Athletics and Performance Count on “Dancing With the Stars”

Athletics and performance ruled the ballroom on last night’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Speed and agility proved important in helping some of the athletes leave a lasting impression.

Wrestler Chris Jericho took everyone by surprise by turning in an exciting, technically proficient and fun to watch quick step. His chemistry with Cheryl Burke was undeniable and he milked it for every minute it was worth. In the end it was worth a lot, earning him a score for the evening of 23 and a two-night total of 42.

Pro football player Hines Ward ramped up his performance, delivering a light, airy and charming quick step. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba dubbed him the new “Twinkle Toes”; taking the title away from previous DWTS champion Emmitt Smith. His score for the evening was also 23, giving him a total over two nights of 44.

Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard was the only athlete the judges left out in the cold. Len Goodman was blatant in his disappointment. He told Leonard he would likely be in jeopardy of going home during week one. His scores reflected that at a mere 17; the same as last week.

Actors Kirstie Alley and Ralph Macchio continued to impress both the judges and the audience. They delivered sparkling numbers that were well suited toward their personalities.

While the judges were less impressed with the karate kid this week, they admitted he was irresistable to watch on the dance floor. Bruno continued to caution Macchio to get control of his hands. Len Goodman told the star to get control of his jive so it didn’t come across as frenzied. That translated to a loss of 3 points for a total of 21 this week versus last week’s 24.

Kirstie glided around the floor in a fast and fun quick step that left the judges wanting more. A minor fumble toward the end slowed down her rhythm but she still score well at 20. Combined with last week’s total of 23, she maintained her spot toward the top of the leader board.

Rapper Romeo decided it was cool to be a charming gentleman and delivered one of the best quick steps of the night. It was easy, sexy and technically good. That earned him the admiration of the judges and a score of 23. That gives him a two-night total of 42.

Professed tomboy and reality star Kendra Wilkinson looked anything masculine but in her elegant quick step. Sadly, she was less confident than she should have been, which showed. During week one she pulled an 18. This week, a score of 19 gave her a two-night total of 37.

Talk show diva Wendy Williams redeemed herself somewhat by bringing her big personality to the dance floor. That made for a fun and sassy quick step. However, it lacked some of the speed of the other performances. She scored a 17, which when combined with last week’s 14, gave her a total score of 31.

Some of the early favorites including Disney princess Chelsea Kane and gorgeous model Petra Nemcova faltered on night two. Their jives definitely didn’t make the judges smile.

All three judges picked apart Mark Ballas’s non-traditional jive choreography. That left the couple with lower scores than week one at 17 versus 19 for a total of 36.

The judges were also in agreement that Nemcova’s kicks and flicks were weak and weren’t delivered with sharp precision. Still, she managed to pull her second 18 for a two-night total of 36.

Radio guru Mark Catherwood improved his footwork in this week’s jive, providing some of the best kicks and flicks of the evening. Sadly in between those sequences, his lack of confidence also showed. The judges encouraged him to focus on technique even more to keep his scores rising. In the end, he earned 4 more points than last week for a 17. That gave him a two-night total of 30.

In the end the leader board didn’t change drastically. Here are the standings going into tonight’s elimination:

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff – 45
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson – 44
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – 43
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke – 42
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower – 42
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis van Amstel – 37
Chelsa Kane and Mark Ballas – 36
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin – 36
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya – 34
Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani – 31
Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer – 30

I predict that Catherwood is on his way out of the ballroom first. With lower scores and a smaller fan base than other more visual stars, it seems to be a fait au complete. However, there is always the chance that the audience will take pity on him and keep him in. With “Dancing with the Stars” almost anything goes.