Yes, even Maks’s perfect legs can sometimes buckle. But as we all know, it’s not about how we fall, it’s about how we get up.
It was Story Week on Dancing With the Stars Season 12 and the 10 couples performed personal, emotional dances to music the celebrities chose themselves. The “9” paddle made its debut for Hines Ward’s Samba for his mother and the judges brought the 9 back for Petra Nemcova’s touching Waltz for disaster survivors. At the end of the night, Hines and Petra tied for the top of the leaderboard with scores of 25 out of 30. Wendy Williams was at the bottom of the pack with only 15 out of 30.
Here's a run down of how the contestants scored:
1. Wendy Williams & Tony Dovolani — Foxtrot to “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” by Indeep — For Story Week, Wendy wants to portray, though dance, how she got started in media as a radio DJ. That was when she learned who she was. Tony wants to see her strength. We want to see more of her awesome Mirror Ball ring. Len Goodman took forever to get to his main point, which was “It was a struggle.” The dance lacked fluidity. Bruno Tonioli said the Foxtrot has to be smooth and gliding and she looked like she was putting down roots. Carrie Ann Inaba said she admires a strong woman, but this week Wendy actually took a little step backward. Scores: 5, 5, 5 = 15 out of 30.
2. Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas — Cha-Cha-Cha to “Chelsea” by The Summer Set (watch the video here!) — For Story Week, she picked the song "Chelsea," which was written for her by her first love, Brian Dales of The Summer Set. The first time she heard the song it was live. It was epic. They started dating the next day. During rehearsals she was worried because she doesn’t think of herself as sexy. Bruno said a lot of borderline inappropriate things, including “Chelsea, Chelsea, sexy, sexy!” He said he could feel her excitement for that delicious first taste of love. Carrie Ann said she's a big fan of love and romance and she's a big fan of this Cha-Cha-Cha. Len said his first love didn’t look like Chelsea, but "That's your best dance, well done!" Scores: 7, 8, 8 = 23 out of 30.
3. Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke — Rumba to “Let It Be” by the Beatles — Chris chose "Let It Be" because it makes him think of his mother. She wouldn't let him give up wrestling when she got sick. She slowly deteriorated and died in 2005, but what she was always into was dancing. This dance is as his “real” self, Chris Irvine, not his performance persona. Carrie Ann teared up and said the dance was a beautiful tribute to his mother, but his hip action was a little strange. Len said he didn’t use his arms enough, but his poses were excellent. Bruno said he brought a great sense of warmth and naked vulnerability. Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21 out of 30.
4. Kendra Wilkinson & Louis van Amstel — Rumba to "You and Me" by Musiq Soulchild — Kendra chose a song about a “you and me against the world” romance to tell the story of how she fell in love with husband Hank Baskett. She says people hated on them because she was a stripper and dated Hugh Hefner. There was a huge amount of smoke on the stage at the start. Len didn’t like all the gyrating and Kendra looked unstable. She said it was because of the overactive smoke machine. He said she improved overall and had gorgeous feet and leg action. Bruno said it was teasingly erotic and hot and arousing and all the men in the audience were turning purple. (Sigh. Oh, Bruno.) Carrie Ann said it was hot, hot, hot. Her leg and hip action were great. Scores: 8, 7, 8 = 23 out of 30.
5. Romeo & Chelsie Hightower — Rumba to “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 — At a young age, Romeo lost one cousin in a car accident and another cousin was jumped and beaten to death. Wow, that’s rough. Chelsie said they are going to try to convey love and loss. Romeo got upset about his uncomfortable shoes, but he was really upset about the emotions of the song. Bruno said he really put his heart and soul into it and it showed. But his footwork went astray. Carrie Ann said there was something nice about how he committed emotionally. She also saw improvement in his movements. Len said last week was a huge step forward but this week was a huge step back. He had no further explanation, except to say to Tom Bergeron that he was told to be quick, so stop looking at him with “those big googly eyes.” Odd! Scores: 7, 6, 7 = 20 out of 30.
6. Hines Ward & Kym Johnson — Samba to “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind and Fire — His story is a celebration of his South Korean mother’s sacrifices and hard work. (Read more about Hines’s fascinating family history in our “Weird Facts” story.) The routine is fast and fun, which is appropriate since this is the party dance. Carrie Ann said that “baby’s got bounce!” He dances like he’s been dancing the Samba his whole life. Len said the story was upbeat and the dance was upbeat. His mom was proud of him and Len was proud of him, too. Bruno said he had a bouncing butt and a shaking butt. “Two for the price of one — happy hour!” Scores: 9, 8, 8 = 25 out of 30.
7. Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin — Waltz to “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban — The song inspired Petra, a survivor of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, to start the Happy Hearts Fund to help children after natural disasters. The smoke monster reappears, but it behaves for this dance. Len said it had grace, elegance, and fluid movement. Len said this season is his favorite because things keep changing. Right now Petra is the one to beat, to him. Bruno said Petra is like a vision from heaven and she dances like an angel. Her improvement is incredible. Carrie Ann said she went from supermodel to super graceful dancer. Scores: 8, 9, 8 = 25 out of 30.
8. Sugar Ray Leonard & Anna Trebunsakaya — Paso Doble to “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown — Ray is standing up to all the people who said no to him when the odds were against him as a boxer. He even gets a pro boxing intro from an announcer: “Let’s get ready to Pasooooo!” Bruno said the Raging Bull fighting spirit got him back in business, but he still has to refine his Spanish lines. Carrie Ann saw improvement. Len said each week his opponent is the dance and this week he fought back strong. Scores: 7, 6, 7 = 20 out of 30.
9. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Rumba to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole — She’s singing about hope after tragedy, based on an experience over the course of 72 hours in 1980. Kirstie discovered she was up for a role in Star Trek II, then found out her mother had died and her father was dying after their car was hit by a drunk driver. Maks’s thigh gave out at the start the routine during a move where she leaned into him and they fell. He apologized at the end of the dance and said it had nothing to do with Kirstie. Carrie Ann said sometimes tragedy leads to amazingly beautiful moments and despite their little mess-up, it was magical. Len said dancing is a bit like life, it’s about overcoming adversity. Bruno said you can’t keep good talent down. But we want to know, is Maks OK?! Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21 out of 30.
10. Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff — Rumba to “Stay Gold” by Stevie Wonder — Ralph married his “soul mate,” Phyllis Fierro, back on April 5, 1987. They danced to “Stay Gold,” which is also from his movie The Outsiders. Ralph thanked his wife for 24 great years. He is so adorable. Len said the whole routine was crisp and clear but it needed some refinement. Bruno said it was a beautiful dance but the execution was rough and he needed to connect more with Karina. Carrie Ann thought it was very sweet and she and Len fought about it. Len insisted the dance was manic. Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21 out of 30.
For more info on your favorite contestants, check out Did You Know? Weird Facts About the DWTS Season 12 Cast and our very special list, 10 Cool Things To Know About Chelsea Kane.