DWTS Broadway theme brought out the best and the worst for both dancers and judges, as week six of Dancing With the Stars saw Maksim Chmerkovskiy blow up at Len Goodman for his critique of Hope Solo, while both Ricki Lake and J.R. Martinez wowed the judges enough to make them the top contenders for the finale.
Ricki Lake and DWTS partner Derek Hough and J.R. Martinez and dance partner Karina Smirnoff were definitely the stars of the night. Lake and Hough danced the quickstep to Luck Be a Lady from the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls. Martinez and Smirnoff also worked in a quickstep, but for the jazzy intro music to Chicago.
Both celebrities danced as enthusiastically as ever, while their pro dance partners stepped up the choreography. All that work paid off: both pairings earned nearly perfect scores of 29 out of 30. Bob Fosse, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said of J.R. Martinez's dance routine, would have been proud.
Nancy Grace also did well in week six, dancing her best routine so far. Grace and Tristan MacManus did a foxtrot to Spamalot number Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Grace earned a 23 out of 30, and for the first time seemed to be really enjoying herself.
David Arquette continues to place a solid middle. He and partner Kym Johnson tried to Go Together in a quickstep to Grease, but judges didn't quite buy it, giving Arquette a 23. Rob Kardashian, meanwhile, barely squeaked by with his Jersey Boys cha cha with DWTS partner Cheryl Burke. Despite sisters Kim Kardashian and Khloé Kardashian Odom cheering him from the stands (Give him a 9! Khloé and Kim Kardashian shouted at one point), judges said the dance was stiff and lacked rhythm, landing Kardashian a decent 22.
The biggest news of the night, however, came outside the dance numbers themselves, with Hope Solo, Maks Chmerkovskiy, and judge Len Goodman providing plently of fighting and fireworks both before, during, and after the performances.
Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy were fighting all through rehearsal for their rumba number from Rent. The arguing showed in their performance. When Len Goodman called it Hope Solo's worst dance of the season, however, the audience began to boo, and Maks, rather than ignore it, started egging the audience on.
Len Goodman was having none of it. The judge told Chmerkovskiy that it was partly the dancer's fault that Solo was doing badly, saying he'd been in the business 50 years, long enough to tell. Maks cut him off: Then maybe, the dancer snapped, after a heated defense of partner Solo, it's time to get out.
DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba took a moment to fight back for Len Goodman. Don't be disrespectful like that! she scolded Maks, and the Dancing With the Stars judges gave Hope Solo a 20, one of the lowest scores of the night.
Following Chmerkovskiy's blow up, fellow Dancing contestants were torn about the heated exchange. Some, like Lacey Schwimmer and J.R. Martinez, felt Maks Chmerkovskiy's words were harsh but justified. Karina Smirnoff, however, took it upon herself to apologize to the judges for her fellow dancer's behavior. We danced right after Maks, Smirnoff said, so I just wanted to make sure that the judges made sure that we didn't concur with Maks' opinion.
He needs a hug, Smirnoff finished.
He may need more than that if Hope Solo is voted off Dancing With the Stars tonight. Chaz Bono and partner Schwimmer got the lowest score of Broadway-themed week six, with Bono's stiff, awkward tango to Phantom of the Opera earning him a 19 out of 30.
Despite placing last, however, Chaz Bono at least displays some emotion while dancing. Solo, in contrast, shows too little during performances, while Maksim Chmerkovskiy's clash with Len Goodman reveals the danger of showing too much. This is my show, Maks said after his outburst, this time to Brooke Burke Charvet, I helped make it what it is. Such arrogance is unlikely to win him favors with either the judges or the audience.
Regardless of the outcome, however, Hope Solo told E! that she was grateful to Maks for his spirited defense.
She is improving, the Ukrainian dancer insisted. I really liked dancing with her tonight. And to get comments that was the opposite of what it was, it wasn't even upsetting, it was more like, 'I have had enough'!
The judges will say, 'Hey, this is show business, this is supposed to be fun,' Maks said. Well, I had fun tonight.