On Monday's Dancing with the Stars for the semifinals each contestant was assigned two dances. For her second routine of the evening, Maria Menounos was given a jive to be choreographed by Derek Hough.
Although what these two DWTS hoofers chose to show off could not actually be called traditional, their second round performance was so enticing that this wasn't a big deal. In fact, after this superior pair were done dancing, goody goody judge Len Goodman said it didn't matter that all the flicks and kicks were missing from this number. He liked it anyway.
What he liked were the exuberance and smooth moves that Maria and Derek showcased after starting off by standing at an operating table. The song their dance routine was set to was called Tightrope and provided the right beat for a rambunctious romp around the floor with a lot of tricky moves and a lot of ways in which these two could showcase their natural chemistry.
Before the dance began, Maria's upbringing was captured in a prepackaged segment in which she talked about growing up in Medford, Massachusetts. The reporter choked up while talking about the trials and tribulations her immigrant family faced once they moved to the United States from Greece.
After helping her parents clean various Boston nightclubs, Menounos learned a strong work ethic. She studied journalism at Emerson College, worked for a series of entertainment magazine shows, and even reported from various war zones at the start of her career.
Now the co-host of Extra with Dancing with the Stars veteran Mario Lopez, Maria Menounos is living her dream, performing on a TV talent show while illustrating her prowess in pushing through to do her best which is typically extra special.
Her jive with Derek was just that, bringing raves from Len Goodman who was relieved that last week's Bollywood number was actually in the past.
Meanwhile, Bruno Tonioli called this performance "quirky" but was obviously enamored. He exclaimed that what Maria and Derek did for their jive should not have worked. But, strangely, it did--at least as far as this Italian judge was concerned.
As for Carrie Ann Inaba, she freely called Maria "a winner tonight."
And so, while this Dancing with the Stars performer who was given a perfect 30 for her first performance of the evening, she was just short of that for the second. Her jive with Derek earned the two 29 points, one point short of perfect, putting this couple at the top of the leaderboard for the evening.
No doubt, Menounos was thrilled with the results, even to the point of taking on a Philly accent and quoting from Rocky, a film she says resonates with inspiration for this particular DWTS contestant. So, in her best Rocky Balboa voice, Maria said, "I just don't want to come off looking like another bum from the neighborhood."
Well, she didn't. She was great on this TV talent show as she showed how well she can command the Dancing with the Stars floor with Hough beside her to guide her to excellence. That said, do you think Maria Menounos and her pro partner Derek Hough can win this TV talent show? Will she be the one to take home the coveted mirror ball trophy? Thoughts? Thanks.