The performances on “Dancing With the Stars” tonight were inspired by rock hits, and fittingly, the show opened with a high wattage performance by the band Kiss.
The stars embraced the theme, wearing dark makeup and donning costumes that featured lots of leather and spandex, studs and chains. They performed their routines to classic rock hits, and NFL player Donald Driver took the top spot on the leaderboard for the first time in the competition.
Sherri Shepherd: ”The View” co-host’s tango met with moderate approval from judges, who said it needed to be sharper. “It was good but what was lacking was your normal exuberance … your face was expressionless, which I’ve never seen before,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said. Shepherd earned 21 out of a possible 30 points.
Katherine Jenkins: The opera singer from Wales showed a different side tonight when she came out onto the ballroom floor dressed in a form-fitting black catsuit with silver studs. Her paso doble was full of passion and aggression, and while judge Bruno Tonioli welcomed the intensity, he said it lacked “definition.” Head judge Len Goodman agreed, telling Jenkins that the dance “had promise but didn’t quite deliver” because her artistry was lost in the aggression. Jenkins scored 24 points, her lowest score so far.
Jaleel White: The Mick Jagger-inspired tango was a funky, fun routine, but judges said it needed to be more intense. Inaba said she loved the performance, but told the “Family Matters” star he had a tendency to be too smooth, while Goodman said: “I liked the humor. It needed more attack, a little bit more aggression .. but as a performance, it was great, so well done.” They gave White 22 points.
Melissa Gilbert: The “Little House on the Prairie” star performed a fiery paso doble. “I loved the flavor of Spain but you messed up the ending,” Tonioli said, but Gilbert’s partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy quickly took responsibility for the slight slip-up. Goodman said he liked it, and commended Gilbert for the confidence with which she performed the routine. She earned 22 points for the performance. At the end of the show, co-host Tom Bergeron said Gilbert had injured herself and gone to the hospital as a precaution.
Donald Driver: The NFL star had the entire ballroom’s attention when he ripped off his vest and danced a powerful paso doble, complete with pyrotechnics at the end and a Gene Simmons-esque protruding tongue. Tonioli called Driver “muscular, masculine and magnificent,” while Inaba raved that the performance was “psychedelic, bizarre, sexy, raunchy hot damn!” Driver earned 27 points, taking the top spot on the leaderboard for the first time.
Gladys Knight: The R&B legend took on the tango to Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” While judges commended her effort, they though the performance didn’t have the required impact. Inaba told her that the song was a hard one to dance to, noting the performance didn’t “quite come together.” “It’s not your best dance, but it’s not your worst …,” Goodman said. Knight was awarded 20 points.
William Levy: The telenovela heartthrob’s jive started out well, but his missteps and out of sync footwork led to a score of 22 points. Inaba told him he had the power to energize the room but needed to stay focused. “It is what it is. You went wrong, you lost timing during the end part,” Goodman said, pointing out a “pattern” of less-than-perfect footwork.
Roshon Fegan: The Disney star got head judge Len Goodman to utter the rare endorsement “Good job, dog,” for his smooth Viennese waltz. Tonioli praised Fegan’s flowing movement and extended lines, calling the routine “elegant and romantic.” Inaba told Fegan that he was the “best dancer” of all the men in this season’s cast, and while Goodman faulted a few minor points, he said Fegan performed with panache and style. Judges awarded Fegen 26 points.
Maria Menounos: The “Extra” co-host was dancing with an injured foot, but you couldn’t tell during her tango. Judges praised her hold and posture. Tonioli said she had “beauty, attitude and sex appeal by the truckloads.” She earned 26 points.
Gavin DeGraw: Inaba thought the singer’s posture “was a little strange” but she praised the performance value. Tonioli and Goodman also faulted DeGraw’s frame, but Goodman added: “I liked I … it had flair, it had attitude … .” DeGraw earned 23 points.
Elimination in the competition results from a combination of judges’ scores and audience votes. The celebrity with the lowest combined scores is sent home, until three stars remain. They and their partners compete for the championship.
One of the competitors will be voted off the show tomorrow night. Martina Navratilova and Jack Wagner have already been eliminated.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff: 23
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 26
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 22
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 24
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus:
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 22
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: 21
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 22