‘DWTS’ Recap: Moves Get Steamy on Latin Week

Donald and Peta (Photo: ABC)

Dancing with the Stars” went into its Latin week with a big mystery—would one Latin celebrity on the show actually perform? Telenovela star William Levy caused panic amongst his fans by tweeting that he might not hit the ballroom floor after he injured his right ankle in Sunday’s rehearsal with partner Cheryl Burke. So, on a night when all the stars would perform either samba, salsa, or Argentine tango, we hoped William would get a doctor’s clearance to shake it for the ladies on Monday night.

The show opened by recapping Sherri Shepherd’s tearful dismissal last week, in a “shocker” that I didn’t think really was that shocking. (Sherri seems fine. She was back at her perch on “The View,” happily eyewitnessing one of Barbara Walter’s cringe-inducing moments Monday, but that’s another story).

Carlos Santana opened the show with “Evil Ways,” the perfect start for the night of Latin numbers. It looked like Karina Smirnoff almost tripped walking down the introductory stair segment, and Melissa Gilbert was back and looking fine (with her son Michael glimpsed applauding in the audience).

Watch the Highlights of Monday’s Performances:

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Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: Samba
Jaleel and Kym were shown talking about the shocker elimination of Sherri (sorry, people, but I still say it wasn’t—Sherri had a sub-par dance last week and deserved to go home). More importantly, they were upset about their own somewhat low scores from last week. The “Family Matters” star was going to reveal his abs in this dance, Kym said. O—kay! Couldn’t wait to see that. He knew he needed to get the scores up, so that’s why he will try some sexy exposure this week. Their dance began with Jaleel throwing Kym under his legs and wow, yeah, Urkel did have some great abs under his brown vest/shirt. He acted the dance well, making some fierce expression as he expertly guided Kym in all the spins. There were no bobbles and I was looking at Jaleel the entire time, not Kym, which meant it was a successful dance. I would say this was very good, but not Donald Driver great. Still, Len Goodman said he had rhythm and his butt was like toffee—and the normally grouchy judge even stood up for Jaleel, which is rare for him. Bruno Tonioli stood up too, and said the actor was unstoppable. Carrie Ann declared that he came out tonight with attack and fire but his hold went dead every once in a while, so he needed to watch that. But no biggie—Jaleel got solid scores.
Score: 24

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Salsa
The “Little House” icon caused drama last week with a trip to the hospital with a mild concussion and whiplash. In the training footage, Melissa said she needed to avoid getting a headache and joked that Maks just talking would give her one. She came across as very funny and likeable with her neck in a brace. The actress found it hard to act sexy but was trying hard in rehearsal while Maks called her interpretation “weird.” Melissa opened the dance holding a tray (of fruit?) and then gave it to an audience member before going into the dance. She ducked and Maks kicked his leg over her head, which made me worry for a second. No more ambulances, please! I thought Melissa shook it decently, although her side-by-side salsa moves with Maks made her look a little lost—she was far better and more in control when they were in hold. The pro ended the dance by spinning Melissa around the floor on her back—ouch, did they have to do that? I was worried about her neck. Bruno said she wasn’t precise enough and she lost the edges of the salsa. Carrie Ann praised her confidence (so you knew a “but” was coming) BUT said Bruno was right—she flailed around too much. According to Len, there were some good parts and bad parts of the dance (Len agreed with me!). Backstage, Melissa told hostess Brooke Burke she was feeling fine but maybe not after the scores, straight 7s. Melissa just couldn’t get out of the mediocore hole she’s been in all season.
Score: 21

Check Out Melissa Gilbert’s Return to the Dance Floor:

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Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: Salsa
After more Carlos Santana music to set the mood, Maria and Derek were shown in their costumes and the TV hostess had a Carmen Miranda style yellow headdress on, which promised a lot of fun to come. In rehearsal, they were exulting about doing so well last week and they wanted to move on to greater scores. But Maria hit her chin and it sounded like a brick hit the floor in training. Luckily, she was absolutely fine, but put herself in bubble wrap the next time (what will the producers come up with next?). In the dance, the couple walked down the aisle of the audience and danced with a couple of audience members before coming together (in fact, Maria cut a little rug with Dr. Drew, of all people). So, on to the dance–uh oh, Maria looked a little stiffer than last week starting out. Derek bobbed her head on his leg, tore his shirt off, then they shared a big kiss right in the middle of the dance as press room journalists raised their eyebrows. It came off as a childlish stunt rather than a sexy moment. After that, we weren’t really watching the dance but mentally comparing Derek’s abs to Jaleel and Donald’s (when the football star exposed himself last week). I thought the nakedness and the kiss overshadowed the dance. Carrie Ann said wow, that was hot and also said they didn’t need the kiss—dance meant the “illusion” of passion. Len thought he wasn’t impressed with Derek’s body but thought Maria displayed her talent and Bruno asked if if was all legal and said they needed to get a room! Despite the criticism, they got straight 9s—what did it all mean?
Score: 27

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: Argentine Tango
The singer said during rehearsal she was convinced they were going home last week—which I didn’t believe. Then she kicked Mark’s private parts and she seemed surprised, but this happens every season to somebody! Katherine wanted to channel Mark’s intensity in their tango. Their dance began with Katherine carrying a suitcase, then tossing it aside. They were telling some sort of story with a bottle of booze, which Mark finally tossed aside and their flicks and kicks (as they call them) really were hypnotic. Again, I almost forgot Katherine was a dancing star, not a pro. I would be shocked if this wasn’t the best dance of the night, even with a lot still to go. I loved the music, which created drama all its own with a calliope beat. Mark spun Katherine her around in his arms to end the dance and “DWTS” alum Florence Henderson was in the audience saying wow. It had beauty, Len said, and Bruno said it was dancing and choreography of the highest level. Carrie Ann said her legs were the best of any DWTS contestant ever, “poetry in motion.” It sure was, and scored two tens.
Score: 29

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Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff: Samba
The singer said the samba involved a lot of shaking because it was a party dance. He seemed to have a lot of trepidation and said he would rely on fan votes more than ever. Gavin begged for those votes during a concert he had during the week, so fingers crossed. Oooh, the beginning of the dance was really cool, with Gavin rowing a canoe across the river, er, ballroom floor to Karina. Gavin, dressed all in white including a white hat, looked loosey goosey on the samba moves, bouncing up and down gamely but holding too wide a stance. He was all over the place. At the end, the pair wound up in a hammock, very cute. Too bad the props and window dressing were better than the dance! Bruno said he should have stayed on the boat but enjoyed it despite the madness. Carrie Ann loved the way Gavin just went for it, but said it was hard to tell it was even a samba. "I loved you for trying," the sweet judge added. Len called it a sham-ba, not a samba and the audience booed lustily. I thought that comment was really funny, though, a rare Len joke that actually worked. Not so funny was the score-a 19. Ouch! Okay, it was pretty unskilled, but still entertaining, so the score seemed a little low.
Score: 19

William Levy and Cheryl Burke: Argentine tango
Oh, goody-the Latin star looked like he was going to perform, after all, and no mention yet of his bad ankle! We re-lived the horror of last week again, when the couple got low scores and were blasted by the judges. In rehearsal, William was dropping Cheryl on the floor and the hunk let fly with expletives. The pro was convinced William would rise to the occasion on Latin week, though. The pair started the dance a tango table then went into an intense hold. William's posture could have been a little better but he spun Cheryl through the air with great control and they had a lot of sexy eye contact. They didn't seem to notice the crowd at all. During an intense lift and spin of Cheryl in the middle of the dance, William moved so fast he made me dizzy. They wound up back at their seat at the table, in each other's arms, and the press room exploded in applause. Carrie Ann was so excited she was stroking herself and could barely talk-"the Latin dancing James Bond" she shouted. Len said well done and Bruno cited the throbbing intensity. Backstage in the sky box, William finally talked about his injury-the doctor said he had a ripped ligament and needed to rest but he told the doctor he was not going to rest today! Lucky thing he didn't as he got his best scores yet, tying Katherine for this week's lead!
Score: 29

What Injury? Watch William and Cheryl Burn Up the Ballroom!

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Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus: Samba
The singing icon was at the bottom in scoring last week, so this time, she was ready for a challenge. The two were shown in rehearsal, and again, I was struck by Gladys' lack of vanity in going makeup-free for the cameras-loved her, she was so relatable speaking with Tristan and not hiding the bags under her eyes. Tristan mentioned the potential dance duel this week and Gladys was cringing; another reason to stay out of the bottom two at all costs. On to their samba: No props in this one and Gladys looked graceful, if a bit slow, in her movements. She seemed to flourish the best in the middle part of the dance when she shook it on her own, sans Tristan. Let me be honest-this looked tough for the oldest contestant on the floor. However, I thought she pulled it off well enough to score above Gavin, at least. Len said the number was simple but charming, while Bruno mentioned she played well to the audience. And Carrie Ann mentioned a few tiny mistakes but thought her feet were working well. Backstage, Brooke Burke revealed next week will feature the music of Motown-another reason for the soul legend to hang around!
Score: 22

Did Chelsie Hightower Have a “Wardrobe Slip”?

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Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: Salsa
The Disney star said he never wanted to be in the bottom two again, as he was last week. His training session with Chelsie was typically goofy, with Roshon saying he didn't know trying to be sexy would be so hard. He impersonated William Levy during their rehearsal also, hoping the Latin spirit would rub off on him and then the telenovola visited and gave Roshon some pointers. We would soon see if it worked! The props were back as Roshon emerged from a Latin American jungle to take Chelsie into aggressive hold and then he shook it like a professional. Roshon was so quick that I couldn't take my eyes off him, especially in the side-by- side action. The young actor's arms looked in perfect position and he even shook Chelsie's hips during the dance, which was a unique maneuver. This was crazy good, but no clapping in the press room (a tough audience!). Bruno called it bold and energetic. According to Carrie Ann, Roshon had the mojo and was age appropriate, too (in other words, not too sexy). Len liked his enthusiasm which he compared to a young guy in his fast car-but warned him to calm himself down, too.
Score: 26

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: Argentine tango
Last week's star was ready to take command again, and I had little doubt he would,, especially in a dance that called for a strong man. Peta promised in rehearsal that it would get even hotter! She has smelled victory all season. Donald wanted a ten really bad. Okay, so they started at another tango table but this couple were gambling before the dance. Donald pulled her down to the floor by her neck and did a cool walk with his hand in this pocket. He lifted Peta like it was nothing and continued strolling through the dance and then did an impressive lift spin of his partner, so attractively outfitted in a red dress with a huge cutout to show her toned body. The journos did applaud for this one! Carrie Ann said he mastered it while Len thought the lifts were spectacular but had an unenthusiastic tone, kind of muted. Bruno said the buildup was amazing but he also didn't seem as upbeat as for some of the other leaders tonight. Hmm-would Donald get shafted in the scores? Nope-Carrie Ann came through with a ten so he got a nice score, if not the top. In all, a great night of dancing again!
Score: 27

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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