After a knee injury and two weeks squarely at the bottom of the leaderboard, Chaz Bono finally upped his game on Monday night’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
In front of his superstar mother, Cher, the rest of his family and an audience of millions, the activist and author, dancing the paso doble with partner Lacey Schwimmer to the theme from “Rocky,” battled his way back into the competition.
“In the true spirit of ‘Rocky,’ no matter how many knocks you take, you keep coming back, you keep fighting and you keep getting stronger,” judge Bruno Tonioli said.
Chaz’s performance, which benefited from a little rehearsal coaching from none other than Richard Simmons, also touched Cher, who – along with the ballroom audience – gave her son a standing ovation, as tears welled up in her eyes.
“OMG! I WAS CRYING ! WASNT EXPECTING 2 B SO NERVOUS ! BROKE MY BRACELET CLAPPING ! IM SO PROUD,” Cher Tweeted after the show. “CHAZ WAS GREAT! LOVED DAVID ARQUETTE 2nd.”
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba too was left misty-eyed.
“I’m trying to figure out why I’m, crying,” Carrie Ann commented. “It’s like, I watch you and somehow you get under my skin and you make me root for you… Your true courage and the way you get out there, I was like, ‘Go! Go! Go!’”
Chaz and Lacey earned a total score of 21/30, putting them in a tie for sixth place with HLN host Nancy Grace and her Irish ballroom hunk, Tristan MacManus, and original co-frontrunners Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani. Whether Chaz’s personal dancing improvement will be enough to carry him through to Week 5, however, will be up to the voters.
AH Nation Poll: Will Chaz Bono stick around in the competition? Click HERE to vote.
The bottom of the leaderboard this week went to 20-point scoring Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya for a shaky, although entirely entertaining, Viennese waltz to the “Curse of the Black Pearl” from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Len Goodman even said if he was at home, he’d be giving Carson his vote.
As for that top leaderboard spot, it once again was held by a stunning Ricki Lake and Derek Hough who brought major drama to the ballroom as they tangoed to the theme from “Psycho.”
The pair began their dance in silhouette, before taking their crisp moves out into the ballroom, bathed in a red light, impressing the audience to the tune of a loud standing ovation.
“Brilliance in the ballroom,” Carrie Ann said simply as Ricki and Derek took the first 10s of Season 13 (from Carrie Ann and Bruno) and one 9 from Len Goodman for a total score of 29/30.
Their closest competitors, J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff, who fox trotted to the theme from “The Pink Panther” scored a full three points less – just 26/30.
As for David Arquette (whom Cher Tweeted was her second favorite), it was actually a redemption night for the actor who was cheered on by actress sisters Roseanna and Patricia Arquette, as well as his daughter Coco (who appeared to be seated next to Cher) and Courteney Cox.
David and Kym put on a strong paso doble to the theme from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which was full of gusto.
“Suddenly this week there’s like this incredible amount of bravado under your dancing,” Carrie Ann said. “It just catapulted you to another level… I loved every minute of it, it was like watching an athlete.”
The leaderboard rankings for Week 4 were as follows:
1. Ricki Lake and Derek Hough tackled the tango and earned 29/30
2. J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff performed the fox trot and earned 26/30
3. Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy took on the fox trot and earned 24/30
3. Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke performed the paso doble and took home 24/30
5. David Arquette and Kym Johnson performed a paso doble and earned 23/30
6. Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani took on the tango and earned 21/30
6. Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus tackled the paso doble and earned 21/30
6. Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer took on the paso doble and earned 21/30
9. Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya performed a Viennese waltz and earned 20/30