The finals have turned into a horse race. With JR Martinez injured, and so in a weak position tonight despite last week’s two perfect scores, and Rob Kardashian stepping up with his first score of 10 for his Paso Doble and 9s for his Argentine Tango, as well as winning the Cha Cha relay, it could be Rob pulling even with Ricki Lake next week. Surprisingly, as a consistent frontrunner and crowd favorite, it will be up to JR to make a break for it in the finals. He no longer has the inside track for being an injured war veteran. That’s the breaks (sprains and other ailments) on “DWTS.”
I think we all know Hope Solo and Maks will leave Tuesday night. She was not only the weakest dancer, but she was snotty to Carrie Ann after the judge chastised Maks for his facial expression, and she sounded bitter, saying “they” wanted me off since week one. Tut-tut (or is it tsk-tsk?).
Seeing the background “packages” on the celebrity stars, Hope’s was definitely the rawest, which might give some insight into her defensive behavior (not to mention the fact she is a soccer goalie). Her father, a Vietnam vet, kidnapped Hope and her brother when they were children. She saw him taken away in handcuffs, and he later went to jail. The next time we hear about him he was a homeless man who attended all of Hope’s soccer games. It was a heartbreaking story that obviously has contributed to both her determination and her defiance.
But those qualities did not help her scores on her dances, in which she still looked like an athlete – in the Argentine Tango for instance, more of a gymnast than a dancer. It also can’t have helped that she has been in pain the entire time she’s been on the show.
Ricki Lake’s story was sad also as she was molested in her own home, which prompted her to turn to food for comfort and hide behind her fat for safety. Her light could not be extinguished, however, and she found a match for her talent and appearance by being cast as the lead in the play “Hairspray.” Afterwards, she lost 100 pounds and became a talk show host.
Still, perceptive viewers can see that Ricki is also terribly hard on herself. Even though she and Derek got a perfect score for their Samba and an almost perfect score on their Tango, Ricki still thought she should have done better. Will that propel her to the mirror ball trophy next week?
JR, whose backstory we already knew (he was burned by a land mine in Iraq), had a literal stumble this week when he went down in rehearsal with a twisted ankle. It affected his first dance, causing a low score that included a 7, although he powered through the Tango with fabulous mounts and dismounts and lifts and won solid 9s. Will he be back on his feet next week?
The real surprise is Rob Kardashian. “It’s not where you start,” said Len, “but where you finish.” In the first weeks, Rob was portrayed as a mama’s boy who was only on the show to please Kris Jenner, and his movements were slow and labored. But he has progressed the most among the celebrity dancers – growing from a boy to a man in his bearing and confidence.
Rob’s video story placed the blame on his lack of direction and goals in his life on his father’s early death and the domination of his life by his imposing sisters’ personalities. He did accomplish the impressive goal of doing well in school and graduating from University of Southern California, as his father would have wanted. But he faltered afterwards. With his progress on DWTS, he has accomplished something else important – not giving up on himself. He has exceeded everyone’s expectations (mother Kris cried when he got his first 10 for his Tango with Cheryl). He took another giant step when he won the Cha Cha relay.
Hope and Maks will go home this week. But who will win next week? It’s a risky bet.
Click here to tell us who you want to win.
Judy Kirkwood is still rooting for JR Martinez and Karina.