By People Staff
Updated November 11, 2008 12:00 AM
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Credit: KELSEY MCNEAL/ABC (2)

Solo Without the Safety Net: Beyond having to master two dances in one week of practice, the remaining celebs had to also incorporate a 15-second solo dance–a notion that was met with both fear and excitement from the remaining five contestants. “I was scared because Derek is my safety net out there,” front-runner Brooke Burke later admitted, “Sometimes he’s the only thing that keeps it together for us.” “I wasn’t nervous, ” Maurice Greene said of his paso doble performance. “I actually got a little bit excited for it. I just wanted to do something cool that would ‘wow’ the . I’m up there twirling that cape around, and tell me that it looks good, but I don’t know what’s happening. All I see is purple and silver going around in a circle!” Former ‘N Syncer Lance Bass agreed, saying, “The solo was my favorite part and I think I’m much better at dancing by myself. The hardest part for me is when I’m connected to Lacey … my pigeon toes make me very clumsy, and I’m stepping all over her feet.”

Big Boy as Bond? Warren Sapp delivered a cool tango in a sparkly tuxedo that had judge Bruno Tonioli proclaiming, “Watch out, James Bond!” But Sapp wasn’t about to let the post-dance praise–or his first 10 of the season– go to his head. “Secret agents don’t wear shimmering tuxedoes,” Sapp said, “I do, because I’m so big, I can’t hide anyway, so I might as well let them see me coming.” But the NFL star couldn’t resist toying with the notion of a 007 of another color. “They don’t have a black James Bond,” Sapp said, “but now that we have a black president, why not? Just give me the role, and give me that Aston Martin!” From ‘Barefoot’ too Pigeon-Toed: Len Goodman welcomed Lance Bass’s classic foxtrot, calling it the, “Extreme Makeover” of the dancefloor. But he was less kind toward the pair’s samba, criticizing Bass’s poor footwork. “I forgot about my feet being turned in,” Bass admitted. “I was so focused on the balls of my feet and heel-toe leads, I forgot about my pigeon toes. In my defense, that’s a lot to think about.” When it was pointed out that last season’s champ, Kristi Yamaguchi, was born with a club foot, Bass could only chuckle. “If she could win it, then maybe my pigeon toes give us a ‘leg’ up!”

Last Girl Standing: As the last woman in the competition, Brooke Burke is starting to feel the heat. Burke says that the notion of judge Len Goodman judging her as a professional dancer is ‘bittersweet’. “There’s so much pressure, and I make mistakes that they may let slide if they weren’t judging me to such a high standard,” said Burke. “I really respect Len, and I’m sure that everything he said was true, and he still gave us a nine, and I can take it, because Derek is really my toughest critic.” But the mother of four does have her eye on the mirror-ball trophy. “It’s so close and we’ve worked so hard!” Burke said. “If we win, I know that the trophy will be rotating bedrooms with my three little girls, and this is something that they have already discussed amongst themselves!”

More from Inside the Ballroom: •The front row of the ballroom was a DWTS reunion of sorts, with season five’s Mark Cuban sitting next to season four’s Leeza Gibbons. The pair only one seat away from season seven casualty Corky Ballas. During the pre-show intros, Cuban gave judge Carrie Ann Inaba a solo standing ovation, which brought the judge rushing across the dancefloor to hug Cuban and Gibbons.

• Always-cool host Tom Bergeron affected a case of the pre-show jitters to get a laugh out of co-host Samantha Harris. Just as the show was about to go live, Bergeron faked a panic attack. Harris played along, calmly fanning her co-host with her hands as she looked to the audience for help.

• With the show about to go live, Harris snuck away and stole a kiss from her hubby Michael Hess in the audience. She later broke away mid-show to seek out her husband once more. Hess was all smiles but slightly embarrassed by the DWTS PDA, laughing to his fellow audience members after each encounter with his wife. –Reagan Alexander

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