After two amazing performances last night, figure skater extraordinaire Kristi Yamaguchi looks poised to add the Dancing With the Stars disco-ball trophy to her already full mantle.
The Olympic gold medalist and her partner Mark Ballas dazzled the judges Monday night, earning perfect scores of 30 for both their cha-cha and freestyle routines and appearing to leave her competitors, football player Jason Taylor and Chilean actor Cristián de la Fuente, on the sidelines.
“I’m ready to collapse. There’s nothing left in me,” a tired but happy Kristi told OK! after her triumph. “I’m thrilled, obviously. I couldn’t have done anything better tonight.” (For more on Kristi, read her OK! blog and check out her fashion feature in this week’s issue.)
Jason received scores of 24 for his cha cha and 27 for the freestyle, while Cristian earned the same score, 26, for both of those dances.
After the show, the football hunk told OK!, “I thought it went well. I had a great time. The freestyle is great — you just do whatever you want. The cha cha wasn’t my favorite.”
His partner Edyta Sliwinksa said Jason’s 6’6" height made doing the cha cha difficult. “It’s very hard for a person this tall to dance,” she explained. “I don’t really know any professional dancers taller than maybe 6’2"."
A gracious Jason said, “Kristi was great as she’s been all season and I thought Cristian danced very well, too.”
Jason revealed that his wife Katina gave him some advice before his final dances — and that’s not unusual. She gives him feedback on football, too! “She’s always coaching me, no matter what, constantly on the phone before a football game, she’ll text me points. She’s always trying to help. She gives me that boost of energy.”
The dance couple said it was Edyta’s idea for them both to rip each other’s clothes off during their sexy freestyle routine. “I decided to show how gorgeous he looks,” smiled Edyta, who also has one of Hollywood’s best bodies. “He’s really modest and it was very difficult to get him to do it.” Jason, a self-described introvert, said, “She talked me into it. Look, it’s the finals. Pull out all stops.”
Meanwhile, Cristian and partner Cheryl Burke thought their dances went well, even though the actor — who injured his left bicep weeks ago — tweaked the arm badly during rehearsals.
“I did everything she wanted me to do,” a relieved Cristian told OK! after performing two clean routines. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about.”
Cheryl said she thought he might not be able to go on after the tough rehearsals: “He is stubborn.”
Gutsy Cristian explained, “When you want to achieve, the worst thing is to give up–to go home and imagine what would have been.”
The star praised his competitors and pointed out, “We’re so all different. We all bring so many different things to the dance floor. People, by voting, have the ultimate decision.”
Tune in to ABC tonight to see what voting viewers have decided!
By Carole Glines