Tonight the remaining eight celebrity competitors on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” performed to some of the greatest hits from the ’80s – that unforgettable decade of neon colors, Members Only jackets, leg warmers, John Hughes movies, big hair bands and even bigger shoulder pads.
The half-way mark of the competition brought some hits and misses.
World Cup soccer star Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and the judges’ reactions were mixed.
Head judge Len Goodman said Solo’s tango was “too willowy” and “loose-limbed,” while Bruno Tonioli thought she was “strong, sexy and powerful.” Carrie Ann Inaba said each judge had a valid point, and encouraged Solo to tone down just a little.
“You’re so strong that sometime you have to learn that less is more,” she said.
Solo earned 24 points out of a possible 30.
Carson Kressley danced a cheerleader-inspired jive to “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
The fashion guru was at times out of synch with pro partner Anna Trebunskaya, and the three judges pointed out his lack of technique. Tonioli said Kressley’s routine was “wacky fun,” calling it “a crowning achievement in madness.”
He earned 19 points.
Nancy Grace and partner Tristan MacManus’ rumba to Spandau Ballet’s “I Know This Much Is True” won moderate approval from judges.
“It was nice, it was appropriate,” Inaba said, but added that Grace’s performance also felt “a little drab.”
Grace earned 22 points.
Actor J.R. Martinez, the Iraq war veteran who’s become a true fan favorite, tapped his Latin roots tonight. He and partner Karina Smirnoff turned up the heat with a sizzling samba to Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga,” receiving a rousing standing ovation from the audience in the ballroom.
“Talk about hip action. You were like a loin-shattering sex machine!” said Tonioli. The other judges shared his enthusiasm, awarding Martinez 28 points.
TV personality Rob Kardashian turned in a smooth rumba with Cheryl Burke. Dancing to Lionel Richie’s “Hello,” the pair glided across the dance floor, winning praise – and 25 points, Kardashian’s highest in the competition – from the judges.
“That was strong, sexy, you were totally in control,” Inaba said, telling Kardashian that he had made consistent progress.
Chaz Bono’s paso doble last week earned positive reviews and a score of 21, and his samba tonight – performed to Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down on It” – also won him 21 points.
Goodman acknowledged that Bono’s technique was lacking, but told the activist: “It was a gallant effort.”
David Arquette performed a punk-style tango with Kym Johnson to Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” bringing the audience to its feet. Tonioli and Goodman thought the performance was very good, but while Inaba also thought Arquette did well, she said he needed to work on his musicality.
The “Scream” actor earned 25 points, his highest score of the competition.
Talk show host Ricki Lake and dance partner Derek Hough have dominated the leaderboard for the past three weeks, and earned a near-perfect score last week with their terrific tango.
Tonight the pressure was on, and their foxtrot – to “Easy Lover” by Phil Collins – seemed to fall a bit flat. Judges especially disliked the ’80s dance move – the roger rabbit – that the pair incorporated into the routine.
“It wasn’t your best dance, but it wasn’t your worst,” Goodman said.
The Bangles appeared on tonight’s show, performing their ’80s hits, “Eternal Flame,” “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Manic Monday.”
One star will be voted off the show tomorrow, until the three remaining competitors battle for the championship.
Singer Chynna Phillips was booted off the dance floor last week Reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, NBA champ Metta World Peace (former Ron Artest) and Italian model Elisabetta Canalis also have been eliminated this season.
Lake and Hough: 24
Martinez and Smirnoff: 28
Kardashian and Burke: 25
Kressley and Trebunskaya: 19
Arquette and Johnson: 25
Solo and Chmerkovskiy: 24
Grace and MacManus: 22
Bono and Schwimmer: 21