After weeks of leaderboard shake-ups, “Dancing with the Stars” finally has an official pair of frontrunners.
Steelers star Hines Ward and his professional “Dancing” partner, Kym Johnson, rocketed into the lead with a score of 27 out of 30 on the ABC celebrity dance competition after performing a smooth and elegant rumba inspired by “An Officer and a Gentleman,” as part of the show’s “America Night.”
“Ease of move, musicality and just the right amount of sensuality to make all the ladies swoon,” judge Bruno Tonioli said of their performance, which saw Hines wearing a military uniform, and Kym, a sexy white dress, full of fringe.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy didn’t land in the Top 3 for the night, but they managed to get through a full routine without a mishap for the first time this month, all thanks to a special helper the actress called in during the last few days of rehearsals – John Travolta.
“Hi, I’m a dance doctor,” John said as he walked in on the pair practicing in a clip played on the show. “I hear there’s been some problems.”
The former “Saturday Night Fever” star blamed Kirstie’s shoe mishap from last week on her footwear and offered a suggestion for this week’s competition.
“Too fancy, too fragile,” he said when he heard she wore a Manolo Blahnik high heel in the ballroom last Monday night. “Let’s try a sneaker. I suggest a high-top.”
Before he left the rehearsal, John suggested the two should also work to improve their chemistry and apparently they did as the number they eventually performed on this week’s epsiode — a foxtrot to “American Woman” — was a hot one.
For starters, Maks, in leather pants, ripped his shirt off as the number opened, revealing his toned torso complete with a fake American flag tattoo, while Kirstie opted for sparkly blue pumps and a two-piece outfit, her stomach shielded slightly by some blue mesh fabric.
“That was a different take on the foxtrot, but it suited you,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said of the saucy dance, which earned a 23 out of 30. “It was a little borderline crazy… I think it was your best dance ever.”
The second spot on the leaderboard was actually claimed by three different pairs, who all tied, earning 26 points each for the night – Romeo and Chelsie Hightower; Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke; and Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas.
Further down the leaderboard was “Girl Next Door” Kendra Wilkinson, who revealed in practice sessions (aired on Monday’s show) that as she rehearsed for Monday’s competition, she continued to hold a grudge against Carrie Ann for her critiques of last week’s dance.
“Carrie Ann kind of made me feel like trash when she was judging me and saying that I was afraid of elegance,” Kendra told partner Louis van Amstel during rehearsals.
But the reality star decided that with her new dance – a foxtrot – she was going to put the past behind her, calling this week’s number a “fresh start.”
And it paid off too. The pair’s foxtrot – the 1000th competition dance in “DWTS” history – earned them 22 points and a big compliment from Carrie Ann.
“You’re a fighter,” the judge said. “Most patriotic dance of the night.”
Here’s how the rest of the pack did:
Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff performed a samba, earning 22/30
Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin danced the quickstep, earning 22/30