Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: The Judges on DWTS April 25, 2011

Never mind instant dances, Dancing With the Stars Season 13, Week 8 had an instant mood change. Reset button, indeed! It was an electric feeling, even watching from home, when the judges gave the first perfect score of the season to J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff for their Waltz. And then it happened again for their Instant Jive! Ladies and gentleman, we have our winner official frontrunner. Sorry, Ricki Lake.

On top of J.R.’s perfect 60 out of 60 chart dominance, Maksim Chmerkovskiy accepted full responsibility for pushing Hope Solo too far last week and they both put on happy faces. Why it took them eight weeks to have fun out there is a mystery, but it pushed them to do their best dances to date — and even Len Goodman stood up and screamed at his fellow judges on their behalf. Who saw that coming two weeks ago?

Rob Kardashian also got his highest score to date for his Quickstep but he faltered a bit with his Instant Jive. Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus almost killed each other but somehow it managed to make their Tango charming; unfortunately they really tanked in their Instant Jive. Ricki Lake ignored Len’s beloved heel leads in her Waltz and thought she “disappointed” everybody with her Instant Jive —not true! — giving her the kind of “off” night J.R. had on Halloween. But it was Ricki “off,” not Nancy “off.”

At the end of the night, J.R. made topping the leaderboard look easy, with Nancy at the bottom with 44 out of 60. That’s a big point spread. Can Nancy rally her fans to overcome it? Len called her Cinderella at midnight — basically telling her to get in her pumpkin and scram so J.R., Ricki, Hope and Rob can be the final four. Will it happen? Sometimes bottom-scoring couples rally their fan bases. Rob is second from the bottom with 51 out of 60 but maybe Hope and Ricki are the most vulnerable, tied with 52 out of 60. It’s all about the fans  now...

Read on for a full recap of DWTS Season 13, Episode 8:

FIRST DANCES

1. Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke — Quickstep to "Take On Me" by A-ha — Rob wants Cheryl to tell him what his flaws are. She said they need to make sure their technique is on point and he needs to keep his butt in. ButtWatch 2011! It’s on. He’s ready to take the number one spot on the judges’ leaderboard. We’ll see... They have another ‘80s song, which is interesting since we just had a whole episode devoted to the ‘80s. Most of the Kardashians are in the audience, but not Kim. The audience adores this dance.

JUDGES: Len Goodman said when Rob started, he thought the dance wasn’t going to work. “That opening section was terrible.” But once he got in hold the whole thing changed. His posture was good. “I had a good look at your buttocks.” They were tucked in nicely. “Your best dance so far. Great week to do it.” Bruno Tonioli, who was also watching Rob’s butt, said once he took off he was speedier than a drag race. His frame was good and he had the best lines he’s done so far. “It was clean. It’s incredible the improvement.” Carrie Ann Inaba, who has always loved the Kardashians, said Rob is the ideal DWTS contestant. Every week he’s growing. Tonight, she said, he was polished and elegant. Is Rob going to steal this competition away from J.R. and Ricki?

SCORES: Carrie: 9, Len: 9, Bruno: 9 = 27 out of 30. That’s his highest score so far.


2. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Quickstep to "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse — Maks took full responsibility for being “overly rough” with Hope last week. He thinks they became too competitive. She wants his hand held out for her since this is an area of less security for her than professional sports. “I’m just a girl,” she says. No, she’s just a person and all the celebs are vulnerable out there, man or woman. Maks is making a big effort to be more positive and friendly. Instead of telling her who he is, he brought her to eat with his family so they could talk about him. Maks it the mama’s boy in the family. His dad said he looked like a girl and cried a lot? Whatever he said it was pretty funny. Val looked good. Hope and Maks both have big smiles for their peppy dance. Is it all too forced? Landon Donovan in the audience?

JUDGES: Bruno asked “What’s going on tonight? It’s a night of miracles! Rebooted, re-energized, light, breezy, radiant, you never moved so well.” It was her best dance yet, he said. Carrie Ann beckoned Hope over to give her a hug. Carrie Ann said Maks did a great job. They were in sync together. There was so much joy and love. Len said it was a blend of speed and control. It was fast and energetic. She kept up with Maks and he was moving. Len agreed that it was her best dance. “You fulfilled your potential.”

SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. That’s also her best score to date.


3. Ricki Lake & Derek Hough — Waltz to “You Make Me Feel” by Aretha Franklin — Ricki keeps having problems with her shoulders. She panics about it but it’s not a big deal. She said she’s overtired and sore. Ricki and Derek went to an event and she couldn’t wait to talk to Derek’s winning Season 11 partner, Jennifer Grey. JGrey said Ricki should just try to focus on having fun and remember that when it’s over, she’ll miss it.

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she had a little stumble at the end, but her movements were amazing and she lost herself in the dance. Len said she was like a river gently going through the dance. “It was beautifully executed the whole way through.” Len has to tell her unless she nails her footwork she will never get a 10 from Len. She needed more heel leads and told Derek there wasn’t even one. Then the audience booed, of course. Bruno called the dance “deliciously dreamy.” There was so much artistic detail. “It just was absolutely beautiful.” In the Celebriquarium there was a mini discussion about all of Derek’s past winning partners. Brooke, JGrey, Nicole Scherzinger. Don’t get ahead of yourselves or you’ll jinx it!

SCORES: 9, 9, 10 = 28 out of 30. Oh, Bruno. Are we sure that was really a “10” dance?


4. Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus — Tango to "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" by The Ames Brothers — They are definitely “The Bickersons.” Nancy said Tristan is very sensitive about her not listening. (Another phrase is “very correct.”) They do get frustrated with each other, but it’s never in an uncomfortable way. They rehearse with each other seven hours a day, seven days a week. “Of course we want to kill each other,” Nancy said. Nancy loves being the underdog, it seems to put a fire under her butt. Their tense-but-amusing chemistry is actually perfect for this Tango — and this Tango is much better than the team dance they did last week. “Naughty lady” is also perfect for Nancy!

JUDGES: Len said Week 2 she did her best dance for him and since then she’s been on a plateau. But after all these weeks, up she’s gone. Bruno said he was shocked. “You brazen Jezebel!” She was wrapping her legs around him like pieces of Velcro and didn’t want to let go. (Who would?) But that was the way to go. Carrie Ann called her a frisky little girl. Her routine was sharp and clean but her toes weren’t quite pointed as much as she wanted and they had little stumble with the dip.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30. Hmm. These scores seem low, compared to the comments. They already had a score of 24 on Week 6. But at least Len is consistent; he gave her an 8 on Week 2 and she got another 8 this week.


5. J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff — Waltz to "What the World Needs Now" by Burt Bacharach" — J.R. is aiming for the first perfect 30 of Season 13. Sometimes it is a matter of “ask and you shall receive” on this show. We’ll see if it works this time. J.R. likes to get giggly in rehearsals but Karina is no-nonsense. He can’t stop smiling! He loves to goof off. Karina made a point to mention the heel leads for Len. Good move. What is that giant heart thing on stage? Who has the harder job in a Slow Waltz — the man or the woman? Just asking since Ricki had the same dance from the other side. This one looks better. Tom said he got a standing ovation DURING the dance.

JUDGES: Bruno said it was like “a musical Valentine card.” He danced with his heart on his sleeve. Totally involved, totally dedicated. “It was divine.” Carrie Ann said something happened in the middle of the dance that was just magic and the whole room was caught up in the dance. Len asked J.R. where his tie was. “This is the war on the floor. Each week is a battle. Now last week you retreated a little bit, but just like the soldier you are, you came back all guns blazing.” But did he like the heel leads?

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. J.R. gave a cute little Oscar speech when the scores were revealed and turned around to cheer with the ecstatic crowd. What a fun moment.


INSTANT JIVES

This season, not only does everyone have to do an instant dance, each couple has the exact same style — the Jive. Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer set the Instant Jive bar very high back on Season 11. Will anyone live up to that standard?

1. Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke — Instant Jive to "Maneater" by Hall & Oates — This is Cheryl’s first time doing an instant dance on this show too. The Jive had lots of movement but it wasn’t as clean as it could’ve been.

JUDGES: Len said there were no glaring mistakes. He’s got to sharpen up his feet with his flicks but otherwise it was a good job. Bruno said he had a great pace and youthful energy. But it’s all about the kicks and flicks and he didn’t have enough time to perfect them. Carrie Ann needed a while to recover from the booty shaking. She gushed over how he’s in control on the dance floor, but agreed that his feet need work.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30. Total of 51 out of 60 for the night.

Vote for Team CherBert: 1-800-868-3402


2. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Instant Jive to "The Best Damn Thing" by Avril Lavigne — She wanted to do the same two steps over and over but Len’s professional integrity wouldn’t allow him to do that. Hope definitely relies on the songs for the timing so this could hurt her. Hope plans to make this Jive her cup of tea. Their dance includes lots of high kicks and movement. They are all over the floor. This song actually works well for them. They kept dancing after the song ended! More couples should do that.

JUDGES: Bruno called it “the fast and the furious.” She was like a wild child. But Hope has to stretch the back of her knees because she does it all on bent legs. Carrie Ann said there was definite improvement from the last time she did the Jive. That was a fast Jive but something that was a little strange was her hands. Her kicks looked great but her hands were a bit crazy. Len complained about sitting between Bruno and Carrie Ann. “This was fantastic!” He went off, standing up screaming, “It was bloody brilliant!” He always sounds angriest when he’s happy!

SCORES: 8, 9, 8 = 25 out of 30. Probably too low. They deserved two 9s. Total of 52 out of 60.

Vote for Team MakSolo: 1-800-868-3408


3. Ricki Lake & Derek Hough — Instant Jive to “Land of 1,000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett — Ricki was nervous during the 20 minute rehearsal and Brooke said she understood because she’s been there herself, but there were no instant dances on Season 7. Derek made Ricki practice with a bunch of different songs so she could be familiar with different tempos and whatnot. She did well in her past Jive so she’s hoping that helps her. Derek jumped over Ricki’s head at the start of the dance and did a little flip. They seem pretty comfortable with this song. If Derek ever leaves DWTS for good, he needs his own dance show. Just Derek dancing with new partners every week. He’s such a show-off and really needs a bigger showcase. Ricki talked to the judges about grinding her feet on the floor in the spin — so the judges didn’t think it was a lift.

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she got lost there in points. Len said there were a couple of off moments. Bruno said there was a great variety of steps with demanding choreography. Usually she has great continuous flow but in some sections things didn’t flow as well as they could’ve. “It wasn’t terrible.” Gee, thanks.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30. Probably too low. They deserved at least one 9. But — ha! — now Maks and Derek are tied with the same total score of 52 out of 60. Good thing they don’t hate each other.

Vote for Team DRickilous: 1-800-868-3411

4. Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus — Instant Jive to "Upside Down" by Paloma Faith — Last week Nancy had a Jive and now she’s getting a second chance at it. She brings up how she’s the oldest in the competition. Hey, that works sometimes. Remember JGrey? Kirstie Alley? Donny Osmond? Tristan pulls a Derek and jumps over Nancy’s head at the start of their Jive. This music isn’t terribly … Jive-ish. It’s a little slower than the other songs. Nancy seems to lose her place a bit and there aren’t enough kicks and flicks. This just doesn’t hold up next to what everyone else did, even with Nancy’s cartwheel (and begging).

JUDGES: Len said Nancy had a nice Cinderella story. However, “For me it’s midnight and it’s time to go home.” Ouch! But true. Bruno said it was a little bit laid-back and loose for a Jive. Carrie Ann said unfortunately she got lost in the choreography but she liked how Nancy trusted Tristan. The chemistry they have saves them. True. And the fans may save them again. It’s possible. In the Celebriquarium, Nancy kind of confused her fairy tales by comparing Len to the wicked witch and Tristan to her prince.

SCORES: 7, 6, 7 = 20 out of 30. Wow. Low scores, but fair. That was barely a Jive, love. Total score of 44 out of 60.

Vote for Team MacGrace: 1-800-868-3405


5. J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff — Instant Jive to "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard — Last time they did a Jive, Len said it was too much of a Lindy Hop. So now they want to redeem themselves with nothing but Jive. Since that Lindy/Jive was awesome, this routine should be even better. J.R. wants people to think he practiced to this music all week. He just tells people what to say after-the-fact. And they do it! He does his own jump off the stage, which is great. This routine has plenty of kicks and flicks, plus showmanship and musicality. What fault could the judges possibly find?

JUDGES: Bruno said he was off like a rocket. He was like “Fame, I’m going to live forever!” (Where did that come from) His timing was impeccable. “You’ve got it, man, you’ve got it!” Carrie Ann said he is in a class all on his own. No one comes close to him tonight. Len told J.R. he’s got the X-factor and the feel-good factor mixed together. And it was a fantastic Jive.

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Total score of a perfect 60 out of 60.

Vote for Team Martinoff: 1-800-868-3410

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