It was story night on “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday and the bestseller belonged to Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani, who swept in with an emotional number that was a hit with the judges.
The former “Hills” beauty and Tony leapt to the top of the leaderboard, ousting Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough from the top spot for the first time this season, with a wonderful waltz.
Inspired by the idea of a marine’s last dance with his love – a ghostly one at that – the pair’s number left the entire panel moved enough to give them the highest score of the night — a 26 out of 30 — including two 9s (from Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli).
“Compelling and touching storytelling,” Bruno said. “I could read the story through you… Beautifully danced and beautifully played.”
While Jennifer and Derek lost their hold on the top spot, they entered a three-way tie for second, opening the show with a sexy samba in which the “Dirty Dancing” beauty played the hot teacher of her blond student’s dreams.
The role reversing number was another big hit which had Bruno branding Jennifer, “the sexy mistress of Cougar Town’s Academy of Samba,” he said.
The pair scored 24 out of 30, the same score as Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Brandy and Maks also performed a samba, but rehearsal footage that showed Maks smacking Brandy’s derriere in an attempt to make her a better dancer, offended Len.
“Slapping her on the a**… it’s not the way to [train someone] in my opinion,” Len said.
“I don’t condone that kind of teaching, but it worked because you were on fire tonight,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba chimed in.
It was former NBA star Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke who were the third pair to tie for second with a score of 24. They too samba’d – with Rick’s yellow shirt unbuttoned enough to show off his athlete’s physique, something that affected Carrie Ann’s comments.
“It was hot, it was sexy… gooooo,” she said indecipherably, having gone speechless.
While she landed at the bottom of the pack, Margaret Cho made a statement with her partner, Louis van Amstel, dancing in a purposefully rainbow colored dress and calling her samba a coming out.
Their dance, to Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana,” however, confused the judges – including Len, who said he didn’t understand the story behind the dance.
“The story is about having pride while people are criticizing you,” Margaret explained.
“Keep waving it, girl. Good for you, but I think you lost your way at the Copa,” Bruno said. “Too many drinks for you.”
Backstage, Margaret, who though married, is bisexual, explained that the pair’s dance was inspired by recent events in society, specifically involving gay teens who were victims of bullying – sometimes with tragic consequences.
“Our story is serious because we want to celebrate pride, we want to show ourselves off. It’s a tough time for the gay community. A lot of gay teenagers have committed suicide, so we want this to end now,” Margaret said, referring to the troubling amount of gay teens who have recently taken their own lives after cases of bullying, including, most recently, Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after being bullied by his fellow students.
In other “Dancing” news, Michael Bolton will be back on Tuesday’s show. He was announced as the replacement performer for Susan Boyle, who was unable to film the show due to illness.
The full dances and scores were:
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough’s samba earned 24/30
Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas waltzed to a score of 20/30
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya’s fox trot earned 23/30
Margaret Cho and Louis van Amstel’s samba earned 18/30
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani waltzed to 26/30
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas broke out a fox trot that earned 19/30
Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s samba scored 24/30
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer waltzed to a 23/30
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff waltzed to a 20/30
Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke’s samba earned a 24/30