It’s official – Ricki Lake and Derek Hough are the team to beat on “Dancing with the Stars.”
For the second week in a row, the actress and her professional ballroom partner took the top spot on the leaderboard in the ABC dance competition.
The theme of the night was “Most Memorable Year,” and Ricki took inspiration from 2010, the year she got a divorce, lost everything in a Malibu house fire and found love again with her now-fiance – Christian Evans.
Her rumba with Derek was a mixture of push/pull – Derek would draw her in and Ricki – in a flowing pink outfit – would turn away before the ended the number in a horizontal embrace.
The emotion of the moves touched the judges who were impressed with her skill and awarded the celeb and her partner the top score of the night – 27 out of 30.
Ricki and Derek finished the closest to a perfect score, but the dance that tugged at the heartstrings of the audience was the rumba from former “All My Children” star and army veteran J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff.
Performed to Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This,” a military-themed tune, J.R. glided across the dance floor, taking inspiration from the year he was injured in combat.
Although new to ballroom, J.R. looked semi-professional alongside Karina, showing off graceful lines full of rhythm and beauty. The rumba touched the ballroom, leaving the audience on its feet, clapping for so long, their cheers nearly eclipsed comments from the judges.
“Heroes, I believe, are made,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, choking back tears, as the pair earned 26/30. “They’re normal people, they’re ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Tonight you did something extraordinary. You touched us all and I could feel the weight with which you danced… That was one of the most profound, honest dances I’ve ever seen on this stage.”
The pair tied with Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani for second (they too earned 26/30 for a rumba).
Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas landed in a four-way tie for fourth, after performing their cha cha, which was cheered on by her former fiance, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who gave the pair a standing ovation.
The other teams that each earned 24 points were Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke (for a foxtrot), Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkoskiy (for their cha cha) and David Arquette and Kym Johnson (for their rumba).
Once again landing at the bottom of the leaderboard, however, was Chaz Bono and his partner, Lacey Schwimmer.
The activist danced a rumba to a Sonny Bono song – “Laugh At Me,” from 1965, which Chaz said in his intro package, had a special significance.
“It felt like a theme song for me almost, because it’s about if you have a problem with me, that’s your problem, not mine,” Chaz said.
As the number began, Chaz blew a kiss to the heavens, presumably for his late father, and then took to the floor with Lacey, scoring 18/30 for their number.
“It wasn’t your best performance,” Carrie Ann said. “You looked really distracted.”
But judge Len Goodman had a different opinion.
“That was your best dance I’ve seen you do,” he said.
Cher wasn’t there to cheer her son on, but she vowed to show up next week if Chaz makes it through.
“Hope Chaz hangs on till next week so I can come sit in the Audience & Watch,” she Tweeted during the broadcast.
“Dancing with the Stars” returns on Tuesday with its results show at 8/7 C on ABC.
The leaderboard scores were as follows:
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough performed a rumba and earned 27/30
JR. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff’s rumba earned 26/30
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani performed a rumba and earned 26/30
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke took their foxtrot to a score of 24/30
Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas shook their samba to 24/30
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy performed a cha cha and earned 24/30
David Arquette and Kym Johnson performed a rumba for a score of 24/30
Carson Kressley and Anna Treunskaya tango’d their way to 23/30
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus took their waltz to 21/30
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer took on the rumba and earned 18/30