Marlee Matlin, Dancing with the Stars

ABC

Step in time with our Dancing with the Stars blog:

It's the sixth week of the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars, meaning it's time for the seven remaining celebs' first group dance and a motley assortment of performances determined by what each high-profile hoofer has yet to try. And away they go! (And by "they" we mean clothes—Edyta's looking quite scantily clad out there...)

8:06 p.m.: Going just by Jason Taylor's moves, it's hard to believe the Miami Dolphins were so utterly hopeless last season. The ridiculously well-formed defensive end earned only a 24 on his cha-cha (his lowest in three weeks) but, hey, so goes the burden of being an early favorite—those persnickety judges expect a lot.

8:12 p.m.: Derek Hough brought Shannon Elizabeth flowers during rehearsal, apparently an apology for being a one-man DWTS drama factory for the last couple of weeks. Or, just a sneaky way to bring flowers to the girl he was cuddling up with on the beach (albeit during rumba practice, but whatever).

8:15 p.m.: Unfortunately for the pair, who seem to be having a ball with each other both on and off the dance floor, Elizabeth's hips are still MIA and the judges called her out for it. But, they admitted she and Hough had chemistry to spare, and gave her a 24 despite the scolding.

"We got into character, what can I say?" Hough said backstage when asked about their oceanside romp.

8:18 p.m.: In two weeks, DWTS marks its 100th episode (my, how the time flies when you're watching careers get resuscitated before your eyes...) with the help of 30 former contestants and all sorts of syncopated shenanigans.

8:24 p.m.: Even though Henry Winkler stopped by to give her a pep talks, the rhythm finally got to Marlee Matlin. She looked unbelievable in strategically cut out tiger stripes but lost her timing repeatedly while dancing a seemingly slo-mo mambo. The judges agreed, her musicality was off. (The blue eyeshadow didn't help, either.)

8:37 p.m.: Now's the time to patronize your local farmers market. Len Goodman just vowed to "show my bum in the supermarket" if Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke repeat in the bottom two after their elegant, color-coordinated fox-trot. Pink never looked so dashing on a man.

In turn, the actor received a 27, his highest score of the competition.

8:50 p.m.: A morose ballad about stabbing an unfaithful lover to death doesn't exactly scream grace and propriety—but Marissa Jaret Winokur's Viennese waltz, danced to "Delilah," was lovely just the same. The wee Tony winner was, as Tonioli said, "all light and frothy" as she stopped bouncing and started gliding—all the way to a 26, her best score of the season.

9:02 p.m.: And the first 30 of the season goes to...surprise, surprise...Kristi Yamaguchi! We all knew it was only a matter of time before the ice queen—who was born with club feet, she revealed as she practiced her jive—skated away with a perfect score.

9:15 p.m.: "Better than good sex" was how Carrie Ann characterized Mario and the practically bedsheet-clad Karina Smirnoff's smokin' rumba, which, in addition to a vice-squad raid, earned the R&B singer his first 10 of the season (the sign of ultimate approval coming from Bruno Tonioli, who always appreciates a good simulated mating dance).

9:22 p.m.: If you've been thinking the cowboy in your life has been slacking in the sparkly embroidery and faux holster department (or if you just really want to see Mario do a cartwheel), then saddle up, because the final seven contestants are going country for the first group dance of the season.

It might not get them anywhere with Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno but this hoedown/square dance melange could count for something when it comes time for the fans to pass judgment. 

When all was said and danced, Yamaguchi (30) once again stood triumphant atop the leader board; Mario (28), de la Fuente (27) and Winokur (26) had made major inroads; Taylor and Elizabeth (both 24) had taken a few steps back and Matlin (21) was left hoping the at-home voters provide the needed va-va-voom.

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