Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy; ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — In a special show Monday night, competitors on Dancing with the Stars performed routines that were all inspired by various Cirque du Soleil shows, and they were even joined on the ballroom floor by Cirque’s acrobats and other performers.
At the end of the night, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez topped the leaderboard with 30 points -– earning not only the first 10s of the season but the season’s first perfect score. Singer/music producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds brought up the rear with 18.
The star with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes is generally eliminated during the weekly results show that follows the performance show, but co-host Tom Bergeron announced Monday night that the stakes will be even higher than before: Two couples will be going home Tuesday night.
Monday night’s high scorer: The Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast channeled her inner Michael Jackson for a sassy jazz routine that electrified the ballroom audience and judges and earned her three 10s for the first perfect score of the season. During the judges’ critique Julianne Hough initially made amazed faces without speaking, then said: “I literally have nothing to say other than the fact that Michael Jackson may be the King of Pop but you are the queen of the ballroom!”
Monday night’s standout moment: Racecar driver James Hinchcliffe turned in a showstopping Broadway-inspired quickstep that earned him cheers from the audience and rave reviews from the judges. Bruno Tonioli compared Hinchcliffe and his pro partner Sharna Burgess to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, saying the routine was “absolutely fantastic.” Added Hough: “I just want to ask, like, who are you? Like who are you IndyCar driver that’s like the most charismatic and got like the vocal cords and the acting chops. Like literally you could go and do Broadway…that was amazing, you are the real deal.” Hinchcliffe earned 28 points.
In another newsworthy moment, a couple of audience members yelled during a Ryan Lochte critique by Tonioli. Two women yelled “Go Gators!” in reference to Lochte’s alma mater, University of Florida. This comes just weeks after a couple of protestors rushed the stage while the controversial Olympic swimmer was being critiqued during the season premiere.
In addition, Julianne Hough addressed Amber Rose’s accusation that the judge had body-shamed her following last week’s dance. “Dance is a universal platform for people to express themselves, any person, whether that is age or height, body shape, ethnicity, sexual orientation….For me, I am a huge supporter of that, and that alone.” Rose apologized to Hough during the show.
Backstage, some of the stars shared their impressions of the night. Laurie Hernandez said, “We had three days to prepare for this. I’m so glad that it all worked out and we were able to get that perfect score, but it surprised me because we hadn’t even gotten nines yet.”
James Hinchcliffe was also shocked by his score, telling ABC Radio, “I don’t think I expected to get a ten at any point in the competition.”
Marilu Henner was in the bottom three and was nervous. “We’re scared,” she said backstage. “Of course there’s concern. Our scores were not great tonight. I’ll be so upset if we don’t stay.”
Ryan Lochte It is scary and I know that I did the best I can. We improved so much from the other dances. Watching everyone, they did so amazing, so it’s going to be hard.”
Babyface was also nervous. “I let the nerves get the best of me. today, which I’m pretty amazed that it was able to take over me in the way that it did. That’s not usually who I am. So I just kinda know at this particular point I won’t ever let that happen again.”
Rapper Vanilla Ice was unflappable and not worried at all. “I’m here to dance, man. If you wanna judge it and send me home, do it. I’m here to dance and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m gonna keep dancing until I can’t dance no more.”
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 30
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: 28
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 25
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: 24
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 23
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 23
Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) and Witney Carson: 23
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: 22
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 21
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker: 18
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