Despite host Tom Bergeron’s efforts to pump us up for two surprise announcements (Paula Abdul will be guest judging next Monday, and the stars will be picking their opponents’ dance style for the upcoming week), Bristol Palin and partner Mark Ballas’ on-screen fight stole the show. The Dancing With the Stars editors teased us with pre-commercial-break clips until we finally saw the entire scene just one dance before the end of the show.
At first it seemed Palin was simply sulking due to last week’s low scores, accusing Ballas of being disappointed that he was paired with her when he would rather be with past partners Sabrina Bryan or Shawn Johnson, and saying, “I swear to God, I feel like you want to go home.” Ballas defended himself, saying he’s always been there for her, but as the scene continued, Palin called her partner out for not showing up for one of their rehersals. Ballas claimed he was late, but Palin corrected him: “No, you didn’t show up.” Ballas didn't deny it and tried to comfort his partner with a hand on the knee as she walked out of the studio.
Cut to the duo on stage at the live show holding hands with frozen smiles on their faces. The pair executed a clean, if not boring, paso doble. It seemed as if everyone was in Palin’s corner, with judge Len Goodman saying the performance had, “the most content in any dance I’ve seen you do. Easily the best dance you’ve done.” Bruno Tonioli agreed, “Get that aggression out. It works. Your best dance to date.” Carrie Anne Inaba offered the first criticism, saying Palin’s expression was, “a bit one-dimensional,” but that she’s, “proving herself a worthy competitor." The pair earned a 22.5, their highest score so far.
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Palin and Ballas weren’t the only couple to top their personal best. Last night was filled with lots of high scores and firsts of the season. Here's how everyone else did on week three of Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars:
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya
Dance: Cha cha
After a close call last week, Drew Lachey’s repeat of his season two dance to “Crazy in Love” left me a little less than excited, but Lachey will take his 24. “It was my week-one score in season two, but it feels good in week three,” he said.
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
While Tonioli said their tango to “Sweet Dreams” was, “50 shades of Gilles,” the pair was criticized for mismatched energies by Inaba.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff
The speed skater decided to take on Marini’s foxtrot to, “show his sexiness without taking his shirt off,” and, wow, he did it! The pair asked during rehearsal if the dance was too sexy. My answer: Almost. I just couldn't take my eyes off them! The hot couple earned their highest score yet.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
Melissa Rycroft came out guns-blazing in a high-energy samba to “Conga” with Tony Dovolani showing his support for breast cancer awareness. (Guess we’ll have to forgive him that ugly pink silk shirt.) The judges raved, “fantastic, fantastic, fantastic, everything was stellar” and “that’s a knock out,” giving the pair a 27, the highest score of the season.
RELATED: Rycroft doesn’t just fight on the dance floor, she's battled for love too. Find out how the former Bachelorette stays positive (even when she was publicly jilted by Jason Mesnick).
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dance: Paso doble
The petite pair received their highest score and “the strongest crowd reaction” Bergeron has ever seen on DWTS for their remake of brother Maksim’s season-four paso doble. The dance was powerful and sexy, but Kelly Monaco seemed a bit like a rag doll in the arms of Val Chmerkovskiy. Apparently I’m the only one who felt that way because they earned rave reviews from the judges. Inaba said, "You guys are the couple to watch. There is something magical happening between you two.”
Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel
Dance: Paso doble
After topping the leader board last week, Bryan was nervous and wanted to play by the rules with Mel B and Maksim’s paso doble. She hit it hard with a great performance, but Inaba criticized, “I don’t feel like you brought us anything new.”
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dance: Cha cha
Carson Kressley’s season 13 cha cha to “Moves Like Jagger” cannot be replicated! Despite Maks in a wig and tight pants, this rendition just didn’t do it. It did, however, earn the two-time couple their highest score of the season and the most hilarious comment of the night from Bergeron: Maks could do a mix up of Magic Mike and Mrs. Doubtfire.
RELATED: Kressley’s season 13 “Moves Like Jagger” was one of the best DWTS performances of all time. Check out more of his season’s highlights.
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Dance: Paso doble
Last week Goodman felt all the dancing duos stepped up their game, while Emmitt Smith stayed the same. And, to me, it seemed he did it again with Mario Lopez’s season-three paso doble. Tonioli disagreed, saying, “the raging bull is back,” but Goodman was more hesitant, saying the footballer, “lost a little bit of finesse here and there.”
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower
Despite dancing on partner Chelsie Hightower’s dress and losing step a few times, Goodman said, “this dance deserves to be back next week because it was good. It was top-notch.”
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas
Dance: Paso doble
The dance was OK, if not a bit stiff, but after their dramatic pre-dance encounter, it seemed everyone was, for once, on Palin’s side. Like last week, Palin ended the dance by killing her partner. Was this originally in the choreography or was that added after their emotional faceoff?
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
Yowza! What a way to end the night. The Olympic gymnast proved she is in it to win it and broke quite a few rules to, “show the judges something they’ve never seen before.” Only Goodman docked her the point, but with or without the tricks, this dance was amazing!
What do you think of last night’s outburst from Palin? Is Ballas giving her his all? And if Palin lost a full point last week just for breaking hold, does Johnson deserve to be docked more than one for all of her infractions? Tonight’s double elimination is going to be a tough one!
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