The semifinalists were hurting on Dancing With the Stars, but did their scores suffer for it?
Not only have Ricki Lake and loose-in-the-shoulder Derek Hough been battling injuries for weeks, but tonight J.R. Martinez danced on a twisted ankle and Hope Solo, who's had surgery to repair soccer injuries, needed a painkilling injection in her shoulder during rehearsals.
Rob Kardashian was a regular man of steel in comparison...
And, this week, he was a superhero to more than his wildly applauding family.
All four couples did three dances apiece, and after round one, Rob and Cheryl Burke's samba far out-ranked J.R. and Karina Smirnoff's paso doble—during which J.R. reinjured his already sore ankle and scored only a 23.
Rob earned his first 10—from Carrie Ann Inaba—and his 28 easily topped topped Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy's paso doble, which was all hustle and no flow. But they cheerfully powered through when they scored a disappointing 21 (maybe he really did get Hope's doctor to stick him with the huge needle, too).
"No, I'm very happy!" he exclaimed when Brooke Burke Charvet suggested otherwise. "Thank you everybody, for everything you ever said or did!"
"It's the new Stepford Maks!" Tom Bergeron said cheerfully.
Ricki Lake, however, came storming back from last week's so-so jive and notched a perfect 30 with her bouncy samba.
They all had to do the Argentine tango, starting with Hope, who was the very picture of strength as Maks threw as many flashy lifts as he could think of into their routine. But the judges were only so impressed, and Carrie Ann called Hope out for not being very graceful heading in and out of the ambitious tricks.
And then Hope called out Carrie Ann backstage, after the judge accused Maks of...we're not sure. Smiling inappropriately?
"Maks was smiling because we should be smiling!" the soccer star insisted. "So Carrie Ann, thank you, Maks was smiling. This is my partner—finally,we're happy!"
Guess who wasn't smiling when she gave the couple an 8?
J.R.'s tango, meanwhile, transported Len Goodman "to the back streets of Buenos Aires" and he redeemed himself with a 27. Bruno Tonioli called Rob a "goofy outsider turned leading man," and Ricki had both gentlemen judges chomping at the bit to congratulate her on a job well done.
Last but not least, round three was the "cha-cha relay," in which each couple danced one after another to the same song—and only one 10 (and one 8, etc.) was up for grabs.
"It wasn't quite as expected, so we'll see what happens," Carrie Ann said cryptically before the judges put their heads together and decided on a 4 for Hope, a 6 for J.R., an 8 for Ricki and...a 10 for Rob!
Here's how tonight's leaderboard stacked up:
Ricki Lake & Derek Hough (30, 29, 8) 67
Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke (28, 27, 10) 65
J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff (23, 27, 6) 56
Hope Solo & Maks Chmerkovksiy (21, 24, 4) 49
Cobra Starship and—who else?—the Muppets perform tomorrow night before the last elimination of the season.
Who should be freestylin' in that finale next week? Sound off in the comments section!