A night of sensuality and romance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” featured quite the surprise on Tuesday evening; a new circular stage for the sexy featured Latin dances of the week — the rumba and the Argentine tango. Highlights of the night included the first “10’s” of the season for leaderboard topper Jennifer Grey, a nearly soft-core porn performance from Florence Henderson and a slightly shocked Sarah & Todd Palin sitting in the front row.
The new stage in the round brought the judges and audience much closer to the celebs and their professional partners, creating new challenges for the dancing couples. Moreover, the show premiered its first ever acoustic week – with the band performing completely unplugged. Also, for the first time this season, the judges awarded two sets of scores; one for technique, and one for performance.
The professional dancers explained how difficult it would be for them to teach their stars how to dance in the round.
“I’ve been in the show for 10 seasons,” Maksim Chmerkovskiy explained.
“I’m used to choreographing for a regular stage, but now the script has been flipped and we’re choreographing for a round, smaller, more intimate floor,” he continued.
“It’s raised 30 inches off the floor and it’s quite exciting,” pro Corky Ballas explained.
“This is not new just for the celebrities,” Tony Dovolani chimed in. “This is something that we, as pro dancers, have never done before.”
“Tonight, the flaws will be exposed!” host Tom Bergeron promised.
First up were Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya, who kicked off the night with the sensual rumba. Kurt explained that being the Christian that he is, it would be very difficult for him to dance with someone who was not his wife; especially because he was dancing on his 13th wedding anniversary.Still, during rehearsals his wife gave her seal of approval and told him to “just go for it.”
Performing to Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” Bruno Tonioli was critical of Kurt’s movement and flow, although Carrie Ann Inaba loved their performance. The couple earned a 15 out of 30 for their technical routine. However, they fared better in their performance score, earning 19 out of 30.
Next up, were Brandy and Maks with their rumba. In their practice video, Maks set up a romantic dinner to get his partner in the mood. Dancing to Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work,” they knocked it out of the park.
“Brandy, there you are!” Carrie Ann exclaimed. “I’ve been waiting for the real Brandy to show herself, and with the rumba, it was your comeback night!” Technically, they received 22 of 30. For their performance, they earned a spectacular 26 of 30.
Next, came the first Argentine tango of the night, from Rick Fox and partner Cheryl Burke. The Argentine tango is one of the few dances of the season in which lifts are allowed. “You have to be dominant,” Cheryl told Rick during rehearsals. Carrie Ann was not thrilled with their performance however. “It felt very one-dimensional to me,” she said.
Len, however, praised their lifts, which he called “excellent.” They earned 19 of 30 for technical, and a 20 of 30 for performance.
Next up were Kyle Massey and partner Lacey Schwimmer with their rumba.
“He’s only 19,” Lacey explained about her partner. “I don’t think he knows what sexy ‘is’ yet.”
Kyle was set on showing Len he could bring “technique” as they danced to B.o.B.‘s “Beautiful Girls.” Len thought his footwork was much better, although “it had had a sort of staccato feel to it.” Although they only earned an 18 of 30 for technical, they earned a 22 of 30 for performance, leading them to a solid 40 out of 60.
Finally showing off the body part for which he’s most famous, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff came out of the gates en fuego with their Argentine tango!
Earlier in the day, The Sitch told MTV News that he thought he could win the whole competition. With a dazzling opening flip and making the most of his muscles, The Sitch came out confident dancing to a wordless “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics.
Bruno called it “a terrible mess.” However, Carrie Ann was very impressed though and saw “true improvement,” after welcoming his abs to the show. They earned a measly 12 of 30, “4’s” from each judge for technical, and a total of 16 for performance; a total of 26 of 60, for the lowest score of the night.
“That’s definitely a situation,” the Situation declared.
Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas were up next with their nearly too-hot-for-TV rumba. In a hilarious rehearsal montage, Florence promised a racy performance, and she did not disappoint, complete with plenty of strategic touching and grinding. The oldest couple in the competition received the wildest applause of the night. Tom called it our “Season 11… get a room dance!”
Carrie Ann was left practically speechless.
“You definitely explained that age has no relation to how sexy and raunchy and dirty you can make a dance,” she summarized, still slightly in shock.
They earned a 17 for technical and an 18 for performance, giving them 35 out of 60.
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough came out strong, ready to make up for their technical error last week with their Argentine tango. Looking more age 20 than age 50, Jennifer absolutely shined, seeming more like a professional than a competing celeb.
Len called their dance “magnificent,” and Bruno called it a “primetime delight” and “unsurpassed tonight.”
Sure enough, they topped the leaderboard with a 27 of 30 for technical, and a whopping 29 of 30 for performance, with both Carrie Ann & Bruno awarding the first “10’s” of the season.
“The rumba and Bristol Palin have absolutely zero in common,” Mark Ballas explained during rehearsals with his teen mom partner. Starting out writhing on the floor, Bristol pulled off her best attempt at bringing sexy to Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” stripping off Mark’s shirt halfway through, as mom & dad, Sarah & Todd Palin, watched in supposed minor shock from the front row of the audience.
However, the judges criticized her sloppy effort. She earned triple “6’s” for technical, 18 of 30, and 14 of 30 for performance – for a total of only 32 of 60.
Finally, Audrina Patridge & pro partner Tony Dovolani were up, defending their top of the leaderboard position from the week before with the Argentine tango.
They dazzled to “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane — Audrina’s body bending in positions that almost no other “Star” could come close to emulating. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to top Jennifer and Derek. They earned triple “8’s” for technical, and a 22 of 30 for performance; for a total of 46 out of 60.
Up Tuesday night during the elimination show, performances from the Goo Goo Dolls, Florence + The Machine, and the show “Forever Tango.”
The total combined scores for all couples, below:
Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough: 56 of 60
Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 48 of 60
Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovolani: 46 of 60
Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer: 40 of 60
Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke: 39 of 60
Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas: 35 of 60
Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya: 34 out of 60
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 32 of 60
The Situation & Karina Smirnoff: 26 of 60