CLEVELAND, Ohio. - "Dancing with the Stars" didn't take Motown week lightly. It brought out some of the big names for a little street cred.
The sixth week of the 14th season opened with a live music medley from Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and Martha Reeves.
Appropriately enough, the show kicked off this week's competition with legendary singer Gladys Knight and Tristan doing a rumba, as The Temptations sang "My Girl." Gladys was graceful and looked downright angelic at times, but the dance was not challenging enough at this stage of the game. Regardless, judge Len Goodman said he would vote for her right now if he were at home watching. Umm...stuffing the ballot box, Len? They gave her a 21 out of 30.
TV host Maria Menounos and Derek were up next with a foxtrot, while Martha Reeves sang "Jimmy Mack." Maria felt she would have to stretch herself for an elegant dance. It came off that way a little. Her footwork was fine, but did not look like it came naturally to her. Either way, the judges appreciated the classical approach to the dance. Maria got a 26.
Disney star Roshon Fegan and Chelsie tackled a rumba to Smokey singing "Cruisin'." There was plenty of movement, and Roshon looked great, but the choreography lacked a lot of passion. It had its moments, but I don't think the performance really connected with the viewers. They got a 23.
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins and Mark did a samba while The Temptations sang "I Can't Get Next to You." Okay, the dance looked beautiful, yes. And Katherine hit all her marks, check. But I felt that Katherine looked very much like she was going through the motions and was not into her samba. The second half of the dance did look more natural and passionate. The judges absolutely loved it and gave them a very high 29.
Green Bay Packer Donald Driver and Peta were up with a foxtrot while The Temptations sang "The Way You Do the Things You Do." Donald looked like a born showman. The judges liked it, even Len, who once said that Donald was not dancing up to his potential, calling on Peta to challenge him more. They got a 27.
Actress Melissa Gilbert and Maks did a Viennese waltz to Smokey singing "Ooo Baby Baby." It was Melissa's time to shine. I thought it was her best dance yet. She was in character, looked utterly at ease, and hit all her marks. Melissa even moved in and out of demanding moves fluidly and seemingly with little effort. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said Melissa's hard work is starting to pay off. I felt the score was a bit low, but she got a 24.
Melissa tweeted: "@MaksimC @smokey_robinson I love you my sweet friend. Dancing with you tonight with Smokey was a dream."
Actor Jaleel White and Kym brought their cha cha while The Temptations sang "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." Here comes the comeback; at least, that's what the judges called it. Jaleel put on a professional dance routine that people would pay money to see. He and Kym moved effortlessly across the floor, in and out of hold, in a fun and demanding routine. The judges loved it. The look of disbelief on Jaleel's face when he Carrie Ann gave him his first 10 was priceless. A 29 overall.
Actor William Levy and Cheryl did a rumba as Smokey sang "Being with You." Well, at least, Cheryl did. William mostly stood there while Cheryl danced around him. She mostly choreographed ways for him to touch her seductively, whether that was for a high score or just her personal preference. The judges mainly critiqued the sexual aspects of the routine, and their scores were rather schizophrenic, with a 9, 8 and 10. Score was 27 overall.
Oh, but it wasn't over yet. Next, all the remaining couples had to hit the floor for a Motown marathon. They all had to cha cha, and the last couple would have to keep it up for four minutes. The notion scared Gladys. But she didn't have to worry: she was the first one eliminated.
Gladys got three extra points, bringing her total to 24. Roshon: four extra points, total 28. Melissa: five extra points, total 30. Maria: six extra points, total 30. Donald: seven extra points, total 34. William: eight extra points, total 36. Jaleel: nine extra points, total 37. And, of course, this season's predestined winner, Katherine, won the dance marathon, getting ten extra points and an overall total of 39.
Katherine tweeted: "I wanted to do a marathon this year, Just had no idea it would be one of this kind! And we won!! :)"
I felt some of the better stars were eliminated before some of the judges' favorites. But what else would you expect?
Maria tweeted: "Hey guys- @derekhough and I are ready to rehearse our dance dual jive right now.dance marathon was a disaster-need all ur votes and luv-:)"
Okay, here's the deal for Tuesday night: the two lowest scoring stars will take part in a dance duel. This week, it's a jive. Right now, Gladys is at the bottom, and she was first out in the dance marathon. Unless viewer votes spare her from the bottom two, Gladys will have to face off against dance machine Roshon, who
seems genetically built to jive.
Last week, Melissa and Gladys had the lowest scores from the judges. But the viewers came through for them, and it was Jaleel and singer Gavin DeGraw who faced off in the Dance Duel. Obviously, the judges though Jaleel did better.
We'll find out which two stars face off in the Dance Duel Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on ABC. Boyz II Men is set to perform.
More information can be found at: beta.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/index .