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Derek Hough and Joanna Krupa staked their claim to the title of sexiest couple on Dancing with the Stars on Monday night. The final nine pairs performed on the sixth week of competition on the hit ABC reality show — but it was Derek and Joanna who seized the spotlight as their sizzling performance during the group mambo gave them the highest combined score of the night.

Each couple danced individually, and then at the end of the show, performed side-by-side in the mambo, as the judges eliminated the couples one-by-one, a format at which some celebrities excelled and other faltered.

Derek and Joanna earned a 26 out of 30 for their waltz and a top score of 10 out of 10 for their mambo, for the leading total of 36. Backstage after the show, the golden couple couldn’t contain their exhilaration.

“That mambo was completely and utterly liberating,” Derek told OK!. “It’s my fifth season and that was such a huge highlight for me.”

Added Joanna, “It was definitely a blast. We had a great night.”

Though the audience was buzzing about her gyrations, supermodel Joanna laughed, “I thought I was goofy more than sexy. If I had to think back, I would probably think I looked like a geek.” While Derek revealed, “She just started shaking, and in my head I’m like, what are you doing? She was just in the moment, going with the crowd. We free styled the entire thing. It was so fun!”

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The model — who recently said DWTS was wrecking her sex life with fiancé Romain Zago because of its energy-sapping rehearsals — laughed to OK!, “Maybe I took out all my frustration on the dance floor. Seriously — I’m so exhausted when I get home!“

With a smile, Derek added, “I work her out pretty good in rehearsals. She’s too tired when she gets home.”

Joanna said, in a joking message to her fiancé, “It’s all his fault! Baby—come after Derek!”

But dancing isn’t like training for boxing, after all, so Joanna promises that, once Romain gets back from a trip he’s taken to Miami they’ll hit the sheets: “we’ll catch up!” Her partner Derek joked, “Let’s get it on tonight! Just kidding, Romain!”

Joanna’s fiancé apparently understands it’s only TV chemistry!

Meanwhile, Aaron Carter and partner Karina Smirnoff, who have denied all rumors that they’ve become a real life couple, showed more style this week after winding up in the bottom two the past two weeks. The partners earned a strong 25 for their waltz, which judge Carrie Ann Inaba called “beautiful,” and got 8 points for their mambo for a total of 33.

Once again, singer Mya and partner Dmitry Chaplin looked impressive, as they tied for second place with Aaron and Karina with a combined score of 33 — getting a 24 for their jitterbug and 9 for their group mambo.

“It felt good,” Mya said of her jitterbug. “No falls. No mistakes. I was happy.” Of the mambo, she said, “I was trying to zone out and focus on Dmitry versus all the chaos around us.”

Mya thought the mambo would get even more physical and had warned fellow contestant, football legend Michael Irvin that he needed to wear a cup! She explained to OK! backstage, “He said that he would accidentally bump into me. I said, ‘that’s fine with me—just wear a cup.’ I’ve learned that guys usually stop what they’re doing when that occurs, so that’s our secret weapon, all of us ladies.”

Mya had also previously warned her partner to wear a cup in case she accidentally kicked him, so, does she have ball busting on the brain? Dmitry joked, “I don’t fear her but I have to be careful.”

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Among the other leaders, Iron Chef star Mark Dacascos and partner Lacey Schwimmer received scores of 26 for their jitterbug and 6 for their mambo for a total of 32, and Donny Osmond and his partner and OK! blogger Kym Johnson, who got the highest score last week, this time earned a 24 for their jitterbug and a 7 for their mambo for a combined total of 31.

Snowboarder Louie Vito and pro Chelsie Hightower earned a 21 for their jitterbug, in which he displayed his patented aerial moves, and just 3 points for their group mambo. They got a total of 24 and Carrie Ann sighed about Louie’s jitterbug, “You dropped your partner twice.” Chelsie joked backstage that it was “totally part of the dance. It was called ‘the lift and drop.’” Then she conceded, “It was a mistake but he carried on fabulously.” Both have laughed off talk of a romance between them, but Louie told OK! kissing Chelsie at the end of the dance felt like “fireworks.” Hmm.

Melissa Joan Hart and partner Mark Ballas seemed a little disappointed in their score of 20 in the waltz and 4 in the group mambo, totaling 24, with the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch star saying of the judges, “They were harsh again, but that’s the way it goes. We did our best. I could have been a little bit more graceful but I definitely did the best I could.”

Melissa said dancing second possibly affected their score in the waltz: “It’s hard to go at the beginning of the night. I feel like they’re a little stingier with the numbers.” And the actress felt that a bout with the fllu got her down this week: “I feel atrophied a bit. I need to regain my strength. We cut our rehearsals short every day so I could get extra rest. It was hard sweating through the rehearsals. I was coughing up a lung right after dress rehearsal.”

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Retired football star Michael Irvin, who has been getting low scores with partner Anna Demidova, yet avoiding elimination every week, once again didn’t get the all of the judges on his team and landed in last place. While Len Goodman unexpectedly praised his waltz, Bruno Tonioli said it was “not good enough” and Michael walked away with a 20. Later, the couple got the lowest score in the group mambo, good for only 2 points, giving them a combined 22. While Michael admitted to OK! he was “pretty tired with the hours we’re putting in,” he said, “We loved the waltz. We enjoyed the experience.”

Tune in Tuesday night when two couples must go home in a shattering double elimination which will pare the cast down to just seven celebrities!

By Carole Glines

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