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Gymnast Alexandra Raisman takes lead on 'Dancing With the Stars'

(Boston, MA,03/18/13) Aly Riesman dances with her partner Mark Ballas on Dancing With the Stars. Monday, March 18, 2013. (Staff photo by Stuart Cahill)

The “Dancing with the Stars” leaderboard was reshuffled Monday night, with Olympic gymnast Alexandra Raisman leaping over early favorites Kellie Pickler and Zendaya Coleman.

The stars had to incorporate a 15-second solo into their routines, celebrating the “best year of their life.”

Obviously, Raisman choose 2012, the year the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team won the gold medal at the Olympics in London.

Putting her Olympic training to good use, Raisman delivered an athletic Contemporary dance to David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ filled with a series of cartwheels and backflips that earned her and partner Mark Ballas the highest score of the competition thus far–solid “9s” from the judges for a total of 27 points.

“Forget about ‘Titanium,” you’re going for gold my darling,” pronounced judge Bruno Tonioli. “Emotionally intense, dramatic and deeply felt–well done.”

“I was mesmerized by you,” effused judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “It was just profound.”

Raisman’s fellow Olympians Gabby Douglas and Kyla Ross were in the audience to cheer on their teammate, even taking to social media to show their support.

“Congrats Aly and Mark you guys did fabulous!!!” tweeted Douglas.

Raisman’s outstanding performance had Coleman and Pickler tying for second place.

Celebrating 2009, the year she was “discovered” in Hollywood, Coleman channeled her inner Sasha Fierce with her sassy Samba to Beyonce’s “Love on Top,” with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. 

Pickler chose 2011, the year she got married. The “American Idol” vet danced a romantic Rhumba with partner Derek Hough as her husband, Kyle Jacobs, sang “Say I Do” live on stage. 

Meanwhile, “Real Housewives” star Lisa Vanderpump didn’t fare particularly well in the competition. The Beverly Hills restauranteur had fainted during rehearsals on Friday, which resulted in a trip to a doctor’s office. 

Dr. Barry Unger told Vanderpump that she was suffering from a “fever” and an “early flu” and advised that there could be “dire results” if she continued to push herself.

Absent from most of the show, Vanderpump decided to dance just 15 minutes before her segment aired. Looking pale and tired, Vanderpump gamely danced the Cha Cha with partner Gleb Savchenko to Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” 

Vanderpump was ostensibly celebrating 2011, the year her daughter Pandora got married, but the main theme seemed to be Vanderpump and her pet Pomeranian Giggy, who sported sunglasses in an animated segment broadcast on a giant screen above the dance floor.

Despite some encouraging words (“What you did, you did well,” noted Tonioli), Vanderpump scored a grim 18 points from the judges–tying her for last place with boxer Victor Ortiz.

Ortiz also celebrated the year 2011, the year he won the WBC Welterweight championship. Thugishly pumping his fists as he clomped around the dance floor, Ortiz’s shirtless interpretation of the Paso Doble to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” failed to impress the judges.

"You're supposed to dance it, not destroy it," quipped Tonioli.

Rebounding significantly, a determined D.L. Hugely celebrated an unspecified year in the ‘70s when “everything was sweeter,” dancing the Fox Trot to Etta James’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You” with partner Cheryl Burke.

“Hallelujah! That’s a real breakthrough, my friend,” Inaba cheered.

Andy Dick, who has also struggled in the competition, actually made a judge cry with his touching Viennese Waltz danced to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.

Dedicating the dance to his 15-year-old daughter Meg, the comedian celebrated the year 2013–the year he finally got sober–with a touching and emotional twirl around the dance floor.

"Simple. Effective. Straight from the heart. The best you've danced since Show one," praised Tonioli.

Inaba was so consumed with emotion, she welled up with tears and could barely speak. Once she hugged Dick and composed herself, she declared, "What you said with those few movements was so beautiful." 

Judge Len Goodman was more direct. "You came on this show a man. No matter what happens, you'll go out a hero."

Also pulling heartstrings was Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who dedicated his dance to his son, Jacoby Jr., who was born in 2012. 

"I didn't have a daddy growing up. He left when I was two," Jones explained to partner Karina Smirnoff during rehearsals. 

Jones did his son proud, dancing a joyful Fox Trot to Rodney Atkins' “Watching You.”

“That dance was just phenomenal,” declared Inaba, as Jones’ mother was spied in the audience, holding Jacoby Jr. and crying with pride.

“Bachelor” Sean Lowe and “General Hospital” star Ingo Redemacher dedicated their Viennese Waltzes to the year they met their wives–or Lowe’s case, fiancee. 

Lowe’s schmaltzy shuffle to Jason Mraz's “I Won't Give Up” ranked lower than Redemacher’s poised dance to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years,” but both performances landed the hunks in the middle of the pack.

Next Week: Who will join Wynonna Judd in getting the axe?

 

 

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