No one fell over tonight (thanks, dance doctor John Travolta), but is Dancing With the Stars purposely trying to make people look ridiculous?
While many high notes were hit last week when the music took a turn for the classical, this week is "Americana week," meaning the couples had to dance either Latin or ballroom with an all-American twist.
Samba meets the South, anybody?
For starters, there is pretty much nothing OK about a Brazilian samba stomped out in cowboy boots to "Sweet Home Alabama," even though line-dancing in and of itself can look cool.
"It wasn't terrible, but you're not consistent!" Len Goodman complained to Ralph Macchio, who was a little too Howdy Doody for our taste tonight.
A Viennese waltz danced to "America the Beautiful" wasn't as much of a stretch, and Chris Jericho filled out his military uniform nicely. His and Cheryl Burke's routine actually had a rather nice Old Hollywood vibe to it, the officer dancing with his girl before shipping out (or in a dream sequence after he's already shipped out).
We still can't get over Chris' quickstep, but the judges thought his movement was superb. Len quibbled about giving him an 8—but he did!—and the wrestler scored a personal-best 26 overall. (Also the competition high so far, achieved only by Chelsea Kane last week.)
OK, we expected disaster when he heard the words quickstep and Elvis Presley's 'Viva Las Vegas'" coupled with Petra Nemcova.
But it wasn't too bad (it was good enough to tie Ralph's score of 22, anyway). The model's head was perched at an odd angle throughout, but she more or less kept up—kudos to Dmitry Chaplin for taming Petra's long limbs and keeping her feet in check.
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower lucked out with the perfectly logical pairing of "New York, New York" with the fox-trot. Top hat? Check. Tails? Check. A whole lotta swagger? Check!
The young man, who has already danced leaps and bounds beyond dad Master P, was also rewarded for his unflagging efforts with a 26, tying Chris in first place.
But then along came Hines Ward.
The football star and Kym Johnson also went the Officer and a Gentleman route, with Hines donning a white uniform (which actually sort of made him look like a highly decorated chef) for their rumba to "God Bless the USA."
Result? A 27, their highest score and the highest of the season so far.
So did John Travolta's expert tutelage help longtime pal Kirstie Alley get a leg up on the competition tonight?
Well, he certainly offered some weird advice, telling Kirstie to try hightops to avoid a shoe malfunction and advising her and Maksim Chmerkovskiy to go somewhere and fix their "sexual tension" issue, and his overall presence was a big mood enhancer.
But Kirstie's fox-trot to "American Woman" was a little overshadowed by her less-than-flattering costume and Maks'...er...American-flag decorated torso.
Performing Dancing With the Stars' 1,000th competitive dance was none other than Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett and her partner, Yankee Doodle Louis, the pair of them decked out like figures on a Fourth of July cake. Unfortunately, the E! star didn't really show the fox-trot who was boss and looked more as if she was just trying to get through it rather than light some fireworks.
Bruno Tonioli noted that Kendra looked "as sweet as apple pie" but reminded her that she needs to maintain her composure throughout. But Carrie Ann Inaba thought Kendra had her most confident showing yet, so who knows?!
And for the finale? Let's just say, the samba fits much better with "Party in the USA."
Provided she doesn't get voted off for no good reason, Chelsea Kane has the skills to win. She and Mark Ballas danced a smokin' samba and closed out the show with a bang. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense that Len really liked their routine and they only got a 26—the same they got last week when Len hated their routine—but such is the screwy scoring system employed by the judges.
Here's how tonight's leaderboard stacked up:
Hines Ward & Kym Johnson: 27
Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas: 26
Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke: 26
Romeo & Chelsie Hightower: 26
Kirstie Alley & Maks: 23
Kendra Wilkinson & Louis van Amstel: 22
Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin: 22
Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff: 22
So our brave Karate Kid has fallen, while his fellow gentlemen contestants are zooming up the leaderboard. Will Ralph be able to regain his footing in the future? Will Chelsea get enough votes to stay out of jeopardy, at least?
The field will be cut to seven tomorrow. Who do you think has danced for the last time?