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"Dancing with the Stars": Maksim Chmerkovskiy spars with judges over Hope Solo

Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy on "Dancing with the Stars." ABC

(CBS) Broadway is the place where Americans go to hear songs they have heard before and see dancing that reminds them of the fun they never had. So when Broadway comes to "Dancing with the Stars," there's a certain familiarity for the viewers at home. It's just that the seats are cheaper, as are the costumes.

But Broadway musicals don't offer too much controversy. Not even when they're about Mormonism. "Dancing with the Stars," on the other hand, can bring families to blows and whole streets and even countries to revolution. So it proved last night.

Pictures: "Dancing with the Stars" Season 13

We began, though, with the epitome of Broadway amusement, something from "Jersey Boys." Sadly, this was to be danced to by the epitome of L.A. uptightness, Rob Kardashian. Earlier this week, he had told Us Weekly: "I can't believe I'm still here."

As always, he was not alone.

Kardashian and his highly professional partner Cheryl Burke were interrupted in rehearsal by the matriarch of the Kardashian clan, Lily Munster. She stroked her little boy's chest and told him how wonderful he was. Suddenly, she turned nasty. "It's time to kick some ass," she growled.

Kardashian began his cha-cha by thrusting himself at Burke's behind, and, thankfully, failing to kick it. He attempted to jumpstart his hips into sexual motion. However, too often he looked like Benny Hill trying to attract a garter-wearing nurse.

The judges, who had clearly been tipping the Fernet early, began with strange compliments.

"It was clean. It was precise. It had good timing," seduced Len Goodman. Then he cut to the quick. "There was no rhythm," he said, as the audience booed rhythmically. "It was all too stiff. It wasn't oily," he added.

Which was odd, because some find the Kardashians very oily indeed.

"You're still an adolescent, but you're not a kid," stumbled Carrie Ann Inaba. I think she was trying to refer to Kardashian's raw sexual masculinity level, or something.

Nancy Grace and "Spamalot" have a clear connection. They both have something to do with an airborne circus. Her song was "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which was sung in the "Life of Brian" movie by a group of crucified men.

Grace accused her partner, Tristan McManus, of trying to crucify her with overly difficult choreography. She had asked for it, so now she said he was trying to make her "f--- it up."

Grace takes herself frightfully seriously. Hers was a jolly foxtrot, save for the fact that she is essentially leaden-legged. Still, she tried to bring out her best showgirl. Soon, though, she would have to pretend to be a prostitute. (More of that in a little while.)

"I would call that a showstopper," said Inaba. Earthquakes stop shows too. So does someone shouting "Fire!"

"Much more personality came out," said Goodman. On the other hand, he cautioned: "Your posture wasn't there. Your footwork wasn't there."

Next was the maniacal David Arquette. Somehow, he offers this slightly insane air, as if you can never be sure what he might say, do, scream or haunt next. "We Go Together" from "Grease" gave him the chance to quickstep with abandon. "It's very similar to my personality," said Arquette.

In truth, he skipped around the dance floor to a tune that only came together in his own head. His partner, the tirelessly patient Kym Johnson, looked like she was trying to wrestle an anaconda that had ingested just a little too much ecstasy.

Too often, Arquette resembled a 3-year-old who just has to jiggle, but hasn't got that music thing down yet. He would have been fine just banging a drum. But this must have made John Travolta's hair revolta.

"As far as performance goes, I thought you lived up to expectation," said Inaba. But she noticed the humongously sinking sync.

"I got so crazy out there," waffled Arquette.

Ricki Lake has seen crazy. Any daytime talk show host has to. She is a consummately fluid professional. Her dance was also the quickstep.

"Luck Be a Lady Tonight" went the song. Luck was a Lakey. Her dancing was of a totally different standard to the stuttering effluent that had gone on before. Her movements were sharp, remarkably coordinated with her partner, Derek Hough, and blessed with an energy that, unlike Arquette's, was directed towards art rather than asylum.

"Your legs moved so fast, it took your body two bars to catch up," sniffed the hyper-critical Goodman. "I loved it," he added.

"Impeccable style. Outstanding choreography," gushed Tonioli. "Your interpretation of the music was beyond belief."

Most importantly in her post-dance interview with the hologram that is Brooke Burke Charvet, Lake revealed that she thought she'd lost 20 lbs during the competition. She got two 10s for her trouble. Surely Barney Frank and Dick Cheney will be looking at this and believing participation could do wonders for their health, as well as their image.

Chaz Bono was asked to tango to something from "The Phantom of the Opera." In rehearsal, Bono was struggling. He couldn't remember his steps. Partner Lacey Schwimmer became exasperated. She knew that they couldn't get away with showmanship any more. This was time for showdanceship.

The ship was sinking.

While this wasn't quite Phantom of the Dancefloor, it was certainly characterized by many ghostly - and a few ghastly - footsteps.

"It was like watching a cute little penguin trying to be a big menacing bird of prey," said Tonioli, accurately.

"I want to see a little bit more content," said Inaba.

Hope Solo wanted to see a little bit more love. Her desperation for perfection is being crushed by her expressions of imperfection and personal frustration. Partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy brought in three long-haired lady dancers to try and get Solo more comfortable with the idea of sexual abandon. One lady dancer taught her how to slap Chmerkovskiy with her hair.

Once they had gone, though, Solo fell back into her all-American ways. "You look sexy. Or do you just stand here like a scarecrow?" Chmerkovskiy chided.

Solo's brand of neurosis is of an extremely exalted variety. Criticism destroys her and she reacts by being additionally destructive. This was an explosion just waiting for the tiniest of triggers.

Solo's rumba regretfully exposed a psyche that was shot. She was like a goalkeeper who has dropped every cross in the game and thrown two balls into her own net. Her movements were halting instead of fluid. It was dancing by numbers.

Even Inaba was critical. "I think it goes against your natural iciness," she said. When a woman is icy, it is normally out of fear, not confidence.

"I've never lost faith in you," began Goodman. We knew there was something ugly to come. "This is your worst dance of the whole season," was his follow-up.

As Chmerkovskiy tried to incite the audience to boo, Goodman turned on him. "Half the fault is yours," he croaked.

Chemerkovskiy tried to explain that the audience enjoyed their journey. Goodman butted in with the classic line of the older gentleman: "I've been in this business for nearly 50 years."

"Maybe it's time to go," rebuffed the Ukrainian. A gasp larger than that accompanying a murder at the opera rose from the audience.

Inaba demanded of Chmerkovskiy: "Don't be disrespectful like that." How should he have been disrespectful?

And so an international incident was born. It wasn't quite Khruschev banging his shoe at the United Nations, but it was close. Chmerkovskiy accused the judges of being, of all things, "judgmental." This is a wonderfully American word meaning, roughly, "saying what you think."

Even after receiving their scores, Chmerkovskiy had more to say. He insisted that he was tired of inconsistent judging, where some couples were being judges on effort while others were being nitpicked about technicalities such as heel leads.

He also explained that this was his show and he helped make it what it is. Well, indeed.

J.R. Martinez is the new favorite after several consistently fluid performances. Here, his quickstep to "Hot Honey Rag" from "Chicago" was delightfully full of show, but a little lacking in precision on occasion. This was, after all, the most difficult choreography that his partner, Karina Smirnoff, said she had ever attempted in search of the Mirrorball trophy.

The judges were a different sort of judgmental this time.

"A rip-roaring, audience-rising, 11 o'clock number," poured Tonioli.

Inaba, attempting to show that she could outgush the Italian, declared: "Bob Fosse would have been proud."

Fosse might have been something of a judgmental character, one imagines, so perhaps pride did not come quite so easily to him.

The evening ended with a group dance. During the rehearsal, Nancy Grace explained she would be playing a "bad attitude prostitute who does not obviously want a pimp." This sounded depressingly like a TV presenter who does not obviously want an agent.

Grace did a handstand. The world stopped for a moment to contemplate that. Or was it just my DVR?

This dance was an utter time-filling irrelevance. Which could not possibly be said about a show that can produce controversy worthy of any Republican debate.

TOP TWO: Ricki Lake, J.R. Martinez
BOTTOM FOUR: Hope Solo, Chaz Bono, David Arquette, Rob Kardashian

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