Adam Taylor / ABC
Just as in week one, Bristol Palin and pro partner Mark Ballas found themselves closer to the bottom of the leaderboard than they'd like.
Last week, the "Dancing With the Stars" all-star gang showed just what they could do on the dance floor after a long break from the ballroom. The results on the leaderboard were surprising, as some last-time champs became this-time so-so steppers.
But on Monday night, with the premiere jitters behind them, the returning celebs shook up that week-old leaderboard. Well, as much as they were able to.
Sure, Sabrina Bryan raced to the top with a 26-point precision quickstep that reminded viewers just how much she deserved this second chance after her early ouster in season five. But for some of the other dancers, it was hard to be much of a mover or a shaker when the judges just lumped so many of the them together on the scoreboard, regardless of their moves. (Weren't those half-point paddles suppose to keep that sort of thing from happening?) And even some of the acts that managed to land in the right ranking order did so without the right score.
A prime example would be Bristol Palin. After impressing many with her much-improved performance in week one, the teen-activist-turned-reality-star hit the floor with a flub-filled quickstep this week. The lines were loose, the song outpaced the steps and the moves were off the mark. Add to that the fact that the routine bucked ballroom rules by featuring mid-dance hold breaks between her and pro partner Mark Ballas.
Carrie Ann Inaba called the couple out on the rule break, and head judge Len Goodman referred to the dance as a "lowdown hoedown." But regardless of their dissatisfaction, all three of the judges pulled out their 6 paddles.
Sure, the resulting 18-point score put Bristol firmly in the back of the pack, but she never saw those 5.5 paddles that Pamela Anderson got last week despite delivering a dance no better -- and arguably worse -- than Pam's.
Also overscored? Melissa Rycroft. Now, anyone who's seen Melissa perform in the past knows she's not a bottom-place act. But that doesn't mean she deserved every one of those 23.5 points she raked in for her high-energy and highly flawed jive. Sure, the tough, fast-paced choreography presented her with a heck of a challenge, but her arm lines and less-than-finessed maneuvers alone should have sent her a little farther down the leaderboard.
Helio Castroneves was another hoofer who benefited from the easier-than-last-week judging. His jive, while big on personality (like all of his routines) was all over the place. His knees were too high and his kicks too out of control. Still, he earned 23 points.
And the same can be said of last week's leading man, Emmitt Smith. The fan favorite hit the floor with a lackluster quickstep and though the judges dished out some tough talk for the way he lost time in the routine, the scores they gave him -- a matching set of 7.5s -- didn't reflect just how far Emmitt slipped.
Instead, Emmitt ended the night in the muddled middle of the pack. He was right there beside the always fun but not always technically spot-on Joey Fatone. Also nabbing a 22.5 was Drew Lachey, who unlike the aforementioned stars, actually should have received a better score for his improved and entertaining jive effort.
And the off scores just kept coming.
Like Drew, Kelly Monaco's score of 22 points just didn't do her dance justice. Her quickstep, much like her cha-cha-cha the week before, was under-appreciated by Len and the gang. It's a shame. Kelly has a small frame and thanks to ample upper-body proportions, it difficult for her to master the smooth hold of the quickstep -- but she did an admirable job (after giving her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, a comic lesson on what it's like to have such ample assets in rehearsals).
Then there was Kirstie Alley, who should have walked away with a much higher score for her 19-point foxtrot last week. Maybe the panel realized that and that's why they upped her score (to 21) for her not-so-jumping jive in week two.
As for the rest of the roundup, the scores and the dances seemed well matched. Like Sabrina's first-place standing, it's hard to argue with Gilles Marini nabbing 25.5 points and second place for his content-packed jive (on a pulled hamstring, no less), or Shawn Johnson taking third place with 25 for her perfectly timed jive. And those three better watch out, as Apolo Anton Ohno proved that he's back in the ballroom game with his 24.5-point quickstep.
So with such mixed scores, which all-star is as good as gone on Tuesday? Last week's ouster of Pam was an easy call after her first dance turned out to be her first and last flub, but this time it's tougher to predict.
Inflated scores could help some stick around and lower-than-earned numbers could hurt others. But based on dance alone? Bristol should get the boot.
Which star stole the show on Monday night? Take our poll below and then share all your "Dancing" thoughts on our Facebook page. Plus, join us on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 ET to chat about who you think might be going home!
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