Former TV talk show host Ricki Lake, actor and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez, and reality TV personality Rob Kardashian battled it out on “Dancing With the Stars” tonight, striving to impress the judges and viewers and win the mirror ball trophy on the ABC show’s season 13.
Kardashian, the come-from-behind-contestant, earned his first perfect score of the season and is at the top of the leaderboard.
The stars will dance again Tuesday night during the season finale, after which the winner will be announced. The winner is determined based on a combination of judges’ scores and viewers’ votes.
Lake and Martinez have been frontrunners all season, but Kardashian’s technical skills have improved in recent weeks and he’s surged in the scores and audience popularity.
The finalists had to perform two dances each tonight: a style that they had never done before as well as a freestyle routine. They each received coaching from one of the three judges for the style that was new to them.
For Lake that dance was the cha cha. Judges were pleased, but told her there were some slight imperfections.
Head judge Len Goodman complimented her on good timing and rhythm, but noted that the dance could have been more fluid. She earned 27 points out of a possible 30.
Kardashian took on the waltz for the first time, and his famous mother and sisters were cheering him on from the ballroom audience.
Judge Bruno Tonioli told him the performance was good but pointed out that he had messed up some of the footwork.
Inaba and Goodman agreed, but seemed happy with Kardashian’s efforts.
“It was simple, but it was simply beautiful,” Goodman said.
Kardashian got 27 points.
Martinez took on the cha cha with mixed results. While judges applauded the mood of his feisty routine, they pointed out errors in his posture and timing.
“J.R., this wasn’t that good,” Goodman said, noting that the actor had made many mistakes.
He earned 24 points.
The next round was the all-important freestyle, and Lake and Derek Hough turned in a routine that was part quickstep, part salsa, with ambitious lifts and spins. Lake grinned and jumped up and down on the dance floor when she finished the routine, and the judges applauded its scope and execution.
Tonioli told Lake that she had taken on the most demanding of dances, and while there were some minor imperfections in switching from one dance to the other, he said “My God, you did a good job.”
She earned 27 points, for a total of 54 out of 60.
Kardashian performed a speakeasy-themed freestyle complete with lifts, and it won high praise from the judges. Inaba said she was “blown away.”
He earned his first perfect score of the season — 30 points. He has a total of 57 points.
Martinez has been the fan favorite and his intense, salsa-inspired freestyle thrilled the judges and ballroom audience alike.
“J.R., two things were revealed: Karina’s body and your talent. Fantastic,” Goodman said.
Martinez earned a perfect score of 30, for a night’s total of 54 points.
Kardashian leads the finalists, while Martinez and Lake are tied for second place. They will also be scored for Tuesday night’s performances.
The season has been one of the most talked-about yet, in part for the inclusion of its first transgender contestant, Chaz Bono.
And Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the dancing pro who partnered World Cup soccer star Hope Solo, made headlines when, in defending Solo from a harsh judges’ review, he suggested that Goodman “get out” of the industry.
He later explained that he was frustrated over the perceived inconsistency in judges’ scoring, saying some dancers were being scored more easily — based mainly on effort — while other contenders were being judged too rigidly on the technical requirements.
Solo made it to the semifinals but was voted off last week.
This season has seen also dance floor departures from TV legal analyst Nancy Grace, actor David Arquette, activist Chaz Bono, fashion guru Carson Kressley, singer Chynna Phillips, reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, Italian model Elisabetta Canalis and NBA star Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest).
So what do you think? Which of the final three will win? Click HERE to vote now!
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 27; 27. Total: 54/60
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 24; 30. Total: 54/60
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 27; 30. Total: 57/60