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J.R. Martinez’s attempt to channel ‘El Zorro’ fell flat with the judges Monday evening on Dancing With the Stars.
The army vet sported a cape and eye mask and danced the Paso Doble to one of the theme songs of the famous blockbuster. Despite appearing to have nailed the routine with precision and ease on a twisted ankle from practice, the judges were not swayed.
“I could feel the thrill and excitement of the chase, the role play great, dressed up ready to kill. It was very good.” DWTS judge Bruno Tonioli said. “But, Paso Doble is all in the posture and it wasn’t quite there all the way through. But the performance was very good.”
Not only was Martinez disappointed with hearing this, he was also in pain, literally, from re-twisting his ankle a second time on the dance floor.
“I give you so much credit for attacking that routine with the intensity that you did with a hurt ankle,” Carrie Ann Inaba said. “Obviously it’s hurting you a lot now [and] I give you so much credit for that.”
“Unfortunately, our job tonight is… this is the semifinals and we have to look for a certain level of performance and I do believe it affected your posture a great deal.”
The hardest judge of them all was Len Goodman who told Martinez this week “It was more zero than Zorro." OUCH!
"Certain dances suit you, certain dances don't,” Goodman said. “For me, this dance didn't suit you at all."
For the first round Martinez and his dance partner Karina Smirnoff earned a 23 (out of 30.)
Nonetheless, the couple redeemed themselves in round two dancing the Argentine Tango to Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust the Windows Out Your Car.”
Prior to Martinez taking the stage, he took some time to tell America where he gets his “winning spirit” reinforcing that “positivity is my secret to success.”
“I grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana… without a lot of money,” Martinez said. “Being raised by a single mother my father not being in the picture, it was tough, but she always smiled.”
Martinez said his mom would always tell him smile because he did not know how his smile would change his life and the life of others.
“I didn’t really understand that but it stuck with me,” Martinez continued. “I joined the army to serve this country but I didn’t process that I could actually be at war at 19-years-old.”
Retired Sergeant Justin Hart then explained the chaos and confusion of the day when Martinez was badly burned in humvee. His mother, Maria Zavala is then seen crying telling how the accident altered Martinez’s life.
“He wanted to die right there,” Zavala said. “I said whoever is going to be with J.R. is going to be with J.R. for what J.R. is inside.”
The audience then gets to meet Martinez’s girlfriend, Diana Jones, who says that Martinez “continues to amaze” her.
“I know that whatever he puts his mind too, he’s going to excel at.”
The judges seem to agree with Jones and for round two give Martinez much better scores.
“You were in Latin-lover mode! Strong, fearless!" Tonioli said excitedly. "The sexual interplay with the two of you was absolutely incredible to watch."
“For a man to attend those lifts [and] you’ve never danced before with Karina it was incredible job.”
Inaba completely agreed with Tonioli.
“There was a true fire that connected you two,” Inaba said. “What is fabulous is the way you were able to negotiate the mounts and dismounts of those lifts."
Goodman felt as though he “was transported to the backstreets of Buenos Aires.”
"It had mood, it had intensity," said the veteran DWTS judge. “That’s the way to go! Well done.”
The heated tango earned Martinez and Smirnoff a 27 (out of 30) points.