Will Rocco DiSpirito leave the ballroom to go back to the kitchen? That’s what Dancing with the Stars fans were wondering when the chef got the lowest score of the night for his tango with partner Karina Smirnoff.
Rocco, who avoided elimination last week when injured Misty May-Treanor had to bow out, was ripped again by the judges and earned only 18. But the TV cook insists he’s still having a great time — although possibly on the chopping block for tomorrow night’s elimination round.
“I think we are immunized to scores. I don’t remember the scores anymore,” good natured Rocco shrugged to OK! as he stood backstage with pro Karina. “It just gets better for me regardless of what the scores are. I have one more pinnacle life moment every week.”
Meanwhile, Brooke Burke and Derek Hough continued their strong run, earning a 26 for their samba, tying for the lead with Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer, who performed the tango.
Lance, who was dubbed “SirDanceALot” by judge Len Goodman, said his retro cool makeup and suit were inspired by Al Jolson. “He built my house and is a Hollywood legend. That’s why we went for the 1920s silent film look with the dark makeup.”
Monday night, the older performers also made a strong statement. Susan Lucci got a score of 24 for her classic tango with partner Tony Dovolani. The 61-year-old All My Children star said the dramatic dance really spoke to her: “I loved the sound when Tony put his heel on the floor!”
And Cloris Leachman, 82, and Corky Ballas surprised with a strong tango that earned their highest score ever, a 22. Although her previous routines have been more funny than skillful, “I’d like to dance well and compete,” the comedienne insisted. ”We were ready and we did it.”
It was an off night for Warren Sapp and partner Kym Johnson, who scored only 22 and were knocked by the judges for not having enough content. “I’m not upset by my score. I try to do everything to the best of my ability,” Warren said after the show.
Backstage, the dancers were buzzing about the show’s new twist for next week. Four new dances that have never been performed on the show will be introduced — salsa, jitterbug, hustle, and West Coast swing.
“I know those dances like the back of my hand,” Corky told OK! But Derek Hough moaned, “I don’t know these dances at all!”
Derek’s sister and two-time DWTS champ Julianne Hough, who led partner Cody Linley to a strong 23 for their tango this week, said, “This is going to be fun. The viewers haven’t seen these dances and we can go to the extreme, maybe even break a few rules.”
Cheryl Burke, who dances with Maurice Greene, said the new dances were a good idea “to freshen up” the competition.
For her part, Susan Lucci said she wouldn’t mind doing the hustle! She recalled to OK! that she once danced at New York’s exclusive Studio 54. “It was a wonderful moment for me. It turned out the man who was the bouncer watched All My Children. He let me in!”
By Carole Glines