Dancing with the Stars 2012 resumed May 14 with a ninth week of ballroom action from the four semifinalists. Rising competition star Maria Menounos closed out round one with a moody Argentine Tango that wowed all three judges and earned one of the night's two perfect scores.
But before Maria and pro partner Derek Hough hit the ballroom floor, viewers got a peek at the duo's rehearsal session. Following a disappointing set of week 8 scores, Maria recognized the "do or die" nature of the DWTS semifinals, and the pressure of the situation affected not only the TV personality, but her talented partner as well. Derek worried that he wasn't creating routines good enough to help Maria to "shine," so the pair coped with their frustrations as they often have this season: by sharing their feelings and crying together.
When showtime rolled around, Maria and Derek took to the ballroom to the tune of "La Yumba." Their Argentine tango was clean, sharp, crisp, and passionate. Maria is truly excellent while in hold, and despite his insecurities, Derek did a great job of fashioning a routine that showed off her strengths.
Maria and Derek earned a perfect 30 for their dance, which earned them the top spot on the leaderboard following round one. They finished the night at the top of the heap with a score of 59 points, but the field is tight entering the Tuesday's elimination show: fourth place couple Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas finished the evening with a respectable mark of 56.
Will Maria Menounos and Derek Hough make the finals? Watch the Dancing with the Stars 2012 week 9 results show Tuesday at 9 PM on ABC and find out.