If having to perform a dance chosen by fellow competitors, some of which have never been performed on the show before, wasn’t intimidating enough, the All-Stars had an added variable to rattle their nerves in week four of Dancing With The Stars; guest judge Paula Abdul, who sat in to give her critiques.

Paula’s return to the judges table definitely took the competition up a notch, forcing the All-Stars to really bring their all and challenge themselves on the dance floor. With increased difficulty in routines, there was noticeable tension since the slightest misstep could put the dancers in jeopardy.

Breaking away from the pack were Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd with a feisty and brilliant Bollywood routine, and Shawn Johnson and her partner Derek Hough with an energetic and athletic Mamba.  Both ended up tying for first place with near-perfect scores of 39.5. Coincidentally, both pairs’ routines have never been danced before on the show, and were commended by the judges for bringing something new and exciting to the dance floor – even Bruno declared that a “Bollywood superstar is born” in Gilles, and he seemed to agree.

But it wasn’t just the fast-paced steps that wowed the judges this week, a raw and powerful contemporary routine from last week’s leader Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy filled the theater with intensity from an emotionally and physically broken Monaco. The actress had suffered a broken toe during rehearsals, but fought through the pain during the performance, which seemed to add an extra element to the emotionally charged routine. The two ended up in third place with a score of 37.5.

Proclaimed “most improved” of the week was Bristol Palin with her ’50s-style rock and roll routine with Mark Ballas. All the judges were in agreement that this was her best routine by far in the competition and loved seeing her having fun and “coming to life” on the dance floor. Her hard work paid off too, because she knocked fan-favorite Kirstie Alley into last place with a score of 30.

Though Kirstie may have the lowest score this week, she certainly had the most fun. Her Charleston with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy became a comedy routine with the two earning laughs for their fun dance moves.

Falling in the middle of the leaderboard, but certainly not ones to forget in the competition were Melissa Rycroft with her challenging and near impecable Jitterbug; NFL stud Emmit Smith with his graceful and elegant bolero that Bruno exclaimed was “steamier than August in Louisana”; and Apolo Anton Ohno’s throwback to the ’90s with a hip hop routine that was a perfect fit for his natural swagger.

Despite Ohno’s partner Karina Smirnoff slipping mid-routine, the judges applauded her for recovering quickly and going on with the show. Later the dancing pro thanked all her fans for their support following the embarrassing flub.

Tomorrow night, one star will be eliminated in the live results show starting at 8 pm on ABC. Next week, the dancers take on their guilty pleasure songs.

Check out the scores from last night and let us know who you think is going home tonight.

Gilles Marini – 39.5

Shawn Johnson – 39.5

Kelly Monaco – 37.5

Emmit Smith- 36

Melissa Rycroft – 37

Sabrina Byran – 35.5

Apolo Anton Ohno – 34.5

Bristol Palin – 32

Kirstie Alley – 30

Voted off:

Pamela Anderson (week 1)

Joey Fatone (week 2)

Helio Castroneves and Drew Lachey (week 3)

Britt Bickel, 94.7 The Wave


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