DWTS, Rocco DiSpirito, Karina

ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Rocco DiSpirito has had a bumpy ride on Dancing With the Stars. His first performance earned him just 14 points, but then he and Karina Smirnoff shot up to 21 points for their sizzling mambo.

But last night, at just 16 points, they walked away with the second-lowest score. (Feisty wisecracker Cloris Leachman was at the bottom with 15.)

Carrie Ann Inaba pooh-poohed their lackluster rumba with a simple "Nice try."

But DiSpirito isn't letting the judges' not-so-nice critiques get him down.

Read on to find out what he just told me about his mom's message to the judges, why he may be sending a gift basket to grumpy judge Len Goodman, and cooking for Jessica Simpson...

It's been quite the roller coaster for you. Last week after your second performance, the judges said you had the quickest comeback they'd ever seen. But last night they weren't so impressed by the rumba. Do the negative comments get to you?
Everyone wants to be popular and recognized for their efforts, but the scores mean less and less to me.

Were you surprised it was Len who gave you the highest score last night?
Did he? Bless him. I smell a gift basket!

Bruno said he felt you ran "out of juice" last night. What happened?
In between the comedy and the insults, there is some useful information to be gleaned from the judges. Hopefully, I will be able to come back next week, recharged and ready to show them what I can really do on the dance floor.

You only had four days to learn the rumba. Do you think that's fair? How much more time do you think it would have taken for you to perfect the dance a bit more?
Actually, when you count the time I had to fly back and forth to NYC it was about three full days, but who's complaining? It's fair because everyone had the same conditions to work with. What's unfair is that Cloris is so funny.

What did your mom think of your rumba?
My mom thinks the judges had a momentary lapse of reason. Well, she didn't put it quite that way, but that was the gist of it.

You cooked risotto this week for Karina. Do you think it would have helped your score if you cooked for the judges, too?
No doubt that it would be game over. Even Warren [Sapp] would be running scared!

Jessica Simpson is going to be performing on the elimination show tonight. If you could cook a meal for Jessica, what would you make?
Anything she wants, wherever and whenever.

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