Kirstie Alley may have taken a spill at the worst possible time.
While, horror of horrors, performing a tribute to her late parents, the actress and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy both stumbled and fell, a five-second flub that seemed to last...forever.
Then again, maybe she wasn't the only star whom the rumba sent hurtling to earth tonight...
Kirstie's the consummate pro, so despite the unmissable flub, she rumba'd right on and ended up with a 21 for her efforts. The judges probably didn't have the heart to give her anything lower, considering her dance was inspired by the struggle she faced when she was about to get her first big movie role and was informed that her mom had been killed by a drunk driver and her dad was in critical condition.
Maks blamed himself, telling the judges that his thigh "just gave out."
It was just a really odd confluence of circumstances and definitely a moment to, if not exactly forget, at least not dwell on (after tomorrow, anyway).
We've already seen him catch a thousand passes, but we could watch Hines Ward dance all day.
The Pittsburgh Steelers star performed what we can only describe as the most endearing samba we've seen on this show, a Latin party number dedicated to his No. 1 fan—his mom, who after divorcing Ward's dad took three jobs so he could have all the opportunities in life that she didn't.
That, and he's just so bald 'n' cute 'n' bouncy!
"Two-for-the-price-of-one happy hour!" exclaimed Bruno Tonioli, echoing the sentiments of his fellow judges and, surely, Hines' mother, who was applauding from the first row. He also got the first 9 of the season, from Carrie Ann Inaba.
Right on his heels with the second 9 of the season, however, was none other than Petra Nemcova, who has been pretty "eh" so far but is now the one to watch, according to head judge and resident curmudgeon Len Goodman.
Her story, of course, is one for the history books—literally. The model lost her boyfriend in the 2004 tsunami while they were on vacation in Thailand, and she said the song she and Dmitry Chaplin waltzed to, "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban, inspired her to start her Happy Hearts Fund, which helps people after natural disasters.
It helped matters that she was about as fluid and graceful as it gets, thanks in part to her long limbs that paint a pretty picture no matter what they're doing.
She ended up tied for first place with Ward at the end of the night.
As if we needed a reason to love Chris Jericho more, the wrestler dedicated his rumba to his late mother and danced to "Let It Be," which, he said, was played at her funeral in 2005.
Well, Chris didn't do slow and contemplative quite as well as he did quick and jaunty last week, but he and Cheryl Burke were charming anyway.
"Your hip action, a little strange," Carrie Ann, new engagement ring sparkly away, said tearfully, "but emotionally, a great job."
Romeo also hit a speed bump with his rumba, another emotional dance gone a bit wrong, and he and Jericho both descended into the middle of the pack.
Ralph Macchio, who lost a step last week with his overeager jive, seemed far more comfortable with the rumba—perhaps because it was dedicated to his wife, and therefore had license to feel romantic.
And yet he got a 21, same as Kirstie. Something's not quite right there...
More than holding her own in the rumba, meanwhile, was Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett, who wiped away any last vestiges of her so-called "tomboy" persona with a sultry routine dedicated to hubby Hank Baskett.
Not that we're begruding anyone's touching stories, but it was nice to see at least one rumba exude steam heat! And it resulted in the E! star's highest score yet.
After Mark Ballas' creative liberties bit her in the tush last week, Chelsea Kane roared back this week with a cha-cha inspired by first love and the guy who actually wrote the song they danced to—called "Chelsea"—for the Disney Channel star herself.
Maybe it's because she's a Jonas L.A. alum, but the very skimpy costume was a little jarring. Not that she couldn't pull it off (she's 22, so it wasn't wrong or anything), but that was still an awful lot of skin for the kid, er, young woman.
And yet the judges let the euphemisms brought about by Sugar Ray Leonard's tight pants fly. His boxing-inspired paso doble wasn't exactly dripping with drama, but he's usually pretty fun to watch. This week, however, with the leaderboard flip-flopping all over the place, it might not have been enough to keep him out of danger tomorrow.
Wendy Williams, in last place yet again, probably has reason to fear as well.
Another star leaves the competition Tuesday following performances by Selena Gomez and One Republic.
Here's the rundown of tonight's topsy-turvy leaderboard:
Hines Ward & Kym Johnson: 25
Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin: 25
Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas: 23
Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett & Louis van Amstel: 23
Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke: 21
Kirstie Alley & Maks Chmerkovskiy: 21
Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff: 21
Romeo & Chelsie Hightower: 20
Sugar Ray Leonard & Anna Trebunskaya: 20
Wendy Williams & Tony Dovolani: 15