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“Dancing with the Stars” Recap: Kellie Pickler Takes the Lead

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- The pressure for the competitors on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars increased Monday night when they had to perform a team dance in addition to their individual routines, all set to the music of Stevie Wonder.

Wonder himself was in the ballroom -– and performed his hits “Sir Duke” and “My Cherie Amour” live.  The competing couples danced to Wonder’s classic tunes.

After the individual and team performances were over, country music star Kellie Pickler had the lead with 54 out of a possible 60 points.  Pickler was on the receiving end of head judge Len Goodman’s first “10” of the season. Boxer Victor Ortiz is at the bottom of the pack with 40 out of a possible 60 points.

The couple with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewers’ votes will be eliminated from the competition on Tuesday’s results show.

Here’s a rundown of Monday’s individual performances:

Zendaya: Judges raved about the Disney star’s cha cha cha with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Goodman said her name summed up “great dancing,” adding that the routine had snap, crackle, pop and musicality. Carrie Ann Inaba said Zendaya set the tone for the night, adding that she felt sorry for those who had to dance afterward. Bruno Tonioli called Zendaya “gobsmackingly gorgeous,” and said she had “mesmerizing shape, hypnotic presence,” and “slick hip action.” Total score 29 out of a possible 30 points.

Andy Dick: The comedian’s samba with partner Sharna Burgess won him a standing ovation from the ballroom audience, but the judges saw deep flaws. Tonioli called the performance “a personality-driven, splendid shamble of a samba,” and Inaba agreed that she couldn’t quite see the samba steps in the routine. Goodman’s take was more encouraging: “What you do is you come out here and you give us fun.  The samba’s all about entertainment, it’s a joyful dance.”  Goodman added, “Now, don’t get carried away, Andy, it wasn’t that good technically, but...if the others have climbed hills you’ve climbed mountains and I think you’ve done a great job. Well done!” Total score: 18/30.

Sean Lowe: The reality TV star’s samba with partner Peta Murgatroyd had Inaba laughing out loud at his attempts to perform a samba bounce. She told him the bounces were out of sync with the music. Goodman said the routine was “riddled” with mistakes. “You kept getting on the wrong foot, you had no hip action, your upper body had no musicality about it,” he said. Goodman added that he didn’t think Lowe needed to remove his shirt during the routine. Tonioli shared his fellow judges’ sentiments about Lowe’s performance. “Sean, look at the bright side. You can always get a job as a stripper,” he said. Total score: 21/30.

Aly Raisman: The judges approved of the Olympic star’s foxtrot with partner Mark Ballas but found small flaws. Goodman said Raisman’s performance level was high, but noted that her bottom stuck out. “You’ve just got to work a little bit more on that technique,” he said. Tonioli told Raisman she was “pretty as a picture,” but said her frame needed work. Inaba said she liked seeing Raisman connect to her emotions. Total score: 27/30.

Ingo Rademacher: Rademacher’s tango with partner Kym Johnson drew positive comments from the judges. “Bingo, Ingo!” quipped Goodman, telling the soap opera star that, despite some rough moments, his routine was sharp and crisp. Inaba was enthusiastic in her approval, telling him that his love for the tango showed in his performance. “Finally. Welcome to the game!” she said. Tonioli said Rademacher managed to keep control and produce beautiful lines. Total score: 24/30.

Kellie Pickler: Goodman called the country music star’s quickstep with partner Derek Hough the best dance of season 16, and he gave it his first score of 10 for the season. Inaba noted the dance was almost perfect in synchronicity, posture, nuance and interpretation, but said there was too much space between Pickler and her pro partner. Tonioli said the performance showcased dancing of the best quality. “Visually, it was exciting...superb,” Total score: 29/30.

Victor Ortiz: Ortiz’s rumba with partner Lindsey Arnold lacked significant hip action, and Tonioli compared the boxing champion’s performance to an “airline safety drill.” Tonioli demonstrated by sticking his arms straight out to the side. Tonioli also said the boxer’s hips were “stuck on neutral.” Goodman acknowledged that the dance was a tough one, and said Ortiz “coped very well.” Inaba agreed that the performance lacked certain basics, but said Ortiz had wonderful chemistry with his partner. Total score: 18/30.

Jacoby Jones: The judges said they liked the NFL player’s energy but faulted his technique in the quickstep with partner Karina Smirnoff. Tonioli said Jones’ frame could be better, but he could tell the NFL star had practiced his footwork. Goodman said Jones did “a good job with a hard dance,” adding, “It’s not your best, but it’s not your worst.” Inaba said: “Your feet are a little funky but you make up for it, and every time you come out here you do something special, you surprise me.” Total score: 23/30.

The Team Dances:

Each team received a single score that was added to each member’s individual score for a Monday night grand total.

Team Paso: Jones, Rademacher, Ortiz and Zendaya and their respective pro partners performed a team paso doble. Goodman said the performance represented “a spirited effort,” and while the overall group performance was good, there were a few awkward moments when they danced in pairs. Team Paso earned 22 points.

Team Samba: Raisman, Lowe, Pickler and Dick and their pro partners performed a team samba, and the judges said it was a cohesive routine that incorporated the skill level of all its team members. Team Samba earned 25 points.

Here’s a rundown of Monday’s scores (Individual Dance, Team Dance, Total):

Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: 29, 25; 54 out of a possible 60 points.
Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29, 22; 51 total points.
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas:  27, 25; 52 total points.
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: 24, 22; 46 total points.
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: 23, 22; 45 total points.
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: 21, 25; 46 total points.
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess:  18, 25; 43 total points.
Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold: 18, 22; 40 total points.

One couple will be eliminated on Tuesday’s results show, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.  The show will also feature musical performances by will.i.am and Olly Murs.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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