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Temperatures on and off the dance floor were at an all-time high for week seven of Dancing With the Stars.
Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin made his debut as guest judge for Latin Night and exercised his primal rule when scoring the contestants: “Rule number one: Have fun. And I did. I had a lot of fun.”
Martin, a veteran musical performer, extended his regard to the contestants’ commitment to the show amid strenuous personal schedules. “I felt the effort that they put into this. We see the show and the final results, but the hours — they don’t have a day off, so my respect for them,” Martin said.
Preparing for Latin Night proved a challenge for multiple couples, including Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Danica McKellar. McKellar, who fractured a lower rib while practicing the pair’s salsa dance, missed two days of rehearsal because of the injury. “When it first happened on Thursday, it was so painful. I was just sure. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m out and done,’ ” McKellar said, adding, “The footage that you saw of me crying in the bathroom, that was real. I was terrified.”
Fellow contestants Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas visited a sports psychologist, who recommended deep breathing to aid with calming the actress’ nerves in preparation for a performance. Amy Purdy also fell victim to a personal injury after her live rumba performance with partner Derek Hough and tweeted, “As we walked away from the judging table my upper back cracked and went into spasms…in pain but I’m in good hands
Due to Purdy’s hospitalization, the judges watched the recorded dress rehearsal performance to score Team Loca, which included Purdy, Hough, McKellar, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Cameron Bure, Ballas, Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Despite being one team member down, Team Loca beat Team Vida — Charlie White, Sharna Burgess, James Maslow, Peta Murgatroyd, NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani — in the group performance.
Team Loca team captain Davis suffered a hand injury during salsa practice with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, but that didn’t hold her coach back from offering his advice of going to the dirtiest place of the mind to master the dance. “I came to Brooklyn in the mid ’90s, and the reason why I’m in love with Latin dancing is because the first thing that I saw was LQ — and I was severely underage and barely spoke English — and I saw the dirtiest, nastiest place that made me the happiest that I’ve ever been,” Chmerkovskiy said. “I love salsa. I love salsa. I’ve never learned one step of salsa. It’s all from watching.”
Gold Medalist White also encountered a personal bodily challenge, ignited by fellow Team Vida dancers: a shirt strip during his team’s performance that required him shave his chest. “I didn’t have that hairy of a chest, but I just can’t imagine — you know when you pull out one hair on your head and it hurts? I can’t imagine doing that so many times at once,” White said.
“I feel like you should do it so you have an understanding of what we go through to look good for you guys,” partner Burgess chimed in. “Just saying.”
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