After Dancing with the Stars 6‘s Latin Night, Kristi Yamaguchi remains the star to beat.
Mario & Karina Smirnoff — Samba
Sad news, Sesame Street fans: Karina killed Big Bird to make her skirt. Mario looked like the Samba movements came easily to him, and his attitude in rehearsals was great. This was the best he’s looked since Week 2.
Len Goodman said, "Work on your footwork a little bit more, but I’ve gotta tell ya, best dance so far." Bruno Tonioli told Mario, "If your hips could talk, we’d be censored tonight." Carrie Ann Inaba said, "It was nice and clean and to the point. It was a very classic routine."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30
Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel — Rumba
Priscilla is impressively flexible. But it felt like she was sleepwalking through the performance — when she wasn’t posing, that is. There wasn’t any emotional hook.
Bruno complimented Priscilla for seeming "sensual, but not trashy. Available, but reassuringly expensive." Carrie Ann told Priscilla, "You were in your mind a little bit too much this week, I think. It didn’t just flow from your body effortlessly." Len said, "It was too careful. I was disappointed in the routine."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30
Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani — Samba
This was Marissa’s most confident performance, and she and Tony executed some nice turns. But the choreography wasn’t very challenging and still felt a bit slow. The routine was heavy on the shimmy, and light on the footwork.
Carrie Ann said, "You were workin’ it, girl. That was your best routine by far. In the beginning, you were just a little bit off the music." Len said the routine had "more bounce to the ounce." Bruno told Marissa, "You have more shake than a cocktail bar. You really put the effort in it."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 24/30
Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke — Rumba
The performance was nice and romantic, although things really got going once Cheryl got Cristian to smile, and he loosened up. Like Carrie Ann mentioned last week, Cristian still looks a little weird when he looks away from Cheryl and toward the camera.
Len gave a backhanded compliment: "It wasn’t gruesome to watch. It was a very competent performance." Bruno said, "The chemistry with you two is great." Carrie Ann disagreed with Bruno: "I actually thought, tonight, the chemistry wasn’t there between you two. What I think you need to do to get better is work on sustaining your movements."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 23/30
Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez — Samba
The routine had energy and covered a lot of the floor. But it suffered in the execution, with a number of missed hand holds and problematic tempo changes.
Bruno told Marlee, "Very, very hot and sexy in the Samba. There is something very inspiring about you because you are so determined." Carrie Ann said, "You had a lot of stumbles and you were out of sorts. You continued, and it came back to life." Len said, "Marlee, you dance with such confidence. The Samba is definitely the most difficult of all the Latin dances."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…8 = 22/30
Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas — Rumba
Wisely, Mark allowed Kristi to smile during the performance, instead of forcing her to portray hot, steamy passion. The performance felt romantic and believable — all the moreso because the two people dancing looked like they actually liked each other.
Carrie Ann told Kristi, "I have to commend you; you really took a risk this week. I think you gave up some of your movements to have that emotion, but I think it was a good call." Len said, "I’m gonna give you three words: Fab. U. Lous." Bruno renamed her "Kristi Yummy-licious."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…10, Bruno…10 = 29/30
Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough — Samba
Derek went back to the hospital the morning of the show with a case of food poisoning. Jonathan Roberts filled in for him during dress rehearsal, but Derek returned in time to perform live.
Shannon said in the rehearsal footage that she wasn’t comfortable with the Samba, and it showed during the performance. Her moves were stiff, and her height made her look gawky. And, once again, Shannon looked completely exhausted as she listened to the judges’ comments.
Len said, "As good as that was, it wasn’t, for me, really good enough. Not enough hip action." Bruno told Shannon, "You’re such a good looking girl, you have to come out and shake those maracas." Carrie Ann told Shannon, "Sometimes you did look awkward, but don’t give up that attitude."
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…8, Bruno…7 = 23/30
Jason Taylor & Edyta Sliwinska — Rumba
It was another strong effort from Jason, although he wasn’t able to find the perfect balance between of manliness and grace that the Rumba requires. And Edyta stole the spotlight from him with some eye-popping poses.
Bruno asked Jason, "How can you be so light and so big at the same time?" Carrie Ann said, "The two of you have the most insane chemistry on the dance floor." Len told Jason, "You’ve got a naturalness about you. You’re like a bloke, havin’ a dance." Len warned Edyta to lay off some of the posing so that Jason has to do more of the work.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…9, Len…9, Bruno…9 = 27/30
29 — Kristi & Mark
27 — Mario & Karina, Jason & Edyta
24 — Marissa & Tony
23 — Cristian & Cheryl, Shannon & Derek
22 — Marlee & Fabian
21 — Priscilla & Louis
Kristi & Mark seem like an unstoppable force, but I’m giving them a couple of my votes this week just to make sure they don’t get Sabrina’d. The rest of my votes will be split between Cristian & Cheryl and Shannon & Derek. Their humorous rehearsal footage has made them two of my favorite couples, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best from them yet.
Priscilla & Louis, who were in the Bottom Two last week, are obviously in the most trouble. But I won’t be surprised to see any of the couples who scored less than 27 points join them under the red lights.