Kelsey McNeal/ABC
October 28, 2008 12:00 AM

Lil’ Leachy’s Last Stand?: After last night’s lackluster cha-cha-cha, Cloris Leachman may be bidding farewell to the ballroom but she left America with an indelible image: channeling Flavor Flav in the season’s first group dance. “I see Cloris as a hip-hop grandma,” pro Tony Dovolani joked, “If she came out with her own rap album, it might be titled The Next William Hung! Lance Bass added, “We’ve already had a rapping granny, but when Cloris walked into rehearsals with that ghetto blaster, I almost died. If she had a rap name, it would have to be, ‘Lil’ Leachy!” Judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who had harsh words for the 82-year-old actress after her dance, thought Leachman’s outrageous hip-hop effort “was better than her cha-cha.” So does the original Fly Girl think there’s a hip-hop album in Leachman’s future? “I just know that there would be the word ‘ho’ in it,” laughed Inaba, who added, “and that’s all I’m going to say!”

The Season Seven Curse: From simple sprains to career-threatening Achilles’ injuries, both dancers and contestants are wondering whether this season may have a dark cloud hanging over it. “We need to hold a seance out here,” said Warren Sapp. “I’m not sure, but I think someone has some voodoo dolls stashed away somewhere.” “They need to open up a wing at Cedar’s dedicated to DWTS,” Derek Hough joked, before turning serious about his sister Julianne’s condition. “Trust me, I was so concerned that I had to rush out from the press line, but all I could do was make her laugh because I’ve never been good at comforting , and she didn’t like it because when she laughed, it hurt her stomach.” The Missing Step: Warren Sapp’s rumba, which included a foot fault, left the former defensive player of the year a little defensive. “I could have bluffed my way through it,” Sapp said. “I screw it up all the time in practice, but that’s the first time I made a mistake that big on this floor.” Inaba agreed with the former pro-bowler, saying of Sapp’s gaffe and subsequent goofy face, “Had he not made that face, I wouldn’t have thought he made a mistake.” Though Sapp failed to wow the judges, the NFLer had a fellow hall of famer in his corner: Marshall Faulk, who sat front row to support his pal. “To see the Big Fella out there doing these dances, it’s amazing.” Faulk said, “You expect him to be able to do the funky dances, but to see him do the rumba–and be so sensual–not only is it great, but it’s good ammunition for me to use on the roasting Warren circuit when that time comes.” Sapp’s response to Faulk’s, ahem, praise: “That dirtbag told me that if I didn’t make it past the first week, I might as well not come back to the job. He said that I had to make it a little way before he came to see me, and it took me six weeks for him to come here.”

More From Inside the Ballroom: • Substitute judge Michael Flatley not only won over the contestants, but fans as well with his constructive critiques and old-school gentlemanly manners. During a break, Flatley stood and pulled out Inaba’s chair, gently pushing it back under the desk after his fellow judge had exited. The gesture wasn’t lost on the audience, with a group of older women roundly applauding the act of chivalry.

•Anna Faris turned out to support “bestie” Lance Bass, but the House Bunny star and unabashed DWTS fan seemed far more interested in her Scary Movie 4 costar Cloris Leachman. Faris led the standing ovation that followed Leachman’s bizarre cha-cha.

•In Len Goodman’s absence, Bruno Tonioli happily played the role of paddle-wielding curmudgeon. His comparatively low scores for the dances routinely drew a chorus of boos from the audience. With Flatley rolling out high praise for each dance, followed by even higher paddle scores, Tonioli spent the evening rolling his eyes. –Reagan Alexander

READ MORE: Lance Jives His Way to the TopKelsey McNeal/ABC

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