We thought it seemed impossible that Ralph Macchio was dancing on a battered knee last week!
But that was nothing compared to what Kym Johnson had to bounce back from. In addition to two dances apiece and one "winner-take-all cha-cha," Monday's Dancing With the Stars featured terrifying footage of the accident that sent Kym to the hospital just three days ago.
As they tried to execute a lift, Hines Ward basically lost his grip and she fell head first, with all of her weight and Hines' pressing into her. Scary stuff!
Somehow, Kym made it back in time. But were she and Hines the ones at a disadvantage this week?
Maybe it was all those emotions that arose after Kym's accident, but her Argentine tango with Hines was the most believable of the bunch: intense, passionate and crackling with chemistry. He didn't take his eyes off of her, and the dance benefited, earning them their—and the season's—first perfect 30.
Their connection made Carrie Ann Inaba cry, and Bruno Tonioli compared the routine, out loud, to "good sex." (And we thought that would be his raciest comment of the night.)
Ralph Macchio—sporting a knee brace and perhaps treating one side more gingerly than the other, but otherwise looking pretty healthy—tried to storm back into the game with an Argentine tango, but he came off less like a smoldering lover than like a coldly determined executioner, according to Bruno.
Karina Smirnoff looked like an extra from Cats for dance No. 2, and that didn't help matters when it came to spicing up their salsa. Face it, Ralph isn't really the smoldering type, even when his bum is padded for extra effect, though he is an ever amiable partner.
Two minutes later, however, no one could remember the dance after Bruno made a crass remark in reference to Karina's costume—"A pussycat! Well, what is she?!" he protested after saying Ralph was "too rough" with his p--sy and the audience erupted in boos. Carrie Ann suggested that someone give her fellow judge a muzzle.
Later on, Hines and Kym's salsa was everything that Ralph and Karina's wasn't—most notably, cool enough for the club—and that was good enough for another 30.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy—who fought like cats and rabid, swearing dogs backstage—were back in sync in time for their first dance of the night, the Viennese waltz, with Maks sweeping his partner around the floor like Prince Charming and Cinderella when they waltz off into the clouds. It seemed a little rushed, albeit graceful, but the judges observed that Kirstie kept up like a pro.
Last week's first-place couple, Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas, came out with something to prove—and they proved that it's never too late in the competition for the judges to pick a peck of holes in their performance.
Carrie Ann thought their Argentine tango "wasn't up to par" for this stage of the game, and they backstepped into a 28, having tasted their first 29 last week.
They had to pull yet another sexy dance, the rumba, out of their hats later, and we thought it was one of the best rumbas this show has seen in a long time.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" agreed Carrie Ann. Bruno got it right this time by noting that they struck the right balance between eroticism and romanticism to create the "perfect pitch."
And with that, Mark and Chelsea joined Hines and Kym in 30 Land. "Tonight, you have fulfilled your potential," Len said.
In the final cha-cha round, Hines and Kym topped Ralph and Karina in the first heat, and Chelsea and Mark beat out Kirstie and Maks in the second. Then Chelsea and Mark came roaring back to knock Hines and Kym out of first place by winning it all.
Here's how the leaderboard stacked up:
• Chelsea & Mark: 73 (28, 30, 15)
• Hines & Kym: 60 (30, 30)
• Kirstie & Maks: 54 (27, 27)
• Ralph & Karina: 48 (25, 23)
Another star will be eliminated Tuesday.
Who would you like to see in next week's finale?