No one could have predicted this.
(SPOILER: This story contains a recap of Night 1 of the "Dancing" finals.)
On Monday, during part 1 of the "Dancing with the Stars" finals, it was Rob Kardashian (who quietly had hung in the competition for Season 13 week after week) who landed - with professional partner Cheryl Burke - at the top of the leaderboard.
Supported by mom Kris Jenner, sisters Kim Kardashian (in a sparkling tuxedo suit), Khloe Kardashian and several additional members of the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" clan, Rob and Cheryl rocketed to the top with two dances that earned the duo respect and big points from the judges.
And surprisingly Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, as well as J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff, who had battled it out for the top of the leaderboard all season long, ended the night in a tie for second.
Things started off well for Rob, who tried out his first waltz (with pointers from Bruno Tonioli) of the season. The number with Cheryl was a smooth set of moves that left Carrie Ann Inaba thinking he was, as Tom Bergeron put it, "Cinderfella."
"You're like the male version of Cinderella," she raved as the pair earned a whopping 27/30. "You made it to the ball."
That score tied Rob and Cheryl with the pair of Ricki and Derek, who also earned 27 for their first round number -- a cha cha that impressed Kirstie Alley (who was seated next to her Season 12 partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy) and the judges.
But it trumped J.R. Martinez who, competing following last week's ankle injury, had a hard time in his first number out with Karina - a cha cha the judges said was off beat.
"Tonight your musicality was a bit off... you were dancing a head of the music," Carrie Ann said, despite the standing ovation for the army veteran and his pro, from the studio audience.
Round 2 was the freestyle, and although from the rehearsal footage it appeared Ricki had a hard time (at one point Derek was caught on camera telling the talk show host to, "Just shut your face!"), she and her partner came out strong - just not strong enough.
Their acrobatic moves, and a celebratory post-dance jump that saw Ricki whack Derek in the jaw, was rewarded with another 27 points, for a total of 54, not quite enough points to challenge Rob and Cheryl, who earned a perfect score in the freestyle round for a total fo 57/60.
Rob and Cheryl's dance -- to "Minnie the Moocher" -- was full of lifts, which had Bruno remark, "You peaked at the right time."
"To get a 10, you have to blow us away," Carrie Ann added. "Consider me blown."
Down several points from his competitors, it was up to J.R. to prove he was still a contender and he did with a Latin-flavored freestyle that was both exciting and hot.
Karina ripped off her skirt, J.R. found his rhythm and the two shook their moneymakers and engaged in some of the most acrobatic lifts and moves in "DWTS" history.
"Those were the sickest lifts I've ever seen," Carrie Ann raved, shaking her body as she danced through her critique.
Even Maksim, a supporter of J.R. (and Karina's former fiance) stood up and cheered the pair's heart stopping comeback, which ended right in front of his seat in the audience.
"Two things were revealed - Karina's body and your talent. Fantastic," Len Goodman said of their number, which like Rob's freestyle, also earned a perfect score.
On Tuesday, the pairs will have one more dance for a judges' score and a winner will be crowned.
"DWTS" airs at 9/8 C on ABC.
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