The competition heated up on “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday night, after Jason Taylor stepped up his game against leader board rival Kristi Yamaguchi.
Kristi opened the competition strong, dancing the sexy paso doble with her partner Mark Ballas. Their dance, full of flair and fabric, won them praise from the judges and a near perfect score – 29 out of 30.
“You can’t dance bad as far as I’m concerned,” Judge Len Goodman raved.
“You both set the standard for the competition,” Judge Carrie Ann Inaba added. “I think it’s thanks to you guys that everyone else is working their little booties off!”
Though Kristi netted the first tens given by the judges (Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann), Jason wasn’t far behind.
Midway through the evening, the NFL star took to the floor with Edyta Sliwinska and tackled the Viennese Waltz. Despite his height, Jason glided gracefully across the floor as the folds of Edyta’s dress added glamour to their number.
“You managed to make the Viennese waltz sexy, sensual [and] erotic,” Bruno said as the couple matched Kristi’s score of 29 out of 30. “It was like a majestic swan mating ritual.”
But Jason and Kristi may not be the leaders for long.
Shannon Elizabeth and her partner, Derek Hough, battled back from injury to woo the judges with their own Viennese waltz.
Throughout the week, Shannon was forced to rehearse with Jonathan Roberts, who was recently eliminated from the competition, along with his partner, Monica Seles. When Derek hurt his neck the week before, Jonathan stepped in to help Shannon rehearse.
Derek coached them, a video showed, as Shannon got to grips with the dance, but when it was time for the actual competition, Derek hit the dance floor and the two grabbed Len’s first ten.
“I think that, for me, was the best dance I’ve seen tonight,” Len raved.
Given a 28 out of 30, Shannon and Derek wrapped up the evening’s activities proving that the frontrunners may be good, but the competition is anything but over.
Other scores for the night:
Priscilla Presley & Louis Van Amstel (Viennese waltz) 22/30
Adam Carolla and Julianne Hough (paso doble) 19/30
Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez (Viennese waltz) 24/30
Mario and Karina (paso doble) 24/30
Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke (paso doble) 26/30
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani (paso doble) 24/30