April 17th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
Monday was "Latin Night" on "Dancing with the Stars," and the nine remaining couples were tasked with performing dances such as the tango, salsa and samba.
We also received confirmation that Tuesday's elimination will feature the "Dance Duel," which involves the two lowest-scoring celebrities, so at least we got some clarity from the show on that.
The first celeb on the docket was Jaleel White, whose samba with pro partner Kym Johnson appeared to be on the slow side.
Kym pledged in practice to get Jaleel to "shake his booty," but Kym seemed to be doing a lot more shaking on the dance floor. Nevertheless, the couple got a standing ovation.
Judge Len Goodman said Jaleel had the rhythm down pat, but there were technique issues. Carrie Ann Inaba, who appeared to have a bird growing out of her head, noticed some arm problems, but Bruno Tonioli complimented Jaleel for having a "fine wiggle."
Jaleel White: 24/30 (All 8s)
Melissa Gilbert was next, making her return to the dance floor a week after suffering what Tom Bergeron called a "ballroom mishap." Pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy explained before the routine that Melissa struck his leg with her head during last week's dance, resulting in a mild concussion and some whiplash.
But Melissa was ready to get back on the dance floor and break out of her "comfort level," even though she seems to say that every week.
The dancing duo's salsa took a while to get started, and Melissa looked a bit wild and out of control. I also wouldn't have performed any of the floor-related stunts Melissa did, given her injuries. But she held her ground throughout the routine, and looked confident doing so.
Both Bruno and Carrie Ann expressed concern over her control, but complimented her for the routine.
Melissa Gilbert: 21/30 (All 7s)
Maria Menounos then took the floor, dressed like a cross between a Las Vegas showgirl and one of the Village People. Pro partner Derek Hough prepared for the routine by dropping Maria on her face during practice, then wrapping her up in bubble wrap to prevent any further ailments. Perhaps the dancers need to get out of the studios more.
The dance began with Maria getting her groove on with HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky, who happened to be sitting in the front row. The last time I sat in the front row of a live theatrical event, all I got was a free soft drink. The dance was smooth and sensual, and Maria is quickly becoming a favorite to take it all this season.
Bruno questioned the legality of Maria's routine, saying it's "the way he likes it." I think Bruno needs to come with a parental guidance warning.
Maria Menounos: 27/30 (All 9s)
Katherine Jenkins was next, and her Argentine tango with pro partner Mark Ballas was quite sensual, yet active. Katherine seemed to be in better control with this routine than she was last week, and the dance told a story that delighted the crowd.
Len called the routine sweet and sharp, while Carrie Ann called Katherine's legs the best in show history. That statement could mean different things to different people.
Katherine Jenkins: 29/30 (Carrie Ann Inaba 10, Len Goodman 9, Bruno Tonioli 10)
Singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw opted to keep his hat on for his samba, even though he was concerned about looking awkward performing a party dance. He also admitted that he may be depending on fan votes to survive another week. Note to Gavin: Don't ever consider a job as a motivational speaker.
Gavin's samba with pro partner Karina Smirnoff ended up being less of a party dance and more of a "potty dance." Gavin gave it his all, but he looked like a guy who forgot to hit the men's room after downing six or seven drinks.
Carrie Ann chastised Gavin for his lack of form, while Len took in plenty of boos for calling the dance a "sham-ba." Honestly, if the "potty dance" seen in diaper commercials was declared legal for this show, Gavin would earn, at best, a 28.
Gavin DeGraw: 19/30 (Inaba 6, Goodman 6. Tonioli 7)
During the break, a commercial for ABC's upcoming singing competition "Duets" aired. To give the Alphabet network credit, the ad was surprisingly decent, paying tribute to Apple's "1984" ad while taking aim at rival singing shows for being droll and predictable. And then it was back to a show that, at times, tends to be droll and predictable...
William Levy, who suffered a serious ankle injury during practice, was up next. Despite his ailments, William "manned up" and delivered a powerful tango, lifting pro partner Cheryl Burke several times in the process. Carrie Ann proceeded to call William the "Latin dancing James Bond" after his performance.
Before the scores were revealed, William said he had torn ligaments in his ankle, but had no plans to drop out of the competition.
William Levy: 29/30 (Inaba 10, Goodman 9, Tonioli 10)
Gladys Knight was our next celebrity up, and she hoped to bounce back from last week's last-place score. Training for her samba proved to be difficult, as she performed concerts in four states last week. At least pro partner Tristan MacManus had a chance to do some souvenir shopping along the way.
The dance was on, and Gladys' samba looked a whole lot better than whatever Gavin performed. It was an upbeat, yet sensual routine, and one of the singing legend's better dances this season.
Len said the routine was simple and effective, while Bruno complimented Gladys for playing to the audience.
Gladys Knight: 22/30 (Inaba 7, Goodman 7, Tonioli 8 )
Roshon Fegan was next, and his salsa with pro partner Chelsie Hightower showed a sultry side we haven't seen from him this season. The chemistry between the two was there, but what did the judges think?
Carrie Ann said the routine had a certain "sexiness, but in a Disney way," while Len encouraged Roshon to "calm himself" on occasion. I'm not sure what that means, but perhaps Roshon and Gavin hogged all the soft drinks before the show.
Roshon Fegan: 26/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman 8, Tonioli 9)
Our final celebrity was Donald Driver, who was confident that he'd score the first perfect 30 of the season with a tango of the Argentine variety.
Donald's dance with pro partner Peta "Heavens To" Murgatroyd was as sensual as you can be on the show without getting the Parents Television Council all riled up.
Carrie Ann called the routine "divine," but Len said part of the dance fell a tad short of expectations, while Bruno noted some flow issues.
Donald's dance was on par with Katherine Jenkins' routine to me, so I would have liked to see Len and Bruno be more specific as to why they had problems with Donald's tango.
Donald Driver: 27/30 (Inaba 10, Goodman 8, Tonioli 9)
Tonight, a "Dance Duel" will determine who goes home.
What did you think of Monday's "Dancing with the Stars" episode?
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