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Only a week after barely avoiding elimination when an injury forced her to sit out the live performance show, former Bachelor babe Melissa Rycroft made an amazing comeback on Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars, defying all the naysayers, by scoring a perfect 30 for her samba!

“We went out there pumped full of adrenaline and energy and it was great," a thrilled Melissa told OK! after the show. "It feels very good to be back.”

Added Melissa’s partner Tony Dovolani, “We have a ritual that we pray before every single performance — our prayer today was a thank you to our fans. I hope they’re happy with it because I was ecstatic about the way she performed.”

The brunette beauty, who received a solid 27 for the night’s other dance, a waltz, explained, “We were coming out to show the fans why they saved us. We love being out there — the scores, on top of that, were like icing on the cake!”

Meanwhile, her fellow competitors weren’t far behind. Sex and the City hunk Gilles Marini and partner Cheryl Burke were tied for second after receiving a 29 for their foxtrot and 27 for their rumba. Women in the audience gasped at their sexy rumba, which had Gilles rolling around on the dance floor with Cheryl. But judge Carrie Ann Inaba sighed that it was “over the top.”

After the show, Gilles told OK!, “It went well. The judges are not tough. They called it too sexy? I didn’t try that at all. I really was rushing a bit because I was excited but they were right.”

Cheryl, whose birthday was on Sunday and who was getting ready to have a belated birthday dinner with Gilles and other pals later that night, said, “as long as people remember it enough to vote, that’s all that matters.”

Gilles said his wife, Carole, approved of the routine: “She’s very supportive. She looked at me and said, ‘I love it.’ That’s my wife. I’m very lucky to have that.”

Joining Gilles and Cheryl in second were Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas, who got a 27 for their quickstep and a 29 for their paso doble.

“I felt amazing!" the gymnast told OK!. "These are two completely different dances and two different characters. I honestly didn’t think we’d be able to pull it off this week. We were really stressed and down to the wire on time.” The 17-year-old also explained that because of her age, they can’t practice more than five hours a day.

Lil’ Kim, who did so well last week, received scores of 25 for her waltz and 27 for her salsa with partner Derek Hough. “We’ve had better nights,” she admitted after the show. “We had three days to put together two dances. I’ve never been so exhausted. I’m not a morning person; I’ve been up a 6 o’clock in the morning. This schedule is getting to me as far as getting up really early.”

While Kim is worried about tomorrow night’s elimination show, Ty Murray got the lowest scores, making fans wonder if it finally could be the end of the DWTS trail for the plucky cowboy, who surprised everyone this season with his improvement. The judges gave him a 25 for his Argentine tango and just 21 for his rumba, which he ended with a shimmy right in front of his wife Jewel, who was sitting in the audience.

Ty said he doesn’t know what will happen tomorrow but, “we feel like we’ve got a lot of support. Chelsie and I’s supporters are calling themselves ‘the cowboy army’ and that’s what it comes down to.

The rodeo star emphasized how far he’s come: “I started out the 13th best dancer and now I’m up to the fifth best dancer.”

By Carole Glines

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