'Dancing with the Stars' Contestants Show Improvements During Prom Night

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'Dancing with the Stars' Contestants Show Improvements During Prom Night
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Kellie Pickler

It looks like the extra week of rehearsal has paid off for these "Dancing With the Stars" season 16 contestants. They were much improved for this week's prom-themed performances.

Prom Royalty

Surprise, surprise, Derek Hough is atop the leaderboard once again. Tony Dovolani is at the bottom, and Tristan MacManus is out of the competition. It's like the "DWTS" version of high school.

Derek and Kellie Pickler turned in a crisp, clean, energetic jive set to "Footloose." I have to give Derek credit for his inventive choreography. That slide at the beginning was a fun creative touch. Of course, it's easy for Derek to showcase his best choreography when he always has spry partners who are able to deliver the goods.

Kellie and Derek earned a score of 25 for their jive.

C'est La Vie

Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy performed a '50s themed Viennese waltz, dedicated to her grandmother who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Given the sentimental significance of the performance, and the fact that they had performed last, I was expecting them to top the leaderboard. However, they ended up in second with a score of 24.

I have the feeling that the producers were just trying to mix things up. In terms of quality, very little separated Zendaya and Val from Kellie and Derek. But they can't have the same people on top every week.

Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff tied for second place with their fluid rumba. Channeling his experiences of Hurricane Katrina, he showed an emotional artistic side. Bruno described this performance as "smoldering like a volcano."

Homecoming Court

I wasn't particularly impressed with Alexandra Raisman last week, but she seemed happier and more relaxed during her Viennese waltz. The prom theme suited the 18-year-old gymnast because she was able to bring a fun fresh energy to the performance. She and Mark Ballas earned a score of 23.

After surviving last week's bottom 2, Victor Ortiz seems to have made the most of his reprieve. Despite "wanting to go home" during last week's rehearsal footage, he actually seemed happy to be out on the dance floor. He and Lindsay Arnold turned in a respectable contemporary number that earned a score of 23. Carrie Ann Inaba called the performance "breathtaking" and praised his story-telling ability.

Didn't Bite the Dust

Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson turned in a decent paso doble, set to "Another One Bites the Dust." It was a solid middle-of-the-pack performance that earned a score of 21. Len Goodman saw room for improvement, but commented that there was "more to cheer than jeer."

Lisa Vanderpump was much improved from last week. She and Gleb Savchenko turned in a sweet Viennese waltz that earned a score of 21. The judges saw room for improvement in the posture and footwork, but also praised the performance for being fluid and light.

Given their underdog status, Lisa and Gleb are trying a little too hard to sell Gleb's sex appeal. It all came across as a bit desperate, like he's trying to be Maks 2.0.

The Weakest Links

Andy Dick and D.L. Hughley are probably the worst dancers in the competition. But they both have such distinctive personalities that you can't help but root for them.

Andy and Sharna Burgess turned in a cha cha cha that was long on entertainment value, but short on dancing. They earned a score of 18.

D.L. failed in his attempt to channel his inner James Brown. As Len commented, "if you're a sex machine, then I'm America's Next Top Model." D.L. and Cheryl Burke earned a score of 16.

Tony Dovolani always seems to get the shaft when it comes to partners. But I have to wonder if his choreography is at least partially responsible for some of his lackluster results. His performances always seem to miss the mark whenever he tries to create hard edgy characters. (Think "Dominatrix" Melissa Rycroft from the "All Stars" season.)

This week, Wynonna Judd tried to channel her inner tigress in a Def Leppard-inspired samba. However, as Len pointed out, she was like Mt. Rushmore--looked magnificent but didn't move.

YMC-Lowe

"Bachelor" Sean Lowe is obviously enjoying his time on the show, but his whole shtick is starting to become a bit gimmicky. The "Murgalo" was cute for about a week, but did they really have to open last night's show with that same move?

When Peta Murgatroyd lamented that her high school prom date turned out to have a girlfriend, Sean had to remind everyone (yet again) that he had a fiancee. We get it, Sean. It's like he's deliberately going of his way to prove that he's not a playboy.

When we learned that they would be performing to "YMCA," I had a feeling that this would be painful. I had a good laugh over this hokey monstrosity. This performance gave me flashbacks of middle school and Bible camp.

But Sean in his "manly" Village People costume will live to Murgalo another week. He and Peta earned a score of 21, putting them solidly in the middle of the pack.

More From This Contributor:

What We Learned From 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 16 First Results Show

'Dancing With the Stars' Season 16 Off To a Lukewarm Start

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