Performances on “Dancing With the Stars” tonight were all set to the hit music of Motown, with the added bonus that those hits were performed live by the artists who made them famous.
The couples also competed in a cha-cha dance marathon tonight for valuable extra points, with performers doing their best cha-cha under the judges’ watchful eyes. Those who were asked to leave the dance floor early on in the marathon got the lowest points, while those who danced longer earned higher points. Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins won the marathon, taking home the maximum 10 extra points.
Before the marathon, Jenkins and actor Jaleel White had been tied for first place on the score board. With the marathon over, Jenkins took the top spot for the night, while Knight was the low scorer.
Gladys Knight: Being a Motown legend herself, the pressure was on for Knight to do justice to her musical background. Her rumba to the song “My Girl,” performed by the Temptations, was smooth, but judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli said they noticed she seemed to have forgotten a few steps. Head judge Len Goodman praised Knight. “You’re not the best dancer, but I’ll tell you what, you are the most charismatic dancer,” he told her. Knight earned 21 out of a possible 30 points, plus 3 points for the marathon, for a night’s total of 24 points.
Maria Menounos: The “Extra” co-host danced a foxtrot to the hit “Jimmy Mack,” performed by Martha Reeves. Menounos stumbled during the routine and as a result, lost her timing for a brief moment. Judges noticed, but commended her for her recovery. “This was a joy to my eyes and listening to Martha a joy to my ears,” Goodman said. Menounos was awarded 26 points, and picked up 4 extra points for the dance marathon, for a total of 30 points.
Roshon Fegan: The Disney star’s rumba, danced to Smokey Robin singing “Cruisin’,” didn’t find favor with judges, who told him it was too jerky and syncopated for a dance which needed to be smooth. “In general, I thought your movements were a bit over-exaggerated tonight and it made it hard for me to watch,” Inaba said. Fegan earned 23 points, and picked up 5 extra points in the dance marathon, for a total of 28 points.
Katherine Jenkins: The Welsh opera singer impressed the judges with her funky samba, which she danced to “Can’t Get Next to You” by the Temptations. “The marriage of Brazil with funkytown has never been more exhilarating,” Tonioli said, while Goodman added: “Katherine, I’m going to call you the midwife from now on, because you keep delivering, week after week!” Her score was 29 points, the highest of the night. She picked up an extra 10 points in the dance marathon, for a night’s high score of 39.
Donald Driver: The NFL player performed a foxtrot to “The Way You Do the Things You Do” sung by The Temptations. The airy routine earned strong praise from the judges, but Driver failed to earn a 10 from Goodman, which has long been the football player’s goal. Goodman told Peta Murgatroyd, Driver’s professional partner, to keep pushing Driver. “This man can give more. I want you to work him. The routine was not as big as his talent … this man can be a great dancer,” Goodman said of Driver, who was awarded 27 points. With the 7 extra points earned in the marathon, Driver had a grand total of 34 points.
Melissa Gilbert: The “Little House on the Prairie” Star performed a Viennese waltz while Smokey Robinson sang his hit, “Ooo Baby Baby.” The elegant performance won approval from judges, but Goodman thought Gilbert lost some energy towards the end of the routine, and Inaba asked the actress to be careful about the set of her shoulders. “You work so hard, and it is finally paying off … I see artistry blossoming,” Inaba noted. Gilbert got 24 points, and an extra 6 points in the marathon, for a total of 30.
Jaleel White: The “Family Matters” star’s fun cha-cha performed to music from The Temptations won rave reviews from judges. “You burned the dance floor. That was the biggest sizzler of the season!” Tonioli told White. The actor started out the season very strong but has lately fallen in the scores. Tonight, Goodman and Inaba told him he was back in fine form. “Good job. Welcome back,” Inaba said. White earned 29 points, and was tied with Jenkins for first place. He picked up an extra 8 points on the marathon, for a total of 37 points and second place on the leaderboard.
William Levy: The telenovela actor’s steamy rumba, dancing to Smokey Robinson’s performance of “Being With You,” earned cheers from the audience, but Goodman wasn’t so enthused. He said the routine lacked dance content and was too raunchy for his taste, adding that it was “a tad hectic.” Goodman gave Levy 8 out of a possible 10 points. Inaba told the actor that she didn’t think the routine was his best performance, and awarded him 9 points, and Tonioli praised the routine, awarding Levy a perfect 10, for a total of 27 points. He earned an extra 9 points in the marathon, for a grand total of 36 points.
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 make the ultimate decision about who stays and 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 singer Gavin DeGraw have already been eliminated this season.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 27; 7. Total: 34
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 23; 5. Total: 28
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24; 6. Total: 30
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 29; 10; Total: 39
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 21; 3. Total: 24
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 27; 9. Total: 36
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 26; 4. Total: 30
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 29; 8. Total: 37