Freestyle spells trouble on "Dancing With Stars"

Mon May 24, 2010 10:05pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Ballroom contest "Dancing With the Stars" ended the season's performance round on Monday with the top three celebrity contestants finding redemption from past missteps but trouble with their freestyle routines.

Singer Nicole Scherzinger and her professional dance partner Derek Hough, are tied for the lead with ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews and pro Maksim Chmerkovsky.

Each pair earned 55 of 60 points for Monday's two dances, and will compete again in Tuesday's finale when a winner of the widely-watched television dance contest will be named and its coveted mirror ball trophy handed out.

Close behind with 52 points were Olympic ice skating champion Evan Lysacek and his partner Anna Trebunskaya.

The three couples each performed a "redemption" routine on Monday's show, repeating a dance on which they'd performed poorly earlier in the season. Then, they took a freestyle trip around the ballroom floor.

Andrews and Chmerkovsky got off to a rousing start with a Samba that had Andrews' hips shaking and the show's judges quaking. "I couldn't believe the results, my head is still shaking," said judge Bruno Tonioli.

But the pair stumbled with a freestyle meant to be a passionate expression of love as they danced around a bed. Judge Len Goodman called it "a mix of emotion and commotion. I liked it but to be honest, I didn't love it."

Similarly, Scherzinger and Hough came back from a poor Rumba earlier this season, but were graded down by judge Carrie Ann Inaba who said she spotted an illegal lift.   Continued...