Kelsey McNeal/ABC (2)
October 14, 2008 12:00 AM

Rocco Not Dispirited: Not even another round of low scores–and catty judges’ comments–could sink the spirits of Rocco DiSpirito. “My mother told me to shake what she had given me, and I shook it,” DiSpirito said, laughing about his mother’s rehearsal visit. “Maybe not in time, or to the beat of the music, but I shook it all at some point.” In fact, DiSpirito made sure to point out what was truly important in his samba–his pink ruffled sleeves. “I’m pretty sure that hot-pink chiffon ruffles, twelve on each arm, speak for themselves,” said the hunky chef.

Unfortunately, the sleeves spoke more than the dance itself, and judge Bruno Tonioli blasted that his accountant could do a better samba. “Bruno’s accountant must be a hot dancer, but I’m not worried about the number-cruncher,” DiSpirito chuckled half-heartedly after the show. “I want to have a dance-off with Bruno. We’ll see who looks better in pink ruffles, once and for all.”

Cloris’s Great Leap Forward: Cloris Leachman’s tango with technique had all three judges rallying behind her. “It was a thrill to have the judges give us the scores that they did,” the 82-year-old actress said, “but I was hoping to get the eight, eight, eight. I thought that Corky and I deserved it.” Ballas was just happy to finally get on the judges’ good side, but he pointed out afterward that his partner got away with a lift that escaped the judges’ eyes. “At one point,” Ballas said, “I had her leg three inches off the ground.” Leachman could only laugh, saying of Ballas and their high leg kick: “He puts my leg where he wants it. It wasn’t just my leg, my whole body was three inches off the floor, but you didn’t see it because of my dress.” She Comes Out Swinging: Susan Lucci channeled her soap opera persona Erica Kane in a dazzling tango that had Bruno gushing she was a “tough broad,” while Carrrie Ann Inaba equated the dance to “moving art.” Lucci later said of the pair’s dramatic tango slap, “It did come pretty easy to me, because I’ve done my fair share of fake slapping.” But it turns out Lucci had to take a bit off of her accustomed swing. “This wasn’t meant to be a knock-out punch,” the soap star said. “For the sake of the dance, I had to reel in the wind-up.”

Call Him Sir Dance-A-Lot: Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer went back to what they knew best, delivering a feisty tango that garnered the couple their highest scores to date and had Goodman dubbing him “Sir Dance-A-Lot.” “That was the reaction we were going for this whole competition,” Bass said. “It starts to get discouraging when you work your butt off all week, and you think you did great, and the judges just tear you down. This week, the pain finally paid off, and now we’re motivated even more.” But Bass knows he needs to back up the performance with another stellar dance next week if he’s around. “I have a lot to prove before I can accept that as a nickname,” the singer said. “I don’t see myself getting any Sir Dance-A-Lot vanity plates any time soon.”

Focus, Cody, Focus: America’s DWTS sweetheart, Julianne Hough, and Hannah Montana star Cody Linley’s tango was well received by the judges, but the show’s youngest competitor had to hunker down and focus. “It’s really tough,” Linley said of doing the same moves for seven hours a day. “The hardest part is the frustration of knowing exactly what your body is supposed to do, but not being able to get your body to get that movement. It’s frustrating to me, but I know it’s more frustrating for Julianne because she can do it so easily.”

Of his impromptu chat with his principal, Linley said: “It was good to get a call from her, and be able to talk to her, because she really did help me to remember why I’m here and what I’m trying to accomplish.” But when faced with the question of who was the tougher task mistress of the two, Cody was quick to offer an answer: “Julianne, by far, because she can really crack the whip. No offense to Ms, Ingram, and she knows that I love her, but when it’s all said and done, I would rather dance with Julianne every day than dance with my high school principal.” –Reagan Alexander

Kelsey McNeal/ABC (2)

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