Dancing With the Stars spiced it up a bit Monday with team dances that counted toward the celebs' leaderboard standings and—at last—the first perfect score of the season.
To be sure, this season hasn't made a lot of sense so far, what with the Cloris Conundrum, weight-related controversy and all the injuries and chronic conditions afflicting contestants of all ages. But now that we're down to the final six, shouldn't the competition be heating up where it counts?
On the dance floor, that is! Here's what happened tonight:
Warren Sapp: It isn't as fun to watch the He-Mannish Super Bowl winner fox-trot as it is to seem him bounce around for a hustle or samba—so luckily Kym Johnson added a few jaunty leaps and fancy steps for Sapp to sink his feet into. But we're still thinking that this ballroom number was only middle-of-the-pack material.
Judges said: 21. "You were not performing the normal Warren Sapp performance," observed Carrie Ann Inaba. And while his shoes may have been too tight, "you've got to be a trooper in this competition," she said.
Susan Lucci: It's gotta be hard for the All My Children star, going out there knowing the voting world's been against her for weeks…Although we haven't been withholding support for no good reason, right? She's just so darn stiff. Tonight it's a paso doble that doesn't have much character, although we admit that she cuts a nice figure while Tony Dovolani's tossing her around.
Judges said: 24. "I thought that was right up there with all your best dances," praised Len Goodman. Really high praise, for sure.
Maurice Greene: Perhaps feeling left out of the In(patient) Crowd, the Olympic track star hyperextended his left leg while rehearsing for his team dance, so Cheryl Burke was concerned about her partner's cha-cha prowess tonight. However, having probably persevered through worse pain before, Greene took off like a champ—hips first!
Judges said: 25, including a 9 from Len. "Happy days are here again for Maurice," Bruno Tonioli exclaimed. "Your best dahnce so far," Len weighed in.
Cody Linley: Hoofing if up with Edyta Sliwinska while Julianne Hough recovers from surgery, the Hannah Montana star had to quickly figure out how to connect with his sexy substitute teacher to pull of tonight's Viennese waltz. Did it happen? Well, the long-limbed teen didn't exactly prove the dashing hero, instead resembling a young deer going out for his first prance. But we doubt it would have been much different with Julianne.
Judges said: 22. Carrie Ann thought it was great, but Bruno compared Cody to a bird stretching its wings but "not quite being able to take off."
Lance Bass Speaking of injuries (aren't we always?), Lance Bass broke his toe last week, which mades the idea of a barefoot rumba sound a little dicey. But while this made for some drama during rehearsal, Lance's feet looked—and moved—just fine. And we think the rest of him looked great, too. He and Lacey Schwimmer could have been doing a mating dance on a private beach somewhere.
Judges said: 25, which included 9s from Carrie Ann and Bruno and a 7 from Mr. Cranky-Pants Goodman, whose absence last week eased the duo's passage to the top of the standings. "I didn't get it," the Brit said.
Brooke Burke With Warren slipping and Len returning to punish Lacey's creativity, the top of the leaderboard was waiting for the former model, whose bruised foot made her struggle a bit last week. Her fox-trot tonight was gorgeous, though—elegant, smooth and sure-footed.
Judges said: The first 30 of the season! "It became more than the sum of its parts," Len said. "It was truly fantastic."
Team Dance No. 1: Susan, Lance and Cody, aka Team Cha-Cha, did their groove thang together. Well, sort of. Most of the performance was individual, where only one couple was center stage at a time, making it hard to qualify it as a "team dance." So we're thinking that making the stars rely on each other for good scores was really more of a way to breed animosity than anything else.
Judges said: 20. "As far as the solos, I thought that Lance and Lacey saved the day," Len said, while Carrie Ann called the unison part "terrible."
Team Dance No. 2: Warren, Maurice and Brooke, aka Team Paso Doble, didn't have to do much to top the other team. But they did anyway! From the black and sapphire outfits to the increased quality of the solo-couple moments, the Paso Doble-doers did everything better. And that includes keeping the beat.
Judges said: 29. "A magical mishmash of a paso doble," Carrie Ann raved. Len agreed, but pointed out that "marching up and down is easier than having to do a syncopated dance like the cha-cha-cha."
No elimination show tomorrow—go vote for something that matters instead!—but all will be revealed on a special Wednesday edition.
So, who really rammed the message home for you tonight, and who should be knocked off the ballot?