Adam Larkey/ABC (2)
April 06, 2010 12:00 AM

LOVE STORY: Niecy Nash and her pro partner Louis Van Amstel gave an emotional performance in the ballroom Monday night, telling the tale of a couple in the ’60s whose love isn’t accepted. “The story was about how far we’ve come as interracial couples, because that’s what we are. But the underlying message was, yes we’ve come that far, but we’re not there yet because same sex marriage isn’t possible,” Van Amstel said. “She can get married, but I can’t yet.” Although their waltz wasn’t perfect, Nash said the couple achieved the night’s goal. “It was so full of emotion that it allowed me to forget some of my steps,” she said. “But we definitely told our story.” And Van Amstel revealed his own, saying, “I am in the beginning of something very special, and it’s the first person I would ever consider wanting to get married.”

KATE’S FAN CLUB: Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani may have only scored 15 points out of 30 for their paso doble, but they’re counting it as a win. “This was the best performance yet,” Gosselin said. “The judges have their comments, but I’m out there to prove this to myself.” And, according to Dovolani, she did. “I’m so proud of her,” he said. “As long as we feel like we conquer something, that’s a win to me.” As far as getting votes is concerned, Gosselin can count on at least eight little ones. “They’re really proud of me, they vote like crazy,” she says of her kids. “I talked to them a half hour before the show, and my Mady said, ‘What are you doing calling me a half hour before Dancing with the Stars?’ She’s like a little mother.”

CHERYL’S NEW BLING: After dancing the paso doble in a performance about a matador trying to seduce a reluctant woman, Cheryl Burke and her partner Chad Ochocinco talked about her new sparkler. “The ring is from Chad, it’s bright and has lots of diamonds,” she said. “He presented it to me on one knee!” But sometimes a ring is just a ring. “The reason is a thank-you and an appreciation for what I put her through,” Ochocinco said. “She’s helping me in this wonderful journey. That’s what you do when you spend so much time with someone. I feel like we’re a couple, even though we’re not.” Still, a guy can hope! “Never say never,” Burke said of a potential romance. “Right now it’s business, but it could be pleasure.”

LEADERS OF THE PACK: Evan Lysacek and partner Ann Trebunskaya took the top score Monday night — despite a case of the jitters over his broken toes. “I feel it a little bit. I was nervous,” he said of taking to the floor with an injury. “I don’t want to let Anna down. We’ve been working hard.” Actually, the Olympian seemed more concerned with his hair than his feet. “Feel my hair. It’s so gross and crusty from hairspray,” he said. “Do you even think shampoo is going to penetrate this? It felt like the hairstylist was literally gluing my hair.”

THE BACHELOR and THE DRILL SERGEANT: Jake Pavelka and Chelsie Hightower said they were happy with their quickstep but have high hopes for the coming weeks. “I feel like we’ll have that breakthrough dance,” he said. “I feel it coming! She’s driving it out of me.” The pair, who had a fight during rehearsals, said it was tough to revisit it before they took the floor. “To watch yourself have that frustration and live that right before you dance, it takes a toll on you,” Hightower said. But, according to Pavelka, it’s not personal. “If she wasn’t that way, almost like a drill sergeant,” he says, “it would scare me.” — Lisa Ingrassia and Aaron ParsleyAdam Larkey/ABC (2)

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