By People Staff
Updated April 13, 2010 12:00 AM

Did Dancing save the best for last?

She didn’t receive the evening’s highest score, but Pamela Anderson had the ballroom abuzz after her steamy and sensual rumba with partner Damian Whitewood. The Baywatch bombshell’s subdued, sophisticated routine received a rousing standing ovation from the audience and fellow DWTS contestants. Bruno Tonioli called the performance “elegant” and “drop-dead sexy,” while Carrie Ann Inaba praised it for being profound. The couple received a combined score of 47 out of 60 points.

A combined score?

Yep, Monday night’s performance show introduced the first ever “Double Score Showdown,” which allowed the judges to score the night’s dances — the tango and the rumba — twice. Each couple received points for their technique and another set for their performance.

Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy kicked the night off with a tango that “started well,” then “went wrong,” according to Bruno. Carrie Ann felt the performance suffered because Erin was paying too much attention to her technique. Their score was a 39 out of 60.

You’d never know Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya were suffering from a little jet lag. After three days of hopping on and off planes, the two didn’t miss a step in their tango. “A perfect blend of artistry and technique,” Carrie Ann raved. Len Goodman said they nailed it. Their score, 52, put them at the top of the leader board for the second week in a row.

Niecy Nash and Louis van Amstel dedicated their rumba to Nash’s brother Michael, who was killed 17 years ago. Louis felt the dance’s spiritual element would help Niecy channel positive, healing thoughts. Though the crowd enjoyed the performance, the judges felt otherwise. Their combined score was only 36 points.

Len and Bruno slammed Aiden Turner and Edyta Sliwinska’s sometimes-stiff rumba. Len said it had “no flow,” while Bruno said it looked like “stop motion animation.” Ouch. They received only 33 points out of 60.

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough followed with a much more sensual rumba. Bruno found it beautiful, though noted a few missed steps. Carrie Ann said Nicole looked nervous. Still, the judges gave the couple a solid 50 points, putting them in second place for the night.

Len praised Jake Pavelka for attacking the tango — despite The Bachelor star stumbling with partner Chelsie Hightower. “It was very, very, very messy,” Bruno observed. Carrie Ann felt Jake and Chelsie were “not connected emotionally and physically.” They received 38 points.

Even though she’s going through a custody battle with her ex-husband, Kate Gosselin, at the urging of her partner Tony Dovolani, channeled her stress into the passion of the duo’s tango. It was her best dance of the season, with Bruno calling it a “mini breakthrough” and “a step in the right direction.” Carrie Ann appreciated Kate’s determination and declared she was proud of the mom of eight. Despite the praise, the couple landed at the bottom of the heap with just 32 points.

Another breakthrough performance followed from Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke, whose rumba was declared their “best dance” of the season by both Bruno and Len. Carrie Ann called it “smoldering.” The steamy routine earned the duo a solid 44 points.

One couple will be eliminated on the live results show, which airs Tuesday (8 p.m. EST) on ABC. –Monica Rizzo

Tell us: Which couple did the best? Who are you rooting for? Did you see improvement in Kate’s tango?Craig Sjodin/ABC