Last week's Dancing With the Stars was just weird.
What with the sad rumbas, the stumbles and the splat heard round the world, last Monday's performance show was one for the books for all the wrong reasons, leaving it up to the remaining nine stars to rewrite history tonight. Which, how fitting, was classical night.
Now, it wasn't as stuffy as it sounds. Think more along the lines of paso dobles to Beethoven's Fifth and other recognizable ditties from days of yore and...not so yore (Harry Potter theme, anyone?).
So the music, courtesy of a 46-piece orchestra, was great, but did the dancing hold up?
Very much so.
After two weeks "in the wilderness," as head judge Len Goodman put it, Ralph Macchio came thundering back with a waltz to the Henry Mancini-arranged "Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet" that pretty much oozed romance. Of course, anything accompanied by that music comes automatically with a gut-check, but the dancing didn't play second fiddle and he and Karina Smirnoff returned to first place with a 25.
Ralph was joined in first later by Hines Ward, who unsurprisingly danced a fierce paso doble, got raves from the judges...and then ended up with "just" a 25, to the booing audience's consternation.
The duo were duly booted from first place later in the evening, however, by none other than Chelsea Kane, who scored a competition-high 26 in a very roundabout fashion.
Mark Ballas continued his quest for criticism, choreographing an inspired Viennese waltz to the Harry Potter theme that looked neat but was so lacking in hold that we could hear Len before he uttered a word.
And Len didn't disappoint.
"Mark, you are a marvelous teacher and a great choreographer. Chelsea, you are a fantastic dancer. So why is it, every time I see you, there's something I don't like?!" Len began, to which Bruno Tonioli shouted, "Expelliarmus, Voldemort!"
"Why don't you jump on your Nimbus 2000 and bugger off?" Len retorted. But for all his traditionalism, he couldn't ignore the couple's impressive technique, and he gave them an 8 opposite Bruno and Carrie Ann Inaba's twin 9's.
"Focused, powerful, action-packed—and six-packed, as well!" Bruno added cheekily to the commentary surrounding Romeo's kickoff paso doble to "Palladio," the classical-sounding music that was actually written for the De Beers diamond commercial you know it from.
But if anyone is built for the paso doble, it's Chris Jericho. We actually thought he could have danced it with more intensity in his face, but everything below the neck was working like super manly clockwork.
"Watch out for this guy!" raved Carrie Ann. (No, really, watch out for him, people! He ended up undeservingly sweating out the results until the last minute last week.)
Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett expressed a little concern beforehand about the "proper, ladylike" Viennese waltz she was taxed with, but since she was coming off one of last week's better rumbas, we didn't think it would be a problem.
Unfortunately, the E! star looked more uncomfortable than she has all season—and what was with her free arm swinging around like that?! Hubby Hank Baskett was there giving her a standing ovation, but alas, the judges didn't see her soar this time and gave her the 18 to prove it.
"Elegance is not so different than sexy," Carrie Ann reminded her. "Don't be afraid of elegance...You're a beautiful dancer. You need to have more confidence."
Sugar Ray Leonard's waltz was also a little herky-jerky, but he is just so entertaining and charming. Even Len, the boxer's biggest critic, was charmed this time! And it was that showmanship that earned him a 21, his highest score of the season so far.
Bruno apparently has a full-on crush on Petra Nemcova, raving about her everything after a paso doble that ended with partner Dmitry Chaplin ripping off her skirt to reveal sparkly black underthings.
We thought her posture was kind of funky, but the judges mostly felt that she had maintained last week's first-place momentum with another great dance.
Kirstie Alley came out as determined as ever, determined to put last week behind her and determined to show that she can pull off whatever choreography Maksim Chmirkovskiy throws at her.
If only her damn shoe hadn't come off—"queen of the unexpected mishap" indeed, Carrie Ann—the comeback would have been complete.
"Does anybody's shoes come off?!" Kirstie wondered afterward.
Here's the leaderboard rundown:
Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas: 26
Hines Ward & Kym Johnson: 25
Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff: 25
Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke: 23
Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin: 23
Romeo & Chelsie Hightower: 23
Kirstie Alley & Maks Chmerkovskiy: 22
Sugar Ray Leonard & Anna Trebunskaya: 21
Kendra Wilkinson & Louis Van Amstel: 18
Another celebs is going home tomorrow following performances by Jennifer Hudson and rock violinist David Garrett.