CLEVELAND - Finally. Latin week succeeded where rock week fell short on "Dancing with the Stars." The spicy dancing pumped some much needed passion back into the performances.
For the first dance of week five on "Dancing with the Stars," actor Jaleel White and Kym tackled a samba. The diabolical genius that is Kym Johnson is back; she mastered the art of doing all the work with Hines Ward, while making it look as if he was doing it. She started pulling the same trick with Jaleel. He danced great, but on closer inspection some of his movements looked a bit peculiar. Either way, the judges loved it and gave him a 24 out of 30.
Next up, a salsa with actress Melissa Gilbert and Maks. In rehearsal, Maks said he wanted Melissa to bring the sex and she tried. She worked to keep up with the dance, but it was tough to look good next to a dancer as fluid as Maks. There are parts where Melissa looked sharp, other times like she was just trying to complete it. The judges gave them a 21.
TV host Maria Menounos and Derek brought a salsa. She was just about naked with a giant yellow headdress. This must be what Big Bird's fantasies look like. The dance started off with her shimmying on Dr. Drew in the audience, who didn't seem to mind. Maria's hips were swinging and Derek literally swung her around. There was hardly a moment in the routine where they were not in contact; amazing, considering how they kept whipping around each other. Maria just about looked professional. While balancing her in an impossible position on his leg, Derek took his shirt off, then the couple actually locked lips. For several seconds. The audience went wild. Derek's choreography simply goes places the other dancers seem scared to, and Maria is game for it. She deserved the standing ovation they got. The judges loved the passion. Score: 27.
After the show, Maria tweeted, "Wow!! Fun night-I'm wiped and starved! At dinner now...then sleep! Please vote:) xo."
Fellow contestant and classical singer Katherine Jenkins also tweeted about Maria and Derek's kiss. "Woooaaahh @derekhough you didn't do that in rehearsals! ##YoureDumped ;) hahaha #DWTS."
Katherine and Mark were next with an Argentine tango. The routine was controlled, then the intensity picked up and the passion moved in. The movements went from simple to seamlessly intense. Katherine, once again, looked professional. They were simply synchronized in complex movements. Amazingly, Katherine looked to be doing most of the work at times. Judge Len Goodman called her a rose: beautiful but sharp underneath. Bruno Tonioli said their storytelling was pitch perfect. Carrie Ann Inaba said Katherine has the best legs in the history of the show. They were one point short of a perfect score.
Katherine tweeted, "Thank u all so much for your lovely comments about our tango...& if u took the time to vote then I'm sending an extra big kiss your way too!"
Singer Gavin DeGraw and Karina stumbled with their samba. The camera angles were odd and at times it was impossible to tell how they were doing. The dance was fun, and Gavin seemed into it, but it was very lightweight. The judges look like they wondered if they were just punk'd. They said Gavin lacked form, but seemed to enjoy himself. He got a 19.
Gavin tweeted, "Friday the 13th wasn't scary. You know what's scary? Samba. Need your votes! 1800VOTE404, text vote to 3404 on at&t, …"
Actor William Levy and Cheryl came out with an Argentine tango. The passion suited them and he seemed right at home with the aggression. He kept up with Cheryl's sharp moves and held the right tone the whole time. Their flips and spins were perfectly executed. The dance ooozed sultriness. The judges swooned. William was also one point shy of perfect.
William tweeted, "Thank u all for all ur positive messages... They got us through tonight. 10 9 10 that's right baby ;-)))"
Singer Gladys Knight and Tristan did a samba. The routine looked a bit tame. In her frilly-waisted dress, Gladys appeared to be channeling a mature Josephine Baker, and looked to be having fun. The judges seemed to bite their tongues and kept to saying nice things. I was expecting 6s. But Gladys got two 7s and a surprise 8. Twenty-two overall. Can anyone say "stacked"?
Disney star Roshon Fegan and Chelsie also did a salsa. Roshon started off as if he were still trying to show how Michael Jackson would do the salsa. Where's the real Roshon? Well, the real Roshon took over halfway through. His moves looked graceful and confident in a fast-paced and demanding dance. The routine seemed to rev up the judges. He got a 26.
Last, Green Bay Packer Donald Driver and Peta tackled a tango. It was hard to notice Donald past Peta's dress - or lack thereof. Their dance was slow: cool, calm, confident,
and controlled. Donald looked like he's done the tango for years. He perfectly executed many lifts. Peta asked a lot of Donald, and he delivered. Carrie Ann called it divine. Len was not crazy about it, but didn't explain why. They got a 27 out of 30.
On Tuesday's elimination show, there will be a dance -off between the two lowest scoring stars. Right now, Gavin is lowest, followed by Melissa, then Gladys. We'll have to see how the viewer votes factor in Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on ABC.
Train, Selena Gomez, and Sheila E. are also slated to perform.
More information can be found at: beta.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/index .