Mario Lopez just may not run off with the Dancing With The Stars title after all. Dallas Cowboy legend Emmitt Smith suddenly re-emerged as a legitimate contender tonight on the strength of a graceful waltz and an energetic mambo that drew three 10s out of six judges' scores.
Although Mario and his partner Karina still remain in first place after the judges' marks for the two-week period, Emmitt and his partner, last year's co-winner Cheryl Burke, had the highest marks of the night with 57 points.
Emmitt and Cheryl's waltz was exquisite - flowy, graceful, smooth. The man danced on his toes! Their mambo was all hip action, shoulder shimmying and charisma up the ying-yang. They got 10s from the first two judges, and when Bruno flashed his 9, the crowd went nuts, booing him for ruining what should have been a perfect score.
Bruno inexplicably saved his 10 for Joey Lawrence's mambo, which, while good, wasn't nearly as good as Emmitt's.
Mario is easily the best dancer of the bunch, and his partner Karina is probably the best professional female dancer on the show. But they lack a certain innate likeability that Cheryl and especially Emmitt possess. Whenever Emmitt flashes that adorable little smile, you can't help but coo at the big teddy bear. Mario flashes his dimples and his muscles, but there's a bit of smugness and cockiness underneath. He's good, and he's good looking, and he knows it. In the long run, this will probably hurt him in the end. I also see he and Joey splitting votes at some point, and if it's a three-team finale with Mario, Joey and Emmitt, Emmitt will undoubtedly win.
Monique Coleman is another terrific dancer, but if she keeps getting handed dances to songs like "The Reflex" by Duran Duran (for the paso doble, of all things), then she's going to be out this week or next. Her High School Musical fanbase is probably keeping her in the competition.
Let me just interrupt here with a rant. In what alternate universe could THE REFLEX be considered a song you could do a paso doble to?! And I thought the Kris Kross thing was bad. And as a Duran Duran fan back in the day, I was apalled to hear the DWtS singers butcher that song. That was just all kinds of wrong. I couldn't even focus on the dancing, I was so horrified.
Jerry Springer did a lovely foxtrot tonight, but his mambo? samba? was painful. I love that he's having fun, as is Emmitt, but he really has to go. And I think he's been ready to go for weeks now.