‘Dancing With The Stars’ — A New Frontrunner Emerges; Injuries Plague Two Contestants
First Published: April 9, 2012 10:35 PM EDT Credit: ABC
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- “Dancing with the Stars” has a new frontrunner.
Four weeks into the competition, NFL star Donald Driver cruised into the lead with professional partner Peta Murgatroyd, wowing the judges with a stunning paso doble that earned the pair 27 out of 30 points.
Donald, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, went shirtless for his routine with Peta, who is back for her second “DWTS” season of competition, and the two crisscrossed the dance floor with bold moves.
“That was spectacular,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba raved. “Wow!”
“Without a doubt, your best dance,” judge Len Goodman added.
But the pair didn’t have a strong hold on the top leaderboard spot.
The youngest competitor this season – Roshon Fegan (with partner Chelsie Hightower) – and Maria Menounos (with pro Derek Hough) – both danced their way into a tie for second place, earning 26 points each.
Maria’s feat was accomplished despite a new “Dancing” injury. Footage from a visit she made to a doctor’s office in recent days revealed she had a stress fracture in her foot.
Derek even held Maria piggy-back style when the judges raved over their performance, with the exception of Len.
“It was pretty good, not right up there,” the sometimes cranky judge said.
Roshon got off easier — he and Chelsie were the lone couple dancing a waltz and Carrie Ann was floored.
“You, I think, out of the men, are the best dancer,” she said.
The season’s early headline-makers — Katherine Jenkins (with Mark Ballas) and William Levy (with Cheryl Burke) — both fell to the middle of the pack.
Katherine’s paso doble was expressive, but lacked the finesse the judges were looking for, earning her just 24 points, and William was criticized for missing some steps during his tango, ending up with just 22 points.
Beyond the scores, at the completion of Monday’s episode, co-host Tom Bergeron revealed Melissa Gilbert injured herself during the evening (she danced a 22-point scoring paso doble with Maksim Chmerkovskiy) and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The full leaderboard from April 9 was:
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd performed the paso doble and earned 27/30
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower performed the waltz and earned 26/30
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough tackled the tango and earned 26/30
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas tackled the paso doble and earned 24/30
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff performed the tango and earned 23/30
William Levy and Cheryl Burke took on the tango and earned 22/30
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson tried the tango and earned 22/30
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy performed a paso doble and earned 22/30
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy performed a tango and earned 21/30
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus tackled the tango and earned 20/30
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