After last week's shocking elimination of fan-favorite Sherri Shepherd, the DANCING competitors were widdled down to nine. Going into the halfway point of the competition, the remaining dancers and their partners were tasked with creating routines for the designated "Latin Week." The broadcast featured a performance by Santana, with sure-fire frontrunners emerging.
Jaleel White & Kym Johnson
Latin Week, also known as, another week for another male contestant to take off his shirt - sparked with a fiery Samba by White and Johnson. His butt, rather than his bare chest, according to the judges, was the star of the routine. "One of the keys to the samba is rhythm," said judge Len Goodman. "And you had rhythm in abundance." "This week you came out with an attack and fire," said judge Carrie Ann Inaba, "and I loved it." After this week, the awkward Urkel that had managed to seep out of White in previous routines, seems to have permanently retired.
Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Gilbert, who was notably absent during last week's results show after suffering from a concussion and whiplash, came back into the competition this week. Naturally unsexy, according to herself, Gilbert (clad in a neck brace) was determined to make the best of her shortened rehearsal period. However, after last week's improvement, it almost gives this recap-er whiplash to say she was back to flubbing moves. With noticeable stumbles, Gilbert garnered criticism from the judges. It was out of control, according to Bruno - and untidy and rough according to Len.
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough
Gilbert's fellow female contestant prone to injury - Maria Menounos - played off her accidents slightly better. Showing up to rehearsal wrapped head-to-toe in bubble wrap, Menounos was bound (in cellophane) and determined to make her salsa "amazing." And that she did. "That was hot! You are fantastic," proclaimed Carrie Ann - though critiqued their very-public kiss that will, without a doubt, fuel the "are-they-or-aren't-they" dating rumors surrounding Menounos and Hough. Len praised her talent, calling her one of the top competitors...while Bruno asked the duo for a threesome.
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas
Dance: Argentine Tango
Former frontrunner, Jenkins, has noticeably fallen towards the middle of the pack of competitors in recent weeks. With a sharply precise Argentine Tango, Len compared the dance to a rose: on the outside, it was pure beauty, but underneath, thorns. "[It was] menacing," he said. "It was bittersweet. Well done." Bruno called it "perfection," with Carrie echoing him. With nearly a perfect score, perhaps the frontrunner is back.
Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff
DeGraw declared he'd be relying on fan votes this week in order to stay in the competition, admitting that he might just be over his head with the Samba. And he certainly was. With this Latin beach themed routine, DeGraw was visibly drowning in the moves. "You should have stayed on the boat," Bruno laughed, and even though it was hokey and a little mad, he did admit to enjoying it. "You were lacking a little bit of form," Carrie laughed with a smirk - because he had no form. The judges agreed it was more recognizable as a struggle than a Samba. It just proves that DeGraw has overstayed his welcome, which is a pity - especially when more deserving contestants have already departed.
William Levy & Cheryl Burke
Dance: Argentine Tango
Levy, who previously proved to do well with Latin dances, didn't think the required passion for this week's dance would be much of a problem. Dancing to the Pussycat Dolls' song, "Buttons" was, by far, the most questionable choice of the routine. Overall, it was a vast improvement over last week's performance, garnering the pair almost perfect scores. "That was ridiculously amazing," Carrie Ann said, likening Levy to a dancing James Bond. Len praised the color and sensuality of the dance, while Bruno called it every adjective under the Latin Sun. Including "throbbing."