For Monday night’s semifinals of “Dancing With the Stars,” the remaining couples had to compete in two rounds — ballroom and Latin — to impress judges. The performances resulted in a dead heat for first place between Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and Olympian Evan Lysacek, who were both just one point shy of a total perfect score.
The first couple to hit the floor was ESPN reporter Erin Andrews and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Judge Len Goodman was impressed with their Viennese waltz, telling the duo that the fight for the finals is in effect. Bruno Tonioli commented on Andrews’ improvement and caused a bit of confusion when he accidentally held up a 10 paddle — he meant to give them a 9 — and Chmerkovskiy mock fainted. For their second round, they danced the paso doble, and the judges weren’t too keen on Andrews’ solo at the beginning of the dance. Score: 56/60
Favorite Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough took the stage next, performing a rather flawless Argentine tango. Tonioli said the Pussycat Doll was like “a divine enchantress,” and Carrie Ann Inaba told the pop singer, “what you are doing is incredible.” The duo scored a perfect 30/30 for their tango, and when they came back for their cha-cha to Prince’s hit “Kiss,” they barely missed a beat. Goodman said without question, Scherzinger deserved to be in the finals. Score: 59/60
Cincinnati Bengals player Chad Ochocinco and partner Cheryl Burke chose the waltz for the ballroom round. Inaba told Ochocinco that he nailed the dance. Goodman seemed equally impressed, noting that the football star is the only celeb in the semifinals without any dance experience. They took on the samba for dance number two, a dance that judges said was the toughest of the night. Tonioli joked that after seeing Ochocinco dance with his shirt open, he “will never take my clothes off again!” Score: 52/60
Lysacek and his partner Anna Trebunskaya picked the foxtrot, trying to add the emotion the skater hadn’t yet expressed in dance. Tonioli was impressed, saying that he wasn’t aware that Lysacek had that kind of vitality in him. Inaba said that he was engaged the entire time, something that had been missing from his pristine dance moves. For their second time out, the couple did a paso doble that Tonioli called strong, yet artistic. Dance number two earned a perfect score, for a 59/60 total.
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