Dancing with the Stars – Drama On and Off the Stage

The four semi-finalists danced tonight on “Dancing with the Stars”, seeking to earn one of two spots in next week’s finale. For the most part, you have to admit that America has largely gotten it right: all of the stars are talented dancers and have steadily improved over the season to get to this point.  

At the beginning of the show, we were promised “emotionally-charged stories” of how the stars got to where they are today. In other seasons of DWS, these stories have bordered on the melodramatic and whichever star can tell the most wrenching story is sure to gain the most votes that week.

Thankfully, tonight’s backstories were largely informative and inspiring. Actor William Levy grew up dirt poor and hungry in Castro’s Cuba , where his step-father was a political prisoner. Levy’s family was granted political asylum, and with his good looks and chiseled body, he became a successful model and actor. Levy and his partner Cheryl Burke were at the bottom of the leader board after their first number, a rather uninspired tango, but their second number–a sizzling samba–earned them a perfect score of 30. The second number was definitely good enough to earn them a spot in next week’s finale.

The second couple to dance, classical singer Katherine Jenkins and partner Mark Ballas, earned a standing ovation and a score of 29 on their first dance, a quickstep. However, when it came to finding a tearjerker backstory for Jenkins, the best they could come up with was a recent break-up with a boyfriend.

Perhaps to make up for the lack of drama in her life, Jenkins produced some at the end of the second number, a belly-dance-themed salsa. She simply stopped and froze, with Ballas reassuring her, “I got you, I got you.” Jenkins kept muttering “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” and when finally pressed for an explanation, she muttered something about “feeling her back go”. She certainly looked as if she was in pain during the final moments of the show, but whether it was physical or emotional pain remains to be seen.

Green Bay Packer Donald Driver had his teammates out supporting him tonight. His backstory was perhaps the most touching of the night, showing the bridge Driver lived under in a UHaul with his mother and four siblings after his father went to prison. The love of a good woman turned his life around, and Driver’s competitive nature has turned him into a great football player and dancer. His first number, a samba, earned him and partner Peta Murgatroyd a 28. However, their jive earned them a 29.

Finally, TV host Maria Menounos and partner Derek Hough performed. Their first dance, an Argentine tango earned them a perfect score of 30, despite Hough’s bad back. Before the second dance, viewers learned of Menounos’ upbringing by two Greek immigrants who worked as janitors. Their second dance, a jive, didn’t earn them a perfect score, because Len gave them a 9, but they are at the top of the leader board with 59 out of 60. Menounos and Hough are good enough to win the whole thing, and with Jenkins mishap tonight, the way may be cleared for either Driver or Levy to make it to the finale.  Check out betting odds on Dancing With the Stars to see who has the best chance, and who has the odds stacked against them.

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