“Dancing with the Stars” Season 11 truly has a hot competition for the mirrorball.
On the 200th episode of the ABC celebrity competition, Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough battled back from their shocking season-low last week to challenge Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy at the top of the leaderboard.
At the end of a night, filled with dozens of “Dancing” alumni, group shake downs and special dances from season’s past, Jennifer and Derek ended the night in a tie with Brandy and Maks in the top spot.
The night opened with team cha chas, coached by former “Dancing with the Stars” champs (and Olympic gold medalists) Kristi Yamaguchi and Apolo Anton Ohno. Both Jennifer and Brandy were in Apolo’s group with former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, and their professional partners, and the sextet rocked it out, shimmying and shaking to the tune of 27/30.
Team Apolo scored a full three points higher than Team Kristi, which featured cha chas from Bristol Palin, a sexy Rick Fox and Kyle Massey, who each earned just 24/30.
In Round 2, things heated up again for Jennifer and Brandy, who both – with their professional partners – took inspiration from some of the most famous dances in the “DWTS” history, to create their own memorable versions on Monday night.
Brandy and Maks tackled Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke’s foxtrot from Season 8, gliding across the floor with grace and sex appeal.
“I felt goose bumps all over my body,” Gilles, who served as a guest judge of his former number, told the pair. “That performance was unreal.”
Brandy and bad boy Maks added another 37 points to their total – 9 from Gilles, 9 from Carrie Ann Inaba, 10 from Len Goodman and 9 from Bruno Tonioli, for an overall 64/70 for the night.
Jennifer was slammed by Carrie Ann last week, but after tackling Drew Lachey’s tango with Cheryl Burke from Season 2, the judge couldn’t help but get emotional – in a good way.
“As everyone here tonight knows, this show is truly a journey. You have to face your biggest fears, you have to face your harshest critiques and what no one loves more is to see somebody come back after a really tough [week] and blow the doors [down],” a choked up Carrie Ann said to a teary-eyed Jennifer.
Drew too, who guest judged his former dance, also was floored.
“The musicality was amazing, the lines are beautiful,” the Season 2 winner said. “If you can make it a little bit longer, you’ve got a real shot.”
While Bristol Palin again landed at the bottom of the leaderboard, she made major strides with partner Mark Ballas, something that was noticed by Season 9’s Kelly Osbourne, whose Viennese waltz, she tackled.
“You stole my heart, Bristol,” Kelly said, after the number. “You did unbelievable.”
Bristol earned a 9 from Kelly and 8s from the other three judges for a total of 33 out of 40.
With help from her Team Kristi cha cha score, she and Mark took home 57/70 points for the night.
The full scores on Monday night were:
Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy earned 27 points as part of Team Apolo and another 37 points for their version of Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke’s foxtrot from Season 8 for a total of 64/70
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough earned 27 points as part of Team Apolo and another 37 points for their version of Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke’s tango from Season 2 for a total of 64/70
Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke earned 24 points as part of Team Kristi and another 37 for their version of Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough’s quickstep from Season 5 for at total of 61/70
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya earned 27 points as part of Team Apolo and another 34 points for their version of Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke’s tango from Season 3 for a total of 61/70
Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer earned 24 points as part of Team Kristi and another 35 points for performing Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s paso doble from Season 5 for a total of 59/70
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas earned 24 points as part of Team Kristi and another 33 points for their version of Kelly Osbourne and Louis van Amstel’s Viennese waltz from Season 9 for a total of 57 out of 70