Sparks flew on the dance floor of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” tonight when head judge Len Goodman and pro partner Maksim Chmerkovsiky had a testy exchange following a disappointing critique of World Cup star Hope Solo.
Tonight was the night when the remaining seven celebrity contestants danced to Broadway show tunes, and for the first time in season 13, performed a group dance.
The night started out with the pairs’ dances, and judges were bluntly honest.
They said Rob Kardashian’s fun cha-cha (to “Walk Like a Man” from “Jersey Boys”) lacked movement and charisma.
Goodman described the reality TV personality’s performance as “clean” and “precise,” but said it was stiff and without rhythm. Kardashian earned 22 points out of a possible 30.
Nancy Grace got positive reviews for her chipper foxtrot performed to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
Carrie Ann Inaba called Grace’s performance “a showstopper,” and Bruno Tonioli said Grace captured the feel of the musical. Goodman, who was smiling broadly during the performance, also commended Grace, but pointed out that for all its humor and charm, the routine lacked certain foxtrot techniques.
Grace earned 24 points.
Actor David Arquette channeled John Travolta when he did a quickstep to the song “We Go Together” from “Grease,” but judges said he was slightly out of sync with his partner, Kym Johnson. He earned 23 points.
“I got so crazy out there,” a smiling Arquette told co-host Brooke Burke Charvet in his best Danny Zuko impression. “I tried my best.”
Dancing a quickstep “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” from “Guys and Dolls,” Ricki Lake had the judges giving her universal praise. In fact, Inaba went so far as to call Lake’s stylish, sophisticated routine “poetry in motion.”
The former TV talk show host – who had consistently been at the top of the leaderboard until actor J.R. Martinez took the top spot last week – earned 29 points.
Chaz Bono performed the tango to the theme from “The Phantom of the Opera.” Though Goodman gave him credit for completing the routine, Goodman said the dance wasn’t suited to Bono’s personality. The judges also said the activist needed to deliver more content and better technique at this stage of the competition.
“It was like watching a cute little penguin trying to be a big, menacing bird of prey,” Tonioli said of Bono’s performance, drawing some boos from the audience.
Bono’s was the night’s lowest scorer with 19 points.
Hope Solo danced a rumba to the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent.” For the judges, the dance fell flat.
“This is your worst dance of the whole season, in my opinion. I’m really disappointed,” Goodman said, pointing out that Solo was leading with her heel.
When Solo’s partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, said that the audience was focused on the pair’s entire journey, not one aspect of tonight’s performance, Goodman started to say that he’d been in the business for 50 years, only to be cut off by Chmerkovskiy’s testy comment: “Maybe it’s time to get out.”
Inaba took immediate exception to that outburst: “Don’t be disrespectful like that,” she shot back at Chmerkovskiy.
Solo earned 20 points.
When Martinez took to the floor, his quickstep has the audience getting on its feet in appreciation.
“Bob Fosse would have been proud,” Inaba said.
He earned 29 points, tying with Lake for first place this week.
In the group dance that followed, judges gave positive feedback. They did not score the group dance.
One star will be voted off the show tomorrow, until the three remaining celebrity competitors and their partners battle for the championship.
Singer Chynna Phillips, reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, Italian model Elisabetta Canalis and NBA champ Metta World Peace (former Ron Artest) have already been voted off the show this season.
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 29
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 29
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 22
David Arquette and Kym Johnson: 23
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy:
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus: 24
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer: 19