Switch-Up Week brought a change of professional dancing partner for Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes that earned her the highest marks yet for her original jazz number on the fourth episode of ABC’s ballroom reality competition “Dancing With The Stars.”
Fans voted online after last week’s show to mix up the pairings, so instead of dancing with professional partner Tony Dovolani, Leakes was matched with Derek Hough for Monday’s show only. The audience didn’t know the new partners until performance time.
“Derek is great, he’s a great choreographer, I’ve watched him over the seasons,” Leakes said.
She said in rehearsal footage that Dovolani might not have known how to bring out her “fabulousness” as well as Hough.
Tonight’s dance was a sort of tribal flavored jazz. Leakes was barefoot with a glitter coset and red headband. She led Hough around the dance floor at one point, ending with him bowing down to her feet.
Tonight, with the addition of guest judge and former DWTS pro Julianne Hough, Leakes scored a 32 out of 40 possible points for her jazz number.
Despite earning 8s for the first time from three of the judges last week, Leakes’ score of 31 out of 40 points fell in the bottom half of the celebrity pairings. So far, the only eliminations in the quest for the glitter ball trophy have been endurance swimmer Diana Nyad and former professional hockey player Sean Avery.
Another round of eliminations will come next Monday night, with scores from the past two weeks combined with audience support to determine who stays, and who goes home.
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta” series star said working with Derek Hough “was awesome, Derek is so amazing and creative.”
When revealing their scores, the judges all complimented Leakes, giving her solid 8s across the board.
Guest Judge Julianne Hough said, “That was awesome,” describing the dance as anumber that let Leakes’ inner Beyonce out.
Last week Judge Bruno Tonioli called Leakes “Naughty NeNe, the Southern Siren” for her rumba, and was out of his chair grinding his hips to show his reaction this week.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, “It was finally great to see you kill it.”
Head Judge Len Goodman said, “It’s the best dance you’ve done this season.”
Leakes’ TV Background
Leakes has branched out into acting on shows like "Glee," “The Game” and “The New Normal.” She is also the author of “Never Make the Same Mistake Twice,” discussing her fractured childhood, abusive relationship and struggles with being a single mother.
Other celebrity contestants include:
· Former professional hockey player Sean Avery
· Actress and former “Full House” star Candace Cameron Bure
· Heartthrob singer with Big Time Rush James Maslow
· Author and former child star of “The Wonder Years” Danica McKellar
· Endurance swimming legend Diana Nyad
· Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy
· Teen singer Cody Simpson
· “Star Wars” actor Billy Dee Williams
Tune in to “Dancing With the Stars” Monday at 8 p.m. ET on WSB Channel 2 to see the next round of eliminations.
How to Vote for NeNe
Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite teams via phone on Monday nights during and up to 60 minutes after the end of the “Dancing with the Stars” broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at www.ABC.com and on Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/votedwts/ is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m., ET.
Earlier DWTS coverage on Patch:
- Will NeNe Leakes Bring Home a ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Glitter Ball Trophy?
- 'Housewives' Star NeNe Leakes to Compete in 'Dancing With The Stars'
- Dancing With the Stars Results: NeNe Leakes Hits the Ballroom First
- UPDATED Dancing With the Stars Results: NeNe Scores First on Week One
- 'Dancing With The Stars' Results: First Elimination
- 'Dancing With The Stars' Results: Week Three Scores for 'Naughty' NeNe Leakes