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Raisman impresses 'Dancing' judges with heartfelt foxtrot

Posted by Katie McLeod  April 22, 2013 10:39 PM

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Needham native Aly Raisman performed a spicy foxtrot Monday with professional dancer Mark Ballas during Stevie Wonder Night on "Dancing With the Stars." Reeling from last week's bombings at the Boston Marathon, she thanked her partner for helping her keep it together. Showing her Olympic strength in the dance they dedicated to Boston, Raisman looked polished in a shimmering light pink gown as she moved gracefully around the ballroom floor to Wonder's hit "Isn't She Lovely," proving more effortlessly expressive this week as she flashed flirty smiles to the camera.

"It was a real foxy foxtrot," judge Bruno Tonioli said. While judge Len Goodman offered some critical feedback about her form, judge Carrie Ann Inaba focused on the positive. "You brought out your beautiful Bostonian elegance tonight," Inaba said. "You're sort of an understated performer, but I see you heading to perfection." Raisman and Ballas earned 27 points out of 30.

Meanwhile, country singer and former "American Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler took the top spot of the night with partner Derek Hough (the overall scores include individual scores along with scores from the group numbers performed later). The pair earned a total of 29 points for their individual dance, including a 10 from Goodman. Dressed in a sexy red dress, Pickler's quickstep to "Part-Time Lover" garnered mostly praise. Disney star Zendaya's cha cha cha was on par with Pickler's dance, also earning the 16-year-old 29 points with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Andy Dick still proved the crowd-pleaser of the night, dancing a spirited samba. While the audience seemed to love it, the judges didn't exactly feel the same. They gave the comedian 18 points.

As for the best quote of the night? That just might have to go to Goodman after Ingo Rademacher's tango with Kym Johnson. "Bingo, Ingo!", Goodman said. (Good one, Len.) Inaba followed up with, "Finally, welcome to the game!" And all of the judges wished the former "General Hospital" star happy birthday.

Boxing champion Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold came in at the bottom of the leaderboard once the 18 points for their lackluster rumba was combined with their group dance score.

Other highlights of the night included Wonder's performances of “Sir Duke” and “My Cherie Amour." Before the episode's conclusion, contestants took the dance floor for their group numbers. They split into two teams: Team Paso and Team Samba. Team Samba won with 25 points over Team Paso's 22 points.

The elimination show airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC. Read more about Monday night's performances at ABC news.

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Katie McLeod is's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

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Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.

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Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.