CLEVELAND - Classical night delivered the first perfect score of this season’s “Dancing with the Stars” – and it wasn’t front-runner and classical singer Katherine Jenkins.
The show opened with lots of pomp and circumstance, and madams and vicomtes in bouffant wigs. It looked like a musical of “Dangerous Liaisons.”
Appropriately enough, the show opened with Katherine and Mark doing a rumba to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.” Their moves were graceful and poised, and the dance was sensual yet innocent. Judge Len Goodman loved it, but Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli wanted more heat. They got a 27 out of 30.
Actress Melissa Gilbert and Maks performed an Argentine tango to Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” It was clear that Melissa adores Maks as a partner. He had an injured ankle, but decided to dance and picked her up, literally sweeping her off her feet. Melissa looked a little unsure at first. She got more comfortable as the dance went on, but it was one busy routine. The judges were pretty critical, and Maks’ jaw was visibly flaring. Melissa said she’s happy because she just did that dance in front of the man who operated on her spine. Score: 21.
Actor William Levy and Cheryl did a Viennese waltz to Schubert’s “Ave Maria” (sung by 12-year-old powerhouse Jackie Evancho – how does that powerful voice come out of a girl the size of a doll?). They started elegantly. In fact, the whole routine was poised and controlled, with some sensuality. Welcome William the gentleman. The judges thought he did a great job hitting the right notes. Score: 27.
William tweeted, “Hope u guys enjoyed the show tonight! It was all for all of u! I did the best I could. Hopefully u guys do the best u can with the phone ;-).”
Disney star Roshon Fegan and Chelsie tackled an Argentine tango to an instrumental version of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Chelsie told him he needed to be more macho, and he definitely showed more power than ever before, but his choreography seemed limited. Roshon looked good in a dance that was not compelling. 25 out of 30.
Green Bay Packer Donald Driver and Peta hit the floor for a Viennese waltz to Verdi’s “La Donna è Mobile.” In hold, they looked remarkable together. Donald was light on his feet, and seemed to enjoy it too. The dance was fluid and the judges said it was great. Score: 27.
Donald tweeted, “Good morning! Time to have a little breakfast and rehearsal for the Dance Duel! Thank again for your Votes. Love u all.”
Then came the dance of the night. TV host Maria Menounos and Derek did a paso doble to Prokofiev’s “Montagues and Capulets.” Part of this gave me goosebumps. Leave it to Derek to craft the most memorable dance of the season. Some of the moves seemed impossible. It was a perfect marriage of song and dance for this couple. She played a vampire and he was trying to slay her. Sometimes in hold, they looked like they were fighting – what great anger. The routine told a story, the intensity built, and Maria got lost in her character. Her body language and moves could not be oversold.
Call me a sycophant, but this was art. Carrie Ann says Katherine should watch out. Len was exuberant. Bruno called it spellbinding. Maria said she was thankful for this entire experience and that she loved Derek. They got a perfect score. YouTube it, it’s that good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTK0UnOAicA .
Maria tweeted, “Omg soooooo happy tonight!!hope you all liked our paso and team tango dance.thank you for all that are voting.2night was a dream:).”
Actor Jaleel White and Kym followed with a Viennese waltz. They choreographed and delivered a smooth and beautiful dance. The judges said Jaleel tried, but the quality was not as high as it should be. He got a 24.
But all the couples had one more dance to do: a team dance. First up, team tango, with Katherine, Maria, Jaleel, Roshon, and all their partners. They dance as a synchronized group, and they had solo routines. Maria was solid, Jaleel was good, Katherine was geat, and Roshon, finally, looked like a man. The judges were somewhat on different pages with their critiques. The group got a 27 out of 30.
Next up, team paso doble, with Melissa, William, Donald, and their partners. Donald was sharp, just killing the moves. The whole dance was a fiery crowd pleaser. Carrie Ann said it could go down as the fan favorite paso doble in the show’s history. Minus one or two technical flaws, the judges loved the performance and execution. So, why did the glowing judges give them a 26, one point less than the previous team? Maybe they want Melissa to go home.
The next couple goes home Tuesday night. With the final scores worked together, Melissa is at the bottom. We’ll see what happens after viewer votes are worked in.
Either way, the two lowest couples will have another dance duel, performing on the spot to save their slots. And then it’s up to the judges anyway.
The elimination episode of week 7 airs at Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Former contestant Gavin DeGraw returns to perform.