Maria Menounos Scores Season’s First 30 on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Maria Menounos proved who was queen of the dance floor this week by scoring the season’s first 30 on Dancing With the Stars. She and partner Derek Hough captivated with a sizzling and dark Paso Doble.

It was a night of ups and downs. Some stars rose to the occasion while others fell from far from grace. Perennial favorite Katherine Jenkins couldn’t please the judges. They were critical of both her Rumba and her Team Tango.

William Levy, experienced problems as well. There was praise for his and Cheryl Burke’s divine Viennese Waltz. However, the score fell short of perfection.

Roshon Fegan struggled again, this time with an Argentinian Tango the judges didn’t like. But he recouped dignity by nailing the Team Tango dance.

Jaleel White lost momentum with a tepid, albeit lovely, Viennese Waltz. His Paso Doble fell flat too.

Three couples stood out: Donald and Peeta, Melissa and Maks and Maria and Derek.

Donald Driver and Peeta Murgatroyd

The couple performed a Viennese Waltz that had elegance, grace and drama. The red and gold costumes were pitch perfect.

Judge Len Goodman said Driver delivered “perfect footwork”. Bruno noted the footballer’s “drive and passion”. Carrie Ann said she loved his “intensity” and called the performance “sharp” and “regal”. But the couple fell short too, scoring three nines for a total of 27.

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Melissa practiced with the Chmerkovskiy brothers this week, uncertain if Maks could dance on an injured foot. He did but the results were less than pleasing. The Argentinian Tango looked disjointed. Too many lifts tried to mask the sloppy footwork.

Although Melissa looked stunning in a beaded white and pink gown, her beauty didn’t influence the judges. Judge Bruno Tonioli called her brave for doing the difficult choreography but said she “tried so hard it got messy”. Carrie Ann called the routine “Cirque du Soleil gone wrong”. Len Goodman called it a marriage that he didn’t hate. In the end, the duo scored three seven’s for a total of 21.

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough

This duo pulled out all the stops, delivering drama, technique and chemistry that nearly burnt down the ballroom. Maria’s sexy red-gowned vampire wouldn’t be beaten by Derek’s vampire slayer. In the end she got the better of him, dragging him off to his grave, menacing the judges along the way.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called the couple “on fire” and the routine “amazing”. Len Goodman said it was “sharp as a razor” and full of “tension”. Bruno called Maria the “queen of the damned and queen of the night”. He complimented the dance’s structure and drama, calling it “spell binding”. The result was straight 10′s across the board, for the season’s first perfect score.

Finally, the team dances took center stage, beginning with Team Tango — Jaleel, Katherine, Maria and Roshon. Dressed in black and white, the performance was crisp, yet witty. But it failed to please the judges, earning the team only 27 points.

Team Paso — Donald, Melissa and William — finished the night with a stunning performance. Dressed in red and black, the men over powered the women who failed to keep in sync. The score reflected their mistakes with just 26 points.

Maria topped the leaderboard for the night with Donald Driver close behind along with Katherine Jenkins and William Levy. Melissa Gilbert brought up the rear.

Who will go home tonight? Has Half-Pint lost the battle? Tune in at 9:00 p.m. on ABC to find out.

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