JR Martinez JR Martinez

J.R. Martinez may now be impossible to beat. The actor and Iraqi war vet and his pro partner, Karina Smirnoff, had the Dancing With the Stars audience on their feet even before they finished their first dance Monday night. It was as if they wrapped the ballroom in a hug, dancing an elegant, electrifying waltz to "What the World Needs Now."

What viewers didn't see, as Martinez and Smirnoff skipped up the stairs to the skybox for their post-dance interview with Brooke Burke Charvet, was the rare sight of head judge Len Goodman getting to his feet, giving the charismatic Martinez his own standing ovation as the crowd continued to cheer. "He just makes you feel good to be around him," said host Tom Bergeron, another big fan.

"He reminds me of myself," joked Romeo, the young actor and rapper who came in fifth last season. "If I was a little bit better." Romeo was in the audience, and Martinez came over to him directly after the show to give him a hug. "I'm getting my sexiness from Romeo," said Martinez.

The fact is that Martinez, a frontrunner from Week 1, took it harder than he likes to let on when he fell to fourth place last week. He was very down on himself, exposing a chink in the armor of a man who has overcome so much through the power of positive thinking. "We were tired last week, and things didn't click," explained Smirnoff. "And that pushed us to work harder this week."

And what a difference seven days makes, with Martinez scoring the first perfect 30 score of the season — and then doing it again when he danced the "Insta-Dance" jive. "Coming back from last week, I really wanted to make an impression on the judges and everybody," said Martinez. "Let them know that last week's tango was a one-time thing. I said to myself, 'I'm gonna work my butt off.' And I think it showed tonight."

It didn't hurt that the cameras caught sight of men in uniform seated in the audience, hooting and howling for Martinez. How could anybody vote against that?

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