He was in incredible pain – wincing as he headed down the stairs to compete on Monday’s “Dancing with the Stars,” but Ralph Macchio didn’t let his injury stop him from carrying on in the competition.
In the days leading up to Monday night’s show, Ralph was diagnosed with a ruptured cyst on the back of his knee, and tendonitis, and it cut his rehearsal time with professional partner Karina Smirnoff down to around nine hours instead of the usual 40, but they still pulled of a Viennese waltz on the show, which judge Carrie Ann Inaba praised.
“You inspired so many people when you played the role of Daniel LaRusso in ‘The Karate Kid,’ and I think tonight, once again, that spirit of Daniel LaRusso lives on,” she said.
The lack of practice time meant the pair only managed 25 out of 30 points for the number. It was the lowest first round score of the night, but Ralph and Karina were pleased to have made it on to the dance floor at all – even moreso when they hit the ballroom for the return of the “Instant Dance” in Round 2, a number they had just minutes to prepare for.
While the other couples used rehearsals in the run up to Monday to sketch out their dances to an unknown song (they were given the tune on Monday night after Round 1), Ralph’s injury prevented him and Karina from working out their number until moments before the dance.
Despite the lack of rehearsal, the couple pulled out a cha cha with a charming twist.
Karina opened the dance copying Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid,” rubbing her hands together and placing them on Ralph’s leg, before he hit the floor for the number – a crowd-pleasing move.
“I admire your perseverance and dedication,” judge Len Goodman said as the pair netted an additional 21 points, for a total of 46 out of 60, the lowest score of the night.
“I made it to the end of the show,” Ralph said with a hope viewers keep the pair in the competition another week. “That was my goal.”
At the other end of the leaderboard – at the top – was Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas, who scored a whopping 55 points for the night.
Their first number – a waltz – was elegant and musical and netted them 29 points, while their “Instant Dance,” a salsa to Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” was branded “hot” by Bruno Tonioli and awarded an additional 26 points.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson landed in second place, scoring just one point less overall — 54 out of 60.
Their opening number, a fancy foxtrot took 28 points, while their “Instant Dance” – to “Chantilly Lace” – was awarded 26 points and a comparison – by Bruno – to the penguin animated film “Happy Feet.”
The third leaderboard spot was taken by Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, but it was a rehearsal spat – over Kirstie’s lack of calorie consumption – that grabbed attention for the pair.
Maks was caught ending a practice session in the days leading up to Monday’s show because Kirstie was slipping up on the moves, something he blamed on the former “Cheers” star not eating.
“I’m not stopping this rehearsal because you can’t,” Maks told Kirstie, who looked weak, sitting on the floor. “I’m stopping this rehearsal because your body’s telling you that we’re done. I think it’s time to put a lid on a bit of the dieting. How many calories are you on?”
Kirstie admitted she was consuming just 1,400 calories a day (although she admitted to camera that before the rehearsal she’d had just 150 calories so far before they hit the dance studio).
“I don’t think it’s enough,” Maks said.
While her rehearsal time was shortened due to her lack of calories, when they eventually performed – an Argentine tango – they caught the eye of the judges.
“Vampish!” Bruno said as the pair took 28 out of 30 points. “Your body’s shrinking. Your talent is huge.”
Backstage, however, Kirstie attempted to insist she wasn’t cutting calories in a serious way.
“I think my blood sugar dropped,” she told show co-host Brooke Burke, explaining away the rehearsal. “I wasn’t intentionally not eating. I forgot!”
“She doesn’t eat,” Maks said to camera. “She’s not eating.”
Their second dance – a salsa to “Cobrastyle” – brought them a further 25 points for 53 out of 60 overall.
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower took fourth place.
Their opening number, a tango, was scored well – 27 out of 30 – but they lost points for their salsa to “Tequila,” which took just 25 points.