A trip back to the Bengal Nation in the last week helped reignite the competitive flame of Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco, who bounced back from weeks of dismal scores to land in the Top 3 on Monday night's "Dancing with the Stars."
The outspoken football player brought intensity to his dance with partner Cheryl Burke – a sharp Argentine Tango full of locking limbs and sexy twists.
"The revenge of Ochocinco! Strong! Powerful! Demented!" judge Bruno Tonioli said of their number as last year's champ, Donny Osmond, cheered from the audience. "I was hard on you because I knew you had it and tonight you proved you can actually dance."
"On 'Dancing with the Stars,' you either grow or you go. You grew tonight," notoriously tough Brit judge Len Goodman commented as the crowd went wild.
The pair took home 24 points for the number and added another 7 points later in the night during the Swing Dance Marathon, where Chad stripped down to just pants and suspenders as the pair jumped, jived and wailed.
While Chad made good on some of the promise he showed at the beginning of the "DWTS" season, he and Cheryl didn't quite hit the top spot on the leaderboard, placing third overall for the night.
Spot No. 2 went to ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. The blonde beauty and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, showed off their sexy samba — Erin in a nude colored dress with strategically placed glitter ornamentation and Maks ending the number shirtless and on the floor.
Len suggested there were too many gimmicks in the number and scored them low, just a 7, but Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno helped the pair, by giving them each 9s for a total of 25 out of 30.
Later, placing second in the Swing Dance Marathon, the two added another 9 points, taking them to second place for the night with a total score of 34.
Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and her partner, Derek Hough, once again took the top spot, thanks to their version of the samba, which saw the professional dancer hitting the ballroom with his shirt open enough for the entire room to see his six-pack. While Derek's abs impressed the crowd, Nicole's dancing impressed the judges who had a hard time finding room for improvement.
"That was just ridiculous," Carrie Ann announced.
"You are one singular sensation!" Bruno added. "Watching you makes [one] dribble with desire."
Surprisingly, Nicole's biggest competition this season, figure skater Evan Lysacek, had trouble keeping up.
The Olympic gold medalist who has been pulling double duty – skating in the Stars on Ice national tour, in addition to his "Dancing" practice — was briefly sidelined during one rehearsal when he sustained what a doctor called "a very mild concussion."
While the doctor cleared him to dance his samba, the diagnosis from the judges was bad news.
"Sometimes, on this show, you come up against a dance and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Tonight, I definitely felt that you lost the battle with the samba," Carrie Ann said as Evan and Anna earned only 21 out of 30 points.
They added another 6 points later after placing fifth (out of 7) in the Swing Dance Marathon, but their total score moved Evan down from last week's second place finish, to fifth on the week's overall leaderboard.
Pamela Anderson with her partner, Aussie Damian Whitewood, managed to beat Evan, scooping up 22 points for their Argentine Tango. They earned another 8 after a third place finish in the marathon.
Niecy Nash and partner Louis van Amstel took the 6th leaderboard spot scoring 21 points for their Argentine Tango and just 5 for the marathon number, while "Bachelor" Jake Pavelka and partner Chelsie Hightower placed last, taking 21 for their samba and just 4 points in the marathon, for a total of 26.
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