Romeo

It's time, now, to put two of the biggest Dancing With the Stars preseason predictions to rest: First, that models — including this season's very tall, very lovely Petra Nemcova — can't dance. And second, that young rapper Romeo would be as careless about learning how to ballroom dance as his father, Master P, who subbed for his son after Romeo was injured playing basketball way back in Season 2.

Head judge Len Goodman was ruthless in his comments to Master P: "It's time that you and this show parted," Goodman scolded the elder rapper, convinced that he wasn't trying. Master P turned out to be a notoriously bad dancer and made it worse by stubbornly refusing to put on proper dance shoes, choosing instead to shuffle or walk around the dance floor in tennis shoes.

"I was so afraid of this competition," Romeo said after Monday night's show. "I thought, 'Did I get my dad's dancing genes?' But it definitely shows that with hard work, anything is possible. I came into this competition thinking that I wouldn't make it any further than the first week. I thought, 'I won't be able to do this choreography.'"

But Romeo is getting slicker and more confident in the ballroom every week, as evidenced by Monday night's fox trot, which was good enough to put him in second place. What was the turning point? "After I conquered the paso [doble]," he says, referring to his breakthrough dance last week. "That was a dance that I didn't think I would ever be able to do. After I saw that choreography, I said, 'Chelsea [HIghtower, his pro partner], we may as well go home right now.' But I conquered that and then I thought, 'I'm built for this. I'm built for the ballroom.'"

Meanwhile, Nemcova is putting the ghosts of bad model dancers to rest, including the less-than-memorable Paulina Porizkova, Albert Reed and Kathy Ireland. Does she believe models are cursed on this show? "Yes, that's true," she says. "But Dmitry [Chaplin, her pro partner] knows how to work with height. It's more challenging because for the fast dances, you have to work harder. And the mistakes are more visible, because of the length of the limbs."

But she's still here, half-way through the competition. Doesn't that mean she's broken the curse? Chaplin clearly doesn't want to jinx it. "Let's wait and see what happens tomorrow night," he says, referring to Tuesday's elimination.

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