‘Dancing With the Stars’: Maria Menounos Gets First Perfect Score of Season 14

By Suzan Clarke

Apr 30, 2012 10:11pm
ABC dwts maria menounos jp 120430 wblog Dancing With the Stars: Maria Menounos Gets First Perfect Score of Season 14

Adam Taylor/ABC News

Week seven on season 14 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” featured individual performances set to classical music as well as team dances, and TV personality Maria Menounos earned the season’s first perfect score.

After their individual performances, competitors were split into two teams, one doing the tango and the other doing the paso doble. Each team earned one score that was added to each member’s total for the night.

Head judge Len Goodman thought Team Tango was good as a group, even though he thought they were technically “bad.” Judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli though the team turned in an excellent performance. Team Tango earned 27 points.

Team Paso Doble earned 26 for their sizzling hot routine – although it appeared the ballroom audience expected a higher score, based on their loud booing when the team’s total was announced.

Katherine Jenkins: Judges praised the Welsh classical singer’s rumba for her beautiful lines, but while Goodman thought it was elegant and appropriate, Tonioli thought it could have been “a bit raunchier,” and Inaba said Jenkins’ passion didn’t seem genuine. “Technically, it was superb,” Tonioli said. Jenkins earned 27 out of a possible 30 points, plus an extra 27 for the team tango dance.

Melissa Gilbert: The “Little House on the Prairie” star hadn’t been sure her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, would be able to perform tonight because he had an injured ankle, but the injury seemed forgotten when they took to the dance floor to perform a dramatic and athletic Argentine tango that was filled with lifts and turns. Ironically, judges took issue with the number of lifts. Tonioli said the dance wasn’t clean. “At times it looked like you were riding the Cyclone at Coney Island … it got messy,” he said, drawing boos from the ballroom audience. The audience was similarly displeased with Inaba told  Gilbert that her routine was like Cirque du Soleil gone wrong. “You went for quantity and I felt like you sacrificed the quality,” she said. Goodman praised the symmetry of the dance’s dramatic lifts with the high points of the music, but agreed that dance quality was lacking. Gilbert earned 21 points, and an extra 26 for her team paso doble dance.

William Levy: The Cuban-born telenovela star was also dancing with an injured ankle, but judges found few flaws in his elegant Viennese waltz, performed to Jackie Evancho’s live performance of the song, “Ave Maria.”  ”Week after week, you’re up and down like a fiddler’s elbow. Tonight you’re up,” an approving Goodman said. “You do something that is so magnificent,” Inaba added. “You find the story … you bring the romance to life.”  Tonioli said Levy “captured the purity and ethereal quality of the song.” Levy earned 27 points, plus an additional 26 for the team paso doble dance.

Roshon Fegan: The Disney’s star narrowly missed being eliminated last week, and he’s often struggled to appear more mature on the ballroom floor, especially since his competition includes the hunky NFL player Donald Driver and heartthrob Levy. Tonight his Argentine tango won approval from judges – although during a few seconds of the routine viewers saw the show’s logo on their screens, rather than Fegan and his partner Chelsie Hightower. There was no explanation for what may have happened, but judges had nothing but praise for the performance. In fact, Carrie Ann Inaba came down from the judges’ podium, hugged Fegan and told him “Welcome back to the competition!” Tonioli told Fegan to work on the strength in his legs but said he had done a “great job,” while Goodman called the dance “clean and confident.”  Judges awarded Fegan 25 points, and he earned another 27 for the team tango dance.

Donald Driver: It’s no secret the super-competitive NFL player has been working hard to get the first perfect score this season, and although he failed to achieve his goal tonight, his Viennese waltz — performed to “La Donna e Mobile” sung live by the tenor Vittorio Grigolo - earned high praise from the judges. “Thank you. I loved it!” Tonioli said, while Inaba said Driver looked “regal” in the routine. Goodman thought it was “terrific,” adding that Driver’s footwork was spot-on. They awarded Driver 27 points, and he earned another 26 in the team paso doble dance.

Maria Menounos:  Driver, Levy and Jenkins have come close, but tonight it was the “Extra” co-host Menounos who earned the first perfect score of the season for her tense, passionate paso doble in which she sported vampire fangs. In addition to her score of 30 points for her paso, she picked up 27 extra points in the team tango performance.

Jaleel White: White’s Viennese waltz drew mixed reviews. “I liked it enough not to be cruel but I didn’t like it enough to be really kind,” Goodman said, adding it the routine had an airy quality but no real footwork. Tonioli didn’t fault the content, but said the “Family Matters” actor needed to work on how he positioned his hands. Inaba agreed that White should be careful with how his hands appeared, but told him not to lose his confidence. He scored 24 points, and an additional 27 points for the team tango performance.

At the end of tonight’s performance, Menounos topped the leaderboard, while Gilbert was the night’s low scorer.

On Tuesday the couples who have the two lowest combined judges’ and audience scores will face off in a dance duel, and the judges will decide who goes home.

The process continues each week until the three last remaining stars and their pro partners compete for the championship.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova, actor Jack Wagner, talk show host Sherri Shepherd, and singers Gavin DeGraw and Gladys Knight have already been eliminated this season.

Tonight’s Scores:

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27, 26.  Total: 53

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 25, 27.  Total: 52

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 21, 26.  Total: 47

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 27, 27. Total: 54

William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 27, 26. Total: 53

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 30, 27. Total: 57

Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 24, 27. Total: 51

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