One week after head judge Len Goodman read the celebrities the riot act about not practicing long enough and hard enough, the DWTS judges seemed in a lighter, more forgiving mood. But Drexler still managed to take significant body blows. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called him flat out, "the worst dancer in the competition." As a group, the judges seem dismayed that he's not improving and not more like a couple of super athletes who came before him: Football greats Jerry Rice (Season 2) and Emmitt Smith (Season 3's champ). "The judges have been really cruel," says Drexler. "But that's OK. It gets me closer to my golf game."
The real surprise may be that Drexler hasn't been turned off dancing for good. It can't be easy being mediocre and getting terrible scores when people like boxing champ Sugar Ray Leonard are sitting ringside. But Drexler remains philosophical about ballroom dance. "It's one of those things that you try it and see if you like it. I would try it again. This isn't American Idol. I'm not aspiring to be a professional dancer." His professional partner, Elena Grinenko, agrees. "You don't teach dance like this in the studio," she says. "You take it slowly. You let the students enjoy what they're doing. If you tried to teach me to sing in four days? It's never gonna happen."
Still, two other couples managed to overcome the terrible time constraints and electrify the crowd. The one and only standing ovation was for Apolo Anton Ohno and his pro partner, Julianne Hough, who did a shake-the-rafters samba and earned the season's first triple-10 — a perfect score of 30. "I was nervous going into that dance," Ohno said after the show. "I'm not gonna lie." The reason? One big, risky move toward the end of the dance, when Hough stood on one leg, basically doing the splits with her head toward the floor, and swinging her free leg past Ohno's face. "I told him, ‘Do not think about it,'" says Hough. "Because if you think about it, we're gonna get it wrong." Ohno admits he was worried: "If we got it wrong, I'd have a shoe in my ear."
You'd never know it, but Ohno — a two-time Olympic-gold-medal speed skater who looks like a natural on the dance floor — says he's been feeling shaky. "I've been struggling with my confidence," says Ohno. "Because I'm not confident." Then he corrects himself. "On the ice, I'm confident." So what does an Olympian do to shake off the dance nerves? "You can't think about who got what scores before you, and who's gonna come after you, and the scores they're going to give you after you perform. All you can think about is the dance, try to perform for the audience and try to own the stage."
The other electrifying moment of the night came when Heather Mills slipped and fell at the very end of her routine. The crowd gasped as her foot went right out from under her and she landed on her backside, unhurt. "I could have wept when she fell," says Florence Henderson, who was in the audience. "But god bless her, she's such an inspiration. And always with a smile."
Mills herself says the fall was nothing. "The thing that hurt was when I dropped to my knees (a planned bravado move during the dance) and bent back. Look at all the bruises." She brushes her dance skirt aside to show off her right knee, which is all shades of purple. "That's from the week of rehearsing. The actual fall didn't hurt at all. I'm so used to falling. I'm used to walking around in 5-inch heels. Most people with two legs fall over in those."
Another very real pain is being felt by her pro partner, Jonathan Roberts. No matter what the show's producers would have you believe, it was not Heather's idea to have Roberts wax his chest. "It was actually some friends of ours in England," says Roberts. "We were all joking about watching a movie [The 40-Year-Old Virgin] where they saw the guy getting his chest waxed. I'm the only guy on this show with a lot of hair on my chest. And I don't have a lot of tan. I'm not that stylish."
You couldn't tell on camera because his chest was covered with dark bronze body makeup. But up close, you could see that the whole area was covered with tiny raised bumps from the waxing. Does he have a better understanding now of what women go through? "Oh, I think women are so much tougher than men," says Roberts. "This hurt so much."
"They didn't even trim the hair first," says Mills. "I think they really wanted him to suffer for the camera."
ABC's Dancing with the Stars airs Monday at 8 pm/ET, and Tuesday at 9 (results show).
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