Photo Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor
Monday night marked Week 4 of Dancing with the Stars, which means we've reached the point when contestants start limping into the ballroom with injuries. Several of the stars had bad knees, Snooki had a cold, and Jack Osbourne just seemed... over it. Oh, and judge Len Goodman didn't even show up!
But former DWTS pro Julianne Hough, who won the competition in Seasons 4 and 5, filled his seat. Looking gorgeous in a black lacy dress with a slanted, illusion neckline, she offered sunny praise and constructive criticism to the contestants. And she teased her brother, pro dancer Derek Hough, when he tried to pay her for a good score. "Ten dollars!" she cried. "What is that? Where's my Barbie's head?"
And despite what many called a hard week, there were several beautiful performances. Here are the highlights.
Best dance moment: Amber Riley's awesome tango was no doubt accentuated by the rehearsal footage that showed her struggling with a knee injury. At one point, cameras showed her crying on the sidelines while her partner Hough demonstrated the steps for her with a skinny blond dancer. (Salt in the wounds, much?) But when Riley and Hough took to the dance floor for show time, she absolutely crushed it. "No beating about the bush here," said Tony Dovolani. "That was pure, classic, amazing tango. You're a magnificent dancer."
Best outfit: Can Brant Daugherty's lack of shirt count as "best outfit"? No? Then the honor will have to go to Snooki, who sparkled in a tiny cheerleading uniform and pigtails. "You're like my little nugget!" cried Hough. "You're the cutest thing in the world!"
"I want to see the cartoon that comes out of Snooki -- the cheerleading, dancing little girl, 'cause that was the cutest thing I've ever seen," said Carrie Ann Inaba.
Best comment from a judge: "It had everything you could wish for in a samba except timing and rhythm," said Bruno Tonioli, after the performance by everyone's favorite contestant, Bill Engvall. (Seriously, even the other contestants seem to want him to win.) "It was a compliment!" yelled Tonioli when the crowd booed. "Really odd one though," said the always-wry Tom Bergeron.
Who got voted off: Valerie Harper. "I'm here for the party, and as long as I can participate, fairly, I'm willing to keep on keeping on," she said during the rehearsal footage, before attempting the Viennese waltz. "We've been struggling a little with the steps, but it's Valerie Harper's heart that I don't think anyone else has," said her partner Tristan McManus, who is hands down our favorite dance pro of Season 17. (Talk about heart!) We'll miss them both.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Google+.