Spice Girl Mel B and racecar driver Helio Castroneves stormed into the lead on Monday night’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Both contestants proved they’ve been listening hard to the judges critiques as they stepped up their dances with their respective on-screen partners.
Helio and partner Julianne Hough, who won last season’s “Dancing” trophy with speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, landed the highest score of the evening, putting in two polished performances.
For their first dance, the paso doble, Julianne brought in her own pit crew, including Jane Seymour’s former “Dancing” partner Tony Dovolani, who whipped Helio’s on stage moves into shape.
When they finally hit the floor, they brought a cape, but despite the extra fabric, the judges were impressed giving them a 27 out of 30.
“The polish has been applied and the mission has been accomplished. Well done,” judge Bruno Tonioli.
For Helio and Julianne’s second dance, which netted them a perfect score, the duo took inspiration from Jim Carey’s “The Mask” for their quickstep.”
“You looked like a great big dancing banana,” judge Len Goodman joked. “That was fantastic.”
Mel B and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy also found themselves wowing the judges with their first dance, a tango to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.”
“Really Scary Spice,” Bruno enthused before the judges gave them 27 out of 30. “Nobody would dare mess with you after that. Strong and powerful.”
And their second number? A spicy mambo that scooped a near perfect 29 out of 30.
“That was so hot, I am surprised you didn’t set off the smoke alarms,” Len enthused. “Your hips! I was hypnotized.”
Helio and Mel may have stormed into the lead, but Marie Osmond’s tragic loss of her father, following last week’s episode, also took center stage.
Just before she danced to “My Cherie Amor” with partner Jonathan Roberts, Marie told the audience her dad saw her tribute to him last week.
“He watched it [the people around him] said he was so happy. He got up the next morning, took a shower, laid down and they said that he passed away,” she said before announcing her latest round of dances was “for him.”
Despite her touching tribute, the judges didn’t cute Marie any slack.
“I just feel at this stage in the competition I need a little bit more,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said of Marie’s rumba “Be more aggressive.”
Her second dance, the jive, didn’t fair any better with the judges.
“I get it, you are a little country, he is a little rock and roll,” Carrie Ann said. ” I don’t think there was enough jive.”
Round 1 Scores:
MELANIE BROWN and MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY 27
CAMERON MATHISON and EDYTA SLIWINSKA 27
HELIO CASTRONEVES and JULIANNE HOUGH 27
JENNIE GARTH and DEREK HOUGH 24
MARIE OSMOND and JONATHAN ROBERTS 24
Round 2 Scores:
HELIO CASTRONEVES and JULIANNE HOUGH 57
MELANIE BROWN and MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY 56
CAMERON MATHISON and EDYTA SLIWINSKA 51
JENNIE GARTH and DEREK HOUGH 50
MARIE OSMOND and JONATHAN ROBERTS 49