did a sexy samba to Miley Cyrus‘s “Party in the U.S.A.” and tied with Romeo and Chelsie Hightower, who performed a foxtrot to “New York, New York.” Both couples earned 26 points, as did Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke. Carrie Ann told the wrestler, “I feel like we’ve underestimated you,” and called him a “contender” after he performed a strong Viennese waltz to “America the Beautiful.” Bruno said their performance was “big yet graceful, strong yet delicate.” And Len promised he would only give Jericho an elusive eight points when he deserved it. Apparently he did because the judge gave him just the score he was looking for.

Another couple will be eliminated on Tuesday’s Dancing with the Stars, which airs at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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